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Title: A Book Without A Title
Author: Nathan, George Jean, 1882-1958
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book Without A Title" ***

Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer
errors have been changed and are listed at the end. All other
inconsistencies are as in the original.



   Another Book on the Theater

   Europe After 8.15 (_in collaboration
   with H. L. Mencken_)

   Bottoms Up

   Mr. George Jean Nathan Presents

   _In Preparation_:

   The Democratic Theatre

   I Love You: A Reminiscence





Titles of books: Decoys to catch purchasers--_Chatfield._


Mademoiselle Ex


         I  The Atheist                                 7

        II  Allies                                      8

       III  Viewpoint                                   9

        IV  The Mistake                                10

         V  Tempora Mutantur                           11

        VI  Love                                       12

       VII  Flippancy                                  13

      VIII  The Gift                                   14

        IX  Sic Transit--                              15

         X  The Intruder                               16

        XI  Memory                                     17

       XII  Maxim                                      18

      XIII  The Greater Love                           19

       XIV  The Public Taste                           20

        XV  The Future                                 21

       XVI  Sic Passim                                 22

      XVII  The Severer Sentence                       23

     XVIII  Rache                                      24

       XIX  Sic Semper Tyrannis                        25

        XX  Respect                                    26

       XXI  Temperament                                27

      XXII  Immortality                                28

     XXIII  Inspiration                                29

      XXIV  Recipé                                     30

       XXV  Transmigration                             31

      XXVI  The Savant                                 32

     XXVII  Companion                                  33

    XXVIII  Good Fairy                                 34

      XXIX  The External Feminine                      35

       XXX  Fraternité                                 36

      XXXI  Reputation                                 37

     XXXII  The Lariat                                 38

    XXXIII  The Analyst                                39

     XXXIV  Couplet                                    40

      XXXV  The Philosopher                            41

     XXXVI  Rosemary                                   42

    XXXVII  Strategy                                   43

   XXXVIII  A Work of Art                              44

     XXXIX  Offspring                                  45

        XL  V. C.                                      46

       XLI  But--                                      47

      XLII  Conjecture                                 48

     XLIII  The Judgment of Solomon                    49

      XLIV  The Supernatural                           50

       XLV  Curiosity                                  51

      XLVI  The Mirror                                 52

     XLVII  Patria                                     53

    XLVIII  The Lover                                  54

      XLIX  The Public                                 55

         L  The Scholar                                56

        LI  Grotesquerie                               57

       LII  Contretemps                                58

      LIII  Dramatic Criticism                         59

       LIV  Nepenthe                                   60

        LV  Ecce Homo                                  61

       LVI  The Actor                                  62

      LVII  Vade Mecum                                 63

     LVIII  Butterflies                                64

       LIX  Boomerang                                  65

        LX  Advice                                     66

       LXI  Pastel                                     67

      LXII  Imitations                                 68

     LXIII  The Coquette                               69

      LXIV  Moonlight                                  70

       LXV  The Eternal Masculine                      71

      LXVI  Satire                                     72

     LXVII  Glory                                      73

    LXVIII  Romance                                    74

      LXIX  The Spider and the Fly                     75

       LXX  Veritas                                    76

      LXXI  The Reformer                               78

     LXXII  Fatalism                                   79

    LXXIII  Technique                                  80

     LXXIV  Finis                                      81



"I worship no one," cried the atheist. "Divinities are senseless,
useless, barriers to progress and ambition, a curse to man. Gods,
fetiches, graven images, idols--faugh!"

On the atheist's work-table stood the photograph of a beautiful girl.



The Devil, finishing his seidel of Würzburger, eyed the young man

"What would you of me?" he said.

"I would ask," bade the young man, "how one may know the women who serve
you as allies?"

"Find those who smile at themselves in their mirrors," said the Devil.



In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men.

One watched the earth getting farther and farther away.

One watched the stars getting nearer and nearer.



He was the happiest man in the world, and the most successful in all
things. In his eyes was ever a smile; on his lips ever a song.

For the gods had made an awful mistake when they bore him into the
world. They had placed his heart in his head, where his brain should
have been, and his brain in his bosom, where his heart should have



They couldn't understand why he married her, but the ironic little gods
who have such matters in hand knew it was because she had a little way
of swallowing before speaking, because she had a little way, when she
came to him and saw him standing there with arms open to clasp her tight
and kiss her, of sweeping her hat off and sailing it across the room,
because she had a way of twining her little fingers in his.

They couldn't understand why he divorced her, but the ironic little gods
who have such matters in hand knew it was because she had a little way
of swallowing before speaking, because....



They showed her a nest swarming with impostures, deceits, lies,
affectations, bitternesses, low desires, simulations, suspicions,
distrusts, cheatings, hates, delusions, distortions, evasions. And she
shrank from the sight of it as she looked close. But presently, when she
turned from a distance of a dozen paces and looked back, she saw a
brilliant-hued, beautiful bird soar from the nest and alight among the

"What is that gorgeous bird?" she asked.

"Love," they told her.



The scholar spoke to the mob in his own language and the mob heard him

The scholar, that he might make himself understood to the mob, expressed
himself then in rune and jingle.

"A wise man and one who speaks the truth," quoth the mob, "but it is a
pity he is so flippant."



All women avoided him; no woman loved him.

The mischievous gods had given him, as the one gift they give at birth
to each child on earth, great eloquence.



"Everyone likes me," said the man.

"That is Popularity," whispered the little star.

"Everyone likes me and envies me," said the man, a year later.

"That is Fame," whispered the little star.

"Everyone despises me," said the man, a year later still.

"That is Time," whispered the little star.



It was moonlight in the court yard where languished among the flowers a
lover and his mistress.

The lover, presently, and for the first time since he had known his fair
lady, felt Wit flying close to his lips.

The little god of Love who had dwelt with the lovers in the court yard
since first they had come there, sensing the flutter of the intruder's
wings, took to his heels and slid between the bars of the great bronze
gate into a neighbouring garden.



Memory, wandering back over the great highway of the years, paused by
the wayside to gather some of the flowers that embroidered the road.
While Memory so bent himself, there confronted him suddenly a young
woman, and Memory saw there were tears in her eyes. "Who are you?" asked
Memory, for though about the young woman there was something vaguely he
knew, he could not recall her.

Through her tears the young woman looked at him and said, "Of all of us
you knew, me alone you have forgotten and do not remember. I am the
woman who truly loved you."



The young man, sitting at the feet of a philosopher, noticed a cynic
smile tugging at the silence of the philosopher's lips.

"I was thinking," observed with an alas presently the philosopher, "that
one is always a woman's second lover."



"I love you," said the wife to her husband, looking up from the book she
was reading, "because you are a successful man."

"I love you," said she to her lover, drawing his head close to hers,
"because--because you are a failure."



A number of jackasses were sent to pasture in a meadow that was all
green grass and dandelions and buttercups and daisies. At the far end of
the meadow was a large billboard upon which was pasted the flaming
lithograph of a moving-picture actor standing on his head on the top of
an upright piano. The jackasses, immediately they entered the meadow,
made a bee-line for billboard and began omnivorously to pasture off the



Time snatched the roses from the girdle of a man's Past and tore her
gown of silvered chiffon and brought her thus before him.

"And who is this, pray?" bade the man.

"This," replied Time, "is your Future."



"For what qualities in a man," asked the youth, "does a woman most
ardently love him?"

"For those qualities in him," replied the old tutor, "which his mother
most ardently hates."



He had done a great wrong to a good woman, and the congress of the gods
sat upon his punishment.

"Be it decreed by us," spoke the god at the far end of the table, "that
he be compelled to walk, with the pace of a tortoise, through Hell."

"Be it decreed rather by us," spoke the god at the head of the
table--and all the gods, hearing him, nodded grimly their
approval--"that he be compelled to race, with the pace of a hare,
through Paradise."



"I hate my enemy with a hate as bitter as the hate he bears me, and I
would do that to him that would for all time weaken both him and his
power against me," muttered the man.

"That is easy," whispered Revenge in the man's ear. "Flatter him
extravagantly for the qualities he knows he doesn't possess."



An anarchist threw a bomb at the equipage of a king, and missed him.

A dancer threw a kiss to his box....



The mistress of the man on trial for bigamy was in tears.

"What is it, dear?" the man asked of her, tenderly.

The woman's frame shook under her sobs. "You don't respect me," she
wailed. "Because if you did, you'd marry me."



The rage of the artiste knew no bounds. That she should be thus annoyed
just before her appearance in the great scene! She stamped about her
dressing-room; she threw her arms heavenward; she brushed the vase of
roses from her table; she slapped her maid for venturing at such a
moment to speak to her; she sank exhausted into an armchair, a bottle of
salts pressed to her nostril.

It was full fifteen minutes before she recovered.

Then she went out upon the stage and began her famous interpretation of
the great scene in which she chloroforms the detective, breaks open the
safe, shoots the policeman who attempts to handcuff her, smashes the
glass in the window with the piano stool and makes her getaway by
sliding down the railing of the fire-escape.



The little son of the reverend man of God stood at his father's knee and
bade him speak to him of immortality.

And the reverend man of God, his father, spoke to him of immortality,
eloquently, impressively, convincingly.

But what he spoke to him of immortality we need not here repeat, for the
while he spoke out of the romantic eloquence of his heart, his
matter-of-fact mind kept incorrigibly whispering to him that immortality
is the theory that life is a rough ocean voyage and the soul a club



A poet, searching for Inspiration, looked into the hearts of all the
women he knew. But all the hearts of these were empty and he found it
not. And then, presently, in the heart of one woman whom he had
forgotten, at the edge of a deep forest, he found what he sought for.
For the heart of this woman was full. And as he looked at this heart, it
seemed to him strangely familiar, as if, long ago, he had seen it
before. And as he looked, the truth dawned fair upon him. The heart was
his own.



A young fellow, with something of the climber to him, took himself to
the arbiter of manners and urged the latter instruct him how best he
might learn effectively to pass himself off for a gentleman.

"Practise insulting persons in such wise that they shall not feel
insulted," the arbiter of manners advised him.



A great love faded and died.

Its soul passed into the body of a cobra.



There lived in Boeotia a lout who was even more empty-headed than his
most empty-headed neighbour and who yet, throughout the domain, was
looked on as a shrewd and wise and sapient fellow.

Whenever any one spoke to him of a thing he did not understand, he
vouchsafed no reply, but merely smiled a bit, and winked.



Modesty left his mistress to fare forth into the world alone. But,
turning in his flight, he saw someone at his heels.

In despair, Modesty sought still another mistress and this mistress one
night he likewise left to fare forth into the world alone. But, turning
in his flight, he saw again someone at his heels.

Modesty, sitting sadly on a rock by the wayside, realized then that his
wish for a lonely adventure was never to be fulfilled. For he must
always, when he sallied forth from his mistress, take with him his
mistress' lover.



A fairy, in the form of a beautiful woman, came to a young man and
whispered, "One wish will I grant you."

The young man gazed into the deep eyes of the beautiful woman and, with
thoughts playing upon her rare loveliness, breathed, "I wish for perfect
happiness for all time!"

And the fairy in the form of the beautiful woman granted him his wish.

She left him.



As the blonde young woman stepped from the swimming pool of the Turkish
Bath, the attendant thought that never had she seen so fair and golden
and beautiful a creature. Unable to contain her admiration, she spoke
her thought. The beautiful blonde thanked her and said, "But you should
have seen me at the Mi-Carême Ball as an African slave girl!"



A woman, lying in the arms of her lover and who until now had spoken of
many things but never of her husband, presently mentioned his name, and
jested of him, and laughed.

Her lover, who adored her, laughed with her and bending to her, kissed
her passionately--hating her.



The famous comedienne, suffering a sudden cramp, made a face.

"How wonderfully she expresses the feeling of homesickness," observed
the gentleman seated in E 10.

"How wonderfully she expresses the feeling of wanderlust," observed the
gentleman seated in M 7.



A lonely dreamer, dreaming under the poplars of a far hill, saw Love
dancing in the bright valley and casting promiscuously about her a
lariat of silk and roses. That he, too, might feel the soft caress of
the lariat about him, the dreamer clambered down into the gay valley and
there made eyes at Love. And Love, seeing, whirled her lariat high above
her and deftly twirled it 'round the dreamer. And as in Love's hand the
lariat of silk and roses fell about him and drew tighter and tighter
about his arms and legs, the dreamer saw it slowly turn before his eyes
into a band of solid steel.



A little girl loved her doll dearly: it was to her very real and very

One day a little girl living next door told her the doll was only filled
with cotton. And the little girl cried.

When the other little girl had gone, the little girl got out a scissors
and determined to find out if her doll was, after all, not real and
human, but only filled with cotton, as the little neighbour girl had

The little girl cut her doll open, and found that it was filled with



Again Mephisto chuckled in anticipation.

Somewhere, a little country girl, for the first time, was powdering her



They had quarrelled.

Suddenly, her eyes flashing, she turned on him. "You think you are sure
of me, don't you?" she cried. And in her tone at once were defiance and

But the man vouchsafed nothing in reply. For he well enough knew that
when a woman flings that question at a man, the woman herself already
knows deep in her heart that the man is--perfectly.



In the still of the late December twilight, the old bachelor fumbled his
way to the far corner of the great attic and from an old trunk drew
falteringly forth a packet of letters. And pressing the letters tenderly
in his hands, sighed. For, anyway, _she_ had loved him in those years
ago, the years when youth was at its noontide and the stars seemed
always near. Memory, sweet and faithful mistress....

The old bachelor fumbled for his spectacles. Alas, he had left them
below. And without them he could not read the words she had written. But
he kissed the little packet ... and sighed.

He could not see it was his little nephew's school trunk he had opened
by mistake, and that the packet which he held reverently in his
reminiscent clasp was merely a bundle of blank, empty envelopes.



One woman read up on everything and put on silks and jewels and perfumes
and dimmed the lamps and set liqueurs and cigarettes upon the tabourette
and caused the flames to dance low in the open hearth.

And one woman merely put a bit of soft lace about her throat and every
once in a while prefaced a word with a sudden little intake of breath.



A poet, unknown and unsung, wrote a beautiful play. Those who read the
play felt strange tears creep into their eyes and odd little pullings at
the strings of their hearts.

"This," they said, "is art."

And the news of the poet's beautiful play spread far. And it came in
time to be produced upon the great highway of a city with a company of
actors the very least of whom received as weekly emolument some nuggets
nine hundred and more. And citizens traveled from ulterior Haarlm and
the far reaches of Brukkelhyn and counties beyond the Duchy of Nhuyohrk
to see the costly actors play the poet's work. And the citizens looked
at one another sorely perplexed, for they felt no strange tears creep
into their eyes nor odd pullings at the strings of their hearts.

"Art hell!" they said.



Egotism and Carnality married and gave birth to a child.

They named it Love.


V. C.

The child, entering the dark room at night, hummed a tune to hide his
fear and frightened a mouse who was playing in a far corner. The mouse
ran blindly under the child's foot and the child, believing the mouse
was his grandmother's ball of wool, gave it a vigorous kick and killed



"But----" interposed the young woman.

A gleam came into the eyes of the man who coveted and who had long and
vainly laid subtle siege against her.

He appreciated now that it was merely a matter of time.



The pretty girl looked up at the stars, wondering....

The stars looked down at the pretty girl, wondering....



To his court spake Solomon: "I seek another woman for wife. But I have
at length learned wisdom in these matters. So go you bring before me
fifty or more you deem most suitable. And from these I shall select with
deliberation and care and wisdom that one that will best be fitted for
my throne-side and the bearing of children." And they went forth into
the kingdom and brought before Solomon women who were strong and women
who were wise and women who were gentle and women who were serious with
the grave problems of life--the pick of the women of all the great
kingdom who best were suited to the king.... Solomon, weighing
studiously the merits of each and pondering the one whom he might most
appropriately take unto him as best fitted for wife and mother, suddenly
caught sight, on the far edge of the crowd, of a little flower girl with
a cunning dimple in her ear....



"What is my name?" asked August Kraut of the Ouija board, as his hands
guided the apparatus hither and thither.

"August Kraut," responded the Ouija board.



A young woman, not content with delighting in the exquisite beauty of a
magnolia bloom at a distance, came close to it and, coming close,
touched it to make certain of its reality and, touching it, turned its
fragile white petals to an ugly brown.

A young woman decided to analyze her lover's affections....



In a great lonely house on a far lonely roadway lived in seclusion among
her waxen flowers and cracking walls and faded relics of a far
yesterday, a hateful and withered and bitter old woman. To the lonely
house on the lonely roadway came one day out of the world to live with
the old woman her young and beautiful and very lovely granddaughter. And
one day--it was not so long afterward--the very lovely girl, rummaging
about the great house, came upon a tall mirror, the mirror that the
withered and bitter old woman had long been wont to use and that for all
these many lonely years had seen and reflected naught but acrimony and
decay and despair and ugliness. And the very lovely girl looked into the
mirror--and suddenly cried out. For what the mirror reflected was not
her very lovely self, but something hateful and withered and bitter....



The young man lay dying on the field of battle. "Tell them I am proud to
have died for my glorious country!" he breathed to the comrade who bent
beside him.

They printed the young man's noble last words in all the leading papers
of the country, conspicuously, where all the nation might see and read
and therefrom take pride and inspiration, right next to the cartoons of
the Katzenjammer Kids.



"Three brilliant men are my suitors," said the beautiful young woman.
"And I would marry the one who loves me most. Tell me how I may know
that one."

"Pick the one who, when he is with you, is the most stupid," replied her
old nurse.



The hurdy-gurdy man's monkey, cap in hand, clambered to the sill of the
mediocre artist's window. And the mediocre artist tossed into his cap a
peanut. The monkey, putting the peanut in his mouth, swallowed it, and

The hurdy-gurdy man's monkey, cap in hand, clambered to the neighbouring
sill of the great artist's window. And the great artist tossed into his
cap a sou. The monkey, putting the sou in his mouth, swallowed it, and
grinned. But presently a great discomfort instituted itself in the
monkey's abdomen. Whereupon the monkey immediately concluded that the
sou was a counterfeit.



The scholar laid in solemn reverence a wreath upon the tomb of

"I place this wreath not upon the tomb of Beethoven," he exclaimed, "but
upon the grave of music."

But no one heard what he said, because the robins were singing too



The small boy's ambition was to grow up and be an iceman.

The small boy grew up and became a famous vaudeville clog dancer.

The great man now often thinks back and smiles to himself at the
grotesque absurdity of a small boy's idea of a career.



An artist, wandering along the highway of a city, with his eyes on the
stars, tripped over something, fell and was crippled.

It was a purse of gold.



Two gentlemen of the assizes met one evening upon the highway with a
dog. The dog, a friendly creature, barked amiably at the gentlemen,
whereupon the twain smiled and bent to pat the dog. Stooping thus, one
of the gentlemen issued suddenly a cry of alarm.

"Fie!" he cried to his colleague, "I see upon the creature's hide a

The other adjusted his glass and scrutinized the beast closely.

"That," he observed, with the mien of one not to be contradicted, "that,
sir, is not a flea. That is a louse!"



"I think I'll take a few drinks to make me forget my troubles," said the
poor man.

The drinks made the poor man forget his troubles and filled him instead
with delightful visions of sunny lands and blue skies and red poppies
and fair women and languorous luxury.

And the poor man, now unhappier than before, had to expend his last
three sous for spirits of ammonia wherewith to recapture the nepenthe of
his first troubles.



A homely woman smiled at a man. And the man, puzzled and speculating
what was wrong with him, slouched on.

A pretty woman smiled at a man. And the man, with the mien of a cock,
threw out his chest and strutted on.



A poet, poor and neglected, lived up under the dusty eaves, with for
sole companion a parrot. One day, the poet evolved a particularly lovely
line and, in his happiness, repeated it to himself aloud, and time upon

A week later, some portly persons, passing beneath the lofty window,
espied the parrot perched upon the sill and heard it speak the poet's
line. Breathless with amazement, they stopped and cried out: "What a
_wonderful_ bird!"



An infatuated young man sought counsel at the bazaar of an ancient and
prayed the ancient tell him how he might learn of his fair lady's

"Go forth among her women friends," spake the venerable one, "and praise
her in their hearing."



A man beheld a butterfly and, catching her, held her in his hands and
feasted his eyes upon her prettiness. But as he held her so, the pollen
rubbed off her wings and she fluttered, a pitiable thing, weakly from
his grasp.

A man beheld a butterfly and, catching her, held her in his arms and
feasted his eyes upon her prettiness. But as he held her so, the powder
rubbed off her nose and....



There was a critic--a sincere and art-loving man--who flouted the mob's
taste, who inveighed against the popular, who protested vigorously
against the low, mean art form that in dramatic shape packed nightly the
playhouses of the great city with the unesthetic, artistically depraved
and vulgar bourgeoisie. That things should come to so unholy a pass, he

The critic never stopped to consider that the journal which he graced
had in the great city a daily circulation of half a million.



"Beware," warned the Mind, solemnly.

The Heart, whistling a gay tune, cocked its hat upon one ear, gave a
twist to its cravat, and kicked the old savant down stairs.



"If only I had his youth!" sighed the old gentleman looking out of the
window of his halted limousine at the young man standing in the roadway.

"If only I had his experience!" sighed the young man standing in the
crowded roadway looking at the old gentleman through the window of the
halted limousine.

"If only they'd get a move on and let a man do his work!" said the
middle-aged street-sweep, smacking his lips over the fine flavour of his
chewing tobacco and taking a deep breath of the keen autumn air.



Resplendent in silks and furs and a marvelous necklace of diamonds, she
sat with superior mien in an opera box. Now and again, with an air of
infinite ennui and disdain, she glanced coolly aloft through her
lorgnette at the eager poor in the steep, high altitudes of the

The people in the great opera house whispered to one another that the
marvelous necklace of diamonds was unquestionably an imitation.
"Somehow," they said, "it looks like one." But they were wrong. The
necklace of diamonds was quite genuine. It was not the necklace of
diamonds, but the lady that was the imitation.



A rose, an orchid and a little white clover were pressed between the
leaves of a coquette's diary.

"She loves me more than she loves either of you," cried the rose,
"because I am the first flower my master ever gave her!"

"She loves me more than she loves either of you," protested the orchid,
"because I am the last flower _my_ master ever gave her!"

The little white clover smiled to itself and said nothing. For the
little white clover knew that its mistress had picked it herself.



It was in the late Springtime. And they were very young.

The young man sighed, "Ah, if the night were only fair, that we might
sit close together, you and I, in the moonlight."

It was in the late Springtime. And they were very young.

The young moth sighed, "Ah, if the night were only fair, that they might
go out into the moonlight and leave the screen doors open that we might
play close together, you and I, in the gaslight."



"Whatever happens, wherever I go, wherever I am, I shall think of you,"
he said as he drew her to him and kissed her goodbye.

Three days out at sea he met another. And that night on the silver
hurricane deck, under shelter of the life boats, true to his word and
promise, he thought of her. He thought how cold her kisses were compared
with those of this lovely creature.



The new battleship trembled in the ways, ready to glide into the sea.

The girl cracked a bottle of champagne over its bow and said in measured
and serious tones: "I christen thee--'_Kansas_'!"



The young private, dreaming dreams of valour and glory, awaited eagerly
his chance.

The enemy was daily coming nearer, nearer, and the dreams of the young
private grew vivid and rosier still.

One morning, before dawn, the General telegraphed the Lieutenant-General
to telegraph the Brigadier-General to telegraph the Colonel to telegraph
the Lieutenant-Colonel to telegraph the Major to heliograph the Captain
to telephone the First-Lieutenant to telephone the Second-Lieutenant to
signal the Sergeant to tell the Corporal to command the private to

The young private, at the order, dashed forward and was among the
thousands who fell, still adream, in the capture of the hill that won
for the General his nineteenth successive imperial cross.



There were many ardent suitors for her hand. And they sent her orchids
and violets and lilies and roses. All save one, a poor young fellow, who
sent her but a simple little bunch of daisies.

She married the man who sent orchids.



"Won't you come into my parlour?" said the spider to the fly.

"What nice hair you have," said the woman to the man.



The king was desirous of obtaining the most truthful man of his court
for Lord of the domain's Exchequer. One by one the king had tested the
aspirants and one by one had consigned each in his turn to the headsman;
for they had all proved themselves liars. Three, and three only,

Said the king to the first of these, "Have, you ever in all your life
written, or tried to write, a poem?"

"No, your majesty," replied the fellow.

Whereupon the king signaled promptly the headsman.

Said the king to the second of these, "Can you sit in a rocking-chair
without rocking?"

"Yes, your majesty," replied the fellow.

Whereupon the king signaled promptly the headsman.

Said the king to the third of these, "Have you ever used a hair tonic of
any kind?"

"No, your majesty, never!" replied the fellow.

Whereupon the king signaled promptly the headsman.

And to this day the post of Lord of the Exchequer is vacant.



The Great Uplifter died and stood before Saint Peter.

"Alas," said Saint Peter, "I cannot let you in."

"But why?" demanded the Great Uplifter. "For surely I have been a good
and striving man."

"Just so," answered Saint Peter. "You have been a good and striving man
and you must be rewarded with happiness. Here, where all are happy, you
would be unhappy, for here would be no work for your hands to do."

And that is how the Great Uplifter happened to go to hell.



The stock-broker's wife, mother of six children and portly, was a
fatalist. "Why worry?" she was wont to say. "When the time comes for me
to die, it will come properly enough, and that's all there is to it."

That afternoon, she was run over by a brewery wagon while on her way to
see a singing teacher about having her voice cultivated.



The star actor, unable to restrain his mirth at the astounding satin
décolleté worn by his leading woman in the scene where she, a street
waif, pleads with him to give her a farthing that she and her widowed
mother may not starve, turned his back to the audience. So
uncontrollable were his chuckles that his shoulders heaved up and down,
and his head shook, and his neck got red, and his eyes watered.

"A master of the acting technique," thought the audience. "How
wonderfully he expresses the emotional outburst of grief!"



Somewhere, a funeral bell was tolling.

Somewhere, a thousand and one miles away, a woman was asking her lover
for the third time in five minutes if he really loved her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note

The following changes have been made to the text:

Page 5: "Immorality" changed to "Immortality".

Page 6: "Scholar" changed to "The Scholar".

Page 6: "Grotesqueries" changed to "Grotesquerie".

Page 78: "stood be fore" changed to "stood before".

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book Without A Title" ***

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