FABLE, n. A brief lie intended to illustrate some important truth.
A statue of Eve and the Apple was accosted by a hippopotamus on a show-bill.
"Give me a bite of your apple," said the hippopotamus, "and see me smile."
"I would," said Eve, making a rough estimate of the probable dimensions of the smile, "but I have promised a bite to the Mammoth Cave, another to the crater of Vesuvius, and a third to the interval between the lowest anthropoid Methodist and the most highly organized wooden Indian. I must be just before I am generous."
This fable teaches that Justice and Generosity do not go hand in hand, the hand of Generosity being commonly thrust into the pocket of Justice.
FAIRY, n. 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 1855, 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 1807 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.
FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
FALSEHOOD, n. A truth to which the facts are loosely adjusted to an imperfect conformity.
FAMILY, n. A body of individuals living in one household, consisting of male, female, young, servants, dog, cat, dicky-bird, cockroaches, bedbugs and fleas — the "unit" of modern civilized society.
FAMOUS, adj. Conspicuously miserable.Done to a turn on the iron, behold Him who to be famous aspired. Content? Well, his grill has a plating of gold, And his twistings are greatly admired. —Hassan Brubuddy
FANATIC, n. One who overestimates the importance of convictions and undervalues the comfort of an existence free from the impact of addled eggs and dead cats upon the human periphery.
FARCE, n. A brief drama commonly played after a tragedy for the purpose of deepening the dejection of the critical.
FASHION, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.A king there was who lost an eye In some excess of passion; And straight his courtiers all did try To follow the new fashion.
Each dropped one eyelid when before The throne he ventured, thinking 'Twould please the king. That monarch swore He'd slay them all for winking.
What should they do? They were not hot To hazard such disaster; They dared not close an eye — dared not See better than their master.
Seeing them lacrymose and glum, A leech consoled the weepers: He spread small rags with liquid gum And covered half their peepers.
The court all wore the stuff, the flame Of royal anger dying. That's how court-plaster got its name Unless I'm greatly lying. —Naramy Oof
FATHER, n. A quarter-master and commissary of subsistence provided by nature for our maintenance in the period before we have learned to live by prey.
FATIGUE, n. The condition of a philosopher after having considered human wisdom and virtue.
FAULT, n. One of my offenses, as distinguished from one of yours, the latter being.
FAUN, n. In Latin mythology, a kind of rural deity. The godhood of the Fauns was pretty nearly a sinecure, their duties consisting mainly in having pointed ears and liaisons with the nymphs. There were lady fauns (faunæ) and these fawned on the satyrs.
FAUNA, n. A general name for the various beasts infesting any locality exclusive of domestic animals, traveling menageries and Democratic politicians.
FEAR, n. A sense of the total depravity of the immediate future.He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch — Who'd rather pass than call. —Earl of Montrose
FEAST, n. A festival. 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 Novendiale, which was held, according to Livy, whenever stones fell from heaven.
FELON, n. A person of greater enterprise than discretion, who in embracing an opportunity has formed an unfortunate attachment.
FEMALE, n. One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.The Maker, at Creation's birth, With living things had stocked the earth. From elephants to bats and snails, They all were good, for all were males. But when the Devil came and saw He said: "By Thine eternal law Of growth, maturity, decay, These all must quickly pass away And leave untenanted the earth Unless Thou dost establish birth" — Then tucked his head beneath his wing To laugh — he had no sleeve — the thing With deviltry did so accord, That he'd suggested to the Lord. The Master pondered this advice, Then shook and threw the fateful dice Wherewith all matters here below Are ordered, and observed the throw; Then bent His head in awful state, Confirming the decree of Fate. From every part of earth anew The conscious dust consenting flew, While rivers from their courses rolled To make it plastic for the mould. Enough collected (but no more, For niggard Nature hoards her store) He kneaded it to flexile clay, While Nick unseen threw some away. And then the various forms He cast, Gross organs first and finer last; No one at once evolved, but all By even touches grew and small Degrees advanced, till, shade by shade, To match all living things He'd made Females, complete in all their parts Except (His clay gave out) the hearts. "No matter," Satan cried; "with speed I'll fetch the very hearts they need" — So flew away and soon brought back The number needed, in a sack. That night earth rang with sounds of strife — Ten million males each had a wife; That night sweet Peace her pinions spread O'er Hell — ten million devils dead! —G.J.
FERULE, n. A wooden implement designed To open up the infant mind And make the pupil understand The bearings of the thing in hand.
FIB, n. A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth: the perigee of his eccentric orbit.When David said: "All men are liars," Dave, Himself a liar, fibbed like any thief. Perhaps he thought to weaken disbelief By proof that even himself was not a slave To Truth; though I suspect the agèd knave Had been of all her servitors the chief Had he but known a fig's reluctant leaf Is more than e'er she wore on land or wave. No, David served not Naked Truth when he Struck that sledge-hammer blow at all his race; Nor did he hit the nail upon the head: For reason shows that it could never be, And the facts contradict him to his face. Men are not liars all, for some are dead. —Bartle Quinker
FICKLENESS, n. The iterated satiety of an enterprising affection.
FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat.To Rome said Nero: "If to smoke you turn I shall not cease to fiddle while you burn." To Nero Rome replied: "Pray do your worst, 'Tis my excuse that you were fiddling first." —Orm Pludge
FIDELITY, n. A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.
FIEND, n. A being whose existence is invaluable to the newspaper reporters, to whom, however, it is but just to admit that they commonly censure and deplore his way of life. To the "fiend in human shape" they exhibit a particular animosity, insensible, it would seem, to the compliment implied by the assumption of the "form divine." Their condemnation of "the fire-fiend" is notably tempered by a certain lurid enthusiasm, and the "lunch-fiend" suffers only such disfavor as is provoked by his competition.
FIG-LEAF, n. An artist's trick by which the Nude's Protected from the eyes of prudes, Which else with their peculiar flame Might scorch the canvas in its frame, Or melt the bronze, or burn to lime
The marble, to efface his crime. For sparks are sometimes seen to dance Where falls a dame's offended glance, And little curls of smoke to rise From fingers veiling virgin eyes.
O prudes I know ye, — once ye made In Frisco here a fool's tirade Against some casts from the antique, Great, naked, natural and Greek, Whereto ye flocked, a prurient crush,
And diligently tried to blush, Half strangled in the vain attempt Till some one (may the wretch be hemped!) Depressed his lordly length of ear Your loud lubricity to hear, Then took his chisel up and dealt At Art a blow below the belt. Insulted, crimson with the shame, Her cheeks aglow, her eyes aflame, The goddess spread her pinions bright, The goddess spread her pinions bright,
Since then in vain the painter toils: His canvas still denies the oils. In vain with melancholy sighs His burin the engraver plies; Lines multiply beneath his hand,
But what they mean none understand. With stubborn clay and unsubdued, The sculptor shapes his fancies crude, Unable to refine the work, And makes a god look like a Turk. To marble grown, or metal, still The monstrous image makes him ill, Till, crazed with rage, the damaged lot He breaks, or sells to Irving Scott.
FILIAL, n. In such a manner as to placate the parental purse.
FINANCE, n. 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.
FLAG, n. 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 on vacant lots in London — "Rubbish may be shot here."
FLATTER, v.t. To impress another with a sense of one's own merit.The bungler boasts of his excellence — His hearers yawn and nod; The artist flatters his audience — They shout: "He is a god!"
FLESH, n. The Second Person of the secular Trinity.
FLINT, n. A substance much in use as a material for hearts. Its composition is silica, 98.00; oxide of iron, 0.25; alumina, 0.25; water, 1.50. When an editor's heart is made, the water is commonly left out; in a lawyer's more water is added — and frozen.
FLIRTATION, n. A game in which you do not want the other player's stake but stand to lose your own.
FLOOD, n. A superior degree of dampness. Specifically, a great storm described by Berosus and Moses, when, according to the latter's rain-gauge, there was a precipitation of moisture to the depth of one-eighth of a mile in twenty-four hours for forty days. The former did not measure, apparently, for he simply explains (in pretty good Greek) that it rained cats and dogs. The learned author of the cuneiform inscriptions from the Mesopotamian mounds draws a number of carpet-tacks on a brick to signify that it was "quite a smart shower considering the season."
FLOP, v. 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.
FLUNKEY, n. Properly, a servant in livery, the application of the word to a member of a uniformed political club being a monstrous degradation of language and a needless insult to a worthy class of menials.
FLUTE, n. A variously perforated hollow stick intended for the punishment of sin, the minister of retribution being commonly a young man with strawcolored eyes and lean hair.
FLY, n. A monster of the air owing allegiance to Beëlzebub. The common house-fly (Musca maledicta) is the most widely distributed of the species. It is really this creature thatwith comprehensive view Surveys mankind from China to Peru.In respect to space, he clouds the world, and the sun never sets upon him; in point of time, he is from everlasting to everlasting. Alexander fought him unsuccessfully in Persia; he routed Cæsar in Gaul, worried Magellan in Patagonia and spoiled Greely's enjoyment of his meals at Cape Sabine. He is everywhere and always the same. He roosts impartially upon the summit of Olympus and the bald head of a sleepy deacon. The earth, grown wan with age, renews her youth. Seas usurp the continents and polar ice invades the tropics, extinguishing empires, civilizations and races. Where populous cities stood the jackal slinks across the naked sands or falls by the arrow of the savage, himself hard pressed by the encroaching pioneer. Religions and philosophies perish with the tongues in which they were expounded, and the minstrel joke at last gives way to a successor. Cliffs crumble to dust, the goat's appetite fails him, at last the office-holder dies, but always the house-fly is to hand like a run of salmon. By his illustrious line we are connected with the past and future: he wantoned in the eyebrows of our fathers; he will skate upon the shining pates of our sons. He is the King, the Chief, the Boss! I salute him.
FLY-SPECK, n. 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.
FOE, n. A person instigated by his wicked nature to deny one's merits or exhibit superior merits of his own.
FOG, n. A substance remaining after the last analysis of San Franciscan atmosphere — the sewer-gas, dust, cemetery effluvium, disease germs and other ingredients having been eliminated. Of these, however, dust is the chief; and as Mr. Edmund Yates, by combining the words "smoke" and "fog," gave to the London atmosphere the graphic name of "smog," we, in humble imitation but with inferior felicity, may confer upon our own grumous environment the title of "dog."
FOLD, n. In the miserable nomenclature of those outlying dark corners of the universe beyond the boundaries of the Pacific Slope, a sheep corral. The wretched barbarians infesting those remote dependencies have also the bad taste to call a band of sheep a "flock" and a sheepherder a "shepherd," besides being linguistically disgusting in a reasonless multitude of other ways. In ecclesiastical affairs, the fold means the church.By plain analogy we're told Why first the church was called the fold: Into the fold the sheep are steered There guarded from the wolf and — sheared.
FOLLY, n. That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.Folly! although Erasmus praised thee once In a thick volume, and all authors known, If not thy glory yet thy power have shown, Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce, To mend their lives and to sustain his own, However feebly be his arrows thrown, Howe'er each hide the flying weapons blunts. All-Father Folly! be it mine to raise, With lusty lung, here on his western strand With all thine offspring thronged from every land, Thyself inspiring me, the song of praise. And if too weak, I'll hire, to help me bawl, Dick Watson Gilder, gravest of us all. —Aramis Loto Frope
FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, 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 has 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.
FOOLHARDY, adj. Unlucky in the execution of a courageous act.
FOOTPRINTS, n. A pedestrian's impressions of the country. A thief's assertion that he has gone over the ground and is not open to conviction.Lives of Oakland girls remind us We can't make our lives as fine, Nor departing leave behind us Footprints 21 x 9. —Longfellow
FORBIDDEN, pp. Invested with a new and irresistible charm.
FORCE, n. "Force is but might," the teacher said — "That definition's just." The boy said naught but thought instead, Remembering his pounded head: "Force is not might but must!"
FOREFINGER, n. The finger commonly used in pointing out two malefactors.
FOREIGN, adj. Belonging to another and inferior country.
FOREIGNER, n. A villain regarded with various and varying degrees of toleration, according to his conformity to the eternal standard of our conceit and the shifting one of our interests. Among the Romans all foreigners were called barbarians because most of the tribes with which the Romans had acquaintance were bearded. The term was merely descriptive, having nothing of reproach in it: Roman disparagement was generally more frankly expressed with a spear. The descendants of the barbarians — the modern barbers — have seen fit, however, to retort with the saw-toothed razor.
FORENOON, n. The latter part of the night. Vulgar.
FOREORDINATION, n. 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 that 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.
FORESIGHT, n. That peculiar and valuable faculty that enables a politician always to know that his party is going to succeed — as distinguished from Retrospect, which sometimes shows him that it got calamitously beaten.
FORGETFULNESS, n. A gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.
FORGIVENESS, n. A stratagem to throw an offender off his guard and catch him red-handed in his next offense.
FORK, n. 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.
FORMA PAUPERIS. [Latin] In the character of a poor person — a method by which a litigant without money for lawyers is considerately permitted to lose his case.When Adam long ago in Cupid's awful court (For Cupid ruled ere Adam was invented) Sued for Eve's favor, says an ancient law report, He stood and pleaded unhabilimented.
"You sue in forma pauperis, I see," Eve cried; "Actions can't here be that way prosecuted." So all poor Adam's motions coldly were denied: He went away — as he had come — nonsuited. —G.J.
FORTUNE-HUNTER, n. A man without wealth whom a rich woman catches and marries within an inch of his life.
FOUNDLING, n. A child that has disembarrassed itself of parents unsuitable to its condition and prospects.
FRAGMENT, n. In literature, a composition which the author had not the skill to finish.
FRAIL, adj. Infirm; liable to betrayal, as a woman who has made up her mind to sin.
FRANKALMOIGNE, n. The tenure by which a religious corporation holds lands on condition of praying for the soul of the donor. In mediæval 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!" said the Prior, "would your master stay our benefactor's soul in Purgatory?" "Ay," said the officer, coldly, "an ye will not pray him thence for naught he must e'en roast." "But look you, my son," persisted the good man, "this act hath rank as robbery of God!" "Nay, nay, good father, my master the king doth but deliver him from the manifold temptations of too great wealth."
FRATRICIDE, n. The act of killing a jackass for meat.
FRAUD, n. The life of commerce, the soul of religion, the bait of courtship and the basis of political power.
FREEBOOTER, n. A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying merit of magnitude.
FREEDMAN, n. A person whose manacles have sunk so deeply into the flesh that they are no longer visible.
FREEDOM, n. 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. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.Freedom, as every schoolboy knows, Once shrieked as Kosciusko fell; On every wind, indeed, that blows I hear her yell.
She screams whenever monarchs meet, And parliaments as well, To bind the chains about her feet And toll her knell.
And when the sovereign people cast The votes they cannot spell, Upon the pestilential blast Her clamors swell.
For all to whom the power's given To sway or to compel, Among themselves apportion Heaven And give her Hell. —Blary O'Gary
FREEMASONS, n. 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 the Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne, Julius Cæsar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucius, Thothmes and Buddha. 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.
FREE-SCHOOL, n. A nursery of American statesmen, where, by promoting the airy flight of paper wads, they are inducted into the parliamentary mysteries of hurling allegations and spittoons.
FREETHINKER, n. A miscreant who wickedly refuses to look out of a priest's eyes, and persists in looking into them with too searching a glance. Freethinkers were formerly
With the lapse of time our holy religion has fallen into the hands and hearts of merciful and humane expounders, and the poor freethinker's punishment is entrusted to Him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." Here on earth the misguided culprit is only
FREE-TRADE, n. The unrestricted interchange of commodities between nations — not, it must be observed, between states or provinces of the same nation. That is an entirely different thing, so we are assured by those who oppose free-trade, although wherein the difference consists is not altogether clear to anybody else. To all but those with the better light it seems that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for any part of the goose, and if a number of states are profited by exclusion of foreign products, each would be benefited (and therefore all prosper) by exclusion of the products of the others. To these benighted persons, too, it appears that if high duties on imports are beneficial, their absolute exclusion by law would be more beneficial; and that the former commercial isolation of Japan and China must have been productive of the happiest results to their logical inhabitants, with the courage of their opinions. What defect the Protectionist sees in that system he has never had the goodness to explain — not even their great chief, the unspeakable scoundrel whose ingenious malevolence invented that peerless villainy, the custom house. See PROTECTION.
FREE-WILL, n. A chip, in floating down a stream, Indulged a gratifying dream:
"All things on earth but only I Are bound by stern necessity —
"Are moved this way or that, their course Determined by some outer force.
"The helpless boughs upon the trees Confess the suasion of the breeze.
"The stone where it was placed remains Till loosened by the frost or rains.
"The animals go here and there, As circumstances may declare.
"The influence they cannot see Is clearly visible to me.
"Yet all believe they're governed still By nothing but their sovereign will.
"Deluded fools! I — I alone Obey no forces but my own.
"Without or sail or oar, I glide At pleasure to the ocean's tide.
"No pow'r shall stay me till I lave My body in the salt sea wave."
Just then an eddy's gentle strength, By hardly half a finger's length,
His chipship drew aside. Said he: "'Tis far indeed to reach the sea."
Now more and more, behold him swerve Along the eddy's outer curve.
He says: "My joy in swimming's o'er: I'm half inclined to go ashore."
As still he sweeps along his arc, He adds: "The day is growing dark,
"But still there's time to reach, no doubt, The point from which I first set out."
The circle was completed quite. "Right here," he said. "I'll pass the night."
Nor ever once that chip suspected That aught but he his course deflected.
Free-will, O mortals, is a dream: Ye all are chips upon a stream.
FRIAR, n. One who fries in the heat of his lust. There are four principal orders of friars — Gray Friars, or Franciscans, White Friars, Dominicans and Augustines. Mendicant friars are those who beg to be taken out of the pan. The most eminent of the whole species was Friar John, whose adventures and services to the Church are related by Rabelais.
FRIEND, n. An investigator upon the slide of whose microscope we live, move and have our being.
FRIENDLESS, adj. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.
FRIENDSHIP, n. A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul.The sea was calm and the sky was blue; Merrily, merrily sailed we two. (High barometer maketh glad.) On the tipsy ship, with a dreadful shout, The tempest descended and we fell out. (O the walking is nasty bad!) —Armit Huff Bettle
FRISKY, adj. In the manner of a giddy thing of forty years, sexed somewhat femalewise and sporting on the downslope of a manless existence.
FROG, n. 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 Isrælities was a plague of frogs, but Pharaoh, who liked them fricasées, 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-koäx"; 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.
FRONTISPIECE, n. A protuberance of the human face, beginning between the eyes and terminating, as a rule, in somebody's business.
FRYING-PAN, n. 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:Old Nick was summoned to the skies. Said Peter: "Your intentions Are good, but you lack enterprise Concerning new inventions.
"Now, broiling is an ancient plan Of torment, but I hear it Reported that the frying-pan Sears best the wicked spirit.
"Go get one — fill it up with fat — Fry sinners brown and good in't." "I know a trick worth two o' that," Said Nick — "I'll cook their food in't."
FUNCTIONARY, n. A person entrusted with certain official duties. That great and good man, the late President Buchanan, once unluckily mentioned himself with commendable satisfaction as "an old public functionary." The description fitted him like a skin and he wore it to his grave. When he appeared at the Judgment Seat, and his case was called, the Recording Angel ran his finger down the index to the Book of Doom and read off the name: "James Buchanan, O.P.F." "What does that mean?" inquired the Court. And with that readiness of resource which in life had distinguished it from a gardenslug, that truthful immortal part replied: "Oncommonly phaultless filanthropist." Mr. Buchanan was admitted to a seat in the Upper House.
FUNERAL, n. 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.The savage dies — they sacrifice a horse To bear to happy hunting-grounds the corse. Our friends expire — we make the money fly In hope their souls will chase it to the sky. —Jex Wopley
FUNNY, adj. Having the quality of exciting merriment, as a Bulletin editorial by Dr. Bartlett when he is at his sickest.He lay on his deathbed and wrote like mad, For his will was good though his cough was bad. And his humor ran without ever a hitch, Urged by the rowels of Editor Fitch, Who took the sheets as they fell from his hand, Perused and endeavored to understand. The work was complete. "'Tis a merry jest," The writer remarked; "I think it is my best. How strange that a man at the point of death Should have so much wit with so little breath!" Then thoughtfully answered him Editor Fitch, As he scratched his head, though it didn't itch: "The point of death I can certainly see, But that of the joke is concealed from me"
FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.