A Good Laugh

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Teague at the President’s Levee, by F. O. C. Darley, illustrating a scene in Modern Chivalry.

Many will, perhaps, turn up their noses, and throw the book away with contempt; saying, “of what use is all this—a book without ideas, or only such as have no other effect than to cause a laugh!” And does he accomplish nothing who can do this? What is there which so much conduces to health? When I get a man to laugh, I put him in a good humour with himself, and his neighbour. Nothing does a man more good than a hearty laugh, and if it does him good, is it not of use to him? Here then is an argument strictly utilitarian, according to the most rigid rules of logic.

—Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry.

Artemus Ward on Grammar

A writer who can’t write in a grammerly manner better shut up shop.

—London Punch Letters.

The End of War

War may be prohibited some day, but probably you’ll always be able to get one on a doctor’s prescription.

——Franklin Pierce Adams.

The Truth Comes Out

Since 1850 I have killed my grandmother, burned an orphan asylum, embezzled fifty thousand dollars, and committed arson. These facts came out soon after I was nominated for a political office. They came out in an opposition paper. They always do; and the only way to prevent their appearance is to buy the paper—or its editor.

—John H. Williams.

On Not Joining the Army

I think it is much better to be a miserable poltroon during a war than a one-legged organ-grinder after it.

—Will W. Clark.