Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/135

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17
THE READING-CLUB.

Glad as the May God's altar flame
With rosy wreaths of mutual love.
Unmindful who had lost or won,
They scorned the jargon of a name—
No North, no South, at Arlington.

James R. Randall.

A LAUGHING PHILOSOPHER.

Admiring my flowers, sir? P'raps you'd step inside the gate, and walk round my little place? It ain't big, but there's plenty of variety, — violets and cabbages, roses and artichokes. Any one that didn't care for flowers 'ud be sure to rind beauty in them young spring onions. People's ideas differ very much, there ain't a doubt of it. One man's very happy over a glass of whiskey and water, and another thinks every thing 'ud go straight in this 'ere world if we all drank tea and lemonade. And it's right enough: it keeps things even. We should have the world a very one-sided affair if everybody pulled the same way. Philosopher, am I? Well, I dunno. I've got a theory to be sure — every one has nowadays; and mine is, that there is a joke to be found in every mortal thing if only we look in the right place for it. But some people don't know how to look for it. Why, sir, if you'll believe it, I was talking to a man yesterday that couldn't see any thing to laugh at in the naval demonstration.

Am I independent? Well, I makes money by my fruit and vegetables, if that's what you mean. But there's so many ways of being independent. One man marries a woman with £20,000 a year, and calls that independence. Another votes on the strongest side, and calls that being independent. One takes up every new-fangled idea that comes out, and says he's independent. Some calls impudence independence. There's not a name as fits so many different articles. No! I've never bin married. Somehow, I don't think married men see the fun in every thing same as single ones. I don't mean to be disrespectful to the ladies, but I do think they enjoy a good cry more than a good