Essays Of Travel, By Robert Louis Stevenson


































































































 -   I thought him by
his face to be Scottish; nor could his accent undeceive me.  For as
there is a - Page 9
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I Thought Him By His Face To Be Scottish; Nor Could His Accent Undeceive Me.

For as there is a lingua franca of many tongues on the moles and in the feluccas of the Mediterranean, so there is a free or common accent among English-speaking men who follow the sea.

They catch a twang in a New England Port; from a cockney skipper, even a Scotsman sometimes learns to drop an h; a word of a dialect is picked up from another band in the forecastle; until often the result is undecipherable, and you have to ask for the man's place of birth. So it was with Mr. Jones. I thought him a Scotsman who had been long to sea; and yet he was from Wales, and had been most of his life a blacksmith at an inland forge; a few years in America and half a score of ocean voyages having sufficed to modify his speech into the common pattern. By his own account he was both strong and skilful in his trade. A few years back, he had been married and after a fashion a rich man; now the wife was dead and the money gone. But his was the nature that looks forward, and goes on from one year to another and through all the extremities of fortune undismayed; and if the sky were to fall to-morrow, I should look to see Jones, the day following, perched on a step-ladder and getting things to rights.

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