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CHAPTER I. MATRIMONY AND SMOKING COMPARED. The circumstances in which I gave up smoking were these: I was a mere bachelor, drifting toward what I now see to be a tragic middle age. I had become so accustomed to smoke issuing from my mouth that I felt incomplete without it; indeed, the time came when I could refrain from smoking if doing nothing else, but hardly during the hours of toil. To lay aside my pipe was to find myself soon afterward... more...

I. The Balance of Trade in Impressions FOR some years past a rising tide of lecturers and literary men from England has washed upon the shores of our North American continent. The purpose of each one of them is to make a new discovery of America. They come over to us travelling in great simplicity, and they return in the ducal suite of the Aquitania. They carry away with them their impressions of America, and when they reach England they sell... more...

ENTERPRISING PRO-MOTOR.   One of our special correspondents started out to try the effect of taking notes from his motor-car whilst proceeding at top-speed. The experiment took place in June; but we have only just received the following account of the result. "Started away and turned on full head of smell—steam, I mean. Over Southwark Bridge, fizz, kick, bang, rattle! Flew along Old Kent Road; knocked down two policemen on patrol... 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...

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 ONETHE JUDGES OF ENGLAND Mr. Justice Darling, whose witty remarks from the Bench are so much appreciated by his audiences in Court, and, it is rumoured, are not always received with approval by his brother judges, says, in his amusing book Scintillæ Juris: "It is a common error to suppose that our law has no sense of humour, because for the most part the judges who expound it have none." But law is, after all, a serious... more...

PREFATORY NOTE I “If Winter Comes” placed its author not only as a Best Seller, but as one of the Great Novelists of to-day. Not always are those royalties crowned by those laurels. Tarzan (of, if I remember rightly, the Apes) never won the double event. And I am told by superior people that, intellectually, Miss Ethel M. Dell takes the hindmost. Personally, I found “If Winter Comes” a most sympathetic and interesting... more...

HUMOUR OF THE NORTH   THE BLUE NOSE Let the Student of Nature in rapture descant, On the Heaven's cerulean hue; Let the Lover indulge in poetical rant, When the eyes of his Mistress are blue. But fill high your glasses—fill, fill to the brim, I've a different toast to propose: While such eyes, and such skies, still are beaming for him, Here's a health to the jolly Blue Nose. Let the Frenchman delight in his... more...

Burr. Bird.   The Bird and the Burdock. Who is there who has never heard, About the Burdock and the Bird? And yet how very very few, Discriminate between the two, While even Mr. Burbank can't Transform a Bird into a Plant!   The Clover. The Plover.   The Plover and the Clover can be told apart with ease, By paying close attention to the habits of the Bees, For en-to-molo-gists aver, the Bee can be in... more...

HOW TO FAIL IN LITERATURE What should be a man’s or a woman’s reason for taking literature as a vocation, what sort of success ought they to desire, what sort of ambition should possess them?  These are natural questions, now that so many readers exist in the world, all asking for something new, now that so many writers are making their pens “in running to devour the way” over so many acres of foolscap.  The... more...