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Illustrative And Humorous Anecdotes - Part 3

( Originally Published 1901 )


" Have you had a job today, Tim ?" inquired a well-known legal gentleman of the equally well-known, jolly, florid-faced old drayman, who, rain or shine, summer or winter, is rarely absent from his post.

" Bedad, I did, sor."

"How many?"

" Only two, sor."

" How much did you get for both ?"

Sivinty tints, sor."

"Seventy cents! How in the world do you expect to live and keep a horse on seventy cents a day . "?

"Some days I have half a dozen jobs, sor. But bizness has been dull to-day, sor. Only the hauling of a thrunk for a gintilman for forty tints an' a load av furniture for thirty tints; an' there was the pots an' the kitties, an' there's no telling phat; a big load, sor."

" Do you carry big loads of household goods for thirty cents?"

" She was a poor widdy, sor, an' had no more to give me. I took all she had, sor; an' bedad, sor, a lyyer could have done no better nor that, sor."


Many a spiritual history is condensed into a miniature in the following:

Two fishermen—Jamie and Sandy—belated and befogged on a rough water, were in some trepidation lest they should never get ashore again. At last Jamie said:

" Sandy, I'm steering, and I think you'd better put up a bit of a prayer."

Sandy said: " I don't know how."

Jamie said: " If you don't I'll just chuck ye over-board."

Sandy began: " O Lord, I never asked onything of Ye for fifteen year, and if Yell only get us safe back I 11 never trouble Ye again."

" Whist, Sandy," said Jamie, " the boat's touched shore; don't be beholden to onybody."


Jerrold was asked if he considered a man kind who remitted no funds to his family when away. " Oh ! yes. Unremitting kindness," said he.


One of the passengers on board the ill-fated "Metis" at the time of the disaster was an exceedingly nervous man, who, while floating in the water, imagined how his friends would acquaint his wife of his fate. Saved at last, he rushed to the telegraph office and sent this message: "Dear P , I am saved. Break it gently to my wife."


[How nicely this might fit into a ladies' party.]

Sidney Smith, the cultivated writer and divine, who, when describing his country residence, declared that he lived twelve miles from a lemon, was told by a beautiful girl that a certain pea in his garden would never come to perfection. " Permit me, then," said he, taking her by the hand, " to lead perfection to the pea."

55. Too SLIM

[The great evil of mixing religion and politics are well set forth in the following incident:]

" Gabe," said the governor to an old colored man, " I understand that you have been ousted from your position of Sunday-school superintendent."

" Yes, sail, da figured aroun' till da got me out. It was all a piece of political work, though; and I doan see why de law of de lan' doan prevent de Sunday-schools an' churches from takin' up political matters !"

" How did politics get you out?"

" Yer see, some time ago, when I was a candidate for justice ob de peace, I gin' a barbecue ter some ob my frien's. De udder day da brung up de fack an' ousted me."

" I don't see why the fact that you gave a barbecue to your friends should have caused any trouble."

" Neider does myse'f, boss; but yer see da said dat I stole de hogs what I barbecued. De proof wa'n't good, an' I think dat da done wrong in ackin' upon sech slim testimony. Da said dat I cotch de hogs in a corn fiel'. I know dat wan't true, 'case it was a wheat fiel' whar I cotch 'em."


On one of the fast-days—a cold, bleak one, too—Father Foley, a popular and genial priest, on his way from a distant visitation, dropped in to see Widow O'Brien, who was as jolly as himself, and equally as fond of the creature comforts, and, what is better, well able to provide them. As it was about dinner-time, his reverence thought he would stay and have a "morsel" with the old dame; but what was his horror to see served up in good style a pair of splendid roast ducks !

" Oh! musha, Mistress O'Brien, what have ye there?" he exclaimed, in well-feigned surprise. " Ducks, yer riverence."

" Ducks ! roast ducks ! and this a fast-day of the holy Church !"

" Wisha ! I never thought of that; but why can't we eat a bit of duck, yer riverence?"

" Why ? Because the Council of Trint won't lave us—that's why."

" Well, well, now, but I'm sorry fur that, fur I can only give ye a bite of bread and cheese and a glass of something hot. Would that be any harrum, sir?"

' Harrum ! by no manes, woman. Sure we must be any way, and bread and cheese is not forbid !"

" Nayther whiskey punch ?"

" Nayther that."

" Well, thin, yer riverence, would it be any harrum fur me to give a toast ?"

" By no manes, Mrs. O'Brien. Toast away as much as ye like, bedad !"

" Well, thin, here's to the Council of Trint, fur if it keeps us from atin', it doesn't keep us from drinkin'!"


James Russell Lowell, when concluding an after-dinner speech in England, made a happy hit by introducing the story of a Methodist preacher at a camp-meeting, of whom he had heard when he was young. He was preaching on Joshua ordering the sun to stand still: " My hearers," he said, " there are three motions of the sun; the first is the straight-forward or direct motion of the sun, the second is the retrograde or backward motion of the sun, and the third is the motion mentioned in our text—' the sun stood still.' Now, gentlemen, I do not know whether you see the application of that story to after-dinner oratory. I hope you do. The after-dinner orator at first begins and goes straight forward—that is the straightforward motion of the sun; next he goes back and begins to repeat himself a little, and that is the retrograde or backward motion of the sun; and at last he has the good sense to bring himself to an end, and that is the motion mentioned in our text of the sun standing still."


Col. John H. George, a New Hampshire barrister, tells a good story on himself. Meeting an old farmer recently whom he had known in his youth, the old fellow congratulated the Colonel on his youthful appearance.

" How is it you've managed to keep so fresh and good-looking all these years ?" quoth he.

" Well, said George, " I'll tell you. I've always drank new rum and voted the Democratic ticket."

" Oh! yes," said the old man, " I see how it is; one pizen neutralizes the other !"


While General Butler was delivering a speech in Boston during an exciting political campaign, one of his hearers cried out: " How about the spoons, Ben ?" Benjamin's good eye twinkled merrily as he looked bashfully at the audience, and said: "Now, don't mention that, please. I was a Republican when I stole those spoons."


[One should always make the most of his capital, as this orator did.]

" Fellow-citizens, my competitor has told you of the services he rendered in the late war. I will follow his example, and I shall tell you of mine. He basely insinuates that I was deaf to the voice of honor in that crisis. The truth is, I acted a humble part in that memorable contest. When the tocsin of war summoned the chivalry of the country to rally to the defense of the nation, I, fellow-citizens, animated by that patriotic spirit that glows in every American's bosom, hired a substitute for that war, and the bones of that man, fellow-citizens, now lie bleaching in the valley of the Shenandoah !"


[But the following man could get even more out of an unpromising situation.]

" Now, I want to know," said a man whose veracity had been questioned by an angry acquaintance, "just why you call me a liar. Be frank, sir; for frankness is a golden-trimmed virtue. Just as a friend, now, tell me why you called me a liar."

"Called you a liar because you are a liar," the acquaintance replied.

" That's what I call frankness. Why, sir, if this rule were adopted over half of the difficulties would be settled without trouble, and in our case there would have been trouble but for our willingness to meet each other half-way."


Judge —, who is now a very able Judge of the Supreme Court of one of the great States of this Union, when he first " came to the bar," was a very blundering speaker. On one occasion, when he was trying a case of replevin, involving the right of property to a lot of hogs, he addressed the jury as follows:

" Gentlemen of the jury, there were just twenty-four hogs in that drove just twenty-four, gentlemen —exactly twice as many as there are in that jury-box I" The effect can be imagined.


A pretentious person said to the leading man of a country village, " How would a lecture by me on Mount Vesuvius suit the inhabitants of your village?" " Very well, sir; very well, indeed," he answered; " a lecture by you on Mount Vesuvius would suit them a great deal better than a lecture by you in this village."


In warning veterans against exaggerating, a gentleman at a Washington banquet related the following anecdote of a Revolutionary veteran, who, having outlived nearly all his comrades, and being in no danger of contradiction, rehearsed his experience thuswise: 'In that fearful day at Monmouth, although entitled to a horse, I fought on foot. With each blow I severed an Englishman's head from his body, until a huge pile of heads lay around me, great pools of blood on either side, and my shoes were so full of the same dreadful fluid that my feet slipped beneath me. Just then I felt a touch upon my shoulder, and, looking up, who should I behold but the great and good Washington himself ! Never shall I forget the majesty and dignity of his presence, as, pressing his hand upon me, he said, `My young friend, restrain yourself, and for heaven's sake do not make a slaughter-house of yourself.' "


Heinrich Heine, the German poet, apologizing for feeling dull after a visit from a professor said: " I am afraid you find me very stupid. The fact is, Dr. called upon me this morning, and we ex-changed our minds."


[The willingness to pay full value for an article is a trait of character always appreciated.]

Lawyer B called at the office of Counselor

F-, who has had considerable practice in bankruptcy, and said: " See here, F , I want to know what the practice is in such and such a case in bankruptcy."

F , straightening himself up and looking as wise as possible, replied: " Well, Mr. B , I generally get paid for telling what I know."

B- put his hand into his pocket, drew forth half a dollar, handed it to F , and said: " Here, tell me all you know, and give me the change."


In the old town of W—, in the Pine-tree State, lived one of those unfortunate lords of creation who had, in not a very long life, put on mourning for three departed wives, But time assuages heart-wounds, as well as those of the flesh. In due time a fourth was inaugurated mistress of his heart and house. He was a very prudent man, and suffered nothing to be wasted. When the new mistress was putting things in order, while cleaning up the attic she came across a long piece of board, and was about launching it out of the window, when little Sadie interposed, and said: " Oh! don't, mamma ! than is the board papa lays out his wives on, and he wants to save it !" Nevertheless, out it went.


In a Western village a charming, well-preserved widow had been courted and won by a physician. She had children. The wedding-day was approaching, and it was time the children should know they were to have a new father. Calling one of them to her, she said: " Georgie, I am going to do something before long that I would like to talk about with you."

" Well, ma, what is it !"

" I am intending to marry Dr. Jones in a few days, and—"

" Bully for you, ma ! Does Dr. Jones know it ?"

Ma caught her breath, but failed to articulate a response.

69. Too KIND

[Where can we find a more touching manifestation of mutual benevolence than the following.]

In New Jersey reside two gentlemen, near neighbors and bosom friends, one a clergyman, Dr. B , the other a " gentleman of means " named Wilson. Both were passionately fond of music, and the latter devoted many of his leisure hours to the study of the violin. One fine afternoon our clerical friend was in his study, deeply engaged in writing, when there came along one of those good-for-nothing little Italian players, who planted himself under his study window, and, much to his annoyance, commenced scraping away on a squeaky fiddle. After trying in vain for about fifteen minutes to collect his scattered thoughts, the Doctor descended to the piazza in front of the house, and said to the boy:

" Look here, sonny, you go over and play awhile for Mr. Wilson. Here is ten cents. He lives in that big white house over yonder. He plays the violin, and likes music better than I do."

" Well," said the boy, taking the " stamp," "I would, but he just gave me ten cents to come over and play for you !"


San Francisco boasts of a saloon called the Bank Exchange, where the finest wines and liquors are dispensed at twenty-five cents a glass, with lunches thrown in free. A plain-looking person went in one morning and called for a brandy cocktail, and wanted it strong. Mr. Parker, as is usual with him, was very considerate, and mixed the drink in his best style, setting it down for his customer. After the cocktail had disappeared the man leaned over the bar and said that he had no change about him then, but would have soon, when he would pay for the drink. Parker politely remarked that he should have mentioned the fact before he got the drink; when his customer remarked: " I tried that on yesterday morning with one of your men, but he would not let me have the whiskey, so you could not play that dodge on me again !" This was too good for Parker, and he told the customer he was welcome to his drink, and was entitled to his hat in the bargain, if he wanted it.


Standing on the steps at the entrance to one of the grand hotels at Saratoga, a young gentleman, in whom the " dude " species was strongly developed, had been listening with eager attention to the bright things which fell from the lips of the well-known wit and orator, Emory A. Storrs.

At last our exquisite exclaimed: " Er—Mr. Storrs, —I—er—wish, oh ! how I—er—wish! that I had your—er—cheek."

Mr. Storrs instantly annihilated him with: " It is a most fortunate dispensation of Providence that you have not. For, with my cheek and your brains, you would be kicked down these steps in no time !"


A lady in California had a troublesome neighbor, whose cattle overrun her ranch, causing much dam-age. The lady bore the annoyance patiently, hoping that some compunction would be felt for the damage inflicted. At last she caught a calf which was making havoc in her garden, and sent it home with a child, saying, " Tell Mrs. A. that the calf has eaten nearly everything in the garden, and I have scarcely a cabbage left."

The feelings of the injured lady may be imagined when she received this reply: " The cabbage nearly all eaten ! Well, I must get over and borrow some before it is all gone !"


Some years since a party of Indians drove off all the live-stock at Fort Lancaster. A few days after-ward Captain was passing through the post,

and stopped a couple of days for rest. While there an enthusiastic officer took him out to show him the trail of the bad Indians, how they came, which way they went, etc. After following the trail for some distance the Captain turned to his guide and ex-claimed: " Look here; if you want to find any Indians, you can find them; I haven't lost any, and am going back to camp."


A man arrested for stealing chickens was brought to trial. The case was given to the jury, who brought him in guilty, and the judge sentenced him to three months' imprisonment. The jailer was a jovial man, fond of a smile, and feeling particularly good on that particular day, considered himself insulted when the prisoner looking around his cell told him it was dirty, and not fit for a hog to be put in. One word brought on another, till finally the jailer told the prisoner if he did not behave himself he would put him out. To which the prisoner replied: " I will give you to understand, sir, I have as good a right here as you have !"

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