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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about Best Short Stories.

“Whist!” cautioned the driver.  “Don’t spake so loud.  He’ll overhear us.”

“Who?”

“The hoss.  Spake low.  Shure Oo’m desavin’ the crayture.  Every toime he ‘ears th’ door close he thinks wan o’ yez is gettin’ down ter walk up th’ hill, an’ that sort o’ raises ’is sperrits.”

STILL NOT SATISFIED

Mrs. Higgins was an incurable grumbler.  She grumbled at everything and everyone.  But at last the vicar thought he had found something about which she could make no complaint; the old lady’s crop of potatoes was certainly the finest for miles round.

“Ah, for once you must be well pleased,” he said, with a beaming smile, as he met her in the village street.  “Everyone’s saying how splendid your potatoes are this year.”

The old lady glowered at him as she answered: 

“They’re not so poor.  But where’s the bad ones for the pigs?”

A COAXER

The latest American church device for “raising the wind” is what a religious paper describes as “some collection-box.”  The inventor hails from Oklahoma.  If a member of the congregation drops in a twenty-five cent piece or a coin of larger value, there is silence.  If it is a ten-cent piece a bell rings, a five-cent piece sounds a whistle, and a cent fires a blank cartridge.  If any one pretends to be asleep when the box passes, it awakens him with a watchman’s rattle, and a kodak takes his portrait.

AUTOMATIC “EFFICIENCY”

A young lady telephone operator recently attended a watch-night service and fell asleep during the sermon.  At the close the preacher said, “We will now sing hymn number three forty-one—­three forty-one.”

The young lady, just waking in time to hear the number, yawned and said, “The line is busy.”

THE WINNER

While Chopin probably did not time his “Minute Waltz” to exactly sixty seconds, some auditors insist that it lives up to its name.  Mme. Theodora Surkow-Ryder on one of her tours played the “Minute Waltz” as an encore, first telling her audience what it was.  Thereupon a huge man in a large riding suit took out an immense silver watch, held it open almost under her nose, and gravely proceeded to time her.  The pianist’s fingers flew along the keys, and her anxiety was rewarded when the man closed the watch with a loud slap and said in a booming voice:  “Gosh!  She’s done it.”

TAXED TO CAPACITY

A friendly American who has just arrived in London brings a story of Edison.  The great inventor was present at a dinner in New York to which Count Bernstorff had also found his way.  The Count spoke of the number of new ships which Germany had built since the war began.  He was listened to respectfully enough, although a little coldly, because the sympathies of the party were not with him or Germany.

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