Plural of Égal
Gustav Masson, the late genial French Master of Harrow School, once told me that he asked one of his class one day the following question:
“What is the plural of égal?”
The boy addressed looked mischievously at his tutor — whose good nature every Harrow boy could depend on — and with eyes sparkling with merriment said:
— W. H. Howe, English Wit and Humour, 1898
John Magee, formerly the printer of the Dublin Evening Post, was full of shrewdness and eccentricity. Several prosecutions were instituted against him by the Government, and many “keen encounters of the tongue” took place on these occasions between him and John Scott, Lord Clonmel, who was at the period Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. In addressing the Court in his own defence, Magee had occasion to allude to some public character, who was better known by a familiar designation. The official gravity of Clonmel was all disturbed; and he, with bilious asperity, reproved the printer, by saying, “Mr. Magee, we allow no nicknames in this Court.” “Very well, John Scott,” was the reply.
Leicester Chronicle or Commercial and Leicestershire [Leicester, England], November 10, 1827
The Toad and the Monkey
In Madrid, a newspaper is published under the title of “The Toad of the Monkey” and self-described to be “A Journal offensive, revolutionary, and disgusting, edited by a brutal society, and addressed to brutes.”
— Sunbury American [Sunbury, Pennsylvania], March 11, 1843
The cynic is one who never sees a quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes—openly bad and secretly bad.
All virtue and generosity and disinterestedness are merely the appearance of good; but selfish at the bottom. He holds that no man does a good thing except for profit. The effect of his conversation upon your feelings is to chill and sear them; to send you away sour and morose. His criticisms and hints fall indiscriminately upon every lovely thing, like frost upon flowers.
— Henry Ward Beecher, Lectures to Young Men: On Various Important Subjects, 1856