|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
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I afterwards shewed to M. d'Abbadie a short sentence in Basque which the Cardinal wrote with his own hand, and which is printed among the fac similes prefixed to this volume.
M. d'Abbadie, as also his Highness Prince Lewis L. Bonaparte, to whom M. d'Abbadie submitted it, had some doubt as to the propriety of the form, 'zu servitzea,' lzu maitatzea' ; both of them preferring to write zure. But, as the dialect in which the sentence is written is that of Guipuscoa, both his Highness and M. d'Abbadie have kindly taken the trouble to refer the question to native Guipuscoan scholars ; and I have had the gratification to learn by a letter of M. d'Abbadie, (January 18th, .1858,) that " the construe tion 'zu servitzea,' is perfectly correct in Guipuscoan."
M. d'Abbadie subjoins, that, in addition to the authority of his friend, M. Dassance, for the Cardinal's knowledge of Basque, he has since been assured by a Spanish lady, a native of San Sebastian, the capital of Guipuscoa, that the Cardinal had also conversed with her in her native Guipuscoan dialect. Moreover, when M. Manavit saw him in Rome in 1846, he translated freely in his presence a newly published Basque catechism, which M. Manavit presented to him on the part of the Bishop of Astros : and several distinguished Biscayan ecclesiastics assured M. Manavit that the Cardinal spoke both the dialects of Basque with equal fluency.* In a word, it appears impossible to doubt the complete success of this, one of his latest essays in the acquisition of a new language.
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