The children had been reminded that they must not appear at school the following week without their application blanks properly filled out as to names of parents, addresses, dates and place of birth. On Monday morning Katie Barnes arrived, the tears streaming down her cheeks. "What is the trouble?" Miss Green inquired, seeking to comfort her. "Oh," sobbed the little girl, "I forgot my excuse for being born."
O. Henry always retained the whimsical sense of humor which made him quickly famous. Shortly before his death he called on the cashier of a New York publishing house, after vainly writing several times for a check which had been promised as an advance on his royalties.
"I'm sorry," explained the cashier, "but Mr. Blank, who signs the checks, is laid up with a sprained ankle."
"But, my dear sir," expostulated the author, "does he sign them with his feet?"
Strolling along the boardwalk at Atlantic City, Mr. Mulligan, the wealthy retired contractor, dropped a quarter through a crack in the planking. A friend came along a minute later and found him squatted down, industriously poking a two dollar bill through the treacherous cranny with his forefinger.
"Mulligan, what the divvil ar-re ye doin'?" inquired the friend.
"Sh-h," said Mr. Mulligan, "I'm tryin' to make it wort' me while to tear up this board."
A captain, inspecting his company one morning, came to an Irishman who evidently had not shaved for several days.
"Doyle," he asked, "how is it that you haven't shaved this morning?"
"But Oi did, sor."
"How dare you tell me that with the beard you have on your face?"
"Well, ye see, sor," stammered Doyle, "there wus nine of us to one small bit uv a lookin'-glass, an' it must be thot in th' gineral confusion Oi shaved some other man's face."
"Is that you, dear?" said a young husband over the telephone. "I just called up to say that I'm afraid I won't be able to get home to dinner to-night, as I am detained at the office."
"You poor dear," answered the wife sympathetically. "I don't wonder. I don't see how you manage to get anything done at all with that orchestra playing in your office. Good-by."
"What is the matter, dearest?" asked the mother of a small girl who had been discovered crying in the hall.
"Somfing awful's happened, Mother."
"Well, what is it, sweetheart?"
"My d'doll-baby got away from me and broked a plate in the pantry."
A poor casual laborer, working on a scaffolding, fell five stories to the ground. As his horrified mates rushed down pell-mell to his aid, he picked himself up, uninjured, from a great, soft pile of sand.
"Say, fellers," he murmured anxiously, "is the boss mad? Tell him I had to come down anyway for a ball of twine."
Cephas is a darky come up from Maryland to a border town in Pennsylvania, where he has established himself as a handy man to do odd jobs. He is a good worker, and sober, but there are certain proclivities of his which necessitate a pretty close watch on him. Not long ago he was caught with a chicken under his coat, and was haled to court to explain its presence there.
"Now, Cephas," said the judge very kindly, "you have got into a new place, and you ought to have new habits. We have been good to you and helped you, and while we like you as a sober and industrious worker, this other business cannot be tolerated. Why did you take Mrs. Gilkie's chicken?"
Cephas was stumped, and he stood before the majesty of the law, rubbing his head and looking ashamed of himself. Finally he answered:
"Deed, I dunno, Jedge," he explained, "ceptin' 't is dat chickens is chickens and niggers is niggers."
GRANDMA—"Johnny, I have discovered that you have taken more maple-sugar than I gave you."
JOHNNY—"Yes, Grandma, I've been making believe there was another little boy spending the day with me."
Mr. X was a prominent member of the B.P.O.E. At the breakfast table the other morning he was relating to his wife an incident that occurred at the lodge the previous night. The president of the order offered a silk hat to the brother who could stand up and truthfully say that during his married life he had never kissed any woman but his own wife. "And, would you believe it, Mary?—not a one stood up." "George," his wife said, "why didn't you stand up?" "Well," he replied, "I was going to, but I know I look like hell in a silk hat."
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,
As patches set upon a little breach,
Discredit more in hiding of the fault
Than did the fault before it was so patched.—Shakespeare.