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Charles William Eliot & Harvard University - A Storehouse Of Knowledge
At a dinner held in his honor one evening, Harvard president Charles W. Eliot was regaled by toasts from several professors. "Since you became president," one colleague enthused, "Harvard has become a storehouse of knowledge.""What you say is true, but I can claim little credit for it," Eliot replied. "It is simply that the freshmen bring so much in and the seniors take so little away!" [The original admission requirements for Harvard required that scholars be "able to understand Tully, or such like classical author, extempore and make and speak true Latin in verse and prose, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the Greek tongue." ]
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Alexander Woollcott: Are you trying to cross me?
The critic Alexander Woollcott was famed for his ample girth. In the midst of a heated argument, he once asked Howard Dietz: "Are you trying to cross me?"Dietz's reply? "Not without an alpenstock!"
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Alfred North Whitehead on a chemist's election at Harvard
When, in 1933, Alfred North Whitehead expressed surprise that James Bryant Conant—an organic chemist—had been elected president of Harvard, he was reminded by a colleague that the great Charles W. Eliot (president from 1869-1909) had also been a chemist. "Ah," Whitehead replied, "but he was a bad chemist."
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 Everard Digby - Thou liest?
"'Twas Sir Everard Digby's ill fate to suffer in the Powder plott [the plot to blow up the English Houses of Parliment in 1605, a crime for which Guy Fawkes was later executed]. When his heart was pluct out by the Executioner (who secundum formam, cryed, Here is the heart of a Traytor!) it is credibly reported, he replied, 'Thou liest!'" [Needless to say, this tale may be apocryphal.]
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Castlereagh's Epitaph
Castlereagh was not universally admired for his key role in the formation of a political union between Ireland and Great Britain in 1800. Among his detractors was George Gordon (Lord Byron), who is said to have written Castlereagh's epitaph:Posterity will ne'er surveya nobler grave than this.Here lie the bones of CastlereaghStop, traveler, and piss.
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Samuel Johnson - Spartan Accomodation
Dr. Johnson possessed an intense distaste for all things Scottish. On an excursion to Bristol, Johnson and his biographer James Boswell stayed at an inn which fell rather short of their expectations. Later, while writing in his journal, Boswell wondered aloud how he might describe it. "Describe it, sir?" Johnson replied. "Why, it was so bad, that Boswell wished to be in Scotland!"[In 1985, a Denver hotel published an ad offering guests a "Free Hotel Room" in large trpe. The catch (spelled out in the fine print below)? "Parking $55.00/night (Parking is mandatory)."]
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Joseph II - Close Shave
Traveling in France in 1781, the Holy Roman emperor, Joseph II, reached the town of Bethel ahead of his entourage. Asked, by the hostess at his inn whether he belonged to the emperor's party, he replied, "No, I precede it." Shortly thereafter she passed his room while he was shaving and inquired whether he was in the emperor's employ. "Yes," he replied, "I shave him on occasion."
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David Lloyd George - Unearned Increment
Following his marriage to the heiress Grace Joynson in 1895, William Hicks adopted the name Joynson and became William Joynson-Hicks. One day some time later, he interrupted David Lloyd George, his political nemesis, while the latter was speaking in a budget debate. "Would the right honorable gentleman," he began, "define what he means by the term 'unearned increment'?" "Certainly," Lloyd George replied, pondering for a moment, "unearned increment is the hyphen in the honorable gentleman's name."
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Louis Antoine Jullien - long baptism
Shortly after Louis Antoine Jullien was born (at Sisteron in the Basses Alpes), his father, a violinist, was invited to play a concerto with the local Sisteron Philharmonic Society orchestra. Jullien's father graciously invite the orchestra to choose one of its members to become the child's godfather. A problem arose, of course, when each of the orchestra's thirty-six members vied for the privilege. An agreement was finally reached whereby the infant—held by the society's secretary at the font—was duly baptized with all thirty-six names: Louis George Maurice Adolphe Roche Albert Abel Antonio Alexandre Noë Jean Lucien Daniel Eugène Joseph-le-brun Joseph-Barême Thomas Thomas Thomas-Thomas Pierre Arbon Pierre-Maurel Barthélemi Artus Alphonse Bertrand Dieudonné Emanuel Josué Vincent Luc Michel Jules-de-la-plane Jules-Bazin Julio César ...
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Jean Jusserand & Teddy Roosevelt Ford A Stream
One day during his tenure as France's ambassador to Washington, Jean Jules Jusserand—wearing an afternoon suit, top hat, and kid gloves—joined president Theodore Roosevelt and his entourage for a casual stroll. Roosevelt, however, outfitted in a rough tweed suit and rugged boots, soon turned the event into a virtual marathon, bounding off cross-country, leavnng his weary companions sruggling to keep up. When the party encountered a stream which was too wide to jump and too deep to ford, Roosevelt insisted that they swim across. "We'd better strip," he added, "so as not to wet our things in the creek." His French honor at stake, the urbane Jusserand dutifully removed his suit and hat. And his gloves? "With your permission, Mr. ...