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A Shrewd Guesser

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A French officer, more remarkable for his birth and spirit than his
wealth, had served the Venetian republic for some years with great valour
and fidelity, but had not met with that preferment which he merited. One
day he waited on a nobleman whom he had often solicited in vain, but on
whose friendship he had still some reliance. The reception he met with was
cool and mortifying; the nobleman turned his back upon the necessitous
veteran, and left him to find his way to the street through a suite of
apartments magnificently furnished. He passed them lost in thought, till,
casting his eyes on a sumptuous sideboard, where a valuable collection of
Venetian glass, polished and formed in the highest degree of perfection,
stood on a damask cloth as a preparation for a splendid entertainment, he
took hold of a corner of the linen, and turning to a faithful English
mastiff which always accompanied him, said to the animal, in a kind of
absence of mind, "Here, my poor old friend; you see how these haughty
tyrants indulge themselves, and yet how we are treated!" The poor dog
looked his master in the face, and gave tokens that he understood him. The
master walked on, but the mastiff slackened his pace, and laying hold of
the damask cloth with his teeth, at one hearty pull brought all the glass
on the sideboard in shivers to the ground, thus depriving the insolent
noble of his favourite exhibition of splendour.





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