I Say "Yes," In
My Best Fan, An Enthusiastic, Intelligent Grunt Which Any One Must
He leads the way back towards those geese - perhaps, by
the by, that is why he wears those divided
Skirts - and we enter a
beautifully neatly built bamboo house, and sit down opposite to each
other at a table and wait for the interpreter who is being fetched.
The house is low on the ground and of native construction, but most
beautifully kept, and arranged with an air of artistic feeling quite
as unexpected as the rest of my surroundings. I notice upon the
walls sets of pictures of terrific incidents in Algerian campaigns,
and a copy of that superb head of M. de Brazza in Arab headgear.
Soon the black minions who have been sent to find one of the
plantation hands who is supposed to know French and English, return
with the "interpreter." That young man is a fraud. He does not
know English - not even coast English - and all he has got under his
precious wool is an abysmal ignorance darkened by terror; and so,
after one or two futile attempts and some frantic scratching at both
those regions which an African seems to regard as the seats of
intellectual inspiration, he bolts out of the door. Situation
terrible! My host and I smile wildly at each other, and both wonder
in our respective languages what, in the words of Mr. Squeers as
mentioned in the classics - we "shall do in this 'ere most awful go."
We are both going mad with the strain of the situation, when in
walks the engineer's brother from the Eclaireur.
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