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(About Animals, Art, Books, Cities, Disagreement & Quarelling, Dogs, God, Librarian, Library, Literature, Man, Soul)

ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, lib. II., De Clem., and C. Stantatus, De Temperamente) if it is not a god and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine. Hail, holy Ass the quiring angels sing; Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine --G. J.


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GEOLOGY, n. The science of the earth's crust --to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

IMPROBABILITY, n.His tale he told with a solemn face And a tender, melancholy grace. Improbable 'twas, no doubt, When you came to think it out, But the fascinated crowd Their deep surprise avowed And all with a single voice averred'Twas the most amazing thing they'd heard -- All save one who spake never a word, But sat as mum As if deaf and dumb, Serene, indifferent and unstirred. Then all the others turned to him And scrutinized him limb from limb -- Scanned him alive But he seemed to thrive And tranquiler grow each minute, As if there were nothing in it.What what cried one, are you not amazed At what our friend has told He raised Soberly then his eyes and gazed In a natural way And proceeded to say, As he crossed his feet on the mantel-shelfO no --not at all I'm a liar myself.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

REDRESS, n. Reparation without satisfaction. Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the king was permitted, on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of the royal offender with a switch that was afterward applied to his own naked back. The latter rite was performed by the public hangman, and it assured moderation in the plaintiff's choice of a switch.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

Patience - a minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. What is your religion my son inquired the Archbishop of Rheims. Pardon, monseigneur, replied Rochebriant I am ashamed of it. Then why do you not become an atheist; Impossible I should be ashamed of atheism. In that case, monsieur, you should join the Protestants.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

PALM, n. A species of tree having several varieties, of which the familiar itching palm (Palma hominis) is most widely distributed and sedulously cultivated. This noble vegetable exudes a kind of invisible gum, which may be detected by applying to the bark a piece of gold or silver. The metal will adhere with remarkable tenacity. The fruit of the itching palm is so bitter and unsatisfying that a considerable percentage of it is sometimes given away in what are known as benefactions.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

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