Page:What will he do with it.djvu/183

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"and observe that it is all fair? You, too, sir?" to Mr. Williams. The Comedian stood beside the dog, whose movements he directed with undetected skill, while appearing only to fix his eyes on the ground in conscious abasement. Those on the rows from behind now pressed forward; those in advance either came on the stage, or stood up intently contemplating. The Mayor was defeated, the crowd became too thick, and the caresses bestowed on the dog seemed to fatigue him. He rose and retreated to a corner haughtily. "Manners, sir," said the soldier; "it is not for the like of us to be proud; excuse him, ladies and gentlemen. He only wishes to please all," said the child, deprecatingly. "Say how many would you have round us at a time, so that the rest may not be prevented seeing you." She spread the multiplication figures before the dog; the dog put his paw on 10. "Astonishing!" said the Mayor.

"Will you choose them yourself, sir?"

The dog nodded, walked leisurely round, keeping one eye towards the one eye of his master and selected ten persons, amongst whom were the Mayor, Mr. Williams, and three pretty young ladies who had been induced to ascend the stage. The others were chosen no less judiciously.

The dog was then artfully led on from one accomplishment to another, much within the ordinary range which bounds the instruction of learned animals. He was asked to say how many ladies were on the stage: he spelt three. What were their names? "The Graces." Then he was asked who was the first magistrate in the town. The dog made a bow to the Mayor. "What had made that gentleman first magistrate?" The dog looked to the alphabet and spelt "Worth." "Were there any persons present more powerful than the Mayor?" The dog bowed to the three young ladies. "What made them more powerful?" The dog spelt "Beauty." When ended the applause these answers received, the dog went through the musket exercise with the soldier's staff; and as soon as he had performed that, he came to the business part of the exhibition, seized the hat which his master had dropped on the ground, and carried it round to each person on the stage. They looked at one another. "He is a poor soldier's dog," said the child, hiding her face. "No, no; a soldier cannot beg," cried the Comedian. The Mayor dropped a coin in the hat; others did the same or affected to do it. The dog took the hat to his master, who waved him aside. There was a pause. The dog laid the hat softly at the soldier's feet, and looked up at the child beseechingly.