and starting forward, before the fellow could escape, he struck him a violent blow on the face. The man staggered, and had nearly fallen; recovering himself, however, he said, ‘I tell you what, my fellow; if I ever meet you in this street in a dark night, and I have a knife about me, it shall be the worse for you; as for you, young man,’ said he to me; but, observing that the other was making towards him, he left whatever he was about to say unfinished, and, taking to his heels, was out of sight in a moment.

The stranger and myself walked in the direction of Cheapside, the way in which he had been originally proceeding; he was silent for a few moments, at length he said, ‘You have really done me a great service, and I should be ungrateful not to acknowledge it. I am a merchant; and a merchant’s pocket-book, as you perhaps know, contains many things of importance; but, young man,’ he exclaimed, ‘I think I have seen you before; I thought so at first, but where I cannot exactly say: where was it?’ I mentioned London Bridge and the old apple-woman. ‘Oh,’ said he, and smiled, and there was something peculiar in his smile, ‘I remember now. Do you frequently sit on London Bridge?’ ‘Occasionally,’ said I; ‘that old woman is an old friend of mine.’ ‘Friend?’ said the stranger, ‘I am glad of it, for I shall know where to find you. At present I am going to ‘Change; time, you know, is precious to a merchant.’ We were by this time close to Cheapside. ‘Farewell,’ said he, ‘I shall not forget this service. I trust we shall soon meet again.’ He then shook me by the hand and went his way.

The next day, as I was seated beside the old woman in the booth, the stranger again made his appearance, and, after a word or two, sat down beside me; the old woman was sometimes reading the Bible, which she had already had two or three days in her possession, and sometimes discoursing with me. Our discourse rolled chiefly on philological matters.

‘What do you call bread in your language?’ said I.

‘You mean the language of those who bring me things to buy, or who did; for, as I told you before, I shan’t buy any more; it’s no language of mine, dear - they call bread pannam in their language.’

‘Pannam!’ said I, ‘pannam! evidently connected with, if not derived from, the Latin panis; even as the word tanner, which signifieth a sixpence, is connected with, if not derived from, the Latin tener, which is itself connected with, if not derived from, tawno or tawner, which, in the language of Mr. Petulengro, signifieth a sucking child. Let me see, what is the term for bread in the language of Mr. Petulengro? Morro, or manro, as I have sometimes heard it called; is there not some connection between these words and panis? Yes, I think there is; and I should not wonder if morro, manro, and panis were connected, perhaps derived from, the same root; but what is that root? I don’t know - I wish I did; though, perhaps, I should not be the happier. Morro - manro! I rather think morro is the oldest form; it is easier to say morro than manro. Morro! Irish, aran; Welsh, bara; English, bread. I can see a resemblance between all the words, and pannam too; and I rather think that the Petulengrian word is the elder. How odd it would be if the language of Mr. Petulengro should eventually turn out to be the mother of all the languages in the world; yet it is certain that there are some languages in which the terms for bread have no connection with the word used by Mr. Petulengro, notwithstanding that those languages, in many other points, exhibit a close affinity to the language of the horse-shoe master: for example, bread, in Hebrew, is Laham, which assuredly exhibits little similitude to the word used by the aforesaid Petulengro. In Armenian it is- ‘

‘Zhats!’ said the stranger, starting up. ‘By the Patriarch and the Three Holy Churches, this is wonderful! How came you to know aught of Armenian?’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.