An Aversion To Fools- The Lost Writings Of Ambrose Bierce

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I know not if it was a dream. I viewed A city where the restless multitude, Between the eastern and the western deep Had roared gigantic fabrics, strong and rude. Colossal palaces crowned every height; Towers from valleys climbed into the light; O'er dwellings at their feet, great golden domes Hung in the blue, barbarically bright. But now, new-glimmering to-east, the day Touched the black masses with a grace of gray, Dim spires of temples to the nation's God Studding high spaces of the wide survey. Well did the roofs their solemn secret keep Of life and death stayed by the truce of sleep, Yet whispered of an hour-when sleepers wake, The fool to hope afresh, the wise to weep.

The gardens greened upon the builded hills Above the tethered thunders of the mills With sleeping wheels unstirred to service yet By the tamed torrents and the quickened rills. A hewn acclivity, reprieved a space, Looked on the builder's blocks about his base And bared his wounded breast in sign to say: Ships from afar afforested the bay.

Within their huge and chambered bodies lay The wealth of continents; and merrily sailed The hardy argosies to far Cathay. Beside the city of the living spread— Strange fellowship! Noting how firm their habitations stood, Broad-based and free of perishable wood— How deep in granite and how high in brass The names were wrought of eminent and good,.

From the red East the sun—a solemn rite— Crowned with a flame the cross upon a height Above the dead; and then with all his strength Struck the great city all aroar with light! I came Unto a land where something seemed the same That I had known as 't were but yesterday, But what it was I could not rightly name. It was a strange and melancholy land. On either hand Lay waters of a sea that seemed as dead, And dead above it seemed the hills to stand,. Grayed all with age, those lonely hills—ah me, How worn and weary they appeared to be! Between their feet long dusty fissures clove The plain in aimless windings to the sea.

One hill there was which, parted from the rest, Stood where the eastern water curved a-west. Silent and passionless it stood. I thought I saw a scar upon its giant breast. The sun with sullen and portentous gleam Hung like a menace on the sea's extreme; Nor the dead waters, nor the far, bleak bars Of cloud were conscious of his failing beam. It was a dismal and a dreadful sight, That desert in its cold, uncanny light; No soul but I alone to mark the fear And imminence of everlasting night!

Of life's elixir I had writ, when sleep Pray Heaven it spared him who the writing read! Sealed upon my senses with so deep A stupefaction that men thought me dead. The centuries stole by with noiseless tread, Like spectres in the twilight of my dream; I saw mankind in dim procession sweep Through life, oblivion at each extreme. Meanwhile my beard, like Barbarossa's growing, Loaded my lap and o'er my knees was flowing. The generations came with dance and song, And each observed me curiously there. So the young and gay, Visibly wrinkling as they fared along, Doddered at last on failing limbs away; Though some, their footing in my beard entangled, Fell into its abysses and were strangled.

At last a generation came that walked More slowly forward to the common tomb, Then altogether stopped. The women talked Excitedly; the men, with eyes agloom Looked darkly on them with a look of doom; And one cried out: So in my dream each lovely head was chopped From its fair shoulders, and but men alone Were left in all the world.

Birth being stopped, Enough of room remained in every zone, And Peace ascended Woman's vacant throne. Thus, life's elixir being found the quacks Their bread-and-butter in it gladly sopped 'Twas made worth having by the headsman's axe. Seeing which, I gave myself a hearty shaking, And crumbled all to powder in the waking. Will Treachery caress my hand no more, Nor Hatred He alurk about my door? Will Envy henceforth not retaliate For virtues it were vain to emulate? Will Ignorance my knowledge fail to scout, Not understanding what 'tis all about, Yet feeling in its light so mean and small That all his little soul is turned to gall?

Greed from exaction magically charmed? Ambition stayed from trampling whom it meets, Like horses fugitive in crowded streets? The Bigot, with his candle, book and bell, Tongue-tied, unlunged and paralyzed as well? The Critic righteously to justice haled, His own ear to the post securely nailed— What most he dreads unable to inflict, And powerless to hawk the faults he's picked? The liar choked upon his choicest lie, And impotent alike to villify Or flatter for the gold of thrifty men Who hate his person but employ his pen— Who love and loathe, respectively, the dirt Belonging to his character and shirt?

Is that what the physician said? O ye sanguinary statesmen, intermit your verbal tussles O ye editors and orators, consent to hear my lay! And a little while the digital and maxillary muscles And attend to what a Venerable Person has to say. Cease your writing, cease your shouting, cease your wild unearthly lying; Cease to bandy such expressions as are never, never found In the letter of a lover; cease "exposing" and "replying"— Let there be abated fury and a decrement of sound.

For to-morrow will be Monday and the fifth day of November— Only day of opportunity before the final rush. Curse him for a son of Satan, all unholily compound! Curse my leader for another! Curse that pelican, my mother! Would to God that I when little in my victual had been drowned! Then that Venerable Person went away without returning And, the madness of the season having also taken flight, All the people soon were blushing like the skies to crimson burning When Aurora Borealis fires her premises by night.

In Bacon see the culminating prime Of Anglo-Saxon intellect and crime. He dies and Nature, settling his affairs, Parts his endowments among us, his heirs: To every one a pinch of brain for seed, And, to develop it, a pinch of greed. Each thrifty heir, to make the gift suffice, Buries the talent to manure the vice. As sweet as the look of a lover Saluting the eyes of a maid, That blossom to blue as the maid Is ablush to the glances above her, The sunshine is gilding the glade And lifting the lark out of shade.

Sing therefore high praises, and therefore Sing songs that are ancient as gold, Of Earth in her garments of gold; Nor ask of their meaning, nor wherefore They charm as of yore, for behold! The Earth is as fair as of old. Sing songs of the pride of the mountains, And songs of the strength of the seas, And the fountains that fall to the seas From the hands of the hills, and the fountains That shine in the temples of trees, In valleys of roses and bees. Sing songs that are dreamy and tender, Of slender Arabian palms, And shadows that circle the palms, Where caravans, veiled from the splendor, Are kneeling in blossoms and balms, In islands of infinite calms.

Barbaric, O Man, was thy runing When mountains were stained as with wine By the dawning of Time, and as wine Were the seas, yet its echoes are crooning, Achant in the gusty pine And the pulse of the poet's line. Hard by an excavated street one sat In solitary session on the sand; And ever and anon he spake and spat And spake again—a yellow skull in hand, To which that retrospective Pioneer Addressed the few remarks that follow here: Did you come 'der blains agross,' Or 'Horn aroundt'?

Or did you drive a bull team 'all the way From Pike,' with Mr. And did you attend The neck-tie dance ensuin'? I don't forget a face, But names I disremember—I'm that breed Of owls. I'm talking some'at into space An' maybe my remarks is too derned free, Seein' yer name is unbeknown to me. That was as late as ' Now she's growed Surprisin'! Yes, me an' my pardner, Brown, Was wide acquainted.

If ther' was a cuss We didn't know, the cause was—he knowed us. I guess if she could see ye now she'd take Her chance o' happiness along o' Jake. Yer eyes is nothin' but two prospect holes, An' women which are hitched to better men Would hardly for sech glances damn their souls, As Lengthie did. I hope it's you, For" kicks the skull "I'm Jake the Kangaroo. I stood upon a hill. The setting sun Was crimson with a curse and a portent, And scarce his angry ray lit up the land That lay below, whose lurid gloom appeared Freaked with a moving mist, which, reeking up From dim tarns hateful with some horrid ban, Took shapes forbidden and without a name.

Gigantic night-birds, rising from the reeds With cries discordant, startled all the air, And bodiless voices babbled in the gloom— The ghosts of blasphemies long ages stilled, And shrieks of women, and men's curses. All These visible shapes, and sounds no mortal ear Had ever heard, some spiritual sense Interpreted, though brokenly; for I Was haunted by a consciousness of crime, Some giant guilt, but whose I knew not.

All These things malign, by sight and sound revealed, Were sin-begotten; that I knew—no more— And that but dimly, as in dreadful dreams The sleepy senses babble to the brain Imperfect witness. As I stood a voice, But whence it came I knew not, cried aloud Some words to me in a forgotten tongue, Yet straight I knew me for a ghost forlorn, Returned from the illimited inane. Again, but in a language that I knew, As in reply to something which in me Had shaped itself a thought, but found no words, It spake from the dread mystery about: What thou beholdest is as void as thou: The shadow of a poet's dream—himself As thou, his soul as thine, long dead, But not like thine outlasted by its shade.

His dreams alone survive eternity As pictures in the unsubstantial void. Excepting thee and me and we because The poet wove us in his thought remains Of nature and the universe no part Or vestige but the poet's dreams. This dread, Unspeakable land about thy feet, with all Its desolation and its terrors—lo! So long ago That God and all the angels since have died That poet lived—yourself long dead—his mind Filled with the light of a prophetic fire, And standing by the Western sea, above The youngest, fairest city in the world, Named in another tongue than his for one Ensainted, saw its populous domain Plague-smitten with a nameless shame.

For there Red-handed murder rioted; and there The people gathered gold, nor cared to loose The assassin's fingers from the victim's throat, But said, each in his vile pursuit engrossed: Let the Law Look to the matter. And there, O pitiful! No vestige of its glory should survive In fact or memory: Gigantic night-birds, rising from the reeds With cries discordant, startled all the air, And bodiless voices babbled in the gloom.

But not to me came any voice again; And, covering my face with thin, dead hands, I wept, and woke, and cried aloud to God! That land full surely hastens to its end Where public sycophants in homage bend The populace to flatter, and repeat The doubled echoes of its loud conceit. Lowly their attitude but high their aim, They creep to eminence through paths of shame, Till fixed securely in the seats of pow'r, The dupes they flattered they at last devour.

Successive bards pursue Ambition's fire That shines, Oblivion, above thy mire. The latest mounts his predecessor's trunk, And sinks his brother ere himself is sunk. You may say, if you please, Johnny Bull, that our girls Are crazy to marry your dukes and your earls; But I've heard that the maids of your own little isle Greet bachelor lords with a favoring smile.

Nay, titles, 'tis said in defense of our fair, Are popular here because popular there; And for them our ladies persistently go Because 'tis exceedingly English, you know. Whatever the motive, you'll have to confess The effort's attended with easy success; And—pardon the freedom—'tis thought, over here, 'Tis mortification you mask with a sneer.

It's all very well, sir, your scorn to parade Of the high nasal twang of the Yankee maid, But, ah, to my lord when he dares to propose No sound is so sweet as that "Yes" from the nose. Our ladies, we grant, walk alone in the street Observe, by-the-by, on what delicate feet! Ah, well, if the dukes and the earls and that lot Can stand it God succor them if they cannot! Your commoners ought to assent, I am sure, And what they 're not called on to suffer, endure. You've many a widow and many a girl With money to purchase a duke or an earl. Alas for the woman of Albion's isle!

She may simper; as well as she can she may smile; She may wear pantalettes and an air of repose— But my lord of the future will talk through his nose. O thou Whose tearless eyes behold the chain, And look unmoved upon the slain, Eternal peace upon thy brow,—. Before thy shrine the races press, Thy perfect favor to implore— The proudest tyrant asks no more, The ironed anarchist no less. Thine altar-coals that touch the lips Of prophets kindle, too, the brand By Discord flung with wanton hand Among the houses and the ships.

Upon thy tranquil front the star Burns bleak and passionless and white, Its cold inclemency of light More dreadful than the shadows are. Thy name we do not here invoke Our civic rites to sanctify: Enthroned in thy remoter sky, Thou heedest not our broken yoke.


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Thou carest not for such as we: Our millions die to serve the still And secret purpose of thy will. They perish—what is that to thee? The light that fills the patriot's tomb Is not of thee. The shining crown Compassionately offered down To those who falter in the gloom,. And fall, and call upon thy name, And die desiring—'tis the sign Of a diviner love than thine, Rewarding with a richer fame. To him alone let freemen cry Who hears alike the victor's shout, The song of faith, the moan of doubt, And bends him from his nearer sky. God of my country and my race!

So greater than the gods of old— So fairer than the prophets told Who dimly saw and feared thy face,—. Who didst but half reveal thy will And gracious ends to their desire, Behind the dawn's advancing fire Thy tender day-beam veiling still,—. To whom the unceasing suns belong, And cause is one with consequence,— To whose divine, inclusive sense The moan is blended with the song,—. Whose laws, imperfect and unjust, Thy just and perfect purpose serve: The needle, howsoe'er it swerve, Still warranting the sailor's trust,—.

God, lift thy hand and make us free To crown the work thou hast designed. O, strike away the chains that bind Our souls to one idolatry! The liberty thy love hath given We thank thee for. We thank thee for Our great dead fathers' holy war Wherein our manacles were riven. We thank thee for the stronger stroke Ourselves delivered and incurred When—thine incitement half unheard— The chains we riveted we broke.

We thank thee that beyond the sea The people, growing ever wise, Turn to the west their serious eyes And dumbly strive to be as we. As when the sun's returning flame Upon the Nileside statue shone, And struck from the enchanted stone The music of a mighty fame,. Let Man salute the rising day Of Liberty, but not adore. It bringeth good, it bringeth ill, As he possessing shall elect. He maketh it of none effect Who walketh not within thy will. Give thou or more or less, as we Shall serve the right or serve the wrong. Confirm our freedom but so long As we are worthy to be free.

But when O, distant be the time! Majorities in passion draw Insurgent swords to murder Law, And all the land is red with crime;. Nay, when the steps to state are worn In hollows by the feet of thieves, And Mammon sits among the sheaves And chuckles while the reapers mourn;. Then stay thy miracle! Upon whose hills, a bannered throng, The spirits of the sun display Their flashing lances day by day And hear the sea's pacific song—. Shall be so ruled in right and grace That men shall say: The cities all were populous: He will see a trusted wife. He'll perhaps see Oscar Wilde.

Name nor fame had Picklepip: Turned again to sneak away,. Lady Minnow cocked her head: Tedious tale for lady's ear: It yields a jingle and it yields no more. Gods, what a spectacle! Cried Emancipated Woman, as she wearied of the search: Now without a mate of any kind where am I? Can solitude be lifted up, vacuity refined? Yes, in spirit, but O, woful, woful state! O the horrible dilemma! These shall burn first: I wanted a Mat. Filled with astonishment, I spoke: And had whatever's needful for a fall. He lately was hit hard: Go drag her car! Every religion is important.

When men rise above existing conditions a new religion comes in, and it is better than the old one. So, I pray you stop the fervor and the fuss. The Saint arose and scratched his head. But I must tell you this: The great man slowly moved away. The lupin blooms among the tombs. The quail recalls her brood. He woke—His smile alone illumined space. No burglar ever can get through.

Smite the offense and the offender spare. We know that judges are corrupt. In sparing everybody none you spare: Rebukes most personal are least unfair. Moreover, he was black. What are your preferences made of? O hoary sculptor, stay thy hand: I fain would view the lettered stone. He givith His beluved fits. The witnesses were called and sworn. Dost hear the angels sing? Let us have peace: And yet this Mr.

I'm not of those who call it "corned. Soon, soon there came a time, alas! Each to his taste: I spoke of the steamship 'Hanner. Brains, I observe, as well as tongues, can stutter: You suffer from impediment of thought. When next you "point the way to Heaven," take care: Your fingers all being thumbs, point, Heaven knows where! I've called you everything except your hateful name!

He cares not a button for men, not he: Your mask and dirk for riches? Your chains for wit and worth? Christmas, you tell me, comes but once a year. One place it never comes, and that is here. The hollower they are they ring the more. No shrilling children shall their voices rear.

Hurrah for Christmas without Christmas cheer! I save my money and I save my pride. O tope of kings—divine Falernian—blood! Enough you have of jester, player, priest: He baked them in the sun. I made a genuflexion: I hate the Angel of the Sleeping Cup: So I'm for getting—and for shutting—up. Ah, well, that's ancient history now: Till Death shall kick at me, thundering "Scat!

Lo, D lifts up his voice: God send you convalesce! My mistake—it was your brother. But you're very like each other. The case was tried and a verdict found: And I state it as a maxim in a loosish kind of way: You'll have the more to back your word the less you have to say. Then spake old Ebenezer: Now 'yer's a bird ken throw some light uponto that tough theme: He has 'em both, I'm free to say, oncommonly extreme.

Such is the tale. This building in its time made quite a stir. I lived was famous, too when 't was erected. The names here first inscribed were much respected. Alas for ambition's possessor! Alas for the famous and proud! Alas, alas, for the tourist's guide! O grim is the Irony of Fate: Assist me, gods, to balk the decree! Observe his stride—how grand! See how that arm goes round. It says, as plain as day: Hear that Italian phrase! But it is Art! I lay in silence, dead. To-day the words are mine. We shall get him after awhile if we are spared, but in the meantime the violet and rose are languishing for a nibble at his glutoeus maximus.

A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from the eyes. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it "entuzy-muzy," had a relapse, which carried him off—to Missolonghi. The coffin of a document; the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love-letter. An ornamented badge, serving to distinguish a military officer from the enemy—that is to say, from the officer of lower rank to whom his death would give promotion.

An opponent of Epicurus, an abstemious philosopher who, holding that pleasure should be the chief aim of man, wasted no time in gratification from the senses. A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently characterize by acidity or acerbity and sometimes by wisdom. Following are some of the more notable epigrams of the learned and ingenious Dr.

An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect. Following is a touching example:. Very particularly abstruse and consummately occult. The ancient philosophies were of two kinds,— exoteric , those that the philosophers themselves could partly understand, and esoteric , those that nobody could understand. It is the latter that have most profoundly affected modern thought and found greatest acceptance in our time. The science that treats of the various tribes of Man, as robbers, thieves, swindlers, dunces, lunatics, idiots and ethnologists.

A sacred feast of the religious sect of Theophagi. A dispute once unhappily arose among the members of this sect as to what it was that they ate. In this controversy some five hundred thousand have already been slain, and the question is still unsettled. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. A bearer of good tidings, particularly in a religious sense such as assure us of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbors.

It is with no small diffidence that I venture to offer this brief and elementary definition, for I am not unaware of the existence of a bulky volume by a sometime Bishop of Worcester, entitled, A Partial Definition of the Word "Everlasting," as Used in the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures.

His book was once esteemed of great authority in the Anglican Church, and is still, I understand, studied with pleasure to the mind and profit of the soul. A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman, etc. In the Latin, " Exceptio probat regulam " means that the exception tests the rule, puts it to the proof, not confirms it. The malefactor who drew the meaning from this excellent dictum and substituted a contrary one of his own exerted an evil power which appears to be immortal. In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.

An officer of the Government, whose duty it is to enforce the wishes of the legislative power until such time as the judicial department shall be pleased to pronounce them invalid and of no effect. In religious affairs, to put the conscience of another upon the spit and roast it to a nut-brown discomfort. One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador. An English sea-captain being asked if he had read "The Exile of Erin," replied: Made a joke on the ex-Isle of Erin.

War with the whole world! The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced. A creature, variously fashioned and endowed, that formerly inhabited the meadows and forests. It was nocturnal in its habits, and somewhat addicted to dancing and the theft of children. The fairies are now believed by naturalist to be extinct, though a clergyman of the Church of England saw three near Colchester as lately as , while passing through a park after dining with the lord of the manor.

The sight greatly staggered him, and he was so affected that his account of it was incoherent. In the year a troop of fairies visited a wood near Aix and carried off the daughter of a peasant, who had been seen to enter it with a bundle of clothing. The son of a wealthy bourgeois disappeared about the same time, but afterward returned. He had seen the abduction been in pursuit of the fairies.

Justinian Gaux, a writer of the fourteenth century, avers that so great is the fairies' power of transformation that he saw one change itself into two opposing armies and fight a battle with great slaughter, and that the next day, after it had resumed its original shape and gone away, there were seven hundred bodies of the slain which the villagers had to bury.

He does not say if any of the wounded recovered. In the time of Henry III, of England, a law was made which prescribed the death penalty for "Kyllynge, wowndynge, or mamynge" a fairy, and it was universally respected. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the Roman Catholic Church feasts are "movable" and "immovable," but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by the Greeks, under the name Nemeseia , by the Aztecs and Peruvians, as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters.

Among the many feasts of the Romans was the Novemdiale , which was held, according to Livy, whenever stones fell from heaven. A person of greater enterprise than discretion, who in embracing an opportunity has formed an unfortunate attachment. A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth: An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat.

The art or science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of the manager. The pronunciation of this word with the i long and the accent on the first syllable is one of America's most precious discoveries and possessions. A colored rag borne above troops and hoisted on forts and ships. It appears to serve the same purpose as certain signs that one sees and vacant lots in London— "Rubbish may be shot here.

Ambrose Bierce "The Moonlit Road" ( Billy Lake)

Suddenly to change one's opinions and go over to another party. The most notable flop on record was that of Saul of Tarsus, who has been severely criticised as a turn-coat by some of our partisan journals. The prototype of punctuation. It is observed by Garvinus that the systems of punctuation in use by the various literary nations depended originally upon the social habits and general diet of the flies infesting the several countries. These creatures, which have always been distinguished for a neighborly and companionable familiarity with authors, liberally or niggardly embellish the manuscripts in process of growth under the pen, according to their bodily habit, bringing out the sense of the work by a species of interpretation superior to, and independent of, the writer's powers.

The "old masters" of literature— that is to say, the early writers whose work is so esteemed by later scribes and critics in the same language— never punctuated at all, but worked right along free-handed, without that abruption of the thought which comes from the use of points. We observe the same thing in children to-day, whose usage in this particular is a striking and beautiful instance of the law that the infancy of individuals reproduces the methods and stages of development characterizing the infancy of races.

In the work of these primitive scribes all the punctuation is found, by the modern investigator with his optical instruments and chemical tests, to have been inserted by the writers' ingenious and serviceable collaborator, the common house-fly— Musca maledicta. In transcribing these ancient MSS, for the purpose of either making the work their own or preserving what they naturally regard as divine revelations, later writers reverently and accurately copy whatever marks they find upon the papyrus or parchment, to the unspeakable enhancement of the lucidity of the thought and value of the work.

Writers contemporary with the copyists naturally avail themselves of the obvious advantages of these marks in their own work, and with such assistance as the flies of their own household may be willing to grant, frequently rival and sometimes surpass the older compositions, in respect at least of punctuation, which is no small glory.

Fully to understand the important services that flies perform to literature it is only necessary to lay a page of some popular novelist alongside a saucer of cream-and-molasses in a sunny room and observe "how the wit brightens and the style refines" in accurate proportion to the duration of exposure. That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.

A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscience, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war— founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago.

He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting— such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave.

And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization. This looks like an easy word to define, but when I consider that pious and learned theologians have spent long lives in explaining it, and written libraries to explain their explanations; when I remember the nations have been divided and bloody battles caused by the difference between foreordination and predestination, and that millions of treasure have been expended in the effort to prove and disprove its compatibility with freedom of the will and the efficacy of prayer, praise, and a religious life,— recalling these awful facts in the history of the word, I stand appalled before the mighty problem of its signification, abase my spiritual eyes, fearing to contemplate its portentous magnitude, reverently uncover and humbly refer it to His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons and His Grace Bishop Potter.

A gift of God bestowed upon doctors in compensation for their destitution of conscience. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth. Formerly the knife was employed for this purpose, and by many worthy persons is still thought to have many advantages over the other tool, which, however, they do not altogether reject, but use to assist in charging the knife. The immunity of these persons from swift and awful death is one of the most striking proofs of God's mercy to those that hate Him. The tenure by which a religious corporation holds lands on condition of praying for the soul of the donor.

In mediaeval times many of the wealthiest fraternities obtained their estates in this simple and cheap manner, and once when Henry VIII of England sent an officer to confiscate certain vast possessions which a fraternity of monks held by frankalmoigne, "What! A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying merit of magnitude. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly.

The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either. An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of Chaos and Formless Void.

Its emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids— always by a Freemason. Having no favors to bestow. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense. A reptile with edible legs. The first mention of frogs in profane literature is in Homer's narrative of the war between them and the mice.

Skeptical persons have doubted Homer's authorship of the work, but the learned, ingenious and industrious Dr. Schliemann has set the question forever at rest by uncovering the bones of the slain frogs. One of the forms of moral suasion by which Pharaoh was besought to favor the Israelities was a plague of frogs, but Pharaoh, who liked them fricasees , remarked, with truly oriental stoicism, that he could stand it as long as the frogs and the Jews could; so the programme was changed. The frog is a diligent songster, having a good voice but no ear.

The libretto of his favorite opera, as written by Aristophanes, is brief, simple and effective— "brekekex-koax"; the music is apparently by that eminent composer, Richard Wagner. Horses have a frog in each hoof— a thoughtful provision of nature, enabling them to shine in a hurdle race. One part of the penal apparatus employed in that punitive institution, a woman's kitchen. The frying-pan was invented by Calvin, and by him used in cooking span-long infants that had died without baptism; and observing one day the horrible torment of a tramp who had incautiously pulled a fried babe from the waste-dump and devoured it, it occurred to the great divine to rob death of its terrors by introducing the frying-pan into every household in Geneva.

Thence it spread to all corners of the world, and has been of invaluable assistance in the propagation of his sombre faith. The following lines said to be from the pen of his Grace Bishop Potter seem to imply that the usefulness of this utensil is not limited to this world; but as the consequences of its employment in this life reach over into the life to come, so also itself may be found on the other side, rewarding its devotees:.

A pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker, and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles our tears. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured. A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it. A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building.

This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the new incumbents.

An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and desolating the country. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own. A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world and the inside.

The science of the earth's crust— to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.

Accounting for the uncommon behavior of ghosts, Heine mentions somebody's ingenious theory to the effect that they are as much afraid of us as we of them. Not quite, if I may judge from such tables of comparative speed as I am able to compile from memories of my own experience. There is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts. A ghost never comes naked: Supposing the products of the loom to have this ability, what object would they have in exercising it?

And why does not the apparition of a suit of clothes sometimes walk abroad without a ghost in it? These be riddles of significance. They reach away down and get a convulsive grip on the very tap-root of this flourishing faith. A demon addicted to the reprehensible habit of devouring the dead. The existence of ghouls has been disputed by that class of controversialists who are more concerned to deprive the world of comforting beliefs than to give it anything good in their place. In Father Secchi saw one in a cemetery near Florence and frightened it away with the sign of the cross.

He describes it as gifted with many heads an an uncommon allowance of limbs, and he saw it in more than one place at a time. The good man was coming away from dinner at the time and explains that if he had not been "heavy with eating" he would have seized the demon at all hazards. Atholston relates that a ghoul was caught by some sturdy peasants in a churchyard at Sudbury and ducked in a horsepond.

He appears to think that so distinguished a criminal should have been ducked in a tank of rosewater. The water turned at once to blood "and so contynues unto ys daye. As late as the beginning of the fourteenth century a ghoul was cornered in the crypt of the cathedral at Amiens and the whole population surrounded the place. Twenty armed men with a priest at their head, bearing a crucifix, entered and captured the ghoul, which, thinking to escape by the stratagem, had transformed itself to the semblance of a well known citizen, but was nevertheless hanged, drawn and quartered in the midst of hideous popular orgies.

The citizen whose shape the demon had assumed was so affected by the sinister occurrence that he never again showed himself in Amiens and his fate remains a mystery. In North-European mythology, a dwarfish imp inhabiting the interior parts of the earth and having special custody of mineral treasures. Bjorsen, who died in , says gnomes were common enough in the southern parts of Sweden in his boyhood, and he frequently saw them scampering on the hills in the evening twilight.

Ludwig Binkerhoof saw three as recently as , in the Black Forest, and Sneddeker avers that in they drove a party of miners out of a Silesian mine. Basing our computations upon data supplied by these statements, we find that the gnomes were probably extinct as early as A sect of philosophers who tried to engineer a fusion between the early Christians and the Platonists. The former would not go into the caucus and the combination failed, greatly to the chagrin of the fusion managers. An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag.

In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone. Sensible, madam, to the worth of this present writer. Alive, sir, to the advantages of letting him alone. A bird that supplies quills for writing. These, by some occult process of nature, are penetrated and suffused with various degrees of the bird's intellectual energies and emotional character, so that when inked and drawn mechanically across paper by a person called an "author," there results a very fair and accurate transcript of the fowl's thought and feeling. The difference in geese, as discovered by this ingenious method, is considerable: Three beautiful goddesses, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne, who attended upon Venus, serving without salary.

They were at no expense for board and clothing, for they ate nothing to speak of and dressed according to the weather, wearing whatever breeze happened to be blowing. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.

An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American Socialism. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion to the quantity of matter they contain— the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another.

This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason. In his great work on Divergent Lines of Racial Evolution , the learned Professor Brayfugle argues from the prevalence of this gesture -- the shrug— among Frenchmen, that they are descended from turtles and it is simply a survival of the habit of retracing the head inside the shell.

It is with reluctance that I differ with so eminent an authority, but in my judgment as more elaborately set forth and enforced in my work entitled Hereditary Emotions — lib. XI the shrug is a poor foundation upon which to build so important a theory, for previously to the Revolution the gesture was unknown. I have not a doubt that it is directly referable to the terror inspired by the guillotine during the period of that instrument's activity.

An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted. By most writers the invention of gunpowder is ascribed to the Chinese, but not upon very convincing evidence. Milton says it was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion seems to derive some support from the scarcity of angels.

Moreover, it has the hearty concurrence of the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Wilson became interested in gunpowder through an event that occurred on the Government experimental farm in the District of Columbia. One day, several years ago, a rogue imperfectly reverent of the Secretary's profound attainments and personal character presented him with a sack of gunpowder, representing it as the sed of the Flashawful flabbergastor , a Patagonian cereal of great commercial value, admirably adapted to this climate.

The good Secretary was instructed to spill it along in a furrow and afterward inhume it with soil. This he at once proceeded to do, and had made a continuous line of it all the way across a ten-acre field, when he was made to look backward by a shout from the generous donor, who at once dropped a lighted match into the furrow at the starting-point. Contact with the earth had somewhat dampened the powder, but the startled functionary saw himself pursued by a tall moving pillar of fire and smoke and fierce evolution.

He stood for a moment paralyzed and speechless, then he recollected an engagement and, dropping all, absented himself thence with such surprising celerity that to the eyes of spectators along the route selected he appeared like a long, dim streak prolonging itself with inconceivable rapidity through seven villages, and audibly refusing to be comforted. A writ by which a man may be taken out of jail when confined for the wrong crime. Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our Hell, many of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in a very comfortable kind of way.

Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves were a part of Hades, though they have since been removed to Paris. When the Jacobean version of the New Testament was in process of evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted by a majority vote on translating the Greek word "Aides" as "Hell"; but a conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of the record and struck out the objectional word wherever he could find it. At the next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly sprang to his feet and said with considerable excitement: An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like; sometimes called, also, a hen, or cat.

Old witches, sorceresses, etc. At one time hag was not a word of reproach: Drayton speaks of a "beautiful hag, all smiles," much as Shakespeare said, "sweet wench. One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or considered as divided. In the fourteenth century a heated discussion arose among theologists and philosophers as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves; and the pious Father Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would demonstrate the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and unmistakable way, and particularly if it should please Him upon the body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus, who maintained the negative.

Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite of a viper. Properly, a luminous ring encircling an astronomical body, but not infrequently confounded with "aureola," or "nimbus," a somewhat similar phenomenon worn as a head-dress by divinities and saints. The halo is a purely optical illusion, produced by moisture in the air, in the manner of a rainbow; but the aureola is conferred as a sign of superior sanctity, in the same way as a bishop's mitre, or the Pope's tiara.

In the painting of the Nativity, by Szedgkin, a pious artist of Pesth, not only do the Virgin and the Child wear the nimbus, but an ass nibbling hay from the sacred manger is similarly decorated and, to his lasting honor be it said, appears to bear his unaccustomed dignity with a truly saintly grace.

A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody's pocket. A small square of silk or linen, used in various ignoble offices about the face and especially serviceable at funerals to conceal the lack of tears. The handkerchief is of recent invention; our ancestors knew nothing of it and intrusted its duties to the sleeve. Shakespeare's introducing it into the play of "Othello" is an anachronism: Desdemona dried her nose with her skirt, as Dr. Mary Walker and other reformers have done with their coattails in our own day— an evidence that revolutions sometimes go backward.

An officer of the law charged with duties of the highest dignity and utmost gravity, and held in hereditary disesteem by a populace having a criminal ancestry. In some of the American States his functions are now performed by an electrician, as in New Jersey, where executions by electricity have recently been ordered— the first instance known to this lexicographer of anybody questioning the expediency of hanging Jerseymen. A place where ships taking shelter from stores are exposed to the fury of the customs.

A sect of Protestants, now extinct, who came from Europe in the beginning of the last century and were distinguished for the bitterness of their internal controversies and dissensions. An automatic, muscular blood-pump. Figuratively, this useful organ is said to be the esat of emotions and sentiments— a very pretty fancy which, however, is nothing but a survival of a once universal belief.

It is now known that the sentiments and emotions reside in the stomach, being evolved from food by chemical action of the gastric fluid. The exact process by which a beefsteak becomes a feeling— tender or not, according to the age of the animal from which it was cut; the successive stages of elaboration through which a caviar sandwich is transmuted to a quaint fancy and reappears as a pungent epigram; the marvelous functional methods of converting a hard-boiled egg into religious contrition, or a cream-puff into a sigh of sensibility— these things have been patiently ascertained by M.

Pasteur, and by him expounded with convincing lucidity. In a scientific work entitled, I believe, Delectatio Demonorum John Camden Hotton, London, this view of the sentiments receives a striking illustration; and for further light consult Professor Dam's famous treatise on Love as a Product of Alimentary Maceration. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.

A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own. A plant from whose fibrous bark is made an article of neckwear which is frequently put on after public speaking in the open air and prevents the wearer from taking cold.

To pass the winter season in domestic seclusion. There have been many singular popular notions about the hibernation of various animals. Many believe that the bear hibernates during the whole winter and subsists by mechanically sucking its paws. It is admitted that it comes out of its retirement in the spring so lean that it had to try twice before it can cast a shadow. Three or four centuries ago, in England, no fact was better attested than that swallows passed the winter months in the mud at the bottom of their brooks, clinging together in globular masses.

They have apparently been compelled to give up the custom and account of the foulness of the brooks. Sotus Ecobius discovered in Central Asia a whole nation of people who hibernate. By some investigators, the fasting of Lent is supposed to have been originally a modified form of hibernation, to which the Church gave a religious significance; but this view was strenuously opposed by that eminent authority, Bishop Kip, who did not wish any honors denied to the memory of the Founder of his family.

An animal now extinct which was half horse and half griffin. The griffin was itself a compound creature, half lion and half eagle.

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The hippogriff was actually, therefore, a one-quarter eagle, which is two dollars and fifty cents in gold. The study of zoology is full of surprises. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate that of ours. Among the Mahometans and Jews, the hog is not in favor as an article of diet, but is respected for the delicacy and the melody of its voice.

It is chiefly as a songster that the fowl is esteemed; the cage of him in full chorus has been known to draw tears from two persons at once. The scientific name of this dicky-bird is Porcus Rockefelleri. Rockefeller did not discover the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance. A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary diseases, and they can not.

The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homocide: The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.


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Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, "the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging. A peculiarly sharp and specially applied sense of the earth's overpopulation. Hostility is classified as active and passive; as respectively the feeling of a woman for her female friends, and that which she entertains for all the rest of her sex.

A comely female inhabiting the Mohammedan Paradise to make things cheery for the good Mussulman, whose belief in her existence marks a noble discontent with his earthly spouse, whom he denies a soul. By that good lady the Houris are said to be held in deficient esteem. A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beelte, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus and microbe. House of Correction , a place of reward for political and personal service, and for the detention of offenders and appropriations.

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House of God , a building with a steeple and a mortgage on it. House-dog , a pestilent beast kept on domestic premises to insult persons passing by and appal the hardy visitor. House-maid , a youngerly person of the opposing sex employed to be variously disagreeable and ingeniously unclean in the station in which it has pleased God to place her.

A plague that would have softened down the hoar austerity of Pharaoh's heart and persuaded him to dismiss Israel with his best wishes, cat-quick. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old-fashioned sea-captains. It is also used in the construction of the upper decks of steamboats, but generally speaking, the hurricane's usefulness has outlasted it. A beast held in reverence by some oriental nations from its habit of frequenting at night the burial-places of the dead.

But the medical student does that. One who, profession virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises. I is the first letter of the alphabet, the first word of the language, the first thought of the mind, the first object of affection. In grammar it is a pronoun of the first person and singular number. Its plural is said to be We , but how there can be more than one myself is doubtless clearer the grammarians than it is to the author of this incomparable dictionary.

Conception of two myselfs is difficult, but fine. The frank yet graceful use of "I" distinguishes a good writer from a bad; the latter carries it with the manner of a thief trying to cloak his loot. A breaker of idols, the worshipers whereof are imperfectly gratified by the performance, and most strenuously protest that he unbuildeth but doth not reedify, that he pulleth down but pileth not up.

For the poor things would have other idols in place of those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth. But the iconoclast saith: A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but "pervades and regulates the whole. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.

A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the growth of staple vices. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about. A sect of Spanish heretics of the latter part of the sixteenth century; so called because they were light weights— cunctationes illuminati.

A kind of divine inspiration, or sacred fire affecting censorious critics of this dictionary. Having a strong sense of one's own merit, coupled with a feeble conception of worth in others. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked, immoral.

If man's notions of right and wrong have any other basis than this of expediency; if they originated, or could have originated, in any other way; if actions have in themselves a moral character apart from, and nowise dependent on, their consequences— then all philosophy is a lie and reason a disorder of the mind. In popular usage to pierce with any weapon which remains fixed in the wound.

This, however, is inaccurate; to imaple is, properly, to put to death by thrusting an upright sharp stake into the body, the victim being left in a sitting position. This was a common mode of punishment among many of the nations of antiquity, and is still in high favor in China and other parts of Asia. Down to the beginning of the fifteenth century it was widely employed in "churching" heretics and schismatics.

Wolecraft calls it the "stoole of repentynge," and among the common people it was jocularly known as "riding the one legged horse. To the person in actual experience of impalement it must be a matter of minor importance by what kind of civil or religious dissent he was made acquainted with its discomforts; but doubtless he would feel a certain satisfaction if able to contemplate himself in the character of a weather-cock on the spire of the True Church.

Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions. The act of blessing or consecrating by the laying on of hands— a ceremony common to many ecclesiastical systems, but performed with the frankest sincerity by the sect known as Thieves. Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves alone.

Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known to have been sworn in any sense.

Under the rules of evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law. It cannot be proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought, that there was such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria. But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence including confession upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable.

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The judges' decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value. In an unpromising manner, the auspices being unfavorable. Among the Romans it was customary before undertaking any important action or enterprise to obtain from the augurs, or state prophets, some hint of its probable outcome; and one of their favorite and most trustworthy modes of divination consisted in observing the flight of birds— the omens thence derived being called auspices.

Newspaper reporters and certain miscreant lexicographers have decided that the word— always in the plural— shall mean "patronage" or "management"; as, "The festivities were under the auspices of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Body-Snatchers"; or, "The hilarities were auspicated by the Knights of Hunger. The natural and rational gauge and measure of respectability, the commonly accepted standards being artificial, arbitrary and fallacious; for, as "Sir Sycophas Chrysolater" in the play has justly remarked, "the true use and function of property in whatsoever it consisteth— coins, or land, or houses, or merchant- stuff, or anything which may be named as holden of right to one's own subservience as also of honors, titles, preferments and place, and all favor and acquaintance of persons of quality or ableness, are but to get money.

Hence it followeth that all things are truly to be rated as of worth in measure of their serviceableness to that end; and their possessors should take rank in agreement thereto, neither the lord of an unproducing manor, howsoever broad and ancient, nor he who bears an unremunerate dignity, nor yet the pauper favorite of a king, being esteemed of level excellency with him whose riches are of daily accretion; and hardly should they whose wealth is barren claim and rightly take more honor than the poor and unworthy. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination.

Incompatibility may, however, consist of a meek-eyed matron living just around the corner. It has even been known to wear a moustache. Unable to exist if something else exists. Two things are incompossible when the world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both— as Walt Whitman's poetry and God's mercy to man.

Incompossibility, it will be seen, is only incompatibility let loose. Instead of such low language as "Go heel yourself— I mean to kill you on sight," the words, "Sir, we are incompossible," would convey and equally significant intimation and in stately courtesy are altogether superior. One of a race of highly improper demons who, though probably not wholly extinct, may be said to have seen their best nights. For a complete account of incubi and succubi , including incubae and succubae , see the Liber Demonorum of Protassus Paris, , which contains much curious information that would be out of place in a dictionary intended as a text-book for the public schools.

Victor Hugo relates that in the Channel Islands Satan himself— tempted more than elsewhere by the beauty of the women, doubtless— sometimes plays at incubus , greatly to the inconvenience and alarm of the good dames who wish to be loyal to their marriage vows, generally speaking. A certain lady applied to the parish priest to learn how they might, in the dark, distinguish the hardy intruder from their husbands.

The holy man said they must feel his brown for horns; but Hugo is ungallant enough to hint a doubt of the efficacy of the test. The chief element of success; "for whereas," saith Sir Thomas Brewbold, "there is but one way to do nothing and divers way to do something, whereof, to a surety, only one is the right way, it followeth that he who from indecision standeth still hath not so many chances of going astray as he who pusheth forwards"— a most clear and satisfactory exposition on the matter.

When in doubt whether to attack or retreat I never hesitate a moment— I toss us a copper. I disobeyed the coin. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of the western wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force: The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, "Heaven lies about us. It was while sacrificing a bullock to the spirit of Agamemnon that Laiaides, a priest of Aulis, was favored with an audience of that illustrious warrior's shade, who prophetically recounted to him the birth of Christ and the triumph of Christianity, giving him also a rapid but tolerably complete review of events down to the reign of Saint Louis.

The narrative ended abruptly at the point, owing to the inconsiderate crowing of a cock, which compelled the ghosted King of Men to scamper back to Hades. There is a fine mediaeval flavor to this story, and as it has not been traced back further than Pere Brateille, a pious but obscure writer at the court of Saint Louis, we shall probably not err on the side of presumption in considering it apocryphal, though Monsignor Capel's judgment of the matter might be different; and to that I bow— wow.

In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does. In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid. One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have sinned unless he had a mind to— in opposition to the Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person's fall was decreed from the beginning.

Infralapsarians are sometimes called Sublapsarians without material effect upon the importance and lucidity of their views about Adam. A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back. A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime. The properties of ink are peculiar and contradictory: There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of.

Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out. Natural, inherent— as innate ideas, that is to say, ideas that we are born with, having had them previously imparted to us. The doctrine of innate ideas is one of the most admirable faiths of philosophy, being itself an innate idea and therefore inaccessible to disproof, though Locke foolishly supposed himself to have given it "a black eye.

The stomach, heart, soul and other bowels. Many eminent investigators do not class the soul as an in'ard, but that acute observer and renowned authority, Dr. Gunsaulus, is persuaded that the mysterious organ known as the spleen is nothing less than our important part. To the contrary, Professor Garrett P. Servis holds that man's soul is that prolongation of his spinal marrow which forms the pith of his no tail; and for demonstration of his faith points confidently to the fact that no tailed animals have no souls.

Concerning these two theories, it is best to suspend judgment by believing both. Something written on another thing. Inscriptions are of many kinds, but mostly memorial, intended to commemorate the fame of some illustrious person and hand down to distant ages the record of his services and virtues. To this class of inscriptions belongs the name of John Smith, penciled on the Washington monument.

Following are examples of memorial inscriptions on tombstones: An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government. The mind's sense of the prevalence of one set of influences over another set; an effect whose cause is the imminence, immediate or remote, of the performance of an involuntary act.

One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said. The period during which a monarchical country is governed by a warm spot on the cushion of the throne. The experiment of letting the spot grow cold has commonly been attended by most unhappy results from the zeal of many worthy persons to make it warm again. A relation into which fools are providentially drawn for their mutual destruction.

A social ceremony invented by the devil for the gratification of his servants and the plaguing of his enemies. The introduction attains its most malevolent development in this century, being, indeed, closely related to our political system. Every American being the equal of every other American, it follows that everybody has the right to know everybody else, which implies the right to introduce without request or permission. The Declaration of Independence should have read thus:.

A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization. J is a consonant in English, but some nations use it as a vowel— than which nothing could be more absurd. Its original form, which has been but slightly modified, was that of the tail of a subdued dog, and it was not a letter but a character, standing for a Latin verb, jacere , "to throw," because when a stone is thrown at a dog the dog's tail assumes that shape.

This is the origin of the letter, as expounded by the renowned Dr. Jocolpus Bumer, of the University of Belgrade, who established his conclusions on the subject in a work of three quarto volumes and committed suicide on being reminded that the j in the Roman alphabet had originally no curl. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping. An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose business it was to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and utterances, the absurdity being attested by his motley costume.

The king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world some centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind. The jester was commonly called a fool, but the poets and romancers have ever delighted to represent him as a singularly wise and witty person. In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the court fool effects the dejection of humbler audiences with the same jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble hall, panged the patrician sense of humor and tapped the tank of royal tears.

An unmusical instrument, played by holding it fast with the teeth and trying to brush it away with the finger. Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of our holy religion. A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service. K is a consonant that we get from the Greeks, but it can be traced away back beyond them to the Cerathians, a small commercial nation inhabiting the peninsula of Smero.

In their tongue it was called Klatch , which means "destroyed. Snedeker explains that it was altered to its present shape to commemorate the destruction of the great temple of Jarute by an earthquake, circa B. This building was famous for the two lofty columns of its portico, one of which was broken in half by the catastrophe, the other remaining intact. As the earlier form of the letter is supposed to have been suggested by these pillars, so, it is thought by the great antiquary, its later was adopted as a simple and natural— not to say touching— means of keeping the calamity ever in the national memory.

It is not known if the name of the letter was altered as an additional mnemonic, or if the name was always Klatch and the destruction one of nature's pums. As each theory seems probable enough, I see no objection to believing both— and Dr. Snedeker arrayed himself on that side of the question. A male person commonly known in America as a "crowned head," although he never wears a crown and has usually no head to speak of. A malady that was formerly cured by the touch of the sovereign, but has now to be treated by the physicians. Thus 'the most pious Edward" of England used to lay his royal hand upon the ailing subjects and make them whole—.

This useful property of the royal hand could, it appears, be transmitted along with other crown properties; for according to "Malcolm,". But the gift somewhere dropped out of the line of succession: The date and author of the following epigram are known only to the author of this dictionary, but it is old enough to show that the jest about Scotland's national disorder is not a thing of yesterday.

The superstition that maladies can be cured by royal taction is dead, but like many a departed conviction it has left a monument of custom to keep its memory green. The practice of forming a line and shaking the President's hand had no other origin, and when that great dignitary bestows his healing salutation on. A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for "bliss. A book which the Mohammedans foolishly believe to have been written by divine inspiration, but which Christians know to be a wicked imposture, contradictory to the Holy Scriptures.

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A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.

A famous piece of antique scripture representing a priest of that name and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up to their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia. One of the most important organs of the female system— an admirable provision of nature for the repose of infancy, but chiefly useful in rural festivities to support plates of cold chicken and heads of adult males.

The male of our species has a rudimentary lap, imperfectly developed and in no way contributing to the animal's substantial welfare. A shoemaker's implement, named by a frowning Providence as opportunity to the maker of puns. An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable. Liability to attacks of laughter is one of the characteristics distinguishing man from the animals— these being not only inaccessible to the provocation of his example, but impregnable to the microbes having original jurisdiction in bestowal of the disease.

Whether laughter could be imparted to animals by inoculation from the human patient is a question that has not been answered by experimentation. Meir Witchell holds that the infection character of laughter is due to the instantaneous fermentation of sputa diffused in a spray. From this peculiarity he names the disorder Convulsio spargens. Crowned with leaves of the laurel. In England the Poet Laureate is an officer of the sovereign's court, acting as dancing skeleton at every royal feast and singing-mute at every royal funeral.

Of all incumbents of that high office, Robert Southey had the most notable knack at drugging the Samson of public joy and cutting his hair to the quick; and he had an artistic color-sense which enabled him so to blacken a public grief as to give it the aspect of a national crime.