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From Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor, edited by Thomas L. Masson; Doubleday, Page & Company, New York; 1903; pp.170-172.




ON the 31st of December, XXXX, two figures were slowly approaching the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates — a man and a woman, last of the human race — Mr. And Mrs. Fin. Mrs. Fin was becomingly gowned in a moire antique bell-skirt, with sun-plaits festooned with Venetian point-lace caught in with a girdle of cats’-eyes, a loose blouse waist elaborately trimmed with appliqué, bouffant sleeves, V-shaped corsage, Elizabethan collar, and a broad-brimmed Gainsboro’ hat with black ostrich plumes. Mr. Fin appeared in a frockcoat, double-breasted corduroy waistcoat, diagonal trousers, and patent leather shoes, and with a beaver hat.

It was midnight. As the couple approached the confluence, a gigantic vessel steamed slowly up the stream and cast anchor at the mouth of the Y. A small gangplank was lowered, and in less time than it takes to typewrite, a procession of assorted animals made their way down to the shore, two by two, and, much to Mr. and Mrs. Fin’s surprise, grief and mortification, proceeded, with many apologies and with singular naivete, to divest them of their respective wardrobes.

An elephant helped himself to Mr. Fin’s 171 ivory-headed cane. An ostrich calmly but firmly appropriated Mrs. Fin’s feathers. A beaver reluctantly deprived the unfortunate gentleman of his hat, while a nimble tortoise deftly picked the haircombs and pins from his wife’s head. Mr. Fin, stunned with amazement, made no resistance while a few sheep robbed him of his outer garments; but Mrs. Fin began to be a little shocked when two industrious silkworms began to ravel and wind up her bell-skirt, and a large Mo removed his mohair from the lining. The situation now became somewhat tense, and when a huge but conscientious whale appeared and carefully abstracted the bones from the lady’s stays her embarrassment was almost painful. We must now hurry a little with our narrative. Suffice it to say that two businesslike camels approached and absent-mindedly devoured the Jaeger suits in which Mr. and Mrs. Fin had both always been firm believers. Things had now gone so far that the couple cheerfully resigned themselves to the inevitable, as an absently enthusiastic alligator escorted a pair of patent kids to the scene of the divestivities and gaily claimed possession of the shoes. It now only remained for a dozen excited oysters, shouting their college yell, to rush down the gangplank and dexterously abstract the pearl earrings from Mrs. Fin’s ears, and the necklace which was her only remaining ornament.

.         .         .         .         .        .

There was an awkward pause. When at length the pair recovered sufficiently to speak of the weather, which, as Mr. Fin remarked, had not moderated, the animals had disappeared. The couple, resuming their stroll, at length found themselves at the lodge gates of what seemed to be a large park, or garden. They entered, and, almost fainting with mortification and hunger, made their way hurriedly toward an orchard which was visible in the distance. All the fruit they could find, however, was a windfall russet apple, upon which they fell forthwith. Much to their disgust, it was found to have been bitten, and, making a tiny moue, the fastidious Mrs. Fin presented it to her spouse, who, with a shrug, refused the fruit and replaced it upon the tree.

By permission of Life Publishing Company.


When Bishop Potter was asked the other day what he thought of woman suffrage, he made the diplomatic reply:

“My dear madam, I have gotten away beyond that; I am trying to make the best terms with the sex that I can obtain.”

This brings to mind the mot of William M. Evarts when asked by a lady if he did not think that woman was the best judge of woman. He replied:

“Not only the best judge, madam, but the best executioner.”


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