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- The Devils Dictionary - 20/46 -


rated as of worth in measure of their serviceableness to that end; and their possessors should take rank in agreement thereto, neither the lord of an unproducing manor, howsoever broad and ancient, nor he who bears an unremunerate dignity, nor yet the pauper favorite of a king, being esteemed of level excellency with him whose riches are of daily accretion; and hardly should they whose wealth is barren claim and rightly take more honor than the poor and unworthy."

INCOMPATIBILITY, n. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination. Incompatibility may, however, consist of a meek-eyed matron living just around the corner. It has even been known to wear a moustache.

INCOMPOSSIBLE, adj. Unable to exist if something else exists. Two things are incompossible when the world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both -- as Walt Whitman's poetry and God's mercy to man. Incompossibility, it will be seen, is only incompatibility let loose. Instead of such low language as "Go heel yourself -- I mean to kill you on sight," the words, "Sir, we are incompossible," would convey and equally significant intimation and in stately courtesy are altogether superior.

INCUBUS, n. One of a race of highly improper demons who, though probably not wholly extinct, may be said to have seen their best nights. For a complete account of _incubi_ and _succubi_, including _incubae_ and _succubae_, see the _Liber Demonorum_ of Protassus (Paris, 1328), which contains much curious information that would be out of place in a dictionary intended as a text-book for the public schools. Victor Hugo relates that in the Channel Islands Satan himself -- tempted more than elsewhere by the beauty of the women, doubtless -- sometimes plays at _incubus_, greatly to the inconvenience and alarm of the good dames who wish to be loyal to their marriage vows, generally speaking. A certain lady applied to the parish priest to learn how they might, in the dark, distinguish the hardy intruder from their husbands. The holy man said they must feel his brown for horns; but Hugo is ungallant enough to hint a doubt of the efficacy of the test.

INCUMBENT, n. A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.

INDECISION, n. The chief element of success; "for whereas," saith Sir Thomas Brewbold, "there is but one way to do nothing and divers way to do something, whereof, to a surety, only one is the right way, it followeth that he who from indecision standeth still hath not so many chances of going astray as he who pusheth forwards" -- a most clear and satisfactory exposition on the matter. "Your prompt decision to attack," said Genera Grant on a certain occasion to General Gordon Granger, "was admirable; you had but five minutes to make up your mind in." "Yes, sir," answered the victorious subordinate, "it is a great thing to be know exactly what to do in an emergency. When in doubt whether to attack or retreat I never hesitate a moment -- I toss us a copper." "Do you mean to say that's what you did this time?" "Yes, General; but for Heaven's sake don't reprimand me: I disobeyed the coin."

INDIFFERENT, adj. Imperfectly sensible to distinctions among things.

"You tiresome man!" cried Indolentio's wife, "You've grown indifferent to all in life." "Indifferent?" he drawled with a slow smile; "I would be, dear, but it is not worth while."

Apuleius M. Gokul

INDIGESTION, n. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of the western wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force: "Plenty well, no pray; big bellyache, heap God."

INDISCRETION, n. The guilt of woman.

INEXPEDIENT, adj. Not calculated to advance one's interests.

INFANCY, n. The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, "Heaven lies about us." The world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.

INFERIAE,n. [Latin] Among the Greeks and Romans, sacrifices for propitiation of the _Dii Manes_, or souls of the dead heroes; for the pious ancients could not invent enough gods to satisfy their spiritual needs, and had to have a number of makeshift deities, or, as a sailor might say, jury-gods, which they made out of the most unpromising materials. It was while sacrificing a bullock to the spirit of Agamemnon that Laiaides, a priest of Aulis, was favored with an audience of that illustrious warrior's shade, who prophetically recounted to him the birth of Christ and the triumph of Christianity, giving him also a rapid but tolerably complete review of events down to the reign of Saint Louis. The narrative ended abruptly at the point, owing to the inconsiderate crowing of a cock, which compelled the ghosted King of Men to scamper back to Hades. There is a fine mediaeval flavor to this story, and as it has not been traced back further than Pere Brateille, a pious but obscure writer at the court of Saint Louis, we shall probably not err on the side of presumption in considering it apocryphal, though Monsignor Capel's judgment of the matter might be different; and to that I bow -- wow.

INFIDEL, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does. (See GIAOUR.) A kind of scoundrel imperfectly reverent of, and niggardly contributory to, divines, ecclesiastics, popes, parsons, canons, monks, mollahs, voodoos, presbyters, hierophants, prelates, obeah-men, abbes, nuns, missionaries, exhorters, deacons, friars, hadjis, high-priests, muezzins, brahmins, medicine-men, confessors, eminences, elders, primates, prebendaries, pilgrims, prophets, imaums, beneficiaries, clerks, vicars-choral, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, preachers, padres, abbotesses, caloyers, palmers, curates, patriarchs, bonezs, santons, beadsmen, canonesses, residentiaries, diocesans, deans, subdeans, rural deans, abdals, charm-sellers, archdeacons, hierarchs, class-leaders, incumbents, capitulars, sheiks, talapoins, postulants, scribes, gooroos, precentors, beadles, fakeers, sextons, reverences, revivalists, cenobites, perpetual curates, chaplains, mudjoes, readers, novices, vicars, pastors, rabbis, ulemas, lamas, sacristans, vergers, dervises, lectors, church wardens, cardinals, prioresses, suffragans, acolytes, rectors, cures, sophis, mutifs and pumpums.

INFLUENCE, n. In politics, a visionary _quo_ given in exchange for a substantial _quid_.

INFALAPSARIAN, n. One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have sinned unless he had a mind to -- in opposition to the Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person's fall was decreed from the beginning. Infralapsarians are sometimes called Sublapsarians without material effect upon the importance and lucidity of their views about Adam.

Two theologues once, as they wended their way To chapel, engaged in colloquial fray -- An earnest logomachy, bitter as gall, Concerning poor Adam and what made him fall. "'Twas Predestination," cried one -- "for the Lord Decreed he should fall of his own accord." "Not so -- 'twas Free will," the other maintained, "Which led him to choose what the Lord had ordained." So fierce and so fiery grew the debate That nothing but bloodshed their dudgeon could sate; So off flew their cassocks and caps to the ground And, moved by the spirit, their hands went round. Ere either had proved his theology right By winning, or even beginning, the fight, A gray old professor of Latin came by, A staff in his hand and a scowl in his eye, And learning the cause of their quarrel (for still As they clumsily sparred they disputed with skill Of foreordination freedom of will) Cried: "Sirrahs! this reasonless warfare compose: Atwixt ye's no difference worthy of blows. The sects ye belong to -- I'm ready to swear Ye wrongly interpret the names that they bear. _You_ -- Infralapsarian son of a clown! -- Should only contend that Adam slipped down; While _you_ -- you Supralapsarian pup! -- Should nothing aver but that Adam slipped up. It's all the same whether up or down You slip on a peel of banana brown. Even Adam analyzed not his blunder, But thought he had slipped on a peal of thunder!

G.J.

INGRATE, n. One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise an object of charity.

"All men are ingrates," sneered the cynic. "Nay," The good philanthropist replied; "I did great service to a man one day Who never since has cursed me to repay, Nor vilified."

"Ho!" cried the cynic, "lead me to him straight -- With veneration I am overcome, And fain would have his blessing." "Sad your fate -- He cannot bless you, for AI grieve to state This man is dumb."

Ariel Selp

INJURY, n. An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.

INJUSTICE, n. A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back.

INK, n. A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime. The properties of ink are peculiar and contradictory: it may be used to make reputations and unmake them; to blacken them and to make them white; but it is most generally and acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones of an edifice of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal quality of the material. There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of. Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid


The Devils Dictionary - 20/46

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