"I have been reading up on the laws dealing with regicide," I heard Mark Twain tell Minister Phelps one morning in dead seriousness, "and do you know what they are going to do with me? Three or four things.
"First, they will cut my right hand off, and then hit me on the mouth with it, by way of reproof, I suppose. Second, they'll hari-kari me and build a little fire to do my insides brown—all the time keeping me alive for the rest of the show. That will take some stimulants, I reckon.
"Third, they'll hang me by the neck until I am stone dead. Whether I will get my inards and my hand back before they send me to wormland, I don't know."
"What are you talking about?" queried Mr. Phelps.
"Why, you made me admit yesterday to Count Seckendorff that the judge who sent Charles the First to the block was a near relative of mine. Now, as soon as Willie hears about that, he will have my hands, my inards or anything else he craves of my anatomy."
Of course, everybody roared, and Mr. Phelps had to explain that at dinner the night before, one of the guests, the nobleman mentioned, who was the favorite of the Empress Frederick, had boasted a lot of his ancestry; grandfathers and uncles of his had been present at every great battle the world over and