Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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amazed at the hidicrous disproportion be-
tween their numerical forces and mine.
They could not understand, and they want-
ed to know by what strange privilege it is
that an Englishman with a brace of pistols,
and a couple of servants rides safely across
the Desert, whilst they, the natives of the
iieighbouring cities are forced to travel in
troops, or rather in herds. One of them
got a few minutes of private conversation
with Dthemetri, and ventured to ask him
anxiously, whether the Enghsh did not travel
under the protection of Evil Demons. I had
previously known, that this notion, so con-
ducive to the safety of our countrymen, is
generally prevalent amongst Orientals; it
owes its origin, partly to the strong wil-
fulness of the English gentleman, but partly
too to the magic of the Banking system,
by force of which the wealthy traveller will
make all his journeys, without carrying a
handful of coin, and yet when he arrives
at a city, will rain down showers of gold.
The theory is that the English traveller
has committed some sin against God, and
his conscience, and that for this, the Evil
Spirit has hold of him, and drives him from
his home hke a victim of the old Grecian
Furies, and forces him to travel over coun-
tries far, and strange, and most chielly over
Deserts, and desolate places, and to stand
upon the sites of cities that once were, and
are now no more, and to grope among the
tombs of dead men.
I can understand the sort of amazement
of the Orientals at the scantiness of the
retinue with which an Englishman passes
the Desert, for I was somewhat struck my-
self when 1 saw one of my countrymen mak-
ing his way across the wilderness in this
simple style. At first there was a mere
moving speck in the horizon; my party, of
course, became all alive with excitement,
and there were many surmises; soon it ap-
peared that three laden camels were ap-
proaching, and that two of them carried
riders; in a httle while we saw that one of
the riders wore the European dress, and
at last the travellers were pronounced to
be an English gentleman, and his servant;
by their side there were a couple, I think,
of Arabs on foot, and this was the whole
party.
This Enghshman, as I afterwards found,
was a military man returning to his country
from India, and crossing the Desert at this
part in order to go through Palestine. As
for me, I had come pretty straight from
England, and so here we met in the wilder-
ness at about half way from our respective
starting points. As we approached each
other, it became with me a question whether
we should speak; I thought it likely that
the stranger would accost me, and in the
event of his doing so, I was quite ready
to be as sociable, and chatty as I could be,
according to my nature; but still I could
not think of any thing particular that I had
to say to him; of course among civilized
people, the not having anything to say is
no excuse at all for not speaking, but 1
was shy, and indolent, and I felt no great
wish to stop, and talk like a morning visitor,
in the midst of those broad solitudes. The
traveller, perhaps, felt as I did, for except
that we lifted our hands to our caps, and
waved our arms in courtesy, we passed
each other, as if we had passed in Bond
Street. Our attendants, however, were not
to be cheated of the delight that they felt
in speaking to new listeners, and hearing
fresh voices once more. The masters, there-
fore, had no sooner passed each other than
their respective servants quietly stopped
and entered into conversation. As soon as
my camel found that her companions were
not following her, she caught the social
feehng and refused to go on. I felt the
absurdity of the situation, and determined
to accost the stranger, if only to avoid the
awkwardness of remaining stuck fast in the
Desert, whilst our servants were amusing
themselves. When with this intent I turned
round my camel, I found that the gallant
officer, wo had passed me by about thirty
or forty yards, was exactly in the same
predicament as myself. I put my now will-
ing camel in motion, and rode up towards
the stranger, who seeing this, followed ray
example, and came forward to meet me.
He was the first to speak; he was much
too courteous to address me as if he ad-
mitted the possibihty of my wishing to ac-
cost him from any feeling of mere socia-
bihty, or civilian-hke love of vain talk; on
the contrary, he at once attributed my ad-
vances to a laudable wish of acquiring sta-
tistical information, and, accordingly, when
we got within speaking distance, he said
'I dare say, you wish to know how the
Plague is going on at Cairo?' and then
he went on to say, he regretted that his
information did not enable him to give me
in numbers a perfectly accurate statement
of the daily deaths; he afterwards talked
pleasantly enough upon other, and less
ghastly subjects. I thought him manly, and
intelligent — a worthy one of the few thou-
sand strong Englishmen, to whom the Em-
pire of India is committed.
The night after the meeting with the
people of the caravan, Dthemetri, alarmed