"As I was crossing the Place St. Sulpice, at Paris, I saw a large crowd collected in a circle of considerable diameter round a man who was exhibiting tricks with dogs. He had a great variety. Six were yoked in pairs to a light carriage. On the roof sat a terrier dressed up most fantastically, and who with difficulty retained his elevated position when the carriage was in motion. Two others,--one an extremely small animal, called the 'petit Caporal,'--were favoured with places in the interior. There were, also, two slight greyhounds and a Russian [see Rare..., The American Book of the Dog (1891)] poodle. Total, a dozen. It may be worthy of note that all--with, I believe only one exception--were of the masculine gender. They were miserably thin, but I must admit that they appeared attached to their master.
"When I joined the group, the showman was making a dog, dressed in a petticoat and smart cap, dance a minuet. Then a greyhound leaped, of course gracefully, through a hoop held by a boy over his head; and afterwards trotted, as ungracefully, on three legs, affecting extreme lameness on each alternately. The man then promised numerous surprising feats if he could but collect as many as twelve sous. On summing up the coppers thrown to hm, there appeared to be thirteen. This he averred to be such an unlucky number that he dare not proceed unless some benevolent, Christian-like person would break the charm by adding another sou. His demand was immediately complied with. In order to increase the size of the arena--at least, such I conceived to be the reason, it certainly had the effect--he drove the car fast round the circle. He then spread...an old cloth, about five feet long, and of nearly the same width....[and] producing two similar packs of common playing cards (say a dozen in each), he bade the Russian come forth and astonish the public. The man distributed one pack along the borders of the cloth and handing round the other pack, he begged as many of the company as pleased to take a card. Five or six did so. The man then showed what cards remained in his hands to the poodle, desiring him to point out those that had been taken. The dog walked round and round the cloth, and one by one fetched the corresponding cards.
"The showman still more astonished the gaping crowd by assuring them that this dog's intellect was so extraordinary and wonderful, that he could read their most secret thoughts; and to prove the truth of his assertion, whilst telling a good-humored fiacre-driver, well known to many of them, to think of a card, he successfully forced [deceptive procedure] one upon his sight; and after coachee had, agreeably to the showman's desire, whispered to a neighbor what it was, the dog, without taking much time for reflection, selected the true card from among those lying on the cloth.
"The expressions of admiration and bewilderment this feat elicited having somewhat subsided, the showman again laid out those cards on which the numbers were written. There was a large public clock easily visible from the Place; he held the dog's head towards it; requested him to look at it attentively, and tell the gentlemen and ladies the exact time,--first the hours, then the minutes. It was a quarter past two. The dog brought 2 for the hours, and then 1 and 5 for the minutes.
"Having now sufficiently worked upon the imagination and credulity of the observers, the showman drew forth a quantity of small folded papers of various colours; and having spread them along the edges of the cloth, he colemnly protested that the dog would tell the fortune of any of his hearers who would first give him a sou. As a guarantee for the dog's ability, he told them they might compare the several fortunes written on the papers selected for them by the dog, however numerous they might be, when it would be found that, without a single exception, the canine magician would have foretold to each what could only happen to an individual of his or her sex. The charlatan reaped a plentiful harvest, for the temptation was strong--to female curiosity especially; and no one could prove that the dog was ever in error."
Next, Hutchinson played dominoes with one of the showman's dogs, in order to observe his methods closely, and "Although I was now close to the showman, I could not remark that he gave the least signal by look, or by motion of hand or foot, but I fancied...that I heard him make a slight chuckling sound (with his tongue against the roof of his mouth), whilst the dog was walking round from domino to domino, which ceased when he approached the right domino, leaving the man at liberty to jest and talk nonsense for the amusement of the crowd. He had evidently a long string of ready-prepared witticisms. He laughed at the dog for being so long in making up his mind as to what it would be most judicious to play--told him that he had been so hospitably treated by the good Parisians, that it was evident that his brains were not so clear as they ought to be, etc. etc.: all which verbiage I suspect the dog took as a confirmation that he was making the selection his master wished."
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