Hard luck cannot touch smooth people.
[Illustration: The Old Man, His Son and the Ass.]
The Shipwrecked Traveler.
A man who had traveled over many countries was shipwrecked off the coast of Opera land. After a desperate battle with the waves he managed to near the shore where the cruel waves played with him like a cat with a mouse. He would pull himself up the beach, half fainting, and a great, dancing, hissing breaker would pounce upon him and drive him back.
He called for help until the inhabitants espied him.
They came in a group, the women costumed as milkmaids and the men as cavaliers.
After making about twenty feet the company stopped.
“Oh! save him, save him!” sang the soprano.
“Yes, yes! we will save him!” sang back the tenor.
Then everybody sang “Save him, save him; oh, yes, we will save him, save him from the sea!!!”
The sopranos took a B flat on the last note, while the tenors and altos rambled up and down the scale and the bassos bombarded the theme with their deepest chest tones.
In the meantime the traveler had been washed out to sea. As the next wave brought him to the strand the company advanced once more a short distance, and began.
“In the name of Mercy, help me!” screamed the drowning man.
“Oh, hear his piteous cry,” sang the tenors, and the prima donna stepped out and sang a beautiful aria beginning “Now the cruel waves advancing.” After she had finished the bass got in front of the company.
He described how his strong arm had plucked the stranger from a watery grave, and advanced to the beach to suit the action to the words.
But, alas! the traveler had given up the ghost several minutes before. Then the company sang a miserere and went home to lunch.
The finest of Raphael’s canvases would make a poor overcoat.
[Illustration: The Shipwrecked Traveler.]
The Discontented Woman.
A woman who was dissatisfied with her husband loudly petitioned Jove to send her another. The god listened favorably to her petition and sent her a demigod.
In less than a week the woman was bewailing her lot again, saying she never cared for mixed goods anyhow, and that while the god-half of her present husband might be all right, the man-half snored and chewed tobacco. Jove, wearied by her ill-humored persistency, took back the demi-god and sent her a man out of the Yellow Book for husband, instead.
Up to the present writing the lady in question hasn’t discovered where she is at.
Hysterics and Art are only relations by marriage.
[Illustration: The Discontented Woman.]