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Cabot Martingale, a Boston Brahmin of the staunchest sort, had, as it happened, never seen or even read any play of Shakespeare. When this came out his friends were appalled and one of them brought the complete works of the great man to Cabot.

"You simply must read this," said he.

Weeks later the two met again. The friend said, "Well, Martingale, have you read any of Shakespeare?"

"Every word," replied the Brahmin. "Every word."

"And what did you think of him?"

"Why, extraordinary; simply extraordinary. "His ability with the language was almost beyond belief. I truly don't believe there are twenty men in Boston who could equal him ..."

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In simplest terms, a Brahmin, used in this sense, signifies someone from an established Boston family, thereby possessing an impeccible pedigree, who believes uncompromisingly in the superiority of the Boston way and Bostonians generally, especially those of the same class.