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[219] “Them's the jockeys for me.” After that the case was hopeless; he had betrayed himself in five words. Of course the speaker might still have been a saint or a hero at heart, but so far as it went the test was conclusive. In Howells's Lady of the Aroostook the young men were appalled at hearing the only young lady on board remark, as an expression of surprise, that she “wanted to know.” It pointed unerringly, they thought, to a rusticity of breeding. In time she developed other qualities, and one or both of them fell in love with her; nevertheless, there was a certain justice in their inference. Holmes, varying an old line, says that “the woman who calculates is lost” ; and it is undoubtedly true that we classify a new-comer, without delay, by his language.

What we do not always recognize is that there are grades in this classification. If a stranger begins by saying, “We was” or “He done it,” we assign him a low place in the school-room of education. He may be a member of Congress, a college professor; no matter; the inference is the same. His morals, his natural intellect, may rank him far above our heads, yet on the side of refined training there is something to be missed. But a great many persons who would be far from any

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William Dean Howells (1)
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