17. CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
Breslau, a celebrated juggler, being at Canterbury with his troupe, met with such bad success that they were almost starved. He repaired to the church wardens, and promised to give a night’s takings to the poor if the parish would pay for hiring a room, etc. The charitable bait took, the benefit proved a bumper, and the next morning the church wardens waited upon the wizard to touch the receipts. “I have already disposed of dem,” said Breslau; “de profits were for de poor. I have kept my promise, and given de money to my own people, who are de poorest in dis parish!”
“Sir!” exclaimed the church wardens, “this is a trick.”
“I know it,” replied the conjurer; “I live by my tricks.”
18. CHARITY; OR, A GOOD WORD FOR EVERY ONE–EVEN THE DEVIL.
[It is well to feel charitably and kindly at all times, but especially at a dinner party.]
A friend said to a Scotchman who was celebrated for possessing these amiable qualities, “I believe you would actually find something to admire in Satan himself.” The canny Scot replied, “Ah! weel, weel, we must a’ admit, that auld Nick has great energy and perseverance.”
[If the chairman has been very persistent in calling out reluctant speakers, the foregoing would be a good story to turn the laugh upon him.]
19. INGENIOUS REASON
[The Scotchman referred to in the last anecdote was as ingenious in finding a reason as the boy mentioned in the following:]
“Can you suggest any reason why I should print your poem?” said the overbearing editor.
The dismal youth looked thoughtful, and then replied:
“You know I always inclose a stamp for the return of rejected manuscript?”
“Well, if you print it you can keep the stamp.”
20. AMBIGUITY OF WORDS
[The equivocal use of words in our language.]
Recently a west-bound train on the Fitchburg (Mass.) Railroad had just left the town of Athol When the conductor noticed among the new passengers a young man of intelligent appearance. He asked for the young man’s fare, and the latter handed him a ticket to Miller’s Falls and with it a cent. For a moment the conductor suspected a joke, but a look at the passenger’s face convinced him to the contrary.
“What is this cent for?” the conductor asked.
“Why, I see,” answered the young fellow, “that the ticket isn’t good unless it is stamped, and as I don’t happen to have a stamp with me I give you the cent instead. You can put it on, can’t you?”
The good-natured conductor handed back the coin with a smile, remarking that it was a small matter, and he would see that it was all right.
21. USELESS REGRET
[Persons who pretend to regret something without making a real effort to better it are hit off by this anecdote.]
A father called his son rather late in the morning, and finding him still abed, indignantly demanded: “Are you not _ashamed_ to be caught asleep this time of day?”
“Yes, rather,” returned the ingenious youth, “but I’d ruther _be ashamed_ than git up.”
22. NO HAPPINESS IN WEALTH
[The great advantage of being fully adapted to one’s situation and contented with it.]
There are people who cannot hold their heads under the influence of sudden riches. They immediately begin to degenerate. They have become so used to humble circumstances that wealth is a curse. Here is a case:
A tramp, for some mysterious reason, had accepted an offer to work about the place, for which he was to receive his meals, sundry old clothes, and 25 cents a day in cash. For the first two or three days he did very well, and he was paid 50 cents on account. He did not spend the money, but he began to grow listless and sad, and at the end of the week he interviewed his employer.
“You’ve been very kind to me, sir,” he said, “and I want to thank you for what you have done.”
“That’s all right,” was the reply. “I’m glad to be able to help you.”
“I know that, sir, and I appreciate it, but I shall have to give it all up, sir.”
“What’s that for? Don’t I pay you enough?”
“Oh! yes, sir; that isn’t it. I have 75 cents left, sir, but I find that money doesn’t bring happiness, sir, and I guess I’ll resign and go back to the old ways, sir. Wealth is a curse to some people, sir, and I fancy I belong to that class. Good-bye, sir.” And he shambled off down the path and struck the highway.
23. SHORT BUT POINTED
[Splendid for a speaker called up rather late in the evening–even if he should make a short speech afterward.]
Being nobody in particular, a Mr. Bailey was placed last on the list of the speakers. The chairman introduced several speakers whose names were not on the list, and the audience were tired out when he said, “Mr. Bailey will now give you his address.”
“My address,” said Mr. Bailey, rising, “is No. 45 Loughboro Park, Brixton Road, and I wish you all good night.”