Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

 -   German was his
native tongue, but being born near the borders of Italy, and having
sailed out of Genoa, the - Page 240
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German Was His Native Tongue, But Being Born Near The Borders Of Italy, And Having Sailed Out Of Genoa, The Italian Was Almost As Familiar To Him As His Own Language.

He was six years on board of an English man-of-war, where he learned to speak our language with ease, and also to read and write it.

He had been several years in Spanish vessels, and had acquired that language so well, that he could read any books in it. He was between forty and fifty years of age, and was a singular mixture of the man-of-war's-man and Puritan. He talked a great deal about propriety and steadiness, and gave good advice to the youngsters and Kanakas, but seldom went up to the town, without coming down "three sheets in the wind." One holyday, he and old Robert (the Scotchman from the Catalina) went up to the town, and got so cozy, talking over old stories and giving one another good advice, that they came down double-backed, on a horse, and both rolled off into the sand as soon as the horse stopped. This put an end to their pretensions, and they never heard the last of it from the rest of the men. On the night of the entertainment at the Rosa's house, I saw old Schmidt, (that was the Austrian's name) standing up by a hogshead, holding on by both hands, and calling out to himself - "Hold on, Schmidt! hold on, my good fellow, or you'll be on your back!" Still, he was an intelligent, good-natured old fellow, and had a chest-full of books, which he willingly lent me to read.

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