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BULLS AND





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GIFT OF
A. P. Morrison




BULLS AND BLUNDERS



EDITED BY-



MARSHALL BROWN



"My dear boy" wrote an Irishman to his son, "never put off till
to-morrow what you have done to-day"

"Don't go elsewhere to get robbed step right in here" STORE SIGN.






SECOND EDITION



CHICAGO

S. C. GRIGGS AND COMPANY
1894



GIFT OF



COPYRIGHT, 1893
BY S. C. GRIGGS AND COMPANY



3Cfje fURcsttre

R. R. DONNELLEY & SONS CO., CHICAGO



PREFACE.



The object of this volume is to amuse and to instruct.
Blundering arises from stupidity, and the stupid are
found the world over ; but the bull, a peculiarity that
belongs almost exclusively to Ireland, is always con-
nected with thought, and originates in the imagina-
tive power of its people. It is not at all a dull
absurdity which no one can comprehend ; it is always
comprehensible, even when it is most confused. It
proceeds, not from the want, but the superabundance of
ideas, which crowd one another so fast in an Irishman's
brain that they get jammed together, so to speak, in the
door-way of his speech, and can only tumble out in their
ordinary disorder. For example, in the opinion of an
Irish philosopher, "The only way to prevent what
is past is to put a stop to it before it happens."

The instructive mission of the volume is to illustrate
the rule that "A sentence must be lucid in order
and logical in sequence." "A great commander," says
Dr. Hodgson, "must know how to pick his recruits, to
drill them, and to handle them when drilled; but he
must still have something more, generalship; and what
generalship is in a commander, that clearness of
thought and expression is in a writer. A sentence, in

M92323



AND BLUNDERS.

; -A; liaya^i ^clJ'sp'aLt/ct o tUe 'last century from the west
coast of Africa speaks, o a native vessel which was
"entirely manned by women." It was a Scotchman
who described a very square and thick-set man as being
"just as broad as he was narrow." It was a Scotch-
man who, at a public meeting, gravely propounded a
scheme for increasing the British revenue by "laying
the dog tax on cats." It was an Englishman who said
of Napoleon that "he might have been a better man if
he had not been quite so bad;" and it was also an
Englishman who declared that "the best way to walk
down the Thames to London was to go in a boat."

The French school teacher who, in a fit of rage,
threatened to send all his pupils to the foot of the
class, was fully equalled by the English school boy,
who, after correctly stating that the customary mode
of saluting an ancient Persian king was to exclaim,
" O, king, live forever!" added, on his own author-
ity, " and immediately the king lived forever." But
even these "prize bulls" are completely eclipsed by
others which have come within the range of my own
personal experience. I have seen in an English provin-
cial newspaper the announcement that "the cabman who
was killed last Thursday is now dead." I once heard a
man speak of having watched a haunted house till mid-
night, " expecting every moment the appearance of an
invisible spirit;" and another man remarked, alluding to
his sufferings while wedged in a crowd at the door of a
concert hall, that "he would rather walk fifty miles
than stand five." Harpers Drawer.

CHEMISTRY A chemist inquires, "Will the gentle-
man who left his stomach for analysis please call and
get it, together with the result ? "



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 3

DANGER The best way to avoid danger is to meet

it plump. SIR BOYLE ROCHE.

ON FIRE " Hurry up, Mrs. Milligan ! Your house
is on fire and a-burning up." "I know better, you
rascal ! You can't fool me. The door is locked and Oi
have the kay in me pocket."

UNDER OATH Attorney to witness: ''Do you
solemnly swear that you never saw a sheep under oath ?"
Witness : " Yes, sir, I never saw one under oath."

AMBIGUITY A quality deemed essentially neces-
sary to the clear understanding of diplomatic writings,
acts of parliament, and law proceedings. Tin Trumpet.

REGRETS We regret to find that the announce-
ment of the death of Mr. W. is a malicious fabrication.
Belfast Paper.

A DIFFICULT PRESCRIPTION Doctor: "Well, Den-
nis, did you take the pills I sent you ? "

Dennis: "Indade, docthor, an' I did not; ye wrote
on the box 'one pill three times a day,' and I've bin
waitin' till I see you to ask you how a man was to take
a little bit of a pill loike that three times in wan day!"
Harper's Weekly.

LEGAL CLEARNESS "My good woman," said the
learned judge, "you must give an answer in the fewest
possible words of which you are capable, to the plain
and simple question whether, when you were crossing
the street with the baby on your arm, and the omnibus
was coming down on the right side and the cab on the left



,

4 BULIS AND BLUNDERS.

and the brougham* was trying to pass the omnibus, you
saw the plaintiff between the brougham and the cab, or
whether, and when youosaw him at all, and whether or
not near the brougham, cab, and omnibus, or either, or
any two, and which of them respectively, or how it
was?"

|
A farmer near Bristol, Pa., has gathered twenty-six

pippins from an apple tree weighing twenty-six and one-
half pounds. New England Paper. ("From an
apple tree" should follow "gathered.")

SUICIDE An Irishman recently spoke of a man who
had tried in every way, but couldrtt commit suicide to
save his life.

DRINKING AND WORKING "When I drink much I
can't work, and so I let it alone." "The drinking?"
"No, the working." Fliegende Blaetter.

LOOK There is one store in town where the propri-
etor charges ninety-seven cents to look, or at least that
impression is conveyed by a sign in the window, which
reads, "Look, 97 cents." Rutland Herald.

O'BRIEN'S DEATH Mrs. Murphy : "An' sure, Mrs.
O'Brien, did your poor man die aisy ? " Mrs. O'Brien :
" Indade not, Mrs. Murphy, it nearly kilt poor Pat to
die."

A TEMPERANCE MEETING A reporter in describing
a teetotal meeting said that "they had a most harmoni-
ous and profitable session, and retired full of the best
spirits."



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 5

SOME ENGLISH BULLS A correspondent of the Lon-
don Spectator reprints the following literary * 'bulls,,
culled from English newspapers:

To investigate the question would lead us too
deeply into the dry and troubled waters of moral phil-
osophy.

Several chimneys fell, burying the inmates in the
ruins.

A row of cottages fell, but fortunately the inmates
were all out.

HARD ON WILLIE "Willie, I am going to
Heaven," she wrote, "and you will never see me
again."

A CORONER'S JURY Upon a man whose body was
found in a river, a coroner's j ury in Ireland returned the
verdict that the individual came to his death by a blow
on the head, "which was given either before or after
drowning."

Compensation was given to the families of those
who suffered in that explosion by workmen?s societies.
English paper. (Italics should follow "given.")

METAPHYSICS A Scotch blacksmith's definition of
metaphysics is, "When the pairty wha listens disna
ken what the pairty wha speaks meens, and when the
pairty wha speaks disna ken what he meens himsel, that
is metaphysics."

A GUSHING EDITOR A gushing but ungrammatical
editor says, "We have received a basket of fine grapes
from our friend, Mr. Tompkins, for which he will please



6 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

accept our compliments, some of which are nearly two
inches in diameter."

SIR RICHARD STEELE It was Sir Richard Steele
who said, when inviting an- English nobleman to visit
him, "If you ever come within a mile of my house, I
hope you will stop there."

UNFORTUNATE FAMILY Bridget : " Father, I have
lost my place ; I am accused of stealing from the wash."

O'Toole: "Well, I'll be hanged."

Bridget : "Is that so? We're a poor, unfortunate
family." Harpers Bazar.

WHAT HE DIED or During the prevalence of the
cholera in Ireland, a soldier, hurry hf irito'the mess-room,
told his commanding officer that his brother had been
carried off two days before by a fatal malady, expressing
his apprehensions that the whole regiment would be ex-
posed to a similar danger in the course of the following
week. "Good heavens !" ejaculated the officer, "what
then did he die of?" " Why, your honor, he died of
a Tuesday."

A QUESTION OP TIME Barber: "Do you shave
yourself all the time f "

Customer: "No; I stop occasionally for meals."

BRIDGET McN's SITUATION A lady lately come
from Ireland desires a position as a cook, housemaid,
waitress, or general servant in a respectable family.
Any mistress desirous of securing her services must ap-
ply in person between three and four o'clock to-morrow,
when the lady will be at home and disengaged. A good



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 7

discharge from last servant indispensable, as she is very
particular about her Mrs.' character. Address B. M'N
etc. JV. Y. Paper.

INCONSISTENCIES AND AMBIGUITIES It seems, in
a considerable measure, owing to the great tendency of
our language to idiomatic expressions, that our English
is so much infested with anomalies. Under this head a
late number of a new magazine has an entertaining
article on the inconsistencies and ambiguities of the
English language, frem which we take the following
extracts :

" Show me a fire," said a traveler to the landlord,
"for I am very wet ; and bring me a mug of ale, for I
am very dry."

"You walk very slow," said a man to a consump-
tive. "Yes," he replied, "but I am going very fast."

Breaking both w T ings of an army is almost certain to
make it fly ; a general may win the day in a battle
fought at night ; a lawyer may convey a house, and yet
be unable to lift a hundred pounds ; a room may be full
of married men, and not have a single man in it ; a trav-
eler who is detained an hour or two may recover most of
the time by making a minute of it ; a man killed in a
duel has at least one second to live after he is dead ; a
fire goes out, and does not leave the room ; a lady may
wear a suit out the first day she gets it, and put it away
at night in as good condition as ever ; a schoolmaster
with no scholar may yet have a pupil in his eye ; the
bluntest man in business is generally the sharpest one ;
Ananias, it is said, told a lie, and yet he was borne out
by the by-standers ; caterpillars turn over a new leaf
without much moral improvement ; oxen can only eat corn
with the mouth, yet you may give it to them in the



8 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

ear ; food bolted down is not the most likely to remain
on the stomach ; soft water is often caught when it rains
hard ; high words between men are frequently low
words ; steamboat officers are very pleasant company,
and yet we are always glad to have them give us a wide
berth ; a nervous man is trembling, faint, weak, while
a nervous style and a man of nerve is strong, firm, and
vigorous. MACBETH, Might and Mirth of Literature.

I could see that the floor had been swept with half an
eye. (Italics should follow " see.")

We have done our best to put this question plainly,
and we think that, if the Westminster Reviewer will
read over what we have written twice or thrice with pa-
tience and attention, some glimpse of our meaning will
break in even on his mind. MACAULAY, Miscellaneous
Writings. (Italics should follow "over.")

AVERAGE "How many visitors do you have a day,
on an average? " asked a lady of the custodian at a pub-
lic resort. "Ain't no average," he replied; "some
days there's more and some less."

VALUE OF SMALL WORDS " If a man followed the
directions of a street-car company," said Jones, "he
would never enter one of its cars. Once in, paradoxi-
cally, he would never leave it. Just read that sign; it
says, ' Passengers are forbidden to enter or leave this
car while in motion.' Now, how in the name of Lind-
ley Murray can a passenger do otherwise than get in mo-
tion, while leaving or entering a street-car? The sign is
one of the grossest illustrations of barbarous syntax I
have seen in many a mile traveled. The pronoun <it' is



BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

wanting. It should read, 'Passengers are forbidden to
enter or leave this car while it is in motion.' 'It' and
* is ' are two short words, and it would cost but little to
paint them in. As it is, the sign is not grammatical."

HISSED FROM THE HUSTINGS An Irish nobleman of
talents and literature was hissed from the hustings at a
Middlesex election, because in his speech he happened to
say, " We have laid the root to the axe of the tree of
liberty," instead of " We have laid the axe to the root
of the tree."

STUPIDITY A stupid boy was sent to see if the
butcher had pig's feet. Upon his return be said he
couldn't see; the butcher had his shoes on.

HIGHLAND WAITER to tourist inquiring about the
next boat: " Weel, I canna jist say whit time it wull
be, but if ye'll leave five meenits before ye see the boat
coming roon the p'int, ye'll jist be in time ta catch it."

Tourist: "All right, Donald; but I'm a bit short-
sighted; so if you will tell .me ten minutes before you
see it yourself, I will give you a shilling."

Nobody could expect the church to resign that
spiritual independence which it holds essential to relig-
ion, and which till now was never doubted, without a
struggle. HENRY COCKBURN (Italics should follow
"resign.")

SIMULTANEOUS "You say you heard both shots
fired?" asked a Texas lawyer, who was cross-examining
a witness in a murder case. "Yes, sah; I heard bofe
shots. Dey was fired simultaneously, sah." "Are you



10 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

sure of it? " " Yes, sab; bofe ob 'em was fired simul-
taneously. I wasn't more dan forty feet off atde time."
"But on tbe direct examination you swore the shots
were fired one after another, and now you say they were
fired simultaneously." " So day was, sah ; one after
an udder, simultaneous like."

MEDIOCRITY One of the Hampton pupils, a young
negro, wrote to request the editor of a local paper to
publish an account of an address he had made, and began
his letter as follows : " Knowing your mediocrity to be
of the most distinguished calibre, I respectfully solicit,"
etc.

No one who wishes to see the trend of public opin-
ion at a glance can afford to be without the paper.
(Italics should follow " see.")

PARISIAN INSCRIPTION To the everlasting memory
of Marie Ferry.

The railing around this grave is the handiwork of
her bereaved husband, Pierre Ferry, blacksmith, who
will execute all orders of a similar nature with cheapness
and dispatch. Chambers' Journal.

EPITAPH Erected to the memory of John Phil-
lips, accidentally shot as a mark of affection by his
brother. Ulster Churchyard.

HUMOR IN THE SCHOOL School examinations and
composition writing produce funny results the world
over. An Austrian teacher, Herr Gruser, has recently
published, in Vienna, a book called ' ' Humor in the
School," which is made up of instances of blunders col-



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 11

lected in the Austrian schools. The mind of the Aus-
trian public school pupil, judging from the instances
contained in this book, is of a peculiarly limpid and art-
less character. In an examination in history a pupil
was asked,

" How many Coalition wars can you name? "

"Four," he answered.

"Name them."

" The first, the second, the third, and the fourth."

A student of natural history, treating of the hiberna-
tion of animals, said that "the marmot sleeps so soundly
in the winter that he does not even awaken if he is struck
dead."

CHARGING THE JURY A newly-elected colored jus-
tice in South Carolina was hearing his first case. When
the jury arose and began moving toward the adjoining
room for consultation, one of the lawyers interposed and
said, " May it please your honor, you have not charged
the jury."

Whereupon the justice gathered up himself, and with
all possible dignity said,

" Gen'men of dis jury, as dis is de fust time I have
had you befo' me, I cha'ge each one of you one dollah
and a half."

QUESTIONABLE ENCOURAGEMENT He, exhibiting
sketch: " It's the best thing I ever did." She, sympa-
thetically : " Oh, well, you mustn't let that discourage
you."

EARS TO EAR A Bible, published by the Oxford
Press in 1810, has this curious verse, "Who hath ears
to ear, let him hear."



12 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

The author of an essay on the "Uses of Animals"
asserted that "the horse is serviceable to man by his
swiftness. How many brave soldiers owe their lives to
the swiftness with which their horses have carried them
away from battle-fields ! "

MIXED ORATORY "I repeat it," continued Mr.
Gubbins, "Mr. Chairman, sir, I repeat it ! What the
country wants is fewer men ! (renewed applause) and I
will add, more of them." (Loud and prolonged cheer-
ing-)

LEADS THE WORLD Gentleman: "Where is your
master, Patrick ? He was to have met me here at nine
o'clock, and it is now half an hour after that." P: "You
don't know him, sir." G: "Why, is he apt to be late
in his appointments?" P: "Late, is it? Bedad, in
bein' behoind hand he lades the worruld."

HIBERNIANISMS Among bulls of recent origin is one
of an Irish gardener, who, being in no sense in love
with his labors, forcibly observed that "Av Oi wasn't
paid for doin' this worruk, Oi wudn't do it av ye paid
me."

The ambition to desert the fields in which he had for
a long time labored led the same individual to seek pre-
ferment in the post-office, the position he had in view
being that of a carrier.

" But, Mike," said his employer, for whose influence
he had applied, "you cannot read."

"Thrue, sorr," replied the gardener; "but Oi
thought that phwat wid the letthers an' posthals comtn'
an' goin', Oi'd not be long alearnin'."

A number of patriotic sons of Erin were seated



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 13

around a table one night discussing a little of every-
thing, when one of them began a lamentation over a
light-weight silver dollar he had in his pocket.

"Th' hid an' th' tail's worn down that foine ye
wouldn't know th' hid from th' tail, if it wasn't that th'
hid's always on th' other soide."

DUNCE A school teacher spent a long time in mak-
ing one of his boys understand a very simple matter, and
then, to relieve his mind, said, "If it wasn't for me
you would be the biggest dunce in town."

BROKEN METAPHORS The Term Reports, when
they use the very language of Lord Kenyon, often con-
tain a series of broken metaphors.. For example, "If
an individual can break down any of those safe guards
which the Constitution has so wisely and so cautiously
erected, by poisoning the minds of the jury at a time
when they are called upon to decide, he will stab the ad-
ministration of justice in its most vital parts." HEARD,
Oddities of the Law.

The Board of Education has resolved to erect a
building large enough to accommodate five hundred
students three stories high. Wisconsin Paper.

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE Jones, the
other day, while looking at the skeleton of a donkey,
made a very natural quotation. "Ah," said he, "we
are fearfully and wonderfully made."

BY NO MEANS THE SAME A great deal depends
upon the way in whioh some words are used. A Ger-
man who applied to a New York business house for



14 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

employment, recommended himself thus: "The capac-
ity in which I like best to earn my living, and the one in
which I am most able, is that of a confidence man." He
meant "confidential man," and his mistake was rather
alarming to those to whom he wrote.

A FUNERAL SERMON A clergyman, preaching a
funeral sermon while the corpse lay before him, ex-
claimed, "Here, brethren, we have before us a living
witness and a standing monument of the frailty of human
hopes ! "

VERY SICK "Well, Misther McPhelim, how'd ye
schlape last night?" "Ah, bhad, Denny, bhad ! Un-
conscious a good dale of the toime." Harpers Bazar.

THE FALLACY or ACCENT The fallacy of accent
consists in any ambiguity arising from a misplaced ac-
cent or emphasis thrown upon some word of a sentence.
A ludicrous instance is liable to occur in reading Chap-
ter XIII. of the First Book of Kings, verse 27, where it
is said of the prophet, "And he spoke to his sons, saying,
Saddle me the ass, and they saddled him." JEVONS,
Logic.

ONE OF THE FINEST Some of the errors made by
witnesses are very amusing. A policeman said, in speak-
ing of his use of the mace, "I am willing to be contra-
dicted, your Honor, but not altogether; the law must be
dedicated; give him justice tampered with mercy."

"Nearly four hundred people committed suicide this
year on account of the weather." (And it did not im-
prove the weather a particle.) Burlington Havikeye.



BULLS AND BLUNDERS. 15

BADLY PUT "It's very kind of you, old fellow, to
come down to see me off." "Not at all, Bolus, I'm
only too glad to do it." The Epoch.

Mr. Carlyle has taught us that silence is golden in
thirty volumes. Fortnightly Jteview. (Italics should
follow "us.")

TYPOGRAPHICAL Sometimes mistakes have been
made by the officiousness of the printer or proof-reader
in endeavoring to correct what seemed to him mistakes
in the copy. In a quotation of Gay's well-known allu-
sion to Martha and Theresa Blount as "the fair-haired
Martha and Theresa brown," the printer thought proper
to supply brown with a capital B. Again in Pope's note
on "Measure for Measure," which states that the story
was taken from Cinthio, Dec. 8, Nov. 5 ( eighth decade
and fifth novel), the wise typo filled out these abbrevia-
tions so that they read December 8, November 5.

The mere running together of two sentences into one
paragraph may also be productive of unintentional amuse-
ment. A French newspaper had a good specimen of this
kind of mixture, "Dr. X. has been appointed head
physician to the Hospital de la Charite; orders have
been issued by the authorities for the immediate exten-
sion of the Cimetiere de Parnasse."

The machine printer, or "blacksmith," as he is
technically called, is a familiar figure in every printing
office. It is he who makes a hurried guess at the copy
before him without caring whether it makes sense or
not; who substitutes 'comic' for 'cosmic ;' 'human' for
'known;' 'plant' for 'planet;' 'I am better' for 'Gam-
betta;' ' no cows, no cream ' for 'no cross, no crown;'
and 'shaving the queen' for 'shoving the queer.' This



16 BULLS AND BLUNDERS.

is the sort of printer who made a distinguished traveler
die " in the richness of sin " instead of " the interior of
Asia," and who described a Chicago exquisite as one
< ' whose manners would alarm a drowning man," when
what the writer really said was that " they would adorn
a drawing-room." Monthly Illustrated American.

WATER RATES An Irishman, pressed by the col-
lector of a water company for payment of the water rate,
replied, "Sure, I pay tin shillings a year for water,
and many's the day it's off for a whole wake."

PROHIBITION The prohibitionist who wished to
say that " drunkenness is folly" must have been seriously
disconcerted when the printer made him announce that
"drunkenness is jolly," and we know that an editor who
wished to compliment a soldier as "a battle-scarred vet-
eran " was so deeply grieved when he found the types
had made him speak of " a battle-scared veteran" that
the next day he inserted an apology and an erratum
w T hich read, "the bottle-scarred veteran."

A PREVENTIVE POLICY Mrs. McGinty : " Did yez
say yer Denny's loife is not insured ? " Mrs. O'Raf-
ferty : "Nawindade." Mrs. McGinty : " Bedad, an'
him a workin' on th' rocks wid th' blasths an' things.
Shure, Moike has his loife insured, or bedad, many's the
toime he'd been kilt long ago."

A FOOLISH QUESTION Employer : "Well, Patrick,
which is the bigger fool, you or I?" "Faith, I
couldn't say, sorr ; but it's not meself."

In the English House of Commons : A witness had



BULLS AND BLUNDEKS. 17

been ordered to withdraw from the bar of the House, in
consequence of being intoxicated by the motion of an
honorable member. (Read, "In consequence of being
intoxicated, the witness, by the motion of an honorable
member, had," etc.)

PUNCTUATION Mind your stops is a good rule in
writing as well as in riding. So in public speaking, it
is a great thing to know when to stop and where to stop.
The third edition of a treatise on English punctuation
has been recently published, with all needful rules for
writers, but none for speakers. The author furnishes
the following example of the unintelligible, produced by
the want of pauses in the right places.
"Every lady in this land
Hath twenty nails upon each hand;
Five and twenty on hands and feet.


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