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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...

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...

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...

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...


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...

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. Some eighteen months ago I took this brilliant bunch of brain burrs to my esteemed Publisher and with much enthusiasm invited him to spend a lot of money thereon. The Main Stem in the Works informed me that he had his fingers on the public pulse and just as soon as that pulse began to jump and yell for something from my fiery pen he would throw the Silly Syclopedia at it. Then he placed my MS. in the forward turret of his... 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...

Dere Mable Love Letters of a Rookie Dere Mable: I guess you thought I was dead. Youll never know how near you was to right. We got the tents up at last, though, so I got a minit to rite. I guess they choose these camps by mail order. The only place there flat is on the map. Where our tents is would make a good place for a Rocky Mountin goat if he didnt break his neck. The first day the Captin came out an says "Pitch your tents here." Then he... more...