CAABA, n. A large stone presented by the archangel Gabriel to the patriarch Abraham, and preserved at Mecca. The patriarch had perhaps asked the archangel for bread.
CAB, n. A tormenting vehicle in which a pirate jolts you through devious ways to the wrong place, where he robs you.
CABBAGE, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.
The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor's Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty's measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.
CABINET, n. The principal persons charged with the mismanagement of a government, the charge being commonly well founded.
CADET, n. A young military gentleman who ten years hence may be shaking the world and cutting the throats of nations, but in the meantime is solicitous about the best method of slitting the colored ear.
CAIRN, n. A kind of sepulchre which it is no sacrilege to rifle.
This, by the way, is a peculiarity of all ancient tombs, and the learned Dr. Berosus Huggyns (1561) gives it as his opinion that an unknown grave may be plundered without sin in the interest of knowledge as soon as the bones have done "smellynge" — the soul being then all exhaled.
"The holy dead," said he (nor stayed His shovel, apprehensive) "Are not offended by my trade, Unless themselves offensive." He dug — then held his nose and fled, With penitent misgiving; They were, indeed, "the wholly dead," But their bouquet was living!
CALAMITY, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
CALLIOPE, n. One of the nine Muses, who has had a narrow escape from the dread immortality of having a steam whistle named in her honor. Happily the name is popularly so mispronounced as to defeat the malevolent intent.
CALLOUS, adj. Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another.
When Zeno was told that one of his enemies was no more he was observed to be deeply moved. "What!" said one of his disciples, "you weep at the death of an enemy?" "Ah, 'tis true," replied the great Stoic; "but you should see me smile at the death of a friend."
CALUMNUS, n. A graduate of the School for Scandal.
CALVARY, n. An eminence on Mission street, where James O'Neill died for the sins of Salmi Morse.
CAMEL, n. A quadruped (the Splaypes humpidorsus) of great value to the show business. There are two kinds of camels — the camel proper and the camel improper. It is the latter that is always exhibited.
CANDIDATE, n. One who by the advice of his friends reluctantly consents to sacrifice his private interests to the public good.
This word comes from the same root as "candid" and "candy," originally signifying white. It was formerly supposed to be an allusion to the Athenian method of selecting a nominee by a white ballot, but later researches of that eminent philologist, Professor Ned Townsend, show that it marks the survival of the political aspirant's custom of giving taffy.
CANDY, n. [1.] A confection composed of terra alba, glucose, flour and premature death. [2.] In local commercial usage at Bombay, a weight of 560 pounds — that being about the amount of candy that a Bombegian girl will consume in a day.
CANE, n. A convenient article for admonishing the gentle slanderer and the inconsiderate rival.
CANNIBAL, n. A gastronome of the old school who preserves the simple tastes and adheres to the natural diet of the pre-pork period.
CANNON, n. An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
CANONICALS, n. The motley worn by Jesters of the Court of Heaven.
CAPITAL, n. The seat of misgovernment. That which provides the fire, the pot, the dinner, the table and the knife and fork for the anarchist; the part of the repast that himself supplies is the disgrace before meat. Capital Punishment, a penalty regarding the justice and expediency of which many worthy persons — including all the assassins — entertain grave misgivings.
CARMELITE, n. A mendicant friar of the order of Mount Carmel.As Death was a-riding out one day, Across Mount Carmel he took his way, Where he met a mendicant monk, Some three or four quarters drunk, With a holy leer and a pious grin, Ragged and fat and as saucy as sin, Who held out his hands and cried: "Give, give in Charity's name, I pray. Give in the name of the Church. O give, Give that her holy sons may live!" And Death replied, Smiling long and wide: "I'll give, holy father, I'll give thee — a ride."
With a rattle and bang Of his bones, he sprang From his famous Pale Horse, with his spear; By the neck and the foot Seized the fellow, and put Him astride with his face to the rear.
The Monarch laughed loud with a sound that fell Like clods on the coffin's sounding shell: "Ho, ho! A beggar on horseback, they say, Will ride to the devil!" — and thump Fell the flat of his dart on the rump Of the charger, which galloped away.
Faster and faster and faster it flew, Till the rocks and the flocks and the trees that grew By the road were dim and blended and blue To the wild, wide eyes Of the rider — in size Resembling a couple of blackberry pies. Death laughed again, as a tomb might laugh At a burial service spoiled, And the mourners' intentions foiled By the body erecting Its head and objecting To further proceedings in its behalf.
Many a year and many a day Have passed since these events away. The monk has long been a dusty corse, And Death has never recovered his horse. For the friar got hold of its tail, And steered it within the pale Of the monastery gray, Where the beast was stabled and fed With barley and oil and bread Till fatter it grew than the fattest friar, And so in due course was appointed Prior. —G.J.
CARNIVOROUS, adj. Addicted to the cruelty of devouring the timorous vegetarian, his heirs and assigns.
CAROUSE, v.i. To celebrate with appropriate ceremonies the birth of a noble headache.
CARTESIAN, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum — whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum — "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;" as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
CAT, n. A soft, indestructible automaton provided by nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.This is a dog, This is a cat. This is a frog, This is a rat. Run, dog, mew, cat. Jump, frog, gnaw, rat. —Elevenson
CATECHISM, n. A form of theological riddles in which universal and eternal doubts are resolved by local and fugitive answers.
CEMETERY, n. An isolated suburban spot where mourners match lies, poets write at a target and stone-cutters spell for a wager. The inscriptions following will serve to illustrate the success attained in these Olympian games:His virtues were so conspicuous that his enemies, unable to overlook them, denied them, and his friends, to whose loose lives they were a rebuke, represented them as vices. They are here commemorated by his family, who shared them.
In the earth we here prepare a Place to lay our little Clara. —Thomas M. and Mary Frazer
P.S. — Gabriel will raise her.
CENOTAPH, n. A tomb from which the body is absent, living elsewhere. The grave whose headstone bore the famous inscription,Here lies me two children dear, One in ould Ireland, t'other one here,was a cenotaph, so far as regarded the "one in ould Ireland."
CENSOR, n. An officer of certain governments, employed to suppress the works of genius. Among the Romans the censor was an inspector of public morals, but the public morals of modern nations will not bear inspection.
CENTAUR, n. One of a race of persons who lived before the division of labor had been carried to such a pitch of differentiation, and who followed the primitive economic maxim, "Every man his own horse." The best of the lot was Chiron, who to the wisdom and virtues of the horse added the fleetness of man. The scripture story of the head of John the Baptist on a charger shows that pagan myths have somewhat sophisticated sacred history.
CERBERUS, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance — against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance. Cerberus is known to have had three heads, and some of the poets have credited him with as many as a hundred. Professor Graybill, whose clerky erudition and profound knowledge of Greek give his opinion great weight, has averaged all the estimates, and makes the number twenty-seven — a judgment that would be entirely conclusive if Professor Graybill had known (a) something about dogs, and (b) something about arithmetic.
CHARITY, n. An amiable quality of the heart which moves us to condone in others the sins and vices to which ourselves are addicted.
CHILD, n. An accident to the occurrence of which all the forces and arrangements of nature are specially devised and accurately adapted.
CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth — two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.
CHIMPANZEE, n. A species of pansy cultivated in Africa.
CHINAMAN, n. A working man whose faults are docility, skill, industry, frugality and temperance, and whom we clamor to be forbidden by law to employ; whose labor opens countless avenues of employment to the whites, and cheapens the necessities of life to the poor; to whom the squalor of poverty is imputed as a congenial vice, exciting not compassion but resentment.It's very rough to fine a man For stoning of a Chinaman. —Candidate
CHIVALRY, n. That wing of the Democratic party that has all the plumes. The other wing raises the wind for the bird to fly.
CHOP, n. A piece of leather skilfully attached to a bone and administered to the patients at restaurants.
CHORUS, n. In opera, a band of howling dervishes who terrify the audience while the singers are taking breath.
CHRISTEN, v.t. To ceremoniously afflict a helpless child with a name.This is in christening the only trick: The child is wetted so the name will stick.
CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo! The godly multitudes walked to and fro Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad, With pious mien, appropriately sad, While all the church bells made a solemn din — A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin. Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below, With tranquil face, upon that holy show A tall, spare figure in a robe of white, Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light. "God keep you, stranger," I exclaimed. "You are No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar; And yet I entertain the hope that you, Like these good people, are a Christian too." He raised his eyes and with a look so stern It made me with a thousand blushes burn Replied — his manner with disdain was spiced: "What! I a Christian? No, indeed! I'm Christ." —G.J.
CHRISTMAS, n. A day set apart and consecrated to gluttony, drunkenness, maudlin sentiment, gift-taking, public dulness and domestic misbehavior.What! not religious? You should see, my pet, On every Christmas day how drunk I get! O, I'm a Christian — not a pious monk Honors the Master with so dead a drunk.
CHURCH, n. A place where the parson worships God and the women worship the parson.
CIRCUMLOCUTION, n. A literary trick whereby the writer who has nothing to say breaks it gently to the reader.
CIRCUS, n. A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.
CLAIRVOYANT, n. A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron — namely, that he is a blockhead.
CLARIONET, n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two instruments that are worse than a clarionet — two clarionets.
CLERGYMAN, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones.
CLIENT, n. A person who has made the customary choice between the two methods of being legally robbed.
CLINIC, adj. Relating to a bed. A clinical lecture is a discourse on certain disease, illustrated by exhibiting a patient made suitably sick.
CLIO, n. One of the nine Muses. Clio's function was to preside over history — which she did with great dignity, many of the prominent citizens of Athens occupying seats on the platform, the meetings being addressed by Messrs. Xenophon, Herodotus and other popular speakers.
CLOCK, n. A machine of great moral value to man, allaying his concern for the future by reminding him what a lot of time remains to him.A busy man complained one day: "I get no time!" "What's that you say?" Cried out his friend, a lazy quiz; "You have, sir, all the time there is. There's plenty, too, and don't you doubt it — We're never for an hour without it." —Purzil Crofe
CLOSE-COMMUNION, n. The sectarian practice of excluding the Sinners, and several smaller denominations, from the Lord's supper. The supper being commonly a pretty bad one, no great injustice is done.
CLOSE-FISTED, adj. Unduly desirous of keeping that which many meritorious persons wish to obtain."Close-fisted Scotchman!" Johnson cried To thrifty J. Macpherson; "See me — I'm ready to divide With any worthy person." Said Jamie: "That is very true — The boast requires no backing; And all are worthy, sir, to you, Who have what you are lacking." —Anita M. Bobe
CLOVE, n. A small spice that lures a man away from his girl between the acts at a theater or the dances at a ball. A man who has the clove-habit will leave a very nice girl to get a very poor clove.
CLUB, n. An association of men for purposes of drunkenness, gluttony, unholy hilarity, murder, sacrilege and the slandering of mothers, wives and sisters.
For this definition I am indebted to several estimable ladies who have the best means of information, their husbands being members of several clubs.
CŒNOBITE, n. A man who piously shuts himself up to meditate upon the sin of wickedness; and to keep it fresh in his mind joins a brotherhood of awful examples.O cœnobite, O cœnobite, Monastical gregarian, You differ from the anchorite, That solitudinarian: With vollied prayers you wound Old Nick; With dropping shots he makes him sick. —Quincy Giles
COLONEL, n. The most gorgeously appareled man of a regiment."Colonel, the fire Is fierce and dire — I fear we sha'n't outlive it. Go take that hill!" "Yes, sir, I will — If anybody'll give it." "O colonel bland, At your command How many men, I pray thee?" "Only my own — The foes are prone At times to disobey me."
COMEDY, n. A play in which none of our fellow-actors are visibly killed.
COMET, n. An excuse for being out late at night and going home drunk in the morning.
COMFORT, n. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.
COMMENDATION, n. The tribute that we pay to achievements that resemble, but do not equal, our own.
COMMERCE, n. A kind of transaction in which A plunders from B the goods of C, and for compensation B picks the pocket of D of money belonging to E.
COMMIT, v.t. In law, to hold for trial. In England this is one of the most irregular of verbs, its past participle being fullied. The ingenious reader may conjecture why.'Tis plain that crime we'll ne'er suppress, Nor bate its force a whit, While all the magistrates possess The power to commit.
COMMON-LAW, n. The will and pleasure of the judge.
COMMONWEALTH, n. An administrative entity operated by an incalculable multitude of political parasites, logically active but fortuitously efficient.This commonwealth's capitol's corridors view, So thronged with a hungry and indolent crew Of clerks, pages, porters and all attachés Whom rascals appoint and the populace pays That a cat cannot slip through the thicket of shins Nor hear its own shriek for the noise of their chins. On clerks and on pages, and porters, and all, Misfortune attend and disaster befall! May life be to them a succession of hurts; May fleas by the bushel inhabit their shirts; May aches and diseases encamp in their bones, Their lungs full of tubercles, bladders of stones; May microbes, bacilli, their tissues infest, And tapeworms securely their bowels digest; May corn-cobs be snared without hope in their hair, And frequent impalement their pleasure impair. Disturbed be their dreams by the awful discourse Of audible sofas sepulchrally hoarse, By chairs acrobatic and wavering floors — The mattress that kicks and the pillow that snores! Sons of cupidity, cradled in sin! Your criminal ranks may the death angel thin, Avenging the friend whom I couldn't work in. —K.Q.
COMPETITOR, v.t. A scoundrel who desires that which we desire.
COMPROMISE, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
COMPUNCTION, n. (Lat. con, against, and punctum, a point.) The remorse of an "kicked against the pricks," as the Scripture hath it.
CONCATENATE, v.t. Linked together like the several instalments of a sausage. Dr. Johnson said of a certain literary work that its various parts were "concatenated without abruption."When Jove resolved to make the world He gathered all the matter In Chaos that was mixed and whirled In unassorted scatter.
He separated that from this, And tagged on each a label, Naming all kinds of substances As far as he was able.
Jove hadn't learning, though, enough To execute his aim, for There still remained a lot of stuff He hadn't any name for.
And this (the world completed) lies Without concatenation — Unutterable! — and supplies The hash for all creation.
CONCLUSIVE, adj. Decisive of the matter in dispute if followed by immediate withdrawal from the debate.
CONDOLE, v.i. To show that bereavement is a smaller evil than sympathy.
CONDONE, v.t. Condone's a word that means to let The sinner think that we forget; Thus gaining time to meditate How we may best retaliate. Just as the cat, affecting sleep, Permits the wounded mouse to creep Half way to cover, and then vaults Upon him with renewed assaults, So man to his revenge supplies The added terrors of surprise.
CONDUCTOR, n. The man who punches your ticket and your head.
CONFESSION, n. A place where the priest sits to forgive the big sins for the pleasure.
CONFIDANT, CONFIDANTE, n. One entrusted by A with the secrets of B, confided by him to C.
CONGREGATION, n. The subjects of an experiment in hypnotism.
CONGRESS, n. A body of men who meet to repeal laws.
CONJUGAL, adj. (Lat. con, mutual, and jugum, a yoke.) Relating to a popular kind of penal servitude — the yoking together of two fools by a parson.
CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision, some wine was poured upon his lips to revive him. "Pauillac, 1873," he murmured and died.
CONSCIENCE, n. A morbid condition of the stomach, affecting the gray matter of the brain and producing a mental discord.His conscience never did afflict him, Save when he'd badly dined; Then like a creditor it kicked him, Behind.
Vainly the parson he consulted How to allay the pain; E'en while he prays he's catapulted Again.
Thus failing times without a number, He sought a doctor out, Who said: "You've eaten a cucumber, No doubt."
"Yes, Doctor, but I didn't steal it; Then why this dark distress?" "You mean, my friend, you didn't peel it, I guess.
"Woes that defy the world's religions — The Spirit's brooding ills — We scatter, like a flock of pigeons, With pills."
CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
CONSOLATION, n. The knowledge that a better man is more unfortunate than yourself.
CONSUL, n. In American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.
CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's approval of a course already decided on.
CONTEMPT, n. The feeling of a prudent man for an enemy who is too formidable safely to be opposed.
CONTRIBUTOR, n. In journalism, a patron of the waste-basket, who keeps the editors supplied with postage stamps which he thoughtfully encloses for the return of his rejected favors.
CONTROVERSY, n. A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannon-ball and the inconsiderate bayonet.In controversy with the facile tongue — That bloodless warfare of the old and young — So seek your adversary to engage That on himself he shall exhaust his rage, And, like a snake that's fastened to the ground, With his own fangs inflict the fatal wound. You ask me how this miracle is done? Adopt his own opinions, one by one, And taunt him to refute them; in his wrath He'll sweep them pitilessly from his path. Advance then gently all you wish to prove, Each proposition prefaced with, "As you've So well remarked," or, "As you wisely say, And I cannot dispute," or, "By the way, This view of it which, better far expressed, Runs through your argument." Then leave the rest To him, secure that he'll perform his trust And prove your views intelligent and just. —Conmore Apel Brune
CONVENT, n. A place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the vice of idleness.
CONVERSATION, n. A fair for the display of the minor mental commodities, each exhibitor being too intent upon the arrangement of his own wares to observe those of his neighbor.
COOKERY, n. A household art and practice of making unpalatable that which was already indigestible.The husband threw a hateful look — A kind of optic snarl and Growl — on wifey's cookery book, By Marion Harland.
"Some of these recipes, I see, Begin with crosses sable; The meaning please explain to me If you are able."
"She thus marks those that she has tried And finds them nicely fitted For dinner use," the wife replied, And hubby's dulness pitied.
"I thought those crosses, now," said he, With brutal sneer and vicious, "Erected to the memory Of men who ate those dishes."
COQUETTE, n. A vain, foolish and stupid girl who after a pretty thorough sampling of oneself prefers another.
CORDIALITY, n. The peculiarly engaging quality of manner toward one who is about to enjoy the distinction of being overreached.
CORKSCREW, n. The outfit of a gentleman who travels flying light.
CORNED, pp. Boosy, swipy, soaked, hog drunk, set up. (Very low and vulgar.).Hell has no fury like a woman corned. —Hector Stuart
CORONATION, n. The ceremony of investing a sovereign with the outward and visible signs of his divine right to be blown skyhigh with a dynamite bomb.
CORONER, n. (Lat. corona, a crown; the pronunciation "crowner" is therefore legitimate.) A municipal officer charged with the duty of cutting up the unfortunate to see if they are dead. They always are.
CORPORAL, n. A man who occupies the lowest rung of the military ladder.Fiercely the battle raged and, sad to tell, Our corporal heroically fell! Fame from her height looked down upon the brawl And said: "He hadn't very far to fall." —Giacomo Smith
CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
CORPSE, n. A person who manifests the highest possible degree of indifference that is consistent with a civil regard for the solicitude of others.
CORRUPT, adj. In politics, holding an office of trust or profit.
COUNTERFEIT, adj. Similar in appearance but of a different order of merit.
COUNTRY, n. The circumurban region inhabited by the quail, the trout, the deer and the armed granger. It is a region of romance, where the golden age still lingers, as in the earth's green prime, when Virgil sang and the gods mingled with men and maidens.'Tis a land of corn and swine, Flowing, too, with bilk and honey. City folk go there to dine In the land of corn and swine. 'Neath his big-tree and his pine Frugal swain rakes in the money. 'Tis a land of corn and swine, 'Tis the place to drop your money.
There the crookèd shepherd plays On his pandemonian pipes; By a table crowned with baise Ev'ry crookèd shepherd plays. For the city gent he lays With a poker-deck and swipes. There the crookèd shepherd lays For the city gent his pipes.
COUPLE, n. Two of a kind, as two aces, two jacks, two fives, etc. A pair. A popular kind of couple is the Bartlett Pair, named in honor of the inventor, Mr. Bartlett, of the Bulletin. It consists of an eight and a seven, with one of the spots of the eight covered by the player's thumb. A Bartlett Pair can be made of a seven and a six in the same way.
COVET, v.i. To desire that which the owner wickedly withholds.Thou shalt not covet thy friend's wife, For she would bring thee naught but strife. Nor shalt thou with a wish too fervent Covet (unless she's fair) his servant; Nor yet his horse, nor ox, nor ass, For fear that it should come to pass That they — unless you've pasture lands — Should eat their heads off on your hands. Covet not aught, lest it should lead You to commit some thieving deed. Supply your wants a better way: Buy what you need — and never pay. —Revised Edition
COW, n. The business partner of the artesian well.
COWARD, n. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
COWLICK, n. A tuft of hair which persists in lying the wrong way. In the case of a married man it usually points toward the side that his wife commonly walks on.
COYNESS, n. A species of reluctance formerly affected by young women but now abandoned as "bad form.""She who hesitates is lost" — Of coyness that's the fearful cost. So, ladies, lest you should repent, Be ready with a quick consent. —Old Play
CRADLE, n. A trough in which the human infant is agitated to keep it sweet.
CRAPULENT, adj. As gentlemen wish to be who love their landlords — otherwise barkeepers.
CRAYFISH, n. A small crustacean very much resembling the lobster, but less indigestible.In this small fish I take it that human wisdom is admirably figured and symbolized; for whereas the crayfish doth move only backward, and can have only retrospection, seeing naught but the perils already passed, so the wisdom of man doth not enable him to avoid the follies that beset his course, but only to apprehend their nature afterward. —Sir James Merivale
CREDITOR, n. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.
CREMATION, n. The process by which the cold meats of humanity are warmed over.
CREMONA, n. A high-priced violin made in Connecticut.
CRESCENT, n. The moon in the early stages of its monthly growth, when it is a little too bright for burglars and a little too dark for lovers. An Order founded by Renatus of Anjou is called the Order of the Crescent on account of its membership of lunatics. The services of this Order to San Francisco politics consisted in the establishing of a Grand Perquisition to enforce the Salaric Law.
CREST, n. An heraldic device displayed by the American descendants of Sir Crassus Vulgarius, Bearonet, one of the famous retainers of William the Corncurer.Son of ten fathers! would you sport a crest To honor one, ignoring all the rest — The one who in his life you did disgrace By taking on his name without his face? His crest? The only one he knew, poor fool, Adorned the dunce-cap that he wore at school. Go paint a dandelion and a rag Upon your panels, and then gravely brag About their origin — how every panel Proves that the founder of your line was Dan'l, Who, cast among the lions' growling pack, Contemptuously turned on them his back; But one presuming brute, tradition teaches, Tore with his tooth the seat of Dan'l's breeches. 'Twas thus the dent de lion and the rag Became the arms of that illustrious wag. And ever since each male of Dan'l's line, Yourself included, as a pious sign And token of his Scriptural descent, Has worn a rag protruding from a rent.
CRIBBAGE, n. A substitute for conversation among those to whom nature has denied ideas. See EUCHRE, PEDRO, SEVEN-UP, ETC.
CRITIC, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.There is a land of pure delight, Beyond the Jordan's flood, Where saints, apparelled all in white, Fling back the critic's mud.
And as he legs it through the skies, His pelt a sable hue, He sorrows sore to recognize The missiles that he threw. —Orrin Goof
CROSS, n. An ancient religious symbol erroneously supposed to owe its significance to the most solemn event in the history of Christianity, but really antedating it by thousands of years. By many it has been believed to be identical with the crux ansata of the ancient phallic worship, but it has been traced even beyond all that we know of that, to the rites of primitive peoples. We have to-day the White Cross as a symbol of chastity, and the Red Cross as a badge of benevolent neutrality in war. Having in mind the former, the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape smites the lyre to the effect following:"Be good, be good!" the sisterhood Cry out in holy chorus, And, to dissuade from sin, parade Their various charms before us.
But why, O why, has ne'er an eye Seen her of winsome manner And youthful grace and pretty face Flaunting the White Cross banner?
Now where's the need of speech and screed To better our behaving? A simpler plan for saving man (But, first, is he worth saving?)
Is, dears, when he declines to flee From bad thoughts that beset him, Ignores the Law as 't were a straw, And wants to sin — don't let him.
CUDGEL, n. A medicine for external application to the head and shoulders of a fool.
CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."
CUPID, n. The so-called god of love. This bastard creation of a barbarous fancy was no doubt inflicted upon mythology for the sins of its deities. Of all unbeautiful and inappropriate conceptions this is the most reasonless and offensive. The notion of symbolizing sexual love by a semisexless babe, and comparing the pains of passion to the wounds of an arrow — of introducing this pudgy homunculus into art grossly to materialize the subtle spirit and suggestion of the work — this is eminently worthy of the age that, giving it birth, laid it on the doorstep of posterity.
CURIOSITY, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.
CURSE, v.t. Energetically to belabor with a verbal slap-stick. This is an operation which in literature, particularly in the drama, is commonly fatal to the victim. Nevertheless, the liability to a cursing is a risk that cuts but a small figure in fixing the rates of life insurance.
CUSTARD, n. A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow and the cook.
CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.