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a web of many textures

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What is the meaning of `scratched gneiss'?” said
Ike, stopping in the perusal of Dr. Kane's work, as his
eye was attracted by a picture of a rock thus indicated.
The old lady had listened to some passages of the book,
which he had read to her, with tearful interest. “It
must be,” said she, after a few moments' reflection,
“where they scratched 'em in climbing up over the


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rocks.” — “Scratched what?” cried Ike, interrupting
her. — “Their knees,” replied she. — “Who said knees?”
responded he, saucily; “I said gneiss — g-n-e-i-s-s —
what 's that?” — “I guess it means knees,” said she;
“the printer has spelt it wrong. It is strange what
queer arrows they do make in printing. They were in
their bare skins, you know, and got their knees scratched.
How cold they must have been, to be sure!” Ike turned
to the picture of Accomodah, and asked her if he was
in his bare skin, emphasizing the word “bare;” and
asked her, too, if she had lived so long in the world and
did n't know the difference between a bare skin and a
bear skin. What knowledge the youngster evinced!
He could show his grandmother how to suck eggs! Mrs.
Partington looked gravely at him. “I could know very
easily what a bare skin was,” said she, “if I was to
treat you as you deserve, for your misrespect.” Ike
seemed penitent, and she gave him a three-cent piece
to save till he got enough to put into the Five-Cent
Savings Bank.