Translation 2: Siebenhaar 1927
<1> “Are you Juffrouw Shawlman?” I asked.
<2> “To whom have I the honour of speaking?” she said, in a tone that seemed to imply that I also should have introduced some honour into my question.
<3> Well, I am not fond of paying compliments. <4> It’s a different thing with a principal, and I have been in business too long than that I should not know my people. <5> But to use fine phrases on a third floor seemed unnecessary to me. <6> So I stated briefly that I was Mr. Drystubble, coffee-broker, Laurier Canal, No. 37, and that I wished to speak to her husband. <7> Of course, why should I mince matters.
<8> She motioned me to a cane chair, and took a little girl on her knee, who sat on the floor playing. <9> The little boy whom I had heard singing looked me fixedly in the face, and took me in from head to foot. <10> He also did not seem the least bit shy! <11> He was a lad about six years old, also dressed most peculiarly. <12> His wide pants scarcely reached half-way down his thighs, and his little legs were bare from thence to his ankles. <13> Very indecent, I thought.
<14> “Have you come to see papa?” he asked all at once, and I immediately realized that the education of that child left much to be desired, otherwise he would have spoken in the second person plural. <15> But as I felt a bit awkward myself, and therefore wanted to talk, I answered:
<16> “Yes, little man, I have come to see your papa. <17> Do you think he’ll soon be here?”
<18> “I don’t know. <19> He is out, looking for money to buy me a color-box” <20> (Frits writes: colour-box, but I don’t. There is no need to make words longer by useless letter.)
<21> “Quiet, my boy,” said the woman. <22> “Play with your prints, or with your Chinese play-box.”
<23> “Well, Juffrouw,” I asked, “do you expect your husband soon?”
<24> “I can’t say for certain,” she answered.<25> Suddenly the little boy, who had been playing at sailing ships with his little sister, left her and asked me:
<26> “Sir, why do you say to my mother ‘Juffrouw’?”<27> “Well, little man,” I said, “what else should I say!”
<28> “Why … the same as other people! <29> The ‘juffrouw’ is down-stairs. <30> She sells plates and peg tops.”
<31> Now I am a coffee-broker — Last & Co., Laurier Canal, No. 37 — there are thirteen of us in the office, and if I count Stern, who receives no salary, there are fourteen. <32> Very well then, my wife is ‘Juffrouw’, and yet I was to say Madam to this woman. <33> Surely, this was absurd. <34> Everyone must keep to his class, and what is more, only yesterday the bailiffs had taken away some of the belongings. <35> So I considered my ‘Juffrouw’ quite all right, and stuck to it.
<36> Shawlman had indeed called. <37> He had seen Stern, and explained to him some words and things which he did not understand. <38> I must now ask the reader to wade through the next chapters, then later on I again promise something more solid, from myself, Batavus Drystubble, coffee-broker, Last & Co., Laurier Canal, No. 37.