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5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES. (continued)
There she goes, now, gazing rapturously at her own toes and murmuring "pittie"--two-foot-ten of conceit and vanity, to say nothing of other wickednesses.
They are all alike. I remember sitting in a garden one sunny afternoon in the suburbs of London. Suddenly I heard a shrill treble voice calling from a top-story window to some unseen being, presumably in one of the other gardens, "Gamma, me dood boy, me wery good boy, gamma; me dot on Bob's knickiebockies."
Why, even animals are vain. I saw a great Newfoundland dog the other day sitting in front of a mirror at the entrance to a shop in Regent's Circus, and examining himself with an amount of smug satisfaction that I have never seen equaled elsewhere outside a vestry meeting.
I was at a farm-house once when some high holiday was being celebrated. I don't remember what the occasion was, but it was something festive, a May Day or Quarter Day, or something of that sort, and they put a garland of flowers round the head of one of the cows. Well, that absurd quadruped went about all day as perky as a schoolgirl in a new frock; and when they took the wreath off she became quite sulky, and they had to put it on again before she would stand still to be milked. This is not a Percy anecdote. It is plain, sober truth.
As for cats, they nearly equal human beings for vanity. I have known a cat get up and walk out of the room on a remark derogatory to her species being made by a visitor, while a neatly turned compliment will set them purring for an hour.
I do like cats. They are so unconsciously amusing. There is such a comic dignity about them, such a "How dare you!" "Go away, don't touch me" sort of air. Now, there is nothing haughty about a dog. They are "Hail, fellow, well met" with every Tom, Dick, or Harry that they come across. When I meet a dog of my acquaintance I slap his head, call him opprobrious epithets, and roll him over on his back; and there he lies, gaping at me, and doesn't mind it a bit.
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