A Diglot Weave Short Story


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Diglot Weave: French: Luck by Mark Twain

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Lvl 1 Nouns

[Note—This is not a fancy sketch. I got it from a ecclésiastique who was an instructeur at Woolwich forty years ago, and who vouched for its vérité.—M.T.]

It was at a banquet in Londres in honor of one of the two or three conspicuously illustrious English militaires noms of this génération. For reasons which will presently appear, I will withhold his real nom and titles, and call him Lieutenant General Lord Arthur Scoresby, V.C., K.C.B., etc., etc., etc.

What a fascination there is in a renowned nom! There sat the homme, in actual chair, whom I had heard of so many thousands of times since that day, thirty years before, when his nom shot suddenly to the zenith from a Crimean champ de bataille, to remain forever celebrated. It was nourriture and boisson to me to look, and look, and look at that demi-dieu; scanning, searching, noting: the quietness, the reserve, the noble gravity of his visage; the simple honesty that expressed itself all over him; the sweet unconsciousness of his grandeur—unconsciousness of the hundreds of admiring yeux fastened upon him, unconsciousness of the deep, loving, sincere worship welling out of the breasts of those people and flowing toward him.

The ecclésiastique at my left was an old acquaintance of mine—ecclésiastique now, but had spent the first half of his life in the camp and champ, and as an instructeur in the militaires school at Woolwich. Just at the moment I have been talking about, a veiled and singular light glimmered in his yeux, and he leaned down and muttered confidentially to me—indicating the hero of the banquet with a gesture:

“Privately—he’s an absolute fool.”

This verdict was a great surprise to me. If its subject had been Napoleon, or Socrate, or Salomon, my étonnement could not have been greater. Two things I was well aware of: that the Reverend was a homme of strict véracité, and that his jugement of men was good. Therefore I knew, beyond doubt or question, that the monde was mistaken about this hero: he was a fool. So I meant to find out, at a convenient moment, how the Reverend, all solitary and alone, had discovered the secret.

Some days later the opportunity came, and this is what the Reverend told me.

About forty years ago I was an instructeur in the militaires academy at Woolwich. I was present in one of the sections when young Scoresby underwent his preliminary examen. I was touched to the quick with pitié; for the rest of the class answered up brightly and handsomely, while he—why, dear me, he didn’t know anything, so to speak. He was evidently good, and sweet, and lovable, and guileless; and so it was exceedingly painful to see him stand there, as serene as a graven image, and deliver himself of answers which were veritably miraculous for stupidity and ignorance.

All the compassion in me was aroused in his behalf. I said to myself, when he comes to be examined again, he will be flung over, of course; so it will be simply a harmless act of charité to ease his fall as much as I can. I took him aside, and found that he knew a little of Cæsar’s history; and as he didn’t know anything else, I went to work and drilled him like a galley slave on a certain line of stock questions concerning Cæsar which I knew would be used. If you’ll believe me, he went through with flying colors on examen day! He went through on that purely superficial “cram,” and got compliments too, while others, who knew a thousand times more than he, got plucked. By some strangely lucky accident—an accident not likely to happen twice in a century—he was asked no question outside of the narrow limits of his exercice.

It was stupefying. Well, all through his course I stood by him, with something of the sentiment which a mother feels for a crippled child; and he always saved himself—just by miracle, apparently.

Now of course the thing that would expose him and kill him at last was mathematics. I resolved to make his death as easy as I could; so I drilled him and crammed him, and crammed him and drilled him, just on the line of questions which the examiners would be most likely to use, and then launching him on his fate. Well, sir, try to conceive of the résultat: to my consternation, he took the first prix! And with it he got a perfect ovation in the way of compliments.

Sleep? There was no more sommeil for me for a week. My conscience tortured me day and night. What I had done I had done purely through charité, and only to ease the poor youth’s fall—I never had dreamed of any such preposterous résultat as the thing that had happened. I felt as guilty and miserable as the creator of Frankenstein. Here was a woodenhead whom I had put in the way of glittering promotions and prodigious responsibilities, and but one thing could happen: he and his responsibilities would all go to ruin together at the first opportunity.

The Crimean guerre had just broken out. Of course there had to be a guerre, I said to myself: we couldn’t have peace and give this donkey a chance to die before he is found out. I waited for the tremblement de terre. It came. And it made me reel when it did come. He was actually gazetted to a captaincy in a marching régiment! Better men grow old and gray in the service before they climb to a sublimity like that. And who could ever have foreseen that they would go and put such a load of responsibility on such green and inadequate shoulders? I could just barely have stood it if they had made him a cornet; but a captain—think of it! I pensée my hair would turn white.

Consider what I did—I who so loved repose and inaction. I said to myself, I am responsible to the pays for this, and I must go along with him and protect the pays against him as far as I can. So I took my poor little capital that I had saved up through years of work and grinding economy, and went with a sigh and bought a cornette in his régiment, and away we went to the champ.

And there—oh dear, it was awful. Blunders? Why, he never did anything but blunder. But, you see, nobody was in the fellow’s secret—everybody had him focused wrong, and necessarily misinterpreted his performance every time—consequently they took his idiotic blunders for inspirations of genius; they did, honestly! His mildest blunders were enough to make a homme in his right mind cry; and they did make me cry—and rage and rave too, privately. And the thing that kept me always in a sweat of apprehension was the fact that every fresh blunder he made increased the lustre of his réputation! I kept saying to myself, he’ll get so high, that when discovery does finally come, it will be like the sun falling out of the sky.

He went right along up, from grade to grade, over the dead bodies of his superiors, until at last, in the hottest moment of the bataille of —– down went our colonel, and my heart jumped into my mouth, for Scoresby was next in rang! Now for it, said I; we’ll all land in Sheol in ten minutes, sure.

The bataille was awfully hot; the allies were steadily giving way all over the champ. Our régiment occupied a position that was vital; a blunder now must be destruction. At this crucial moment, what does this immortal fool do but detach the régiment from its place and ordre a charge over a neighboring hill where there wasn’t a suggestion of an ennemi! “There you go!” I said to myself; “this is the end at last.”

And away we did go, and were over the shoulder of the hill before the insane movement could be discovered and stopped. And what did we find? An entire and unsuspected Russian army in reserve! And what happened? We were eaten up? That is necessarily what would have happened in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. But no, those Russians argued that no single régiment would come browsing around there at such a time. It must be the entire English army, and that the sly Russian game was detected and blocked; so they turned tail, and away they went, pell-mell, over the hill and down into the champ, in wild confusion, and we after them; they themselves broke the solid Russian centre in the champ, and tore through, and in no time there was the most tremendous rout you ever saw, and the défaite of the allies was turned into a sweeping and splendid victoire! Marshal Canrobert looked on, dizzy with étonnement, admiration,and delight; and sent right off for Scoresby, and hugged him, and decorated him on the champ, in presence of all the armies!

And what was Scoresby’s blunder that time? Merely the mistaking his main droite for his left—that was all. An ordre had come to him to fall back and support our right; and instead, he fell forward and went over the hill to the left. But the nom he won that day as a marvelous militaires genius filled the monde with his glory, and that glory will never fade while history books last.

He is just as good and sweet and lovable and unpretending as a homme can be, but he doesn’t know enough to come in when it rains. Now that is absolutely true. He is the supremest ass in the univers; and until half an hour ago nobody knew it but himself and me. He has been pursued, day by day and year by year, by a most phenomenal and astonishing chance. He has been a shining soldat in all our wars for a génération; he has littered his whole militaires life with blunders, and yet has never committed one that didn’t make him a chevalier or a baronnet or a seigneur or something. Look at his poitrine; why, he is just clothed in domestique and foreign décorations. Well, sir, every one of them is the record of some shouting stupidity or other; and taken together, they are preuve that the very best thing in all this monde that can befall a homme is to be born lucky. I say again, as I said at the banquet, Scoresby’s an absolute fool.

Diglot Weave Lvl 1: Nouns – Luck by Mark Twain

by | Jan 29, 2024 | 0 comments

冰箱 – Bīngxiāng

Phrase Dictionary

  1. 冰箱 (Bīngxiāng) – Refrigerator
  2. 冰箱里有水果。 (Bīngxiāng lǐ yǒu shuǐguǒ.)
    • 冰箱 (Bīngxiāng) – Refrigerator
    • 里 (Lǐ) – In
    • 有 (Yǒu) – There is / Have
    • 水果 (Shuǐguǒ) – Fruit
  3. 冰箱很冷。 (Bīngxiāng hěn lěng.)
    • 冰箱 (Bīngxiāng) – Refrigerator
    • 很 (Hěn) – Very
    • 冷 (Lěng) – Cold

Phrases and Translations

    1. 冰箱里有水果。
      • Pinyin: Bīngxiāng lǐ yǒu shuǐguǒ.
      • English: There is fruit in the refrigerator.
    2. 冰箱很冷。
      • Pinyin: Bīngxiāng hěn lěng.
      • English: The refrigerator is very cold.


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