Still, some of
the “amusing anecdotes” from this 1913 book do offer some smiles:
up a globe before a bright little boy in school, the teacher asked what country
is opposite to us on the globe.
“I don’t know, sir,” was the reply.
now,” pursued the teacher, “if I were to bore a hole through the earth, and you
were to go in at this end, where would you come out?”
“Out of the hole, sir,”
replied the pupil with an air of triumph.
1913, memories of the Civil War remained in the minds of many, though the old
veterans were beginning to fade away. But this joke could apply to any war:
the battle of Chancellorsville two Union soldiers, tramping along through the
Virginia mud up to their knees, stopped for a rest by the roadside and had a little
“What did we enlist for a solider for, anyway?” asked
“What made you go into the army, Tom?
“Well,” replied Tom, “I had
no wife and I loved war, and so I went. What made you go?”
“Well,” said Jack,
“it was just the other way with me—I had a wife, and I loved peace, and so I went.”
Civil War joke:
A captain fresh from civil life and grand in a brand new
uniform, happened to observe two men shooting at a target.
“Here, boys,” said
he, “let me show you how to shoot.”
Taking a gun in hand, he fired and missed.
“That,” said he to one of the soldiers, “is the way you shoot.”
He fired again,
and missed again.
“And that,” said he, turning to the other soldier, “is the
way you shoot.”
He fired a third shot, and hit the bull’s-eye.
said he, “is the way I shoot.”
“Laugh Again” came out, the great writer Samuel Clemens had only been dead for
three years and plenty of people still had stories to tell about him.
tale involved philanthropy. Clemens had volunteered to furnish his autograph at
50 cents a card to raise money for some charity. Hundreds lined up to buy a card
and walked off delighted to not only have been in the presence of such a great
writer, but to have left with his signature.
But one woman wanted more.
do write for me some little sentiment, beside your name,” she said.
have the time,” replied Clemens, “and it would not be fair to the others.”
you must, Mr. Twain,” she persisted, “and I expect it of you.”
started to protest again, the woman said:
“If you cannot write a little thought,
Mr. Twain, just write one word…You are too gallant to refuse a lady’s request.
Write just one word and sign your name.”
Finally, Twain graciously took the
card and honored her request. He wrote:
“1 word, Mark Twain.”
headline over the next joke reads “O Henry,” but the only connection between the
anecdote that follows and the short-story writer who spent time in Texas
is a the name of one of the protagonists and a surprise ending:
idealistic and quite poetical. She was quite practical—a very good matrimonial
combination. He came home one evening after a hard day at the office and said,
“Maria, my dear, do you realize that tomorrow will be our wooden wedding [anniversary]?
We ought to celebrate the occasion somehow, don’t you think?” And she said, “Hank,
my darling, I know it. Been thinking about it all day, and have it all arranged.
I have ordered a big wagon load of kindling to be delivered tomorrow afternoon,
and you will come home early from the office and carry it into the cellar!”
"Texas Tales" October
14, 2009 column