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INTRODUCTION "Marriage is not an institution of nature. The family in the east is entirely different from the family in the west. Man is the servant of nature, and the institutions of society are grafts, not spontaneous growths of nature. Laws are made to suit manners, and manners vary. "Marriage must therefore undergo the gradual development towards perfection to which all human affairs submit." These words, pronounced in the presence 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...

PART I. A Sublime Elopement IT WAS clearly a runaway match—never indeed was such a sublime elopement. The four horses were coal-black, with blood-red manes and tails; and they were shod with rubies. They were harnessed to a basaltic car by a single rein of flame. Waving his double-pronged trident in the air, the god struck the blue breast of Cyane, and the waters instantly parted. In rushed the wild chariot, the pale and insensible... more...

PREFACE. The design of the projector of this volume was, that it should contain the Best of the shorter humorous poems in the literatures of England and the United States, except: Poems so local or cotemporary in subject or allusion, as not to be readily understood by the modern American reader; Poems which, from the freedom of expression allowed in the healthy ages, can not now be read aloud in a company of men and women; Poems that have... more...

II—HOW TO OPEN A CONVERSATION After the ceremony of introduction is completed the next thing to consider is the proper way to open a conversation. The beginning of conversation is really the hardest part. It is the social equivalent to "going over the top." It may best be studied in the setting and surroundings of the Evening Reception, where people stand upright and agonise, balancing a dish of ice-cream. Here conversation reaches its... more...


"Why, how d'do, Mrs. Miggs? Come right on in. Ma's jist run over t' Smith's a minute t' borruh some thread and some m'lasses and a couple uh aigs. Aw! yes, come on—she'll be right back. Let's see: S'pose we set on th' sofa and I'll show yuh th' album, so's yuh'll kinda begin t' know some of our folks. We like t' be real neighborly and make new folks feel t' home. There! now we're fixed. "This here first one's ma when she was little. Ain't... more...

AFTER A ROUGH PASSAGE, BROWN, JONES, AND ROBINSON ARE HERE SEEN LANDED AT OSTEND, SURROUNDED, AND A LITTLE BEWILDERED, BY THE NATIVES, WHO OVERWHELM THEM WITH ATTENTIONS—SEIZE THE LUGGAGE, THRUST CARDS INTO THEIR HANDS, DRAG THEM IN SEVERAL DIRECTIONS AT ONCE, ALL TALKING TOGETHER (WHICH PREVENTED THEIR DIRECTIONS BEING SO CLEAR AS THEY OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN)—AND, FINALLY, ALL EXPECTING MONEY!   THEY ARE AT THE DOUANE,... 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...

CHAPTER I. THE ALBUM—THE MEDITERRANEAN HEATH. Travelling some little time back in a wild part of Connemara, where I had been for fishing and seal-shooting, I had the good luck to get admission to the chateau of a hospitable Irish gentleman, and to procure some news of my once dear Ottilia. Yes, of no other than Ottilia v. Schlippenschlopp, the Muse of Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel, the friendly little town far away in Sachsenland,—where... more...

INTRODUCTORY The word Caricature does not lend itself easily to precise definition. Etymologically it connects itself with the Italian caricare, to load or charge, thus corresponding precisely in derivation with its French equivalent Charge; and—save a yet earlier reference in Sir Thomas Browne—it first appears, as far as I am aware, in that phrase of No. 537 of the Spectator, "Those burlesque pictures which the Italians call... more...