ABCD EFGH IJKL M
NOPQ RSTU VWXY Z
PREFACE
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.
JACOB'S-LADDER, adj. A ladder which Jacob saw in a dream, reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. Seeing that angels have wings, the purpose of this ladder is so imperfectly apparent that many learned commentators had contended that it was not a real ladder, but only a ray of glory. One cannot help thinking it rather hard on Jacob that he should be required to dream with logical realism.
JEALOUS, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.
JEALOUSY, n. The seamy side of love.
JESTER, n. 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.
The widow-queen of Portugal
Had an audacious jester
Who entered the confessional
Disguised, and there confessed her.

"Father," she said, "thine ear bend down —
My sins are more than scarlet:
I love my fool — blaspheming clown,
And common, base-born varlet."

"Daughter," the mimic priest replied,
"That sin, indeed, is awful:
The church's pardon is denied
To love that is unlawful.

"But since thy stubborn heart will be
For him forever pleading,
Thou'dst better make him, by decree,
A man of birth and breeding."

She made the fool a duke, in hope
With Heaven's taboo to palter;
Then told a priest, who told the Pope,
Who damned her from the altar!
—Barel Dort
JEWS-HARP, n. An unmusical instrument, played by holding it fast with the teeth and trying to brush it away with the finger.
JOCKEY, n. A person whose business it is to ride and throw races.
JOSS-STICKS, n. Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of our holy religion.
JOVE, n. A mythical being whom the Greeks and Romans ridiculously supposed to be the supreme ruler of the universe — unacquainted as they were with our holy religion.
JOY, n. An emotion variously excited, but in its highest degree arising from the contemplation of grief in another.
JUDGE, n. A person who is always interfering in disputes in which he has no personal interest. An official whose functions, as a great legal luminary recently informed a body of local law-students, very closely resemble those of God. The latter, however, is not afraid to punish Chris. Buckley for contempt, and the former has attained no great distinction as the hero of popular oaths.
JURISPRUDENCE, n. The kind of prudence that keeps one inside the law.
JURY, n. A number of persons appointed by a court to assist the attorneys in preventing law from degenerating into justice.
Against all law and evidence,
The prisoner was acquitted.
The judge exclaimed: "Is common sense
To jurors not permitted?"

The prisoner's counsel rose and bowed:
"Your Honor, why this fury?
By law the judge is not allowed
To sit upon the jury."
JUSTICE, n. A commodity which in a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.
JUTE, n. A plant grown in India, the fruit of which supplies a nutritious diet to the directors of our State prison.
PREFACE