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Evergreens Jerome K. Jerome


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"So much the better. The moment he gets savage he will fly at you."

My uncle agreed that the idea seemed plausible.

"He will fly at your throat," continued the next-door-but-one man, "and this is where you will have to be careful. _As_ he springs toward you, and _before_ he gets hold of you, you must hit him a fair straight blow on his nose, and knock him down."

"Yes, I see what you mean."

"Quite so--well, the moment you have knocked him down, he will jump up and go for you again. You must knock him down again; and you must keep on doing this, until the dog is thoroughly cowed and exhausted. Once he is thoroughly cowed, the thing's done--dog's as gentle as a lamb after that."

"Oh!" says my uncle, rising from his chair, "you think that a good way, do you?"

"Certainly," replied the next-door-but-one man; "it never fails."

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"Oh! I wasn't doubting it," said my uncle; "only it's just occurred to me that as you understand the knack of these things, perhaps _you'd_ like to come in and try _your_ hand on the dog? We can give you a room quite to yourselves; and I'll undertake that nobody comes near to interfere with you. And if--if," continued my uncle, with that kindly thoughtfulness which ever distinguished his treatment of others, "_if_, by any chance, you should miss hitting the dog at the proper critical moment, or, if _you_ should get cowed and exhausted first, instead of the dog--why, I shall only be too pleased to take the whole burden of the funeral expenses on my own shoulders; and I hope you know me well enough to feel sure that the arrangements will be tasteful, and, at the same time, unostentatious!"

And out my uncle walked.

We next consulted the butcher, who agreed that the prize-ring method was absurd, especially when recommended to a short-winded, elderly family man, and who recommended, instead, plenty of out-door exercise for the dog, under my uncle's strict supervision and control.

"Get a fairly long chain for him," said the butcher, "and take him out for a good stiff run every evening. Never let him get away from you; make him mind you, and bring him home always thoroughly exhausted. You stick to that for a month or two, regular, and you'll have him like a little child."

"Um!--seems to me that I'm going to get more training over his job than anybody else," muttered my uncle, as he thanked the man and left the shop; "but I suppose it's got to be done. Wish I'd never had the d--- dog now!"

So, religiously, every evening, my uncle would fasten a long chain to that poor dog, and drag him away from his happy home with the idea of exhausting him; and the dog would come back as fresh as paint, my uncle behind him, panting and clamoring for brandy.

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Jerome K. Jerome

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