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Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1834 to 1836 > Polyglot party

On Pentecost Sunday, 1834, the anniversary of the Feast of Tongues, the Cardinal gave a dinner in honour of the great Polyglot, at which many foreigners (one of whom was the present Cardinal Wiseman) speaking a great variety of languages, and all the most distinguished linguists of Rome, were present. Each of the guests carried away a feeling of wonder, almost as though his own language had been the only subject of Mezzofanti's extraordinary display. Signor Drach, the learned Jew, named in a former page, declared that he had not thought it possible for any but a born Hebrew to speak both Scriptural and Rabbinical Hebrew with the fluency and correctness which Mezzofanti was able to command. A Polish priest named Ozarowski who sat next to Mezzofanti, assured the late Dr. Cox, of Southampton, that, had he not known Mezzofanti personally, he would, from his conversation, have believed him to be a highly educated Pole; and he added that, " foreigner as this great linguist was, bis familiarity with Polish literature and history completely threw his own into the shade." Nor was this extraordinary faculty confined to the literature and language alone. A Polish lady was so astonished, not only at his knowledge of the language, but at his " acquaintance with the country, and even with individuals, (for many of whom he inquired by name, describing where they lived, what was their occupation, &c.,") that, as she assured Cardinal Wiseman, she " could not believe that he had not resided, or at least traveled, in Poland."

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