"Ah!" thought I, "I knew she was old," and I bowed and took my seat. Madame Reuter placed herself at the table opposite to me. "How do you like Belgium, Monsieur?" asked she, in an accent of the broadest Bruxellois. I could now well distinguish the difference between the fine and pure Parisian utterance of M. Pelet, for instance, and the guttural enunciation of the Flamands.
My God! how he did snuffle, snort, and wheeze! All he said was said in his throat and nose, for it is thus the Flamands speak, but I heard him to the end of his paragraph without proffering a word of correction, whereat he looked vastly self-complacent, convinced, no doubt, that he had acquitted himself like a real born and bred "Anglais."
Two hundred years after, there ruled over that same land Baldwin the Debonair, as "Marquis of the Flamands." Baldwin had had his troubles. He had fought the Count of Holland. He had fought the Emperor of Germany; during which war he had burnt the cathedral of Nimeguen, and did other unrighteous and unwise things; and had been beaten after all. Baldwin had had his troubles, and had deserved them.
I believe he perceived once or twice that I was a little shocked at the difference he made between them and me, and accounted for it by saying, with a quiet sarcastic smile "Ce ne sont que des Flamands allez!" And then he took his cigar gently from his lips and spat on the painted floor of the room in which we were sitting.