Category: Humorous

Wardon Allan Curtis – The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton

It was a lowering and gloomy night in the early part of the present century. Mr. Edward Middleton, a gallant youth, who had but lately passed his twenty-third year, was faring northward along the southern part of that famous avenue of commerce, Clark Street, in the city of Chicago, wending his way toward the emporium […]

Tobias Smollett – The Adventures of Roderick Random

Of my Birth and Education I was born in the northern part of this united kingdom, in the house of my grandfather, a gentleman of considerable fortune and influence, who had on many occasions signalised himself in behalf of his country; and was remarkable for his abilities in the law, which he exercised with great […]

Tobias Smollett – The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

An Account of Mr. Gamaliel Pickle—The Disposition of his Sister described—He yields to her Solicitations, and returns to the Country. In a certain county of England, bounded on one side by the sea, and at the distance of one hundred miles from the metropolis, lived Gamaliel Pickle, esq.; the father of that hero whose fortunes […]

Thorne Smith – Turnabout

Clad in a fragile but frolicsome nightgown which disclosed some rather interesting feminine topography, Sally Willows sat on the edge of her bed and bent a pair of large brown eyes on her husband. This had been going on for some minutes—this cold dispassionate appraisal. At the present moment a growing sense of exasperation was […]

Thorne Smith – Topper

For some minutes now Scollops had been gazing searchingly at Mr. Topper. And Mr. Topper was troubled. Not definitely troubled, but vaguely so, which to some persons is the most troublesome form of trouble. Mr. Topper was one of such persons. In fact he was highly representative of the type. So free from trouble had […]

Thorne Smith – Topper Takes a Trip

There was Topper, and there was the Mediterranean. A magnificent spectacle, that—Topper and the Mediterranean. Kindred spirits well met, contemplating each other across an alluring girdle of sand. Not a large man, Topper—Cosmo Topper. Nor yet a small man. Certainly not a small. A comfortable man, rather. Slightly plump, if anything, and clad in a […]

Thorne Smith – The Stray Lamb

MR. T. LAWRENCE LAMB weaved his long, shad-bellied body down the aisle and, as one sorely stricken in affliction, crumpled into a seat. He hoped prayerfully that the other half of it would remain unoccupied. He hoped even more prayerfully that if it should be occupied it would not be by anyone he knew even […]

Thorne Smith – The Night Life of the Gods

The small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion—a singularly self-centred sort of explosion. ‘Well, thank God, that’s over,’ said Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert, swathing her sentence in a sigh intended to convey an impression of hard-pressed fortitude. With bleak eyes she surveyed the fragments […]

Thorne Smith – The Glorious Pool

THE old gentleman with the resplendently starched cuffs moved into the room. In the kindly half light of the long, low apartment he stood poised like an ancient ramrod, worn and polished from long years of campaigning. About his person clung a pleasantly subtle suggestion of good soap and even better cigars. An expensive and […]

Thorne Smith – The Bishops Jaegers

BEFORE hoisting them over his sturdy, ecclesiastical shanks the Bishop contemplated his drawers with nonsectarian satisfaction. It was not the Bishop’s wont thus to dally with his drawers. Far from it. As a rule the Bishop paid scant heed either to his own drawers or to those of his parishioners. He took it for granted […]

Thorne Smith – Skin and Bones

WHEN Quintus Bland set out to enjoy the evening he had not the vaguest idea he was destined to become a skeleton. Yet that is exactly what he did become—an impressive structure composed entirely of bone as far as the eye could reach. Had fate vouchsafed the man some small warning of the radical departure […]

Thorne Smith – Rain in the Doorway

THE rain falling not more than a foot and a half from the geographical tip of the nose out-jutting from the face in the doorway had in it a quality falsely apologetic but, nevertheless, stubbornly persistent despair. It seeped under one’s nerves, that rain, and left them uncomfortably soggy. “Like a hypocritical old woman selfishly […]

Thomas Hardy – The Hand of Ethelberta

Young Mrs. Petherwin stepped from the door of an old and well-appointed inn in a Wessex town to take a country walk. By her look and carriage she appeared to belong to that gentle order of society which has no worldly sorrow except when its jewellery gets stolen; but, as a fact not generally known, […]

Thomas Anstey Guthrie – The Brass Bottle

“This day six weeks—just six weeks ago!” Horace Ventimore said, half aloud, to himself, and pulled out his watch. “Half-past twelve—what was I doing at half-past twelve?” As he sat at the window of his office in Great Cloister Street, Westminster, he made his thoughts travel back to a certain glorious morning in August which […]

Sinclair Lewis – It Cant Happen Here

The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had been reserved for the Ladies’ Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club. Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had […]

Sinclair Lewis – Babbitt

THE towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. They were neither citadels nor churches, but frankly and beautifully office-buildings. The mist took pity on the fretted structures of earlier generations: the Post Office with its shingletortured mansard, the […]

Samuel Butler – Erewhon, or Over The Range

If the reader will excuse me, I will say nothing of my antecedents, nor of the circumstances which led me to leave my native country; the narrative would be tedious to him and painful to myself. Suffice it, that when I left home it was with the intention of going to some new colony, and […]

Saki – The Toys of Peace and Other Papers

“When peace comes,” wrote an officer of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers, the regiment in which Munro was a private and in which he rose to the rank of lance-sergeant, “Saki will give us the most wonderful of all the books about the war.” But that book of the war will not be written; for Munro […]

Saki – The Chronicles of Clovis

“All hunting stories are the same,” said Clovis; “just as all Turf stories are the same, and all—” “My hunting story isn’t a bit like any you’ve ever heard,” said the Baroness. “It happened quite a while ago, when I was about twenty-three. I wasn’t living apart from my husband then; you see, neither of […]

Saki – Beasts and Super-Beasts

“The Open Window,” “The Schartz-Metterklume Method,” and “Clovis on Parental Responsibilities,” originally appeared in the Westminster Gazette, “The Elk” in the Bystander, and the remaining stories in the Morning Post. To the Editors of these papers I am indebted for their courtesy in allowing me to reprint them. H. H. M. Chapter 2 The She-Wolf […]

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