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Dick Sand by Jules Verne

Having remarked what fine hearing Munito had


"And then this dog?"

"This dog would have belonged to him; and, more fortunate than its master, if my hypothesis is true, it would have been able to return to the Congo coast, because it was there, at the time when these events must have taken place, that it was picked up by the captain of the 'Waldeck.'"

"But," observed Mrs. Weldon, "do you know if this French traveler was accompanied on his departure by a dog? Is it not a mere supposition on your part?"

"It is only a supposition, indeed, Mrs. Weldon," replied Captain Hull. "But what is certain is, that Dingo knows these two letters S and V, which are precisely the initials of the two names of the French traveler. Now, under what circumstances this animal would learn to distinguish them is what I cannot explain; but, I repeat it, it very certainly knows them; and look, it pushes them with its paw, and seems to invite us to read them with it."

In fact, they could not misunderstand Dingo's intention.

"Then was Samuel Vernon alone when he left the sea-coast of the Congo?" ask Dick Sand.

"That I know not," replied Captain Hull. "However, it is probable that he would take a native escort."

At that moment Negoro, leaving his post, showed himself on the deck. At first no one remarked his presence, and could not observe the singular look he cast on the dog when he perceived the two letters over which the animal seem to mount guard. But Dingo, having perceived the master-cook, began to show signs of the most extreme fury.

Negoro returned immediately to the crew's quarters, not without a menacing gesture at the dog's skill having escaped him.

"There is some mystery there," murmured Captain Hull, who had lost none of this little scene.

"But, sir," said the novice, "is it not very astonishing that a dog should know the letters of the alphabet?"

"No!" cried little Jack. "Mama has often told me the story of a dog which knew how to read and write, and even play dominoes, like a real schoolmaster!"

"My dear child," replied Mrs. Weldon, smiling, "that dog, whose name was Munito, was not a savant, as you suppose. If I may believe what has been told me about it, Munito would not have been able to distinguish the letters which served to compose the words. But its master, a clever American, having remarked what fine hearing Munito had, applied himself to cultivating that sense, and to draw from it some very curious effects."

"How did he set to work, Mrs. Weldon?" asked Dick Sand, whom the history interested almost as much as little Jack.

"In this way, my friend." When Munito was 'to appear' before the public, letters similar to these were displayed on a table. On that table the poodle walked about, waiting till a word was proposed, whether in a loud voice or in a low voice. Only, one essential condition was that its master should know the word."


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