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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–1885)

Natral and Unnatral Aristokrats

NATUR furnishes all the nobleman we hav.

She holds the pattent.

Pedigree haz no more to do in making a man aktually grater than he iz, than a pekok’s feather in his hat haz in making him aktually taller.

This iz a hard phakt for some tew learn.

This mundane earth iz thik with male and femail ones who think they are grate bekause their ansesstor waz luckey in the sope or tobacco trade; and altho the sope haz run out sumtime since, they try tew phool themselves and other folks with the suds.

Sope-suds iz a prekarious bubble.

Thare ain’t nothing so thin on the ribs az a sope-suds aristokrat.

When the world stands in need ov an aristokrat, natur pitches one into it, and furnishes him papers without enny flaw in them.

Aristokrasy kant be transmitted—natur sez so—in the papers.

Titles are a plan got up bi humans tew assist natur in promulgating aristokrasy.

Titles ain’t ov enny more real use or necessity than dog collars are.

I hav seen dog collars that kost 3 dollars on dogs that wan’t worth, in enny market, over 87 1/2 cents.

This iz a grate waste of collar; and a grate damage tew the dog.

Natur don’t put but one ingredient into her kind ov aristokrasy, and that iz virtew.

She wets up the virtew, sumtimes, with a little pepper sass, just tew make it lively.

She sez that all other kinds are false; and i beleave natur.

I wish every man and woman on earth waz a bloated aristokrat—bloated with virtew.

Earthly manufaktured aristokrats are made principally out ov munny.

Forty years ago it took about 85 thousand dollars tew make a good-sized aristokrat, and innokulate his family with the same disseaze, but it takes now about 600 thousand tew throw the partys into fits.

Aristokracy, like of the other bred stuffs, haz riz.

It don’t take enny more virtew tew make an aristokrat now, nor clothes, than it did in the daze ov Abraham.

Virtew don’t vary.

Virtew is the standard ov values.

Clothes ain’t.

Titles ain’t.

A man kan go barefoot and be virtewous, and be an aristokrat.

Diogoneze waz an aristokrat.

His brown-stun front waz a tub, and it want on end, at that.

Moneyed aristokrasy iz very good to liv on in the present hi kondishun of kodphis and wearing apparel, provided yu see the munny, but if the munny kind of tires out and don’t reach yu, and you don’t git ennything but the aristokrasy, you hav got to diet, that’s all.

I kno ov thousands who are now dieting on aristokrasy.

They say it tastes good.

I presume they lie without knowing it.

Not enny ov this sort ov aristokrasy for Joshua Billings.

I never should think ov mixing munny and aristokrasy together; i will take mine separate, if yu pleze.

I don’t never expekt tew be an aristokrat, nor an angel; i don’t kno az i want tew be one.

I certainly should make a miserable angel.

I certainly never shall hav munny enuff tew make an aristokrat.

Raizing aristokrats iz a dredful poor bizzness; yu don’t never git your seed back.

One democrat iz worth more tew the world than 60 thousand manufaktured aristokrats.

An Amerikan aristokrat iz the most ridikilus thing in market. They are generally ashamed ov their ansesstors; and, if they hav enny, and live long enuff, they generally hav cause tew be ashamed ov their posterity.

I kno ov sevral familys in Amerika who are trieing tew liv on their aristokrasy. The money and branes giv out sumtime ago.

It iz hard skratching for them.

Yu kan warm up kold potatoze and liv on them, but yu kant warm up aristokratik pride and git even a smell.

Yu might az well undertake tew raze a krop ov korn in a deserted brikyard by manuring the ground heavy with tanbark.

Yung man, set down, and keep still—yu will hav plenty ov chances yet to make a phool ov yureself before yu die.