Princess Katherine sat in the garden of the royal palace at Rouen. She was chatting to Alice, her lady-in-waiting. All the talk at present was about the English and the Princess was curious.

‘Alice,’ she said. ‘Tu as ete en Angleterre, et tu bien parles le language.’ [Alice, you've been to England and you speak the language well.]

‘Un peu,, madam.’ [A little, madam.]

‘Je te prie, m’enseignez,’ said Katherine. ‘Il faut que j’apprenne a parler. Comment appelez-vouz la main en Anglais?’ [Teach me, will you? I have to learn to speak it. What do you call 'la main' in English?]

‘La Main? Elle est appelee ‘de hand’.’

‘De hand,’ repeated Katherine.’ Et les doigts?’

‘Les doigts? Ma foi j’oublie les doigts, mais je me souviendrai. Les doigts – je pense qu’ils sont appeles ‘de fingres.’ Oui, de fingres [Les doigts? Oh dear, I've forgotten. Les doigts. I think they're called the fingeres. Yes, the fingres.]

Katherine held her hand up. ‘La main – de hand: les doigts – the fingres. Je pense que je suis le bon ecolier: j’ai gagne deux mots d’ Anglaise vitement. Comment applelez-vous les ongles? [La main – de hand. Les doigts – de fingers. I think I'm a good scholar. I've learned two words of English very quickly. What do you call 'les ongles'?]

Les ongles? Nous les appelons de nails.’ [Les Ongles? We call them de nails.]

‘De nails.’ Katherine held up both hands. ‘Ecoutez. Dites-moi si je parle bien: de hand, de fingres, et de nails.’ [De nails. Listen, tell me if I'm saying it right: de hand, de fingers, and de nails.]

C’est bien dit, madame. Il est fort bon Anglais.’ [Very good, madam. That's very good English.]

Katherine clapped her hands with delight. ‘Dites-moi l’Anglaise pour le bras.’ [Tell me the English for le bras.]

‘De arm, madame.’

‘Et le coude?’

‘De elbow.’

‘De elbow. Je m’en fais la repetition de tous les mots que vous m’avez appris des a present.’ [De elbow. I'll repeat all the words you've taught me so far.]

‘Il est trop difficile, madame, comme je pense.’ [That's too hard, I think.]

Excusez-moi, Alice,’ said Katherine indignantly. ‘Ecoutez: de hand, de fingre, de nails, de arma, de bilbow.’

‘De elbow, madam.’

‘Oh Seigneur Dieu, je me’en oublie! D’elbow. Comment appelez-vous le col?’ [Oh, Lord God, I forgot! D'elbow. What do you call le col?]

‘De nick., madam.’

‘De nick,’ repeated Katherine. ‘Et le menton?’

‘De chin.’

‘De sin.’ Katherine nodded slowly. ‘Le col, de nick: le menton, de sin,’ touching each part in turn.

‘Oui. Sauf votre honneur, en verite vous prononcez les mots aussi droit que les natifs d’Angleterre.’ [Yes. With respect, you really do speak the words just like the natives of England.]

‘Je ne doute point d’apprendre, par la grace de Dieu, et en peu de temps,’ said Katherine. [I'm sure I'll learn it very quickly, God willing.]

‘N’avez-vous y deja oublie ce que je vous ai enseigne?’ said Alice. [Haven't you already forgotten what I've taught you?']

‘Non! Et je reciterai a vous promptement: de hand, de fingre, de mailes.’ [No! And I'll recite them to you at once: de hand, de finger, de mails.]

‘De nails, madame.’

‘De nails, de arma, de ilbow.’

‘Sauf votre honneur, de elbow.’ [With respect, de elbow.]

‘Ainsi dis-je,’ retorted Katherine. ‘D’elbow, de nick, et de sin. Comment appelez-vous les pieds et la robe?’ [That's what I said. D'elbow, de nick, and de sin. What do you call 'les pied' and 'la robe'?]

‘De foot, madame, et de count.’

Katherine’s eyes widened at the sound of such rude words. ‘De foot et de count? Oh Seigneur Dieu! Il sont les mots de son mauvais, corruptible, gros, et impudique, et non pour les dames d’honneur d’user: Je ne voudrais prononcer ces mots devant les seigneurs de France pour tout le monde. Foh!. De foot et de count! Neanmoins, je reciterai une autre fois ma lecon ensemble. D’hand, de fingre, de nails, d’arm, d’elbow, de nick, de sin, de foot, de count.’ [De foot and de count? Oh, Lord God! They are naughty, indecent, gross and improper words and not for respectable girls to use. I wouldn't say those words in front of French gentlemen for all the world! Really! De foot and de count! Nevertheless, I'll say my lesson one more time, all together: de hand, de finger, de nails, d'arma, d'elbow, de nick, de sin, de foot, de cownt.]

‘Alice clapped her hands. ‘Excellent, madame!’

‘C’est assez pour une fois,’ said Katherine. ‘Allons-nous a diner. [That's enough for one lesson. Let's go to dinner.]

 

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Read more scenes from Henry V:

Henry V in modern English | Henry V original text
|
Modern Henry V Act 1, Prologue | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Prologue
Modern Henry V Act 1, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 1, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Scene 2
|
Modern Henry V Act 2, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 4
|
Modern Henry V Act 3, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 4
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 5 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 5
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 6 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 6
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 7 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 7
|
Modern Henry V Act 4, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 4
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 5 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 5
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 6 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 6
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 7 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 7
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 8 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 8
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Modern Henry V Act 5, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 5, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 5, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Scene 2
|
Modern Henry V Epilogue | Original text of Henry V Epilogue

 

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