Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































 -  They remind me of the
Irish. Both races are scattered over the earth and seem to prosper best
outside their - Page 280
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They Remind Me Of The Irish.

Both races are scattered over the earth and seem to prosper best outside their native country; they have the

Same songs and bards, the same hero-chieftains, the same com-bativeness and frank hospitality; both are sunk in bigotry and broils; they resemble one another in their love of dirt, disorder and display, in their enthusiastic and adventurous spirit, their versatile brilliance of mind, their incapacity for self-government and general (Keltic) note of inspired inefficiency. And both profess a frenzied allegiance to an obsolete tongue which, were it really cultivated as they wish, would put a barrier of triple brass between themselves and the rest of humanity.

Even as the Irish despise the English as their worldly and effete relatives, so the Albanians look down upon the Greeks - even those of Pericles - with profoundest contempt. The Albanians, so says one of their writers, are "the oldest people upon earth," and their language is the "divine Pelasgic mother-tongue." I grew interested awhile in Stanislao Marchiano's plausibly entrancing study on this language, as well as in a pamphlet of de Rada's on the same subject; but my ardour has cooled since learning, from another native grammarian, that these writers are hopelessly in the wrong on nearly every point. So much is certain, that the Albanian language already possesses more than thirty different alphabets (each of them with nearly fifty letters). Nevertheless they have not yet, in these last four (or forty) thousand years, made up their minds which of them to adopt, or whether it would not be wisest, after all, to elaborate yet another one - a thirty-first.

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