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BEST SHORT STORIES THE POINT OF HONOR A young lieutenant was passed by a private, who failed to salute. The lieutenant called him back, and said sternly: "You did not salute me. For this you will immediately salute two hundred times." At this moment the General came up. "What's all this?" he exclaimed, seeing the poor private about to begin. The lieutenant explained. "This ignoramus failed to salute me, and as a punishment, I am making him... more...

PREFACE. The Compiler of this new Jest Book is desirous to make known that it is composed mainly of old jokes,—some older than Joe Miller himself,—with a liberal sprinkling of new jests gathered from books and hearsay. In the course of his researches he has been surprised to find how many Jests, Impromptus, and Repartees have passed current, century after century, until their original utterer is lost in the "mist of ages"; a Good... more...

ON THE POSSESSION OF A SENSE OF HUMOR "Man," says Hazlitt, "is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be." The sources, then, of laughter and tears come very close together. At the difference between things as they are and as they ought to be we laugh, or we weep; it would depend, it seems, on the point of view, or the temperament. And if,... more...

Title Pageillustration The kisses of an enemy are deceitful, but not as deceitful as the advice of the friend who is always counseling you for your own good.illustration The best and the worst in man respond only to woman’s touch—unfortunately for man.illustration Men reason; women do not. Woman has no logic, and judging from the use it is to man, is better off without it.illustration The present arrangement of society... more...

PREFACE The ways of telling a story are as many as the tellers themselves. It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which any one may perfect himself in the art, but it is possible to offer suggestions by which to guide practise in narration toward a gratifying success. Broadly distinguished, there are two methods of telling a story. One uses the extreme of brevity, and makes its chief reliance on the point. The other devotes itself in... more...


A ADAM(1) (last name unknown), ancestor, explorer, gardener, and inaugurator of history. Biographers differ as to his parentage. Born first Saturday of year 1. Little is known of his childhood. Education: Self-educated. Entered the gardening and orchard business when a young man. Was a strong anti-polygamist. Married Eve, a close relative. Children, Cain and Abel (see them). Was prosperous for some years, but eventually fell prey to his wife's... more...

Trust no prayer or promise,Words are grains of sand;To keep your heart unbrokenHold your child in hand. "Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!!" "Al-f-u-r-d!!!" The last syllable, drawn out the length of an expiring breath, was the first sound recorded on the memory of the First Born. Indeed, constant repetition of the word, day to day, so filled his brain cells with "Al-f-u-r-d" that it was years after he realized his given patronymic was Alfred.... more...

ABOUT HELL.   An item is going the rounds of the papers, to illustrate how large the sun is, and how hot it is, which asserts that if an icicle a million miles long, and a hundred thousand miles through, should be thrust into one of the burning cavities of the sun, it would be melted in the hundredth part of a second, and that it would not cause as much “sissing” as a drop of water on a hot griddle. By this comparison we can... more...

VOLUME 1GROTESQUE SKETCHES       VOLUME 1GROTESQUE SKETCHES   INDEX TO ALL 16 VOLUMES            

THEPIRATE'S POCKET BOOK This book you hold in your hand belonged once to a very celebrated Pirate. He was so celebrated that the newspapers—of that time—always said nice things about him, and always knew what he was doing before he did himself. As he was a very truthful man, he did the things, so that the editors might not get into trouble. Which was kind. By which I do not mean that he was always kind.   Map of Tomb's... more...