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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...

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...

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...

The Author of this little work cannot allow a second edition of it to go forth to the world, unaccompanied by a few words of apology, he being desirous of imitating, in every respect, the example of distinguished writers. He begs that so much as the consciousness of being answerable for a great deal of nonsense, usually prompts a man to say, in the hope of disarming criticism, may be considered to have been said already. But he particularly... 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...

(The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all... more...

SHE emerges from the shop. She is any woman, and the shop from which she emerges is any shop in any town. She has been shopping. This does not imply that she has been buying anything or that she has contemplated buying anything, but merely that she has been shopping—a very different pursuit from buying. Buying implies business for the shop; shopping merely implies business for the clerks. As stated, she emerges. In the doorway she runs... 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...

FOREWORD Having recently passed into what my great-grandson Shem calls my Anecdotage, it has occurred to me that perhaps some of the recollections of a more or less extended existence upon this globular mass of dust and water that we are pleased to call the earth, may prove of interest to posterity, and I have accordingly, at the earnest solicitation of my grandson, Noah, and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, consented to put them into permanent... more...