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

College Humor

The Retort Courteous

Grace Goodale, in “The Morningside,” Columbia

THE MASTER had come into the life class that morning in a more than ordinarily savage mood. He bullied the model and scolded the students. As he criticized his way down the room his comments became more severe and his voice louder, until sympathetic souls began to wonder what would happen when he came to Carol Dinwiddie. Carol Dinwiddie was a Southern girl, a girl with wide, innocent blue eyes, and thin, scarlet lips. Her face was delicate, almost to sharpness, with that ethereal, other-world sort of beauty that is almost painful to look at. She had little talent and less training, and her fellow students were used to hearing the master’s choicest sarcasm lavished upon her work. She received these criticisms in meek silence, but with a look of hurt surprise that would have melted any other man into a kindly lie. To-day her work was worse than usual. The master paused behind her chair for one speechless moment, then, pointing at her unlucky sketch, thundered out, “What-in-the-devil is that?”

Carol Dinwiddie looked up at him from her saintlike halo of loose golden hair, and responded in her soft, Southern drawl, “What-in-hell do you think it is?”