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27. CHAPTER XXVII. (continued)
"What I tell you, genteelmen! Is it not so? See! handwriting Christopher Colombo!--write it himself!"
We looked indifferent--unconcerned. The doctor examined the document very deliberately, during a painful pause. --Then he said, without any show of interest:
"Ah--Ferguson--what--what did you say was the name of the party who wrote this?"
"Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!"
Another deliberate examination.
"Ah--did he write it himself; or--or how?"
"He write it himself!--Christopher Colombo! He's own hand-writing, write by himself!"
Then the doctor laid the document down and said:
"Why, I have seen boys in America only fourteen years old that could write better than that."
"But zis is ze great Christo--"
"I don't care who it is! It's the worst writing I ever saw. Now you musn't think you can impose on us because we are strangers. We are not fools, by a good deal. If you have got any specimens of penmanship of real merit, trot them out!--and if you haven't, drive on!"
We drove on. The guide was considerably shaken up, but he made one more venture. He had something which he thought would overcome us. He said:
"Ah, genteelmen, you come wis me! I show you beautiful, O, magnificent bust Christopher Colombo!--splendid, grand, magnificent!"
He brought us before the beautiful bust--for it was beautiful--and sprang back and struck an attitude:
"Ah, look, genteelmen!--beautiful, grand,--bust Christopher Colombo!-- beautiful bust, beautiful pedestal!"
The doctor put up his eye-glass--procured for such occasions:
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