Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

XV.-A STRATAGEM.

LAFONTAINE was in the habit of eating every evening a roasted apple. One day he was called out, and placed the apple upon the chimney-piece. While absent, one of his friends entered the room, and seeing the apple, ate it. Lafontaine returning, and missing the fruit, guessed what had happened, and exclaimed, with great assumed emotion, "What on earth has become of the apple which was left here?" "I know not," said the other. "I rejoice to hear it, for I put arsenic in it to kill rats. "O my! I am poisoned," said his visitor, in excessive alarm; "quick, send for a doctor!" My friend," said Lafontaine, "be calm; now that I remember, I forgot to put any in this time: still, I am sorry that a falsehood was necessary in order to discover the truth."

""

"C

XVI.-LAW OF RETALIATION.

A TURKISH slater, being at work on the roof of a house, fell into the street upon a wealthy old man, whom he killed, without any serious injury to himself. The son of the deceased caused him to be arrested and conducted before the Cadi, with whom he used all his influence to have the poor man condemned; and though the innocence of the latter was clearly established, nothing would serve him but the law of retaliation. The Cadi accordingly sentenced the slater to be placed exactly on the spot where the old man was at the moment of the accident," and you," said he to the son, "will go on the roof of the house, fall down upon the slater, and kill him if you can."

XVII-A MORTAL COMBAT.

AN apothecary, who had never fired a pistol nor drawn a sword, was once provoked to fight a duel by an officer. He went to the appointed place of meeting, and remarking to his opponent that he did not know how to fight, told him that he had another way of arranging the matter. He then took from his pocket a box of pills, and taking out two of them, said to the officer, "As you are a man of honor, I know that you desire to take no advantage of me. Here are two pills; one of them composed of the most deadly poison, the other harm

less. If each of us swallow one of them, the contest will be equal. Please to choose." It is needless to add that the whole affair was terminated with shouts of laughter.

XVIII.-A WOODEN SWORD.

A BOASTER, who was in the habit of frightening young men, and endeavoring to provoke them to fight, well knowing that no one would quarrel with him, once unexpectedly offended a person, who challenged him. Obliged to meet his opponent, he was at first in great anxiety; but, after having thought of every possible plan to avoid the meeting, he at last resolved upon the following method. He put a wooden blade in the scabbard of his sword, and when he arrived at the appointed place, in the presence of his adversary, he exclaimed, kneeling to the ground, "Great God: grant that the blade of my sword may turn to wood; otherwise, I shall be obliged to kill this man. He then drew his wooden sword, and said to his adversary, who seemed astonished at the apparent miracle, "Be thankful to Heaven, sir, that my prayer was answered, for otherwise you would this evening have supped with Pluto."

""

XIX.-A DANGEROUS WOUND.

A SURGEON being sent for by a gentleman who had received a slight wound in a duel, gave orders to his servant to go home with all haste imaginable, and fetch a certain plaster. The patient turned a little pale and said, "Lord, sir, I hope there is no danger." "Yes, indeed, there is," said the surgeon, "for if the fellow does not make haste, the wound will be healed before he returns."

XX.-NO CURE, NO PAY.

THE wife of a poor man having fallen dangerously ill, the latter went to a physician equally known for his skill and for his sordid avarice. Thinking the doctor was afraid that he would not be paid for his trouble, the good man, pulling out an old purse, said to him: "Here I have twenty dollars, which is all I possess in the world; whether you kill my wife or cure her, I will give them to you." The doctor having accepted the offer, went to see the woman, but without avail:

in a few days she died. He then claimed the twenty dollars from the husband, who asked him if he had killed his wife. "No, certainly," answered the doctor. "Have you cured her?" "No." "Then you have no right to the money, and I am really astonished you should dare come and claim it."

[ocr errors]

XXI.-A RULING PASSION.

A GAMBLER on his death-bed having seriously taken leave of his physician, who told him that he could not live beyond eight o'clock next morning, exerted the little strength he had left to call the doctor back; having accomplished that with difficulty, for he could scarcely speak above a whisper-" Doctor," said he, "I'll bet you twenty dollars I will live till nine."

XXII. A GOOD ILLUSTRATION.

HUME one day complained to some friends that he considered himself as very ill-treated by the world, by its unjust and unreasonable censures; adding that he had written many volumes, throughout the whole of which there were but a few pages that could be said to contain any reprehensible matter; and yet, for these few pages, he was abused and torn to pieces. The company remained silent for a while; but at length a gentleman dryly observed that he put him in mind of an old acquaintance, a notary public, who, having been condemned to be hanged for forgery, lamented the extreme injustice and hardship of his case, inasmuch as he had written many thousand inoffensive sheets, and now he was to be hanged for a single line.

XXIII.-HONESTY.

PASSING One night along the ramparts, Marshal Turenne was attacked by a gang of robbers, who took every thing from him except a valuable diamond, which they allowed him to retain, upon his promising to give them, the following day, a hundred louis. In the course of the day one of the robbers had the audacity to call upon him at his house, and in the midst of a large company, to demand in a whisper the fulfilment of his promise. Turenne ordered the money to be paid,

and gave him time to escape before recounting the adventure. Every one seemed surprised at such a proceeding. "An honest man," said he, "should never forfeit his word, even if given to rogues."

XXIV.-CHARITY.

A QUAKER was asked by a poor man for money as charity, or work. The Quaker observed, "Friend, I know not what I can give thee to do. Let me see; thou mayst take my wood that is in the yard up stairs, and I will give thee half a dollar." This the poor man was glad to do, and the job lasted him till about noon, when he came and told him the work was done, and asked him if he had any more to do. ." ." My friend, let me consider," said the benevolent Quaker: "Oh! thou mayst take the wood down again, and I will give thee another half dollar."

XXV. ABSTRACTION.

NEWTON, finding himself extremely cold one evening in winter, drew his chair very near to the grate, in which a large fire had recently been lighted. By degrees the fire having completely kindled, Newton felt the heat intolerably intense, and rang his bell with unusual violence. His servant was not at hand at the moment, but he soon made his appearance. By this time Newton was almost literally roasted. "Remove the grate, you lazy rascal!" he exclaimed in a tone of irritation very uncommon with that amiable and bland philosopher; remove the grate before I am burnt to death!" "And pray, master," said the servant, "might you not rather draw back your chair?" "Upon my word," said Newton, smiling, "I never thought of that."

(6

XXVI.-IGNORANCE.

KORSAKOF, a favorite of the Empress Catherine, possessed a handsome face and very elegant figure, but was entirely destitute of knowledge. As soon as he had been called to court, he conceived that a man like him ought of course to have a library. Accordingly, he sent without delay for the most ce

lebrated bookseller in Saint Petersburg, and informed him that he wanted books for his house at Vasiltchilof, of which the Empress had just made him a present. The bookseller asked him what books he wanted. "You understand that better than I," answered he; "it is your business; but there must be great books at the bottom, and little ones above, as they are at the Empress's."

XXVII.-A LESSON.

A FRIEND of Dean Swift one day sent him a turbot, as a present, by a servant who had frequently been on similar errands, but who had never received the most trifling mark of the Dean's generosity. Having gained admission, he opened the door of the study, and abruptly putting down the fish, cried very rudely: "Master has sent you a turbot." "Young man, said the Dean, rising from his easy chair, "is that the way you deliver your message? Let me teach you better manners; sit down in my chair; we will change situations, and I will show you how to behave in future." The boy sat down, and the Dean going to the door, came up to the table with a respectful pace, and making a low bow, said: "Sir, my master presents his kind compliments, hopes you are well, and requests your acceptance of a small present." "Does he? replied the boy; "return him my best thanks, and there's half a crown for yourself." The Dean thus drawn into an act of generosity, laughed heartily, and gave the boy a crown for his wit.

"1

XXVIII.-A. PUNGENT REPLY.

VERY Soon after the close of the American Revolution a deputation of Indian chiefs, having some business to transact with the Governor, were invited to dine with some of the officials in Philadelphia. During the repast the eyes of a young chief were attracted to a caster of mustard, having in it a spoon ready for use. Tempted by its bright color, he gently drew it towards him, and soon had a brimming spoonful in his mouth. Instantly detecting his mistake, he nevertheless had the fortitude to swallow it, although it forced tears from his eyes. A chief opposite at the table, who had observed the consequence, but not the cause, asked him "what he was cry

« AnkstesnisTęsti »