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Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce

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The Crew of the Life-boat

THE Gallant Crew at a life-saving station were about to launch
their life-boat for a spin along the coast when they discovered,
but a little distance away, a capsized vessel with a dozen men
clinging to her keel.

"We are fortunate," said the Gallant Crew, "to have seen that in
time. Our fate might have been the same as theirs."

So they hauled the life-boat back into its house, and were spared
to the service of their country.

A Treaty of Peace

THROUGH massacres of each other's citizens China and the United
States had been four times plunged into devastating wars, when, in
the year 1994, arose a Philosopher in Madagascar, who laid before
the Governments of the two distracted countries the following MODUS

"Massacres are to be sternly forbidden as heretofore; but any
citizen or subject of either country disobeying the injunction is
to detach the scalps of all persons massacred and deposit them with
a local officer designated to receive and preserve them and sworn
to keep and render a true account thereof. At the conclusion of
each massacre in either country, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, or at stated regular periods, as may be provided by
treaty, there shall be an exchange of scalps between the two
Governments, scalp for scalp, without regard to sex or age; the
Government having the greatest number is to be taxed on the excess
at the rate of $1000 a scalp, and the other Government credited
with the amount. Once in every decade there shall be a general
settlement, when the balance due shall be paid to the creditor
nation in Mexican dollars."

The plan was adopted, the necessary treaty made, with legislation
to carry out its provisions; the Madagascarene Philosopher took his
seat in the Temple of Immortality, and Peace spread her white wings
over the two nations, to the unspeakable defiling of her plumage.

The Nightside of Character

A GIFTED and Honourable Editor, who by practice of his profession
had acquired wealth and distinction, applied to an Old Friend for
the hand of his daughter in marriage.

"With all my heart, and God bless you!" said the Old Friend,
grasping him by both hands. "It is a greater honour than I had
dared to hope for."

"I knew what your answer would be," replied the Gifted and
Honourable Editor. "And yet," he added, with a sly smile, "I feel
that I ought to give you as much knowledge of my character as I
possess. In this scrap-book is such testimony relating to my shady
side, as I have within the past ten years been able to cut from the
columns of my competitors in the business of elevating humanity to
a higher plane of mind and morals - my 'loathsome contemporaries.'"

Laying the book on a table, he withdrew in high spirits to make
arrangements for the wedding. Three days later he received the
scrap-book from a messenger, with a note warning him never again to
darken his Old Friend's door.

"See!" the Gifted and Honourable Editor exclaimed, pointing to that
injunction - "I am a painter and grainer!"

And he was led away to the Asylum for the Indiscreet.

The Faithful Cashier

THE Cashier of a bank having defaulted was asked by the Directors
what he had done with the money taken.

"I am greatly surprised by such a question," said the Cashier; "it
sounds as if you suspected me of selfishness. Gentlemen, I applied
that money to the purpose for which I took it; I paid it as an
initiation fee and one year's dues in advance to the Treasurer of
the Cashiers' Mutual Defence Association."

"What is the object of that organisation?" the Directors inquired.

"When any one of its members is under suspicion," replied the
Cashier, "the Association undertakes to clear his character by
submitting evidence that he was never a prominent member of any
church, nor foremost in Sunday-school work."

Recognising the value to the bank of a spotless reputation for its
officers, the President drew his check for the amount of the
shortage and the Cashier was restored to favour.

The Circular Clew

A DETECTIVE searching for the murderer of a dead man was accosted
by a Clew.

"Follow me," said the Clew, "and there's no knowing what you may

So the Detective followed the Clew a whole year through a thousand
sinuosities, and at last found himself in the office of the Morgue.

"There!" said the Clew, pointing to the open register.

The Detective eagerly scanned the page, and found an official
statement that the deceased was dead. Thereupon he hastened to
Police Headquarters to report progress. The Clew, meanwhile,
sauntered among the busy haunts of men, arm in arm with an
Ingenious Theory."

The Devoted Widow

A WIDOW weeping on her husband's grave was approached by an
Engaging Gentleman who, in a respectful manner, assured her that he
had long entertained for her the most tender feelings.

"Wretch!" cried the Widow. "Leave me this instant! Is this a time
to talk to me of love?"

"I assure you, madam, that I had not intended to disclose my
affection," the Engaging Gentleman humbly explained, "but the power
of your beauty has overcome my discretion."

"You should see me when I have not been crying," said the Widow.

The Hardy Patriots

A DISPENSER-ELECT of Patronage gave notice through the newspapers
that applicants for places would be given none until he should
assume the duties of his office.

"You are exposing yourself to a grave danger," said a Lawyer.

"How so?" the Dispenser-Elect inquired.

"It will be nearly two months," the Lawyer answered, "before the
day that you mention. Few patriots can live so long without
eating, and some of the applicants will be compelled to go to work
in the meantime. If that kills them, you will be liable to
prosecution for murder."

"You underrate their powers of endurance," the official replied.

"What!" said the Lawyer, "you think they can stand work?"

"No," said the other - "hunger."

The Humble Peasant

AN Office Seeker whom the President had ordered out of Washington
was watering the homeward highway with his tears.

"Ah," he said, "how disastrous is ambition! how unsatisfying its
rewards! how terrible its disappointments! Behold yonder peasant
tilling his field in peace and contentment! He rises with the
lark, passes the day in wholesome toil, and lies down at night to
pleasant dreams. In the mad struggle for place and power he has no
part; the roar of the strife reaches his ear like the distant
murmur of the ocean. Happy, thrice happy man! I will approach him
and bask in the sunshine of his humble felicity. Peasant, all

Leaning upon his rake, the Peasant returned the salutation with a
nod, but said nothing.

"My friend," said the Office Seeker, "you see before you the wreck
of an ambitious man - ruined by the pursuit of place and power.
This morning when I set out from the national capital - "

"Stranger," the Peasant interrupted, "if you're going back there
soon maybe you wouldn't mind using your influence to make me
Postmaster at Smith's Corners."

The traveller passed on.

The Various Delegation

THE King of Wideout having been offered the sovereignty of Wayoff,
sent for the Three Persons who had made the offer, and said to

"I am extremely obliged to you, but before accepting so great a
responsibility I must ascertain the sentiments of the people of

"Sire," said the Spokesman of the Three Persons, "they stand before

"Indeed!" said the King; "are you, then, the people of Wayoff?"

"Yes, your Majesty."

"There are not many of you," the King said, attentively regarding
them with the royal eye, "and you are not so very large; I hardly
think you are a quorum. Moreover, I never heard of you until you
came here; whereas Wayoff is noted for the quality of its pork and
contains hogs of distinction. I shall send a Commissioner to
ascertain the sentiments of the hogs."

The Three Persons, bowing profoundly, backed out of the presence;
but soon afterward they desired another audience, and, on being
readmitted, said, through their Spokesman:

"May it please your Majesty, we are the hogs."

The No Case

A STATESMAN who had been indicted by an unfeeling Grand Jury was
arrested by a Sheriff and thrown into jail. As this was abhorrent
to his fine spiritual nature, he sent for the District Attorney and
asked that the case against him be dismissed.

"Upon what grounds?" asked the District Attorney.

"Lack of evidence to convict," replied the accused.

"Do you happen to have the lack with you?" the official asked. "I
should like to see it."

"With pleasure," said the other; "here it is."

So saying he handed the other a check, which the District Attorney
carefully examined, and then pronounced it the most complete
absence of both proof and presumption that he had ever seen. He
said it would acquit the oldest man in the world.

A Harmless Visitor

AT a meeting of the Golden League of Mystery a Woman was
discovered, writing in a note-book. A member directed the
attention of the Superb High Chairman to her, and she was asked to
explain her presence there, and what she was doing.

"I came in for my own pleasure and instruction," she said, "and was
so struck by the wisdom of the speakers that I could not help
making a few notes."

"Madam," said the Superb High Chairman, "we have no objection to
visitors if they will pledge themselves not to publish anything
they hear. Are you - on your honour as a lady, now, madam - are
you not connected with some newspaper?"

"Good gracious, no!" cried the Woman, earnestly. "Why, sir, I am
an officer of the Women's Press Association!"

She was permitted to remain, and presented with resolutions of

The Judge and the Rash Act

A JUDGE who had for years looked in vain for an opportunity for
infamous distinction, but whom no litigant thought worth bribing,
sat one day upon the Bench, lamenting his hard lot, and threatening
to put an end to his life if business did not improve. Suddenly he
found himself confronted by a dreadful figure clad in a shroud,
whose pallor and stony eyes smote him with a horrible apprehension.

"Who are you," he faltered, "and why do you come here?"

"I am the Rash Act," was the sepulchral reply; "you may commit me."

"No," the judge said, thoughtfully, "no, that would be quite
irregular. I do not sit to-day as a committing magistrate."

The Prerogative of Might

A SLANDER travelling rapidly through the land upon its joyous
mission was accosted by a Retraction and commanded to halt and be

"Your career of mischief is at an end," said the Retraction,
drawing his club, rolling up his sleeves, and spitting on his

"Why should you slay me?" protested the Slander. "Whatever my
intentions were, I have been innocuous, for you have dogged my
strides and counteracted my influence."

"Dogged your grandmother!" said the Retraction, with contemptuous
vulgarity of speech. "In the order of nature it is appointed that
we two shall never travel the same road."

"How then," the Slander asked, triumphantly, "have you overtaken

"I have not," replied the Retraction; "we have accidentally met. I
came round the world the other way."

But when he tried to execute his fell purpose he found that in the
order of nature it was appointed that he himself perish miserably
in the encounter.

An Inflated Ambition

THE President of a great Corporation went into a dry-goods shop and
saw a placard which read:

"If You Don't See What You Want, Ask For It."

Approaching the shopkeeper, who had been narrowly observing him as
he read the placard, he was about to speak, when the shopkeeper
called to a salesman:

"John, show this gentleman the world."

Rejected Services

A HEAVY Operator overtaken by a Reverse of Fortune was bewailing
his sudden fall from affluence to indigence.

"Do not weep," said the Reverse of Fortune. "You need not suffer
alone. Name any one of the men who have opposed your schemes, and
I will overtake HIM."

"It is hardly worth while," said the victim, earnestly. "Not a
soul of them has a cent!"

The Power of the Scalawag

A FORESTRY Commissioner had just felled a giant tree when, seeing
an honest man approaching, he dropped his axe and fled. The next
day when he cautiously returned to get his axe, he found the
following lines pencilled on the stump:

"What nature reared by centuries of toil,
A scalawag in half a day can spoil;
An equal fate for him may Heaven provide -
Damned in the moment of his tallest pride."

At Large - One Temper

A TURBULENT Person was brought before a Judge to be tried for an
assault with intent to commit murder, and it was proved that he had
been variously obstreperous without apparent provocation, had
affected the peripheries of several luckless fellow-citizens with
the trunk of a small tree, and subsequently cleaned out the town.
While trying to palliate these misdeeds, the defendant's Attorney
turned suddenly to the Judge, saying:

"Did your Honour ever lose your temper?"

"I fine you twenty-five dollars for contempt of court!" roared the
Judge, in wrath. "How dare you mention the loss of my temper in
connection with this case?"

After a moment's silence the Attorney said, meekly:

"I thought my client might perhaps have found it."

The Seeker and the Sought

A POLITICIAN seeing a fat Turkey which he wanted for dinner, baited
a hook with a grain of corn and dragged it before the fowl at the
end of a long and almost invisible line. When the Turkey had
swallowed the hook, the Politician ran, drawing the creature after

"Fellow-citizens," he cried, addressing some turkey-breeders whom
he met, "you observe that the man does not seek the bird, but the
bird seeks the man. For this unsolicited and unexpected dinner I
thank you with all my heart."

His Fly-Speck Majesty

A DISTINGUISHED Advocate of Republican Institutions was seen
pickling his shins in the ocean.

"Why don't you come out on dry land?" said the Spectator. "What
are you in there for?"

"Sir," replied the Distinguished Advocate of Republican
Institutions, "a ship is expected, bearing His Majesty the King of
the Fly-Speck Islands, and I wish to be the first to grasp the
crowned hand."

"But," said the Spectator, "you said in your famous speech before
the Society for the Prevention of the Protrusion of Nail Heads from
Plank Sidewalks that Kings were blood-smeared oppressors and hell-
bound loafers."

"My dear sir," said the Distinguished Advocate of Republican
Institutions, without removing his eyes from the horizon, "you
wander away into the strangest irrelevancies! I spoke of Kings in
the abstract."

The Pugilist's Diet

THE Trainer of a Pugilist consulted a Physician regarding the
champion's diet.

"Beef-steaks are too tender," said the Physician; "have his meat
cut from the neck of a bull."

"I thought the steaks more digestible," the Trainer explained.

"That is very true," said the Physician; "but they do not
sufficiently exercise the chin."

The Old Man and the Pupil

A BEAUTIFUL Old Man, meeting a Sunday-school Pupil, laid his hand
tenderly upon the lad's head, saying: "Listen, my son, to the words
of the wise and heed the advice of the righteous."

"All right," said the Sunday-school Pupil; "go ahead."

"Oh, I haven't anything to do with it myself," said the Beautiful
Old Man. "I am only observing one of the customs of the age. I am
a pirate."

And when he had taken his hand from the lad's head, the latter
observed that his hair was full of clotted blood. Then the
Beautiful Old Man went his way, instructing other youth.

The Deceased and his Heirs

A MAN died leaving a large estate and many sorrowful relations who
claimed it. After some years, when all but one had had judgment
given against them, that one was awarded the estate, which he asked
his Attorney to have appraised.

"There is nothing to appraise," said the Attorney, pocketing his
last fee.

"Then," said the Successful Claimant, "what good has all this
litigation done me?"

"You have been a good client to me," the Attorney replied,
gathering up his books and papers, "but I must say you betray a
surprising ignorance of the purpose of litigation."

The Politicians and the Plunder

SEVERAL Political Entities were dividing the spoils.

"I will take the management of the prisons," said a Decent Respect
for Public Opinion, "and make a radical change."

"And I," said the Blotted Escutcheon, "will retain my present
general connection with affairs, while my friend here, the Soiled
Ermine, will remain in the Judiciary."

The Political Pot said it would not boil any more unless
replenished from the Filthy Pool.

The Cohesive Power of Public Plunder quietly remarked that the two
bosses would, he supposed, naturally be his share.

"No," said the Depth of Degradation, "they have already fallen to

The Man and the Wart

A PERSON with a Wart on His Nose met a Person Similarly Afflicted,
and said:

"Let me propose your name for membership in the Imperial Order of
Abnormal Proboscidians, of which I am the High Noble Toby and
Surreptitious Treasurer. Two months ago I was the only member.
One month ago there were two. To-day we number four Emperors of
the Abnormal Proboscis in good standing - doubles every four weeks,
see? That's geometrical progression - you know how that piles up.
In a year and a half every man in California will have a wart on
his Nose. Powerful Order! Initiation, five dollars."

"My friend," said the Person Similarly Afflicted, "here are five
dollars. Keep my name off your books."

"Thank you kindly," the Man with a Wart on His Nose replied,
pocketing the money; "it is just the same to us as if you joined.

He went away, but in a little while he was back.

"I quite forgot to mention the monthly dues," he said.

The Divided Delegation

A DELEGATION at Washington went to a New President, and said:

"Your Excellency, we are unable to agree upon a Favourite Son to
represent us in your Cabinet."

"Then," said the New President, "I shall have to lock you up until
you do agree."

So the Delegation was cast into the deepest dungeon beneath the
moat, where it maintained a divided mind for many weeks, but
finally reconciled its differences and asked to be taken before the
New President.

"My child," said he, "nothing is so beautiful as harmony. My
Cabinet Selections were all made before our former interview, but
you have supplied a noble instance of patriotism in subordinating
your personal preferences to the general good. Go now to your
beautiful homes and be happy."

It is not recorded that the Delegation was happy.

A Forfeited Right

THE Chief of the Weather Bureau having predicted a fine day, a
Thrifty Person hastened to lay in a large stock of umbrellas, which
he exposed for sale on the sidewalk; but the weather remained
clear, and nobody would buy. Thereupon the Thrifty Person brought
an action against the Chief of the Weather Bureau for the cost of
the umbrellas.

"Your Honour," said the defendant's attorney, when the case was
called, "I move that this astonishing action be dismissed. Not
only is my client in no way responsible for the loss, but he
distinctly foreshadowed the very thing that caused it."

"That is just it, your Honour," replied the counsel for the
plaintiff; "the defendant by making a correct forecast fooled my
client in the only way that he could do so. He has lied so much
and so notoriously that he has neither the legal nor moral right to
tell the truth."

Judgment for the plaintiff.


AN Insurance Agent was trying to induce a Hard Man to Deal With to
take out a policy on his house. After listening to him for an
hour, while he painted in vivid colours the extreme danger of fire
consuming the house, the Hard Man to Deal With said:

"Do you really think it likely that my house will burn down inside
the time that policy will run?"

"Certainly," replied the Insurance Agent; "have I not been trying
all this time to convince you that I do?"

"Then," said the Hard Man to Deal With, "why are you so anxious to
have your Company bet me money that it will not?"

The Agent was silent and thoughtful for a moment; then he drew the
other apart into an unfrequented place and whispered in his ear:

"My friend, I will impart to you a dark secret. Years ago the
Company betrayed my sweetheart by promise of marriage. Under an
assumed name I have wormed myself into its service for revenge; and
as there is a heaven above us, I will have its heart's blood!"

An Optimist

Two Frogs in the belly of a snake were considering their altered

"This is pretty hard luck," said one.

"Don't jump to conclusions," the other said; "we are out of the wet
and provided with board and lodging."

"With lodging, certainly," said the First Frog; "but I don't see
the board."

"You are a croaker," the other explained. "We are ourselves the

A Valuable Suggestion

A BIG Nation having a quarrel with a Little Nation, resolved to
terrify its antagonist by a grand naval demonstration in the
latter's principal port. So the Big Nation assembled all its ships
of war from all over the world, and was about to send them three
hundred and fifty thousand miles to the place of rendezvous, when
the President of the Big Nation received the following note from
the President of the Little Nation:

"My great and good friend, I hear that you are going to show us
your navy, in order to impress us with a sense of your power. How
needless the expense! To prove to you that we already know all
about it, I inclose herewith a list and description of all the
ships you have."

The great and good friend was so struck by the hard sense of the
letter that he kept his navy at home, and saved one thousand
million dollars. This economy enabled him to buy a satisfactory
decision when the cause of the quarrel was submitted to

Two Footpads

Two Footpads sat at their grog in a roadside resort, comparing the
evening's adventures.

"I stood up the Chief of Police," said the First Footpad, "and I
got away with what he had."

"And I," said the Second Footpad, "stood up the United States
District Attorney, and got away with - "

"Good Lord!" interrupted the other in astonishment and admiration -
"you got away with what that fellow had?"

"No," the unfortunate narrator explained - "with a small part of
what I had."

Equipped for Service

DURING the Civil War a Patriot was passing through the State of
Maryland with a pass from the President to join Grant's army and
see the fighting. Stopping a day at Annapolis, he visited the shop
of a well-known optician and ordered seven powerful telescopes, one
for every day in the week. In recognition of this munificent
patronage of the State's languishing industries, the Governor
commissioned him a colonel.

The Basking Cyclone

A NEGRO in a boat, gathering driftwood, saw a sleeping Alligator,
and, thinking it was a log, fell to estimating the number of
shingles it would make for his new cabin. Having satisfied his
mind on that point, he stuck his boat-hook into the beast's back to
harvest his good fortune. Thereupon the saurian emerged from his
dream and took to the water, greatly to the surprise of the man-

"I never befo' seen such a cyclone as dat," he exclaimed as soon as
he had recovered his breath. "It done carry away de ruf of my

At the Pole

AFTER a great expenditure of life and treasure a Daring Explorer
had succeeded in reaching the North Pole, when he was approached by
a Native Galeut who lived there.

"Good morning," said the Native Galeut. "I'm very glad to see you,
but why did you come here?"

"Glory," said the Daring Explorer, curtly.

"Yes, yes, I know," the other persisted; "but of what benefit to
man is your discovery? To what truths does it give access which
were inaccessible before? - facts, I mean, having a scientific

"I'll be Tom scatted if I know," the great man replied, frankly;
"you will have to ask the Scientist of the Expedition."

But the Scientist of the Expedition explained that he had been so
engrossed with the care of his instruments and the study of his
tables that he had found no time to think of it.

The Optimist and the Cynic

A MAN who had experienced the favours of fortune and was an
Optimist, met a man who had experienced an optimist and was a
Cynic. So the Cynic turned out of the road to let the Optimist
roll by in his gold carriage.

"My son," said the Optimist, stopping the gold carriage, "you look
as if you had not a friend in the world."

"I don't know if I have or not," replied the Cynic, "for you have
the world."

The Poet and the Editor

"MY dear sir," said the editor to the man, who had called to see
about his poem, "I regret to say that owing to an unfortunate
altercation in this office the greater part of your manuscript is
illegible; a bottle of ink was upset upon it, blotting out all but
the first line - that is to say - "

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling.'

"Unluckily, not having read the poem, I was unable to supply the
incidents that followed; otherwise we could have given them in our
own words. If the news is not stale, and has not already appeared
in the other papers, perhaps you will kindly relate what occurred,
while I make notes of it.

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling,'

"Go on."

"What!" said the poet, "do you expect me to reproduce the entire
poem from memory?"

"Only the substance of it - just the leading facts. We will add
whatever is necessary in the way of amplification and
embellishment. It will detain you but a moment.

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling - '

"Now, then."

There was a sound of a slow getting up and going away. The
chronicler of passing events sat through it, motionless, with
suspended pen; and when the movement was complete Poesy was
represented in that place by nothing but a warm spot on the wooden

The Taken Hand

A SUCCESSFUL Man of Business, having occasion to write to a Thief,
expressed a wish to see him and shake hands.

"No," replied the Thief, "there are some things which I will not
take - among them your hand."

"You must use a little strategy," said a Philosopher to whom the
Successful Man of Business had reported the Thief's haughty reply.
"Leave your hand out some night, and he will take it."

So one night the Successful Man of Business left his hand out of
his neighbour's pocket, and the Thief took it with avidity.

An Unspeakable Imbecile

A JUDGE said to a Convicted Assassin:

"Prisoner at the bar, have you anything to say why the death-
sentence should not be passed upon you?"

"Will what I say make any difference?" asked the Convicted

"I do not see how it can," the Judge answered, reflectively. "No,
it will not."

"Then," said the doomed one, "I should just like to remark that you
are the most unspeakable old imbecile in seven States and the
District of Columbia."

A Needful War

THE people of Madagonia had an antipathy to the people of Novakatka
and set upon some sailors of a Novakatkan vessel, killing two and
wounding twelve. The King of Madagonia having refused either to
apologise or pay, the King of Novakatka made war upon him, saying
that it was necessary to show that Novakatkans must not be
slaughtered. In the battles which ensued the people of Madagonia
slaughtered two thousand Novakatkans and wounded twelve thousand.
But the Madagonians were unsuccessful, which so chagrined them that
never thereafter in all their land was a Novakatkan secure in
property or life.

The Mine Owner and the Jackass

WHILE the Owner of a Silver Mine was on his way to attend a
convention of his species he was accosted by a Jackass, who said:

"By an unjust discrimination against quadrupeds I am made
ineligible to a seat in your convention; so I am compelled to seek
representation through you."

"It will give me great pleasure, sir," said the Owner of a Silver
Mine, "to serve one so closely allied to me in - in - well, you
know," he added, with a significant gesture of his two hands upward
from the sides of his head. "What do you want?"

"Oh, nothing - nothing at all for myself individually," replied the
Donkey; "but his country's welfare should be a patriot's supreme
care. If Americans are to retain the sacred liberties for which
their fathers strove, Congress must declare our independence of
European dictation by maintaining the price of mules."

The Dog and the Physician

A DOG that had seen a Physician attending the burial of a wealthy
patient, said: "When do you expect to dig it up?"

"Why should I dig it up?" the Physician asked.

"When I bury a bone," said the Dog, "it is with an intention to
uncover it later and pick it."

"The bones that I bury," said the Physician, "are those that I can
no longer pick."

The Party Manager and the Gentleman

A PARTY Manager said to a Gentleman whom he saw minding his own

"How much will you pay for a nomination to office?"

"Nothing," the Gentleman replied.

"But you will contribute something to the campaign fund to assist
in your election, will you not?" asked the Party Manager, winking.

"Oh, no," said the Gentleman, gravely. "If the people wish me to
work for them, they must hire me without solicitation. I am very
comfortable without office."

"But," urged the Party Manager, "an election is a thing to be
desired. It is a high honour to be a servant of the people."

"If servitude is a high honour," the Gentleman said, "it would be
indecent for me to seek it; and if obtained by my own exertion it
would be no honour."

"Well," persisted the Party Manager, "you will at least, I hope,
indorse the party platform."

The Gentleman replied: "It is improbable that its authors have
accurately expressed my views without consulting me; and if I
indorsed their work without approving it I should be a liar."

"You are a detestable hypocrite and an idiot!" shouted the Party

"Even your good opinion of my fitness," replied the Gentleman,
"shall not persuade me."

The Legislator and the Citizen

AN ex-Legislator asked a Most Respectable Citizen for a letter to
the Governor recommending him for appointment as Commissioner of
Shrimps and Crabs.

"Sir," said the Most Respectable Citizen, austerely, "were you not
once in the State Senate?"

"Not so bad as that, sir, I assure you," was the reply. "I was a
member of the Slower House. I was expelled for selling my
influence for money."

"And you dare to ask for mine!" shouted the Most Respectable
Citizen. "You have the impudence? A man who will accept bribes
will probably offer them. Do you mean to - "

"I should not think of making a corrupt proposal to you, sir; but
if I were Commissioner of Shrimps and Crabs, I might have some
influence with the water-front population, and be able to help you
make your fight for Coroner."

"In that case I do not feel justified in denying you the letter."

So he took his pen, and, some demon guiding his hand, he wrote,
greatly to his astonishment:

"Who sells his influence should stop it,
An honest man will only swap it."

The Rainmaker

AN Officer of the Government, with a great outfit of mule-waggons
loaded with balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical
apparatus, halted in the midst of a desert, where there had been no
rain for ten years, and set up a camp. After several months of
preparation and an expenditure of a million dollars all was in
readiness, and a series of tremendous explosions occurred on the
earth and in the sky. This was followed by a great down-pour of
rain, which washed the unfortunate Officer of the Government and
the outfit off the face of creation and affected the agricultural
heart with joy too deep for utterance. A Newspaper Reporter who
had just arrived escaped by climbing a hill near by, and there he
found the Sole Survivor of the expedition - a mule-driver - down on
his knees behind a mesquite bush, praying with extreme fervour.

"Oh, you can't stop it that way," said the Reporter.

"My fellow-traveller to the bar of God," replied the Sole Survivor,
looking up over his shoulder, "your understanding is in darkness.
I am not stopping this great blessing; under Providence, I am
bringing it."

"That is a pretty good joke," said the Reporter, laughing as well
as he could in the strangling rain - "a mule driver's prayer

"Child of levity and scoffing," replied the other; "you err again,
misled by these humble habiliments. I am the Rev. Ezekiel Thrifft,
a minister of the gospel, now in the service of the great
manufacturing firm of Skinn & Sheer. They make balloons, kites,
dynamite bombs, and electrical apparatus."

The Citizen and the Snakes

A PUBLIC-SPIRITED Citizen who had failed miserably in trying to
secure a National political convention for his city suffered
acutely from dejection. While in that frame of mind he leaned
thoughtlessly against a druggist's show-window, wherein were one
hundred and fifty kinds of assorted snakes. The glass breaking,
the reptiles all escaped into the street.

"When you can't do what you wish," said the Public-spirited
Citizen, "it is worth while to do what you can."

Fortune and the Fabulist

A WRITER of Fables was passing through a lonely forest when he met
a Fortune. Greatly alarmed, he tried to climb a tree, but the
Fortune pulled him down and bestowed itself upon him with cruel

"Why did you try to run away?" said the Fortune, when his struggles
had ceased and his screams were stilled. "Why do you glare at me
so inhospitably?"

"I don't know what you are," replied the Writer of Fables, deeply

"I am wealth; I am respectability," the Fortune explained; "I am
elegant houses, a yacht, and a clean shirt every day. I am
leisure, I am travel, wine, a shiny hat, and an unshiny coat. I am
enough to eat."

"All right," said the Writer of Fables, in a whisper; "but for
goodness' sake speak lower."

"Why so?" the Fortune asked, in surprise.

"So as not to wake me," replied the Writer of Fables, a holy calm
brooding upon his beautiful face.

A Smiling Idol

AN Idol said to a Missionary, "My friend, why do you seek to bring
me into contempt? If it had not been for me, what would you have
been? Remember thy creator that thy days be long in the land."

"I confess," replied the Missionary, fingering a number of ten-cent
pieces which a Sunday-school in his own country had forwarded to
him, "that I am a product of you, but I protest that you cannot
quote Scripture with accuracy and point. Therefore will I continue
to go up against you with the Sword of the Spirit."

Shortly afterwards the Idol's worshippers held a great religious
ceremony at the base of his pedestal, and as a part of the rites
the Missionary was roasted whole. As the tongue was removed for
the high priest's table, "Ah," said the Idol to himself, "that is
the Sword of the Spirit - the only Sword that is less dangerous
when unsheathed."

And he smiled so pleasantly at his own wit that the provinces of
Ghargaroo, M'gwana, and Scowow were affected with a blight.

Philosophers Three

A BEAR, a Fox, and an Opossum were attacked by an inundation.

"Death loves a coward," said the Bear, and went forward to fight
the flood.

"What a fool!" said the Fox. "I know a trick worth two of that."
And he slipped into a hollow stump.

"There are malevolent forces," said the Opossum, "which the wise
will neither confront nor avoid. The thing is to know the nature
of your antagonist."

So saying the Opossum lay down and pretended to be dead.

The Boneless King

SOME Apes who had deposed their king fell at once into dissension
and anarchy. In this strait they sent a Deputation to a
neighbouring tribe to consult the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the

"My children," said the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the World,
when he had heard the Deputation, "you did right in ridding
yourselves of tyranny, but your tribe is not sufficiently advanced
to dispense with the forms of monarchy. Entice the tyrant back
with fair promises, kill him and enthrone. The skeleton of even
the most lawless despot makes a good constitutional sovereign."

At this the Deputation was greatly abashed. "It is impossible,"
they said, moving away; "our king has no skeleton; he was stuffed."

Uncalculating Zeal

A MAN-EATING tiger was ravaging the Kingdom of Damnasia, and the
King, greatly concerned for the lives and limbs of his Royal
subjects, promised his daughter Zodroulra to any man who would kill
the animal. After some days Camaraladdin appeared before the King
and claimed the reward.

"But where is the tiger?" the King asked.

"May jackasses sing above my uncle's grave," replied Camaraladdin,
"if I dared go within a league of him!"

"Wretch!" cried the King, unsheathing his consoler-under-
disappointment; "how dare you claim my daughter when you have done
nothing to earn her?"

"Thou art wiser, O King, than Solyman the Great, and thy servant is
as dust in the tomb of thy dog, yet thou errest. I did not, it is
true, kill the tiger, but behold! I have brought thee the scalp of
the man who had accumulated five million pieces of gold and was
after more."

The King drew his consoler-under-disappointment, and, flicking off
Camaraladdin's head, said:

"Learn, caitiff, the expediency of uncalculating zeal. If the
millionaire had been let alone he would have devoured the tiger."

A Transposition

TRAVELLING through the sage-brush country a Jackass met a rabbit,
who exclaimed in great astonishment:

"Good heavens! how did you grow so big? You are doubtless the
largest rabbit living."

"No," said the Jackass, "you are the smallest donkey."

After a good deal of fruitless argument the question was referred
for decision to a passing Coyote, who was a bit of a demagogue and
desirous to stand well with both.

"Gentlemen," said he, "you are both right, as was to have been
expected by persons so gifted with appliances for receiving
instruction from the wise. You, sir," - turning to the superior
animal - "are, as he has accurately observed, a rabbit. And you" -
to the other - "are correctly described as a jackass. In
transposing your names man has acted with incredible folly."

They were so pleased with the decision that they declared the
Coyote their candidate for the Grizzly Bearship; but whether he
ever obtained the office history does not relate.

The Honest Citizen

A POLITICAL Preferment, labelled with its price, was canvassing the
State to find a purchaser. One day it offered itself to a Truly
Good Man, who, after examining the label and finding the price was
exactly twice as great as he was willing to pay, spurned the
Political Preferment from his door. Then the People said: "Behold,
this is an honest citizen!" And the Truly Good Man humbly
confessed that it was so.

A Creaking Tail

AN American Statesman who had twisted the tail of the British Lion
until his arms ached was at last rewarded by a sharp, rasping

"I knew your fortitude would give out after a while," said the
American Statesman, delighted; "your agony attests my political

"Agony I know not!" said the British Lion, yawning; "the swivel in
my tail needs a few drops of oil, that is all."

Wasted Sweets

A CANDIDATE canvassing his district met a Nurse wheeling a Baby in
a carriage, and, stooping, imprinted a kiss upon the Baby's clammy
muzzle. Rising, he saw a Man, who laughed.

"Why do you laugh?" asked the Candidate.

"Because," replied the Man, "the Baby belongs to the Orphan

"But the Nurse," said the Candidate - "the Nurse will surely relate
the touching incident wherever she goes, and perhaps write to her
former master."

"The Nurse," said the Man who had laughed, "is an inmate of the
Institution for the Illiterate-Deaf-and-Dumb."

Six and One

THE Committee on Gerrymander worked late, drawing intricate lines
on a map of the State, and being weary sought repose in a game of
poker. At the close of the game the six Republican members were
bankrupt and the single Democrat had all the money. On the next
day, when the Committee was called to order for business, one of
the luckless six mounted his legs, and said:

"Mr. Chairman, before we bend to our noble task of purifying
politics, in the interest of good government I wish to say a word
of the untoward events of last evening. If my memory serves me the
disasters which overtook the Majority of this honourable body
always befell when it was the Minority's deal. It is my solemn
conviction, Mr. Chairman, and to its affirmation I pledge my life,
my fortune, and my sacred honour, that that wicked and unscrupulous
Minority redistricted the cards!"

The Sportsman and the Squirrel

A SPORTSMAN who had wounded a Squirrel, which was making desperate
efforts to drag itself away, ran after it with a stick, exclaiming:

"Poor thing! I will put it out of its misery."

At that moment the Squirrels stopped from exhaustion, and looking
up at its enemy, said:

"I don't venture to doubt the sincerity of your compassion, though
it comes rather late, but you seem to lack the faculty of
observation. Do you not perceive by my actions that the dearest
wish of my heart is to continue in my misery?"

At this exposure of his hypocrisy, the Sportsman was so overcome
with shame and remorse that he would not strike the Squirrel, but
pointing it out to his dog, walked thoughtfully away.

The Fogy and the Sheik

A FOGY who lived in a cave near a great caravan route returned to
his home one day and saw, near by, a great concourse of men and
animals, and in their midst a tower, at the foot of which something
with wheels smoked and panted like an exhausted horse. He sought
the Sheik of the Outfit.

"What sin art thou committing now, O son of a Christian dog?" said
the Fogy, with a truly Oriental politeness.

"Boring for water, you black-and-tan galoot!" replied the Sheik of
the Outfit, with that ready repartee which distinguishes the

"Knowest thou not, thou whelp of darkness and father of disordered
livers," cried the Fogy, "that water will cause grass to spring up
here, and trees, and possibly even flowers? Knowest thou not, that
thou art, in truth, producing an oasis?"

"And don't you know," said the Sheik of the Outfit, "that caravans
will then stop here for rest and refreshments, giving you a chance
to steal the camels, the horses, and the goods?"

"May the wild hog defile my grave, but thou speakest wisdom!" the
Fogy replied, with the dignity of his race, extending his hand.

They shook.

At Heaven's Gate

HAVING arisen from the tomb, a Woman presented herself at the gate
of Heaven, and knocked with a trembling hand.

"Madam," said Saint Peter, rising and approaching the wicket,
"whence do you come?"

"From San Francisco," replied the Woman, with embarrassment, as
great beads of perspiration spangled her spiritual brow.

"Never mind, my good girl," the Saint said, compassionately.
"Eternity is a long time; you can live that down."

"But that, if you please, is not all." The Woman was growing more
and more confused. "I poisoned my husband. I chopped up my
babies. I - "

"Ah," said the Saint, with sudden austerity, "your confession
suggests a very grave possibility. Were you a member of the
Women's Press Association?"

The lady drew herself up and replied with warmth:

"I was not."

The gates of pearl and jasper swung back upon their golden hinges,
making the most ravishing music, and the Saint, stepping aside,
bowed low, saying:

"Enter, then, into thine eternal rest."

But the Woman hesitated.

"The poisoning - the chopping - the - the - " she stammered.

"Of no consequence, I assure you. We are not going to be hard on a
lady who did not belong to the Women's Press Association. Take a

"But I applied for membership - I was blackballed."

"Take two harps."

The Catted Anarchist

AN Anarchist Orator who had been struck in the face with a Dead Cat
by some Respector of Law to him unknown, had the Dead Cat arrested
and taken before a Magistrate.

"Why do you appeal to the law?" said the Magistrate - "You who go
in for the abolition of law."

"That," replied the Anarchist, who was not without a certain
hardness of head, "that is none of your business; I am not bound to
be consistent. You sit here to do justice between me and this Dead

"Very well," said the Magistrate, putting on the black cap and a
solemn look; "as the accused makes no defence, and is undoubtedly
guilty, I sentence her to be eaten by the public executioner; and
as that position happens to be vacant, I appoint you to it, without

One of the most delighted spectators at the execution was the
anonymous Respector of Law who had flung the condemned.

The Honourable Member

A MEMBER of a Legislature, who had pledged himself to his
Constituents not to steal, brought home at the end of the session a
large part of the dome of the Capitol. Thereupon the Constituents
held an indignation meeting and passed a resolution of tar and

"You are most unjust," said the Member of the Legislature. "It is
true I promised you I would not steal; but had I ever promised you
that I would not lie?"

The Constituents said he was an honourable man and elected him to
the United States Congress, unpledged and unfledged.

The Expatriated Boss

A BOSS who had gone to Canada was taunted by a Citizen of Montreal
with having fled to avoid prosecution.

"You do me a grave injustice," said the Boss, parting with a pair
of tears. "I came to Canada solely because of its political
attractions; its Government is the most corrupt in the world."

"Pray forgive me," said the Citizen of Montreal.

They fell upon each other's neck, and at the conclusion of that
touching rite the Boss had two watches.

An Inadequate Fee

AN Ox, unable to extricate himself from the mire into which he
sank, was advised to make use of a Political Pull. When the
Political Pull had arrived, the Ox said: "My good friend, please
make fast to me, and let nature take her course."

So the Political Pull made fast to the Ox's head and nature took
her course. The Ox was drawn, first, from the mire, and, next,
from his skin. Then the Political Pull looked back upon the good
fat carcase of beef that he was dragging to his lair and said, with
a discontented spirit:

"That is hardly my customary fee; I'll take home this first
instalment, then return and bring an action for salvage against the

The Judge and the Plaintiff

A MAN of Experience in Business was awaiting the judgment of the
Court in an action for damages which he had brought against a
railway company. The door opened and the Judge of the Court

"Well," said he, "I am going to decide your case to-day. If I
should decide in your favour, I wonder how you would express your

"Sir," said the Man of Experience in Business, "I should risk your
anger by offering you one half the sum awarded."

"Did I say I was going to decide that case?" said the Judge,
abruptly, as if awakening from a dream. "Dear me, how absent-
minded I am. I mean I have already decided it, and judgment has
been entered for the full amount that you sued for."

"Did I say I would give you one half?" said the Man of Experience
in Business, coldly. "Dear me, how near I came to being a rascal.
I mean, that I am greatly obliged to you."

The Return of the Representative

HEARING that the Legislature had adjourned, the people of an
Assembly District held a mass-meeting to devise a suitable
punishment for their representative. By one speaker it was
proposed that he be disembowelled, by another that he be made to
run the gauntlet. Some favoured hanging, some thought that it
would do him good to appear in a suit of tar and feathers. An old
man, famous for his wisdom and his habit of drooling on his shirt-
front, suggested that they first catch their hare. So the Chairman
appointed a committee to watch for the victim at midnight, and take
him as he should attempt to sneak into town across-lots from the
tamarack swamp. At this point in the proceedings they were
interrupted by the sound of a brass band. Their dishonoured
representative was driving up from the railway station in a coach-
and-four, with music and a banner. A few moments later he entered
the hall, went upon the platform, and said it was the proudest
moment of his life. (Cheers.)

A Statesman

A STATESMAN who attended a meeting of a Chamber of Commerce rose to
speak, but was objected to on the ground that he had nothing to do
with commerce.

"Mr. Chairman," said an Aged Member, rising, "I conceive that the
objection is not well taken; the gentleman's connection with
commerce is close and intimate. He is a Commodity."

Two Dogs

THE Dog, as created, had a rigid tail, but after some centuries of
a cheerless existence, unappreciated by Man, who made him work for
his living, he implored the Creator to endow him with a wag. This
being done he was able to dissemble his resentment with a sign of
affection, and the earth was his and the fulness thereof.
Observing this, the Politician (an animal created later) petitioned
that a wag might be given him too. As he was incaudate it was
conferred upon his chin, which he now wags with great profit and
gratification except when he is at his meals.

Three Recruits

A FARMER, an Artisan, and a Labourer went to the King of their
country and complained that they were compelled to support a large
standing army of mere consumers, who did nothing for their keep.

"Very well," said the King, "my subjects' wishes are the highest

So he disbanded his army and the consumers became producers also.
The sale of their products so brought down prices that farming was
ruined, and their skilled and unskilled labour drove the artisans
and labourers into the almshouses and highways. In a few years the
national distress was so great that the Farmer, the Artisan, and
the Labourer petitioned the King to reorganize the standing army.

"What!" said the King; "you wish to support those idle consumers

"No, your Majesty," they replied - "we wish to enlist."

The Mirror

A SILKEN-EARED Spaniel, who traced his descent from King Charles
the Second of England, chanced to look into a mirror which was
leaning against the wainscoting of a room on the ground floor of
his mistress's house. Seeing his reflection, he supposed it to be
another dog, outside, and said:

"I can chew up any such milksoppy pup as that, and I will."

So he ran out-of-doors and around to the side of the house where he
fancied the enemy was. It so happened that at that moment a
Bulldog sat there sunning his teeth. The Spaniel stopped short in
dire consternation, and, after regarding the Bulldog a moment from
a safe distance, said:

"I don't know whether you cultivate the arts of peace or your flag
is flung to the battle and the breeze and your voice is for war.
If you are a civilian, the windows of this house flatter you worse
than a newspaper, but if you're a soldier, they do you a grave

This speech being unintelligible to the Bulldog he only civilly
smiled, which so terrified the Spaniel that he dropped dead in his

Saint and Sinner

"MY friend," said a distinguished officer of the Salvation Army, to
a Most Wicked Sinner, "I was once a drunkard, a thief, an assassin.
The Divine Grace has made me what I am."

The Most Wicked Sinner looked at him from head to foot.
"Henceforth," he said, "the Divine Grace, I fancy, will let well
enough alone."

An Antidote

A YOUNG Ostrich came to its Mother, groaning with pain and with its
wings tightly crossed upon its stomach.

"What have you been eating?" the Mother asked, with solicitude.

"Nothing but a keg of Nails," was the reply.

"What!" exclaimed the Mother; "a whole keg of Nails, at your age!
Why, you will kill yourself that way. Go quickly, my child, and
swallow a claw-hammer."

A Weary Echo

A CONVENTION of female writers, which for two days had been
stuffing Woman's couch with goose-quills and hailing the down of a
new era, adjourned with unabated enthusiasm, shouting, "Place aux
dames!" And Echo wearily replied, "Oh, damn."

The Ingenious Blackmailer

AN Inventor went to a King and was granted an audience, when the
following conversation ensued:

INVENTOR. - "May it please your Majesty, I have invented a rifle
that discharges lightning."

KING. - "Ah, you wish to sell me the secret."

INVENTOR. - "Yes; it will enable your army to overrun any nation
that is accessible."

KING. - "In order to get any good of my outlay for your invention,
I must make a war, and do so as soon as I can arm my troops -
before your secret is discovered by foreign nations. How much do
you want?"

INVENTOR. - "One million dollars."

KING. - "And how much will it cost to make the change of arms?"

INVENTOR. - "Fifty millions."

KING. - "And the war will Cost - ?"

INVENTOR. - "But consider the glory and the spoils!"

KING. - "Exactly. But if I am not seeking these advantages? What
if I decline to purchase?"

INVENTOR. - "There is no economy in that. Though a patriot, I am
poor; if my own country will not patronise me, I must seek a market

KING (to Prime Minister). - "Take this blackmailer and cut off his

A Talisman

HAVING been summoned to serve as a juror, a Prominent Citizen sent
a physician's certificate stating that he was afflicted with
softening of the brain.

"The gentleman is excused," said the Judge, handing back the
certificate to the person who had brought it, "he has a brain."

The Ancient Order

HARDLY had that ancient order, the Sultans of Exceeding Splendour,
been completely founded by the Grand Flashing Inaccessible, when a
question arose as to what should be the title of address among the
members. Some wanted it to be simply "my Lord," others held out
for "your Dukeness," and still others preferred "my Sovereign
Liege." Finally the gorgeous jewel of the order, gleaming upon the
breast of every member, suggested "your Badgesty," which was
adopted, and the order became popularly known as the Kings of

A Fatal Disorder

A DYING Man who had been shot was requested by officers of the law
to make a statement, and be quick about it.

"You were assaulted without provocation, of course," said the
District Attorney, preparing to set down the answer.

"No," replied the Dying Man, "I was the aggressor."

"Yes, I understand," said the District Attorney; "you committed the
aggression - you were compelled to, as it were. You did it in

"I don't think he would have hurt me if I had let him alone," said
the other. "No, I fancy he was a man of peace, and would not have
hurt a fly. I brought such a pressure to bear on him that he
naturally had to yield - he couldn't hold out. If he had refused
to shoot me I don't see how I could decently have continued his

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed the District Attorney, throwing down his
note-book and pencil; "this is all quite irregular. I can't make
use of such an ante-mortem statement as that."

"I never before knew a man to tell the truth," said the Chief of
Police, "when dying of violence."

"Violence nothing!" the Police Surgeon said, pulling out and
inspecting the man's tongue - "it is the truth that is killing

The Massacre

SOME Holy Missionaries in China having been deprived of life by the
Bigoted Heathens, the Christian Press made a note of it, and was
greatly pained to point out the contrast between the Bigoted
Heathens and the law-abiding countrymen of the Holy Missionaries
who had wickedly been sent to eternal bliss.

"Yes," assented a Miserable Sinner, as he finished reading the
articles, "the Heathens of Ying Shing are deceitful above all
things and desperately wicked. By the way," he added, turning over
the paper to read the entertaining and instructive Fables, "I know
the Heathenese lingo. Ying Shing means Rock Creek; it is in the
Province of Wyo Ming."

A Ship and a Man

SEEING a ship sailing by upon the sea of politics, an Ambitious
Person started in hot pursuit along the strand; but the people's
eyes being fixed upon the Presidency no one observed the pursuer.
This greatly annoyed him, and recollecting that he was not aquatic,
he stopped and shouted across the waves' tumultous roar:

"Take my name off the passenger list."

Back to him over the waters, hollow and heartless, like laughter in
a tomb, rang the voice of the Skipper:

"'T ain't on!"

And there, in the focus of a million pairs of convergent eyes, the
Ambitious Person sat him down between the sun and moon and murmured
sadly to his own soul:

"Marooned, by thunder!"

Congress and the People

SUCCESSIVE Congresses having greatly impoverished the People, they
were discouraged and wept copiously.

"Why do you weep?" inquired an Angel who had perched upon a fence
near by.

"They have taken all we have," replied the People - "excepting,"
they added, noting the suggestive visitant - "excepting our hope in
heaven. Thank God, they cannot deprive us of that!"

But at last came the Congress of 1889.

The Justice and His Accuser

AN eminent Justice of the Supreme Court of Patagascar was accused
of having obtained his appointment by fraud.

"You wander," he said to the Accuser; "it is of little importance
how I obtained my power; it is only important how I have used it."

"I confess," said the Accuser, "that in comparison with the
rascally way in which you have conducted yourself on the Bench, the
rascally way in which you got there does seem rather a trifle."

The Highwayman and the Traveller

A HIGHWAYMAN confronted a Traveller, and covering him with a
firearm, shouted: "Your money or your life!"

"My good friend," said the Traveller, "according to the terms of
your demand my money will save my life, my life my money; you imply
you will take one or the other, but not both. If that is what you
mean, please be good enough to take my life."

"That is not what I mean," said the Highwayman; "you cannot save
your money by giving up your life."

"Then take it, anyhow," the Traveller said. "If it will not save
my money, it is good for nothing."

The Highwayman was so pleased with the Traveller's philosophy and
wit that he took him into partnership, and this splendid
combination of talent started a newspaper.

The Policeman and the Citizen

A POLICEMAN, finding a man that had fallen in a fit, said, "This
man is drunk," and began beating him on the head with his club. A
passing Citizen said:

"Why do you murder a man that is already harmless?"

Thereupon the Policeman left the man in a fit and attacked the
Citizen, who, after receiving several severe contusions, ran away.

"Alas," said the Policeman, "why did I not attack the sober one
before exhausting myself upon the other?"

Thenceforward he pursued that plan, and by zeal and diligence rose
to be Chief, and sobriety is unknown in the region subject to his

The Writer and the Tramps

AN Ambitious Writer, distinguished for the condition of his linen,
was travelling the high road to fame, when he met a Tramp.

"What is the matter with your shirt?" inquired the Tramp.

"It bears the marks of that superb unconcern which is the
characteristic of genius," replied the Ambitious Writer,
contemptuously passing him by.

Resting by the wayside a little later, the Tramp carved upon the
smooth bark of a birch-tree the words, "John Gump, Champion

Two Politicians

Two Politicians were exchanging ideas regarding the rewards for
public service.

"The reward which I most desire," said the First Politician, "is
the gratitude of my fellow-citizens."

"That would be very gratifying, no doubt," said the Second
Politician, "but, alas! in order to obtain it one has to retire
from politics."

For an instant they gazed upon each other with inexpressible
tenderness; then the First Politician murmured, "God's will be
done! Since we cannot hope for reward, let us be content with what
we have."

And lifting their right hands from the public treasury they swore
to be content.

The Fugitive Office

A TRAVELLER arriving at the capitol of the nation saw a vast plain
outside the wall, filled with struggling and shouting men. While
he looked upon the alarming spectacle an Office broke away from the
Throng and took shelter in a tomb close to where he stood, the
crowd being too intent upon hammering one another to observe that
the cause of their contention had departed.

"Poor bruised and bleeding creature," said the compassionate
Traveller, "what misfortune caused you to be so far away from the
source of power?"

"I 'sought the man,'" said the Office.

The Tyrant Frog

A SNAKE swallowing a frog head-first was approached by a Naturalist
with a stick.

"Ah, my deliverer," said the Snake as well as he could, "you have
arrived just in time; this reptile, you see, is pitching into me
without provocation."

"Sir," replied the Naturalist, "I need a snakeskin for my
collection, but if you had not explained I should not have
interrupted you, for I thought you were at dinner."

The Eligible Son-in-Law

A TRULY Pious Person who conducted a savings bank and lent money to
his sisters and his cousins and his aunts of both sexes, was
approached by a Tatterdemalion, who applied for a loan of one
hundred thousand dollars.

"What security have you to offer?" asked the Truly Pious Person.

"The best in the world," the applicant replied, confidentially; "I
am about to become your son-in-law."

"That would indeed be gilt-edged," said the banker, gravely; "but
what claim have you to the hand of my daughter?"

"One that cannot be lightly denied," said the Tatterdemalion. "I
am about to become worth one hundred thousand dollars."

Unable to detect a weak point in this scheme of mutual advantage,
the financier gave the promoter in disguise an order for the money,
and wrote a note to his wife directing her to count out the girl.

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