When a candle is burnt so long as to leave a tolerably large wick, blow it out; a dense smoke, which is composed of hydrogen and carbon, will immediately rise. Then, if another candle, or lighted taper, be applied to the utmost verge of this smoke, a very strange phenomenon will take place. The flame of the lighted candle will be conveyed to that just blown out, as if it were borne on a cloud, or, rather, it will seem like a mimic flash of lightning proceeding at a slow rate.
— Alfred Rochefort, Healthful Sports for Boys, 1910
A barrister came into court one day with his wig all awry, which caused a general titter amongst his brother lawyers and the bench on which he turned to Curran, and said — “Do you see anything ridiculous in my wig?” Curran drily answered — “No, nothing but your head!”
– Irish Bubble and Squeak: A Selection of the Most Popular Irish Tales, 1854
A quill has been defined by someone as an instrument taken from the pinion of one goose to circulate the opinions of another. It may be added that the gabble of the first goose is very often more tolerable than that of the second.
– New Carolinian [Elizabeth City, New Carolina], November 10, 1897
Sublime and Ridiculous
We like fine writing when it is properly applied; so we appreciate the following burst of eloquence: “As the ostrich uses both legs and wings when the Arabian courser bounds in her rear — as the winged lightnings leap from the heavens when the thunderbolts are loosed — so does a little boy run when a big dog is after him.”
– Hopkinsville Kentuckian, January 13, 1912