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Youthful Insults

Not many years before his death Mozart received a visit from a young composer who wanted to know how to write a symphony.

'You're very young,' Mozart said to him. 'Shouldn't you start by composing ballads?'

'But you were composing symphonies when you were only ten.'

'I know,' said Mozart, 'but I didn't have to ask how.'

When a young member of his college made an impertinent suggestion that did not meet with his approval. Dr. W. H. Thompson put the student in his place with the remark:

'We are none of us infallible not even the youngest among us.'

During his school career Theodore Roosevelt was set to learn a recitation and then asked to recite it in class.

'When Greece her knees in suppliance bends . . .' he began, but failed to get any further. 'When Greece her knees in suppliance bends. . .'he tried again, only to come to a halt in the same place. After a third attempt he stopped again.

'Roosevelt, grease her knees again and then perhaps she'll go,' suggested his teacher.

When, in 1939, it was announced that 37-year-old Thomas Dewey was going to stand for Republican nomination, Harold Ickes commented:

'Dewey has thrown his diaper into the ring.'

On a group of young actors rehearsing the opening fight scene in Romeo and Juliet for the first time:

'Very good gentlemen, but don't fidget.' Sir Henry Irving

When a group of rowdy students jeered at the venerable Cambridge don, called Father Abraham because of his long white hair, the elderly fellow replied:

'I fear you have made a mistake. I am Saul, the son of Kish, looking for my father's asses; and I have found them.'

After reading A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy Parker wrote of it in her Constant Reader column in the New Yorker:

Tonstant Weader fwowed up.'

Tell me, Doctor, what would you give to be as young and sprightly as I am?' one young upstart asked Samuel Johnson after they had dined at a friend's table, at which the young man had dominated the conversation.

'Why, sir,' replied Johnson, 'I should be almost content to be as young and foolish.'

On J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan:

'Oh for an hour of Herod.' Anthony Hope Hawkins

When one young lawyer accused John Maynard, Lord Commissioner of the Great Seal of England, of being so old that he had forgotten the law, Maynard answered:

True, sir, I have forgotten more law than you ever learned.'


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