The present company! Oh, ah! I remember that I said one only feels uncomfortable in being silent with a companion, when one happens to be thinking of the companion. Well, I had been thinking of you the last two or three minutes, and had just come to the conclusion that, to prevent us both feeling occasionally uncomfortably toward each other, having nothing to say, it would be as well to have a standing subject on which to employ our tongues. Belle, I have determined to give you lessons in Armenian.
Aye, aye; to prevent our occasionally feeling uncomfortable together. Your acquiring it, besides, might prove of ulterior advantage to us both. For example, suppose you and I were in promiscuous company, at a court, for example, and you had something to communicate to me which you did not wish any one else to be acquainted with, how safely you might communicate it to me in Armenian.
In some places it would, said I, but not at court, owing to its resemblance to thieves slang. There is Hebrew, again, which I was thinking of teaching you, till the idea of being presented at court made me abandon it, from the probability of our being understood, in the event of our speaking it, by at least half a dozen people in our vicinity. There is Latin, it is true, or Greek, which we might speak aloud at court with perfect confidence of safety. But upon the whole I should prefer teaching you Armenian, not because it would be a safer language to hold communication with at court, but because, not being very well grounded in it myself, I am apprehensive that its words and forms may escape from my recollection, unless I have sometimes occasion to call them forth.
I am afraid we shall have to part company before I have learnt it, said Belle. In the meantime, if I wish to say anything to you in private, somebody being by, shall I speak in the language of the roads?
Belle, said I, I have determined to commence the course of Armenian lessons by teaching you the numerals; but before I do that, it will be as well to tell you that the Armenian language is called Haik.
Good! said I, you will make an apt scholar. But, mind, that I did not say hake, but haik. The words are, however, very much alike; and, as you observe, upon your hake you may hang my haik. We will now proceed to the numerals.