Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Useful Sword


Jules Simon, when some one complained about the awkwardness of the academician's sword, remarked, "It is a more useful instrument than one is apt to think." Then he explained.

He was poor. His master, Cousin, was stingy, but talkative. Unable to pay for a dinner, he once entered Cousin's house to meet the odor of roast chicken and determined to share in the feast. He would starve the master into asking him to dine. He grew eloquent. Cousin was for a time carried away by his favorite topic, but soon grew uneasy. Finally he arose and showed his pupil to the door. "But," says Simon, "in the antechamber the odor was so strong that it gave me the courage of despair, and I exclaimed, 'M. Cousin, I have not a penny left, and I am hungry!' Cousin hesitated — no man was more lavish of words, none less so of everything else. But even his heart was touched. Impulsively he took my arm, exclaiming, 'Allons le debrocher!' And together we went into the kitchen. There I saw a fine chicken, just roasted to a rich golden hue, and spitted — on my master's academic sword." — San Francisco Argonaut.

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