Best American Humorous Short Stories
"There is one thing I have forgotten to show you," said the Superintendent, "the cell for
the confinement of violent and unmanageable Punsters."
We were very curious to see it, particularly with reference to the alleged absence of every
object upon which a play of words could possibly be made.
The Superintendent led us up some dark stairs to a corridor, then along a narrow passage,
then down a broad flight of steps into another passageway, and opened a large door
which looked out on the main entrance.
"We have not seen the cell for the confinement of 'violent and unmanageable' Punsters,"
we both exclaimed.
"This is the sell!" he exclaimed, pointing to the outside prospect.
My friend, the Director, looked me in the face so good-naturedly that I had to laugh.
"We like to humor the Inmates," he said. "It has a bad effect, we find, on their health and
spirits to disappoint them of their little pleasantries. Some of the jests to which we have
listened are not new to me, though I dare say you may not have heard them often before.
The same thing happens in general society, with this additional disadvantage, that there is
no punishment provided for 'violent and unmanageable' Punsters, as in our Institution."
We made our bow to the Superintendent and walked to the place where our carriage was
waiting for us. On our way, an exceedingly decrepit old man moved slowly toward us,
with a perfectly blank look on his face, but still appearing as if he wished to speak.
"Look!" said the Director--"that is our Centenarian."
The ancient man crawled toward us, cocked one eye, with which he seemed to see a little,
up at us, and said:
"Sarvant, young Gentlemen. Why is a--a--a--like a--a--a--? Give it up? Because it's a--a--
He smiled a pleasant smile, as if it were all plain enough.
"One hundred and seven last Christmas," said the Director. "Of late years he puts his
whole Conundrums in blank--but they please him just as well."
We took our departure, much gratified and instructed by our visit, hoping to have some
future opportunity of inspecting the Records of this excellent Charity and making extracts
for the benefit of our Readers.