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Evergreens Jerome K. Jerome


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Table Of Contents: Evergreens

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"I wish you'd run into the garden," my aunt would say to me--I was stopping with them at the time--"and see if you can find any sugar; I think there's some under the big rose-bush. If not, you'd better go to Jones' and order some."

And on the cook's inquiring what she should get ready for lunch, my aunt would say:

"Well, I'm sure, Jane, I hardly know. What have we? Are there any chops in the garden, or was it a bit of steak that I noticed on the lawn?"

On the second afternoon the plumbers came to do a little job to the kitchen boiler. The dog, being engaged at the time in the front of the house, driving away the postman, did not notice their arrival. He was broken-hearted at finding them there when he got downstairs, and evidently blamed himself most bitterly. Still, there they were, all owing to his carelessness, and the only thing to be done now was to see that they did not escape.

There were three plumbers (it always takes three plumbers to do a job; the first man comes on ahead to tell you that the second man will be there soon, the second man comes to say that he can't stop, and the third man follows to ask if the first man has been there); and that faithful, dumb animal kept them pinned up in the kitchen--fancy wanting to keep plumbers in a house longer than is absolutely necessary!--for five hours, until my uncle came home; and the bill ran: "Self and two men engaged six hours, repairing boiler-tap, 18s.; material, 2d.; total 18s. 2d."

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He took a dislike to the cook from the very first. We did not blame him for this. She was a disagreeable old woman, and we did not think much of her ourselves. But when it came to keeping her out of the kitchen, so that she could not do her work, and my aunt and uncle had to cook the dinner themselves, assisted by the housemaid--a willing-enough girl, but necessarily inexperienced--we felt that the woman was being subject to persecution.

My uncle, after this, decided that the dog's training must be no longer neglected. The man next door but one always talked as if he knew a lot about sporting matters, and to him my uncle went for advice as to how to set about it.

"Oh, yes," said the man, cheerfully, "very simple thing, training a bull-dog. Wants patience, that's all."

"Oh, that will be all right," said my uncle; "it can't want much more than living in the same house with him before he's trained does. How do you start?"

"Well, I'll tell you," said next-door-but-one. "You take him up into a room where there's not much furniture, and you shut the door and bolt it."

"I see," said my uncle.

"Then you place him on the floor in the middle of the room, and you go down on your knees in front of him, and begin to irritate him."


"Yes--and you go on irritating him until you have made him quite savage."

"Which, from what I know of the dog, won't take long," observed my uncle thoughtfully.

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Jerome K. Jerome

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