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Among the Humorists and After Dinner Speakers


[Pg 3]
PREFACE
THE collection of these humorous paragraphs has extended over a
number of years. Even a small beginning became a source of such
entertainment that the collection grew and grew, always without any
thought of publication.
The man who can not laugh has yet to be found. Therein lies that
immediate appeal to a common ground which the sense of humor
gives, and it has been a conspicuous characteristic of those who look
to the public for appreciation and support. Lord Palmerston and
Abraham Lincoln were two notable examples of men for whom
sympathy quickened through their ready wit, and no political speaker
drives home his arguments half so well as he who can introduce a
witty illustration. The joke has ever been a potent factor in combating
oppression and corruption, in ridiculing shams. It has embalmed
some reputations, and has blasted others. It is the champion of the
weak against the strong, and has often illuminated for us, as in a
flash, a glimpse of character or custom that would otherwise have
been lost to the world.
There is only one similar collection of which I am aware, the “Jest
Book” by Mark Lemon, who was for twenty-nine years the editor of
“Punch.” Alas that there should be fashions in jokes as well as in
hats, for much of his book that we know must have been humorous
reading to his contemporaries, leaves us, of the present generation in
America, indifferent.
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I shall be glad if some of my readers are minded to do a graceful act
and send me, in return, some paragraphs to add to my collection.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the following publications for
the paragraphs borrowed from their columns:
Evening Sun, Lippincott’s, Pittsburg Dispatch, San Francisco News-
Letter, Ladies’ Home Journal, Washington Star, Mail and Express,
Youth’s Companion, Life, Good Housekeeping, Argonaut, Buffalo
Commercial, Tit-Bits, Punch, The Tattler, Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s
Monthly, Democratic Telegram, Cleveland Plaindealer, Harvard
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