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[66]

Chapter 9: the new spelling-book

It is said that a certain literary household was rather taken by surprise the other day at the statement of a perhaps over-vehement brother author, to the effect that “only half-baked prigs” now use the full forms of verbal expressions-such as “I do not,” “Have we not,” and the like. All reasonable persons, according to this authority, say “don't” and “haven't,” and the press should follow the practice. To this anecdote the husband is said meekly to have remarked that he frequently used these phrases, although he had certainly lived long enough to be a thoroughly baked prig, if a prig at all. “Oh no,” said his sympathetic spouse, herself a writer, “you don't use those phrases; at least I do not think you do.” She thus, with feminine fidelity, established herself, without knowing it, in the same category of prigs with her husband. She too,

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