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BEST SHORT STORIES
Collected by THOMAS L. MASSON
Published by DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY for REVIEW OF REVIEWS CO. 1922
A FOREWORD TO EVERYBODY
There is a wide difference of opinion, even among the most discriminating critics, as to what constitutes the point of a good joke. Aside from varying temperaments, this is largely due to one's experience with life in general. Or intimate acquaintance with certain phases of life gives us a subtler appreciation of certain niceties, which would be lost upon those who have not traveled over that particular path. The doctor, the lawyer, the family man, and the soldier, each have their minds sensitized to their own fields of thought. Human nature, however, works according to universal laws, and a really first-class joke strikes home to the majority.
The compiler of this collection has had it in mind to get as much variety as possible, while at the same time to use only such material as serves to illustrate some easily recognizable human trait.
It is almost needless to say that this book should not be read continuously. It should be taken in small doses, as it is highly concentrated.
Many old friends will be noticed in the crowd. But old friends, even among jokes, should not be passed by too lightly.
BEST SHORT STORIES
THE POINT OF HONOR
A young lieutenant was passed by a private, who failed to salute. The lieutenant called him back, and said sternly:
"You did not salute me. For this you will immediately salute two hundred times."
At this moment the General came up.
"What's all this?" he exclaimed, seeing the poor private about to begin.
The lieutenant explained.
"This ignoramus failed to salute me, and as a punishment, I am making him salute two hundred times."
"Quite right," replied the General, smiling. "But do not forget, sir, that upon each occasion you are to salute in return."
ALWAYS GET THE FACTS
It is never wise to jump to conclusions. Always wait until the evidence is all in.
A Jersey man of a benevolent turn of mind encountered a small boy in his neighborhood who gave evidence of having emerged but lately from a severe battle.
"I am sorry," said the man, "to see that you have a black eye, Sammy."
Whereupon Sammy retorted:
"You go home and be sorry for your own little boy--he's got two!"
CAN THIS BE TRUE?
A certain Irishman was taken prisoner by the Huns. While he was standing alone, waiting to be assigned to his prison, or whatever fate awaited him, the Kaiser came up.
"Hello," said the Kaiser. "Who have we here?"
"I'm an Irishman, your honor."
Then he winked solemnly.
"Oi say," he continued. "We didn't do a thing to you Germans, did we? Eh, old chap?"
The Kaiser was horrified. Calling an orderly he said to him:
"Take this blasphemer away and put a German uniform on him, and then bring him back."
Shortly the Irishman was returned, in a full German uniform.
"Well," said the Kaiser, "maybe you feel better now. How is it?"
Pat grabbed him by the arm, and leaning over, whispered:
"Oi say, we gave them Irish Hell, didn't we?"
NEW SERVANT-GIRL STORY
The wife of a successful young literary man had hired a buxom Dutch girl to do the housework. Several weeks passed and from seeing her master constantly about the house, the girl received an erroneous impression.
"Ogscuse me, Mrs. Blank," she said to her mistress one day, "but I like to say somedings."
The girl blushed, fumbled with her apron, and then replied, "Vell, you pay me four tollars a veek--'
"Yes, and I really can't pay you any more."
"It's not dot," responded the girl; "but I be villing to take tree tollars till--till your husband gets vork."
HE WAS BROAD MINDED
Even married life does not affect some people unpleasantly, or take away the fine spirit of their charity.
A certain factory-owner tells of an old employee who came into the office and asked for a day off.
"I guess we can manage it, Pete," says the boss, "tho we are mighty short-handed these days. What do you want to get off for?"