Page:What will he do with it.djvu/173

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estimated; and there was even a philosophical Academy called the Cynic,—that is, Doggish, or Dog-school, of which Diogenes was the most eminent professor. He, you know, went about with a lantern looking for an honest man, and could not find one! Why? Because the Society of Dogs had raised his standard of human honesty to an impracticable height. But I weary you; otherwise I could lecture on in this way for the hour together, if you think the Gatesboro' operatives prefer erudition to amusement."

"A great scholar," whispered Mr. Williams.—Aloud: "and I've nothing to say against your precedents, sir. I think you have made out that part of the case. But, after all, a learned dog is not so very uncommon as to be in itself the striking attraction which you appear to suppose."

"It is not the mere learning of my dog of which I boast," replied the Comedian. "Dogs may be learned, and men too; but it is the way that learning is imparted, whether by dog or man, for the edification of the masses, in order, as Pope expresses himself, 'to raise the genius and to mend the heart' that alone adorns the possessor, exalts the species, interests the public, and commands the respect of such judges as I see before me." The grand bow.

"Ah!" said Mr. Williams, hesitatingly, "sentiments that do honour to your head and heart; and if we could, in the first instance, just see the dog privately."

"'Nothing easier!" said the Comedian. "Will you do me the honour to meet him at tea this evening?"

"Rather will you not come and take tea at my house?" said the Mayor, with a shy glance towards Mr. Williams.

THE COMEDIAN.—"You are very kind; but my time is so occupied that I have long since made it a rule to decline all private invitations out of my own home. At my years, Mr. Mayor, one may be excused for taking leave of society and its forms; but you are comparatively young men. I presume on the authority of these gray hairs, and I shall expect you this evening,—say at nine o'clock." The Actor waved his hand graciously and withdrew.

"A scholar AND a gentleman," said Williams, emphatically. And the Mayor, thus authorized to allow vent to his kindly heart, added, "A humourist, and a pleasant one. Perhaps he is right, and our poor operatives would thank us more for a little innocent amusement than for those lectures, which they may be excused for thinking rather dull, since even you fell asleep when Professor Long got into the multilocular shell of the very