"Say, didn't I put you up right?"
"Sho! I spotted you for MY kind the minute I heard your clack. You been over here long?"
"About four months. Have you been over long?"
"LONG? Well, I should say so! Going on two YEARS, by geeminy! Say, are you homesick?"
"No, I can't say that I am. Are you?"
"Oh, HELL, yes!" This with immense enthusiasm.
The Reverend shrunk a little, in his clothes, and we were aware, rather by instinct than otherwise, that he was throwing out signals of distress to us; but we did not interfere or try to succor him, for we were quite happy.
The young fellow hooked his arm into the Reverend's, now, with the confiding and grateful air of a waif who has been longing for a friend, and a sympathetic ear, and a chance to lisp once more the sweet accents of the mother-tongue--and then he limbered up the muscles of his mouth and turned himself loose--and with such a relish! Some of his words were not Sunday-school words, so I am obliged to put blanks where they occur.
"Yes indeedy! If _I_ ain't an American there AIN'T any Americans, that's all. And when I heard you fellows gassing away in the good old American language, I'm ------ if it wasn't all I could do to keep from hugging you! My tongue's all warped with trying to curl it around these ------forsaken wind-galled nine-jointed German words here; now I TELL you it's awful good to lay it over a Christian word once more and kind of let the old taste soak it. I'm from western New York. My name is Cholley Adams. I'm a student, you know. Been here going on two years. I'm learning to be a horse-doctor! I LIKE that part of it, you know, but ------these people, they won't learn a fellow in his own language, they make him learn in German; so before I could tackle the horse-doctoring I had to tackle this miserable language.
"First off, I thought it would certainly give me the botts, but I don't mind now. I've got it where the hair's short, I think; and dontchuknow, they made me learn Latin, too. Now between you and me, I wouldn't give a ------for all the Latin that was ever jabbered; and the first thing _I_ calculate to do when I get through, is to just sit down and forget it. 'Twon't take me long, and I don't mind the time, anyway. And I tell you what! the difference between school-teaching over yonder and school-teaching over here--sho! WE don't know anything about it! Here you're got to peg and peg and peg and there just ain't any let-up--and what you learn here, you've got to KNOW, dontchuknow --or else you'll have one of these ------spavined, spectacles, ring-boned, knock-kneed old professors in your hair. I've been here long ENOUGH, and I'm getting blessed tired of it, mind I TELL you. The old man wrote me that he was coming over in June, and said he'd take me home in August, whether I was done with my education or not, but durn him, he didn't come; never said why; just sent me a hamper of Sunday-school books, and told me to be good, and hold on a while. I don't take to Sunday-school books, dontchuknow--I don't hanker after them when I can get pie--but I READ them, anyway, because whatever the old man tells me to do, that's the thing that I'm a-going to DO, or tear something, you know. I buckled in and read all those books, because he wanted me to; but that kind of thing don't excite ME, I like something HEARTY. But I'm awful homesick. I'm homesick from ear-socket to crupper, and from crupper to hock-joint; but it ain't any use, I've got to stay here, till the old man drops the rag and give the word--yes, SIR, right here in this ------country I've got to linger till the old man says COME!--and you bet your bottom dollar, Johnny, it AIN'T just as easy as it is for a cat to have twins!"
At the end of this profane and cordial explosion he fetched a prodigious "WHOOSH!" to relieve his lungs and make recognition of the heat, and then he straightway dived into his narrative again for "Johnny's" benefit, beginning, "Well, ------it ain't any use talking, some of those old American words DO have a kind of a bully swing to them; a man can EXPRESS himself with 'em--a man can get at what he wants to SAY, dontchuknow."
When we reached our hotel and it seemed that he was about to lose the Reverend, he showed so much sorrow, and begged so hard and so earnestly that the Reverend's heart was not hard enough to hold out against the pleadings-- so he went away with the parent-honoring student, like a right Christian, and took supper with him in his lodgings, and sat in the surf-beat of his slang and profanity till near midnight, and then left him--left him pretty well talked out, but grateful "clear down to his frogs," as he expressed it.