THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
The Devil's Dictionary was
begun in a weekly paper in 1881, and was continued in a desultory way at long
intervals until 1906. In that year a large part of it was published in covers
with the title The Cynic's Word Book, a name which the author had not the
power to reject or happiness to approve. To quote the publishers of the present
work : " This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him by
the religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of the work had appeared,
with the natural consequence that when it came out in covers the country already
had been flooded by its imitators with a score of 'cynic' books -- The Cynic's
This, The Cynic's That, and The Cynic's Other. Most of these
books were merely stupid, though some of them added the distinction of silliness.
Among them, they brought the word " cynic " into disfavor so deep that
any book bearing it was discredited in advance of publication.
Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the country had helped themselves
to such parts of the work as served their needs, and many of its definitions,
anecdotes, phrases and so forth, had become more or less current in popular speech.
This explanation is made, not with any pride of priority in trifles, but in simple
denial of possible charges of plagiarism, which is no trifle. In merely resuming
his own the author hopes to be held guiltless by those to whom the work is addressed
-- enlightened souls who prefer dry wines to sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to
humor and clean English to slang. A conspicuous, and it is hope not unpleasant,
feature of the book is its abundant illustrative quotations from eminent poets,
chief of whom is that learned and ingenius cleric, Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.,
whose lines bear his initials. To Father Jape's kindly encouragement and assistance
the author of the prose text is greatly indebted.
A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth of power. Peculiarly
appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.
Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the
An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the high temperature of the throne.
Dead, whose abdication
Set all tongues wagging in the Spanish nation.
For that performance 'twere unfair to scold her :
She wisely left a throne too hot to hold her.
To History she'll be no royal riddle --
Merely a plain parched pea that jumped the griddle.
The temple of the god Stomach, in whose worship, with sacrificial rights, all
true men engage. From women this ancient faith commands but a stammering assent.
They sometimes minister at the altar in a half-hearted and ineffective way, but
true reverence for the one deity that men really adore they know not. If woman
had a free hand in the world's marketing the race would become graminivorous.
The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of the meaner ambitions distinguishing
able men from dead ones. In the last analysis ability is commonly found to consist
mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality
is rightly appraised ; it is no easy task to be solemn.
Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent
is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer
adviseth a striving toward the straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than
he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of
death and the hope of Hell.
Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country.
They soon cease to cumber ; they fertilize.
An infinite number of things.
'Tis the answer to What ? and How ? and Why ?
And Whence ? and Whither ? -- a word whereby
The Truth (with the comfort it brings)
Is open to all who grope in night,
Crying for Wisdom's holy light.
Whether the word
is a verb or a noun
Is knowledge beyond my reach.
I only know that 'tis handed down.
From sage to sage,
From age to age --
An immortal part of speech !
Of an ancient man
the tale is told
That he lived to be ten centuries old,
In a cave on a mountain side.
(True, he finally died.)
The fame of his wisdom filled the land,
For his head was bald, and you'll understand
His beard was long and white
And his eyes uncommonly bright.
from far and near
To sit at his feat and hear and hear,
Though he never was heard
To utter a word
But " Abracadabra, abracadab,
Abraca, abrac, abra, ab ! "
'Twas all he had,
'Twas all they wanted to hear, and each
Made copious notes of the mystical speech,
Which they published next --
A trickle of text
In the meadow of commentary.
Mighty big books were these,
In a number, as leaves of trees ;
In learning, remarkably -- very !
As I said,
And the books of the sages have perished,
But his wisdom is sacredly cherished.
In _Abracadabra_ it solemnly rings,
Like an ancient bell that forever swings.
O, I love to hear
That word make clear
Humanity's General Sense of Things.
When in the course
of human events it becomes necessary for
people to abridge their king, a decent respect for the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
Sudden, without ceremony, like the arrival of a cannon- shot and the departure
of the soldier whose interests are most affected by it. Dr. Samuel Johnson beautifully
said of another author's ideas that they were " concatenated without abruption.
To " move in a mysterious way, " commonly with the property of another.
Spring beckons !
All things to the call respond ;
The trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.
Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction ; vilifed ; hopelessly in the wrong
; superseded in the consideration and affection of another.
To men a man is
but a mind. Who cares
What face he carries or what form he wears ?
But woman's body is the woman.
Stay thou, my sweetheart, and do never go,
But heed the warning words the sage hath said :
A woman absent is a woman dead.
A person with an income who has had the forethought to remove himself from the
sphere of exaction.
Independent, irresponsible. An absolute monarchy is one in which the sovereign
does as he pleases so long as he pleases the assassins. Not many absolute monarchies
are left, most of them having been replaced by limited monarchies, where the sovereign's
power for evil (and for good) is greatly curtailed, and by republics, which are
governed by chance.
A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. A total
abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from
inactivity in the affairs of others.
Said a man to a
crapulent youth : " I thought
You a total abstainer, my son.
" So I am, so I am, " said the scrapgrace caught --
" But not, sir, a bigoted one. "
A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
( from ACADEME ) A modern school where football is taught.
An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.
One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity,
as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's
position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no
one having offered them a fee for assenting.
An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.
The mother of caution.
" My accountability,
bear in mind, "
Said the Grand Vizier : " Yes, yes, "
Said the Shah : " I do -- 'tis the only kind
Of ability you possess. "
To affirm another's guilt or unworth ; most commonly as a justification of ourselves
for having wronged him.
In the surprising condition of the Crusader who absently pulled at his forelock
some hours after a Saracen scimitar had, unconsciously to him, passed through
his neck, as related by de Joinville.
The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust.
To confess. Acknowledgement of one another's faults is the highest duty imposed
by our love of truth.
A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend
to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and
intimate when he is rich or famous.
Perhaps ; possibly.
Boned wisdom for weak teeth.
A mineral frequently found beneath a corset. Soluble in solicitate of gold.
A species of snake. So called from its habit of adding funeral outlays to the
other expenses of living.
A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.
An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs
due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad-egging and
That part of a war-ship which does the talking while the figure-head does the
Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.
Consigned by way
His soul forever to perdition.
To venerate expectantly.
The smallest current coin.
" The man was
in such deep distress, "
Said Tom, " that I could do no less
Than give him good advice. " Said Jim :
" If less could have been done for him
I know you well enough, my son,
To know that's what you would have done. "
AFFIANCED, pp. Fitted with
an ankle-ring for the ball-and-chain.
An acclimatizing process preparing the soul for another and bitter world.
A nigger that votes our way.
That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by
reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.
A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors -- to dislodge the worms.
The task we set our wishes to.
" Cheer up
! Have you no aim in life ? "
She tenderly inquired.
" An aim ? Well, no, I haven't, wife ;
The fact is -- I have fired. "
A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of
An ingenious criminal who covers his secret thieving with a pretence of open marauding.
An American sovereign in his probationary state.
The Mahometan Supreme Being, as distinguished from the Christian, Jewish, and
Allah's good laws
I faithfully have kept,
And ever for the sins of man have wept ;
And sometimes kneeling in the temple I
Have reverently crossed my hands and slept.
This thing Allegiance,
as I suppose,
Is a ring fitted in the subject's nose,
Whereby that organ is kept rightly pointed
To smell the sweetness of the Lord's anointed.
In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply
inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete
monarchies of the Old World. Herodotus says the Indus is, with one exception,
the only river that produces crocodiles, but they appear to have gone West and
grown up with the other rivers. From the notches on his back the alligator is
called a sawrian.
In bad company.
In contact, lo !
the flint and steel,
By spark and flame, the thought reveal
That he the metal, she the stone,
Had cherished secretly alone.
The place whereupon the priest formerly raveled out the small intestine of the
sacrificial victim for purposes of divination and cooked its flesh for the gods.
The word is now seldom used, except with reference to the sacrifice of their liberty
and peace by a male and a female tool.
They stood before
the altar and supplied
The fire themselves in which their fat was fried.
In vain the sacrifice ! -- no god will claim
An offering burnt with an unholy flame.
Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.
An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous
by friends when dead.
The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.
To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.
As sovereigns are
anointed by the priesthood,
So pigs to lead the populace are greased good.
The sentiment inspired by one's friend's friend.
The flabby wine-skin
of his brain
Yields to some pathologic strain,
And voids from its unstored abysm
The driblet of an aphorism.
" The Mad Philosopher, " 1697
To lay the foundation for a future offence.
A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature
has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.
The physician's accomplice, undertaker's benefactor and grave worm's provider.
When Jove sent blessings
to all men that are,
And Mercury conveyed them in a jar,
That friend of tricksters introduced by stealth
Disease for the apothecary's health,
Whose gratitude impelled him to proclaim :
" My deadliest drug shall bear my patron's name ! "
In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.
An instinct thoughtfully implanted by Providence as a solution to the labor question.
The echo of a platitude.
APRIL FOOL, n.
The March fool with another month added to his folly.
An ecclesiastical dignitary one point holier than a bishop.
If I were a jolly
On Fridays I'd eat all the fish up --
Salmon and flounders and smelts ;
On other days everything else.
One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.
In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record.
Government by the best men.
(In this sense the word is obsolete ; so is that kind of government.) Fellows
that wear downy hats and clean shirts -- guilty of education and suspected of
The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.
ARRAYED, pp. Drawn up and
given an orderly disposition, as a rioter hanged to a lamppost.
Formally to detain one accused of unusualness.
God made the world in six days
and was arrested on the seventh.
The Unauthorized Version
A kind of cosmetic greatly affected by the ladies, whom it greatly affects in
" Eat arsenic
? Yes, all you get, "
Consenting, he did speak up ;
" 'Tis better you should eat it, pet,
Than put it in my teacup. "
This word has no definition.
Its origin is related as follows by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.
One day a wag --
what would the wretch be at ? --
Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
And said it was a god's name ! Straight arose
Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
And, inly edified to learn that two
Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
And sell their garments to support the priests.
A certain engaging quality to which women attain by long study and severe practice
upon the admiring male, who is pleased to fancy it resembles the candid simplicity
of his young.
Maliciously to ascribe to another vicious actions which one has not had the temptation
and opportunity to commit.
A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is
called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The
animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion
of every age and country ; no other so engages and fires the human imagination
noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, _lib. II., De Clem._,
and C. Stantatus, _De Temperamente_) if it is not a god ; and as such we know
it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians
also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with
the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers
the other. This is no small distinction.
From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great
splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which
clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more
or less Asinine.
" Hail, holy
Ass ! " the quiring angels sing ;
" Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King ! "
Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine :
God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine ! "
The man who proclaims with a hammer that he has picked a pocket with his tongue.
A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development
has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to
whether it is a continent or an island.
The lake by which the ancients entered the infernal regions. The fact that access
to the infernal regions was obtained by a lake is believed by the learned Marcus
Ansello Scrutator to have suggested the Christian rite of baptism by immersion.
This, however, has been shown by Lactantius to be an error.
The poet remarks ; and the sense
Of it is that when down-hill I turn I
Will get more of punches than pence.
Jehal Dai Lupe
An old deity formerly much worshiped under various names. As Baal he was popular
with the Phoenicians ; as Belus or Bel he had the honor to be served by the priest
Berosus, who wrote the famous account of the Deluge ; as Babel he had a tower
partly erected to his glory on the Plain of Shinar. From Babel comes our English
word " babble. " Under whatever name worshiped, Baal is the Sun-god.
As Beelzebub he is the god of flies, which are begotten of the sun's rays on the
stagnant water. In Physicia Baal is still worshiped as Bolus, and as Belly he
is adored and served with abundant sacrifice by the priests of Guttledom.
BABE or BABY, n.
A misshapen creature of no particular age, sex, or condition, chiefly remarkable
for the violence of the sympathies and antipathies it excites in others, itself
without sentiment or emotion.
There have been famous babes ; for example, little Moses, from whose adventure
in the bulrushes the Egyptian hierophants of seven centuries before doubtless
derived their idle tale of the child Osiris being preserved on a floating lotus
Ere babes were invented
The girls were contended.
Now man is tormented
Until to buy babes he has squandered
His money. And so I have pondered
This thing, and thought may be
'T were better that Baby
The First had been eagled or condored.
A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
Is public worship,
then, a sin,
That for devotions paid to Bacchus
The lictors dare to run us in,
And resolutely thump and whack us ?
That part of your friend which it is your privilege to contemplate in your adversity.
To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.
A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.
A sacred rite of such efficacy that he who finds himself in heaven without having
undergone it will be unhappy forever. It is performed with water in two ways --
by immersion, or plunging, and by aspersion, or sprinkling.
But whether the
plan of immersion
Is better than simple aspersion
Let those immersed
And those aspersed
Decide by the Authorized Version,
And by matching their agues tertian.
An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.
A house in which soldiers enjoy a portion of that of which it is their business
to deprive others.
The cockatrice. A sort of serpent hatched form the egg of a cock. The basilisk
had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal. Many infidels deny this creature's existence,
but Semprello Aurator saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as
a punishment for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved. Juno
afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave. Nothingis so well
attested by the ancients as the existence of the basilisk, but the cocks have
The act of walking on wood without exertion.
A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual
efficacy has not been determined.
The man who taketh
a steam bath
He loseth all the skin he hath,
And, for he's boiled a brilliant red,
Thinketh to cleanliness he's wed,
Forgetting that his lungs he's soiling
With dirty vapors of the boiling.
A method of untying with the teeth of a political knot that would not yield to
The hair that is commonly cut off by those who justly execrate the absurd Chinese
custom of shaving the head.
The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.
To make an ingrate.
To ask for something with an earnestness proportioned to the belief that it will
not be given.
Who is that, father
A mendicant, child,
Haggard, morose, and unaffable -- wild !
See how he glares through the bars of his cell !
With Citizen Mendicant all is not well.
Why did they put
him there, father ?
Obeying his belly he struck at the laws.
His belly ?
Oh, well, he was
starving, my boy --
A state in which, doubtless, there's little of joy.
No bite had he eaten for days, and his cry
Was " Bread ! " ever " Bread ! "
What's the matter
with pie ?
With little to wear,
he had nothing to sell ;
To beg was unlawful -- improper as well.
Why didn't he work
He would even have
But men said : " Get out ! " and the State remarked : " Scat !
I mention these incidents merely to show
That the vengeance he took was uncommonly low.
Revenge, at the best, is the act of a Siou,
But for trifles --
Pray what did bad
Mendicant do ?
Stole two loaves
of bread to replenish his lack
And tuck out the belly that clung to his back.
Is that _all_ father
There's little to
They sent him to jail, and they'll send him to -- well,
The company's better than here we can boast,
And there's --
Bread for the needy,
dear father ?
Um -- toast.
One who has relied on the assistance of his friends.
Conduct, as determined, not by principle, but by breeding. The word seems to be
somewhat loosely used in Dr. Jamrach Holobom's translation of the following lines
from the Dies Irae :
Quod sum causa tuae viae.
Ne me perdas illa die.
Pray remember, sacred
Whose the thoughtless hand that gave your
Death-blow. Pardon such behavior.
In Italian a beautiful lady ; in English a deadly poison.
A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
An order of monks otherwise known as black friars.
She thought it a
crow, but it turn out to be
A monk of St. Benedict croaking a text.
" Here's one of an order of cooks, " said she --
" Black friars in this world, fried black in the next. "
" The Devil on Earth " (London, 1712)
One who makes heavy purchases of ingratitude, without, however, materially affecting
the price, which is still within the means of all.
BERENICE'S HAIR, n.
A constellation (Coma Berenices) named in honor of one who sacrificed her
hair to save her husband.
Her locks an ancient
Her loving husband's life to save ;
And men -- they honored so the dame --
Upon some stars bestowed her name.
But to our modern
Who'd give their lords to save their hair,
No stellar recognition's given.
There are not stars enough in heaven.
A mistake in taste for which the wisdom of the future will adjudge a punishment
One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.
The invective of an opponent.
The first and direst of all disasters. As to the nature of it there appears to
be no uniformity. Castor and Pollux were born from the egg. Pallas came out of
a skull. Galatea was once a block of stone. Peresilis, who wrote in the tenth
century, avers that he grew up out of the ground where a priest had spilled holy
water. It is known that Arimaxus was derived from a hole in the earth, made by
a stroke of lightning. Leucomedon was the son of a cavern in Mount Aetna, and
I have myself seen a man come out of a wine cellar.
A man whose qualities, prepared for display like a box of berries in a market
-- the fine ones on top -- have been opened on the wrong side. An inverted gentleman.
Unrhymed iambic pentameters -- the most difficult kind of English verse to write
acceptably ; a kind, therefore, much affected by those who cannot acceptably write
A robber of grave-worms. One who supplies the young physicians with that with
which the old physicians have supplied the undertaker. The hyena.
" One night,
" a doctor said, " last fall,
I and my comrades, four in all,
When visiting a graveyard stood
Within the shadow of a wall.
" While waiting
for the moon to sink
We saw a wild hyena slink
About a new-made grave, and then
Begin to excavate its brink !
" Shocked by
the horrid act, we made
A sally from our ambuscade,
And, falling on the unholy beast,
Dispatched him with a pick and spade. "
Bettel K. Jhones
A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to become responsible for that
entrusted to another to a third.Philippe of Orleans wishing to appoint one of
his favorites, a dissolute nobleman, to a high office, asked him what security
he would be able to give. " I need no bondsmen, " he replied, "
for I can give you my word of honor. " " And pray what may be the value
of that ? " inquired the amused Regent. " Monsieur, it is worth its
weight in gold. "
A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
The science of vegetables -- those that are not good to eat, as well as those
that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed,
inartistic in color, and ill-smelling.
Having a nose created in the image of its maker.
In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the
imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.
The liberality of one who has much, in permitting one who has nothing to get all
that he can.
A single swallow,
it is said, devours ten millions of insects
every year. The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal
instance of the Creator's bounty in providing for the lives of His
Henry Ward Beecher
He who created the Hindoos, who are preserved by Vishnu and destroyed by Siva
-- a rather neater division of labor than is found among the deities of some other
nations. The Abracadabranese, for example, are created by Sin, maintained by Theft
and destroyed by Folly. The priests of Brahma, like those of Abracadabranese,
are holy and learned men who are never naughty.
O Brahma, thou rare
First Person of the Hindoo Trinity,
You sit there so calm and securely,
With feet folded up so demurely --
You're the First Person Singular, surely.
An apparatus with which we think that we think. That which distinguishes the man
who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something.
A man of great wealth, or one who has been pitchforked into high station, has
commonly such a headful of brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on.
In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so
highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.
A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts
bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the- grave and four parts clarified Satan.
Dose, a headful all the time. Brandy is said by Dr. Johnson to be the drink of
heroes. Only a hero will venture to drink it.
A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
A large stone presented by the archangel Gabriel to the patriarch Abraham, and
preserved at Mecca. The patriarch had perhaps asked the archangel for bread.
A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head. The
cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending thethrone issued
a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his
predecessor's Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden.
When any of his Majesty's measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it
was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded,
and his murmuring subjects were appeased.
A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this
life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds : misfortune to
ourselves, and good fortune to others.
Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another. When Zeno was
told that one of his enemies was no more he was observed to be deeply moved. "
What ! " said one of his disciples, " you weep at the death of an enemy
? " " Ah, 'tis true, " replied the great Stoic ; " but you
should see me smile at the death of a friend. "
A graduate of the School for Scandal.
A quadruped (the _Splaypes humpidorsus_) of great value to the show business.
There are two kinds of camels -- the camel proper and the camel improper. It is
the latter that is always exhibited.
A gastronome of the old school who preserves the simple tastes and adheres to
the natural diet of the pre-pork period.
An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
The motley worm by Jesters of the Court of Heaven.
The seat of misgovernment. That which provides the fire, the pot, the dinner,
the table and the knife and fork for the anarchist ; the part of the repast that
himself supplies is the disgrace before meat. _Capital Punishment_, a penalty
regarding the justice and expediency of which many worthy persons -- including
all the assassins -- entertain grave misgivings.
A mendicant friar of the order of Mount Carmel.
As Death was a-rising
out one day,
Across Mount Camel he took his way,
Where he met a mendicant monk,
Some three or four quarters drunk,
With a holy leer and a pious grin,
Ragged and fat and as saucy as sin,
Who held out his hands and cried :
" Give, give in Charity's name, I pray.
Give in the name of the Church. O give,
Give that her holy sons may live ! "
And Death replied,
Smiling long and wide :
" I'll give, holy father, I'll give thee -- a ride. "
With a rattle and
Of his bones, he sprang
From his famous Pale Horse, with his spear ;
By the neck and the foot
Seized the fellow, and put
Him astride with his face to the rear.
The Monarch laughed
loud with a sound that fell
Like clods on the coffin's sounding shell :
" Ho, ho ! A beggar on horseback, they say,
Will ride to the devil ! " -- and _thump_
Fell the flat of his dart on the rump
Of the charger, which galloped away.
Faster and faster
and faster it flew,
Till the rocks and the flocks and the trees that grew
By the road were dim and blended and blue
To the wild, wild eyes
Of the rider -- in size
Resembling a couple of blackberry pies.
Death laughed again, as a tomb might laugh
At a burial service spoiled,
And the mourners' intentions foiled
By the body erecting
Its head and objecting
To further proceedings in its behalf.
Many a year and
many a day
Have passed since these events away.
The monk has long been a dusty corse,
And Death has never recovered his horse.
For the friar got hold of its tail,
And steered it within the pale
Of the monastery gray,
Where the beast was stabled and fed
With barley and oil and bread
Till fatter it grew than the fattest friar,
And so in due course was appointed Prior.
Addicted to the cruelty of devouring the timorous vegetarian, his heirs and assigns.
Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum,
_Cogito ergo sum_ -- whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality
of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus : Cogito cogito
ergo cogito sum -- " I think that I think, therefore I think that I am
; " as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
A soft, indestructible automaton provided by nature to be kicked when things go
wrong in the domestic circle.
This is a dog,
This is a cat.
This is a frog,
This is a rat.
Run, dog, mew, cat.
Jump, frog, gnaw, rat.
A critic of our own work.
An isolated suburban spot where mourners match lies, poets writeat a target and
stone-cutters spell for a wager. The inscriptions following willserve to illustrate
the success attained in these Olympian games :
His virtues were so conspicuous
that his enemies, unable to overlook them, denied them, and his friends, to whose
loose lives they were a rebuke, represented them as vices. They are here commemorated
by his family, who shared them.
In the earth we
here prepare a
Place to lay our little Clara.
Thomas M. and Mary Frazer
P.S. -- Gabriel will raise her.
One of a race of persons who lived before the division of labor had been carried
to such a pitch of differentiation, and who followed the primitive economic maxim,
" Every man his own horse. " The best of the lot was Chiron, who to
the wisdom and virtues of the horse added the fleetness of man.
The scripture story of the head of John the Baptist on a charger shows that pagan
myths have somewhat sophisticated sacred history.
The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance -- against whom
or what does not clearly appear ; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there,
and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance. Cerberus is known to have had three
heads, and some of the poets have credited him with as many as a hundred. Professor
Graybill, whose clerky erudition and profound knowledge of Greek give his opinion
great weight, has averaged all the estimates, and makes the number twenty-seven
-- a judgment that would be entirely conclusive is Professor Graybill had known
(a) something about dogs, and (b) something about arithmetic.
The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly
of youth -- two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of
One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably
suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of
Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
I dreamed I stood
upon a hill, and, lo !
The godly multitudes walked to and fro
Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
With pious mien, appropriately sad,
While all the church bells made a solemn din --
A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
With tranquil face, upon that holy show
A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
" God keep you, strange, " I exclaimed. " You are
No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar ;
And yet I entertain the hope that you,
Like these good people, are a Christian too. "
He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
It made me with a thousand blushes burn
Replied -- his manner with disdain was spiced :
" What ! I a Christian ? No, indeed ! I'm Christ. "
A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and
children acting the fool.
A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible
to her patron, namely, that he is a blockhead.
An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are
two instruments that are worse than a clarionet -- two clarionets.
A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of better
his temporal ones.
One of the nine Muses. Clio's function was to preside over history -- which she
did with great dignity, many of the prominent citizens of Athens occupying seats
on the platform, the meetings being addressed by Messrs. Xenophon, Herodotus and
other popular speakers.
A machine of great moral value to man, allaying his concern for the future by
reminding him what a lot of time remains to him.
A busy man complained
one day :
" I get no time ! " " What's that you say ? "
Cried out his friend, a lazy quiz ;
" You have, sir, all the time there is.
There's plenty, too, and don't you doubt it --
We're never for an hour without it. "
Unduly desirous of keeping that which many meritorious persons wish to obtain.
Scotchman ! " Johnson cried
To thrifty J. Macpherson ;
" See me -- I'm ready to divide
With any worthy person.
Sad Jamie : " That is very true --
The boast requires no backing ;
And all are worthy, sir, to you,
Who have what you are lacking. "
Anita M. Bobe
A man who piously shuts himself up to meditate upon the sin of wickedness ; and
to keep it fresh in his mind joins a brotherhood of awful examples.
O Coenobite, O coenobite,
You differ from the anchorite,
That solitudinarian :
With vollied prayers you wound Old Nick ;
With dropping shots he makes him sick.
A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.
The tribute that we pay to achievements that resembles, but do not equal, our
A kind of transaction in which A plunders from B the goods of C, and for compensation
B picks the pocket of D of money belonging to E.
An administrative entity operated by an incalculable multitude of political parasites,
logically active but fortuitously efficient.
capitol's corridors view,
So thronged with a hungry and indolent crew
Of clerks, pages, porters and all attaches
Whom rascals appoint and the populace pays
That a cat cannot slip through the thicket of shins
Nor hear its own shriek for the noise of their chins.
On clerks and on pages, and porters, and all,
Misfortune attend and disaster befall !
May life be to them a succession of hurts ;
May fleas by the bushel inhabit their shirts ;
May aches and diseases encamp in their bones,
Their lungs full of tubercles, bladders of stones ;
May microbes, bacilli, their tissues infest,
And tapeworms securely their bowels digest ;
May corn-cobs be snared without hope in their hair,
And frequent impalement their pleasure impair.
Disturbed be their dreams by the awful discourse
Of audible sofas sepulchrally hoarse,
By chairs acrobatic and wavering floors --
The mattress that kicks and the pillow that snores !
Sons of cupidity, cradled in sin !
Your criminal ranks may the death angel thin,
Avenging the friend whom I couldn't work in.
Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction
of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except
what was justly his due.
The eloquence of power.
To show that bereavement is a smaller evil than sympathy.
One entrusted by A with the secrets of B, confided by him to C.
The civility of envy.
A body of men who meet to repeal laws.
A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision, some wine was pouted
on his lips to revive him. " Pauillac, 1873, " he murmured and died.
A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal,
who wishes to replace them with others.
The knowledge that a better man is more unfortunate than yourself.
In American politics, a person who having failed to secure and office from the
people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.
To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on.
The feeling of a prudent man for an enemy who is too formidable safely to be opposed.
A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannon-ball and the inconsiderate
In controversy with
the facile tongue --
That bloodless warfare of the old and young --
So seek your adversary to engage
That on himself he shall exhaust his rage,
And, like a snake that's fastened to the ground,
With his own fangs inflict the fatal wound.
You ask me how this miracle is done ?
Adopt his own opinions, one by one,
And taunt him to refute them ; in his wrath
He'll sweep them pitilessly from his path.
Advance then gently all you wish to prove,
Each proposition prefaced with, " As you've
So well remarked, " or, " As you wisely say,
And I cannot dispute, " or, " By the way,
This view of it which, better far expressed,
Runs through your argument. " Then leave the rest
To him, secure that he'll perform his trust
And prove your views intelligent and just.
Conmore Apel Brune
A place of retirement for woman who wish for leisure to meditate upon the vice
A fair to the display of the minor mental commodities, each exhibitor being too
intent upon the arrangement of his own wares to observe those of his neighbor.
The ceremony of investing a sovereign with the outward and visible signs of his
divine right to be blown skyhigh with a dynamite bomb.
A man who occupies the lowest rung of the military ladder.
Fiercely the battle
raged and, sad to tell,
Our corporal heroically fell !
Fame from her height looked down upon the brawl
And said : " He hadn't very far to fall. "
An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
A politician of the seas.
COURT FOOL, n.
One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
A small crustacean very much resembling the lobster, but less indigestible.
In this small fish
I take it that human wisdom is admirably
figured and symbolized ; for whereas the crayfish doth move only
backward, and can have only retrospection, seeing naught but the
perils already passed, so the wisdom of man doth not enable him to
avoid the follies that beset his course, but only to apprehend
their nature afterward.
Sir James Merivale
One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for
their desolating incursions.
A high-priced violin made in Connecticut.
A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.
There is a land
of pure delight,
Beyond the Jordan's flood,
Where saints, apparelled all in white,
Fling back the critic's mud.
And as he legs it
through the skies,
His pelt a sable hue,
He sorrows sore to recognize
The missiles that he threw.
An ancient religious symbol erroneously supposed to owe its significance to the
most solemn event in the history of Christianity, but really antedating it by
thousands of years. By many it has been believed to be identical with the _crux
ansata_ of the ancient phallic worship, but it has been traced even beyond all
that we know of that, to the rites of primitive peoples. We have to-day the White
Cross as a symbol of chastity, and the Red Cross as a badge of benevolent neutrality
in war. Having in mind the former, the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape smites
the lyre to the effect following :
" Be good,
be good ! " the sisterhood
Cry out in holy chorus,
And, to dissuade from sin, parade
Their various charms before us.
But why, O why,
has ne'er an eye
Seen her of winsome manner
And youthful grace and pretty face
Flaunting the White Cross banner ?
Now where's the
need of speech and screed
To better our behaving ?
A simpler plan for saving man
(But, first, is he worth saving ?)
Is, dears, when
he declines to flee
From bad thoughts that beset him,
Ignores the Law as 't were a straw,
And wants to sin -- don't let him.
CUI BONO ? [Latin]
What good would that do me ?
The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings
its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian
proverb says : " The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses. "
The so-called god of love. This bastard creation of a barbarous fancy was no doubt
inflicted upon mythology for the sins of its deities. Of all unbeautiful and inappropriate
conceptions this is the most reasonless and offensive. The notion of symbolizing
sexual love by a semisexless babe, and comparing the pains of passion to the wounds
of an arrow -- of introducing this pudgy homunculus into art grossly to materialize
the subtle spirit and suggestion of the work -- this is eminently worthy of the
age that, giving it birth, laid it on the doorstep of prosperity.
An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not
a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions
of the masculine soul.
Energetically to belabor with a verbal slap-stick. This is an operation which
in literature, particularly in the drama, is commonly fatal to the victim. Nevertheless,
the liability to a cursing is a risk that cuts but a small figure in fixing the
rates of life insurance.
A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to
be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve
A word formerly much used by the Paphlagonians, the meaning of which is lost.
By the learned Dr. Dolabelly Gak it is believed to have been a term of satisfaction,
implying the highest possible degree of mental tranquillity. Professor Groke,
on the contrary, thinks it expressed an emotion of tumultuous delight, because
it so frequently occurs in combination with the word jod or god,
meaning " joy. " It would be with great diffidence that I should advance
an opinion conflicting with that of either of these formidable authorities.
To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your
neighbor's wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring
the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common : they are
conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.
A savage beast which,
when it sleeps,
Man girds at and despises,
But takes himself away by leaps
And bounds when it arises.
One of the most conspicuous qualities of a man in security.
A high ecclesiastic official of the Roman Catholic Church, whose important function
is to brand the Pope's bulls with the words Datum Romae. He enjoys a princely
revenue and the friendship of God.
The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about
that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach, and otherwise
mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause
of their sturdy health and ripe years ; the truth being that they are hearty and
old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only
robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have
A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two
parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper -- the former devoted to
sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of
social activity overlap.
Done with the work
of breathing ; done
With all the world ; the mad race run
Though to the end ; the golden goal
Attained and found to be a hole !
One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake
An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.
As, pent in an aquarium,
Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet,
Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him,
Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him ;
So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him,
Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him,
Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it,
And finds at last he might as well have paid it.
Barlow S. Vode
A series of commandments, ten in number -- just enough to permit an intelligent
selection for observance, but not enough to embarrass the choice. Following is
the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.
Thou shalt no God
but me adore :
'Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols
For Robert Ingersoll to break.
Take not God's name
in vain ; select
A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath
days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents.
For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not
those who kill ;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor's
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress
Don't steal ; thou'lt
never thus compete
Successfully in business. Cheat.
Bear not false witness
-- that is low --
But " hear 'tis rumored so and so. "
Cover thou naught
that thou hast not
By hook or crook, or somehow, got.
To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.
A leaf was riven
from a tree,
" I mean to fall to earth, " said he.
The west wind, rising,
made him veer.
" Eastward, " said he, " I now shall steer. "
The east wind rose
with greater force.
Said he : " 'Twere wise to change my course. "
With equal power
He said : " My judgment I suspend. "
Down died the winds
; the leaf, elate,
Cried : " I've decided to fall straight. "
" First thoughts
are best ? " That's not the moral ;
Just choose your own and we'll not quarrel.
Howe'er your choice
may chance to fall,
You'll have no hand in it at all.
To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.
Unable to attack.
Less conspicuously admirable than one's ancestors. The contemporaries of Homer
were striking examples of degeneracy ; it required ten of them to raise a rock
or a riot that one of the heroes of the Trojan war could have raised with ease.
Homer never tires of sneering at " men who live in these degenerate days,
" which is perhaps why they suffered him to beg his bread -- a marked instance
of returning good for evil, by the way, for if they had forbidden him he would
certainly have starved.
One of the stages of moral and social progress from private station to political
An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion.
The latter was a native of Ireland, its name being pronounced Terry Dactyl or
Peter O'Dactyl, as the man pronouncing it may chance to have heard it spoken or
seen it printed.
The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced.
In American politics, an article of merchandise that comes in sets.
The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
A notable first experiment in baptism which washed away the sins (and sinners)
of the world.
The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial,
Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters.
All hail, Delusion
! Were it not for thee
The world turned topsy-turvy we should see ;
For Vice, respectable with cleanly fancies,
Would fly abandoned Virtue's gross advances.
A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your
Reliant upon another's generosity for the support which you are not in a position
to exact from his fears.
A male relative of an office-holder, or of his bondsman.
The deputy is commonly a beautiful young man, with a red necktie and an intricate
system of cobwebs extending from his nose to his desk. When accidentally struck
by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust.
" Chief Deputy,
" the Master cried,
" To-day the books are to be tried
By experts and accountants who
Have been commissioned to go through
Our office here, to see if we
Have stolen injudiciously.
Please have the proper entries made,
The proper balances displayed,
Conforming to the whole amount
Of cash on hand -- which they will count.
I've long admired your punctual way --
Here at the break and close of day,
Confronting in your chair the crowd
Of business men, whose voices loud
And gestures violent you quell
By some mysterious, calm spell --
Some magic lurking in your look
That brings the noisiest to book
And spreads a holy and profound
Tranquillity o'er all around.
So orderly all's done that they
Who came to draw remain to pay.
But now the time demands, at last,
That you employ your genius vast
In energies more active. Rise
And shake the lightnings from your eyes ;
Inspire your underlings, and fling
Your spirit into everything ! "
The Master's hand here dealt a whack
Upon the Deputy's bent back,
When straightway to the floor there fell
A shrunken globe, a rattling shell
A blackened, withered, eyeless head !
The man had been a twelvemonth dead.
A tyrant's authority for crime and fool's excuse for failure.
A physician's forecast of the disease by the patient's pulse and purse.
A muscular partition separating disorders of the chest from disorders of the bowels.
A daily record of that part of one's life, which he can relate to himself without
Hearst kept a diary
wherein were writ
All that he had of wisdom and of wit.
So the Recording Angel, when Hearst died,
Erased all entries of his own and cried :
" I'll judge you by your diary. " Said Hearst :
" Thank you ; 'twill show you I am Saint the First " --
Straightway producing, jubilant and proud,
That record from a pocket in his shroud.
The Angel slowly turned the pages o'er,
Each stupid line of which he knew before,
Glooming and gleaming as by turns he hit
On Shallow sentiment and stolen wit ;
Then gravely closed the book and gave it back.
" My friend, you've wandered from your proper track :
You'd never be content this side the tomb --
For big ideas Heaven has little room,
And Hell's no latitude for making mirth, "
He said, and kicked the fellow back to earth.
" The Mad Philosopher "
The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of
A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making
it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.
The singular of " dice. " We seldom hear the word, because there is
a prohibitory proverb, " Never say die. " At long intervals, however,
some one says : " The die is cast, " which is not true, for it is cut.
The word is found in an immortal couplet by that eminent poet and domestic economist,
Senator Depew :
A cube of cheese
no larger than a die
May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.
The conversion of victuals into virtues. When the process is imperfect, vices
are evolved instead -- a circumstance from which that wicked writer, Dr. Jeremiah
Blenn, infers that the ladies are the greater sufferers from dyspepsia.
The patriotic art of lying for one's country.
The present your neighbor with another and better error than the one which he
has deemed it advantageous to embrace.
To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable
A method of confirming others in their errors.
The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.
To celebrate with an appropriate ceremony the maturity of a command.
His right to govern
me is clear as day,
My duty manifest to disobey ;
And if that fit observance e'er I shut
May I and duty be alike undone.
To put a clean shirt upon the character.
Let us dissemble.
The only thing that the rich are willing for the poor to call theirs, and keep.
A disease incurred by exposure to the prosperity of a friend.
The art of nosing out the occult. Divination is of as many kinds as there are
fruit-bearing varieties of the flowering dunce and the early fool.
A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus
of the world's worship. This Divine Being in some of his smaller and silkier incarnations
takes, in the affection of Woman, the place to which there is no human male aspirant.
The Dog is a survival -- an anachronism. He toils not, neither does he spin, yet
Solomon in all his glory never lay upon a door-mat all day long, sun-soaked and
fly-fed and fat, while his master worked for the means wherewith to purchase the
idle wag of the Solomonic tail, seasoned with a look of tolerant recognition.
A soldier who combines dash and steadiness in so equal measure that he makes his
advances on foot and his retreats on horseback.
One who adapts plays from the French.
Priests and ministers of an ancient Celtic religion which did not disdain to employ
the humble allurement of human sacrifice. Very little is now known about the Druids
and their faith. Pliny says their religion, originating in Britain, spread eastward
as far as Persia. Caesar says those who desired to study its mysteries went to
Caesar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have obtained any high
preferment in the Druidical Church, although his talent for human sacrifice was
considerable.Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew nothing
of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew rents. They were, in short,
heathens and -- as they were once complacently catalogued by a distinguished prelate
of the Church of England -- Dissenters.
Your account at your restaurant during the canvas-back season.
A formal ceremony preliminary to the reconciliation of two enemies. Great skill
is necessary to its satisfactory observance ; if awkwardly performed the most
unexpected and deplorable consequences sometimes ensue. A long time ago a man
lost his life in a duel.
That dueling's a
I hold ; and wish that it had been my lot
To live my life out in some favored spot --
Some country where it is considered nice
To split a rival like a fish, or slice
A husband like a spud, or with a shot
Bring down a debtor doubled in a knot
And ready to be put upon the ice.
Some miscreants there are, whom I do long
To shoot, to stab, or some such way reclaim
The scurvy rogues to better lives and manners,
I seem to see them now -- a mighty throng.
It looks as if to challenge _me_ they came,
Jauntily marching with brass bands and banners !
Xamba Q. Dar
A member of the reigning dynasty in letters and life. The Dullards came in with
Adam, and being both numerous and sturdy have overrun the habitable world. The
secret of their power is their insensibility to blows ; tickle them with a bludgeon
and they laugh with a platitude. The Dullards came originally from Boeotia, whence
they were driven by stress of starvation, their dullness having blighted the crops.
For some centuries they infested Philistia, and many of them are called Philistines
to this day. In the turbulent times of the Crusades they withdrew thence and gradually
overspread all Europe, occupying most of the high places in politics, art, literature,
science and theology. Since a detachment of Dullards came over with the Pilgrims
in the _Mayflower_ and made a favorable report of the country, their increase
by birth, immigration, and conversion has been rapid and steady. According to
the most trustworthy statistics the number of adult Dullards in the United States
is but little short of thirty millions, including the statisticians. The intellectual
centre of the race is somewhere about Peoria, Illinois, but the New England Dullard
is the most shockingly moral.
That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
Sir Lavender Portwine,
in favor at court,
Was wroth at his master, who'd kissed Lady Port.
His anger provoked him to take the king's head,
But duty prevailed, and he took the king's bread,
To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation,
" I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner, " said Brillat-Savarin,
beginning an anecdote.
" What ! " interrupted Rochebriant ; " eating dinner in a drawing-room
" I must beg you to observe, monsieur, " explained the great gastronome,
" that I did not say I was eating my dinner, but enjoying it. I had dined
an hour before. "
Secretly to overhear a catalogue of the crimes and vices of another or yourself.
A lady with one
of her ears applied
To an open keyhole heard, inside,
Two female gossips in converse free --
The subject engaging them was she.
" I think, " said one, " and my husband thinks
That she's a prying, inquisitive minx ! "
As soon as no more of it she could hear
The lady, indignant, removed her ear.
" I will not stay, " she said, with a pout,
" To hear my character lied about ! "
A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.
Purchasing the barrel of whiskey that you do not need for the price of the cow
that you cannot afford.
Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake,
a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus,
but is placable with an obolus ; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable
withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself ; who
flings about him the splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till
he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the tail
of a dog ; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as the cooing
of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star. Master of mysteries and lord
of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of thought, his face suffused with the
dim splendors of the Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek,
the editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to suit.
And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard the voice of the
foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines of religious meditation, or
bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack up some pathos.
O, the Lord of Law
on the Throne of Thought,
A gilded impostor is he.
Of shreds and patches his robes are wrought,
His crown is brass,
Himself an ass,
And his power is fiddle-dee-dee.
Prankily, crankily prating of naught,
Silly old quilly old Monarch of Thought.
Public opinion's camp-follower he,
Thundering, blundering, plundering free.
Respected contemporaree !
That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of
The second of two phenomena which always occur together in the same order. The
first, called a Cause, is said to generate the other -- which is no more sensible
than it would be for one who has never seen a dog except in the pursuit of a rabbit
to declare the rabbit the cause of a dog.
A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
to serve the State
In the halls of legislative debate,
One day with all his credentials came
To the capitol's door and announced his name.
The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
And said : " Go away, for we settle here
All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
To be told how every member stands,
A man who to all things under the sky
Assents by eternally voting 'I'. "
An approved remedy for the disease of garrulity. It is also much used in cases
of extreme poverty.
One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice.
The power that causes all natural phenomena not known to be caused by something
else. It is the same thing as lightning, and its famous attempt to strike Dr.
Franklin is one of the most picturesque incidents in that great and good man's
career. The memory of Dr. Franklin is justly held in great reverence, particularly
in France, where a waxen effigy of him was recently on exhibition, bearing the
following touching account of his life and services to science :
Franqulin, inventor of electricity. This
illustrious savant, after having made several voyages around the
world, died on the Sandwich Islands and was devoured by savages,
of whom not a single fragment was ever recovered. "
Electricity seems destined to play
a most important part in the arts and industries. The question of its economical
application to some purposes is still unsettled, but experiment has already proved
that it will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more light than
A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of the methods of humor,
the writer aims to produce in the reader's mind the dampest kind of dejection.
The most famous English example begins somewhat like this :
The cur foretells
the knell of parting day ;
The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea ;
The wise man homeward plods ; I only stay
To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.
The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to
be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.
An imaginary delightful country which the ancients foolishly believed to be inhabited
by the spirits of the good. This ridiculous and mischievous fable was swept off
the face of the earth by the early Christians -- may their souls be happy in Heaven
A bondman's change from the tyranny of another to the despotism of himself.
He was a slave :
at word he went and came ;
His iron collar cut him to the bone.
Then Liberty erased his owner's name,
Tightened the rivets and inscribed his own.
To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which it feeds. By embalming
their dead and thereby deranging the natural balance between animal and vegetable
life, the Egyptians made their once fertile and populous country barren and incapable
of supporting more than a meagre crew. The modern metallic burial casket is a
step in the same direction, and many a dead man who ought now to be ornamenting
his neighbor's lawn as a tree, or enriching his table as a bunch of radishes,
is doomed to a long inutility. We shall get him after awhile if we are spared,
but in the meantime the violet and rose are languishing for a nibble at his _glutoeus
A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is
sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from
A special (but not particular) kind of liar.
The position farthest removed on either hand from the Interlocutor.
The man was perishing
Who played the tambourine ;
The seal of death was on his face --
'Twas pallid, for 'twas clean.
" This is the
end, " the sick man said
In faint and failing tones.
A moment later he was dead,
And Tambourine was Bones.
ENOUGH, pro. All there is
in the world if you like it.
Enough is as good
as a feast -- for that matter
Enougher's as good as a feast for the platter.
Arbely C. Strunk
Any kind of amusement whose inroads stop short of death by injection.
A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with
outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it
" entuzy-muzy, " had a relapse, which carried him off -- to Missolonghi.
The coffin of a document ; the scabbard of a bill ; the husk of a remittance ;
the bed-gown of a love-letter.
Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.
An ornamented badge, serving to distinguish a military officer from the enemy
-- that is to say, from the officer of lower rank to whom his death would give
An opponent of Epicurus, an abstemious philosopher who, holding that pleasure
should be the chief aim of man, wasted no time in gratification from the senses.
A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently characterize by acidity or
acerbity and sometimes by wisdom. Following are some of the more notable epigrams
of the learned and ingenious Dr. Jamrach Holobom :
We know better the
needs of ourselves than of others. To
serve oneself is economy of administration.
In each human heart
are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a
nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal
There are three sexes ;
males, females and girls.
Beauty in women and distinction
in men are alike in this :
they seem to be the unthinking a kind of credibility.
Women in love are
less ashamed than men.
They have less to be
While your friend
holds you affectionately by both your hands
you are safe, for you can watch both his.
An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive
effect. Following is a touching example :
Here lie the bones
of Parson Platt,
Wise, pious, humble and all that,
Who showed us life as all should live it ;
Let that be said -- and God forgive it !
Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
So wide his erudition's
He knew Creation's origin and plan
And only came by accident to grief --
He thought, poor man, 'twas right to be a thief.
Very particularly abstruse and consummately occult. The ancient philosophies were
of two kinds, -- _exoteric_, those that the philosophers themselves could partly
understand, and _esoteric_, those that nobody could understand. It is the latter
that have most profoundly affected modern thought and found greatest acceptance
in our time.
The science that treats of the various tribes of Man, as robbers, thieves, swindlers,
dunces, lunatics, idiots and ethnologists.
A sacred feast of the religious sect of Theophagi.A dispute once unhappily arose
among the members of this sect as to what it was that they ate. In this controversy
some five hundred thousand have already been slain, and the question is still
Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration
to be dead.
A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious sense) such as assure us
of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbors.
Lasting forever. It is with no small diffidence that I venture to offer this brief
and elementary definition, for I am not unaware of the existence of a bulky volume
by a sometime Bishop of Worcester, entitled, A Partial Definition of the Word
" Everlasting, " as Used in the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures.
His book was once esteemed of great authority in the Anglican Church, and is still,
I understand, studied with pleasure to the mind and profit of the soul.
A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an
honest man, a truthful woman, etc. " The exception proves the rule "
is an expression constantly upon the lips of the ignorant, who parrot it from
one another with never a thought of its absurdity. In the Latin, " Exceptio
probat regulam " means that the exception tests the rule, puts
it to the proof, not confirms it. The malefactor who drew the meaning from
this excellent dictum and substituted a contrary one of his own exerted an evil
power which appears to be immortal.
In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.
Hail, high Excess
-- especially in wine,
To thee in worship do I bend the knee
Who preach abstemiousness unto me --
My skull thy pulpit, as my paunch thy shrine.
Precept on precept, aye, and line on line,
Could ne'er persuade so sweetly to agree
With reason as thy touch, exact and free,
Upon my forehead and along my spine.
At thy command eschewing pleasure's cup,
With the hot grape I warm no more my wit ;
When on thy stool of penitence I sit
I'm quite converted, for I can't get up.
Ungrateful he who afterward would falter
To make new sacrifices at thine altar !
This " excommunication
" is a word
In speech ecclesiastical oft heard,
And means the damning, with bell, book and candle,
Some sinner whose opinions are a scandal --
A rite permitting Satan to enslave him
Forever, and forbidding Christ to save him.
An officer of the Government, whose duty it is to enforce the wishes of the legislative
power until such time as the judicial department shall be pleased to pronounce
them invalid and of no effect. Following is an extract from an old book entitled,
The Lunarian Astonished -- Pfeiffer & Co., Boston, 1803 :
LUNARIAN : Then when your Congress
has passed a law it goes directly to the Supreme Court in order that it may at
once be known whether it is constitutional ?
TERRESTRIAN : O no ; it does not
require the approval of the Supreme Court until having perhaps been enforced for
many years somebody objects to its operation against himself -- I mean his client.
The President, if he approves it, begins to execute it at once.
LUNARIAN : Ah, the executive power
is a part of the legislative.
Do your policemen also have to approve the local ordinances that they enforce
TERRESTRIAN : Not yet -- at least
not in their character of constables. Generally speaking, though, all laws require
the approval of those whom they are intended to restrain.
LUNARIAN : I see. The death warrant
is not valid until signed by the murderer.
TERRESTRIAN : My friend, you put
it too strongly ; we are not so consistent.
LUNARIAN : But this system of maintaining
an expensive judicialmachinery to pass upon the validity of laws only after they
have long been executed, and then only when brought before the court by some private
person -- does it not cause great confusion ?
TERRESTRIAN : It does.
LUNARIAN : Why then should not
your laws, previously to being executed, be validated, not by the signature of
your President, but by that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court ?
TERRESTRIAN : There is no precedent
for any such course.
LUNARIAN : Precedent. What is that
TERRESTRIAN : It has been defined
by five hundred lawyers in three volumes each. So how can any one know ?
In religious affairs, to put the conscience of another upon the spit and roast
it to a nut-brown discomfort.
One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador. An English
sea-captain being asked if he had read " The Exile of Erin, " replied
: " No, sir, but I should like to anchor on it. " Years afterwards,
when he had been hanged as a pirate after a career of unparalleled atrocities,
the following memorandum was found in the ship's log that he had kept at the time
of his reply :
Aug. 3d, 1842. Made a joke on the
ex-Isle of Erin.
Coldly received. War with the whole world !
A transient, horrible, fantastic
Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem :
From which we're wakened by a friendly nudge
Of our bedfellow Death, and cry : " O fudge ! "
The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the
folly that we have already embraced.
To one who, journeying
through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone.
Joel Frad Bink
One of the many methods by which fools prefer to lose their friends.
The raw material out of which theology created the future state.
A creature, variously fashioned and endowed, that formerly inhabited the meadows
and forests. It was nocturnal in its habits, and somewhat addicted to dancing
and the theft of children.
The fairies are now believed by naturalist to be extinct, though a clergyman of
the Church of England saw three near Colchester as lately as 1855, while passing
through a park after dining with the lord of the manor. The sight greatly staggered
him, and he was so affected that his account of it was incoherent. In the year
1807 a troop of fairies visited a wood near Aix and carried off the daughter of
a peasant, who had been seen to enter it with a bundle of clothing. The son of
a wealthy _bourgeois_ disappeared about the same time, but afterward returned.
He had seen the abduction been in pursuit of the fairies. Justinian Gaux, a writer
of the fourteenth century, avers that so great is the fairies' power of transformation
that he saw one change itself into two opposing armies and fight a battle with
great slaughter, and that the next day, after it had resumed its original shape
and gone away, there were seven hundred bodies of the slain which the villagers
had to bury. He does not say if any of the wounded recovered. In the time of Henry
III, of England, a law was made which prescribed the death penalty for "
Kyllynge, wowndynge, or mamynge " a fairy, and it was universally respected.
Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of
things without parallel.
Done to a turn on
the iron, behold
Him who to be famous aspired.
Content ? Well, his grill has a plating of gold,
And his twistings are greatly admired.
A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.
A king there was
who lost an eye
In some excess of passion ;
And straight his courtiers all did try
To follow the new fashion.
Each dropped one
eyelid when before
The throne he ventured, thinking
'Twould please the king. That monarch swore
He'd slay them all for winking.
What should they
do ? They were not hot
To hazard such disaster ;
They dared not close an eye -- dared not
See better than their master.
Seeing them lacrymose
A leech consoled the weepers :
He spread small rags with liquid gum
And covered half their peepers.
The court all wore
the stuff, the flame
Of royal anger dying.
That's how court-plaster got its name
Unless I'm greatly lying.
A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness,
frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the
Roman Catholic Church feasts are " movable " and " immovable, "
but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest
development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead ; such were
held by the Greeks, under the name _Nemeseia_, by the Aztecs and Peruvians,
as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese ; though it is believed that
the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters. Among the many feasts of
the Romans was the _Novemdiale_, which was held, according to Livy, whenever stones
fell from heaven.
A person of greater enterprise than discretion, who in embracing an opportunity
has formed an unfortunate attachment.
One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.
The Maker, at Creation's
With living things had stocked the earth.
From elephants to bats and snails,
They all were good, for all were males.
But when the Devil came and saw
He said : " By Thine eternal law
Of growth, maturity, decay,
These all must quickly pass away
And leave untenanted the earth
Unless Thou dost establish birth " --
Then tucked his head beneath his wing
To laugh -- he had no sleeve -- the thing
With deviltry did so accord,
That he'd suggested to the Lord.
The Master pondered this advice,
Then shook and threw the fateful dice
Wherewith all matters here below
Are ordered, and observed the throw ;
Then bent His head in awful state,
Confirming the decree of Fate.
From every part of earth anew
The conscious dust consenting flew,
While rivers from their courses rolled
To make it plastic for the mould.
Enough collected (but no more,
For niggard Nature hoards her store)
He kneaded it to flexible clay,
While Nick unseen threw some away.
And then the various forms He cast,
Gross organs first and finer last ;
No one at once evolved, but all
By even touches grew and small
Degrees advanced, till, shade by shade,
To match all living things He'd made
Females, complete in all their parts
Except (His clay gave out) the hearts.
" No matter, " Satan cried ; " with speed
I'll fetch the very hearts they need " --
So flew away and soon brought back
The number needed, in a sack.
That night earth range with sounds of strife --
Ten million males each had a wife ;
That night sweet Peace her pinions spread
O'er Hell -- ten million devils dead !
A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth
: the perigee of his eccentric orbit.
When David said
: " All men are liars, " Dave,
Himself a liar, fibbed like any thief.
Perhaps he thought to weaken disbelief
By proof that even himself was not a slave
To Truth ; though I suspect the aged knave
Had been of all her servitors the chief
Had he but known a fig's reluctant leaf
Is more than e'er she wore on land or wave.
No, David served not Naked Truth when he
Struck that sledge-hammer blow at all his race ;
Nor did he hit the nail upon the head :
For reason shows that it could never be,
And the facts contradict him to his face.
Men are not liars all, for some are dead.
The iterated satiety of an enterprising affection.
An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails
of a cat.
To Rome said Nero
: " If to smoke you turn
I shall not cease to fiddle while you burn.
To Nero Rome replied : " Pray do your worst,
'Tis my excuse that you were fiddling first. "
A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.
The art or science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of
the manager. The pronunciation of this word with the i long and the accent on
the first syllable is one of America's most precious discoveries and possessions.
A colored rag borne above troops and hoisted on forts and ships. It appears to
serve the same purpose as certain signs that one sees and vacant lots in London
-- " Rubbish may be shot here. "
The Second Person of the secular Trinity.
Suddenly to change one's opinions and go over to another party. The most notable
flop on record was that of Saul of Tarsus, who has been severely criticised as
a turn-coat by some of our partisan journals.
The prototype of punctuation.
It is observed by Garvinus that the systems of punctuation in use by the various
literary nations depended originally upon the social habits and general diet of
the flies infesting the several countries. These creatures, which have always
been distinguished for a neighborly and companionable familiarity with authors,
liberally or niggardly embellish the manuscripts in process of growth under the
pen, according to their bodily habit, bringing out the sense of the work by a
species of interpretation superior to, and independent of, the writer's powers.
The " old masters " of literature -- that is to say, the early writers
whose work is so esteemed by later scribes and critics in the same language --
never punctuated at all, but worked right along free-handed, without that abruption
of the thought which comes from the use of points. (We observe the same thing
in children to-day, whose usage in this particular is a striking and beautiful
instance of the law that the infancy of individuals reproduces the methods and
stages of development characterizing the infancy of races.) In the work of these
primitive scribes all the punctuation is found, by the modern investigator with
his optical instruments and chemical tests, to have been inserted by the writers'
ingenious and serviceable collaborator, the common house-fly -- Musca maledicta.
In transcribing these ancient MSS, for the purpose of either making the work their
own or preserving what they naturally regard as divine revelations, later writers
reverently and accurately copy whatever marks they find upon the papyrus or parchment,
to the unspeakable enhancement of the lucidity of the thought and value of the
work. Writers contemporary with the copyists naturally avail themselves of the
obvious advantages of these marks in their own work, and with such assistance
as the flies of their own household may be willing to grant, frequently rival
and sometimes surpass the older compositions, in respect at least of punctuation,
which is no small glory. Fully to understand the important services that flies
perform to literature it is only necessary to lay a page of some popular novelist
alongside a saucer of cream-and-molasses in a sunny room and observe " how
the wit brightens and the style refines " in accurate proportion to the duration
That " gift and faculty divine " whose creative and controlling energy
inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.
Folly ! although
Erasmus praised thee once
In a thick volume, and all authors known,
If not thy glory yet thy power have shown,
Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts
Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce,
To mend their lives and to sustain his own,
However feebly be his arrows thrown,
Howe'er each hide
the flying weapons blunts.
All-Father Folly ! be it mine to raise,
With lusty lung, here on his western strand
With all thine offspring thronged from every land,
Thyself inspiring me, the song of praise.
And if too weak, I'll hire, to help me bawl,
Dick Watson Gilder, gravest of us all.
Aramis Loto Frope
A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself
through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient,
omniscience, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad,
the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He
created patriotism and taught the nations war -- founded theology, philosophy,
law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government.
He is from everlasting to everlasting -- such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth
now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of
existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in
the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal
of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after
the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit
up to write a history of human civilization.
" Force is
but might, " the teacher said --
" That definition's just. "
The boy said naught but through instead,
Remembering his pounded head :
" Force is not might but must ! "
The finger commonly used in pointing out two malefactors.
This looks like an easy word to define, but when I consider that pious and learned
theologians have spent long lives in explaining it, and written libraries to explain
their explanations ; when I remember the nations have been divided and bloody
battles caused by the difference between foreordination and predestination, and
that millions of treasure have been expended in the effort to prove and disprove
its compatibility with freedom of the will and the efficacy of prayer, praise,
and a religious life, -- recalling these awful facts in the history of the word,
I stand appalled before the mighty problem of its signification, abase my spiritual
eyes, fearing to contemplate its portentous magnitude, reverently uncover and
humbly refer it to His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons and His Grace Bishop Potter.
A gift of God bestowed upon doctors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.
An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth.
Formerly the knife was employed for this purpose, and by many worthy persons is
still thought to have many advantages over the other tool, which, however, they
do not altogether reject, but use to assist in charging the knife. The immunity
of these persons from swift and awful death is one of the most striking proofs
of God's mercy to those that hate Him.
FORMA PAUPERIS. [Latin]
In the character of a poor person -- a method by which a litigant without money
for lawyers is considerately permitted to lose his case.
When Adam long ago
in Cupid's awful court
(For Cupid ruled ere Adam was invented)
Sued for Eve's favor, says an ancient law report,
He stood and pleaded unhabilimented.
" You sue _in
forma pauperis_, I see, " Eve cried ;
" Actions can't here be that way prosecuted. "
So all poor Adam's motions coldly were denied :
He went away -- as he had come -- nonsuited.
The tenure by which a religious corporation holds lands on condition of praying
for the soul of the donor. In mediaeval times many of the wealthiest fraternities
obtained their estates in this simple and cheap manner, and once when Henry VIII
of England sent an officer to confiscate certain vast possessions which a fraternity
of monks held by frankalmoigne, " What ! " said the Prior, " would
you master stay our benefactor's soul in Purgatory ? " " Ay, "
said the officer, coldly, " an ye will not pray him thence for naught he
must e'en roast. " " But look you, my son, " persisted the good
man, " this act hath rank as robbery of God ! " " Nay, nay, good
father, my master the king doth but deliver him from the manifold temptations
of too great wealth. "
A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying
merit of magnitude.
Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's
infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes
itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom
and liberty is not accurately known ; naturalists have never been able to find
a living specimen of either.
Freedom, as every
Once shrieked as Kosciusko fell ;
On every wind, indeed, that blows
I hear her yell.
She screams whenever
And parliaments as well,
To bind the chains about her feet
And toll her knell.
And when the sovereign
The votes they cannot spell,
Upon the pestilential blast
Her clamors swell.
For all to whom
the power's given
To sway or to compel,
Among themselves apportion Heaven
And give her Hell.
An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which,
originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has
been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression
until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and
is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of
Chaos and Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne,
Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious, Thothmes, and Buddha. Its
emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the
stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak
and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids -- always by a Freemason.
Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth
and common sense.
A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul.
The sea was calm
and the sky was blue ;
Merrily, merrily sailed we two.
(High barometer maketh glad.)
On the tipsy ship, with a dreadful shout,
The tempest descended and we fell out.
(O the walking is nasty bad !)
Armit Huff Bettle
A reptile with edible legs. The first mention of frogs in profane literature is
in Homer's narrative of the war between them and the mice. Skeptical persons have
doubted Homer's authorship of the work, but the learned, ingenious and industrious
Dr. Schliemann has set the question forever at rest by uncovering the bones of
the slain frogs. One of the forms of moral suasion by which Pharaoh was besought
to favor the Israelities was a plague of frogs, but Pharaoh, who liked them fricasees,
remarked, with truly oriental stoicism, that he could stand it as long as the
frogs and the Jews could ; so the programme was changed. The frog is a diligent
songster, having a good voice but no ear. The libretto of his favorite opera,
as written by Aristophanes, is brief, simple and effective -- " brekekex-koax
" ; the music is apparently by that eminent composer, Richard Wagner. Horses
have a frog in each hoof -- a thoughtful provision of nature, enabling them to
shine in a hurdle race.
One part of the penal apparatus employed in that punitive institution, a woman's
The frying-pan was invented by Calvin, and by him used in cooking span-long infants
that had died without baptism ; and observing one day the horrible torment of
a tramp who had incautiously pulled a fried babe from the waste-dump and devoured
it, it occurred to the great divine to rob death of its terrors by introducing
the frying-pan into every household in Geneva. Thence it spread to all corners
of the world, and has been of invaluable assistance in the propagation of his
sombre faith. The following lines (said to be from the pen of his Grace Bishop
Potter) seem to imply that the usefulness of this utensil is not limited to this
world ; but as the consequences of its employment in this life reach over into
the life to come, so also itself may be found on the other side, rewarding its
Old Nick was summoned
to the skies.
Said Peter : " Your intentions
Are good, but you lack enterprise
Concerning new inventions.
" Now, broiling
in an ancient plan
Of torment, but I hear it
Reported that the frying-pan
Sears best the wicked spirit.
" Go get one
-- fill it up with fat --
Fry sinners brown and good in't. "
" I know a trick worth two o' that, "
Said Nick -- " I'll cook their food in't. "
A pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker,
and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles
The savage dies
-- they sacrifice a horse
To bear to happy hunting-grounds the corse.
Our friends expire -- we make the money fly
In hope their souls will chase it to the sky.
That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our
happiness is assured.
A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated
In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who
Whether on the gallows
Or where blood flows the reddest,
The noblest place for man to die --
Is where he died the deadest.
A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned
into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of
the building. This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures
generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local
heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed
the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation
to the private animosities of the new incumbents.
An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and
desolating the country.
Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude
of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.
An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to
trace his own.
Refined, after the fashion of a gent.
Observe with care,
my son, the distinction I reveal :
A gentleman is gentle and a gent genteel.
Heed not the definitions your " Unabridged " presents,
For dictionary makers are generally gents.
A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world
and the inside.
of wide reknown,
Native of Abu-Keber's ancient town,
In passing thence along the river Zam
To the adjacent village of Xelam,
Bewildered by the multitude of roads,
Got lost, lived long on migratory toads,
Then from exposure miserably died,
And grateful travelers bewailed their guide.
The science of the earth's crust -- to which, doubtless, will be added that of
its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological
formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus : The Primary, or lower
one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique
statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely
made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent
pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated
citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.
The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.
He saw a ghost.
It occupied -- that dismal thing ! --
The path that he was following.
Before he'd time to stop and fly,
An earthquake trifled with the eye
That saw a ghost.
He fell as fall the early good ;
Unmoved that awful vision stood.
The stars that danced before his ken
He wildly brushed away, and then
He saw a post.
Accounting for the uncommon behavior
of ghosts, Heine mentions somebody's ingenious theory to the effect that they
are as much afraid of us as we of them. Not quite, if I may judge from such tables
of comparative speed as I am able to compile from memories of my own experience.There
is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts. A ghost never comes naked :
he appears either in a winding-sheet or " in his habit as he lived. "
To believe in him, then, is to believe that not only have the dead the power to
make themselves visible after there is nothing left of them, but that the same
power inheres in textile fabrics. Supposing the products of the loom to have this
ability, what object would they have in exercising it ? And why does not the apparition
of a suit of clothes sometimes walk abroad without a ghost in it ? These be riddles
of significance. They reach away down and get a convulsive grip on the very tap-root
of this flourishing faith.
A demon addicted to the reprehensible habit of devouring the dead. The existence
of ghouls has been disputed by that class of controversialists who are more concerned
to deprive the world of comforting beliefs than to give it anything good in their
place. In 1640 Father Secchi saw one in a cemetery near Florence and frightened
it away with the sign of the cross. He describes it as gifted with many heads
an an uncommon allowance of limbs, and he saw it in more than one place at a time.
The good man was coming away from dinner at the time and explains that if he had
not been " heavy with eating " he would have seized the demon at all
hazards. Atholston relates that a ghoul was caught by some sturdy peasants in
a churchyard at Sudbury and ducked in a horsepond. (He appears to think that so
distinguished a criminal should have been ducked in a tank of rosewater.) The
water turned at once to blood " and so contynues unto ys daye. " The
pond has since been bled with a ditch. As late as the beginning of the fourteenth
century a ghoul was cornered in the crypt of the cathedral at Amiens and the whole
population surrounded the place. Twenty armed men with a priest at their head,
bearing a crucifix, entered and captured the ghoul, which, thinking to escape
by the stratagem, had transformed itself to the semblance of a well known citizen,
but was nevertheless hanged, drawn and quartered in the midst of hideous popular
orgies. The citizen whose shape the demon had assumed was so affected by the sinister
occurrence that he never again showed himself in Amiens and his fate remains a
A person who escapes the evils of moderation by committing dyspepsia.
In North-European mythology, a dwarfish imp inhabiting the interior parts of the
earth and having special custody of mineral treasures. Bjorsen, who died in 1765,
says gnomes were common enough in the southern parts of Sweden in his boyhood,
and he frequently saw them scampering on the hills in the evening twilight. Ludwig
Binkerhoof saw three as recently as 1792, in the Black Forest, and Sneddeker avers
that in 1803 they drove a party of miners out of a Silesian mine. Basing our computations
upon data supplied by these statements, we find that the gnomes were probably
extinct as early as 1764.
A sect of philosophers who tried to engineer a fusion between the early Christians
and the Platonists. The former would not go into the caucus and the combination
failed, greatly to the chagrin of the fusion managers.
An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse,
a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt,
an earthquake and a cyclone.
A hunter from Kew
caught a distant view
Of a peacefully meditative gnu,
And he said : " I'll pursue, and my hands imbrue
In its blood at a closer interview. "
But that beast did ensue and the hunter it threw
O'er the top of a palm that adjacent grew ;
And he said as he flew : " It is well I withdrew
Ere, losing my temper, I wickedly slew
That really meritorious gnu. "
Sensible, madam, to the worth of this present writer. Alive, sir, to the advantages
of letting him alone.
A bird that supplies quills for writing. These, by some occult process of nature,
are penetrated and suffused with various degrees of the bird's intellectual energies
and emotional character, so that when inked and drawn mechanically across paper
by a person called an " author, " there results a very fair and accurate
transcript of the fowl's thought and feeling. The difference in geese, as discovered
by this ingenious method, is considerable : many are found to have only trivial
and insignificant powers, but some are seen to be very great geese indeed.
The Gorgon was a
Who turned to stone the Greeks of old
That looked upon her awful brow.
We dig them out of ruins now,
And swear that workmanship so bad
Proves all the ancient sculptors mad.
A physician's name for the rheumatism of a rich patient.
Three beautiful goddesses, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne, who attended upon Venus,
serving without salary. They were at no expense for board and clothing, for they
ate nothing to speak of and dressed according to the weather, wearing whatever
breeze happened to be blowing.
A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man,
along the path by which he advances to distinction.
Hail noble fruit
! -- by Homer sung,
Anacreon and Khayyam ;
Thy praise is ever on the tongue
Of better men than I am.
The lyre in my hand
has never swept,
The song I cannot offer :
My humbler service pray accept --
I'll help to kill the scoffer.
and the cranks
Who load their skins with liquor --
I'll gladly bear their belly-tanks
And tap them with my sticker.
Fill up, fill up,
for wisdom cools
When e'er we let the wine rest.
Here's death to Prohibition's fools,
And every kind of vine-pest !
An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American
A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student.
Beside a lonely
grave I stood --
With brambles 'twas encumbered ;
The winds were moaning in the wood,
Unheard by him who slumbered,
A rustic standing
near, I said :
" He cannot hear it blowing ! "
" 'Course not, " said he : " the feller's dead --
He can't hear nowt [sic] that's going. "
" Too true,
" I said ; " alas, too true --
No sound his sense can quicken ! "
" Well, mister, wot is that to you ? --
The deadster ain't a-kickin'. "
I knelt and prayed
: " O Father, smile
On him, and mercy show him ! "
That countryman looked on the while,
And said : " Ye didn't know him. "
The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion
to the quantity of matter they contain -- the quantity of matter they contain
being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This
is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof
of B, makes B the proof of A.
" I'm great,
" the Lion said -- " I reign
The monarch of the wood and plain ! "
The Elephant replied
: " I'm great --
No quadruped can match my weight ! "
" I'm great
-- no animal has half
So long a neck ! " said the Giraffe.
" I'm great,
" the Kangaroo said -- " see
My femoral muscularity ! "
The 'Possum said
: " I'm great -- behold,
My tail is lithe and bald and cold ! "
An Oyster fried
To say : " I'm great because I'm good ! "
Each reckons greatness
In that in which he heads the list,
And Vierick thinks
he tops his class
Because he is the greatest ass.
Arion Spurl Doke
A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.In his
great work on _Divergent Lines of Racial Evolution_, the learned Professor Brayfugle
argues from the prevalence of this gesture -- the shrug -- among Frenchmen, that
they are descended from turtles and it is simply a survival of the habit of retracing
the head inside the shell. It is with reluctance that I differ with so eminent
an authority, but in my judgment (as more elaborately set forth and enforced in
my work entitled _Hereditary Emotions_ -- lib. II, c. XI) the shrug is a poor
foundation upon which to build so important a theory, for previously to the Revolution
the gesture was unknown.
I have not a doubt that it is directly referable to the terror inspired by the
guillotine during the period of that instrument's activity.
An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might
become troublesome if left unadjusted. By most writers the invention of gunpowder
is ascribed to the Chinese, but not upon very convincing evidence. Milton says
it was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion seems to
derive some support from the scarcity of angels. Moreover, it has the hearty concurrence
of the Hon.
James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture.Secretary Wilson became interested in gunpowder
through an event that occurred on the Government experimental farm in the District
of Columbia. One day, several years ago, a rogue imperfectly reverent of the Secretary's
profound attainments and personal character presented him with a sack of gunpowder,
representing it as the sead of the Flashawful flabbergastor, a Patagonian
cereal of great commercial value, admirably adapted to this climate. The good
Secretary was instructed to spill it along in a furrow and afterward inhume it
with soil. This he at once proceeded to do, and had made a continuous line of
it all the way across a ten-acre field, when he was made to look backward by a
shout from the generous donor, who at once dropped a lighted match into the furrow
at the starting-point. Contact with the earth had somewhat dampened the powder,
but the startled functionary saw himself pursued by a tall moving pillar of fire
and smoke and fierce evolution.
He stood for a moment paralyzed and speechless, then he recollected an engagement
and, dropping all, absented himself thence with such surprising celerity that
to the eyes of spectators along the route selected he appeared like a long, dim
streak prolonging itself with inconceivable rapidity through seven villages, and
audibly refusing to be comforted. " Great Scott ! what is that ? " cried
a surveyor's chainman, shading his eyes and gazing at the fading line of agriculturist
which bisected his visible horizon.
" That, " said the surveyor, carelessly glancing at the phenomenon and
again centering his attention upon his instrument, " is the Meridian of Washington.
A writ by which a man may be taken out of jail when confined for the wrong crime.
A shackle for the free.
The lower world ; the residence of departed spirits ; the place where the dead
live. Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our Hell, many
of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in a very comfortable
kind of way. Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves were a part of Hades, though
they have since been removed to Paris. When the Jacobean version of the New Testament
was in process of evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted
by a majority vote on translating the Greek word " Aides " as "
Hell " ; but a conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of
the record and struck out the objectional word wherever he could find it. At the
next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly sprang
to his feet and said with considerable excitement : " Gentlemen, somebody
has been razing 'Hell' here ! " Years afterward the good prelate's death
was made sweet by the reflection that he had been the means (under Providence)
of making an important, serviceable and immortal addition to the phraseology of
the English tongue.
An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like ; sometimes called, also, a hen,
or cat. Old witches, sorceresses, etc., were called hags from the belief that
their heads were surrounded by a kind of baleful lumination or nimbus -- hag being
the popular name of that peculiar electrical light sometimes observed in the hair.
At one time hag was not a word of reproach : Drayton speaks of a " beautiful
hag, all smiles, " much as Shakespeare said, " sweet wench. " It
would not now be proper to call your sweetheart a hag -- that compliment is reserved
for the use of her grandchildren.
One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or considered as divided.
In the fourteenth century a heated discussion arose among theologists and philosophers
as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves ; and the pious
Father Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would demonstrate
the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and unmistakable way, and particularly
(if it should please Him) upon the body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus,
who maintained the negative. Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite
of a viper.
Properly, a luminous ring encircling an astronomical body, but not infrequently
confounded with " aureola, " or " nimbus, " a somewhat similar
phenomenon worn as a head-dress by divinities and saints. The halo is a purely
optical illusion, produced by moisture in the air, in the manner of a rainbow
; but the aureola is conferred as a sign of superior sanctity, in the same way
as a bishop's mitre, or the Pope's tiara. In the painting of the Nativity, by
Szedgkin, a pious artist of Pesth, not only do the Virgin and the Child wear the
nimbus, but an ass nibbling hay from the sacred manger is similarly decorated
and, to his lasting honor be it said, appears to bear his unaccustomed dignity
with a truly saintly grace.
A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into
A small square of silk or linen, used in various ignoble offices about the face
and especially serviceable at funerals to conceal the lack of tears. The handkerchief
is of recent invention ; our ancestors knew nothing of it and intrusted its duties
to the sleeve. Shakespeare's introducing it into the play of " Othello "
is an anachronism : Desdemona dried her nose with her skirt, as Dr. Mary Walker
and other reformers have done with their coattails in our own day -- an evidence
that revolutions sometimes go backward.
An officer of the law charged with duties of the highest dignity and utmost gravity,
and held in hereditary disesteem by a populace having a criminal ancestry. In
some of the American States his functions are now performed by an electrician,
as in New Jersey, where executions by electricity have recently been ordered --
the first instance known to this lexicographer of anybody questioning the expediency
of hanging Jerseymen.
An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
A speech by an opponent, who is known as an harrangue- outang.
A place where ships taking shelter from stores are exposed to the fury of the
A sect of Protestants, now extinct, who came from Europe in the beginning of the
last century and were distinguished for the bitterness of their internal controversies
There is no definition for this word -- nobody knows what hash is.
A young axe, known among Indians as a Thomashawk.
" O bury the
hatchet, irascible Red,
For peace is a blessing, " the White Man said.
The Savage concurred, and that weapon interred,
With imposing rites, in the White Man's head.
A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority.
A capitation tax, or poll-tax.
In ancient times
there lived a king
Whose tax-collectors could not wring
From all his subjects gold enough
To make the royal way less rough.
For pleasure's highway, like the dames
Whose premises adjoin it, claims
Perpetual repairing. So
The tax-collectors in a row
Appeared before the throne to pray
Their master to devise some way
To swell the revenue. " So great, "
Said they, " are the demands of state
A tithe of all that we collect
Will scarcely meet them. Pray reflect :
How, if one-tenth we must resign,
Can we exist on t'other nine ? "
The monarch asked them in reply :
" Has it occurred to you to try
The advantage of economy ? "
" It has, " the spokesman said : " we sold
All of our gray garrotes of gold ;
With plated-ware we now compress
The necks of those whom we assess.
Plain iron forceps we employ
To mitigate the miser's joy
Who hoards, with greed that never tires,
That which your Majesty requires. "
Deep lines of thought were seen to plow
Their way across the royal brow.
" Your state is desperate, no question ;
Pray favor me with a suggestion. "
" O King of Men, " the spokesman said,
" If you'll impose upon each head
A tax, the augmented revenue
We'll cheerfully divide with you. "
As flashes of the sun illume
The parted storm-cloud's sullen gloom,
The king smiled grimly. " I decree
That it be so -- and, not to be
In generosity outdone,
Declare you, each and every one,
Exempted from the operation
Of this new law of capitation.
But lest the people
Because they're bound and you are free,
'Twere well some clever scheme were laid
By you this poll-tax to evade.
I'll leave you now while you confer
With my most trusted minister. "
The monarch from the throne-room walked
And straightway in among them stalked
A silent man, with brow concealed,
Bare-armed -- his gleaming axe revealed !
An automatic, muscular blood-pump. Figuratively, this useful organ is said to
be the esat of emotions and sentiments -- a very pretty fancy which, however,
is nothing but a survival of a once universal belief. It is now known that the
sentiments and emotions reside in the stomach, being evolved from food by chemical
action of the gastric fluid. The exact process by which a beefsteak becomes a
feeling -- tender or not, according to the age of the animal from which it was
cut ; the successive stages of elaboration through which a caviar sandwich is
transmuted to a quaint fancy and reappears as a pungent epigram ; the marvelous
functional methods of converting a hard-boiled egg into religious contrition,
or a cream-puff into a sigh of sensibility -- these things have been patiently
ascertained by M. Pasteur, and by him expounded with convincing lucidity. (See,
also, my monograph, The Essential Identity of the Spiritual Affections and
Certain Intestinal Gases Freed in Digestion -- 4to, 687 pp.) In a scientific
work entitled, I believe, Delectatio Demonorum (John Camden Hotton, London,
1873) this view of the sentiments receives a striking illustration ; and for further
light consult Professor Dam's famous treatise on Love as a Product of Alimentary
Heat, says Professor
Tyndall, is a mode
Of motion, but I know now how he's proving
His point ; but this I know -- hot words bestowed
With skill will set the human fist a-moving,
And where it stops the stars burn free and wild.
_Crede expertum_ -- I have seen them, child.
A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and
feel. According to Professor Howison, of the California State University, Hebrews
" The Hebrews
are heathens ! " says Howison.
A Christian philosopher. I'm
A scurril agnostical chap, if you please,
Addicted too much to the crime
Of religious discussion in my rhyme.
Though Hebrew and
Howison cannot agree
On a modus vivendi -- not they ! --
Yet Heaven has had the designing of me,
And I haven't been reared in a way
To joy in the thick of the fray.
For this of my creed
is the soul and the gist,
And the truth of it I aver :
Who differs from me in his faith is an 'ist,
And 'ite, an 'ie, or an 'er --
And I'm down upon him or her !
Let Howison urge
with perfunctory chin
Toleration -- that's all very well,
But a roast is " nuts " to his nostril thin,
And he's running -- I know by the smell --
A secret and personal Hell !
A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal
affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.
A male Jew, as distinguished from the Shebrew, an altogether superior creation.
A wife, or bitter half.
" Now, why
is yer wife called a helpmate, Pat ? "
Says the priest. " Since the time 'o yer wooin'
She's niver [sic] assisted in what ye were at --
For it's naught ye are ever doin'. "
" That's true
of yer Riverence [sic], " Patrick replies,
And no sign of contrition envices ;
" But, bedad, it's a fact which the word implies,
For she helps to mate the expinses [sic] ! "
A plant from whose fibrous bark is made an article of neckwear which is frequently
put on after public speaking in the open air and prevents the wearer from taking
A person whose vices and follies are not sociable.
To pass the winter season in domestic seclusion.
There have been many singular popular notions about the hibernation of various
animals. Many believe that the bear hibernates during the whole winter and subsists
by mechanically sucking its paws. It is admitted that it comes out of its retirement
in the spring so lean that it had to try twice before it can cast a shadow. Three
or four centuries ago, in England, no fact was better attested than that swallows
passed the winter months in the mud at the bottom of their brooks, clinging together
in globular masses. They have apparently been compelled to give up the custom
and account of the foulness of the brooks. Sotus Ecobius discovered in Central
Asia a whole nation of people who hibernate. By some investigators, the fasting
of Lent is supposed to have been originally a modified form of hibernation, to
which the Church gave a religious significance ; but this view was strenuously
opposed by that eminent authority, Bishop Kip, who did not wish any honors denied
to the memory of the Founder of his family.
An animal (now extinct) which was half horse and half griffin.
The griffin was itself a compound creature, half lion and half eagle. The hippogriff
was actually, therefore, a one-quarter eagle, which is two dollars and fifty cents
in gold. The study of zoology is full of surprises.
A broad-gauge gossip.
An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about
by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
Of Roman history,
great Niebuhr's shown
'Tis nine-tenths lying. Faith, I wish 'twere known,
Ere we accept great Niebuhr as a guide,
Wherein he blundered and how much he lied.
A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate
that of ours. Among the Mahometans and Jews, the hog is not in favor as an article
of diet, but is respected for the delicacy and the melody of its voice. It is
chiefly as a songster that the fowl is esteemed ; the cage of him in full chorus
has been known to draw tears from two persons at once. The scientific name of
this dicky-bird is Porcus Rockefelleri. Mr. Rockefeller did not discover
the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance.
The humorist of the medical profession.
A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last
both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary
diseases, and they can not.
The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homocide :
felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference
to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another -- the classification
is for advantage of the lawyers.
The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions
of the congregation.
So skilled the parson
was in homiletics
That all his normal purges and emetics
To medicine the spirit were compounded
With a most just discrimination founded
Upon a rigorous examination
Of tongue and pulse and heart and respiration.
Then, having diagnosed each one's condition,
His scriptural specifics this physician
Administered -- his pills so efficacious
And pukes of disposition so vivacious
That souls afflicted with ten kinds of Adam
Were convalescent ere they knew they had 'em.
But Slander's tongue -- itself all coated -- uttered
Her bilious mind and scandalously muttered
That in the case of patients having money
The pills were sugar and the pukes were honey.
_Biography of Bishop Potter_
Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary
to mention all members as honorable ; as, " the honorable gentleman is a
scurvy cur. "
Desire and expectation rolled into one.
Delicious Hope !
when naught to man it left --
Of fortune destitute, of friends bereft ;
When even his dog deserts him, and his goat
With tranquil disaffection chews his coat
While yet it hangs upon his back ; then thou,
The star far-flaming on thine angel brow,
Descendest, radiant, from the skies to hint
The promise of a clerkship in the Mint.
The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need
of food and lodging.
A peculiarly sharp and specially applied sense of the earth's overpopulation.
Hostility is classified as active and passive ; as (respectively) the feeling
of a woman for her female friends, and that which she entertains for all the rest
of her sex.
A comely female inhabiting the Mohammedan Paradise to make things cheery for the
good Mussulman, whose belief in her existence marks a noble discontent with his
earthly spouse, whom he denies a soul. By that good lady the Houris are said to
be held in deficient esteem.
A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beelte, cockroach,
fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus and microbe. House of Correction, a place
of reward for political and personal service, and for the detention of offenders
and appropriations. House of God, a building with a steeple and a mortgage
on it. House-dog, a pestilent beast kept on domestic premises to insult
persons passing by and appal the hardy visitor. House-maid, a youngerly
person of the opposing sex employed to be variously disagreeable and ingeniously
unclean in the station in which it has pleased God to place her.
Having paid all taxes on household goods.
The fruit of a flower called the Palace.
Twaddle had a hovel,
Twiddle had a palace ;
Twaddle said : " I'll grovel
Or he'll think I bear him malice " --
A sentiment as novel
As a castor on a chalice.
Down upon the middle
Of his legs fell Twaddle
And astonished Mr. Twiddle,
Who began to lift his noddle.
Feed upon the fiddle-
Faddle flummery, unswaddle
A new-born self-sufficiency and think himself a [mockery.]
The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets.
A plague that would have softened down the hoar austerity of Pharaoh's heart and
persuaded him to dismiss Israel with his best wishes, cat-quick.
Lo ! the poor humorist,
whose tortured mind
See jokes in crowds, though still to gloom inclined --
Whose simple appetite, untaught to stray,
His brains, renewed by night, consumes by day.
He thinks, admitted to an equal sty,
A graceful hog would bear his company.
An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for
the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies
and is preferred by certain old-fashioned sea-captains. It is also used in the
construction of the upper decks of steamboats, but generally speaking, the hurricane's
usefulness has outlasted it.
The dispatch of bunglers.
One who, having dined, is charged with the care of the plate.
A pooled issue.
A kind of animal that the ancients catalogued under many heads.
A beast held in reverence by some oriental nations from its habit of frequenting
at night the burial-places of the dead. But the medical student does that.
Depression of one's own spirits.
Some heaps of trash
upon a vacant lot
Where long the village rubbish had been shot
Displayed a sign among the stuff and stumps --
" Hypochondriasis. " It meant The Dumps.
Bogul S. Purvy
I is the first letter of the
alphabet, the first word of the language, the first thought of the mind, the first
object of affection.
One who, professing virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of
seeming to be what he depises.
In grammar it is a pronoun of the first person and singular number. Its plural
is said to be We, but how there can be more than one myself is doubtless
clearer the grammarians than it is to the author of this incomparable dictionary.
Conception of two myselfs is difficult, but fine. The frank yet graceful use of
" I " distinguishes a good writer from a bad ; the latter carries it
with the manner of a thief trying to cloak his loot.
A fluid that serves the gods and goddesses in place of blood.
Fair Venus, speared
Restrained the raging chief and said :
" Behold, rash mortal, whom you've bled --
Your soul's stained white with ichorshed ! "
A breaker of idols, the worshipers whereof are imperfectly gratified by the performance,
and most strenuously protest that he unbuildeth but doth not reedify, that he
pulleth down but pileth not up. For the poor things would have other idols in
place of those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth. But the iconoclast
saith : " Ye shall have none at all, for ye need them not ; and if the rebuilder
fooleth round hereabout, behold I will depress the head of him and sit thereon
till he squawk it. "
A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always
been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special
field of thought or action, but " pervades and regulates the whole. "
He has the last word in everything ; his decision is unappealable. He sets the
fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes
conduct with a dead-line.
A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the
growth of staple vices.
A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and
having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.
Dumble was an ignoramus,
Mumble was for learning famous.
Mumble said one day to Dumble :
" Ignorance should be more humble.
Not a spark have you of knowledge
That was got in any college. "
Dumble said to Mumble : " Truly
You're self-satisfied unduly.
Of things in college I'm denied
A knowledge -- you of all beside. "
A sect of Spanish heretics of the latter part of the sixteenth century ; so called
because they were light weights -- cunctationes illuminati.
Suitably placed for the shafts of malice, envy and detraction.
A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.
A kind of divine inspiration, or sacred fire affecting censorious critics of this
An unenlightened person who thinks one country better than another.
Having a strong sense of one's own merit, coupled with a feeble conception of
worth in others.
There was once a
man in Ispahan
Ever and ever so long ago,
And he had a head, the phrenologists said,
That fitted him for a show.
For his modesty's
bump was so large a lump
(Nature, they said, had taken a freak)
That its summit stood far above the wood
Of his hair, like a mountain peak.
So modest a man
in all Ispahan,
Over and over again they swore --
So humble and meek, you would vainly seek ;
None ever was found before.
Meantime the hump
of that awful bump
Into the heavens contrived to get
To so great a height that they called the wight
The man with the minaret.
There wasn't a man
in all Ispahan
Prouder, or louder in praise of his chump :
With a tireless tongue and a brazen lung
He bragged of that beautiful bump
Till the Shah in
a rage sent a trusty page
Bearing a sack and a bow-string too,
And that gentle child explained as he smiled :
" A little present for you. "
The saddest man
in all Ispahan,
Sniffed at the gift, yet accepted the same.
" If I'd lived, " said he, " my humility
Had given me deathless fame ! "
Inexpedient. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of
instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked,
immoral. If man's notions of right and wrong have any other basis than this of
expediency ; if they originated, or could have originated, in any other way ;
if actions have in themselves a moral character apart from, and nowise dependent
on, their consequences -- then all philosophy is a lie and reason a disorder of
A toy which people
And on their knees apply for,
Dispute, contend and lie for,
And if allowed
Would be right proud
Eternally to die for.
In popular usage to pierce with any weapon which remains fixed in the wound. This,
however, is inaccurate ; to imaple is, properly, to put to death by thrusting
an upright sharp stake into the body, the victim being left in a sitting position.
This was a common mode of punishment among many of the nations of antiquity, and
is still in high favor in China and other parts of Asia. Down to the beginning
of the fifteenth century it was widely employed in " churching " heretics
and schismatics. Wolecraft calls it the " stoole of repentynge, " and
among the common people it was jocularly known as " riding the one legged
horse. " Ludwig Salzmann informs us that in Thibet impalement is considered
the most appropriate punishment for crimes against religion ; and although in
China it is sometimes awarded for secular offences, it is most frequently adjudged
in cases of sacrilege. To the person in actual experience of impalement it must
be a matter of minor importance by what kind of civil or religious dissent he
was made acquainted with its discomforts ; but doubtless he would feel a certain
satisfaction if able to contemplate himself in the character of a weather-cock
on the spire of the True Church.
Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side
of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.
A state of mind intermediate in point of time between sin and punishment.
Your irreverence toward my deity.
The act of blessing or consecrating by the laying on of hands -- a ceremony common
to many ecclesiastical systems, but performed with the frankest sincerity by the
sect known as Thieves.
" Lo ! by the
laying on of hands, "
Say parson, priest and dervise,
" We consecrate your cash and lands
To ecclesiastical service.
No doubt you'll swear till all is blue
At such an imposition.
A rival aspirant to public honors.
His tale he told
with a solemn face
And a tender, melancholy grace.
Improbable 'twas, no doubt,
When you came to think it out,
But the fascinated crowd
Their deep surprise avowed
And all with a single voice averred
'Twas the most amazing thing they'd heard --
All save one who spake never a word,
But sat as mum
As if deaf and dumb,
Serene, indifferent and unstirred.
Then all the others turned to him
And scrutinized him limb from limb --
Scanned him alive ;
But he seemed to thrive
And tranquiler grow each minute,
As if there were nothing in it.
" What ! what ! " cried one, " are you not amazed
At what our friend has told ? " He raised
Soberly then his eyes and gazed
In a natural way
And proceeded to say,
As he crossed his feet on the mantel-shelf :
" O no -- not at all ; I'm a liar myself. "
Provision for the needs of to-day from the revenues of to-morrow.
Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of testimony which juries
are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule
out, even of proceedings before themselves alone. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible
because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for examination
; yet most momentous actions, military, political, commercial and of every other
kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world
that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay evidence
; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long
dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known to have been
sworn in any sense. Under the rules of evidence as they now exist in this country,
no single assertion in the Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in
a court of law. It cannot be proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought,
that there was such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria. But
as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful
and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence
(including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and
executed was without a flaw ; it is still unimpeachable. The judges' decisions
based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was
ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which
so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason
are alike destitute of value.
In an unpromising manner, the auspices being unfavorable. Among the Romans it
was customary before undertaking any important action or enterprise to obtain
from the augurs, or state prophets, some hint of its probable outcome ; and one
of their favorite and most trustworthy modes of divination consisted in observing
the flight of birds -- the omens thence derived being called auspices.
Newspaper reporters and certain miscreant lexicographers have decided that the
word -- always in the plural -- shall mean " patronage " or " management
" ; as, " The festivities were under the auspices of the Ancient and
Honorable Order of Body-Snatchers " ; or, " The hilarities were auspicated
by the Knights of Hunger. "
A Roman slave appeared
Before the Augur. " Tell me, pray,
If -- " here the Augur, smiling, made
A checking gesture and displayed
His open palm, which plainly itched,
For visibly its surface twitched.
A _denarius_ (the Latin nickel)
Successfully allayed the tickle,
And then the slave proceeded : " Please
Inform me whether Fate decrees
Success or failure in what I
To-night (if it be dark) shall try.
Its nature ? Never mind -- I think
'Tis writ on this " -- and with a wink
Which darkened half the earth, he drew
Another denarius to view,
Its shining face attentive scanned,
Then slipped it into the good man's hand,
Who with great gravity said : " Wait
While I retire to question Fate. "
That holy person then withdrew
His scared clay and, passing through
The temple's rearward gate, cried " Shoo ! "
Waving his robe of office. Straight
Each sacred peacock and its mate
(Maintained for Juno's favor) fled
With clamor from the trees o'erhead,
Where they were perching for the night.
The temple's roof received their flight,
For thither they would always go,
When danger threatened them below.
Back to the slave the Augur went :
" My son, forecasting the event
By flight of birds, I must confess
The auspices deny success. "
That slave retired, a sadder man,
Abandoning his secret plan --
Which was (as well the craft seer
Had from the first divined) to clear
The wall and fraudulently seize
On Juno's poultry in the trees.
The natural and rational gauge and measure of respectability, the commonly accepted
standards being artificial, arbitrary and fallacious ; for, as " Sir Sycophas
Chrysolater " in the play has justly remarked, " the true use and function
of property (in whatsoever it consisteth -- coins, or land, or houses, or merchant-stuff,
or anything which may be named as holden of right to one's own subservience) as
also of honors, titles, preferments and place, and all favor and acquaintance
of persons of quality or ableness, are but to get money. Hence it followeth that
all things are truly to be rated as of worth in measure of their serviceableness
to that end ; and their possessors should take rank in agreement thereto, neither
the lord of an unproducing manor, howsoever broad and ancient, nor he who bears
an unremunerate dignity, nor yet the pauper favorite of a king, being esteemed
of level excellency with him whose riches are of daily accretion ; and hardly
should they whose wealth is barren claim and rightly take more honor than the
poor and unworthy. "
In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination.
Incompatibility may, however, consist of a meek-eyed matron living just around
the corner. It has even been known to wear a moustache.
Unable to exist if something else exists. Two things are incompossible when the
world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both -- as
Walt Whitman's poetry and God's mercy to man.
Incompossibility, it will be seen, is only incompatibility let loose. Instead
of such low language as " Go heel yourself -- I mean to kill you on sight,
" the words, " Sir, we are incompossible, " would convey and equally
significant intimation and in stately courtesy are altogether superior.
One of a race of highly improper demons who, though probably not wholly extinct,
may be said to have seen their best nights. For a complete account of incubi
and succubi, including incubae and succubae, see the Liber
Demonorum of Protassus (Paris, 1328), which contains much curious information
that would be out of place in a dictionary intended as a text-book for the public
schools.Victor Hugo relates that in the Channel Islands Satan himself -- tempted
more than elsewhere by the beauty of the women, doubtless -- sometimes plays at
_incubus_, greatly to the inconvenience and alarm of the good dames who wish to
be loyal to their marriage vows, generally speaking. A certain lady applied to
the parish priest to learn how they might, in the dark, distinguish the hardy
intruder from their husbands. The holy man said they must feel his brown for horns
; but Hugo is ungallant enough to hint a doubt of the efficacy of the test.
A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.
The chief element of success ; " for whereas, " saith Sir Thomas Brewbold,
" there is but one way to do nothing and divers way to do something, whereof,
to a surety, only one is the right way, it followeth that he who from indecision
standeth still hath not so many chances of going astray as he who pusheth forwards
" -- a most clear and satisfactory exposition on the matter. " Your
prompt decision to attack, " said Genera Grant on a certain occasion to General
Gordon Granger, " was admirable ; you had but five minutes to make up your
mind in. "
" Yes, sir, " answered the victorious subordinate, " it is a great
thing to be know exactly what to do in an emergency. When in doubt whether to
attack or retreat I never hesitate a moment -- I toss us a copper. " "
Do you mean to say that's what you did this time ? " " Yes, General
; but for Heaven's sake don't reprimand me : I disobeyed the coin. "
Imperfectly sensible to distinctions among things.
" You tiresome
man ! " cried Indolentio's wife,
" You've grown indifferent to all in life. "
" Indifferent ? " he drawled with a slow smile ;
" I would be, dear, but it is not worth while. "
Apuleius M. Gokul
A disease which the patient and his friends requently mistake for deep religious
conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of
the western wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force : "
Plenty well, no pray ; big bellyache, heap God. "
The guilt of woman.
Not calculated to advance one's interests.
The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, " Heaven lies about
us. " The world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.
[Latin] Among the Greeks and Romans, sacrifices for propitation of the Dii
Manes, or souls of the dead heroes ; for the pious ancients could not invent
enough gods to satisfy their spiritual needs, and had to have a number of makeshift
deities, or, as a sailor might say, jury-gods, which they made out of the most
unpromising materials. It was while sacrificing a bullock to the spirit of Agamemnon
that Laiaides, a priest of Aulis, was favored with an audience of that illustrious
warrior's shade, who prophetically recounted to him the birth of Christ and the
triumph of Christianity, giving him also a rapid but tolerably complete review
of events down to the reign of Saint Louis. The narrative ended abruptly at the
point, owing to the inconsiderate crowing of a cock, which compelled the ghosted
King of Men to scamper back to Hades. There is a fine mediaeval flavor to this
story, and as it has not been traced back further than Pere Brateille, a pious
but obscure writer at the court of Saint Louis, we shall probably not err on the
side of presumption in considering it apocryphal, though Monsignor Capel's judgment
of the matter might be different ; and to that I bow -- wow.
In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion ; in Constantinople,
one who does. (See GIAOUR.) A kind of scoundrel imperfectly reverent of, and niggardly
contributory to, divines, ecclesiastics, popes, parsons, canons, monks, mollahs,
voodoos, presbyters, hierophants, prelates, obeah-men, abbes, nuns, missionaries,
exhorters, deacons, friars, hadjis, high-priests, muezzins, brahmins, medicine-men,
confessors, eminences, elders, primates, prebendaries, pilgrims, prophets, imaums,
beneficiaries, clerks, vicars-choral, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, preachers,
padres, abbotesses, caloyers, palmers, curates, patriarchs, bonezs, santons, beadsmen,
canonesses, residentiaries, diocesans, deans, subdeans, rural deans, abdals, charm-sellers,
archdeacons, hierarchs, class-leaders, incumbents, capitulars, sheiks, talapoins,
postulants, scribes, gooroos, precentors, beadles, fakeers, sextons, reverences,
revivalists, cenobites, perpetual curates, chaplains, mudjoes, readers, novices,
vicars, pastors, rabbis, ulemas, lamas,
sacristans, vergers, dervises, lectors, church wardens, cardinals, prioresses,
suffragans, acolytes, rectors, cures, sophis, mutifs and pumpums.
In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid.
One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have sinned unless he had a mind
to -- in opposition to the Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person's
fall was decreed from the beginning. Infralapsarians are sometimes called Sublapsarians
without material effect upon the importance and lucidity of their views about
Two theologues once,
as they wended their way
To chapel, engaged in colloquial fray --
An earnest logomachy, bitter as gall,
Concerning poor Adam and what made him fall.
" 'Twas Predestination, " cried one -- " for the Lord
Decreed he should fall of his own accord. "
" Not so -- 'twas Free will, " the other maintained,
" Which led him to choose what the Lord had ordained. "
So fierce and so fiery grew the debate
That nothing but bloodshed their dudgeon could sate ;
So off flew their cassocks and caps to the ground
And, moved by the spirit, their hands went round.
Ere either had proved his theology right
By winning, or even beginning, the fight,
A gray old professor of Latin came by,
A staff in his hand and a scowl in his eye,
And learning the cause of their quarrel (for still
As they clumsily sparred they disputed with skill
Of foreordination freedom of will)
Cried : " Sirrahs ! this reasonless warfare compose :
Atwixt ye's no difference worthy of blows.
The sects ye belong to -- I'm ready to swear
Ye wrongly interpret the names that they bear.
_You_ -- Infralapsarian son of a clown ! --
Should only contend that Adam slipped down ;
While _you_ -- you Supralapsarian pup ! --
Should nothing aver but that Adam slipped up.
It's all the same whether up or down
You slip on a peel of banana brown.
Even Adam analyzed not his blunder,
But thought he had slipped on a peal of thunder !
One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise an object of charity.
" All men are
ingrates, " sneered the cynic. " Nay, "
The good philanthropist replied ;
" I did great service to a man one day
Who never since has cursed me to repay,
Nor vilified. "
" Ho ! "
cried the cynic, " lead me to him straight --
With veneration I am overcome,
And fain would have his blessing. " " Sad your fate --
He cannot bless you, for AI grieve to state
This man is dumb. "
An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.
A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest
in the hands and heaviest upon the back.
A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water, chiefly used
to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime. The properties
of ink are peculiar and contradictory : it may be used to make reputations and
unmake them ; to blacken them and to make them white ; but it is most generally
and acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones of an edifice
of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal quality of the material.
There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons
pay money to get into, others to get out of. Not infrequently it occurs that a
person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out.
Natural, inherent -- as innate ideas, that is to say, ideas that we are born with,
having had them previously imparted to us. The doctrine of innate ideas is one
of the most admirable faiths of philosophy, being itself an innate idea and therefore
inaccessible to disproof, though Locke foolishly supposed himself to have given
it " a black eye. " Among innate ideas may be mentioned the belief in
one's ability to conduct a newspaper, in the greatness of one's country, in the
superiority of one's civilization, in the importance of one's personal affairs
and in the interesting nature of one's diseases.
The stomach, heart, soul and other bowels. Many eminent investigators do not class
the soul as an in'ard, but that acute observer and renowned authority, Dr. Gunsaulus,
is persuaded that the mysterious organ known as the spleen is nothing less than
our important part. To the contrary, Professor Garrett P. Servis holds that man's
soul is that prolongation of his spinal marrow which forms the pith of his no
tail ; and for demonstration of his faith points confidently to the fact that
no tailed animals have no souls. Concerning these two theories, it is best to
suspend judgment by believing both.
Something written on another thing. Inscriptions are of many kinds, but mostly
memorial, intended to commemorate the fame of some illustrious person and hand
down to distant ages the record of his services and virtues. To this class of
inscriptions belongs the name of John Smith, penciled on the Washington monument.
Following are examples of memorial inscriptions on tombstones : (See EPITAPH.)
" In the sky
my soul is found,
And my body in the ground.
By and by my body'll rise
To my spirit in the skies,
Soaring up to Heaven's gate.
" Sacred to
the memory of Jeremiah Tree. Cut down May 9th, 1862,
aged 27 yrs. 4 mos. and 12 ds. Indigenous. "
sore long time she boar,
Phisicians was in vain,
Till Deth released the dear deceased
And left her a remain.
Gone to join Ananias in the regions of bliss. "
" The clay
that rests beneath this stone
As Silas Wood was widely known.
Now, lying here, I ask what good
It was to let me be S. Wood.
O Man, let not ambition trouble you,
Is the advice of Silas W. "
" Richard Haymon,
Fell to Earth Jan.
20, 1807, and had
the dust brushed off him Oct. 3, 1874. "
" See, "
cries the chorus of admiring preachers,
" How Providence provides for all His creatures ! "
" His care, " the gnat said, " even the insects follows :
For us He has provided wrens and swallows. "
An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the
comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.
INSURANCE AGENT : My dear sir, that
is a fine house -- pray let me insure it.
HOUSE OWNER : With pleasure. Please
make the annual premium so low that by the time when, according to the tables
of your actuary, it will probably be destroyed by fire I will have paid you considerably
less than the face of the policy.
INSURANCE AGENT : O dear, no --
we could not afford to do that. We must fix the premium so that you will have
HOUSE OWNER : How, then, can I
afford that ?
INSURANCE AGENT : Why, your house
may burn down at any time. There was Smith's house, for example, which --
HOUSE OWNER : Spare me -- there
were Brown's house, on the contrary, and Jones's house, and Robinson's house,
INSURANCE AGENT : Spare _me_ !
HOUSE OWNER : Let us understand
each other. You want me to pay you money on the supposition that something will
occur previously to the time set by yourself for its occurrence. In other words,
you expect me to bet that my house will not last so long as you say that it will
INSURANCE AGENT : But if your house
burns without insurance it will be a total loss.
HOUSE OWNER : Beg your pardon --
by your own actuary's tables I shall probably have saved, when it burns, all the
premiums I would otherwise have paid to you -- amounting to more than the face
of the policy they would have bought. But suppose it to burn, uninsured, before
the time upon which your figures are based. If I could not afford that, how could
you if it were insured ?
INSURANCE AGENT : O, we should
make ourselves whole from our luckier ventures with other clients. Virtually,
they pay your loss.
HOUSE OWNER : And virtually, then,
don't I help to pay their losses ? Are not their houses as likely as mine to burn
before they have paid you as much as you must pay them ? The case stands this
way : you expect to take more money from your clients than you pay to them, do
you not ?
INSURANCE AGENT : Certainly ; if
we did not --
HOUSE OWNER : I would not trust
you with my money. Very well then. If it is certain, with reference to
the whole body of your clients, that they lose money on you it is probable,
with reference to any one of them, that he will. It is these individual
probabilities that make the aggregate certainty.
INSURANCE AGENT : I will not deny
it -- but look at the figures in this pamph --
HOUSE OWNER : Heaven forbid !
INSURANCE AGENT : You spoke of
saving the premiums which you would otherwise pay to me. Will you not be more
likely to squander them ? We offer you an incentive to thrift.
HOUSE OWNER : The willingness of
A to take care of B's money is not peculiar to insurance, but as a charitable
institution you command esteem. Deign to accept its expression from a Deserving
An unsuccessful revolution.
Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.
The mind's sense of the prevalence of one set of influences over another set ;
an effect whose cause is the imminence, immediate or remote, of the performance
of an involuntary act.
One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by
repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the
other to have said.
The period during which a monarchical country is governed by a warm spot on the
cushion of the throne. The experiment of letting the spot grow cold has commonly
been attended by most unhappy results from the zeal of many worthy persons to
make it warm again.
A relation into which fools are providentially drawn for their mutual destruction.
Two Seidlitz powders,
one in blue
And one in white, together drew
And having each a pleasant sense
Of t'other powder's excellence,
Forsook their jackets for the snug
Enjoyment of a common mug.
So close their intimacy grew
One paper would have held the two.
To confidences straight they fell,
Less anxious each to hear than tell ;
Then each remorsefully confessed
To all the virtues he possessed,
Acknowledging he had them in
So high degree it was a sin.
The more they said, the more they felt
Their spirits with emotion melt,
Till tears of sentiment expressed
Their feelings. Then they effervesced !
So Nature executes her feats
Of wrath on friends and sympathetes
The good old rule who don't apply,
That you are you and I am I.
A social ceremony invented by the devil for the gratification of his servants
and the plaguing of his enemies. The introduction attains its most malevolent
development in this century, being, indeed, closely related to our political system.
Every American being the equal of every other American, it follows that
everybody has the right to know everybody else, which implies the right to introduce
without request or permission.
The Declaration of Independence should have read thus :
" We hold these
truths to be self-evident : that all men are
created equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights ; that among these are life, and the right to
make that of another miserable by thrusting upon him an
incalculable quantity of acquaintances ; liberty, particularly the
liberty to introduce persons to one another without first
ascertaining if they are not already acquainted as enemies ; and
the pursuit of another's happiness with a running pack of
A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and
believes it civilization.
The principal one of the great faiths of the world.
J is a consonant in English,
but some nations use it as a vowel -- than which nothing could be more absurd.
Its original form, which has been but slightly modified, was that of the tail
of a subdued dog, and it was not a letter but a character, standing for a Latin
verb, jacere, " to throw, " because when a stone is thrown at
a dog the dog's tail assumes that shape. This is the origin of the letter, as
expounded by the renowned Dr. Jocolpus Bumer, of the University of Belgrade, who
established his conclusions on the subject in a work of three quarto volumes and
committed suicide on being reminded that the j in the Roman alphabet had originally
The patriotism of a Scotchman.
Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not
An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose business it was to amuse
the court by ludicrous actions and utterances, the absurdity being attested by
his motley costume. The king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world
some centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were sufficiently
ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind. The jester
was commonly called a fool, but the poets and romancers have ever delighted to
represent him as a singularly wise and witty person.
In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the court fool effects the dejection
of humbler audiences with the same jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble
hall, panged the patrician sense of humor and tapped the tank of royal tears.
Had an audacious jester
Who entered the confessional
Disguised, and there confessed her.
" Father, "
she said, " thine ear bend down --
My sins are more than scarlet :
I love my fool -- blaspheming clown,
And common, base-born varlet. "
" the mimic priest replied,
" That sin, indeed, is awful :
The church's pardon is denied
To love that is unlawful.
" But since
thy stubborn heart will be
For him forever pleading,
Thou'dst better make him, by decree,
A man of birth and breeding. "
She made the fool
a duke, in hope
With Heaven's taboo to palter ;
Then told a priest, who told the Pope,
Who damned her from the altar !
An unmusical instrument, played by holding it fast with the teeth and trying to
brush it away with the finger.
Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of
certain sacred rites of our holy religion.
K is a consonant that we get
from the Greeks, but it can be traced away back beyond them to the Cerathians,
a small commercial nation inhabiting the peninsula of Smero. In their tongue it
was called Klatch, which means " destroyed. " The form of the
letter was originally precisely that of our H, but the erudite Dr. Snedeker explains
that it was altered to its present shape to commemorate the destruction of the
great temple of Jarute by an earthquake, circa 730 B.C. This building was
famous for the two lofty columns of its portico, one of which was broken in half
by the catastrophe, the other remaining intact. As the earlier form of the letter
is supposed to have been suggested by these pillars, so, it is thought by the
great antiquary, its later was adopted as a simple and natural -- not to say touching
-- means of keeping the calamity ever in the national memory. It is not known
if the name of the letter was altered as an additional mnemonic, or if the name
was always Klatch and the destruction one of nature's pums. As each theory
seems probable enough, I see no objection to believing both -- and Dr. Snedeker
arrayed himself on that side of the question.
A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the
citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.
He willed away his
And then in death he fell asleep,
Murmuring : " Well, at any rate,
My name unblemished I shall keep. "
But when upon the tomb 'twas wrought
Whose was it ? -- for the dead keep naught.
Durang Gophel Arn
To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.
A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.
A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.
A male person commonly known in America as a " crowned head, " although
he never wears a crown and has usually no head to speak of.
A king, in times
long, long gone by,
Said to his lazy jester :
" If I were you and you were I
My moments merrily would fly --
Nor care nor grief to pester. "
" The reason,
Sire, that you would thrive, "
The fool said -- " if you'll hear it --
Is that of all the fools alive
Who own you for their sovereign, I've
The most forgiving spirit. "
KING'S EVIL, n.
A malady that was formerly cured by the touch of the sovereign, but has now to
be treated by the physicians. Thus 'the most pious Edward " of England used
to lay his royal hand upon the ailing subjects and make them whole --
a crowd of wretched
That stay his cure : their malady convinces
The great essay of art ; but at his touch,
Such sanctity hath Heaven given his hand,
They presently amend,
as the " Doctor
" in Macbeth hath it. This useful property of the royal hand could,
it appears, be transmitted along with other crown properties ; for according to
" Malcolm, "
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction.
But the gift somewhere dropped
out of the line of succession : the later sovereigns of England have not been
tactual healers, and the disease once honored with the name " king's evil
" now bears the humbler one of " scrofula, " from scrofa,
a sow. The date and author of the following epigram are known only to the author
of this dictionary, but it is old enough to show that the jest about Scotland's
national disorder is not a thing of yesterday.
Ye Kynge his evill
in me laye,
Wh. he of Scottlande charmed awaye.
He layde his hand on mine and sayd :
" Be gone ! " Ye ill no longer stayd.
But O ye wofull plyght in wh.
I'm now y-pight : I have ye itche !
The superstition that maladies
can be cured by royal taction is dead, but like many a departed conviction it
has left a monument of custom to keep its memory green.
The practice of forming a line and shaking the President's hand had no other origin,
and when that great dignitary bestows his healing salutation on
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery,
he and his patients are handing
along an extinguished torch which once was kindled at the altar-fire of a faith
long held by all classes of men.
It is a beautiful and edifying " survival " -- one which brings the
sainted past close home in our " business and bosoms. "
A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for " bliss. " It is supposed
to signify, in a general way, some kind of rite or ceremony appertaining to a
good understanding ; but the manner of its performance is unknown to this lexicographer.
A rich thief.
Once a warrior gentle
Then a person of civic worth,
Now a fellow to move our mirth.
Warrior, person, and fellow -- no more :
We must knight our dogs to get any lower.
Brave Knights Kennelers then shall be,
Noble Knights of the Golden Flea,
Knights of the Order of St. Steboy,
Knights of St. Gorge and Sir Knights Jawy.
God speed the day when this knighting fad
Shall go to the dogs and the dogs go mad.
A book which the Mohammedans foolishly believe to have been written by divine
inspiration, but which Christians know to be a wicked imposture, contradictory
to the Holy Scriptures.
One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.
A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is
property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern
society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical
conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living ;
for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy ; and in fact laws
of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that
if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be
no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.
A life on the ocean
A home on the rolling deep,
For the spark the nature gave
I have there the right to keep.
They give me the
Whenever I go ashore.
Then ho ! for the flashing brine --
I'm a natural commodore !
The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.
A famous piece of antique scripture representing a priest of that name and his
two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which
the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up to their work have
been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery
of human intelligence over brute inertia.
One of the most important organs of the female system -- an admirable provision
of nature for the repose of infancy, but chiefly useful in rural festivities to
support plates of cold chicken and heads of adult males. The male of our species
has a rudimentary lap, imperfectly developed and in no way contributing to the
animal's substantial welfare.
A shoemaker's implement, named by a frowning Providence as opportunity to the
maker of puns.
Ah, punster, would
my lot were cast,
Where the cobbler is unknown,
So that I might forget his last
And hear your own.
An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied
by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.
Liability to attacks of laughter is one of the characteristics distinguishing
man from the animals -- these being not only inaccessible to the provocation of
his example, but impregnable to the microbes having original jurisdiction in bestowal
of the disease. Whether laughter could be imparted to animals by inoculation from
the human patient is a question that has not been answered by experimentation.
Dr. Meir Witchell holds that the infection character of laughter is due to the
instantaneous fermentation of sputa diffused in a spray. From this peculiarity
he names the disorder Convulsio spargens.
Crowned with leaves of the laurel. In England the Poet Laureate is an officer
of the sovereign's court, acting as dancing skeleton at every royal feast and
singing-mute at every royal funeral. Of all incumbents of that high office, Robert
Southey had the most notable knack at drugging the Samson of public joy and cutting
his hair to the quick ; and he had an artistic color-sense which enabled him so
to blacken a public grief as to give it the aspect of a national crime.
The laurus, a vegetable dedicated to Apollo, and formerly defoliated to
wreathe the brows of victors and such poets as had influence at court. (Vide
Once Law was sitting
on the bench,
And Mercy knelt a-weeping.
" Clear out ! " he cried, " disordered wench !
Nor come before me creeping.
Upon your knees if you appear,
'Tis plain your have no standing here. "
Then Justice came.
His Honor cried :
" Your status ? -- devil seize you ! "
" Amica curiae, " she replied --
" Friend of the court, so please you. "
" Begone ! " he shouted -- " there's the door --
I never saw your face before ! "
Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.
One skilled in circumvention of the law.
Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.
A heavy blue-gray metal much used in giving stability to light lovers -- particularly
to those who love not wisely but other men's wives. Lead is also of great service
as a counterpoise to an argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate
the wrong way. An interesting fact in the chemistry of international controversy
is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is precipitated in great
Hail, holy Lead
! -- of human feuds the great
And universal arbiter ; endowed
With penetration to pierce any cloud
Fogging the field of controversial hate,
And with a sift, inevitable, straight,
Searching precision find the unavowed
But vital point. Thy judgment, when allowed
By the chirurgeon, settles the debate.
O useful metal ! -- were it not for thee
We'd grapple one another's ears alway :
But when we hear thee buzzing like a bee
We, like old Muhlenberg, " care not to stay. "
And when the quick have run away like pellets
Jack Satan smelts the dead to make new bullets.
The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear and his faith in your
A gift from one who is legging it out of this vale of tears.
Unlike a menagerie lion.
Leonine verses are those in which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with a
word at the end, as in this famous passage from Bella Peeler Silcox :
The electric light
invades the dunnest deep of Hades.
Cries Pluto, 'twixt his snores : " O tempora ! O mores ! "
It should be explained that Mrs.
Silcox does not undertake to teach pronunciation of the Greek and Latin tongues.
Leonine verses are so called in honor of a poet named Leo, whom prosodists appear
to find a pleasure in believing to have been the first to discover that a rhyming
couplet could be run into a single line.
An herb of the genus Lactuca, " Wherewith, " says that pious
gastronome, Hengist Pelly, " God has been pleased to reward the good and
punish the wicked. For by his inner light the righteous man has discerned a manner
of compounding for it a dressing to the appetency whereof a multitude of gustible
condiments conspire, being reconciled and ameliorated with profusion of oil, the
entire comestible making glad the heart of the godly and causing his face to shine.
But the person of spiritual unworth is successfully tempted to the Adversary to
eat of lettuce with destitution of oil, mustard, egg, salt and garlic, and with
a rascal bath of vinegar polluted with sugar. Wherefore the person of spiritual
unworth suffers an intestinal pang of strange complexity and raises the song.
An enormous aquatic animal mentioned by Job. Some suppose it to have been the
whale, but that distinguished ichthyologer, Dr. Jordan, of Stanford University,
maintains with considerable heat that it was a species of gigantic Tadpole (Thaddeus
Polandensis) or Polliwig -- Maria pseudo-hirsuta. For an exhaustive
description and history of the Tadpole consult the famous monograph of Jane Potter,
Thaddeus of Warsaw.
A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage
in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen
its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written
his dictionary, comes to be considered " as one having authority, "
whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural
servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power,
surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were
a statue. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as " obsolete
" or " obsolescent " and few men thereafter venture to use it,
whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor -- whereby
the process of improverishment is accelerated and speech decays. On the contrary,
recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all,
makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and
is tartly reminded that " it isn't in the dictionary " -- although down
to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him !) no author ever had
used a word that was in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon
of English speech ; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that
made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound ; when a Shakespeare
and a Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and
slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation -- sweeter
than honey and stronger than a lion -- the lexicographer was a person unknown,
the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.
God said : "
Let Spirit perish into Form, "
And lexicographers arose, a swarm !
Thought fled and left her clothing, which they took,
And catalogued each garment in a book.
Now, from her leafy covert when she cries :
" Give me my clothes and I'll return, " they rise
And scan the list, and say without compassion :
" Excuse us -- they are mostly out of fashion.
A lawyer with a roving commission.
One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
The rising People,
hot and out of breath,
Roared around the palace : " Liberty or death ! "
" If death will do, " the King said, " let me reign ;
You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain.
A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing a newspaper. In his character
of editor he is closely allied to the blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity
; for in truth the lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although
the latter is frequently found as an independent species. Lickspittling is more
detestable than blackmailing, precisely as the business of a confidence man is
more detestable than that of a highway robber ; and the parallel maintains itself
throughout, for whereas few robbers will cheat, every sneak will plunder if he
A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. We live in daily apprehension
of its loss ; yet when lost it is not missed. The question, " Is life worth
living ? " has been much discussed ; particularly by those who think it is
not, many of whom have written at great length in support of their view and by
careful observance of the laws of health enjoyed for long terms of years the honors
of successful controversy.
" Life's not
worth living, and that's the truth, "
Carelessly caroled the golden youth.
In manhood still he maintained that view
And held it more strongly the older he grew.
When kicked by a jackass at eighty-three,
" Go fetch me a surgeon at once ! " cried he.
A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the
friend of a politician.
The branch of a tree or the leg of an American woman.
'Twas a pair of
boots that the lady bought,
And the salesman laced them tight
To a very remarkable height --
Higher, indeed, than I think he ought --
Higher than can be right.
For the Bible declares -- but never mind :
It is hardly fit
To censure freely and fault to find
With others for sins that I'm not inclined
Myself to commit.
Each has his weakness, and though my own
Is freedom from every sin,
It still were unfair to pitch in,
Discharging the first censorious stone.
Besides, the truth compels me to say,
The boots in question were made that way.
As he drew the lace she made a grimace,
And blushingly said to him :
" This boot, I'm sure, is too high to endure,
It hurts my -- hurts my -- limb. "
The salesman smiled in a manner mild,
Like an artless, undesigning child ;
Then, checking himself, to his face he gave
A look as sorrowful as the grave,
Though he didn't care two figs
For her paints and throes,
As he stroked her toes,
Remarking with speech and manner just
Befitting his calling : " Madam, I trust
That it doesn't hurt your twigs. "
B. Percival Dike
" A kind of cloth the making of which, when made of hemp, entails a great
waste of hemp. " -- Calcraft the Hangman.
A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.
A large red organ thoughtfully provided by nature to be bilious with. The sentiments
and emotions which every literary anatomist now knows to haunt the heart were
anciently believed to infest the liver ; and even Gascoygne, speaking of the emotional
side of human nature, calls it " our hepaticall parte. " It was at one
time considered the seat of life ; hence its name -- liver, the thing we live
with. The liver is heaven's best gift to the goose ; without it that bird would
be unable to supply us with the Strasbourg pate.
LL.D. Letters indicating
the degree Legumptionorum Doctor, one learned in laws, gifted with legal
Some suspicion is cast upon this derivation by the fact that the title was formerly
LL.d., and conferred only upon gentlemen distinguished for their wealth.
At the date of this writing Columbia University is considering the expediency
of making another degree for clergymen, in place of the old D.D. -- Damnator
Diaboli. The new honor will be known as Sanctorum Custus, and written
$$c. The name of the Rev. John Satan has been suggested as a suitable recipient
by a lover of consistency, who points out that Professor Harry Thurston Peck has
long enjoyed the advantage of a degree.
The distinguishing device of civilization and enlightenment.
A less popular name for the Second Person of that delectable newspaper Trinity,
the Roomer, the Bedder, and the Mealer.
The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and
incapacities of the human misunderstanding. The basic of logic is the syllogism,
consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion -- thus : Major
Premise : Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man.
Minor Premise : One man can dig a posthole in sixty seconds ; therefore
-- Conclusion : Sixty men can dig a posthole in one second.This may be
called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics,
we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.
A war in which the weapons are words and the wounds punctures in the swim-bladder
of self-esteem -- a kind of contest in which, the vanquished being unconscious
of defeat, the victor is denied the reward of success.
'Tis said by divers
of the scholar-men
That poor Salmasius died of Milton's pen.
Alas ! we cannot know if this is true,
For reading Milton's wit we perish too.
The disposition to endure injury with meek forbearance while maturing a plan of
Uncommon extension of the fear of death.
A vitreous plane upon which to display a fleeting show for man's disillusion given.
The King of Manchuria had a magic looking-glass, whereon whoso looked saw, not
his own image, but only that of the king. A certain courtier who had long enjoyed
the king's favor and was thereby enriched beyond any other subject of the realm,
said to the king : " Give me, I pray, thy wonderful mirror, so that when
absent out of thine august presence I may yet do homage before thy visible shadow,
prostrating myself night and morning in the glory of thy benign countenance, as
which nothing has so divine splendor, O Noonday Sun of the Universe ! "
Pleased with the speech, the king
commanded that the mirror be conveyed to the courtier's palace ; but after, having
gone thither without apprisal, he found it in an apartment where was naught but
idle lumber. And the mirror was dimmed with dust and overlaced with cobwebs. This
so angered him that he fisted it hard, shattering the glass, and was sorely hurt.
Enraged all the more by this mischance, he commanded that the ungrateful courtier
be thrown into prison, and that the glass be repaired and taken back to his own
palace ; and this was done. But when the king looked again on the mirror he saw
not his image as before, but only the figure of a crowned ass, having a bloody
bandage on one of its hinder hooves -- as the artificers and all who had looked
upon it had before discerned but feared to report. Taught wisdom and charity,
the king restored his courtier to liberty, had the mirror set into the back of
the throne and reigned many years with justice and humility ; and one day when
he fell asleep in death while on the throne, the whole court saw in the mirror
the luminous figure of an angel, which remains to this day.
A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb his tongue when you wish
In American society, an English tourist above the state of a costermonger, as,
lord 'Aberdasher, Lord Hartisan and so forth. The traveling Briton of lesser degree
is addressed as " Sir, " as, Sir 'Arry Donkiboi, or 'Amstead 'Eath.
The word " Lord " is sometimes used, also, as a title of the Supreme
Being ; but this is thought to be rather flattery than true reverence.
Miss Sallie Ann
Splurge, of her own accord,
Wedded a wandering English lord --
Wedded and took him to dwell with her " paw, "
A parent who throve by the practice of Draw.
Lord Cadde I don't hesitate to declare
Unworthy the father-in-legal care
Of that elderly sport, notwithstanding the truth
That Cadde had renounced all the follies of youth ;
For, sad to relate, he'd arrived at the stage
Of existence that's marked by the vices of age.
Among them, cupidity caused him to urge
Repeated demands on the pocket of Splurge,
Till, wrecked in his fortune, that gentleman saw
Inadequate aid in the practice of Draw,
And took, as a means of augmenting his pelf,
To the business of being a lord himself.
His neat-fitting garments he wilfully shed
And sacked himself strangely in checks instead ;
Denuded his chin, but retained at each ear
A whisker that looked like a blasted career.
He painted his neck an incarnadine hue
Each morning and varnished it all that he knew.
The moony monocular set in his eye
Appeared to be scanning the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.
His head was enroofed with a billycock hat,
And his low-necked shoes were aduncous and flat.
In speech he eschewed his American ways,
Denying his nose to the use of his A's
And dulling their edge till the delicate sense
Of a babe at their temper could take no offence.
His H's -- 'twas most inexpressibly sweet,
The patter they made as they fell at his feet !
Re-outfitted thus, Mr. Splurge without fear
Began as Lord Splurge his recouping career.
Alas, the Divinity shaping his end
Entertained other views and decided to send
His lordship in horror, despair and dismay
From the land of the nobleman's natural prey.
For, smit with his Old World ways, Lady Cadde
Fell -- suffering Caesar ! -- in love with her dad !
Learning -- particularly that sort which is not derived from a regular course
of instruction but comes of the reading of occult books, or by nature. This latter
is commonly designated as folk-lore and embraces popularly myths and superstitions.
In Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages the reader will find
many of these traced backward, through various people son converging lines, toward
a common origin in remote antiquity. Among these are the fables of " Teddy
the Giant Killer, " " The Sleeping John Sharp Williams, " "
Little Red Riding Hood and the Sugar Trust, " " Beauty and the Brisbane,
" " The Seven Aldermen of Ephesus, " " Rip Van Fairbanks,
" and so forth. The fable with Goethe so affectingly relates under the title
of " The Erl-King " was known two thousand years ago in Greece as "
The Demos and the Infant Industry. " One of the most general and ancient
of these myths is that Arabian tale of " Ali Baba and the Forty Rockefellers.
Privation of that which we had, or had not. Thus, in the latter sense, it is said
of a defeated candidate that he " lost his election " ; and of that
eminent man, the poet Gilder, that he has " lost his mind. " It is in
the former and more legitimate sense, that the word is used in the famous epitaph
ashes long have lain
Whose loss is our eternal gain,
For while he exercised all his powers
Whatever he gained, the loss was ours.
A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the
influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries
and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under
artificial conditions ; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple
food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently
to the physician than to the patient.
" Raised " instead of brought up.
One who throws light upon a subject ; as an editor by not writing about it.
An inhabitant of the moon, as distinguished from Lunatic, one whom the moon inhabits.
The Lunarians have been described by Lucian, Locke and other observers, but without
much agreement. For example, Bragellos avers their anatomical identity with Man,
but Professor Newcomb says they are more like the hill tribes of Vermont.
An ancient instrument of torture. The word is now used in a figurative sense to
denote the poetic faculty, as in the following fiery lines of our great poet,
Ella Wheeler Wilcox :
I sit astride Parnassus
with my lyre,
And pick with care the disobedient wire.
That stupid shepherd lolling on his crook
With deaf attention scarcely deigns to look.
I bide my time, and it shall come at length,
When, with a Titan's energy and strength,
I'll grab a fistful of the strings, and O,
The word shall suffer when I let them go !
A staff of office signifying authority. Its form, that of a heavy club, indicates
its original purpose and use in dissuading from dissent.
The method employed by one's opponents in baffling one's open and honorable efforts
to do the right thing.
So plain the advantages
It constitutes a moral obligation,
And honest wolves who think upon't with loathing
Feel bound to don the sheep's deceptive clothing.
So prospers still the diplomatic art,
And Satan bows, with hand upon his heart.
One forgotten of the gods and living to a great age. History is abundantly supplied
with examples, from Methuselah to Old Parr, but some notable instances of longevity
are less well known.
A Calabrian peasant named Coloni, born in 1753, lived so long that he had what
he considered a glimpse of the dawn of universal peace. Scanavius relates that
he knew an archbishop who was so old that he could remember a time when he did
not deserve hanging. In 1566 a linen draper of Bristol, England, declared that
he had lived five hundred years, and that in all that time he had never told a
lie. There are instances of longevity (_macrobiosis_) in our own country. Senator
Chauncey Depew is old enough to know better. The editor of
The American, a newspaper in New York City, has a memory that goes back
to the time when he was a rascal, but not to the fact. The President of the United
States was born so long ago that many of the friends of his youth have risen to
high political and military preferment without the assistance of personal merit.
The verses following were written by a macrobian :
When I was young
the world was fair
And amiable and sunny.
A brightness was in all the air,
In all the waters, honey.
The jokes were fine and funny,
The statesmen honest in their views,
And in their lives, as well,
And when you heard a bit of news
'Twas true enough to tell.
Men were not ranting, shouting, reeking,
Nor women " generally speaking. "
The Summer then
was long indeed :
It lasted one whole season !
The sparkling Winter gave no heed
When ordered by Unreason
To bring the early peas on.
Now, where the dickens is the sense
In calling that a year
Which does no more than just commence
Before the end is near ?
When I was young the year extended
From month to month until it ended.
I know not why the
world has changed
To something dark and dreary,
And everything is now arranged
To make a fellow weary.
The Weather Man -- I fear he
Has much to do with it, for, sure,
The air is not the same :
It chokes you when it is impure,
When pure it makes you lame.
With windows closed you are asthmatic ;
Open, neuralgic or sciatic.
Well, I suppose
this new regime
Of dun degeneration
Seems eviler than it would seem
To a better observation,
And has for compensation
Some blessings in a deep disguise
Which mortal sight has failed
To pierce, although to angels' eyes
They're visible unveiled.
If Age is such a boon, good land !
He's costumed by a master hand !
Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence ; not conforming to standards
of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants from study of themselves
; at odds with the majority ; in short, unusual. It is noteworthy that persons
are pronounced mad by officials destitute of evidence that themselves are sane.
For illustration, this present (and illustrious) lexicographer is no firmer in
the faith of his own sanity than is any inmate of any madhouse in the land ; yet
for aught he knows to the contrary, instead of the lofty occupation that seems
to him to be engaging his powers he may really be beating his hands against the
window bars of an asylum and declaring himself Noah Webster, to the innocent delight
of many thoughtless spectators.
An inhabitant of Magdala. Popularly, a woman found out. This definition of the
word has the authority of ignorance, Mary of Magdala being another person than
the penitent woman mentioned by St. Luke. It has also the official sanction of
the governments of Great Britain and the United States. In England the word is
pronounced Maudlin, whence maudlin, adjective, unpleasantly sentimental. With
their Maudlin for Magdalene, and their Bedlam for Bethlehem, the English may justly
boast themselves the greatest of revisers.
An art of converting superstition into coin.
There are other arts serving the same high purpose, but the discreet lexicographer
does not name them.
Something acted upon by magnetism.
Something acting upon a magnet.The two definitions immediately foregoing are condensed
from the works of one thousand eminent scientists, who have illuminated the subject
with a great white light, to the inexpressible advancement of human knowledge.
Having a grandeur or splendor superior to that to which the spectator is accustomed,
as the ears of an ass, to a rabbit, or the glory of a glowworm, to a maggot.
Size. Magnitude being purely relative, nothing is large and nothing small. If
everything in the universe were increased in bulk one thousand diameters nothing
would be any larger than it was before, but if one thing remain unchanged all
the others would be larger than they had been.
To an understanding familiar with the relativity of magnitude and distance the
spaces and masses of the astronomer would be no more impressive than those of
the microscopist. For anything we know to the contrary, the visible universe may
be a small part of an atom, with its component ions, floating in the life- fluid
(luminiferous ether) of some animal. Possibly the wee creatures peopling the corpuscles
of our own blood are overcome with the proper emotion when contemplating the unthinkable
distance from one of these to another.
A bird whose thievish disposition suggested to someone that it might be taught
A young person of the unfair sex addicted to clewless conduct and views that madden
to crime. The genus has a wide geographical distribution, being found wherever
sought and deplored wherever found. The maiden is not altogether unpleasing to
the eye, nor (without her piano and her views) insupportable to the ear, though
in respect to comeliness distinctly inferior to the rainbow, and, with regard
to the part of her that is audible, bleating out of the field by the canary --
which, also, is more portable.
A lovelorn maiden
she sat and sang --
This quaint, sweet song sang she ;
" It's O for a youth with a football bang
And a muscle fair to see !
The Captain he
Of a team to be !
On the gridiron he shall shine,
A monarch by right divine,
And never to roast on it -- me ! "
The state and title of a king. Regarded with a just contempt by the Most Eminent
Grand Masters, Grand Chancellors, Great Incohonees and Imperial Potentates of
the ancient and honorable orders of republican America.
A member of the unconsidered, or negligible sex. The male of the human race is
commonly known (to the female) as Mere Man.
The genus has two varieties : good providers and bad providers.
The chief factor in the progress of the human race.
Pertaining to Malthus and his doctrines. Malthus believed in artificially limiting
population, but found that it could not be done by talking. One of the most practical
exponents of the Malthusian idea was Herod of Judea, though all the famous soldiers
have been of the same way of thinking.
A family of vertebrate animals whose females in a state of nature suckle their
young, but when civilized and enlightened put them out to nurse, or use the bottle.
The god of the world's leading religion.
The chief temple is in the holy city of New York.
He swore that all
other religions were gammon,
And wore out his knees in the worship of Mammon.
An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook
what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other
animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity
as to infest the whole habitable earh and Canada.
When the world was
young and Man was new,
And everything was pleasant,
Distinctions Nature never drew
'Mongst kings and priest and peasant.
We're not that way at present,
Save here in this Republic, where
We have that old regime,
For all are kings, however bare
Their backs, howe'er extreme
Their hunger. And, indeed, each has a voice
To accept the tyrant of his party's choice.
A citizen who would
And, therefore, was detested,
Was one day with a tarry coat
(With feathers backed and breasted)
By patriots invested.
" It is your duty, " cried the crowd,
" Your ballot true to cast
For the man o' your choice. " He humbly bowed,
And explained his wicked past :
" That's what I very gladly would have done,
Dear patriots, but he has never run.
The immortal parts of dead Greeks and Romans. They were in a state of dull discomfort
until the bodies from which they had exhaled were buried and burned ; and they
seem not to have been particularly happy afterward.
The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When
Good gave up the fight the Persians joined the victorious Opposition.
A food miraculously given to the Israelites in the wilderness. When it was no
longer supplied to them they settled down and tilled the soil, fertilizing it,
as a rule, with the bodies of the original occupants.
The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two
slaves, making in all, two.
One who moves along the line of least reluctance to a desired death.
Having an actual existence, as distinguished from an imaginary one. Important.
I know, or fell, or see ;
All else is immaterial to me.
The final and funniest folly of the rich.
One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.
The objectionable case of I. The personal pronoun in English has three cases,
the dominative, the objectionable and the oppressive. Each is all three.
To proceed sinuously and aimlessly. The word is the ancient name of a river about
one hundred and fifty miles south of Troy, which turned and twisted in the effort
to get out of hearing when the Greeks and Trojans boasted of their prowess.
A small metal disk given as a reward for virtues, attainments or services more
or less authentic. It is related of Bismark, who had been awarded a medal for
gallantly rescuing a drowning person, that, being asked the meaning of the medal,
he replied : " I save lives sometimes. " And sometimes he didn't.
A stone flung down the Bowery to kill a dog in Broadway.
Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.
M is for Moses,
Who slew the Egyptian.
As sweet as a rose is
The meekness of Moses.
No monument shows his
But M is for Moses
Who slew the Egyptian.
The Biographical Alphabet
(Literally, seafoam, and by many erroneously supposed to be made of it.) A fine
white clay, which for convenience in coloring it brown is made into tobacco pipes
and smoked by the workmen engaged in that industry. The purpose of coloring it
has not been disclosed by the manufacturers.
There was a youth
(you've heard before,
This woeful tale, may be),
Who bought a meerschaum pipe and swore
That color it would he !
He shut himself
from the world away,
Nor any soul he saw.
He smoke by night, he smoked by day,
As hard as he could draw.
His dog died moaning
in the wrath
Of winds that blew aloof ;
The weeds were in the gravel path,
The owl was on the roof.
" He's gone
afar, he'll come no more, "
The neighbors sadly say.
And so they batter in the door
To take his goods away.
Dead, pipe in mouth,
the youngster lay,
Nut-brown in face and limb.
" That pipe's a lovely white, " they say,
" But it has colored him ! "
The moral there's
small need to sing --
'Tis plain as day to you :
Don't play your game on any thing
That is a gamester too.
Addicted to rhetoric.
One engaged in a commercial pursuit. A commercial pursuit is one in which the
thing pursued is a dollar.
An attribute beloved of detected offenders.
Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage and asked Incredulity to
A stronghold of provincialism.
The period of a thousand years when the lid is to be screwed down, with all reformers
on the under side.
A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain.
Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility
of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself
with. From the Latin mens, a fact unknown to that honest shoe-seller, who,
observing that his learned competitor over the way had displayed the motto "
Mens conscia recti, " emblazoned his own front with the words "
Men's, women's and children's conscia recti. "
Belonging to me if I can hold or seize it.
An agent of a higher power with a lower responsibility. In diplomacy and officer
sent into a foreign country as the visible embodiment of his sovereign's hostility.
His principal qualification is a degree of plausible inveracity next below that
of an ambassador.
Formerly a poet, singer or musician ; now a nigger with a color less than skin
deep and a humor more than flesh and blood can bear.
An act or event out of the order of nature and unaccountable, as beating a normal
hand of four kings and an ace with four aces and a king.
A person of the highest degree of unworth. Etymologically, the word means unbeliever,
and its present signification may be regarded as theology's noblest contribution
to the development of our language.
An infraction of the law having less dignity than a felony and constituting no
claim to admittance into the best criminal society.
he essays to climb
Into the aristocracy of crime.
O, woe was him ! -- with manner chill and grand
" Captains of industry " refused his hand,
" Kings of finance " denied him recognition
And " railway magnates " jeered his low condition.
He robbed a bank to make himself respected.
They still rebuffed him, for he was detected.
A dagger which in mediaeval warfare was used by the foot soldier to remind an
unhorsed knight that he was mortal.
The kind of fortune that never misses.
The title with which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the
market. Miss, Missis (Mrs.) and Mister (Mr.) are the three most distinctly disagreeable
words in the language, in sound and sense. Two are corruptions of Mistress, the
other of Master. In the general abolition of social titles in this our country
they miraculously escaped to plague us. If we must have them let us be consistent
and give one to the unmarried man.
I venture to suggest Mush, abbreviated to Mh.
The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. It is distinguished from the corpuscle,
also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter, by a closer resemblance to the
atom, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. Three great scientific theories
of the structure of the universe are the molecular, the corpuscular and the atomic.
A fourth affirms, with Haeckel, the condensation of precipitation of matter from
ether -- whose existence is proved by the condensation of precipitation.
The present trend of scientific thought is toward the theory of ions. The ion
differs from the molecule, the corpuscle and the atom in that it is an ion.
A fifth theory is held by idiots, but it is doubtful if they know any more about
the matter than the others.
The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. (See Molecule.) According to
Leibnitz, as nearly as he seems willing to be understood, the monad has body without
bulk, and mind without manifestation -- Leibnitz knows him by the innate power
of considering. He has founded upon him a theory of the universe, which the creature
bears without resentment, for the monad is a gentlmean.
Small as he is, the monad contains all the powers and possibilities needful to
his evolution into a German philosopher of the first class -- altogether a very
capable little fellow. He is not to be confounded with the microbe, or bacillus
; by its inability to discern him, a good microscope shows him to be of an entirely
A person engaged in reigning. Formerly the monarch ruled, as the derivation of
the word attests, and as many subjects have had occasion to learn.
In Russia and the Orient the monarch has still a considerable influence in public
affairs and in the disposition of the human head, but in western Europe political
administration is mostly entrusted to his ministers, he being somewhat preoccupied
with reflections relating to the status of his own head.
In Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.
A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. An evidence
of culture and a passport to polite society. Supportable property.
An arboreal animal which makes itself at home in genealogical trees.
Composed of words of one syllable, for literary babes who never tire of testifying
their delight in the vapid compound by appropriate googoogling. The words are
commonly Saxon -- that is to say, words of a barbarous people destitute of ideas
and incapable of any but the most elementary sentiments and emotions.
The man who writes
Is the man to use an ax on
A high ecclesiastical title, of which the Founder of our religion overlooked the
A structure intended to commemorate something which either needs no commemoration
or cannot be commemorated.
The bones of Agammemnon
are a show,
And ruined is his royal monument,
but Agammemnon's fame suffers no
diminution in consequence. The monument custom has its reductiones ad absurdum
in monuments " to the unknown dead " -- that is to say, monuments to
perpetuate the memory of those who have left no memory.
Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right. Having the quality of general
It is sayd there
be a raunge of mountaynes in the Easte, on
one syde of the which certayn conducts are immorall, yet on the other
syde they are holden in good esteeme ; wherebye the mountayneer is much
conveenyenced, for it is given to him to goe downe eyther way and act
as it shall suite his moode, withouten offence.
The comparative degree of too much.
An animal which strews its path with fainting women.
As in Rome Christians were thrown to the lions, so centuries earlier in Otumwee,
the most ancient and famous city of the world, female heretics were thrown to
the mice. Jakak-Zotp, the historian, the only Otumwump whose writings have descended
to us, says that these martyrs met their death with little dignity and much exertion.
He even attempts to exculpate the mice (such is the malice of bigotry) by declaring
that the unfortunate women perished, some from exhaustion, some of broken necks
from falling over their own feet, and some from lack of restoratives. The mice,
he avers, enjoyed the pleasures of the chase with composure. But if " Roman
history is nine-tenths lying, " we can hardly expect a smaller proportion
of that rhetorical figure in the annals of a people capable of so incredible cruelty
to a lovely women ; for a hard heart has a false tongue.
A long glove covering a part of the arm. Worn in New Jersey. But " mousquetaire
" is a might poor way to spell muskeeter.
In man, the gateway to the soul ; in woman, the outlet of the heart.
In politics one afflicted with self-respect and addicted to the vice of independence.
A term of contempt.
A child of two races, ashamed of both.
A crowd ; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object
of the statesman's adoration.
" In a multitude of consellors there is wisdom, " saith the proverb.
If many men of equal individual wisdom are wiser than any one of them, it must
be that they acquire the excess of wisdom by the mere act of getting together.
Whence comes it ? Obviously from nowhere -- as well say that a range of mountains
is higher than the single mountains composing it. A multitude is as wise as its
wisest member if it obey him ; if not, it is no wiser than its most foolish.
An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations
as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is
handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish
man from the lower animals.
By means of the
Mummy, mankind, it is said,
Attests to the gods its respect for the dead.
We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint,
Distil him for physic and grind him for paint,
Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame,
And with levity flock to the scene of the shame.
O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme :
For respecting the dead what's the limit of time ?
An indocile horse of the western plains. In English society, the American wife
of an English nobleman.
A follower of Achilles -- particularly when he didn't lead.
The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history,
heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it
A drink served at banquets of the Olympian deities. The secret of its preparation
is lost, but the modern Kentuckians believe that they come pretty near to a knowledge
of its chief ingredient.
Juno drank a cup
But the draught did not affect her.
Juno drank a cup of rye --
Then she bad herself good-bye.
The piece de resistance in the American political problem. Representing
him by the letter n, the Republicans begin to build their equation thus : "
Let n = the white man.
" This, however, appears to give an unsatisfactory solution.
One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how
to make us disobedient.
Appointing your grandmother to office for the good of the party.
Pertaining to a philosophy of the universe invented by Newton, who discovered
that an apple will fall to the ground, but was unable to say why. His successors
and disciples have advanced so far as to be able to say when.
A Russian who denies the existence of anything but Tolstoi. The leader of the
school is Tolstoi.
In the Buddhist religion, a state of pleasurable annihilation awarded to the wise,
particularly to those wise enough to understand it.
Nature's provision for wealthy American minds ambitious to incur social distinction
and suffer high life.
A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating
sign of civilization.
To designate for the heaviest political assessment. To put forward a suitable
person to incur the mudgobbling and deadcatting of the opposition.
A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently
seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.
A dead Quaker.
The objections that are urged against this excellent dictionary.
The extreme outpost of the face. From the circumstance that great conquerors have
great noses, Getius, whose writings antedate the age of humor, calls the nose
the organ of quell. It has been observed that one's nose is never so happy as
when thrust into the affairs of others, from which some physiologists have drawn
the inference that the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.
There's a man with
And wherever he goes
The people run from him and shout :
" No cotton have we
For our ears if so be
He blow that interminous snout ! "
So the lawyers applied
" Denied, "
Said the Judge : " the defendant prefixion,
Whate'er it portend,
Appears to transcend
The bounds of this court's jurisdiction.
The fame of one's competitor for public honors. The kind of renown most accessible
and acceptable to mediocrity. A Jacob's-ladder leading to the vaudeville stage,
with angels ascending and descending.
That which exists, as distinguished from that which merely seems to exist, the
latter being a phenomenon.
The noumenon is a bit difficult to locate ; it can be apprehended only be a process
of reasoning -- which is a phenomenon.
Nevertheless, the discovery and exposition of noumena offer a rich field for what
Lewes calls " the endless variety and excitement of philosophic thought.
" Hurrah (therefore) for the noumenon !
A short story padded. A species of composition bearing the same relation to literature
that the panorama bears to art. As it is too long to be read at a sitting the
impressions made by its successive parts are successively effaced, as in the panorama.
Unity, totality of effect, is impossible ; for besides the few pages last read
all that is carried in mind is the mere plot of what has gone before. To the romance
the novel is what photography is to painting. Its distinguishing principle, probability,
corresponds to the literal actuality of the photograph and puts it distinctly
into the category of reporting ; whereas the free wing of the romancer enables
him to mount to such altitudes of imagination as he may be fitted to attain ;
and the first three essentials of the literary art are imagination, imagination
The art of writing novels, such as it was, is long dead everywhere except in Russia,
where it is new. Peace to its ashes -- some of which have a large sale.
The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.
In law, a solemn appeal to the Deity, made binding upon the conscience by a penalty
The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary
are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground. Cold storage for high hopes. A place
where ambitious authors meet their works without pride and their betters without
envy. A dormitory without an alarm clock.
A place where astronomers conjecture away the guesses of their predecessors.
OBSESSED, p.p. Vexed by an
evil spirit, like the Gadarene swine and other critics. Obsession was once more
common than it is now. Arasthus tells of a peasant who was occupied by a different
devil for every day in the week, and on Sundays by two. They were frequently seen,
always walking in his shadow, when he had one, but were finally driven away by
the village notary, a holy man ; but they took the peasant with them, for he vanished
utterly. A devil thrown out of a woman by the Archbishop of Rheims ran through
the trees, pursued by a hundred persons, until the open country was reached, where
by a leap higher than a church spire he escaped into a bird. A chaplain in Cromwell's
army exorcised a soldier's obsessing devil by throwing the soldier into the water,
when the devil came to the surface. The soldier, unfortunately, did not.
No longer used by the timid. Said chiefly of words. A word which some lexicographer
has marked obsolete is ever thereafter an object of dread and loathing to the
fool writer, but if it is a good word and has no exact modern equivalent equally
good, it is good enough for the good writer. Indeed, a writer's attitude toward
" obsolete " words is as true a measure of his literary ability as anything
except the character of his work. A dictionary of obsolete and obsolescent words
would not only be singularly rich in strong and sweet parts of speech ; it would
add large possessions to the vocabulary of every competent writer who might not
happen to be a competent reader.
Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendor and stress of our
advocacy. The popular type and exponent of obstinacy is the mule, a most intelligent
Afflicting us with greater or less frequency. That, however, is not the sense
in which the word is used in the phrase " occasional verses, " which
are verses written for an " occasion, " such as an anniversary, a celebration
or other event. True, they afflict us a little worse than other sorts of verse,
but their name has no reference to irregular recurrence.
The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient. It is largely inhabited
by Christians, a powerful subtribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries
are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call " war " and
" commerce. " These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient.
A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has
Generating disagreeable emotions or sensations, as the advance of an army against
its enemy. " Were the enemy's tactics offensive ? " the king asked.
" I should say so ! " replied the unsuccessful general. " The blackguard
wouldn't come out of his works ! "
In that stage of usefulness which is not inconsistent with general inefficiency,
as an _old man_. Discredited by lapse of time and offensive to the popular taste,
as an _old_ book.
" Old books
? The devil take them ! " Goby said.
" Fresh every day must be my books and bread. "
Nature herself approves the Goby rule
And gives us every moment a fresh fool.
Oily, smooth, sleek. Disraeli once described the manner of Bishop Wilberforce
as " unctuous, oleaginous, saponaceous. " And the good prelate was ever
afterward known as Soapy Sam. For every man there is something in the vocabulary
that would stick to him like a second skin.
His enemies have only to find it.
Relating to a mountain in Thessaly, once inhabited by gods, now a repository of
yellowing newspapers, beer bottles and mutilated sardine cans, attesting the presence
of the tourist and his appetite.
His name the smirking
Upon Minerva's temple walls,
Where thundered once Olympian Zeus,
And marks his appetite's abuse.
A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.
A play representing life in another world, whose inhabitants have no speech but
song, no motions but gestures and no postures but attitudes. All acting is simulation,
and the word simulation is from simia, an ape ; but in opera the
actor takes for his model Simia audibilis (or Pithecanthropos stentor)
-- the ape that howls.
The actor apes a
man -- at least in shape ;
The opera performer apes and ape.
An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.
A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.
To assist with obstructions and objections.
How lonely he who
thinks to vex
With bandinage the Solemn Sex !
Of levity, Mere Man, beware ;
None but the Grave deserve the Unfair.
Percy P. Orminder
In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing
it. The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government,
appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make
laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition
and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every
royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously.
Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they
did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire
forty promptly disemboweled themselves. " What shall we do now ? " the
King asked. " Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of
" " Splendor of the universe, " replied the Prime Minister, "
it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is
not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust. " So the Minister had
the bodies of his Majesty's Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back
into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every
bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was
defeated -- the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats
! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament
was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the
people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo.
The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly,
everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is
held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to the mischance of falling
into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile.
Being a blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an intellectual
disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately
A proponent of the doctrine that black is white. A pessimist applied to God for
relief. " Ah, you wish me to restore your hope and cheerfulness, " said
God. " No, " replied the petitioner, " I wish you to create something
that would justify them. " " The world is all created, " said God,
" but you have overlooked something -- the mortality of the optimist. "
A conspiracy between speech and action to cheat the understanding. A tyranny tempered
A living person whom death has deprived of the power of filial ingratitude --
a privation appealing with a particular eloquence to all that is sympathetic in
human nature. When young the orphan is commonly sent to an asylum, where by careful
cultivation of its rudimentary sense of locality it is taught to know its place.
It is then instructed in the arts of dependence and servitude and eventually turned
loose to prey upon the world as a bootblack or scullery maid.
An ox wearing the popular religious joke.
The science of spelling by the eye instead of the ear. Advocated with more heat
than light by the outmates of every asylum for the insane. They have had to concede
a few things since the time of Chaucer, but are none the less hot in defence of
those to be conceded hereafter.
A spelling reformer
For fudge was before the court cicted.
The judge said : " Enough --
His candle we'll snough,
And his sepulchre shall not be whicted. "
A large bird to which (for its sins, doubtless) nature has denied that hinder
toe in which so many pious naturalists have seen a conspicuous evidence of design.
The absence of a good working pair of wings is no defect, for, as has been ingeniously
pointed out, the ostrich does not fly.
A particular type of disappointment. By the kind of intelligence that sees in
an exception a proof of the rule the wisdom of an act is judged by the outcome,
the result. This is immortal nonsense ; the wisdom of an act is to be juded by
the light that the doer had when he performed it.
To make an enemy.
That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect
taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets.
I climbed to the
top of a mountain one day
To see the sun setting in glory,
And I thought, as I looked at his vanishing ray,
Of a perfectly splendid story.
'Twas about an old
man and the ass he bestrode
Till the strength of the beast was o'ertested ;
Then the man would carry him miles on the road
Till Neddy was pretty well rested.
The moon rising
solemnly over the crest
Of the hills to the east of my station
Displayed her broad disk to the darkening west
Like a visible new creation.
And I thought of
a joke (and I laughed till I cried)
Of an idle young woman who tarried
About a church-door for a look at the bride,
Although 'twas herself that was married.
To poets all Nature
is pregnant with grand
Ideas -- with thought and emotion.
I pity the dunces who don't understand
The speech of earth, heaven and ocean.
n ancient Rome, a definite, formal pageant in honor of one who had been disserviceable
to the enemies of the nation.
A lesser " triumph. " In modern English the word is improperly used
to signify any loose and spontaneous expression of popular homage to the hero
of the hour and place.
" I had an
ovation ! " the actor man said,
But I thought it uncommonly queer,
That people and critics by him had been led
By the ear.
The Latin lexicon
makes his absurd
Assertion as plain as a peg ;
In " ovum " we find the true root of the word.
It means egg.
Apostle of Excess,
Well skilled to overeat without distress !
Thy great invention, the unfatal feast,
Shows Man's superiority to Beast.
A dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing.
To have (and to hold) a debt. The word formerly signified not indebtedness, but
possession ; it meant " own, " and in the minds of debtors there is
still a good deal of confusion between assets and liabilities.
A slimy, gobby shellfish which civilization gives men the hardihood to eat without
removing its entrails ! The shells are sometimes given to the poor.
An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that
is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune
The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the
critic.Formerly, painting and sculpture were combined in the same work : the ancients
painted their statues. The only present alliance between the two arts is that
the modern painter chisels his patrons.
A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great official. The residence
of a high dignitary of the Christian Church is called a palace ; that of the Founder
of his religion was known as a field, or wayside. There is progress.
A species of tree having several varieties, of which the familiar " itching
palm " (Palma hominis) is most widely distributed and sedulously cultivated.
This noble vegetable exudes a kind of invisible gum, which may be detected by
applying to the bark a piece of gold or silver. The metal will adhere with remarkable
tenacity. The fruit of the itching palm is so bitter and unsatisfying that a considerable
percentage of it is sometimes given away in what are known as " benefactions.
The 947th method (according to Mimbleshaw's classification) of obtaining money
by false pretences. It consists in " reading character " in the wrinkles
made by closing the hand. The pretence is not altogether false ; character can
really be read very accurately in this way, for the wrinkles in every hand submitted
plainly spell the word " dupe. " The imposture consists in not reading
Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics
and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer.
When disturbed by his voice the ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most
gratifying to his pride of distinction.
A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovided
with hinges at the points of flexion.
Supposed to have been invented by a humorist. Called " trousers " by
the enlightened and " pants " by the unworthy.
The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that
God is everything.
A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least
disagreeable form of dramatic action.
To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime
the temptation of ingratitude.
A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as
an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.
That part of Eternity with some small fraction of which we have a slight and regrettable
acquaintance. A moving line called the Present parts it from an imaginary period
known as the Future. These two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is
continually effacing the other, are entirely unlike. The one is dark with sorrow
and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy. The Past is the
region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song. In the one crouches Memory, clad
in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential prayer ; in the sunshine of the other
Hope flies with a free wing, beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease.
Yet the Past is the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of to-morrow.
They are one -- the knowledge and the dream.
A device for promoting dejection.
Gentle exercise for intellectual debility.
A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe
of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.
Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of
a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer
I beg to submit that it is the first.
In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
O, what's the loud
Mine ears without cease ?
'Tis the voice of the hopeful, all-hailing
The horrors of peace.
Ah, Peace Universal
; they woo it --
Would marry it, too.
If only they knew how to do it
'Twere easy to do.
by night and by day
On their problem, like moles.
Have mercy, O Heaven, I pray,
On their meddlesome souls !
The variable (an audible) part of the roadway for an automobile.
The known part of the route from an arboreal ancestor with a swim bladder to an
urban descendant with a cigarette.
Undergoing or awaiting punishment.
An imaginary state of quality distinguished from the actual by an element known
as excellence ; an attribute of the critic.The editor of an English magazine having
received a letter pointing out the erroneous nature of his views and style, and
signed " Perfection, " promptly wrote at the foot of the letter : "
I don't agree with you, " and mailed it to Matthew Arnold.
Walking about. Relating to the philosophy of Aristotle, who, while expounding
it, moved from place to place in order to avoid his pupil's objections. A needless
precaution -- they knew no more of the matter than he.
The explosion of an oratorical rocket. It dazzles, but to an observer having the
wrong kind of nose its most conspicuous peculiarity is the smell of the several
kinds of powder used in preparing it.
A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
persevere ! " cry the homilists all,
Themselves, day and night, persevering to bawl.
" Remember the fable of tortoise and hare --
The one at the goal while the other is -- where ? "
Why, back there in Dreamland, renewing his lease
Of life, all his muscles preserving the peace,
The goal and the rival forgotten alike,
And the long fatigue of the needless hike.
His spirit a-squat in the grass and the dew
Of the dogless Land beyond the Stew,
He sleeps, like a saint in a holy place,
A winner of all that is good in a race.
A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening
prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.
A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while
his conscience is picking his pocket.
One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought,
feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly
clean and always solemn.
A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
The classical prototype of the modern " small hot bird. "
An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.
A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better
than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne.
The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and
exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.
One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.
The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences
between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.
" There is
no art, " says Shakespeare, foolish man,
" To read the mind's construction in the face. "
The physiognomists his portrait scan,
And say : " How little wisdom here we trace !
He knew his face disclosed his mind and heart,
So, in his own defence, denied our art. "
A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by pressing
the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.
The young of the Procyanthropos, or Americanus dominans. It is small,
black and charged with political fatalities.
A representation in two dimensions of something wearisomein three.
" Behold great
Daubert's picture here on view --
Taken from Life. " If that description's true,
Grant, heavenly Powers, that I be taken, too.
An advance agent of the reaper whose name is Indigestion.
Cold pie was highly
esteemed by the remains.
(in a funeral sermon over a British nobleman)
Cold pie is a detestable
That's why I'm done -- or undone --
So far from that dear London.
(from the headstone of a British nobleman in Kalamazoo)
Reverence for the Supreme Being, based upon His supposed resemblance to man.
The pig is taught
by sermons and epistles
To think the God of Swine has snout and bristles.
An animal (Porcus omnivorus) closely allied to the human race by the splendor
and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks
One of a tribe of very small men found by ancient travelers in many parts of the
world, but by modern in Central Africa only. The Pigmies are so called to distinguish
them from the bulkier Caucasians -- who are Hogmies.
A traveler that is taken seriously. A Pilgrim Father was one who, leaving Europe
in 1620 because not permitted to sing psalms through his nose, followed it to
Massachusetts, where he could personate God according to the dictates of his conscience.
A mechanical device for inflicting personal distinction -- prototype of the modern
newspaper conducted by persons of austere virtues and blameless lives.
Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.
The state of an enemy of opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
A failing sense of exemption, inspired by contrast.
A literary coincidence compounded of a discreditable priority and an honorable
To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read.
In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their
ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh theImmune. The plague as we of to-day
have the happiness to know it is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her
To bother about the best method of accomplishing an accidental result.
The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that
snores in words that smoke. The wisdom of a million fools in the diction of a
dullard. A fossil sentiment in artificial rock. A moral without the fable. All
that is mortal of a departed truth. A demi-tasse of milk-and-mortality. The Pope's-nose
of a featherless peacock. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought.
The cackle surviving the egg. A desiccated epigram.
Pertaining to the philosophy of Socrates. Platonic Love is a fool's name for the
affection between a disability and a frost.
Coins with which the populace pays those who tickle and devour it.
To lay the foundation for a superstructure of imposition.
The least hateful form of dejection.
An ancient Roman who in the blood of his country stained nothing but his hands.
Distinguished from the Patrician, who was a saturated solution.
A popular vote to ascertain the will of the sovereign.
Having full power. A Minister Plenipotentiary is a diplomatist possessing absolute
authority on condition that he never exert it.
An army of words escorting a corporal of thought.
An implement that cries aloud for hands accustomed to the pen.
To take the property of another without observing the decent and customary reticences
of theft. To effect a change of ownership with the candid concomitance of a brass
band. To wrest the wealth of A from B and leave C lamenting a vanishing opportunity.
The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience. In woman this organ is lacking
; so she acts without motive, and her conscience, denied burial, remains ever
alive, confessing the sins of others.
A form of expression peculiar to the Land beyond the Magazines.
A game said to be played with cards for some purpose to this lexicographer unknown.
An armed force for protection and participation.
The most acceptable hypocrisy.
A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of
public affairs for private advantage.
An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society
is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling
of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of
A house of atonement, or expiatory chapel, fitted with several stools of repentance,
as distinguished from monogamy, which has but one.
A fossil patriot of the early agricultural period, found in the old red soapstone
underlying Kansas ; characterized by an uncommon spread of ear, which some naturalists
contend gave him the power of flight, though Professors Morse and Whitney, pursuing
independent lines of thought, have ingeniously pointed out that had he possessed
it he would have gone elsewhere. In the picturesque speech of his period, some
fragments of which have come down to us, he was known as " The Matter with
Exposed to a mutable ownership through vicissitudes of possession.
His light estate,
if neither he did make it
Nor yet its former guardian forsake it,
Is portable improperly, I take it.
A species of geese indigenous to Portugal. They are mostly without feathers and
imperfectly edible, even when stuffed with garlic.
Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
A philosophy that denies our knowledge of the Real and affirms our ignorance of
the Apparent. Its longest exponent is Comte, its broadest Mill and its thickest
An appellate court which reverses the judgment of a popular author's contemporaries,
the appellant being his obscure competitor.
Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable ; indeed, some declare it our
natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from
the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine. Upon nothing
has so great and diligent ingenuity been brought to bear in all ages and in all
countries, except the most uncivilized, as upon the invention of substitutes for
water. To hold that this general aversion to that liquid has no basis in the preservative
instinct of the race is to be unscientific -- and without science we are as the
snakes and toads.
A file provided for the teeth of the rats of reform. The number of plans for its
abolition equals that of the reformers who suffer from it, plus that of the philosophers
who know nothing about it. Its victims are distinguished by possession of all
the virtues and by their faith in leaders seeking to conduct them into a prosperity
where they believe these to be unknown.
To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner
One of an experimental and apparently unsatisfactory race of antedated Creation
and lived under conditions not easily conceived. Melsius believed them to have
inhabited " the Void " and to have been something intermediate between
fishes and birds. Little its known of them beyond the fact that they supplied
Cain with a wife and theologians with a controversy.
In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite
statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby
greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for
everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate
those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law
from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible
Precipitate in all,
Took action first, and then his dinner.
In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite
statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby
greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for
everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate
those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law
from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible
Precipitate in all,
Took action first, and then his dinner.
The doctrine that all things occur according to programme. This doctrine should
not be confused with that of foreordination, which means that all things are programmed,
but does not affirm their occurrence, that being only an implication from other
doctrines by which this is entailed. The difference is great enough to have deluged
Christendom with ink, to say nothing of the gore. With the distinction of the
two doctrines kept well in mind, and a reverent belief in both, one may hope to
escape perdition if spared.
The wage of consistency.
The preparatory stage of disillusion.
An unnoted factor in creation.
A sentiment, or frame of mind, induced by the erroneous belief that one thing
is better than another.An ancient philosopher, expounding his conviction that
life is no better than death, was asked by a disciple why, then, he did not die.
" Because, " he replied, " death is no better than life. "
It is longer.
Belonging to an early period and a museum. Antedating the art and practice of
He lived in a period
When all was absurd and phantasmagoric.
Born later, when Clio, celestial recorded,
Set down great events in succession and order,
He surely had seen nothing droll or fortuitous
In anything here but the lies that she threw at us.
A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
A church officer having a superior degree of holiness and a fat preferment. One
of Heaven's aristocracy. A gentleman of God.
A sovereign's right to do wrong.
One who holds the conviction that the government authorities of the Church should
be called presbyters.
A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to
That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of
Hideously appareled after the manner of the time and place. In Boorioboola-Gha
a man is presentable on occasions of ceremony if he have his abdomen painted a
bright blue and wear a cow's tail ; in New York he may, if it please him, omit
the paint, but after sunset he must wear two tails made of the wool of a sheep
and dyed black.
To guide the action of a deliberative body to a desirable result. In Journalese,
to perform upon a musical instrument ; as, " He presided at the piccolo.
The Headliner, holding
the copy in hand,
Read with a solemn face :
" The music was very uncommonly grand --
The best that was every provided,
For our townsman Brown presided
At the organ with skill and grace. "
The Headliner discontinued to read,
And, spread the paper down
On the desk, he dashed in at the top of the screed :
" Great playing by President Brown.
The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
The leading figure in a small group of men of whom -- and of whom only -- it is
positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of
them for President.
If that's an honor
surely 'tis a greater
To have been a simple and undamned spectator.
Behold in me a man of mark and note
Whom no elector e'er denied a vote ! --
An undiscredited, unhooted gent
Who might, for all we know, be President
Cheer, ye varlets, cheer --
I'm passing with a wide and open ear !
A liar in the caterpillar estate.
Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding
The head of a church, especially a State church supported by involuntary contributions.
The Primate of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, an amiable old gentleman,
who occupies Lambeth Palace when living and Westminster Abbey when dead. He is
A place of punishments and rewards. The poet assures us that -- " Stone walls
do not a prison make, " but a combination of the stone wall, the political
parasite and the moral instructor is no garden of sweets.
A military gentleman with a field-marshal's baton in his knapsack and an impediment
in his hope.
The rudimentary organ of an elephant which serves him in place of the knife-and-fork
that Evolution has as yet denied him. For purposes of humor it is popularly called
a trunk.Asked how he knew that an elephant was going on a journey, the illustrious
Jo. Miller cast a reproachful look upon his tormentor, and answered, absently
: " When it is ajar, " and threw himself from a high promontory into
the sea. Thus perished in his pride the most famous humorist of antiquity, leaving
to mankind a heritage of woe ! No successor worthy of the title has appeared,
though Mr. Edward bok, of The Ladies' Home Journal, is much respected for
the purity and sweetness of his personal character.
The final arbiter in international disputes. Formerly these disputes were settled
by physical contact of the disputants, with such simple arguments as the rudimentary
logic of the times could supply -- the sword, the spear, and so forth. With the
growth of prudence in military affairs the projectile came more and more into
favor, and is now held in high esteem by the most courageous. Its capital defect
is that it requires personal attendance at the point of propulsion.
Evidence having a shade more of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony
of two credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one.
A malefactor who atones for making your writing nonsense by permitting the compositor
to make it unintelligible.
Any material thing, having no particular value, that may be held by A against
the cupidity of B. Whatever gratifies the passion for possession in one and disappoints
it in all others. The object of man's brief rapacity and long indifference.
The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.
An outlook, usually forbidding. An expectation, usually forbidden.
Blow, blow, ye spicy
O'er Ceylon blow your breath,
Where every prospect pleases,
Save only that of death.
Unexpectedly and conspicuously beneficial to the person so describing it.
A bawd hiding behind the back of her demeanor.
In literary affairs, to become the fundamental element in a cone of critics.
One of the two things mainly conducive to success, especially in politics. The
other is Pull.
An ancient philosophy, named for its inventor. It consisted of an absolute disbelief
in everything but Pyrrhonism. Its modern professors have added that.
A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is
ruled when there is not.
An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This
use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is
wielded by the same everlasting Presence.
A portable sheath in which the ancient statesman and the aboriginal lawyer carried
their lighter arguments.
He extracted from
Did the controversial Roman,
An argument well fitted
To the question as submitted,
Then addressed it to the liver,
Of the unpersuaded foeman.
Oglum P. Boomp
Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence
of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune
to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.
When ignorance from
out of our lives can banish
Philology, 'tis folly to know Spanish.
A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and
their own way of having it. In the United States Senate a quorum consists of the
chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House ; in
the House of Representatives, of the Speaker and the devil.
The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
Intent on making
his quotation truer,
He sought the page infallible of Brewer,
Then made a solemn vow that we would be
Condemned eternally. Ah, me, ah, me !
A number showing how many times a sum of money belonging to one person is contained
in the pocket of another -- usually about as many times as it can be got there.
In a republic, those who exercise a supreme authority tempered by fraudulent elections.
The rabble is like the sacred Simurgh, of Arabian fable -- omnipotent on condition
that it do nothing. (The word is Aristocratese, and has no exact equivalent in
our tongue, but means, as nearly as may be, " soaring swine. " )
An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false
faith to embrace the living truth. As a call to the unconverted the rack never
had any particular efficacy, and is now held in light popular esteem.
Relative elevation in the scale of human worth.
He held at court
a rank so high
That other noblemen asked why.
" Because, " 'twas answered, " others lack
His skill to scratch the royal back. "
The purchase of that which neither belongs to the seller, nor can belong to the
buyer. The most unprofitable of investments.
Providence without industry. The thrift of power.
A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a
rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad-in-a-hole
is really not a toad, and that riz-de-veau a la financiere is not the smile
of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker.
A fool considered under another aspect.
Stupidity militant. The activity of a clouded intellect.
Insensible to the value of our advice.
" Now lay your
bet with mine, nor let
These gamblers take your cash. "
" Nay, this child makes no bet. " " Great snakes !
How can you be so rash ? "
Bootle P. Gish
Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
Our prostrate brother, Homo ventrambulans.
An instrument used by the Caucasian to enhance his beauty, by the Mongolian to
make a guy of himself, and by the Afro-American to affirm his worth.
The radius of action of the human hand. The area within which it is possible (and
customary) to gratify directly the propensity to provide.
This is a truth,
as old as the hills,
That life and experience teach :
The poor man suffers that keenest of ills,
An impediment of his reach.
The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of
Indiana novels, short stories in " dialect " and humor in slang.
We know by one's
His learning and breeding ;
By what draws his laughter
We know his Hereafter.
Read nothing, laugh never --
The Sphinx was less clever !
The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.
A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool
The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are
to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest
favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.
Pertaining to a certain order of architecture, otherwise known as the Normal American.
Most of the public buildings of the United States are of the Ramshackle order,
though some of our earlier architects preferred the Ironic. Recent additions to
the White House in Washington are Theo-Doric, the ecclesiastic order of the Dorians.
They are exceedingly fine and cost one hundred dollars a brick.
The art of depicting nature as it is seem by toads. The charm suffusing a landscape
painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.
The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should
assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
In American military matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to
To weight probabilities in the scales of desire.
Propensitate of prejudice.
Accessible to the infection of our own opinions. Hospitable to persuasion, dissuasion
A proponent of a new misrule who has failed to establish it.
To recall with additions something not previously known.
A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose of digging up the
To seek a justification for a decision already made.
In American politics, another throw of the dice, accorded to the player against
whom they are loaded.
A particular kind of dejection to relieve a general fatigue.
A person distinguishable from a civilian by his uniform and from a soldier by
Fresh from the farm
or factory or street,
His marching, in pursuit or in retreat,
Were an impressive martial spectacle
Except for two impediments -- his feet.
In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Cruate
and the Vicar being the other two.
Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of
the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental
mystery of our holy religion, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but
have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.
We must awake Man's
spirit from his sin,
And take some special measure for redeeming it ;
Though hard indeed the task to get it in
Among the angels any way but teaming it,
Or purify it otherwise than steaming it.
I'm awkward at Redemption -- a beginner :
My method is to crucify the sinner.
Reparation without satisfaction.
Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the king was permitted,
on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of the royal offender with a switch
that was afterward applied to his own naked back. The latter rite was performed
by the public hangman, and it assured moderation in the plaintiff's choice of
A North American Indian, whose skin is not red -- at least not on the outside.
Superfluous ; needless ; de trop.
The Sultan said
: " There's evidence abundant
To prove this unbelieving dog redundant. "
To whom the Grand Vizier, with mien impressive,
Replied : " His head, at least, appears excessive. "
Mr. Debs is a redundant
A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus
of public opinion.
An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the
things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
A thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.
Anything assuring protection to one in peril. Moses and Joshua provided six cities
of refuge -- Bezer, Golan, Ramoth, Kadesh, Schekem and Hebron -- to which one
who had taken life inadvertently could flee when hunted by relatives of the deceased.
This admirable expedient supplied him with wholesome exercise and enabled them
to enjoy the pleasures of the chase ; whereby the soul of the dead man was appropriately
honored by observations akin to the funeral games of early Greece.
Denial of something desired ; as an elderly maiden's hand in marriage, to a rich
and handsome suitor ; a valuable franchise to a rich corporation, by an alderman
; absolution to an impenitent king, by a priest, and so forth. Refusals are graded
in a descending scale of finality thus : the refusal absolute, the refusal condition,
the refusal tentative and the refusal feminine. The last is called by some casuists
the refusal assentive.
Distinguishing insignia, jewels and costume of such ancient and honorable orders
as Knights of Adam ; Visionaries of Detectable Bosh ; the Ancient Order of Modern
Troglodytes ; the League of Holy Humbug ; the Golden Phalanx of Phalangers ; the
Genteel Society of Expurgated Hoodlums ; the Mystic Alliances of Georgeous Regalians
; Knights and Ladies of the Yellow Dog ; the Oriental Order of Sons of the West
; the Blatherhood of Insufferable Stuff ; Warriors of the Long Bow ; Guardians
of the Great Horn Spoon ; the Band of Brutes ; the Impenitent Order of Wife-Beaters
; the Sublime Legion of Flamboyant Conspicuants ; Worshipers at the Electroplated
Shrine ; Shining Inaccessibles ; Fee-Faw-Fummers of the inimitable Grip ; Jannissaries
of the Broad-Blown Peacock ; Plumed Increscencies of the Magic Temple ; the Grand
Cabal of Able-Bodied Sedentarians ; Associated Deities of the Butter Trade ; the
Garden of Galoots ; the Affectionate Fraternity of Men Similarly Warted ; the
Flashing Astonishers ; Ladies of Horror ; Cooperative Association for Breaking
into the Spotlight ; Dukes of Eden ; Disciples Militant of the Hidden Faith ;
Knights-Champions of the Domestic Dog ; the Holy Gregarians ; the Resolute Optimists
; the Ancient Sodality of Inhospitable Hogs ; Associated Sovereigns of Mendacity
; Dukes-Guardian of the Mystic Cess-Pool ; the Society for Prevention of Prevalence
; Kings of Drink ; Polite Federation of Gents-Consequential ; the Mysterious Order
of the Undecipherable Scroll ; Uniformed Rank of Lousy Cats ; Monarchs of Worth
and Hunger ; Sons of the South Star ; Prelates of the Tub-and-Sword.
A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
" What is your religion my son ? " inquired the Archbishop of Rheims.
" Pardon, monseigneur, " replied Rochebriant ; " I am ashamed of
it. " " Then why do you not become an atheist ? " " Impossible
! I should be ashamed of atheism. " " In that case, monsieur, you should
join the Protestants. "
A receptacle for such sacred objects as pieces of the true cross, short-ribs of
the saints, the ears of Balaam's ass, the lung of the cock that called Peter to
repentance and so forth. Reliquaries are commonly of metal, and provided with
a lock to prevent the contents from coming out and performing miracles at unseasonable
times. A feather from the wing of the Angel of the Annunciation once escaped during
a sermon in Saint Peter's and so tickled the noses of the congregation that they
woke and sneezed with great vehemence three times each. It is related in the "
Gesta Sanctorum " that a sacristan in the Canterbury cathedral surprised
the head of Saint Dennis in the library. Reprimanded by its stern custodian, it
explained that it was seeking a body of doctrine. This unseemly levity so raged
the diocesan that the offender was publicly anathematized, thrown into the Stour
and replaced by another head of Saint Dennis, brought from Rome.
A degree of distinction between notoriety and fame -- a little more supportable
than the one and a little more intolerable than the other. Sometimes it is conferred
by an unfriendly and inconsiderate hand.
I touched the harp
in every key,
But found no heeding ear ;
And then Ithuriel touched me
With a revealing spear.
Not all my genius,
great as 'tis,
Could urge me out of night.
I felt the faint appulse of his,
And leapt into the light !
Satisfaction that is made for a wrong and deducted from the satisfaction felt
in committing it.
Prudent insult in retort. Practiced by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion
to violence, but a strong disposition to offend. In a war of words, the tactics
of the North American Indian.
The faithful attendant and follower of Punishment. It is usually manifest in a
degree of reformation that is not inconsistent with continuity of sin.
Desirous to avoid
the pains of Hell,
You will repent and join the Church, Parnell ?
How needless ! -- Nick will keep you off the coals
And add you to the woes of other souls.
A reproduction of a work of art, by the artist that made the original. It is so
called to distinguish it from a " copy, " which is made by another artist.
When the two are mae with equal skill the replica is the more valuable, for it
is supposed to be more beautiful than it looks.
A writer who guesses his way to the truth and dispels it with a tempest of words.
" More dear
than all my bosom knows, O thou
Whose 'lips are sealed' and will not disavow ! "
So sang the blithe reporter-man as grew
Beneath his hand the leg-long " interview. "
To cease from troubling.
In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible
hope of promotion in the next.
In theology, the state of a luckless mortal prenatally damned. The doctrine of
reprobation was taught by Calvin, whose joy in it was somewhat marred by the sad
sincerity of his conviction that although some are foredoomed to perdition, others
are predestined to salvation.
A nation in which, the thing governing and the thing governed being the same,
there is only a permitted authority to enforce an optional obedience. In a republic,
the foundation of public order is the ever lessening habit of submission inherited
from ancestors who, being truly governed, submitted because they had to. There
are as many kinds of republics as there are graduations between the despotism
whence they came and the anarchy whither they lead.
A mass for the dead which the minor poets assure us the winds sing o'er the graves
of their favorites. Sometimes, by way of providing a varied entertainment, they
sing a dirge.
Unable to leave.
To renounce an honor for an advantage. To renounce an advantage for a greater
'Twas rumored Leonard
Wood had signed
A true renunciation
Of title, rank and every kind
Of military station --
Each honorable station.
By his example fired
To noble emulation,
The country humbly was resigned
To Leonard's resignation --
His Christian resignation.
Obstinate in a course that we approve.
The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account.
An apparatus fitted over the nose and mouth of an inhabitant of London, whereby
to filter the visible universe in its passage to the lungs.
A suspension of hostilities against a sentenced assassin, to enable the Executive
to determine whether the murder may not have been done by the prosecuting attorney.
Any break in the continuity of a disagreeable expectation.
Altgeld upon his
Lay, an attendant demon at his head.
" O cruel cook,
pray grant me some relief --
Some respite from the roast, however brief. "
how on earth I pardoned all
Your friends in Illinois when held in thrall. "
" Unhappy soul
! for that alone you squirm
O'er fire unquenched, a never-dying worm.
" Yet, for
I pity your uneasy state,
Your doom I'll mollify and pains abate.
" Naught, for
a season, shall your comfort mar,
Not even the memory of who you are. "
space dread silence fell ;
Heaven trembled as Compassion entered Hell.
" As long,
sweet demon, let my respite be
As, governing down here, I'd respite thee. "
" As long,
poor soul, as any of the pack
You thrust from jail consumed in getting back. "
A genial chill affected
While they were turning him on t'other side.
Joel Spate Woop
Like a simple American citizen beduking himself in his lodge, or affirming his
consequence in the Scheme of Things as an elemental unit of a parade.
The Knights of Dominion
were so resplendent in their velvet-
and-gold that their masters would hardly have known them.
" Chronicles of the Classes "
To make answer, or disclose otherwise a consciousness of having inspired an interest
in what Herbert Spencer calls " external coexistences, " as Satan "
squat like a toad " at the ear of Eve, responded to the touch of the angel's
spear. To respond in damages is to contribute to the maintenance of the plaintiff's
attorney and, incidentally, to the gratification of the plaintiff.
A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck
or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon
Alas, things ain't
what we should see
If Eve had let that apple be ;
And many a feller which had ought
To set with monarchses of thought,
Or play some rosy little game
With battle-chaps on fields of fame,
Is downed by his unlucky star
And hollers : " Peanuts ! -- here you are ! "
" The Sturdy Beggar "
The founding or endowing of universities and public libraries by gift or bequest.
Benefactor ; philanthropist.
The natural rock upon which is reared the Temple of Law.
A rain of fire-and-brimstone that falls alike upon the just and such of the unjust
as have not procured shelter by evicting them. In the lines following, addressed
to an Emperor in exile by Father Gassalasca Jape, the reverend poet appears to
hint his sense of the improduence of turning about to face Retribution when it
is talking exercise :
What, what ! Dom
Pedro, you desire to go
Back to Brazil to end your days in quiet ?
Why, what assurance have you 'twould be so ?
'Tis not so long since you were in a riot,
And your dear subjects showed a will to fly at
Your throat and shake you like a rat. You know
That empires are ungrateful ; are you certain
Republics are less handy to get hurt in ?
A signal to sleeping soldiers to dream of battlefields no more, but get up and
have their blue noses counted. In the American army it is ingeniously called "
rev-e-lee, " and to that pronunciation our countrymen have pledged their
lives, their misfortunes and their sacred dishonor.
A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing
is done by the commentators, who know nothing.
The spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.
To set your wisdom
(holding not a doubt of it,
Although in truth there's neither bone nor skin to it)
At work upon a book, and so read out of it
The qualities that you have first read into it.
In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. Specifically, in American
history, the substitution of the rule of an Administration for that of a Ministry,
whereby the welfare and happiness of the people were advanced a full half-inch.
Revolutions are usually accompanied by a considerable effusion of blood, but are
accounted worth it -- this appraisement being made by beneficiaries whose blood
had not the mischance to be shed. The French revolution is of incalculable value
to the Socialist of to-day ; when he pulls the string actuating its bones its
gestures are inexpressibly terrifying to gory tyrants suspected of fomenting law
One who uses a divining-rod in prospecting for precious metals in the pocket of
Censorious language by another concerning oneself.
Censorious language by oneself concerning another. The word is of classical refinement,
and is even said to have been used in a fable by Georgius Coadjutor, one of the
most fastidious writers of the fifteenth century -- commonly, indeed, regarded
as the founder of the Fastidiotic School.
A mystic beverage secretly used by our most popular novelists and poets to regulate
the imagination and narcotize the conscience. It is said to be rich in both obtundite
and lethargine, and is brewed in a midnight fog by a fat which of the Dismal Swamp.
Holding in trust and subject to an accounting the property of the indolent, the
incompetent, the unthrifty, the envious and the luckless. That is the view that
prevails in the underworld, where the Brotherhood of Man finds its most logical
development and candid advocacy. To denizens of the midworld the word means good
A gift from Heaven
signifying, " This is my beloved son, in
whom I am well pleased. "
John D. Rockefeller
The reward of toil
The sayings of many
in the hands of one.
To these excellent definitions
the inspired lexicographer feels that he can add nothing of value.
Words designed to show that the person of whom they are uttered is devoid of the
dignity of character distinguishing him who utters them. It may be graphic, mimetic
or merely rident. Shaftesbury is quoted as having pronounced it the test of truth
-- a ridiculous assertion, for many a solemn fallacy has undergone centuries of
ridicule with no abatement of its popular acceptance. What, for example, has been
more valorously derided than the doctrine of Infant Respectability ?
Legitimate authority to be, to do or to have ; as the right to be a king, the
right to do one's neighbor, the right to have measles, and the like. The first
of these rights was once universally believed to be derived directly from the
will of God ; and this is still sometimes affirmed in partibus infidelium
outside the enlightened realms of Democracy ; as the well known lines of Sir Abednego
Bink, following :
By what right, then,
do royal rulers rule ?
Whose is the sanction of their state and pow'r ?
He surely were as stubborn as a mule
Who, God unwilling, could maintain an hour
His uninvited session on the throne, or air
His pride securely in the Presidential chair.
Whatever is is so
by Right Divine ;
Whate'er occurs, God wills it so. Good land !
It were a wondrous thing if His design
A fool could baffle or a rogue withstand !
If so, then God, I say (intending no offence)
Is guilty of contributory negligence.
A sturdy virtue that was once found among the Pantidoodles inhabiting the lower
part of the peninsula of Oque. Some feeble attempts were made by returned missionaries
to introduce it into several European countries, but it appears to have been imperfectly
expounded. An example of this faulty exposition is found in the only extant sermon
of the pious Bishop Rowley, a characteristic passage from which is here given
" Now righteousness consisteth
not merely in a holy state of mind, nor yet in performance of religious rites
and obedience to the letter of the law. It is not enough that one be pious and
just : one must see to it that others also are in the same state ; and to this
end compulsion is a proper means. Forasmuch as my injustice may work ill to another,
so by his injustice may evil be wrought upon still another, the which it is as
manifestly my duty to estop as to forestall mine own tort. Wherefore if I would
be righteous I am bound to restrain my neighbor, by force if needful, in all those
injurious enterprises from which, through a better disposition and by the help
of Heaven, I do myself restrain. "
Agreeing sounds in the terminals of verse, mostly bad. The verses themselves,
as distinguished from prose, mostly dull. Usually (and wickedly) spelled "
A poet regarded with indifference or disesteem.
The rimer quenches
his unheeded fires,
The sound surceases and the sense expires.
Then the domestic dog, to east and west,
Expounds the passions burning in his breast.
The rising moon o'er that enchanted land
Pauses to hear and yearns to understand.
A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.
R.I.P. A careless abbreviation
of requiescat in pace, attesting to indolent goodwill to the dead. According
to the learned Dr. Drigge, however, the letters originally meant nothing more
than reductus in pulvis.
A religious or semi-religious ceremony fixed by law, precept or custom, with the
essential oil of sincerity carefully squeezed out of it.
A Dutch Garden of God where He may walk in rectilinear freedom, keeping off the
A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to
where it is futile to go.
All roads, howsoe'er
they diverge, lead to Rome,
Whence, thank the good Lord, at least one leads back home.
Borey the Bald
A candid man of affairs. It is related of Voltaire that one night he and some
traveling companion lodged at a wayside inn.
The surroundings were suggestive, and after supper they agreed to tell robber
stories in turn.
" Once there was a Farmer-General of the Revenues. " Saying nothing
more, he was encouraged to continue. " That, " he said, " is the
Fiction that owes no allegiance to the God of Things as They Are. In the novel
the writer's thought is tethered to probability, as a domestic horse to the hitching-post,
but in romance it ranges at will over the entire region of the imagination --
free, lawless, immune to bit and rein.
Your novelist is a poor creature, as Carlyle might say -- a mere reporter. He
may invent his characters and plot, but he must not imagine anything taking place
that might not occur, albeit his entire narrative is candidly a lie. Why he imposes
this hard condition on himself, and " drags at each remove a lengthening
chain " of his own forging he can explain in ten thick volumes without illuminating
by so much as a candle's ray the black profound of his own ignorance of the matter.
There are great novels, for great writers have " laid waste their powers
" to write them, but it remains true that far and away the most fascinating
fiction that we have is " The Thousand and One Nights. "
An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal. It
is put about the neck and remains in place one's whole life long. It has been
largely superseded by a more complex electrical device worn upon another part
of the person ; and this is rapidly giving place to an apparatus known as the
In Latin, the beak of a bird or the prow of a ship. In America, a place from which
a candidate for office energetically expounds the wisdom, virtue and power of
A member of the Parliamentarian party in the English civil war -- so called from
his habit of wearing his hair short, whereas his enemy, the Cavalier, wore his
long. There were other points of difference between them, but the fashion in hair
was the fundamental cause of quarrel. The Cavaliers were royalists because the
king, an indolent fellow, found it more convenient to let his hair grow than to
wash his neck. This the Roundheads, who were mostly barbers and soap-boilers,
deemed an injury to trade, and the royal neck was therefore the object of their
Descendants of the belligerents now wear their hair all alike, but the fires of
animosity enkindled in that ancient strife smoulder to this day beneath the snows
of British civility.
Worthless matter, such as the religions, philosophies, literatures, arts and sciences
of the tribes infesting the regions lying due south from Boreaplas.
To destroy. Specifically, to destroy a maid's belief in the virtue of maids.
Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.
A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
by mail or shield,
By guard unparried as by flight unstayed,
O serviceable Rumor, let me wield
Against my enemy no other blade.
His be the terror of a foe unseen,
His the inutile hand upon the hilt,
And mine the deadly tongue, long, slender, keen,
Hinting a rumor of some ancient guilt.
So shall I slay the wretch without a blow,
Spare me to celebrate his overthrow,
And nurse my valor for another foe.
A person with a Caucasian body and a Mongolian soul. A Tartar Emetic.
A weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six
days and was arrested on the seventh. Among the Jews observance of the day was
enforced by a Commandment of which this is the Christian version : " Remember
the seventh day to make thy neighbor keep it wholly. " To the Creator it
seemed fit and expedient that the Sabbath should be the last day of the week,
but the Early Fathers of the Church held other views. So great is the sanctity
of the day that even where the Lord holds a doubtful and precarious jurisdiction
over those who go down to (and down into) the sea it is reverently recognized,
as is manifest in the following deep-water version of the Fourth Commandment :
Six days shalt thou
labor and do all thou art able,
And on the seventh holystone the deck and scrape the cable.
Decks are no longer
holystoned, but the cable still supplies the
captain with opportunity to attest a pious respect for the divine
One who holds the belief that a clergyman is a priest. Denial of this momentous
doctrine is the hardest challenge that is now flung into the teeth of the Episcopalian
church by the Neo-Dictionarians.
A solemn religious ceremony to which several degrees of authority and significance
are attached. Rome has seven sacraments, but the Protestant churches, being less
prosperous, feel that they can afford only two, and these of inferior sanctity.
Some of the smaller sects have no sacraments at all -- for which mean economy
they will indubitable be damned.
Dedicated to some religious purpose ; having a divine character ; inspiring solemn
thoughts or emotions ; as, the Dalai Lama of Thibet ; the Moogum of M'bwango ;
the temple of Apes in Ceylon ; the Cow in India ; the Crocodile, the Cat and the
Onion of ancient Egypt ; the Mufti of Moosh ; the hair of the dog that bit Noah,
All things are either
sacred or profane.
The former to ecclesiasts bring gain ;
The latter to the devil appertain.
A vertebrate mammal holding the political views of Denis Kearney, a notorious
demagogue of San Francisco, whose audiences gathered in the open spaces (sandlots)
of the town.
True to the traditions of his species, this leader of the proletariat was finally
bought off by his law-and-order enemies, living prosperously silent and dying
impenitently rich. But before his treason he imposed upon California a constitution
that was a confection of sin in a diction of solecisms. The similarity between
the words " sandlotter " and " sansculotte " is problematically
significant, but indubitably suggestive.
A mechanical device acting automatically to prevent the fall of an elevator, or
cage, in case of an accident to the hoisting apparatus.
Once I seen a human
In an elevator-well,
And his members was bestrewin'
All the place where he had fell.
And I says, apostrophisin'
That uncommon woful wreck :
" Your position's so surprisin'
That I tremble for your neck ! "
Then that ruin,
And impressive, up and spoke :
" Well, I wouldn't tremble badly,
For it's been a fortnight broke. "
Then, for further
Of his attitude, he begs
I will focus my attention
On his various arms and legs --
How they all are
Where they each, respective, lie ;
How one trotter proves ungracious,
T'other one an alibi.
For to show his dismal state,
Which I wasn't first intentioned
To specifical relate.
None is worser to
That I ever have heard tell
Than the gent's who there was spreaded
In that elevator-well.
Now this tale is
It is figurative all,
For the well is metaphoric
And the feller didn't fall.
I opine it isn't
For a writer-man to cheat,
And despise to wear a laurel
As was gotten by deceit.
For 'tis Politics
By the elevator, mind,
It will boost a person splendid
If his talent is the kind.
Col. Bryan had the
(For the busted man is him)
And it shot him up right gallant
Till his head begun to swim.
Then the rope it
broke above him
And he painful come to earth
Where there's nobody to love him
For his detrimented worth.
Though he's livin'
none would know him,
Or at leastwise not as such.
Moral of this woful poem :
Frequent oil your safety-clutch.
A dead sinner revised and edited.The Duchess of Orleans relates that the irreverent
old calumniator, Marshal Villeroi, who in his youth had known St. Francis de Sales,
said, on hearing him called saint : " I am delighted to hear that Monsieur
de Sales is a saint. He was fond of saying indelicate things, and used to cheat
at cards. In other respects he was a perfect gentleman, though a fool. "
A certain literary quality frequently observed in popular novels, especially in
those written by women and young girls, who give it another name and think that
in introducing it they are occupying a neglected field of letters and reaping
an overlooked harvest. If they have the misfortune to live long enough they are
tormented with a desire to burn their sheaves.
Originally a reptile inhabiting fire ; later, an anthropomorphous immortal, but
still a pyrophile. Salamanders are now believed to be extinct, the last one of
which we have an account having been seen in Carcassonne by the Abbe Belloc, who
exorcised it with a bucket of holy water.
Among the Greeks a coffin which being made of a certain kind of carnivorous stone,
had the peculiar property of devouring the body placed in it. The sarcophagus
known to modern obsequiographers is commonly a product of the carpenter's art.
One of the Creator's lamentable mistakes, repented in sashcloth and axes. Being
instated as an archangel, Satan made himself multifariously objectionable and
was finally expelled from Heaven.
Halfway in his descent he paused, bent his head in thought a moment and at last
went back. " There is one favor that I should like to ask, " said he.
" Name it. " " Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will
need laws. " " What, wretch ! you his appointed adversary, charged from
the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul -- you ask for the right to make
his laws ? " " Pardon ; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to
make them himself. " It was so ordered.
The feeling that one has for the plate after he has eaten its contents, madam.
An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the
author's enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire
never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit,
wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all
humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are "
endowed by their Creator " with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally
known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly
regarded as a soul-spirited knave, and his ever victim's outcry for codefendants
evokes a national assent.
Hail Satire ! be
thy praises ever sung
In the dead language of a mummy's tongue,
For thou thyself art dead, and damned as well --
Thy spirit (usefully employed) in Hell.
Had it been such as consecrates the Bible
Thou hadst not perished by the law of libel.
One of the few characters of the Grecian mythology accorded recognition in the
Hebrew. (Leviticus, xvii, 7.) The satyr was at first a member of the dissolute
community acknowledging a loose allegiance with Dionysius, but underwent many
transformations and improvements. Not infrequently he is confounded with the faun,
a later and decenter creation of the Romans, who was less like a man and more
like a goat.
The one infallible sign of civilization and enlightenment. A people with no sauces
has one thousand vices ; a people with one sauce has only nine hundred and ninety-nine.
For every sauce invented and accepted a vice is renounced and forgiven.
A trite popular saying, or proverb. (Figurative and colloquial.) So called because
it makes its way into a wooden head. Following are examples of old saws fitted
with new teeth.
A penny saved is
a penny to squander.
A man is known by
the company that he organizes.
A bad workman quarrels
with the man who calls him that.
A bird in the hand
is worth what it will bring.
Better late than
before anybody has invited you.
Example is better
than following it.
Half a loaf is better
than a whole one if there is much else.
Think twice before
you speak to a friend in need.
What is worth doing
is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it.
Least said is soonest
He laughs best who
Speak of the Devil
and he will hear about it.
Of two evils choose
to be the least.
Strike while your
employer has a big contract.
Where there's a
will there's a won't.
The sacred beetle of the ancient Egyptians, allied to our familiar " tumble-bug.
" It was supposed to symbolize immortality, the fact that God knew why giving
it its peculiar sanctity. Its habit of incubating its eggs in a ball of ordure
may also have commended it to the favor of the priesthood, and may some day assure
it an equal reverence among ourselves. True, the American beetle is an inferior
beetle, but the American priest is an inferior priest.
The same as scarabaeus.
He fell by his own
Beneath the great oak tree.
He'd traveled in a foreign land.
He tried to make her understand
The dance that's called the Saraband,
But he called it Scarabee.
He had called it so through an afternoon,
And she, the light of his harem if so might be,
Had smiled and said naught. O the body was fair to see,
All frosted there in the shine o' the moon --
Dead for a Scarabee
And a recollection that came too late.
O Fate !
They buried him where he lay,
He sleeps awaiting the Day,
And two Possible Puns, moon-eyed and wan,
Gloom over the grave and then move on.
Dead for a Scarabee !
A form of penance practised by the mediaeval pious. The rite was performed, sometimes
with a knife, sometimes with a hot iron, but always, says Arsenius Asceticus,
acceptably if the penitent spared himself no pain nor harmless disfigurement.
Scarification, with other crude penances, has now been superseded by benefaction.
The founding of a library or endowment of a university is said to yield to the
penitent a sharper and more lasting pain than is conferred by the knife or iron,
and is therefore a surer means of grace. There are, however, two grave objections
to it as a penitential method : the good that it does and the taint of justice.
A king's staff of office, the sign and symbol of his authority. It was originally
a mace with which the sovereign admonished his jester and vetoed ministerial measures
by breaking the bones of their proponents.
A curved sword of exceeding keenness, in the conduct of which certain Orientals
attain a surprising proficiency, as the incident here related will serve to show.
The account is translated from the Japanese by Shusi Itama, a famous writer of
the thirteenth century.
When the great Gichi-Kuktai
was Mikado he condemned to
decapitation Jijiji Ri, a high officer of the Court. Soon after
the hour appointed for performance of the rite what was his
Majesty's surprise to see calmly approaching the throne the man
who should have been at that time ten minutes dead !
" Seventeen hundred impossible dragons ! " shouted the enraged
monarch. " Did I not sentence you to stand in the market-place and
have your head struck off by the public executioner at three
o'clock ? And is it not now 3 :10 ? "
" Son of a thousand illustrious deities, " answered the
condemned minister, " all that you say is so true that the truth is
a lie in comparison.
But your heavenly Majesty's sunny and
vitalizing wishes have been pestilently disregarded. With joy I
ran and placed my unworthy body in the market-place. The
executioner appeared with his bare scimetar, ostentatiously
whirled it in air, and then, tapping me lightly upon the neck,
strode away, pelted by the populace, with whom I was ever a
favorite. I am come to pray for justice upon his own dishonorable
and treasonous head. "
" To what regiment of executioners does the black-boweled
caitiff belong ? " asked the Mikado.
" To the gallant Ninety-eight Hundred and Thirty-seventh -- I
know the man.
His name is Sakko-Samshi. "
" Let him be brought before me, " said the Mikado to an
attendant, and a half-hour later the culprit stood in the
" Thou bastard son of a three-legged hunchback without thumbs ! "
roared the sovereign -- " why didst thou but lightly tap the neck
that it should have been thy pleasure to sever ? "
" Lord of Cranes of Cherry Blooms, " replied the executioner,
unmoved, " command him to blow his nose with his fingers. "
Being commanded, Jijiji Ri laid hold of his nose and trumpeted
like an elephant, all expecting to see the severed head flung
violently from him. Nothing occurred : the performance prospered
peacefully to the close, without incident.
All eyes were now turned on the executioner, who had grown as
white as the snows on the summit of Fujiama. His legs trembled
and his breath came in gasps of terror.
" Several kinds of spike-tailed brass lions ! " he cried ; " I
ruined and disgraced swordsman ! I struck the villain feebly
because in flourishing the scimetar I had accidentally passed it
through my own neck ! Father of the Moon, I resign my office. "
So saying, he gasped his top-knot, lifted off his head, and
advancing to the throne laid it humbly at the Mikado's feet.
A book that is commonly edited by a fool. Many persons of some small distinction
compile scrap-books containing whatever they happen to read about themselves or
employ others to collect. One of these egotists was addressed in the lines following,
by Agamemnon Melancthon Peters :
Dear Frank, that
scrap-book where you boast
You keep a record true
Of every kind of peppered roast
That's made of you ;
Wherein you paste
the printed gibes
That revel round your name,
Thinking the laughter of the scribes
Attests your fame ;
Where all the pictures
That comic pencils trace --
Your funny figure and your strange
Semitic face --
Pray lend it me.
Wit I have not,
Nor art, but there I'll list
The daily drubbings you'd have got
Had God a fist.
A professional writer whose views are antagonistic to one's own.
The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane
writings on which all other faiths are based.
A mark impressed upon certain kinds of documents to attest their authenticity
and authority. Sometimes it is stamped upon wax, and attached to the paper, sometimes
into the paper itself. Sealing, in this sense, is a survival of an ancient custom
of inscribing important papers with cabalistic words or signs to give them a magical
efficacy independent of the authority that they represent. In the British museum
are preserved many ancient papers, mostly of a sacerdotal character, validated
by necromantic pentagrams and other devices, frequently initial letters of words
to conjure with ; and in many instances these are attached in the same way that
seals are appended now. As nearly every reasonless and apparently meaningless
custom, rite or observance of modern times had origin in some remote utility,
it is pleasing to note an example of ancient nonsense evolving in the process
of ages into something really useful. Our word " sincere " is derived
from _sine cero_, without wax, but the learned are not in agreement as to whether
this refers to the absence of the cabalistic signs, or to that of the wax with
which letters were formerly closed from public scrutiny. Either view of the matter
will serve one in immediate need of an hypothesis. The initials L.S., commonly
appended to signatures of legal documents, mean locum sigillis, the place
of the seal, although the seal is no longer used -- an admirable example of conservatism
distinguishing Man from the beasts that perish. The words locum sigillis
are humbly suggested as a suitable motto for the Pribyloff Islands whenever they
shall take their place as a sovereign State of the American Union.
A kind of net for effecting an involuntary change of environment. For fish it
is made strong and coarse, but women are more easily taken with a singularly delicate
fabric weighted with small, cut stones.
The devil casting
a seine of lace,
(With precious stones 'twas weighted)
Drew it into the landing place
And its contents calculated.
All souls of women
were in that sack --
A draft miraculous, precious !
But ere he could throw it across his back
They'd all escaped through the meshes.
Baruch de Loppis
An erroneous appraisement.
Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.
A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
A literary work, usually a story that is not true, creeping through several issues
of a newspaper or magazine. Frequently appended to each installment is a "
synposis of preceding chapters " for those who have not read them, but a
direr need is a synposis of succeeding chapters for those who do not intend to
read them. A synposis of the entire work would be still better. The late
James F. Bowman was writing a serial tale for a weekly paper in collaboration
with a genius whose name has not come down to us. They wrote, not jointly but
alternately, Bowman supplying the installment for one week, his friend for the
next, and so on, world without end, they hoped. Unfortunately they quarreled,
and one Monday morning when Bowman read the paper to prepare himself for his task,
he found his work cut out for him in a way to surprise and pain him. His collaborator
had embarked every character of the narrative on a ship and sunk them all in the
deepest part of the Atlantic.
Separateness, as, lands in severalty, i.e., lands held individually, not in joint
ownership. Certain tribes of Indians are believed now to be sufficiently civilized
to have in severalty the lands that they have hitherto held as tribal organizations,
and could not sell to the Whites for waxen beads and potato whiskey.
Lo ! the poor Indian
whose unsuited mind
Saw death before, hell and the grave behind ;
Whom thrifty settler ne'er besought to stay --
His small belongings their appointed prey ;
Whom Dispossession, with alluring wile,
Persuaded elsewhere every little while !
His fire unquenched and his undying worm
By " land in severalty " (charming term !)
Are cooled and killed, respectively, at last,
And he to his new holding anchored fast !
In America the chief executive office of a country, whose most characteristic
duties, in some of the Western and Southern States, are the catching and hanging
John Elmer Pettibone
(I write of him with little glee)
Was just as bad as he could be.
remarked : " I swon !
The sun has never looked upon
So bad a man as Neighbor John.
A sinner through
and through, he had
This added fault : it made him mad
To know another man was bad.
In such a case he
thought it right
To rise at any hour of night
And quench that wicked person's light.
Despite the town's
Would hale him to the nearest tree
And leave him swinging wide and free.
Or sometimes, if
the humor came,
A luckless wight's reluctant frame
Was given to the cheerful flame.
While it was turning
nice and brown,
All unconcerned John met the frown
Of that austere and righteous town.
" How sad,
" his neighbors said, " that he
So scornful of the law should be --
An anar c, h, i, s, t. "
(That is the way
that they preferred
To utter the abhorrent word,
So strong the aversion that it stirred.)
" they said, continuing,
" That Badman John must cease this thing
Of having his unlawful fling.
" Now, by these
sacred relics " -- here
Each man had out a souvenir
Got at a lynching yesteryear --
" By these
we swear he shall forsake
His ways, nor cause our hearts to ache
By sins of rope and torch and stake.
" We'll tie
his red right hand until
He'll have small freedom to fulfil
The mandates of his lawless will. "
So, in convention
then and there,
They named him Sheriff. The affair
Was opened, it is said, with prayer.
J. Milton Sloluck
One of several musical prodigies famous for a vain attempt to dissuade Odysseus
from a life on the ocean wave. Figuratively, any lady of splendid promise, dissembled
purpose and disappointing performance.
The grunt of the human hog (_Pignoramus intolerabilis_) with an audible memory.
The speech of one who utters with his tongue what he thinks with his ear, and
feels the pride of a creator in accomplishing the feat of a parrot. A means (under
Providence) of setting up as a wit without a capital of sense.
A fragment, a decomponent part, a remain.
The word is used variously, but in the following verse on a noted female reformer
who opposed bicycle-riding by women because it " led them to the devil "
it is seen at its best :
The wheels go round
without a sound --
The maidens hold high revel ;
In sinful mood, insanely gay,
True spinsters spin adown the way
From duty to the devil !
They laugh, they sing, and -- ting-a-ling !
Their bells go all the morning ;
Their lanterns bright bestar the night
With lifted hands Miss Charlotte stands,
Good-Lording and O-mying,
Her rheumatism forgotten quite,
Her fat with anger frying.
She blocks the path that leads to wrath,
Jack Satan's power defying.
The wheels go round without a sound
The lights burn red and blue and green.
What's this that's found upon the ground ?
Poor Charlotte Smith's a smithareen !
John William Yope
The controversial method of an opponent, distinguished from one's own by superior
insincerity and fooling. This method is that of the later Sophists, a Grecian
sect of philosophers who began by teaching wisdom, prudence, science, art and,
in brief, whatever men ought to know, but lost themselves in a maze of quibbles
and a fog of words.
His bad opponent's
" facts " he sweeps away,
And drags his sophistry to light of day ;
Then swears they're pushed to madness who resort
To falsehood of so desperate a sort.
Not so ; like sods upon a dead man's breast,
He lies most lightly who the least is pressed.
The ancient prototype and forerunner of political influence. It was, however,
deemed less respectable and sometimes was punished by torture and death. Augustine
Nicholas relates that a poor peasant who had been accused of sorcery was put to
the torture to compel a confession.
After enduring a few gentle agonies the suffering simpleton admitted his guilt,
but naively asked his tormentors if it were not possible to be a sorcerer without
A spiritual entity concerning which there hath been brave disputation.
Plato held that those souls which in a previous state of existence (antedating
Athens) had obtained the clearest glimpses of eternal truth entered into the bodies
of persons who became philosophers. Plato himself was a philosopher. The souls
that had least contemplated divine truth animated the bodies of usurpers and despots.
Dionysius I, who had threatened to decapitate the broad- browed philosopher, was
a usurper and a despot. Plato, doubtless, was not the first to construct a system
of philosophy that could be quoted against his enemies ; certainly he was not
the last. " Concerning the nature of the soul, " saith the renowned
author of Diversiones Sanctorum, " there hath been hardly more argument
than that of its place in the body. Mine own belief is that the soul hath her
seat in the abdomen -- in which faith we may discern and interpret a truth hitherto
unintelligible, namely that the glutton is of all men most devout. He is said
in the Scripture to 'make a god of his belly' -- why, then, should he not be pious,
having ever his Deity with him to freshen his faith ? Who so well as he can know
the might and majesty that he shrines ? Truly and soberly, the soul and the stomach
are one Divine Entity ; and such was the belief of Promasius, who nevertheless
erred in denying it immortality. He had observed that its visible and material
substance failed and decayed with the rest of the body after death, but of its
immaterial essence he knew nothing. This is what we call the Appetite, and it
survives the wreck and reek of mortality, to be rewarded or punished in another
world, according to what it hath demanded in the flesh. The Appetite whose coarse
clamoring was for the unwholesome viands of the general market and the public
refectory shall be cast into eternal famine, whilst that which firmly through
civilly insisted on ortolans, caviare, terrapin, anchovies, pates de foie gras
and all such Christian comestibles shall flesh its spiritual tooth in the souls
of them forever and ever, and wreak its divine thirst upon the immortal parts
of the rarest and richest wines ever quaffed here below. Such is my religious
faith, though I grieve to confess that neither His Holiness the Pope nor His Grace
the Archbishop of Canterbury (whom I equally and profoundly revere) will assent
to its dissemination.
A writer whose imagination concerns itself with supernatural phenomena, especially
in the doings of spooks. One of the most illustrious spookers of our time is Mr.
William D. Howells, who introduces a well-credentialed reader to as respectable
and mannerly a company of spooks as one could wish to meet. To the terror that
invests the chairman of a district school board, the Howells ghost adds something
of the mystery enveloping a farmer from another township.
A narrative, commonly untrue. The truth of the stories here following has, however,
not been successfully impeached.
One evening Mr. Rudolph Block,
of New York, found himself seated at dinner alongside Mr. Percival Pollard, the
distinguished critic. " Mr. Pollard, " said he, " my book, The
Biography of a Dead Cow, is published anonymously, but you can hardly be ignorant
of its authorship. Yet in reviewing it you speak of it as the work of the Idiot
of the Century. Do you think that fair criticism ? " " I am very sorry,
sir, " replied the critic, amiably, " but it did not occur to me that
you really might not wish the public to know who wrote it. "
Mr. W.C. Morrow, who used to live
in San Jose, California, was addicted to writing ghost stories which made the
reader feel as if a stream of lizards, fresh from the ice, were streaking it up
his back and hiding in his hair. San Jose was at that time believed to be haunted
by the visible spirit of a noted bandit named Vasquez, who had been hanged there.
The town was not very well lighted, and it is putting it mildly to say that San
Jose was reluctant to be out o' nights. One particularly dark night two gentlemen
were abroad in the loneliest spot within the city limits, talking loudly to keep
up their courage, when they came upon Mr. J.J. Owen, a well-known journalist.
" Why, Owen, " said one, " what brings you here on such a night
as this ? You told me that this is one of Vasquez' favorite haunts ! And you are
a believer. Aren't you afraid to be out ? " " My dear fellow, "
the journalist replied with a drear autumnal cadence in his speech, like the moan
of a leaf-laden wind, " I am afraid to be in.
I have one of Will Morrow's stories in my pocket and I don't dare to go where
there is light enough to read it. "
Rear-Admiral Schley and Representative
Charles F. Joy were standing near the Peace Monument, in Washington, discussing
the question, Is success a failure ? Mr. Joy suddenly broke off in the middle
of an eloquent sentence, exclaiming : " Hello ! I've heard that band before.
Santlemann's, I think. " " I don't hear any band, " said Schley.
" Come to think, I don't either, " said Joy ; " but I see General
Miles coming down the avenue, and that pageant always affects me in the same way
as a brass band. One has to scrutinize one's impressions pretty closely, or one
will mistake their origin.
" While the Admiral was digesting this hasty meal of philosophy General Miles
passed in review, a spectacle of impressive dignity. When the tail of the seeming
procession had passed and the twoobservers had recovered from the transient blindness
caused by its effulgence -- " He seems to be enjoying himself, " said
the Admiral. " There is nothing, " assented Joy, thoughtfully, "
that he enjoys one-half so well. "
The illustrious statesman, Champ
Clark, once lived about a mile from the village of Jebigue, in Missouri. One day
he rode into town on a favorite mule, and, hitching the beast on the sunny side
of a street, in front of a saloon, he went inside in his character of teetotaler,
to apprise the barkeeper that wine is a mocker. It was a dreadfully hot day. Pretty
soon a neighbor came in and seeing Clark, said : " Champ, it is not right
to leave that mule out there in the sun.
He'll roast, sure ! -- he was smoking as I passed him. " " O, he's all
right, " said Clark, lightly ; " he's an inveterate smoker. " The
neighbor took a lemonade, but shook his head and repeated that it was not right.
He was a conspirator. There had been a fire the night before : a stable just around
the corner had burned and a number of horses had put on their immortality, among
them a young colt, which was roasted to a rich nut-brown.
Some of the boys had turned Mr. Clark's mule loose and substituted the mortal
part of the colt. Presently another man entered the saloon.
" For mercy's sake ! " he said, taking it with sugar, " do remove
that mule, barkeeper : it smells. " " Yes, " interposed Clark,
" that animal has the best nose in Missouri. But if he doesn't mind, you
shouldn't. " In the course of human events Mr. Clark went out, and there,
apparently, lay the incinerated and shrunken remains of his charger. The boys
idd not have any fun out of Mr. Clarke, who looked at the body and, with the non-committal
expression to which he owes so much of his political preferment, went away. But
walking home late that night he saw his mule standing silent and solemn by the
wayside in the misty moonlight. Mentioning the name of Helen Blazes with uncommon
emphasis, Mr. Clark took the back track as hard as ever he could hook it, and
passed the night in town.
General H.H. Wotherspoon, president
of the Army War College, has a pet rib-nosed baboon, an animal of uncommon intelligence
but imperfectly beautiful. Returning to his apartment one evening, the General
was surprised and pained to find Adam (for so the creature is named, the general
being a Darwinian) sitting up for him and wearing his master's best uniform coat,
epaulettes and all. " You confounded remote ancestor ! " thundered the
great strategist, " what do you mean by being out of bed after naps ? --
and with my coat on ! " Adam rose and with a reproachful look got down on
all fours in the manner of his kind and, scuffling across the room to a table,
returned with a visiting-card : General Barry had called and, judging by an empty
champagne bottle and several cigar-stumps, had been hospitably entertained while
waiting. The general apologized to his faithful progenitor and retired. The next
day he met General Barry, who said : " Spoon, old man, when leaving you last
evening I forgot to ask you about those excellent cigars. Where did you get them
? " General Wotherspoon did not deign to reply, but walked away. " Pardon
me, please, " said Barry, moving after him ; " I was joking of course.
Why, I knew it was not you before I had been in the room fifteen minutes. "
The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows. In literature, and particularly
in poetry, the elements of success are exceedingly simple, and are admirably set
forth in the following lines by the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape, entitled,
for some mysterious reason, " John A. Joyce. "
The bard who would
prosper must carry a book,
Do his thinking in prose and wear
A crimson cravat, a far-away look
And a head of hexameter hair.
Be thin in your thought and your body'll be fat ;
If you wear your hair long you needn't your hat.
Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held
to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to
vote for the man of another man's choice, and is highly prized. Refusal to do
so has the bad name of " incivism. " The incivilian, however, cannot
be properly arraigned for his crime, for there is no legitimate accuser. If the
accuser is himself guilty he has no standing in the court of opinion ; if not,
he profits by the crime, for A's abstention from voting gives greater weight to
the vote of B. By female suffrage is meant the right of a woman to vote as some
man tells her to. It is based on female responsibility, which is somewhat limited.
The woman most eager to jump out of her petticoat to assert her rights is first
to jump back into it when threatened with a switching for misusing them.
One who approaches Greatness on his belly so that he may not be commanded to turn
and be kicked. He is sometimes an editor.
As the lean leech,
its victim found, is pleased
To fix itself upon a part diseased
Till, its black hide distended with bad blood,
It drops to die of surfeit in the mud,
So the base sycophant with joy descries
His neighbor's weak spot and his mouth applies,
Gorges and prospers like the leech, although,
Unlike that reptile, he will not let go.
Gelasma, if it paid you to devote
Your talent to the service of a goat,
Showing by forceful logic that its beard
Is more than Aaron's fit to be revered ;
If to the task of honoring its smell
Profit had prompted you, and love as well,
The world would benefit at last by you
And wealthy malefactors weep anew --
Your favor for a moment's space denied
And to the nobler object turned aside.
Is't not enough that thrifty millionaires
Who loot in freight and spoliate in fares,
Or, cursed with consciences that bid them fly
To safer villainies of darker dye,
Forswearing robbery and fain, instead,
To steal (they call it " cornering " ) our bread
May see you groveling their boots to lick
And begging for the favor of a kick ?
Still must you follow to the bitter end
Your sycophantic disposition's trend,
And in your eagerness to please the rich
Hunt hungry sinners to their final ditch ?
In Morgan's praise you smite the sounding wire,
And sing hosannas to great Havemeyher !
What's Satan done that him you should eschew ?
He too is reeking rich -- deducting _you_.
A logical formula consisting of a major and a minor assumption and an inconsequent.
An immaterial but visible being that inhabited the air when the air was an element
and before it was fatally polluted with factory smoke, sewer gas and similar products
Sylphs were allied to gnomes, nymphs and salamanders, which dwelt, respectively,
in earth, water and fire, all now insalubrious. Sylphs, like fowls of the air,
were male and female, to no purpose, apparently, for if they had progeny they
must have nested in accessible places, none of the chicks having ever been seen.
Something that is supposed to typify or stand for something else. Many symbols
are mere " survivals " -- things which having no longer any utility
continue to exist because we have inherited the tendency to make them ; as funereal
urns carved on memorial monuments. They were once real urns holding the ashes
of the dead. We cannot stop making them, but we can give them a name that conceals
Pertaining to symbols and the use and interpretation of symbols.
They say 'tis conscience
feels compunction ;
T, the twentieth letter of the
English alphabet, was by the Greeks absurdly called tau. In the alphabet
whence ours comes it had the form of the rude corkscrew of the period, and when
it stood alone (which was more than the Phoenicians could always do) signified
Tallegal, translated by the learned Dr. Brownrigg, " tanglefoot. "
I hold that that's the stomach's function,
For of the sinner I have noted
That when he's sinned he's somewhat bloated,
Or ill some other ghastly fashion
Within that bowel of compassion.
True, I believe the only sinner
Is he that eats a shabby dinner.
You know how Adam with good reason,
For eating apples out of season,
Was " cursed. " But that is all symbolic :
The truth is, Adam had the colic.
TABLE D'HOTE, n.
A caterer's thrifty concession to the universal passion for irresponsibility.
Took Madam P. to table,
And there deliriously fed
As fast as he was able.
" I dote upon
good grub, " he cried,
Intent upon its throatage.
" Ah, yes, " said the neglected bride,
" You're in your table d'hotage. "
The part of an animal's spine that has transcended its natural limitations to
set up an independent existence in a world of its own.
Excepting in its foetal state, Man is without a tail, a privation of which he
attests an hereditary and uneasy consciousness by the coat-skirt of the male and
the train of the female, and by a marked tendency to ornament that part of his
attire where the tail should be, and indubitably once was. This tendency is most
observable in the female of the species, in whom the ancestral sense is strong
and persistent. The tailed men described by Lord Monboddo are now generally regarded
as a product of an imagination unusually susceptible to influences generated in
the golden age of our pithecan past.
To acquire, frequently by force but preferably by stealth.
To commit an indiscretion without temptation, from an impulse without purpose.
A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against
the greed of his consumer.
The Enemy of Human
Sat grieving at the cost of coals ;
For Hell had been annexed of late,
And was a sovereign Southern State.
" It were no
more than right, " said he,
" That I should get my fuel free.
The duty, neither just nor wise,
Compels me to economize --
Whereby my broilers, every one,
Are execrably underdone.
What would they have ? -- although I yearn
To do them nicely to a turn,
I can't afford an honest heat.
This tariff makes even devils cheat !
I'm ruined, and my humble trade
All rascals may at will invade :
Beneath my nose the public press
Outdoes me in sulphureousness ;
The bar ingeniously applies
To my undoing my own lies ;
My medicines the doctors use
(Albeit vainly) to refuse
To me my fair and rightful prey
And keep their own in shape to pay ;
The preachers by example teach
What, scorning to perform, I teach ;
And statesmen, aping me, all make
More promises than they can break.
Against such competition I
Lift up a disregarded cry.
Since all ignore my just complaint,
By Hokey-Pokey ! I'll turn saint ! "
Now, the Republicans, who all
Are saints, began at once to bawl
Against his competition ; so
There was a devil of a go !
They locked horns with him, tete-a-tete
In acrimonious debate,
Till Democrats, forlorn and lone,
Had hopes of coming by their own.
That evil to avert, in haste
The two belligerents embraced ;
But since 'twere wicked to relax
A tittle of the Sacred Tax,
'Twas finally agreed to grant
The bold Insurgent-protestant
A bounty on each soul that fell
Into his ineffectual Hell.
In an English court a man named Home was tried for slander in having accused his
neighbor of murder. His exact words were : " Sir Thomas Holt hath taken a
cleaver and stricken his cook upon the head, so that one side of the head fell
upon one shoulder and the other side upon the other shoulder. " The defendant
was acquitted by instruction of the court, the learned judges holding that the
words did not charge murder, for they did not affirm the death of the cook, that
being only an inference.
Ennui, the state or condition of one that is bored. Many fanciful derivations
of the word have been affirmed, but so high an authority as Father Jape says that
it comes from a very obvious source -- the first words of the ancient Latin hymn
Te Deum Laudamus. In this apparently natural derivation there is something
One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally.
An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable
person keep his distance.
A device having a relation to the eye similar to that of the telephone to the
ear, enabling distant objects to plague us with a multitude of needless details.
Luckily it is unprovided with a bell summoning us to the sacrifice.
A certain quality of the human hand in its relation to the coin of the realm.
It attains its highest development in the hand of authority and is considered
a serviceable equipment for a career in politics. The following illustrative lines
were written of a Californian gentleman in high political preferment, who has
passed to his accounting :
Of such tenacity
That nothing from his hand can slip.
Well-buttered eels you may o'erwhelm
In tubs of liquid slippery-elm
In vain -- from his detaining pinch
They cannot struggle half an inch !
'Tis lucky that he so is planned
That breath he draws not with his hand,
For if he did, so great his greed
He'd draw his last with eager speed.
Nay, that were well, you say. Not so
He'd draw but never let it go !
An ancient faith having all the certitude of religion and all the mystery of science.
The modern Theosophist holds, with the Buddhists, that we live an incalculable
number of times on this earth, in as many several bodies, because one life is
not long enough for our complete spiritual development ; that is, a single lifetime
does not suffice for us to become as wise and good as we choose to wish to become.
To be absolutely wise and good -- that is perfection ; and the Theosophist is
so keen-sighted as to have observed that everything desirous of improvement eventually
Less competent observers are disposed to except cats, which seem neither wiser
nor better than they were last year. The greatest and fattest of recent Theosophists
was the late Madame Blavatsky, who had no cat.
An habiliment of the stage designed to reinforce the general acclamation of the
press agent with a particular publicity. Public attention was once somewhat diverted
from this garment to Miss Lillian Russell's refusal to wear it, and many were
the conjectures as to her motive, the guess of Miss Pauline Hall showing a high
order of ingenuity and sustained reflection.
It was Miss Hall's belief that nature had not endowed Miss Russell with beautiful
legs. This theory was impossible of acceptance by the male understanding, but
the conception of a faulty female leg was of so prodigious originality as to rank
among the most brilliant feats of philosophical speculation ! It is strange that
in all the controversy regarding Miss Russell's aversion to tights no one seems
to have thought to ascribe it to what was known among the ancients as " modesty.
" The nature of that sentiment is now imperfectly understood, and possibly
incapable of exposition with the vocabulary that remains to us. The study of lost
arts has, however, been recently revived and some of the arts themselves recovered.
This is an epoch of renaissances, and there is ground for hope that the
primitive " blush " may be dragged from its hiding-place amongst the
tombs of antiquity and hissed on to the stage.
The House of Indifference. Tombs are now by common consent invested with a certain
sanctity, but when they have been long tenanted it is considered no sin to break
them open and rifle them, the famous Egyptologist, Dr. Huggyns, explaining that
a tomb may be innocently " glened " as soon as its occupant is done
" smellynge, " the soul being then all exhaled. This reasonable view
is now generally accepted by archaeologists, whereby the noble science of Curiosity
has been greatly dignified.
To tipple, booze, swill, soak, guzzle, lush, bib, or swig. In the individual,
toping is regarded with disesteem, but toping nations are in the forefront of
civilization and power. When pitted against the hard-drinking Christians the absemious
Mahometans go downlike grass before the scythe. In India one hundred thousand
beef-eating and brandy-and-soda guzzling Britons hold in subjection two hundred
and fifty million vegetarian abstainers of the same Aryan race. With what an easy
grace the whisky-loving American pushed the temperate Spaniard out of his possessions
! From the time when the Berserkers ravaged all the coasts of western Europe and
lay drunk in every conquered port it has been the same way : everywhere the nations
that drink too much are observed to fight rather well and not too righteously.
Wherefore the estimable old ladies who abolished the canteen from the American
army may justly boast of having materially augmented the nation's military power.
A creature thoughtfully created to supply occasion for the following lines by
the illustrious Ambat Delaso :
TO MY PET TORTOISE
My friend, you are
not graceful -- not at all ;
Your gait's between a stagger and a sprawl.
Nor are you beautiful
: your head's a snake's
To look at, and I do not doubt it aches.
As to your feet,
they'd make an angel weep.
'Tis true you take them in whene'er you sleep.
No, you're not pretty,
but you have, I own,
A certain firmness -- mostly you're [sic] backbone.
Firmness and strength
(you have a giant's thews)
Are virtues that the great know how to use --
I wish that they
did not ; yet, on the whole,
You lack -- excuse my mentioning it -- Soul.
So, to be candid,
unreserved and true,
I'd rather you were I than I were you.
in a time to be,
When Man's extinct, a better world may see
Your progeny in
power and control,
Due to the genesis and growth of Soul.
So I salute you
as a reptile grand
Predestined to regenerate the land.
Father of Possibilities,
To accept the homage of a dying reign !
In the far region
of the unforeknown
I dream a tortoise upon every throne.
I see an Emperor
his head withdraw
Into his carapace for fear of Law ;
A King who carries
something else than fat,
Howe'er acceptably he carries that ;
A President not
On punishment of audible dissent --
Who never shot (it
were a vain attack)
An armed or unarmed tortoise in the back ;
Subject and citizens
that feel no need
To make the March of Mind a wild stampede ;
All progress slow,
And " Take your time " the word, in Church and State.
O Tortoise, 'tis
a happy, happy dream,
My glorious testudinous regime !
I wish in Eden you'd
brought this about
By slouching in and chasing Adam out.
A tall vegetable intended by nature to serve as a penal apparatus, though through
a miscarriage of justice most trees bear only a negligible fruit, or none at all.
When naturally fruited, the tree is a beneficient agency of civilization and an
important factor in public morals. In the stern West and the sensitive South its
fruit (white and black respectively) though not eaten, is agreeable to the public
taste and, though not exported, profitable to the general welfare. That the legitimate
relation of the tree to justice was no discovery of Judge Lynch (who, indeed,
conceded it no primacy over the lamp-post and the bridge-girder) is made plain
by the following passage from Morryster, who antedated him by two centuries :
While in yt londe
I was carried to see ye Ghogo tree, whereof
I had hearde moch talk ; but sayynge yt I saw naught remarkabyll in
it, ye hed manne of ye villayge where it grewe made answer as
" Ye tree is not nowe in fruite, but in his seasonne you shall
see dependynge fr. his braunches all soch as have affroynted ye
King his Majesty. "
And I was furder tolde yt ye worde " Ghogo " sygnifyeth in yr
tong ye same as " rapscal " in our owne.
Trauvells in ye Easte
A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters
of judges, advocates and jurors. In order to effect this purpose it is necessary
to supply a contrast in the person of one who is called the defendant, the prisoner,
or the accused. If the contrast is made sufficiently clear this person is made
to undergo such an affliction as will give the virtuous gentlemen a comfortable
sense of their immunity, added to that of their worth. In our day the accused
is usually a human being, or a socialist, but in mediaeval times, animals, fishes,
reptiles and insects were brought to trial. A beast that had taken human life,
or practiced sorcery, was duly arrested, tried and, if condemned, put to death
by the public executioner. Insects ravaging grain fields, orchards or vineyards
were cited to appeal by counsel before a civil tribunal, and after testimony,
argument and condemnation, if they continued in contumaciam the matter
was taken to a high ecclesiastical court, where they were solemnly excommunicated
and anathematized. In a street of Toledo, some pigs that had wickedly run between
the viceroy's legs, upsetting him, were arrested on a warrant, tried and punished.
In Naples and ass was condemned to be burned at the stake, but the sentence appears
not to have been executed. D'Addosio relates from the court records many trials
of pigs, bulls, horses, cocks, dogs, goats, etc., greatly, it is believed, to
the betterment of their conduct and morals. In 1451 a suit was brought against
the leeches infesting some ponds about Berne, and the Bishop of Lausanne, instructed
by the faculty of Heidelberg University, directed that some of " the aquatic
worms " be brought before the local magistracy. This was done and the leeches,
both present and absent, were ordered to leave the places that they had infested
within three days on pain of incurring " the malediction of God. " In
the voluminous records of this cause celebre nothing is found to show whether
the offenders braved the punishment, or departed forthwith out of that inhospitable
The pig's reply to proponents of porcophagy.Moses Mendlessohn having fallen ill
sent for a Christian physician, who at once diagnosed the philosopher's disorder
as trichinosis, but tactfully gave it another name. " You need and immediate
change of diet, " he said ; " you must eat six ounces of pork every
other day. " " Pork ? " shrieked the patient -- " pork ? Nothing
shall induce me to touch it ! " " Do you mean that ? " the doctor
gravely asked. " I swear it ! " " Good ! -- then I will undertake
to cure you. "
In the multiplex theism of certain Christian churches, three entirely distinct
deities consistent with only one. Subordinate deities of the polytheistic faith,
such as devils and angels, are not dowered with the power of combination, and
must urge individually their clames to adoration and propitiation.
The Trinity is one of the most sublime mysteries of our holy religion.
In rejecting it because it is incomprehensible, Unitarians betray their inadequate
sense of theological fundamentals. In religion we believe only what we do not
understand, except in the instance of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts
an incomprehensible one. In that case we believe the former as a part of the latter.
Specifically, a cave-dweller of the paleolithic period, after the Tree and before
the Flat. A famous community of troglodytes dwelt with David in the Cave of Adullam.
The colony consisted of " every one that was in distress, and every one that
was in debt, and every one that was discontented " -- in brief, all the Socialists
An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the
sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human
mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of
Dumb and illiterate.
In American politics, a large corporation composed in greater part of thrifty
working men, widows of small means, orphans in the care of guardians and the courts,
with many similar malefactors and public enemies.
A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the
peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty
Once too often.
Pestilent bits of metal suspected of destroying civilization and enlightenment,
despite their obvious agency in this incomparable dictionary.
TZETZE (or TSETSE)
An African insect (Glossina morsitans) whose bite is commonly regarded
as nature's most efficacious remedy for insomnia, though some patients prefer
that of the American novelist (Mendax interminabilis).
The gift or power of being in all places at one time, but not in all places at
all times, which is omnipresence, an attribute of God and the luminiferous ether
only. This important distinction between ubiquity and omnipresence was not clear
to the mediaeval Church and there was much bloodshed about it. Certain Lutherans,
who affirmed the presence everywhere of Christ's body were known as Ubiquitarians.
For this error they were doubtless damned, for Christ's body is present only in
the eucharist, though that sacrament may be performed in more than one place simultaneously.
In recent times ubiquity has not always been understood -- not even by Sir Boyle
Roche, for example, who held that a man cannot be in two places at once unless
he is a bird.
A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility.
In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.
Having received an ultimatum from Austria, the Turkish Ministry met to consider
" O servant of
the Prophet, " said the Sheik of the Imperial Chibouk to the Mamoosh of the
Invincible Army, " how many unconquerable soldiers have we in arms ? "
" Upholder of the Faith, " that dignitary replied after examining his
memoranda, " they are in numbers as the leaves of the forest ! "
" And how many impenetrable battleships strike terror to the hearts of all
Christian swine ? " he asked the Imaum of the Ever Victorious Navy.
" Uncle of the Full Moon, " was the reply, " deign to know that
they are as the waves of the ocean, the sands of the desert and the stars of Heaven
" For eight hours the broad brow of the Sheik of the Imperial Chibouk was
corrugated with evidences of deep thought : he was calculating the chances of
war. Then, " Sons of angels, " he said, " the die is cast ! I shall
suggest to the Ulema of the Imperial Ear that he advise inaction.
In the name of Allah, the council is adjourned. "
Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
An oiling, or greasing. The rite of extreme unction consists in touching with
oil consecrated by a bishop several parts of the body of one engaged in dying.
Marbury relates that after the rite had been administered to a certain wicked
English nobleman it was discovered that the oil had not been properly consecrated
and no other could be obtained. When informed of this the sick man said in anger
" Then I'll be damned if I die ! " " My son, " said the priest,
" this is what we fear. "
A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to know a house from a horse by
the roof on the house. Its nature and laws have been exhaustively expounded by
Locke, who rode a house, and Kant, who lived in a horse.
was so keen
That all things which he'd felt, heard, seen,
He could interpret without fail
If he was in or out of jail.
He wrote at Inspiration's call
Deep disquisitions on them all,
Then, pent at last in an asylum,
Performed the service to compile 'em.
So great a writer, all men swore,
They never had not read before.
One who denies the divinity of a Trinitarian.
One who forgoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.
The kind of civility that urban observers ascribe to dwellers in all cities but
New York. Its commonest expression is heard in the words, " I beg your pardon,
" and it is not consistent with disregard of the rights of others.
The owner of a powder
Was musing on a distant hill --
Something his mind foreboded --
When from the cloudless sky there fell
A deviled human kidney ! Well,
The man's mill had exploded.
His hat he lifted from his head ;
" I beg your pardon, sir, " he said ;
" I didn't know 'twas loaded. "
The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and Third being Custom and
Conventionality. Imbued with a decent reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious
writer may hope to produce books that will live as long as the fashion.
A perverted affection that has strayed to one's own wife.
A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's hope. " Why have you
halted ? " roared the commander of a division and Chickamauga, who had ordered
a charge ; " move forward, sir, at once. " " General, " said
the commander of the delinquent brigade, " I am persuaded that any further
display of valor by my troops will bring them into collision with the enemy. "
The tribute of a fool to the worth of the nearest ass.
They say that hens
do cackle loudest when
There's nothing vital in the eggs they've laid ;
And there are hens, professing to have made
A study of mankind, who say that men
Whose business 'tis to drive the tongue or pen
Make the most clamorous fanfaronade
O'er their most worthless work ; and I'm afraid
They're not entirely different from the hen.
Lo ! the drum-major in his coat of gold,
His blazing breeches and high-towering cap --
Imperiously pompous, grandly bold,
Grim, resolute, an awe-inspiring chap !
Who'd think this gorgeous creature's only virtue
Is that in battle he will never hurt you ?
Saite, as understood by dunces and all such as suffer from an impediment in their
W (double U) has, of all the
letters in our alphabet, the only cumbrous name, the names of the others being
monosyllabic. This advantage of the Roman alphabet over the Grecian is the more
valued after audibly spelling out some simple Greek word, like epixoriambikos.
Still, it is now thought by the learned that other agencies than the difference
of the two alphabets may have been concerned in the decline of " the glory
that was Greece " and the rise of " the grandeur that was Rome. "
There can be no doubt, however, that by simplifying the name of W (calling it
" wow, " for example) our civilization could be, if not promoted, at
least better endured.
The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a
wreck of his country.
WALL STREET, n.
A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves
is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven.
Even the great and good Andrew Carnegie has made his profession of faith in the
Carnegie the dauntless
has uttered his call
To battle : " The brokers are parasites all ! "
Carnegie, Carnegie, you'll never prevail ;
Keep the wind of your slogan to belly your sail,
Go back to your isle of perpetual brume,
Silence your pibroch, doff tartan and plume :
Ben Lomond is calling his son from the fray --
Fly, fly from the region of Wall Street away !
While still you're possessed of a single baubee
(I wish it were pledged to endowment of me)
'Twere wise to retreat from the wars of finance
Lest its value decline ere your credit advance.
For a man 'twixt a king of finance and the sea,
Carnegie, Carnegie, your tongue is too free !
A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a
period of international amity. The student of history who has not been taught
to expect the unexpected may justly boast himself inaccessible to the light. "
In time of peace prepare for war " has a deeper meaning than is commonly
discerned ; it means, not merely that all things earthly have an end -- that change
is the one immutable and eternal law -- but that the soil of peace is thickly
sown with the seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination and growth.
It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his " stately pleasure dome " --
when, that is to say, there were peace and fat feasting in Xanadu -- that he heard
from afar Ancestral voices prophesying war.
One of the greatest of poets, Coleridge
was one of the wisest of men, and it was not for nothing that he read us this
parable. Let us have a little less of " hands across the sea, " and
a little more of that elemental distrust that is the security of nations. War
loves to come like a thief in the night ; professions of eternal amity provide
A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage
of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to.
They took away his
vote and gave instead
The right, when he had earned, to eat his bread.
In vain -- he clamors for his " boss, " pour soul,
To come again and part him from his roll.
Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male
of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious
The climate of the hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom
it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it
from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up official
weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments
are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.
Once I dipt into
the future far as human eye could see,
And I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead as any one can be --
Dead and damned and shut in Hades as a liar from his birth,
With a record of unreason seldom paralleled on earth.
While I looked he reared him solemnly, that incadescent youth,
From the coals that he'd preferred to the advantages of truth.
He cast his eyes about him and above him ; then he wrote
On a slab of thin asbestos what I venture here to quote --
For I read it in the rose-light of the everlasting glow :
" Cloudy ; variable winds, with local showers ; cooler ; snow. "
A ceremony at which two persons undertake to become one, one undertakes to become
nothing, and nothing undertakes to become supportable.
A wolf that was once, or is sometimes, a man.
All werewolves are of evil disposition, having assumed a bestial form to gratify
a beastial appetite, but some, transformed by sorcery, are as humane and is consistent
with an acquired taste for human flesh.Some Bavarian peasants having caught a
wolf one evening, tied it to a post by the tail and went to bed. The next morning
nothing was there ! Greatly perplexed, they consulted the local priest, who told
them that their captive was undoubtedly a werewolf and had resumed its human for
during the night. " The next time that you take a wolf, " the good man
said, " see that you chain it by the leg, and in the morning you will find
a Lutheran. "
In the Ojibwa tongue, disaster ; an unexpected affliction that strikes hard.
Should you ask me
whence this laughter,
Whence this audible big-smiling,
With its labial extension,
With its maxillar distortion
And its diaphragmic rhythmus
Like the billowing of an ocean,
Like the shaking of a carpet,
I should answer, I should tell you :
From the great deeps of the spirit,
From the unplummeted abysmus
Of the soul this laughter welleth
As the fountain, the gug-guggle,
Like the river from the canon [sic],
To entoken and give warning
That my present mood is sunny.
Should you ask me further question --
Why the great deeps of the spirit,
Why the unplummeted abysmus
Of the soule extrudes this laughter,
This all audible big-smiling,
I should answer, I should tell you
With a white heart, tumpitumpy,
With a true tongue, honest Injun :
William Bryan, he has Caught It,
Caught the Whangdepootenawah !
Is't the sandhill
crane, the shankank,
Standing in the marsh, the kneedeep,
Standing silent in the kneedeep
With his wing-tips crossed behind him
And his neck close-reefed before him,
With his bill, his william, buried
In the down upon his bosom,
With his head retracted inly,
While his shoulders overlook it ?
Does the sandhill crane, the shankank,
Shiver grayly in the north wind,
Wishing he had died when little,
As the sparrow, the chipchip, does ?
No 'tis not the Shankank standing,
Standing in the gray and dismal
Marsh, the gray and dismal kneedeep.
No, 'tis peerless William Bryan
Realizing that he's Caught It,
Caught the Whangdepootenawah !
A cereal from which a tolerably good whisky can with some difficulty be made,
and which is used also for bread. The French are said to eat more bread per
capita of population than any other people, which is natural, for only they
know how to make the stuff palatable.
WHITE, adj. and n.
A pathetic figure that the Christian world has agreed to take humorously, although
Christ's tenderness towards widows was one of the most marked features of his
Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's Christian Union as " liquor, "
sometimes as " rum. " Wine, madam, is God's next best gift to man.
The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving
(1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A
beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.
A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted, and seldom noted ; what the Philistine
is pleased to call a " joke. "
An animal usually
living in the vicinity of Man, and having a
rudimentary susceptibility to domestication.
It is credited by
many of the elder zoologists with a certain vestigial docility
acquired in a former state of seclusion, but naturalists of the
postsusananthony period, having no knowledge of the seclusion,
deny the virtue and declare that such as creation's dawn beheld,
it roareth now. The species is the most widely distributed of all
beasts of prey, infesting all habitable parts of the globe, from
Greeland's spicy mountains to India's moral strand. The popular
name (wolfman) is incorrect, for the creature is of the cat kind.
The woman is lithe and graceful in its movement, especially the
American variety (felis pugnans), is omnivorous and can be
taught not to talk.
The finished product of which we are the raw material. The contents of the Taj
Mahal, the Tombeau Napoleon and the Granitarium. Worms'-meat is usually outlasted
by the structure that houses it, but " this too must pass away. " Probably
the silliest work in which a human being can engage is construction of a tomb
for himself. The solemn purpose cannot dignify, but only accentuates by contrast
the foreknown futility.
Ambitious fool !
so mad to be a show !
How profitless the labor you bestow
Upon a dwelling whose magnificence
The tenant neither can admire nor know.
Build deep, build
high, build massive as you can,
The wanton grass-roots will defeat the plan
By shouldering asunder all the stones
In what to you would be a moment's span.
Time to the dead
so all unreckoned flies
That when your marble is all dust, arise,
If wakened, stretch your limbs and yawn --
You'll think you scarcely can have closed your eyes.
What though of all
man's works your tomb alone
Should stand till Time himself be overthrown ?
Would it advantage you to dwell therein
Forever as a stain upon a stone ?
Homo Creator's testimony to the sound construction and fine finish of Deus Creatus.
A popular form of abjection, having an element of pride.
Anger of a superior quality and degree, appropriate to exalted characters and
momentous occasions ; as, " the wrath of God, " " the day of wrath,
" etc. Amongst the ancients the wrath of kings was deemed sacred, for it
could usually command the agency of some god for its fit manifestation, as could
also that of a priest. The Greeks before Troy were so harried by Apollo that they
jumped out of the frying-pan of the wrath of Cryses into the fire of the wrath
of Achilles, though Agamemnon, the sole offender, was neither fried nor roasted.
A similar noted immunity was that of David when he incurred the wrath of Yahveh
by numbering his people, seventy thousand of whom paid the penalty with their
lives. God is now Love, and a director of the census performs his work without
apprehension of disaster.
X in our alphabet being a
needless letter has an added invincibility to the attacks of the spelling reformers,
and like them, will doubtless last as long as the language. X is the sacred symbol
of ten dollars, and in such words as Xmas, Xn, etc., stands for Christ, not, as
is popular supposed, because it represents a cross, but because the corresponding
letter in the Greek alphabet is the initial of his name -- Xristos. If
it represented a cross it would stand for St. Andrew, who " testified "
upon one of that shape. In the algebra of psychology x stands for Woman's mind.
Words beginning with X are Grecian and will not be defined in this standard English
In Europe, an American.
In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the
word is unknown.
A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
The infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.
But yesterday I
should have thought me blest
To stand high-pinnacled upon the peak
Of middle life and look adown the bleak
And unfamiliar foreslope to the West,
Where solemn shadows all the land invest
And stilly voices, half-remembered, speak
Unfinished prophecy, and witch-fires freak
The haunted twilight of the Dark of Rest.
Yea, yesterday my soul was all aflame
To stay the shadow on the dial's face
At manhood's noonmark ! Now, in God His name
I chide aloud the little interspace
Disparting me from Certitude, and fain
Would know the dream and vision ne'er again.
It is said that
in his last illness the poet Arnegriff was
attended at different times by seven doctors.
An implement, madam, to whose Latin name, jugum, we owe one of the most
illuminating words in our language -- a word that defines the matrimonial situation
with precision, point and poignancy. A thousand apologies for withholding it.
The Period of Possibility, when Archimedes finds a fulcrum, Cassandra has a following
and seven cities compete for the honor of endowing a living Homer :
Youth is the true
Saturnian Reign, the Golden Age on earth
again, when figs are grown on thistles, and pigs betailed with
whistles and, wearing silken bristles, live ever in clover, and
clows fly over, delivering milk at every door, and Justice never
is heard to snore, and every assassin is made a ghost and,
howling, is cast into Baltimost !
A popular character in old Italian plays, who imitated with ludicrous incompetence
the _buffone_, or clown, and was therefore the ape of an ape ; for the clown himself
imitated the serious characters of the play. The zany was progenitor to the specialist
in humor, as we to-day have the unhappiness to know him. In the zany we see an
example of creation ; in the humorist, of transmission.
Another excellent specimen of the modern zany is the curate, who apes the rector,
who apes the bishop, who apes the archbishop, who apes the devil.
An inhabitant of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The
Zanzibaris, a warlike people, are best known in this country through a threatening
diplomatic incident that occurred a few years ago. The American consul at the
capital occupied a dwelling that faced the sea, with a sandy beach between.
Greatly to the scandal of this official's family, and against repeated remonstrances
of the official himself, the people of the city persisted in using the beach for
bathing. One day a woman came down to the edge of the water and was stooping to
remove her attire (a pair of sandals) when the consul, incensed beyond restraint,
fired a charge of bird-shot into the most conspicuous part of her person.
Unfortunately for the existing entente cordiale between two great nations,
she was the Sultana.
A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that
goeth before a sprawl.
When Zeal sought
Gratitude for his reward
He went away exclaiming : " O my Lord ! "
" What do you want ? " the Lord asked, bending down.
" An ointment for my cracked and bleeding crown. "
The point in the heavens directly overhead to a man standing or a growing cabbage.
A man in bed or a cabbage in the pot is not considered as having a zenith, though
from this view of the matter there was once a considerably dissent among the learned,
some holding that the posture of the body was immaterial. These were called Horizontalists,
their opponents, Verticalists. The Horizontalist heresy was finally extinguished
by Xanobus, the philosopher-king of Abara, a zealous Verticalist. Entering an
assembly of philosophers who were debating the matter, he cast a severed human
head at the feet of his opponents and asked them to determine its zenith, explaining
that its body was hanging by the heels outside. Observing that it was the head
of their leader, the Horizontalists hastened to profess themselves converted to
whatever opinion the Crown might be pleased to hold, and Horizontalism took its
place among fides defuncti.
The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans
as God, Gold, Mob and Dog. Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of
America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance to the
interior, have thought that these four names stand for as many distinct deities,
but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frumpp insists that the natives
are monotheists, each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under
many sacred names.
To move forward uncertainly, from side to side, as one carrying the white man's
(From zed, z, and jag, an Icelandic word of unknown meaning.)
He zedjagged so
Thet non coude pas on eyder syde ;
So, to com saufly thruh, I been
Constreynet for to doodge betwene.
The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the House Fly
(Musca maledicta). The father of Zoology was Aristotle, as is universally
conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us. Two of the science's
most illustrious expounders were Buffon and Oliver Goldsmith, from both of whom
we learn (L'Histoire générale des animaux and A History
of Animated Nature) that the domestic cow sheds its horn every two years.