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From The World’s Wit and Humor, Vol. IX, British, The Review of Reviews Company; New York; 1906; pp. 286-288.


Works by Lionel Strachey (1864-1927)


AMONG all the Mendicants who by Want and Poverty, and not of their own Free-will-inclination, to beg compelled were, there were none who in vain to the Castle of Seifenschaumburg Entrance of the age-bent Gate-custodian requested. Never in the Annals of the, four Centuries ago having erected been Castle, a single Case of Assistance to a Beggar refusing had recorded been.

At last occurred it, that the, through Well-doings so lavishly distributed renowned, and by the, through the unselfish Benevolence of its Counts in all the Country praisingly spoken of Castle, by a, from its former Masters differing, through his Harshness detested Count, ruled was.

One day a blind, by a little Dog on a String led, his Foot-paces cautiously measuring, Beggar the Castle toward-advancing observed was. The, by no good Emotions ever upstirred, but to the evil Oppression, rather than to the Relief, of the Poor, striving Count, the, by his rough Words alarmed Beggar, on the Spot the Place to forsake commanded. But the goodly Providence has the Welfare of the, of Creatures the humblest, ever in the Eye, not the Rich over the Poor triumphing to permit.

Suddenly, a Bark, a Spring, a Rage-feeling-exclamation!

The Count had, during his at the Beggar directed badly inclined Meditations, in which his, by long Practice-exercise blackened Heart totally of Kindness-disposition void become had, by the, with a Pair of Coat-tails in his Mouth, away-transporting, in the Distance rapidly off-disappearing little Dog, for all his Cruelty at last punished been.



TO be fashionable, either in this world or the next, you must belong to the minority — that is, the best people.

The only life to be endured for ever would be one of unfulfilled desires. Therefore pray for descent after death: in that place never a single wish will be gratified. Paradise itself offers no such inducement.

Who says marriage is a failure? It is nothing of the kind — provided you let it alone.

To be patriotic, hate all nations but your own; to be religious, all sects but your own; to be moral, all pretences but your own.

A law is a caprice of the majority.

Any woman in the world — even a nun — would rather lose her virtue than her reputation.

Statistics are mendacious truths.

“The English,” said Napoleon, “are a nation of shop-keepers.” Their cousins, the Americans, are a nation of commercial travellers.

Americans guess because they are in too great a hurry to think.

A “brilliant epigram” is a solemn platitude gone to a masquerade ball.

When humour is meant to be taken seriously, it’s no joke.


ALONE! Yes, utterly alone, without a friend, without a companion, in this great melancholy waste of mournful woe! Why do I find myself thus isolate from joy and pleasure and 288 mirth? What have I done that I should be a wretched, solitary outcast, condemned to everlasting neglect? Wherefore has my lot shaped itself so cruelly? Ah, ’tis a bitter, bitter thing indeed! Surrounded once with gaiety and gladness, I am now cut off from all congenial souls. The kindly eye, the ready smile — the light of neither shall I see again. In vain might I lift up my voice, and cry aloud; none would hear me, none would understand. For I am banished to a place where all is darkest gloom; I felt its fatal dreariness creep into the marrow of my being, until now I am sunk down, down, down, to that unfathomable depth of desolation whence there can be no return. Set about by the terrors of this awful solitude, I would plead to man’s compassion, yea, to sweet Heaven itself, for merciful deliverance. But only too well am I aware that my cry must go unheeded. It is useless to hope: my spirit is crushed, my faith is lost. Whatever belief I might once have cherished that I should some day escape, and (far away from here) be greeted by smiling faces — that trust died within me long ago. Broken to dumb resignation, have I yielded up the very memory of cheerfulness and delight. Laughter is to me a forgotten sound. So my complaint shall cease; it is of no avail, for I have long known the worst: I guessed the horrid solitude that must be mine the instant I came to this afflicting place of saddest, blackest tribulation, grief, and sorrow — I, the Only Joke in this whole volume.

“The World’s Wit and Humor.”


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