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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...

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 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 PLEA FOR HUMOR More than half a dozen years have passed since Mr. Andrew Lang, startled for once out of his customary light-heartedness, asked himself, and his readers, and the ghost of Charles Dickens—all three powerless to answer—whether the dismal seriousness of the present day was going to last forever; or whether, when the great wave of earnestness had rippled over our heads, we would pluck up heart to be merry and, if needs... 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...


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...

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...

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...

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...