|Anecdoctes for All Occassions|
On one occasion when Lincoln was going to attend a political convention, one of his rivals, a livery man, provided him with a slow horse, hoping that he would not reach his destination in time.
Lincoln got there, however, and when he returned with the horse he said: "You keep this horse for funerals, don't you?"
"Oh no!" replied the liveryman.
"Well, I'm glad of that, for if you did you'd never get a corpse to the grave in time for resurrection."
When Socrates was asked whether it was better for a man to marry or to remain single, he answered:
"Let him take which course he will, he will repent of it."
At a period of Donatello's life he went to Pisa to execute some works there which were found so wonderful that the Pisans broke out into transports of delight, praising the artist to the skies.
Oddly enough however, this excessive praise proved distasteful to the sculptor.
He declared that he must go back to Florence for the whimsical reason, that where he was praised by everybody he would soon forget all he knew, grow lazy and self-satisfied, whereas in Florence he was notoriously abused and found fault with and thus forced always to produce his best, "the constant blame forcing him" as he put it, "to study and consequently to greater achievements."
A lad once asked Mozart how to write a symphony.
Mozart said, "You're a very young man, why not begin with ballads?"
The aspirant urged, You composed symphonies when you were 10 years old."
"Yes," replied Mozart, "but I didn't ask 'how?'"
** In Boston the famous tenor Beniamino Gigli was singing "Faust."
The stage of the Boston Opera House was not as adequately equipped as that of the Metropolitan. There was a trap door which sank down in order that Mephistopheles might conduct Faust to Hell. As Gigli stepped on this and began to sink, something went wrong and he became stuck midway and he could not get any further, though he made every effort to squeeze through. In the midst of the predicament which was now clearly evident to all the audience, the voice of a slightly inebriated Irishman roared from the top gallery, "Thank God. I'm safe at last! Hell is full!"
How producer Gabriel Pascal acquired the film rights to Bernard Shaw's plays-a mine of entertainment material practically every producer in Hollywood has tried to buy at one time or another-in a utterly implausible story. In 1935, after spending six months in Hollywood doing nothing, who had made one successful picture in England and a succession of shorts, left in disgust. He arrived in London, and out of a clear sky called on Shaw, whom he had never
met, saying he wanted to produce his plays. When Shaw asked how much capital he had to do it with, Pascal replied: "Fifteen shillings and six pence-but I owe a pound."
Delighted as much with his effrontery as with Pascal's obvious admiration of his work, Shaw gave him a pound to pay his debts, and agreed to the experiment. The successful Pygmalion was the result.
At a dinner in Hollywood to celebrate his birthday, Charlie Chaplin entertained the guests throughout the evening by imitating people they knew: men, women, and children, his chauffeur, his Japanese servants, his secretaries. Finally he sang at the top of his voice an aria from an Italian Opera and sang it superbly. "Why Charlie, I never knew you could sing so beautifully," someone exclaimed.
"I can't sing at all," Charlie rejoined. "I was just imitating Caruso."
When John Barrymore was playing "Redemption" in New York...he struggled against a particularly croupy audience. When it came to the scene where he, as a derelict, is being questioned by prefect of police, and was asked if he couldn't say anything for himself, he waved his hand toward the audience, and cried:
"Say anything! How could I say anything with that bunch of trained seals out there?"
While Raphael was engaged in painting his celebrated frescoes, he was visited by two cardinals who began to criticize his work, and found fault without understanding it.
"The Apostle Paul has too red a face," said one.
"He blushes to see in whose hands the Church has fallen," answered the angry artist.
A new clergyman in town sought the services of the best local physician, a man irregular in his church attendance.
The medical treatment was prolonged, and the young pastor, worried over the accumulating expense, spoke to the doctor, about the matter of his bill.
"I'll tell you what I'll do, Pastor," said the doctor, "I hear you're a pretty good preacher and you seem to think that I'm a fair doctor. We'll make a bargain. I'll do all I can to keep you out of Heaven, and you'll do all you can to keep me out of Hell, and it wouldn't cost either one of us a cent."
Curran said to Father O'Leary:
"Reverend Father, I wish you were St. Peter."
"Why," said the priest.
"Because, then you would have the keys of heaven, and could let me in." "I had better have the keys," said Father O'Leary, "of another place, and then I could let you out."
A new Protestant pastor had come to town and his clerical garb was not unlike that of a priest. He chanced to pass several little Catholic boys on the street, and a number of them tipped their hats and chorused, "Good evening, Father." No sooner had the minister passed than one of the boys turned on his companions in disgust, "Father! He's no father-he's got three kids!"
An evangelist was exhorting his hearers to flee from the wrath to come. "I warn you," he thundered. "that there will be weeping, and wailing and gnashing of teeth!"
At this moment an old woman in the gallery stood up.
"Sir," she shouted, "I have no teeth."
"Madam," returned the evangelist, "teeth will be provided."
The official board of the church had called a meeting in order to seek a means of raising funds for much-needed repairs. The little church was literally falling apart, and the pastor, stirred by a very real emotion, having been connected with the parish for nearly twenty years, made a moving speech.
Great was his and other member's surprise when the most miserly member of the board rose and offered five dollars. As he spoke a bit of plaster fell and hit him on the head. A trifle dazed he rose again and said, "Reckon I'd better make it fifty dollars."
From the back of the hall came a pleading voice. "Hit him again Lord!"
A certain Archbishop, getting along in years, had been worried for some time that he would fall victim to a paralytic stroke. One evening, while playing chess with a very charming young lady, he suddenly became very agitated, and feeling that his presentiment had been fulfilled, he fell back in his chair, murmuring, "Your move."
Alarmed, his partner hurried to his side. "Are you ill?" she asked.
"It has come," the Archbishop replied, "at last it has come, my right side is paralyzed."
"How can you be so sure?"
"I have been pinching my leg," weakly said the Archbishop, and there is absolutely no feeling."
"Oh," said the charming young lady, blushing profusely, "Your Grace, I do beg your pardon, but it was my leg you were pinching."
The founder of Smithsonian Institute, James Smithson, was long troubled by an obscure illness which none of the many doctors consulted were able to diagnose.
"I earnestly desire," he remarked one time, "that you perform an autopsy to discover what is the matter with me, for I'm dying to know what my ailment is."
During his last illness a number of Pensilvania politicians called upon Thadeus Stevens to pay their respects and in the course of conversations one of them remarked on his appearance."Ah, gentlemen," he said,"it is not my appearance that I am concerned just now, but my disappearance."
A few hours before his death, Marcel Proust asked his servant to bring to his bed a certain page from his manuscript, wherein the death agony of one of his characters was described-because "I have
several retouches to make here, now that I find myself in the same predicament.
The football game between Notre Dame and Yale was in full swing. The score was tied. The spectators yelling wildly; the players were grimly determined that their side would win. About the middle of the third quarter time was called out at the request of the Yale centre. Walking up to the referee he said, "Look here, Mr. Referee, I don't like to complain but every time we get tangled up in a scrimmage play that big Irish centre bites me. What do you think I should do about it?"
"Well," snapped the referee, "the only thing I advise is that you play him only on Fridays."
A Californian went out to follow up a grizzly bear and was gone for three days. Then he turned up without his game. "Lost the trail, Bill, I suppose," said one of his cronies.
"Naw, I kept on the trail all right."
"Then what's the matter."
"Waal, The footprints were getting too fresh, so I quit."
The following is a statement attributed to the late G.K. Chesterton:
"The mere proposal to set the politician to watch the capitalist has been disturbed by the rather disconcerting discovery that they are both the same man. We are past the point where being a capitalist is the only way of becoming a politician, and we are dangerously near the point where being a politician is much the quickest way of becoming a capitalist."
Once Theodore Rosevelt was making a political speech during one of his campaigns, when a heckler interrupted him from the large crowd with a repeated and slightly inebriated cry, "I am a Democrat."
Rosevelt was generally a dangerous man to heckle. Pausing in his speech and smiling with oriental unction, he leaned forward and said, "May I ask the gentleman why he is a Democrat?"
The voice replied, "My grandfather was a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, and I am a Democrat."
Rosevelt said, "My friend, suppose your grandfather had been a jackass, and your father had been a jackass, what would you be?"
Instantly the reply came back, "A Republican."
When Edward Everet Hale was Chaplain of the Senate, someone asked him, "Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?" "No, I look at the senators and pray for the country," he replied.
The late Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was talking about the ineffectiveness of most Congressional investigating committees.
"Some of them," he observed, "remind me of Si Hoskins. Si got a job at shooting muskrats, for muskrats overran a mill's owner dam. There, in the lovely Spring weather, Si sat on the grassy bank, his gun on his knee. Finding him one morning, I said: 'What are you doing, Sir?' 'I'm paid to shoot the muskrats, Sir. The're undermining the dam.'
'There goes one now!' 'Shoot man! Why don't you shoot?'
"Si puffed a tranquil cloud from his pipe and said: 'Do you think that I want to lose my job?'"
A certain colonel on the staff of the Governor died suddenly.
Many applicants for his position were clamouring to be heard. Before even the funeral had taken place, one of these managed to detain the Governor for a moment, asking, "Would you object to my taking place of the Colonel?"
"Not at all," snapped the Governor. "Speak to the undertaker."
An old acquaintance of President Lincoln visited him in Washington.
Lincoln desired to give him a place. Thus encouraged, the visitor, who was an honest man,but wholly inexperienced in public affairs or business, asked for a high office, Superintendent of the Mint.
"Good gracious! Why didn't he ask to be Secretary of the Treasury, and have done with it?"
Afterward, he said: "Well, now, I never thought Mr- had anything more than average ability, when we were young together. But, then I suppose he thought the same thing about me, and-here I am!"
Nicholas ll at the moment was playing tennis at Peterhof. When the Emperor was handed a telegram, he had two balls in his left hand, the racket raised ready to serve. He took the telegram with the right hand, raising the racket and te telegram to his eyes , reading: Russian Fleet annihalated at Shushima. Stop. Nearly all our ships sunk." The Csar shoved the telegram in his trouser pocket. "Thirty-fifteen," he said and served.
"Thirty-fifteen," he said, and served.
Seeing his young grandson deeply engrossed in his studies, the late King George V of England stopped to see what was interesting the child. "And who are you studying about now?" he asked giving the youngster a friendly pat on the head.
"About Peter Warbeck," was the reply.
"And who is he?"
"Ah," answered the boy, "he's just someone who pretended he was the son of a king. But he wasn't really; he was the son of respectable parents."
Disraeli, in conversation with a friend, disclosed the secret of his ascendancy to royal favour. "When talking with the Queen," he said, "I observe a simple rule of conduct; I never deny; I never contradict; I sometime forget."
Disraeli, explaining his popularity with the Queen said, "Gladstone speak to the Queen as she were a public department. I treat her with the knowledge that she is a woman."
A young peer once asked Disraeli what course of study he had best take to qualify himself for speaking so as to gain the ear of the
House of the Lords.
"Have you a graveyard near your house?" Asked Disraeli?
"Yes," was the reply.
"Then," said Disraeli, "I should recommend you to visit it early of a morning and practice upon the tombstones."
A nobleman wished Garrick to be a candidate for the representation of a borough in Parliament. "No, my Lord," said the actor, "I, would rather play the part of a great man on the stage than the part of a fool in Parliament."
Among the ardent feminists during the suffragette movement in England was an elderly crusader, often in jail for the Cause, and a young thing sentenced for the first time and taking it very hard.
They were assigned to adjoining cells. Anon the older woman heard the younger sobbing. She rapped energetically on the dividing wall, and called:
"there, there, dear, don't cry! Put your trust in God- She will protect you!"
One evening when Lloyd George was addressing a meeting of hostile suffragettes, one woman in an ugly mood, rose and said, "If you were my husband I would give you poison."
Lloyd George, noted for his ready wit, snapped back, "My dear lady, if I were your husband I would take the poison."
One rainy day, standing at a window with Sidney Webb (Lord Passfield), I asked him how the Socialists were going to bring about all these great changes. He pointed to the rain, gentle, steady, incessant, and said in a voice no less gentle: "I want the socialists to work like that: without noise, without fuss." And then (using another simile): "Under the earth there are the burrows of the moles; we must work as they work, unobtrusively, slowly and gradually undermining the existing system until one day, it subsides." (Foretold in Revelation 18 ?)
"I awe my success as a salesman," said the speaker, addressing the gathering of young men being trained for this profession, "to the first five words which I invariably utter when a woman opens the door, "Miss, may I speak with your mother?'"