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Evergreens Jerome K. Jerome


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And that was the brute that had kept us sitting on a table, with our boots off, for over an hour on a chilly night!

Another bull-dog exhibition that occurs to me was one given by my uncle. He had had a bulldog--a young one--given to him by a friend. It was a grand dog, so his friend had told him; all it wanted was training--it had not been properly trained. My uncle did not profess to know much about the training of bull-dogs; but it seemed a simple enough matter, so he thanked the man, and took his prize home at the end of a rope.

"Have we got to live in the house with _this?_" asked my aunt, indignantly, coming in to the room about an hour after the dog's advent, followed by the quadruped himself, wearing an idiotically self-satisfied air.

"That!" exclaimed my uncle, in astonishment; "why, it's a splendid dog. His father was honorably mentioned only last year at the Aquarium."

"Ah, well, all I can say is, that his son isn't going the way to get honorably mentioned in this neighborhood," replied my aunt, with bitterness; "he's just finished killing poor Mrs. McSlanger's cat, if you want to know what he has been doing. And a pretty row there'll be about it, too!"

"Can't we hush it up?" said my uncle.

"Hush it up?" retorted my aunt. "If you'd heard the row, you wouldn't sit there and talk like a fool. And if you'll take my advice," added my aunt, "you'll set to work on this 'training,' or whatever it is, that has got to be done to the dog, before any human life is lost."

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My uncle was too busy to devote any time to the dog for the next day or so, and all that could be done was to keep the animal carefully confined to the house.

And a nice time we had with him! It was not that the animal was bad-hearted. He meant well--he tried to do his duty. What was wrong with him was that he was too hard-working. He wanted to do too much. He started with an exaggerated and totally erroneous notion of his duties and responsibilities. His idea was that he had been brought into the house for the purpose of preventing any living human soul from coming near it and of preventing any person who might by chance have managed to slip in from ever again leaving it.

We endeavored to induce him to take a less exalted view of his position, but in vain. That was the conception he had formed in his own mind concerning his earthly task, and that conception he insisted on living up to with, what appeared to us to be, unnecessary conscientiousness.

He so effectually frightened away all the trades people, that they at last refused to enter the gate. All that they would do was to bring their goods and drop them over the fence into the front garden, from where we had to go and fetch them as we wanted them.

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Jerome K. Jerome

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