Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/106

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Mark never tired telling of the Italian literary shark who unsuccessfully tried to blackmail him out of twenty francs.

"He had a peculiar grievance, that Dago," said Mark. "He vocalized to the effect that he had done me the honor to call four times at my villa and that, just as often, he came near losing the seat of his pants by the actions of my degraded dogs,who drove him off. Hence, he calculated that I owed him at least five francs per visit, on account of his trouble and the anxiety he suffered. But as I kept no dogs, neither degraded nor otherwise, my dogs couldn't have worried the man. And he wasn't on my visiting list anyhow."

"Somewhere," continued Mark, "I put on record that I know the business end of a horse very well, but I never bothered enough about dogs to make sure of their anatomy. Pussy is the animal for me. You remember my adventures in Koernerstrasse No. 7, Berlin. The women took that apartment in Slumland over my head, and lured me to approve of their choice by having two purring cats on the hearth, when I first saw the place. I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course."