M2: Unit 2: Translation 1 – Nahuijs 1868

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Translation 1: Nahuijs 1868

<1> “Are you Shawlman’s wife?” I asked.
<2> “To whom have I the honour to speak?” she said, and that in a tone which seemed to me as if she meant that I might have said honour to her.
<3> Now, I dislike compliments. <4> With a ‘Principal’ it is a different thing, and I have been too long a man of business not to know my position, but to give myself much trouble on a third storey, I did not think necessary. <5> So I said briefly that I was Mr. Drystubble, coffee-broker, at No. 37 Laurier Canal, and that I wanted to speak to her husband.
<6> She pointed me to a little chair, and took a little girl on her lap, that was playing on the ground. <7> The little boy whom I had overheard singing looked steadily at me, having viewed me from head to foot. <8> He also, though only six years old, appeared to be not at all perplexed. <9> He was dressed in a very strange way, his wide trousers scarcely reached half-way down the thigh, and his legs were naked to the ankles. – <10> Very indecent, I think.
<11> “Do you come to speak to papa?” he asked all of a sudden; and I saw at once that he had been badly brought up, otherwise he would have said ‘Sir’. <12> But as I was a little out of countenance, and wanted to speak, I replied –
<13> “Yes, my boy, I am here to speak to your papa; do you think he will be in soon?”
<14> “I don’t know. <15> He went out to look for money to buy me a box of colours.”
<16> “Be quiet, my boy,” said the woman. <17> “Do play with your pictures or with the  puppet-show.”
<18> “Well, my good woman,” I asked; “do you expect your husband presently?”
<19> “I do not know,” – she replied.<20> Then the little boy who had been playing with his sister, left her and asked me:
<21> “Sir, why do you call mamma ‘my good woman’?”
<22> “What then, my boy?” I said, “how must I address her?”
<23> “Well – as others do. – <24> You should say ‘my good woman’ to the woman below, who sells saucers.”
<25> Now I am a coffee-broker – Last and Co, No. 37 Laurier Canal: we are thirteen of us at the office, and, including Stern, who receives no salary, there are fourteen. <26> Well, my wife is not Madam, and ought I to call this creature Madam? <27> That is impossible; every one must remain in his own station – besides, the bailiffs took away everything. <28> I thought ‘my good woman’ quite right, and made no alteration.

<29> Shawlman had indeed been at my house; he had spoken to Stern, and given him some information about words and matters which Stern did not understand. <30> I beg the readers to peruse the following chapters; then I promise afterwards something more substantial, composed by myself, Batavus Drystubble, coffee-broker (firm of Last and Co., No. 37 Laurier Canal).