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Chapter 5

My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian.  This is what my mother told me, I do not know these nice distinctions myself.  To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing.  My mother had a fondness for such; she liked to say them, and see other dogs look surprised and envious, as wondering how she got so much education.

But, indeed, it was not real education; it was only show: she got the words by listening in the dining-room and drawing-room when there was company, and by going with the children to Sunday-school and listening there; and whenever she heard a large word she said it over to herself many times, and so was able to keep it until there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood, then she would get it off, and surprise and distress them all, from pocket-pup to mastiff, which rewarded her for all her trouble.

If there was a stranger he was nearly sure to be suspicious, and when he got his breath again he would ask her what it meant. And she always told him.  He was never expecting this but thought he would catch her; so when she told him, he was the one that looked ashamed, whereas he had thought it was going to be she.  The others were always waiting for this, and glad of it and proud of her, for they knew what was going to happen, because they had had experience.