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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...

It's a long lane that has no ashbarrel.   Distilled waters run deep. ABSINTHE From two Latin words, ad, and sinistrum, meaning "to the bad." If in doubt, try one. (Old adage, "Absinthe makes the jag last longer)." ABSTINENCE   From the Persian ab, water, and stein, or tankard. Hence, water-tankard, or "water wagon." ACCESSION A beheading process by which you may either win or lose a political job. Old... more...

THE PLEASANTRIES OF COGIA NASR EDDIN EFENDI ‘A breeze, which pleasant stories bears,Relicks of long departed years.’ The story goes, one of the stories of a hundred, that Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi one day ascending into the pulpit to preach, said, ‘O believers, do ye not know what I am going to say to you?’  The congregation answered, ‘Dear Cogia Efendi, we do not know.’  Then said the Cogia,... more...

CHAPTER I. THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. It was a beautiful evening at the close of a warm, luscious day in old Spain. It was such an evening as one would select for trysting purposes. The honeysuckle gave out the sweet announcement of its arrival on the summer breeze, and the bulbul sang in the dark vistas of olive-trees,—sang of his love and his hope, and of the victory he anticipated in the morrow's bulbul-fight, and the plaudits of the... 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...


CHAPTER I I met Renniker the other day at the club. He is a man who knows everything—from the method of trimming a puppy's tail for a dog-show, without being disqualified, to the innermost workings of the mind of every European potentate. If I want information on any subject under heaven I ask Renniker. "Can you tell me," said I, "the most God-forsaken spot in England?" Renniker, being in a flippant mood, mentioned a fashionable... more...

Biographical Edgar Wilson Nye was whole-souled, big-hearted and genial. Those who knew him lost sight of the humorist in the wholesome friend. He was born August 25, 1850, in Shirley, Piscataquis County, Maine. Poverty of resources drove the family to St. Croix Valley, Wisconsin, where they hoped to be able to live under conditions less severe. After receiving a meager schooling, he entered a lawyer's office, where most of his work consisted in... more...

BURLESQUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Two or three persons having at different times intimated that if I would write an autobiography they would read it, when they got leisure, I yield at last to this frenzied public demand, and herewith tender my history: Ours is a noble old house, and stretches a long way back into antiquity. The earliest ancestor the Twains have any record of was a friend of the family by the name of Higgins. This was in the eleventh... more...

CHAPTER I Once upon a time, more years ago than anybody can remember, before the first hotel had been built or the first Englishman had taken a photograph of Mont Blanc and brought it home to be pasted in an album and shown after tea to his envious friends, Switzerland belonged to the Emperor of Austria, to do what he liked with. One of the first things the Emperor did was to send his friend Hermann Gessler to govern the country. Gessler was... 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...