Humour from an old newspaper

The Empress Express

From the "Empress Express", a weekly newspaper that ran from 1913-Jun-06 to 1936-Aug-27 in Empress, Alberta, Canada.


The University of Alberta uploaded 1028 issues of this newspaper to the Internet Archive.  Click this link to see them.

I live in Empress.  These are some selections of the humour from that newspaper that I found funny.

While reading these, keep in mind the time period in which they were written, with the technology and attitudes at the time.  They were written more than a hundred years ago!  If written today, some would be insensitive, even offensive with regard to gender, race, politics, social differences, wealth differences, and perhaps other differences.  Don't blame me if you cannot rise above current insensitivities to see the humour for what it was back then.



Bob: You get a great deal of amusement out of your new canoe, I suppose?
Joe: Well, my wife does.
Bob: But she never rides in it!
Joe: No.  She says it's safer and funnier to watch me from the shore.


Landlady - Will you take tea or coffee?
Boarder - Whichever you call it.


Diner - Say, when was this sandwich made?
Waiter - How do I know?  I've only been here three weeks.


He had stolen a saw, and on his trial he told the judge that he only took it for a joke.

"How far did you carry it?" inquired the Judge.

"Two miles", answered the prisoner.

"Ah! That is carrying a joke too far", said the judge, and the prisoner was sentenced to jail for three months.


Two youthful artists having a studio in Philadelphia, wherein they not only work but lodge as well, were obliged to make shift, not long ago, during a period of financial stress, with such meals as they could themselves prepare in the studio.

One morning, as the younger of the two was 'sketching in' the coffee, gave utterance to loud and bitter complaint.  "This is a fine way for gentlemen to live!", he exclaimed.

"Oh, I don't know", was the airy complaint of his friend.  "Lots of people are far worse off.  I was reading only this morning of a recluse who cooked his own breakfast for nineteen years."

"He must have been awfully hungry when he finally got it done", rejoined the other, savagely.


Tourist (to Local) - What is the object of greatest interest in your town, sir?
Local - Well, I should say Old Solomon, the money-lender is.


We have such dear neighbors, and they are so fond of us.  Why just think!  When I told them we wanted to move but couldn't afford to, they offered to pay all our moving expenses.


Jackson - Banker has got himself into a nice fix.
Johnson - How?
Jackson - He wrote an article on The Ideal Wife, for a ladies' paper last month.
Johnson - Well, what's that got to do with his present fix?
Jackson - Somebody told his wife about it, and she's been reading the thing over during the past two days, trying to discover a single trait wherein his ideal resembles her.  She has not found it, and Banker dines in the city now.


Merchant (to detective) - Some fellow has been representing himself as a collector of ours.  He's been taking in more money than any two of the men we have and I want him collared as quickly as possible.
Detective - All right.  I'll have him in jail in less than a week.
Merchant - Great Scott, man, I don't want to put him in jail.  I want to engage him.


Well, how did you succeed with your first diagnosis?  Did you profit by my advice?

The Young Doctor - I think I did, sir.  I told the patient that he was suffering from a combination of liver, stomach, heart, lung and brain trouble.

Old Practitioner - Good!  No chance of mistake there.


Doctor - "Well, you are certainly looking better than I expected to find you."
Patient - "I think it is because I followed the instructions on your medicine bottle."
Doctor - "Very likely.  What were they?"
Patient (grimly) - "Keep the bottle tightly corked."


Tenant - "I simply won't stay here any longer.  Those people above me banged on the floor early this morning, slammed doors, and jumped up and down as hard as they could.  I won't stand it, I tell you!"

Landlady - "They woke you up, I suppose?"

Tenant - "No, I hadn't gone to bed yet.  I was practicing on my saxophone."


A rubber company recently built it's 200,000,000 tire.

Of course, the directors celebrated the occasion with a blowout.


A young man from the country went to London to join the police force.

He passed the medical examination and then the officer in charge asked him if he had a good general knowledge.

"Yes, sir," came the reply.

"Then how far is it from London to Edinburgh?"

"Look here," said the young man, "If you're going to put me on that beat, I'd rather stay home and help father with the chickens."


The father of a bright young son went to a wise friend for advice as to what profession the youth should be fitted for.  The sage was brusque.

"Let the boy choose for himself," he said.

"But," protested the father, "he's too young."

"Well," responded the wise man, "put him in a room alone with a book on theology, an apple, a knife, and some small change, and see what he makes of it.  If he chooses the book, make a minister of him, if he takes the knife, make him a surgeon; if the apple, he will make a farmer, and if he chooses the money a banker."

Much relieved, the father went away, but returned in a few days complaining the plan hadn't worked at all.

"Why not?" demanded the wise man.  "What did he do?"

"When I went in," said the father, "he was sitting on the book, with the knife in one hand and the money in his pocket, and eating the apple."

"Ah!" said the sage, "that's easy.  The boy is a natural born lawyer."


Fortunately her pa is rich

"So you think your daughter has exceptional talent?"

"There's no doubt of it," replied the fond mother, "although we can't exactly locate it.  The music teacher says it's for painting and the art teacher says it's for music."


Cholly, to shopman, "I say - aw - could you please take that yellow tie with the pink spots out of the window?"

Hosier, "Yes, sir; please to take anything of the window, sir."

Cholly, "Thanks, awfully.  The beastly thing bothers me every time I pass.  Good mawning."


Harry: "I bet I can make a worse face than you can."

Dorothy: "You ought to be able to.  Look at the face you've got to start with."


No Wonder She Blushed

"That's a nice-looking fellow who's just come in," said the young man who was dining with his best girl.  "Is he a friend of yours?"

"Yes indeed, I know him well," laughed the maiden.

"Shall I ask him to join us?"

"Oh, George!" said the girl, blushing; "this is so sudden."

"Sudden?  What do you mean?" he asked in surprise.

"Why - why, that's our young minster."


"Is this Mr. Smith?  I called you up to ask if you could saying anything good of Bridget Farley, who lived with you as cook."

"Yes, I can say one thing.  She left without breaking any dishes."

"That's encouraging!  How long did she stay?"

"One hour."


For the Collection

Mrs. Murphy was getting the supper for the children on Saturday night when a young woman came to her door.

I'm a collector for the Drunkards' Home, she said.  Could you help us?

Come around tonight and Ill give you Murphy, said the housewife as she went about her work.


There's no place like ...

"Absurd!" fumed the fussy commercial (travelling salesman), as a fellow-breakfaster entered the coffee-room.  "Don't know what these hotels are comin' to, I'm sure!  I've been here the whole blessed week, and can't get anything of a morning but eggs-eggs-eggs."

"But they are different eggs," observed his companion sadly tucking his napkin under his chin.

"Well of course they're different," snapped the fussy commercial.

"Then be thankful for at least that consolation," replied the other, "and do not be too hard on hotels.  I know a place, my friend, where I am given a hot joint (meat), on day, renew its acquaintance in a state of frigidity on the next, toy with its mangled remains in the form of has on the third, flirt with it amoung macaroni and tomato sause on the fourth, and probably on the fifth, detect it lurking yet again in the recesses of a rissole."

"Great Scott!" explaimed the commercial, brought away from his own troubles at last.  "Where's that?"

"In a little place," replied the silent sufferer, "called home."


Street Car Gallantry

Here's a street car conversation that may or may not have a moral.  It at least furnishes food for reflection.  A friend of ours overheard it on a Euclid car.

"Isn't it awful", said one fair strap hanger, "to have to stand up all the way home after shopping till your feet are sore?"

"Yes," said the other pretty, fair strap hanger.  "And no chance for a seat."

"Well, I don't blame the men sometimes.  They say that a women never says thank you, if they do give up their seats."

"I always do.  Wouldn't you say thank you of one of these gentlemen should give you his seat?"

"No, I don't think I would."

"Why not?"

"I wouldn't be able to.  I'd faint away."


He was a young man - a candidate for an agricultural constituency - and he was sketching in glowing color to the audience of rural voters the happy life the laborers would lead under an administration for the propagation of sweetness and light.

"We have not yet three acres and a cow, but it will come.  Old age pensions are still of the future, but they will come."

Similarly every item of his comprehensive programme was endorsed by the same parrot cry.  Then he went on to talk of prison reforms.

"I have not yet personally," he said, "been inside a criminal lunatic asylum."

Then there was a voice from the back of the hall, "But it will come."


Fair Warning

Say you will be mine!  If you do not, I'll throw myself into the Seine.

Thank you for warning me.  I must get a filter.


He was, so he gave forth at the seaside boarding house, the only son of the mayor of an inland city, and he was simply rolling in money.

But, alas!  The mayor's son fell from the high pillar of fame on which his own glib tongue has placed him.  It was thuswise:

One morning, whilst the boarders were at breakfast, the servant brought in the letters, and by mistake, handed a postcard to a gentleman of a similar name to that of the worth mayor's son.

The gentleman read the postcard with a surprised look on his face, and then, glancing at the address, he handed it across the table.

"I'm very sorry," he said; "but I think this is meant for you."

The heir of unbounded wealth glanced at the postcard, blushed vividly, and left the table hurridely.  Ten minutes later he had taken his departure.

The postcard bore the following words:

"Come back at once; the other janitor is ill."


"Now, Tommy," said Mrs. Bull, "I want you to be good while I am out."

"I will be good for a nickel," replied Tommy.

"Tommy," she said, "I want you to remember that you cannot be a son of mine, unless you are good for nothing."


He Found Out

The little agricultural village was billed with "Lecture on Keats" for over a fortnight.  The evening arrived at length, bringing the lecturer ready do discourse on the poet.

The advertised chairman, taken ill at the last moment, was replaced by a local farmer.  This worthy introduced the lecturer, and terminated his remarks by saying:

"And now, my friends, we shall soon know what I personally have often wondered - what are Keats?"


Stern Parent - "Quite so, quite so!  You tell me that you have proposed to my daughter; but - er - you say nothing about your position."

Nervous Suiter - "My position, sir?  Oh-er-the usual one, I believe - on my knees, you know."


Looked Like Shorthand

She - I didn't catch your name.

He - I've just written it on your programme.

She - That's made me wonder what it is.


Two lawyers before an American judge recently got into a wrangle.  At last one of the disputants, losing control over his emotions, exclaimed to his opponent, "Sir, you are, I think the biggest fool that I ever had the misfortune to set eyes upon."

"Order!  Order!" said the judge gravely.  "You seem to forget that I am in the room."


The bank, in consequence of a farmer's failure, had to finance a large farm, and last spring the man they had put in charge of it wired to the manager of the bank.

"Lambing begins next month.  If drought continues, will result in total loss."

"Postpone lambing till further orders", wired back the resourceful manager.


Enumerator (taking details for the census), "What is your age, madam?"

Lady - "Thirty, sir."

Enumerator - "If I don't mistake, you were thirty at the last census, ten years ago."

Lady - "Well, my man, I'm not the person who says one thing today and another tomorrow."


Tommy has been a town mouse all his little life up to the present year, but work had been plentiful with his father, and he was discussing with his wife the desirability of sending Tommy for a week into the country.

Tommy listened thoughtfully and at length broke in, "I don't want to go!"

"Why not?"

"Cause I've heard they have thrashing machines in the country, and it's bad enough here in town, when it's done by hand.


Editor - "Who was the first humorist?"
Author - "I don't really remember."
Editor - "I thought you might; you have been bringing us in his jokes."


Not Entirely

"Have you lived here all your life?" asked a drummer of a lean, lantern-jawed Tennessee mountaineer who stood idly leaning against a rail fence.

The mountaineer shifted his weight from one foot to the other and replied, "Not yit."


The manager of a well-known touring company wired to the proprietor of a theatre in a small town where his company was to appear.

"Would like to hold a rehearsal ar your theatre at three o'clock tomorrow afternoon.  Have your stage-manager, stage-carpenter, assistant stage carpenter, property man, chief electrician, and all the stage hands present promptly at that hour."

Three hours later he received the following reply.

"All right.  He will be here."


I say, how is that new baby over at your house?

It's a howling success.


A wealthy landowner in England affected with the craze for Japanese gardening, invited the Japanese ambassador to luncheon, and afterwards showed him round the gardens and greenhouses, keeping the Japanese garden till the last as a delightful surprise.

When, after admiring the beauty of all the other gardens, the ambassador was last taken to the imitation of the gardens of his own flowery land, he held up his hands in enthusiastic delight.

"Ah," he exclaimed, "this is wonderful!  We have nothing like this in Japan."


Was Too Busy

"You say that you witnessed this altercation?" inquired the judge.

"No, sorr", said the witness.  "Oi didn't see that.  Oi wuz busy looking at the fight."


The End in View

Two Irishmen were crossing a bog when one of them fell into a boghole.  His companion, running to a nearby farmhouse, asked the load of a spade.

"What do you want it for?" asked the farmer.

"Sure, Mike is stuck in the bog and I want to dig him out", was the answer.

"How far is he sunk?" questioned the farmer.

"Up to his ankles."

"Oh, if that's all, he can walk out."

"Begorra, he can't", exclaimed Pat.  "He's in the wrong end up."


When the young husband reached home from the office he found his wife in tears.

"Oh, John," she sobbed on his shoulder.  "I had baked a lovely cake and put it out on the back porch for the frosting to dry and the dog ate it!"

"Well, don't cry about it, sweetheart," he consoled, patting the pretty flushed cheek.  "I know a man who will give us another dog."


A tight-fisted farmer went to town to insert a notice of his brother's death in the local newspaper.

"There ain't no charges, be there?" he asked anxiously.

"Oh, yes," was the answer.  "Our price is $1.00 per inch."

"Gee!" muttered the farmer, "an' Bill was six foot two."


"We are somewhat musical, and now the family next door is having the daughter take singing lessons."

"Emulation, eh?"

"Sounds more like revenge."


A little four-year old girl whose parents had been discussing an approaching meeting in connection with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children begged to be taken.  Her mother explained that the meeting would not amuse her, but she persisted in her demand, and finally her mother agreed to take her if she promised to be very quiet.

She was good throughout the greater part of the proceedings, but after listening patiently to the speeches for some time she whispered to her mother.

"Mummy, this is dull.  When is the cruelty going to begin?"


Certainly Not

"A nice husband you are!" said madam, in a passion.  "You care less about me than about those pet animals of yours.  Look what you did when your poodle, Azor, died!"

Husband (quietly), "Well, I had him stuffed."

Wife (exasperated), "You wouldn't have gone to that expense for me - not you, indeed!"


So Generous of Him

"So poor old Jobson has failed.  Too bad!  He promised me something yesterday, but now in his trouble I won't hold him to it."

"That's very generous of you.  What was it?"

"His daughter's hand in marrage."

Chicago News


Judge (to the notorious bank robber) - They say you were in politics on the other side.

Accused (with offended dignity) - Never, your honor!  Politics would have ruined my character.

- Fliegende Blatter


Dr. Woods Hutchinson was once called upon by a young matron who had read his article on 'Fat and its Follies' in a popular magazine, and wanted him to help her get rid of some of her superfluous fat.  After a few questions he handed the lady a diet list, telling her to come back in two weeks.  The good doctor's consternation can scarcely be imagined when he saw his patient again.  She weighed twenty pounds more.  He was puzzled.  His list contained no sweets of any kind, nor any fat producers, yet she was putting flesh on her at an enormous rate.

"You are sure that you ate the things on the list," the doctor questioned severely.

"Yes, doctor," was the firm answer.

"What else did you eat?" as a sudden inspiration seized him.

"Why, nothing but my regular meals" was the indignant answer.


Mr. Gaysport - How much does that reckless son of mine owe you for all embroidering you've done for him?
Miss Sweetly - Only his love.
Mr. Gaysport - Well, I've never complained about paying his debts.


A baker, who has recovered from a serious illness, requested his doctor to make out his attendance bill, he added, "Try and make it as light as possible, doctor."

"Oh," replied the witty medico, "that's what you say to your foreman, Mr. Baker, but it is not the way I make my bread."



Always forgive your enemy when he has you down.

- Cincinati Enquirer



Teacher - Who'll tell me what is meant by the floating population?
Kid - People who live in houseboats.


Traveler (inquiring at a feudal castle) - Can I see the antiquities today?

Servant - I'm afraid not, sir.  The mistress and her daughter have gone to town.


A Social Problem

The curate of a large and fasionable church was endeavoring to teach the significance of white to a Sunday school class.

"Why," said he, "does a bride invariably desire to be clothed in white at her marriage?"

As no one answered, he explained.

"White," says he, "stands for joy, and the wedding day is the most joyous of a woman's life."

A small boy queried, "Why do the men all wear black?"


The doctor dined with a Scottish lady who had hotch-potch (left-overs), for dinner.  After the doctor had tasted it, she asked him if it was good.

"It is good for hogs, ma'am," said the doctor.

"Then pray," said the lady, "let me help you to some more."


"What makes you so sure that man is going to propose to Gladys?" asked Gladys' mother.

"I have told him the same story five times," replied Gladys' father, "and he laughs at it every time."


Miss Joy - Is he mean?

Miss Coy - He'd marry a thin girl because she could wear a smaller sized engagement ring.


The self made man was in a caustic mood.  These schools, yer know, give a boy no practical knowledge.  See what I mean?  Now, my son, he is supposed to be learning Greek and Latin and Algebra.  And the other day I asked him to tell me the Algebra for fried fish and chips, and he couldn't.


I understand that you called on the plaintiff.  Is that so?

Yes, replied the witness.

What did he say?

The attorney for the defense jumped to his feet and objected that the conversation could not be admitted in the evidence.  A half hour's argument followed, and the judges retired to their private room to consider the point.

An hour later they filed into the courtroom and announced that the question might be put.

Well, what did the plaintiff say?

He weren't home, sir, came the answer.


Mrs. Tremendous Blank advertised for a maid and got a lot of answers.  From the crowd of applicants she chose one.  And ere long there was trouble in the family.  The maid had been employed elsewhere, and she knew the difference.

One day the lady became acrimonious.  "Do your call yourself a lady's maid?"

"I used to, ma'am," replied the servant, "before I worked for you."


There was not even standing room in the crowded car, but one more passenger, a young woman, wedged her way along just inside the doorway.  Each time the car took a sudden lurch forward she fell helplessly back and three times she landed in the arms of a large, comfortable man.  The third time it happened, he said quietly:

Hadn't you better stay here?


Dramatic Criticism

How'd you get into the show the other evening?

Passed a counterfeit quarter at the door.

How was the show?

Well, I got my money's worth.


Aw, g'on Mike, said the British soldier, attempting to end the argument, you're a lobster.

Ye flatter me, retorted Mike; shure a lobster is a wise animal, fur green is his color as long as he lives, and he'll die before he puts a red coat on.

Info 1: A lobster is green when alive, and red when cooked.
Info 1: British soldiers used to wear red coats.


Nothing Serious

"I noticed that you and your wife do a good deal of walking lately."

"Yes, I try to get her out as much as possible."

"Anything serious the matter?"

"No - nothing serious.  The doctor has told her she must be careful to keep her mouth closed and breath through her nose when she is out in the cold air."

- Chicago Record Herald


Wrong Road

Moterists Missed the Evidence of Their Previous Trip

A salesman of ironware, well known in the downtown district, bought a new automobile several weeks ago.  He got one of the newest models, and on the first decent day we had he invited a small party of friends to take a spin through the country roads with him.  He wanted to show off.

Well, he did show off.  He let the car go as fast as it could, and they covered a surprising amount of territory in a couple of hours.  On the way back, however, dusk came on rapidly, and, though the speed was slower, the certainty of the proper turning was smaller.  And finally the friend who sat with the driver whispered:

"Leslie, we are off the road.  We are lost!"

"Nonsense!" growled the owner of the car.  "This is the same road we came out on."

"No, it ain't."

"How do you know it ain't?"

"Where's all them dead chickens and dogs we left behind us?"

- Cleveland Plain Dealer


The teacher was endeavoring to illustrate to her pupils the association of different species of life with common substances.

For instance, she explained, you will always find plants where there is soil, birds where there are trees, and so on.  Now can anyone tell me what we associate with fish?

Suddenly, with the velocity of an aeroplane, a hand shot up from the back row.  It was the property of Tommy Jones.  Please, miss, I know, piped that worth.

Well, was the teacher's query.

Chips, was the unexpected reply.


"I have often stood in a slaughter house," observed the fleshy man from Chicago, "while the butchers were killing hogs on all sides of me."

"Oh," exclaimed the tender-hearted but tactless New Haven girl, "weren't you dreadfully afraid?"


Pat had just finished chopping the sticks for the good lady, and she, benevolent soul, had asked him whether he would prefer a cup of tea or a drop of whisky.

"Sure I'll be takin' a drop of the crature, if you don't mind," said Pat.

So she brought him a glass of whisky and water.

Pat tasted, and seemed not very well pleased.

"Beggin' your pardon, mum, and which did ye be after putting in the glass first, the whisky or the water?"

"The whisky first, of course, which is proper," she replied.

"Oh, it'll be all right then.  I'll be comin' to the whisky by and by."


The only room in the hotel with a private bath was given to the stranger from Kansas.  The next morning the clerk was approached by the guest when the latter was ready to check out.

"Well did you have a good night's rest?" the clerk asked.

"No, I didn't," relied the Kansan.  "The room was all right, and the bed was pretty good, but I couldn't sleep very much, for I was afraid someone would want to take a bath, and the only door to it was through my room."


"Son, why don't you play circus?  It is great fun.  First you make a sawdust ring."

"Where'll I get the sawdust, Dad?"

"Here's the saw.  Just saw some of that cordwood into stove lengths.  You can have all the sawdust you make."


"Young man, we need brains in our business."

"I know you do.  That is why I'm looking for a job here."


When she married ten years ago she stated freely that it was simply to avoid working for a living.

What does she do all the time?

Takes care of seven small children.


Women are trying hard to become a man's equal.

Oh, I think you wrong us.  All the women I know seem ambitious to get forward rather than backward.


Hoaxer - I underwent an operation yesterday.
Easymark - You surprise me.  Was it very serious?
Hoaxer - I had a growth removed from my head.
Easymark - My goodness!  And here you are up and around and looking well.
Hoaxer - Yes; I only had my hair cut.


Miss Passay - "You may sneer at pet dogs, but they're faithful anyway.  I'd rather kiss a dog than some men."

Mr. Sharp - "Well, well, some men are born lucky."


For four consecutive nights the hotel proprietor watched his fair, timid guest fill her pitcher at the water tap.

"Madam," he said on the fifth night, "if you would ring this would be done for you."

"But where is my bell?" asked the lady.

"The bell is beside your bed," replied the proprietor.

"That the bell!" she exclaimed.  "Why, the boy told me that was the fire alarm, and that I wasn't to touch it on any account."


Hubby returned home rather late - well after midnight, to be precise - and, as often happens in such cases, wifey, though abed, was not asleep.

In consequence, breakfast that morning was a gloomy, silent meal.  In vain, hubby strove to clear the air and by ill-timed levity, to deispel the atmospher of constraint which hung heavily everywhere.

"A penny for your thoughts, my love!" he ventured presently.

The lady thus addressed stated at him grimly.

"For tuppence," she retorted, "I'd say exactly what I though of you!"

Hubby made no effort to raise the bidding.


Three-year-old Arthur was taken by his parents to call upon Mr. L, who had recently come to the USA from London.  He was greatly interested in everything he saw, particularly in a little English flag.

"That is my flag, Arthur," said Mrs. L, in answer to his enquiry, "and," showing him an American flag, "this is your flag."

"Has it always been my flag?"

He was told that it had always been his flag.

Nothing more was said until time for their departure, when Arthur calmly remarked, "I will take my flag."

And he took it - for, some way or other, explanations seemed inadequate.


Professor Stone: "To the geologist a thousand years or so are not counted as any time at all."

Man in the Audience: "Great Scott!  And to think I made a temporary loan of two pounds to a man who holds such views."


A number of men gathered in the smoking car of a train were talking of the food best calculated to sustain health.

One stout, florid man, with short, gray hair and a self-satisfied air, was holding forth in great style.

"Look at me!" he exclaimed.  "Never had a day's sickness in my life.  All due to simple food.  Why gents, from the time I was twenty to when I reached forty I lived a regular life.  None of these effeminate delicacies for me.  No late hours.  Every day, summer and winter, I went to bed at 9; got up at 5.  Lived principally on corned beef and corn bread.  Worked hard, gents - worked hard from 8 to 1.  Then dinner; plain dinner; then an hour's exercise, and then -"

"Excuse me," interrupted the stranger, who had remained silent, "but what were you in prison for?"


Mark Twain at a dinner at the Author's Club, said:

Speaking of fresh eggs, I am reminded of the town of Squash.  In my early lecturing days I went to Squash to lecture in Temperance Hall, arriving in the afternoon.  The town seemed poorly billed.  I thought I'd find out if they knew anything at all about what was in store for them.

'Good afternoon, friend,' I said to the general storekeeper.  'Any entertainment here tonight to help a stranger while away the evening?'

The general storekeeper, who was sorting mackerel, straightened up, wiped his briny hands on his apron and said, 'I expect there's going to be a lecture, I been selling eggs all day.'


Rose: He said he would kiss me or die in the attempt.
Marie: Well?
Rose: He has no life-insurance, and I pitied his poor old mother.


A young lawyer who recently hung out his shingle, was retained by a criminal with $5 and a very poor defense.

"Well, you got a case, son," said his proud father.

"Yes, dad."

"And what advice did you give your client?"

"After listening to his story I collected what money he had and advised him to retain a more experienced lawyer."


Certain public employees who have to submit daily to the rapid fire of well-meant but needless questions may be excused if they occasionally turn upon their persecutors.  This is how an elevator boy dealt with one of them:

"Don't you ever feel sick going up and down this elevator all day?" a fussy lady asked him.

"Yes, ma'am", courteously replied the elevator boy.

"Is it the motion going down?" pursued the lady.

"No, ma'am."

"The going up?"

"No, ma'am."

"Is it the stopping that does it?"

"No, ma'am."

"Then what is it?"

"Answering questions, ma'am."


Young Woman (at her first ball game) - Do look at the funny thing that man's got over his face.  Is it a bird cage?

Her Escort - Not exactly.  It's to keep the fouls out.


Sister - Why don't you marry her?
Brother - She has a slight impediment in her speech.
Sister - What is it?
Brother - She can't say "Yes".


Dances used to originate from tribal customs.

Well, doesn't it seem possible that some of these popular dances tend to illustrate the movements of persons dodging a flock of motor cars?


Out of the Course

Owing to fog a steamer stopped at the mouth of a river.  An old lady inquired of the captain the cause of the delay.

"Can't see up the river," replied the officer.

"But, captain, I can see the stars overhead," she argued.

"Yes," said the captain gruffly, "but until the boiler busts we ain't a-goin' that way."


Guest - "Are tips expected here?"

Waiter - "No, sah.  We don't accept no vulgah tips, sah.  We is free bohn American citizens, we is, and we wish to preserve ouah self respect, sah."

"I'm glad to hear that."

"Yes, sah.  All we requiah is a retaining fee, same as lawyers, sah."


In a churchyard, an old man, deep in thought, sat on a flat tombstone.  It had been raining and the trees looked fresh and green.  A tramp, passing by, made a remark on the weather.

"Grand morning!"

"Yes", said the old man.

"Just the sort of weather to make things spring up", said the tramp.

"Hush!  Hush!", said the old man.  "I have three wives buried here."


Why is there never such a thing as a whole day?

Because every day begins by breaking.


Readily Answered

The railway ticket collector in England put his head in at the carriage door and addressed the jolly individual inside.

"Ticket, please!", he said.

The smiling one looked at him alcoholic sadness.

"Got no ticket, (hic); don't bother me", he said, settling down again.

The collector at produced his receipt book and after consulting a table of fares exclaimed,

"Five and six, please."

The other thought for a moment and looking up, said, "Eleven".


Landlord (who has caught a man trespassing on his ground) - Didn't you see my notice board - Private: Trespassers will be prosecuted?

Trespasser - Well 'twere like this 'ere; I saw the board, but when I read Private, I didn't read any furthur, 'cos I thought it warn't any business of mine.

Modern adaptation:

A land owner has caught a trespasser on his land.

"Didn't you see my sign that said, Private.  Trespassers will be prosecuted?"

"Well, it's like this.  I saw the sign, but when I read 'Private', I didn't read any further 'cause I thought it wasn't any of my business."


A prominent Boston attorney tells of an American tourist hailing from the west who was out sightseeing in London.  They took him aboard the old battleship Victory, which was Lord Nelson's flagship in several of his most famous naval triumphs.  An English sailor escorted the American over the vessel, and, coming to a brass tablet on the deck, he said, as he reverently raised his hat:

"Here, sir, is the spot where Lord Nelson fell."

"Oh, is it," relied the westerner, blankly.  "Well that ain't nothing, I nearly tripped on the blame thing myself."


It was a sunny day, and the florist's window, full of gally-decked flowers, looked unusally seductive.

Soon there entered a lady of attractive appearance, but with a certain firmness of expression, indicative of a disposition to have her own way.

She selected a brilliant-looking plant, in a Japanese flower-pot, and having ascertained the price, and announced that she would take it, inquired if it would do well in the sun.

"Certainly, miss," said the florist's assistant.

"Don't say it will if it won't," she remarked sharply.  "Now, if it grows well in the sun, will the shade hurt it?"

"Not in the least, mum," responded the assistant.

"Ah," she said, with a tightening of the lips; "here is a plant that is declared to do equally well in shade or sun, which to say the least, is neither natural nor probable."

"Precisely, madam.  You see, it's an artificial plant."

And then the lady, having paid for her purchase, went out, with a flushed face, and shut the door with a slam that nearly broke the glass panels.


Lodger: "But you advertised that one could see for miles from this room!"

Landlady: "Well, so you can.  You can see the moon through the skylight, and ain't that miles away?


A tourist returning from an extended trip was about to cross the last river on the way to the railroad station for home.

"Say, cap'n," he said, as he stepped timidly into the rickety old craft, "this boat seems very shaky; was anybody ever lost in her?"

"Not to my knowledge," replied the boatman.  "There was three men drowned from her last Thursday, but we found them all the next day."


Mrs. Brown - My husband lost a great deal of money on that decline in the stocks.

Mrs. Jones - I am so sorry.  Whenever I hear of those declines in stocks I think wouldn't it have been a good thing if everybody had sold out before the market begand to go downward.


Jake: Ah - er - kin - kin I marry your daughter, Mr. Burg?

Mr. Burg: Wall, young feler, have yo' got any references from your former fathers-in-law?


A horse owner was trying to sell a wind-broken horse and was trotting him around for inspection.  The owner stroked the horse's back and remarked to the prospective buyer:
"Hasn't a lovely coat?"
But the other noticed that the horse was panting, and answered:
"Ah, I like his coat all right, but I don't like his pants."


General Frederick D. Grant said to his servant one morning: "James, I have left my mess boots out.  I want them soled."
"Yes, sir, the servant answered."
The general dressed for dinner that night, said again: "I suppose, James, that you did as I told you about those boots."
"Yes, sir, said he, and this is all I could get for them, though the corporal who bought them said he would have given half a dollar if pay day hadn't been so far off."


College Suiter - All evening I have been waiting to say something to you.
Damsel (in despair) - It wasn't good-night, was it?


A drill sergeant was drilling the recruit squad in the use of the rifle.  Everything went smoothly until blank cartridges were distributed.
The recruits were instructed to load their pieces and stand at the ready, and then the sergeant gave the command:
"Fire at will!"
Private Lunn was puzzled.  He lowered his gun.
"Which one is Will?", he asked.


A certain young farmer, returning from market, was pulled up by the urgent appeal of a pedestrian.

Hullo!  That you, Tom?  Want another situation.  Why, I thought you were living with Captain Bird, as his coachman, eh?

So I was sir, but it wasn't a fair bargain.  As you know, sir, were never to get drunk both at once.

Well, that seems fair enough, anyway, said the young farmer.

Fair, guv'nor?  Why, the captain was drunk the whole blessed time!


Sentimental Young Lady - Ah, professor, what would this old oak say if it could talk?

Professor - It would say, "I am an elm!"

- Fliegende Blätter magazine


Mrs. Buggins - Do your darn your husband's socks?

Mrs. Dashaway - No, I speak of them a little more profanely than that.


Teacher (in grammar class) - What is a singular pronoun, Johnny?

Johnny - One that isn't married yet.


Looking for Pointers

Husband (at the police station) - They say you have caught the fellow who robbed our house night before last.

Sergeant - Yes; do you want to see him?

Husband - Sure.  I'd like to talk to him.  I want to know how he got in without waking the wife.  I've been trying to do that the for the last twenty years.


A Synonym

A great many people agree in practice with the school-boy, when asked to define a synonym, said: A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the one you thought of first.



I can can tell you, said he, how much water runs over the Niagara Falls to a quart.

How much, asked she.

Two pints.


Evidence of Expertise

Does that young man understand music?

I think he must, replied the man who always gives the benefit.  When he plays he sounds exactly like a piano tuner.


I had a dream the other night, said the joker at a luncheon table recently.  I dreamed I was in business with a rich man, selling potted flowers.  But business was bad and we decided to discontinue business.  I wanted the pots and flowers and took them.

What did the rich man want? asked one of the guests, innocently.

He wanted the earth, replied the wit.


So, said the lady of uncertain age, he said he knew me when I was a little girl?

He didn't say anything of the sort, contradicted the man.

You said he did.

I didn't.

Why!  Then what did you say?

I said he said he knew you when he was a little boy.


The late Joseph Jefferson once received a cable dispatch from his son Thomas, who was in London, asking his father to remit to him $500.

The father was doubtful, and so he wired back: What do you want it for?

Back came the answer: For Tom.

This so tickled the old mand that he money was forthcoming.


A young housewife was showing a new and inexperienced servant about the house, explaining the various duties that would be hers.  In an upper hall they came suddenly to the head of the back stairs, and the lady said:

Nancy, you will go down this way always! and with that the mistress slipped and tumbled, going all the way down with many lurches and bumps.

The new maid was aghast.

Lor, missus, I'm afraid I won't suit you at all.  That way of goin' downstairs is a bit too dangerous for me.


Punishment to Fit the Crime

Not long ago there entered the office of a New York broker a most excited person who, upon ascertaining that the broker was indeed the individual he sought announced in to uncertain terms that he proposed to have satisfaction and justice.

By exercising his suavest methods the broker managed to elicit from his excited caller that on the previous day, as the broker's chauffeur was operating his employer's car, he had, at the corner of Broadway and Fifty-fourth street, nearly run down the complaintant's wife, incidentally tearing from her frock a quantity of material.

I am very sorry, indeed, said the broker, and will be glad to do what I can to remedy the matter.  Do you expect that I shall get your wife and new frock?

No, I don't snapped the angry husband, brandishing a bit of cloth.  What I propose to do is to see that you match this material.


Only a Difference in the Kind

Professor Nichols, a famous physicist, during the recitation of a freshman class in natural philosophy, observed a lanky youth in the rear seat, he head in a recumbent position, his body in a languid pose, his eyes half closed, and his legs extended far out.  He was either asleep or about to lose consciousness.

Mr. Ricardo, said the scientist, you may recite.

The freshman opened his eyes slowly.  He did not change his somnolent pose.

Mr. Ricardo, what is work?

Everything is work, was the drawling reply.

What?  Everything is work?

Yes, sir.

Then I take it you would like the class to believe that this desk is work?

Yes, sir, replied the youth wearily, wood work.


Upon the occasion of his first visit to a parishioner a certain Boston divine tried hard to make friends with the host's eight-year-old.

How old are you, my son" asked the clergyman benignantly.

Eight, was the laconic response.

Ah, quite a little man, came patronizingly from the minister.  And what are you going to be? he added, after a slight pause.

I am going to be nine, said the child with conviction.


The Inventor

Reginald de Bacchus, profilgate son of a millionaire soap maker, sat up in bed and moaned for water.

This is the end of my social career, he muttered.  I drank too much last night at the ball and staggered into everybody.

Hardly, sir, hardly, murmured his valet, apologetically.  Every one is praising you for inventing a new dance.


Well, did them picture people get moving pictures of every thing on the farm?

Everything but the hired man, said Farmer Heck.  They couldn't catch him in motion.


A stranger entered the morgue and raising his hat politely, addressed the morgue keeper.

"Sir, would you do me a great favour?  Will you permit me to see all that is mortal of the honorable Jesse James?"

"Sure," said the morgue keeper.  He walked to the slab and pulled out the dead robber.  The stranger gazed earnestly.  Then, replacing his had, he started to leave.

"One moment," said the the morgue keeper.  "Why did you call the dead man the honorable Jesse James?"

"Because," said the stranger, "I wasn't quite certain he was dead."

Paraphrased from Source: "Empress Express" newspaper, October 10, 1913, Empress, Alberta, Canada


There was a travelling man once who found himself short of funds.  His first thought, of course, was to wire his firm, which he did.  In a night letter, he explained the situation and asked, "How shall I act?"

The next morning he got a day message, which was nothing if not illuminative.

"Act as if your were broke."


Judd: Bill's dog bit Lew six times.
Gene: Bill's dog has a license, you know.
Judd: I don't think the license allows him to bite a man more than once.


Mr. Carpenter is the office cut-up (show-off), or thinks he is.  As he came in one morning last winter, the clerk with the innocent face addressed him.

"I say, Carpenter.  Have you read about General Thaw in the paper this morning?"

"Ah," said the cut-up, "General Thaw.  Great friend of mine; met him in South Africa.  They've given him a knighthood, I suppose."

The clerk with the innocent face handed him the paper and pointed to the weather report.  It was headed, "General Thaw."


She advanced to the paying teller's window and, hading in a check for $50, stated that it was a birthday present from her husband and asked for payment.  The teller informed her that she must first indorse it.

"I don't know what you mean," she said hesitatingly.

"Why, you see," he explained, "you must write your name on the back so that when we return the check to your husband, he will know we have paid you the money."

"Oh, is that all?" she said, relieved.  One minute elapses.

Thus the indorsement: "Many thanks, dear.  I've got the money.  Your loving wife, Evelyn."


"Yes, my friend.  I was about to marry the countess when I suddenly learned that she spends more than $12,000 a year on her dressmaker."

"Then what did you do?"

"Married her dressmaker."


Member of Investing Committee - For what purpose is a coroner's jury called to sit on a case?
Applicant for Job - To ascertain what reason, if any, the deceased had for dying.


Customer - I must say, waiter, this is the first time I've ever had a really tender steak here.
Waiter (aghast) - Good gracious.  I must have given you the proprietor's portion!


Judge - Have you been in this court before?
Prisoner - No, sir.
Judge - Are you certain?
Prisoner - I am, sir.
Judge - But your face looks decidedly familiar.  Where have I seen it before?
Prisoner - I'm the bartender in the saloon across the way.

Suggested replacement of the punchline: "Prisoner - I'm the bartender in the saloon across the way.  You see me everyday at 8, noon and 4."


A fire broke out one day in Francis Wilson's dressing room at the theatre where he was playing.

He had some of his books around him, and in an agony of despair asked himself:

"Which shall I save?"  He glanced at his precious Chaucer, at some Shakespearian volumes, and ...

"Come, Mr. Wilson," broke in at the door from a fireman, "you have not a moment to lose."

"Yes, yes.  Coming." replied Wilson, absently.

He was looking for a special illustrated volume very dear to him.

"Come, Wilson," cried his manager, "come, get out."

"All right, all right," said Wilson, and grabbing some clothes in one hand, he snatched with the other the nearest volume and ran to the street.  There he looked at the huge volume in his arms.  It was the city directory.


Captain Foretopp tells a story of a certain noted divine who was on his steamer when a great gale overtook them off the Oregon coast.

"It looks pretty bad," said the bishop to the captain.

"Couldn't be much worse, bishop," replied Foretopp.

Half and hour later the steamer was diving under the waves as if she were a submarine, and leaking like an old door.

"Looks worse, I think, captain," said the bishop.

"We must trust in Providence now, bishop," answered Foretopp.

"Oh, I hope it has not come to that!" gasped the bishop.


Chatty waiter (glancing out of window) - The rain'll be here in a minute or two now, sir.
Customer - Well, I didn't order it.  I'm waiting for a chop.


They had been quarreling, and although hubby was willing to take all the blame upon himself and smooth matters over peaceably she was still snippy and indifferent.

"Come over here, Jessie.  Aren't you curious to know what is in this package?"

"Oh, not very; I can stand the strain." she replied, belligerently.

"Well, it's something for the one I love best in all the world," he said coaxingly, trying to win a smile.

"Oh, is that so?" she sniffed.  "I suppose, then, it's thos suspenders you said you needed."


How much money did he say he had?
He didn't say.
Aha!  Then he has untold wealth.


Sir Samual Sims saw sweet Sarah swimming.  Suddenly she seemed sinking.  Sir Samual stood stunned.

Striding seaward, spurning seething surf, Sir Samual swiftly swam Southwards.  Sir Samuel skilfully supported swooning Sarah; swimming shorwards, Sir Samuel successfully saved Sarah.

Seeming somewhat shaky, Sir Samuel sampled some spirits - special Scotch.

Sir Samuel saw sweet Sarah's sweetness.  Sarah saw Sir Samuel's self-sacrificing spirit.

Sir Samuel soon sought Sarah, striding slowly.  Sarah sighed; Sir Samuel seemed speechless.

Say something, Sir Samuel, said Sarah.

Say Sam!  Sarah, said Sir Samuel.

Sarah smiling softly, said 'Sam!'

Sarah - Sally, stammered Sir Samuel.  Sweet Sarah - sweetheart!

Sarah smiling surrendered.


They were at Monte Carlo, and like other visitors, they considered the Casino was a place which ought to be visited.  They stood hesitating, before one of the tables, and at last the temptation to join the players proved too strong for the woman.

I must risk one $10 bill, she said to her husband.  Give me one, darling, and I will put it on the number of my age.  That is sure to be lucky.

Hubby was inclined to be skeptical but he spared himself the trouble of grumbling, and the money was duly deposited on No. 24.

Alas!  No. 26 proved to be the winning number, and the woman gave a little gasp of despair.

Serves you right, said her brute of a husband, if you'd told the truth you would have won.


This isn't like the bread mother makes, said the young married man.

So you are going to start that, are you?

I was merely congratulating you.  Mother never was a good breadmaker.


The new cook came out and did very well her first afternoon at Lonelyville.  After dinner she approached the head of the house.

How early shall I get up in the morning? she inquired.

Well, said Mr. Subberbs, the first train for the city leaves at 6:35.  You will have to get up as early to as 6 o'clock if you want to make that.


The Eight Hour Day on Farms
A writer in the current issue of Farm and Fireside says that the eight hour day with farmers consists of eight hours for work and eight hours for chores.


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