From Joe Miller’s Jest Book, which is a pirated but exact version of The Jest Book, selected and arranged by Mark Lemon, except for some Americanized spellings; New York : Hurst & Co., no date; pp. 22-45.
( Jests 100-199. )
AN Irish counsellor having lost his cause, which had been tried before three judges, one of whom was esteemed a very able lawyer, and the other two but indifferent, some of the other barristers were very merry on the occasion. “Well, now,” says he, “I have lost. But who could help it, when there were an hundred judges on the bench? — one and two ciphers.”
AN Irish clergyman having gone to visit the portraits of the Scottish kings in Holyrood House, observed one of the monarchs of a very youthful appearance, while his son was depicted with a long beard, and wore the traits of extreme old age. “Santa Maria,” exclaimed the good Hibernian, “is it possible that this gentleman was an old man when his father was born ! ! ”
ONE day James the Second, in the middle of his courtiers, 23 made use of this assertion : “I never knew a modest man make his way at court.” To this observation one of the gentlemen present boldly replied : “And, please your majesty, whose fault is that ? ” The king was struck, and remained silent.
ONE of the wooden mitres, carved by Grinly Gibbons over a prebend’s stall in the cathedral church of Canterbury, happening to become loose, Jessy White, the surveyor of that edifice, inquired of the dean whether he should make it fast : “For, perhaps,” said Jessy, “it may fall on your reverence’s head.” — “Well : Jessy,” answered the humorous Cantab, “suppose it does fall on my head, I don’t know that a mitre falling on my head would hurt it.”
A PERSON, disputing with Peter Pindar, said, in great heat, that he did not like to be thought a scoundrel. “I wish,” replied Peter, “that you had as great a dislike to being a scoundrel.”
THERE was much sound palpable argument in the speech of a country lad to an idler, who boasted his ancient family : “So much the worse for you,” said the peasant; “as we ploughmen say, ‘the older the seed the worse the crop.’ ”
MR. BETHEL, an Irish barrister, when the question of the Union, was in debate, like all the junior barristers published pamphlets upon the subject. Mr. Lysaght met this pamphleteer in the hall of the Four Courts, and in a friendly way, said, “Zounds ! Bethel, I wonder you never told me you had published a pamphlet on the Union. The one I saw contained some of the best things I have yet seen in any pamphlet upon the subject.” — “I’m very 24 proud you think so,” said the other, rubbing his hands with satisfaction; “and pray, what are the things that pleased you so much ?” — “Why,” replied Lysaght, “as I passed by a pastry-cook’s shop this morning, I saw a girl come out with three hot mince-pies wrapped up in one of your works.
A RIGHT reverend prelate, himself a man of extreme good-nature, was frequently much vexed in the spirit by the proud, froward, perverse, and untractable temper of his next vicar. The latter, after an absence much longer than usual, one day paid a visit to the bishop, who kindly inquired the cause of his absence, and was answered by the vicar, that he had been confined to his house for some time past by an obstinate stiffness in his knee. “I am glad of that,” replied the prelate. “ ’t is a good symptom that the disorder has changed place, for I had a long time thought it immovably settled in your NECK.”
A FARM was lately advertised in a newspaper, in which all the beauty of the situation, fertility of the soil, and salubrity of the air were detailed in the richest flow of rural description, which was further enhanced with this, — N. B. There is not an attorney within fifteen miles of the neighborhood.
A PAINTER in the Waterloo Road had the following announcement displayed on the front of his house : “The Acme of Stencil !” A “learned Theban” in the same line in an adjoining street, in order to outdo the “old original” stenciller, thus set forth his pretensions : “Stencilling in all its branches performed in the very height of acme! ”
COLLINS the poet, coming into a town the day after a young lady, of whom he was fond, had left it, said, how unlucky he was that he had come a day after the fair.25
A CERTAIN lodging-house was very much infested by vermin. A gentleman who slept there one night, told the landlady so in the morning, when she said, “La, sir, we have n’t a single bug in the house.” — “No, ma’am,” said he, “they’re all married, and have large families too.”
A STUPID person one day seeing a man of learning enjoying the pleasures of the table, said, “So, sir, philosophers, I see, can indulge in the greatest delicacies.” — “Why not,” replied the other, “do you think Providence intended all the good things for fools ?”
A GIRL forced by her parents into a disagreeable match with an old man, whom she detested, when the clergyman came to that part of the service where the bride is asked if she consents to take the bridegroom for her husband, said, with great simplicity. “Oh dear, no, sir; but you are the first person who has asked my opinion about the matter.”
IT was said of a great calumniator, and a frequenter of other person’s tables, that he never opened his mouth but at another man’s expense.
WHEN Jefferies was told that the Prince of Orange would very soon land, and that a manifesto, stating his inducements, objects, &c., was already written. “Pray, my Lord Chief Justice,” said a gentleman present, “what do you think will be the heads of this manifesto ?” — “Mine will be one,” replied he.
A GENTLEMAN travelling, was accosted by a man walking along the road, who begged the favor of him to put 26 his great coat, which he found very heavy, into his carriage. “With all my heart,” said the gentleman; “but if we should not be travelling to the same place, how will you get your coat ?” — “Monsieur,” answered the man with great naïveté, “ I shall be in it.”
SIR THOMAS MORE, the famous Chancellor, who preserved his humor and wit to the last moment, when he came to be executed on Tower-hill, the headsman demanded his upper garment as his fee; “Ah ! friend,” said he, taking off his cap, “that, I think, is my upper garment.”
A YOUNG lady marrying a man she loved, and leaving many friends in town, to retire with him into the country, Mrs. D. said prettily, “She has turned one-and-twenty shillings into a guinea.”
TALK no more of the lucky escape of the head
From a flint so unluckily thrown;
I think very different, with thousands indeed,
’Twas a lucky escape for the stone.
WHEN Mr. Wilkes was in the meridian of his popularity, a man in a porter-house, classing himself as an eminent literary character, was asked by one of his companions what right he had to assume such a title. “Sir,” says he, “I’d have you know, I had the honor of chalking number 45 upon every door between Temple Bar and Hyde Park-corner.”
AN Englishman and a Welshman, disputing in whose country was the best living, said the Welshman, “There 27 is such noble housekeeping in Wales, that I have known above a dozen cooks employed at one wedding dinner.” — “Ay,” answered the Englishman, “that was because every man toasted his own cheese.”
A FELLOW on the quay, thinking to quiz a poor Irishman, asked him, “How do the potatoes eat now, Pat ?” The Irish lad, who happened to have a shillalah in his hand, answered, “O ! they eat very well, my jewel, would you like to taste the stalk? ” and knocking the inquirer down, coolly walked off.
IN the great dispute between South and Sherlock, the latter, who was a great courtier, said, “His adversary reasoned well, but he barked like a cur.” To which the other replied, “That fawning was the property of a cur as well as barking.”
A LEARNED counsel in the Exchequer spoke of a nolle prosēqui. “Consider, sir,” said Baron Alderson, “that this is the last day of term, and don’t make things unnecessarily long.”
THE sloth, in its wild state, spends its life in trees, and never leaves them but from force or accident. The eagle to the sky, the mole to the ground, the sloth to the tree; but what is most extraordinary, he lives not upon the branches, but under them. He moves suspended, rests suspended, sleeps suspended, and passes his life in suspense, — like a young clergyman distantly related to a bishop.
SOON after Professor Porson returned from a visit to the Continent, at a party where he happened to be present, 28 a gentleman solicited a sketch of his journey. Porson immediately gave the following extemporaneous one:
“I went to Frankfort and got drunk
With that most learned professor, Brunck;
I went to Worts and got more drunken
With that more learned professor, Ruhnken.”
THE late Lord Kelly had a very red face. “Pray, my lord,” said Foote to him, “come and look over my garden-wall, — my cucumbers are very backward.”
MAN is a sort of tree which we are too apt to judge of by the bark.
A GENTLEMAN, with the same Christian and surname, took lodgings in the same house with James Smith. The consequence was, eternal confusion of calls and letters. Indeed, the postman had no alternative but to share the letters equally between the two. “This is intolerable, sir,” said our friend, “and you must quit.” — “Why am I to quit more than you ?” — “Because you are James the Second — and must abdicate.”
THE advice given by an Irishman to his English friend, on introducing him to a regular Tipperary row, was, “Wherever you see a head, hit it.”
LADY HARDWICKE, the lady of the Chancellor, loved money as well as he did, and what he got she saved. The purse in which the Great Seal is carried is of very expensive embroidery, and was provided, during his time, every year. Lady Hardwicke took care that it should not be provided for the seal-bearer’s profit, for she annually 29 retained them herself, having previously ordered that the velvet should be of the length of one of the state rooms at Wimpole. So many of them were saved, that at length she had enough to hang the state-room, and make curtains for the bed. Lord Hardwicke used to say, “There was not such a purser in the navy.”
WHEN Maurice Margarot was tried at Edinburgh for sedition, the Lord Justice asked him, “Hae you ony counsel, mon ?” — “No.” — “Do you want to hae ony appointed ?” — “I only want an interpreter to make me understand what your lordships say.”
ERSKINE, examining a bumptious fellow, asked him, if he were not a rider ? “I’m a traveller, sir,” replied the witness, with an air of offended importance. “Indeed, sir. And, pray, are you addicted to the failing usually attributed to travelers ?”
A PRISONER in The Fleet sent to his creditor to let him know that he had a proposal to make, which he believed would be for their mutual benefit. Accordingly, the creditor calling on him to hear it : “I have been thinking,” said he, “that it is a very idle thing for me to lie here, and put you to the expense of seven groats a week. My being so chargeable to you has given me great uneasiness, and who knows what it may cost you in the end ! Therefore, what I propose is this : You shall let me out of prison, and instead of seven groats, you shall allow me only eighteenpence a week, and the other tenpence shall go towards the discharging of the debt.”
( On the Column to the Duke of York’s Memory. )
IN former times the illustrious dead were burned,
Their hearts preserved in sepulchre inurned ;
30 This column, then, commemorates the part
Which custom makes us single out — the heart ;
You ask, “How by a column this is done ?”
I answer, “ ’T is a hollow thing of stone.”
A DEPENDANT was praising his patron for many virtues which he did not possess. “I will do all in my power to prevent you lying,” answered he.
JERROLD and some friends were dining in a private room at a tavern. After dinner the landlord informed the company that the house was partly under repair, and requested that a stranger might be allowed to take a chop at a separate table in the apartment. The company assented, and the stranger, a person of commonplace appearance, was introduced, ate his chop in silence, and then fell asleep, snoring so loudly and inharmoniously that conversation was disturbed. Some gentlemen of the party made a noise, and the stranger, starting from his sleep, shouted to Jerrold, “I know you, Mr. Jerrold; but you shall not make a butt of me !” — “Then don’t bring your hog’s head in here,” was the prompt reply.
A YOUNG author reading a tragedy, perceived his auditor very often pull off his hat at the end of a line, and asked him the reason. “I cannot pass a very old acquaintance,” replied the critic, “without that civility.”
A NOBLEMAN taking leave when going as ambassador, the king said to him, “The principal instruction you require is, to observe a line of conduct exactly the reverse to that of your predecessor.” — “Sire,” replied he, “I will endeavor so to act that you shall not have occasion to give my successor the like advice.”31
THE attempt to run over the King of the French with a cab, looked like a conspiracy to overturn monarchy by a common-wheel.
ONE speaking of the fire of London, said, “Cannon Street roared, Bread Street was burnt to a crust, Crooked Lance was burnt straight, Addle Hill staggered, Creed Lane would not believe it till it came, Distaff Lane had sprung a fine thread, Ironmonger Lane was redhot, Sea-coal Lane was burnt to a cinder, Soper Lane was in the suds, the Poultry was too much singed, Thames Street was dried up, Wood Street was burnt to ashes, Shoe Lane was burnt to boot, Snow Hill was melted down, Pudding Lane and Pye Corner were over baked.”
THE speeches made by P—— are sound,
It cannot be denied ;
Granted ; and then it will be found,
They’ re little else beside.
A DEALER once, selling a nag to a gentleman, frequently observed, with emphatic earnestness, that “he was an honest horse.” After the purchase the gentleman asked him what he meant by an honest horse. “Why, sir,” replied the seller, “whenever I rode him he always threatened to throw me, and he certainly never deceived me.”
BISHOPS SHERLOCK and HOADLY were both freshmen of the same year, at Catherine Hall, Cambridge. The classical subject in which they were first lectured was Tully’s Offices, and one morning Hoadly received a compliment from the tutor for the excellence of his construing. Sherlock, a little vexed at the preference shown to his rival, 32 said, when they left the lecture-room, “Ben, you made good use of L’Estrange’s translation to-day.” — “Why, no, Tom,” retorted Hoadly, “I did not, for I had not got one; and I forgot to borrow yours, which, I am told, is the only one in the college.”
MR. HENRY ERSKINE, being one day in London, in company with the Duchess of Gordon, said to her, “Are we never again to enjoy the honor and pleasure of your grace’s society at Edinburgh ?” — “O !” answered her grace. “Edinburgh is a vile dull place — I hate it.” — “Madam, replied the gallant barrister, “the sun might as well say, there’s a vile dark, morning, — I won’t rise to-day.”
APUD IN is almi de si re,
Mimis tres Ine ver require,
Alo veri find it a gestis,
His miseri ne ver at restis.
Has an acuti,
No lasso finis,
O mi de armis tres,
Imi nadis tres,
Cantu disco ver
Meas alo ver ?
WHEN Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, gave a concert to the Consumption Hospital, the proceeds of which concert amounted to 1,776l. 15s., and were to be devoted to the completion of the building, Jerrold suggested that the new part of the hospital should be called “The Nightingale’s Wing.”33
LORD ORFORD was present in a large company at dinner, when Bruce, the celebrated traveller, was talking his usual style of exaggeration. Some one asked him what musical instruments were used in Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question, and at last said, “I think I saw a lyre there.” George Selwyn, who was of the party, whispered his next man, “Yes, and there is one less since he left the country.”
A PERSON speaking of an acquaintance, who, though extremely avaricious, was always abusing the avarice of others, added, “Is it not strange that this man will not take the beam out of his own eye before he attempts the mote in other people’s ?” — “Why, so I daresay he would,” cried Sheridan, “if he was sure of selling the timber.”
A VERY small officer struck an old grenadier of his company for some supposed fault in performing his evolutions. The grenadier gravely took off his cap, and, holding it over the officer by the tip, said, “Sir, if you were not my officer, I would extinguish you.”
A LEARNED barrister, quoting Latin verses to a brother “wig,” who did not appear to understand them, added, “Don’t you know the lines ? They are in Martial.” — “Marshall. Oh, yes; Marshall, who wrote on underwriting.” — “Not so bad,” replied the other. “After all, there is not so much difference between an under writer and a minor poet.”
A GENTLEMAN once appeared in the Court of King’s Bench to give bail in the sum of 3,000l. Serjeant Davy, wanting to display his wit, said to him, sternly, “And pray, sir, how do you make out that you are worth 34 3,000l ?” The gentleman stated the particulars of his property up to 2, 940. “That’s all very good,” said the serjeant, “but you want 60l. more to be worth 3,000.” — “For that sum,” replied the gentleman, in no ways disconcerted, “I have a note of hand of one Mr. Serjeant Davy, and I hope he will have the honesty soon to settle it.” The serjeant looked abashed, and Lord Mansfield observed, in his usual urbane tone, “Well, brother Davy, I think we may accept the bail.”
SPRANGER BARRY, to his silver-toned voice, added all the powers of persuasion. A carpenter, to whom he owed some money for work at the Dublin Theatre, called at Barry’s house, and was very clamorous in demanding payment. Mr. Barry overhearing him, said from above, “Don’t be in a passion; but do me the favor to walk upstairs, and we’ll speak on the business.” — “Not I,” answered the man; “you owe me one hundred pounds already, and if you get me upstairs, you won’t let me leave you till you owe me two.”
“IT is rumored that a certain Royal Duke has expressed a determination never to shave until the Reform Bill is crushed entirely.”— Court Journal.
THE following is a literal copy of a notice served by a worthy inhabitant of Gravesend upon his neighbor, whose fowl had eaten his pig’s victuals.
“SIR, — I have sent to you as Coashon a gences Leting your fouls Coming Eting and destrowing My Pegs vettles and if so be you Let them Com on My Premses hafter this Noddes I will kil them.
JOHN was thought to be very stupid. He was sent to a mill one day, and the miller said, “John, some people say you are a fool ! Now, tell me what you do know and what you don’t know.” — “Well,” replied John, “I know millers’ hogs are fat !” — “Yes, that’s well, John ! Now, what don’t you know ? — “I don’t know whose corn fats ’em !”
SIR ROBERT WALPOLE having misquoted a passage in Horace, Mr. Pulteney said the honorable gentleman’s Latin was as bad as his politics. Sir Robert adhered to his version, and bet his opponent a guinea that he was right, proposing Mr. Harding as arbiter. The bet being accepted, Harding rose, and with ludicrous solemnity gave his decision against his patron. The guinea was thrown across the House; and when Pulteney stooped to pick it up, he observed, that “it was the first public money he had touched for a long time.” After his death, the guinea was found wrapped up in a piece of paper on which the circumstance was recorded.
THE ballot was, it seems, first proposed in 1795, by Major Cart-wright, who somewhat appropriately wrote a book upon the Common-Wheel.
A GENTLEMAN of Maudlin, whose name was Nott, returning late from his friend’s rooms, attracted the attention of the proctor, who demanded his name and college. “I am Nott of Maudlin,” was the reply, hiccupping. “Sir,” said the proctor, in an angry tone, “I did not ask of what college you are not, but of what college you are.” — “I am Nott of Maudlin,” was again the broken reply. The proctor, enraged at what he considered contumely, insisted on accompanying him to Maudlin, and demanded of the porter, “whether he knew the gentleman.” 36 — “Know him, sir,” said the porter, “yes, it is Mr. Nott of this college.” The proctor now perceived his error in not understanding the gentleman, and wished him a good night.
LORD BERKELEY was once dining with Lord Chesterfield (the pink of politeness) and a large party, when it was usual to drink wine until they were mellow. Berkeley had by accident shot one of his gamekeepers, and Chesterfield, under the warmth of wine, said, “Pray, my Lord Berkeley, how long is it since you shot a gamekeeper ?” — “Not since you hanged your tutor, my lord !” was the reply. You know that Lord Chesterfield brought Dr. Dodd to trial, in consequence of which he was hanged.
“I EXPECT six clergymen to dine with me on such a day,” said a gentleman to his butler. “Very good, sir,” said the butler. “Are they High Church or Low Church, sir ?” — “What on earth can that signify to you ?” asked the astonished master. “Every thing, sir,” was the reply. “If they are High Church, they’ll drink; if they are Low Church, they’ll eat ! ”
A SOLDIER in the army of the Duke of Marlborough took the name of that general, who reprimanded him for it. “How am I to blame, general ?” said the soldier. “I have the choice of names; if I had known one more illustrious than yours, I should have taken it.”
WHEN Lord Chesterfield was in administration, he proposed a person to his late majesty as proper to fill a place of great trust, but which the king himself was determined should be filled by another. The council, however, resolved not to indulge the king, for fear of a dangerous precedent, and it was Lord Chesterfield’s business to present the grant of office for the king’s signature. Not to incense his majesty by asking him abruptly, he, with accents of great humility, begged to know with whose name his majesty would be pleased to have the blanks filled up. “With the devil’s ! ” replied the king, in a paroxysm of rage. “And shall the instrument,” said the Earl, coolly, “run as usual, Our trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor ?” — a repartee at which the king laughed heartily, and with great good-humor signed the grant.
WHEN a very eminent special pleader was asked by a country gentleman if he considered that his son was likely to succeed as a special pleader, he replied, “Pray, sir, can your son eat saw-dust without butter? ”
ON the occasion of starting a convivial club, somebody proposed that it should consist of twelve members, and be 38 called “The Zodiac,” each member to be named after a sign.
“And what shall I be ?” inquired a somewhat solemn man, who was afraid that his name would be forgotten.
Jerrold. — “Oh, we’ll bring you in as the weight in Libra.
IT being reported that Lady Caroline Lamb had, in a moment of passion, knocked down one of her pages with a stool, the poet Moore, to whom this was told by Lord Strangford, observed ! “Oh : nothing is more natural for a literary lady than to double down a page.” — “I would rather,” replied his lordship, “advise Caroline to turn over a new leaf.”
E——— taking the portrait of a lady, perceived that when he was working at her mouth, she was trying to render it smaller by contracting her lips. “Do not trouble yourself so much, madam,” exclaimed the painter; “if you please, I will draw your face without any mouth at all.”
DURING the long French war, two old ladies in Stranraer 39 were going to the kirk, the one said to the other, “Was it no a wonderfu’ thing that the Breetish were aye victorious ower the French in battle ?” — “Not a bit,” said the other old lady, “dinna ye ken the Breetish aye say their prayers before ga’in into battle ?” The other replied, “But canna the French say their prayers as weel ?” The reply was most characteristic, “Hoot ! jabbering bodies, wha could understan’ them ?”
WHILST the celebrated Mr. Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, was at the bar, he by his conduct did much to support the character and dignity of a barrister, which was frequently disregarded by Lord Mansfield, at that time Chief Justice. The attempts of the Chief Justice to browbeat the counsel were on many occasions kept in check by the manly and dignified conduct of Mr. Dunning. Lord Mansfield possessed great quickness in discovering the gist of a cause, and having done so, used to amuse himself by taking up a book or a newspaper, whilst counsel was addressing the court. Whenever Mr. Dunning was speaking, and his Lordship seemed thus to hold his argument as of no consequence, the advocate would stop suddenly in his address, and on his Lordship observing, “Pray go on, Mr. Dunning,” he would reply, “I beg your pardon, my Lord, but I fear I shall interrupt your Lordship’s more important occupations. I will wait until your Lordship has leisure to attend to my client and his humble advocate.”
( A good word for Ministers. )
A GENTLEMAN, inquiring of Jack Bannister respecting a 40 man who had been hanged, was told that he was dead, “And did he continue in the grocery line ? ” said the former. “Oh no,” replied Jack; “he was quite in a different line when he died.”
AT an evening party, Jerrold was looking at the dancers. Seeing a very tall gentleman waltzing with a remarkably short lady, he said to a friend at hand, “Humph ! There’s the mile dancing with the mile-stone.”
SIR WILLIAM B ——— being at a parish meeting, made some proposals, which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, “Sir,” says he to the farmer, “do you know, sir, that I have been at the two universities, and at two colleges in each university ?” — “Well, sir,” said the farmer, “what of that ? I had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the more he sucked, the greater calf he grew.”
IT was said of one that remembered everything that he lent, but nothing that he borrowed, “that he had lost half of his memory.”
WHEN the late lord Campbell married Miss Scarlett, and departed on his wedding trip, Mr. Justice Abbott observed, when a cause was called on in the Bench, “I thought, Mr. Brougham, that Mr. Campbell was in this case ?” — “Yes, my lord,” replied Brougham, “but I understand he is ill — suffering from Scarlett fever.”
THE copiousness of the English language perhaps was never more apparent than in the following character, by a lady, of her own husband: —
“He is,” says she, “an abhorred, barbarous, capricious, 41 detestable, envious, fastidious, hard-hearted, illiberal, ill-natured, jealous, keen, loathsome, malevolent, nauseous, obstinate, passionate, quarrelsome, raging, saucy, tantalizing, uncomfortable, vexatious, abominable, bitter, captious, disagreeable, execrable, fierce, grating, gross, hasty, malicious, nefarious, obstreperous, peevish, restless, savage, tart, unpleasant, violent, waspish, worrying, acrimonious, blustering, careless, discontented, fretful, growling, hateful, inattentive, malignant, noisy, odious, perverse, rigid, severe, teasing, unsuitable, angry, boisterous, choleric, disgusting, gruff, hectoring, incorrigible, mischievous, negligent, offensive, pettish, roaring, sharp, sluggish, snapping, snarling, sneaking, sour, testy, tiresome, tormenting, touchy, arrogant, austere, awkward, boorish, brawling, brutal, bullying, churlish, clamorous, crabbed, cross, currish, dismal, dull, dry, drowsy, grumbling, horrid, huffish, insolent, intractable, irascible, ireful, morose, murmuring, opinionated, oppressive, outrageous, overbearing, petulant, plaguy, rough, rude, rugged, spiteful, splenetic, stern, stubborn, stupid, sulky, sullen, surly, suspicious, treacherous, troublesome, turbulent, tyrannical, virulent, wrangling, yelping dog-in-a-manger.”
A MEDICAL student under examination, being asked the different effects of heat and cold, replied : “Heat expands and cold contracts.” — “Quite right; can you give me an example ?” — ”Yes, sir, in summer, which is hot, the days are longer; but in winter, which is cold, the days are shorter.”
HAPPINESS grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers’ gardens.
IT was said of a work (which had been inspected by a severe critic), in terms which at first appeared very flattering, “There is a great deal in this book which is new, and a great deal that is true.” So far good, the author would 42 think; but then came the negation : “But it unfortunately happens, that those portions which are new are not true, and those which are true are not new ! ”
A GENTLEMAN waited upon Jerrold one morning to enlist his sympathies in behalf of a mutual friend, who was constantly in want of a round sum of money.
“Well,” said Jerrold, who had contributed on former occasion, “how much does —— want this time ?”
“Why, just a four and two noughts will, I think, put him straight,” the bearer of the hat replied.
Jerrold. — “Well, put me down for one of the noughts this time.”
AN old man of ninety having recovered from a very dangerous illness, his friends congratulated him, and encouraged him to get up. “Alas !” said he to them, “it is hardly worth while to dress myself again.”
AT Hawick, the people used to wear wooden clogs, which made a clanking noise on the pavement. A dying old woman had some friends by her bedside, who said to her, “Weel, Jenny, ye are gaun to Heeven, an’ gin you should see our folks, ye can tell them that we’re a’ weel.” To which Jenny replied. “Weel, gin I shud see them I ’se tell them, but you manna expect that I am to gang clank clanking through Heeven looking for your folk.”
SIR FLETCHER NORTON was noted for his want of courtesy. When pleading before Lord Mansfield on some question of manorial right, he chanced unfortunately to say, “My lord, I can illustrate the point in an instant in my own person : I myself have two little manors.” The judge immediately interposed, with one of his blandest smiles, “We all know it, Sir Fletcher.”43
THE author of “Alexander the Great,” whilst confined in a madhouse, was visited by Sir Roger L’Estrange, of whose political abilities Lee entertained no very high opinion. Upon the knight inquiring whether the poet knew him, Lee answered : —
“Custom may alter men, and manners change :
But I am still strange Lee, and you L’Estrange :
I’m poor in purse as you are poor in brains.”
WOMEN are all alike. When they ’re maids they’re mild as milk : once make ’em wives, and they lean their backs against their marriage certificate, and defy you. — D. J. [Douglas Jerrold.]
LISTON, seeing a parcel lying on the table in the entrance-hall of Drury Lane Theatre, one side of which, from its having travelled to town by the side of some game, was smeared with blood, observed, “That parcel contains a manuscript tragedy.” And on being asked why, replied, “Because the fifth act is peeping out at one corner of it.”
ONE day, when Sir Isaac Heard was in company with George III., it was announced that his majesty’s horse was ready for hunting. “Sir Isaac,” said the king, “are you a judge of horses ?” — “In my younger days, please your majesty, I was a great deal among them,” was the reply. “What do you think of this, then ?” said the king, who was by this time preparing to mount his favorite : and, without waiting for an answer, added, “we call him Perfection.” — “A most appropriate name,” replied the courtly herald, bowing as his majesty reached the saddle, “for he bears the best of characters.”
THE paucity of some persons’ good actions reminds one 44 of Jonathan Wild, who was once induced to be guilty of a good action, after fully satisfying himself, upon the maturest deliberation, that he could gain nothing by refraining from it.
A COXCOMB in a coffee-house boasted that he had written a certain popular song, just as the true author entered the room. A friend of his pointed to the coxcomb : “See, sir, the real author of your favorite song.” — “Well,” replied the other, “the gentleman might have made it, for I assure him I found no difficulty in doing it myself.”
LORD COCKBURN, the proprietor of Bonaly, was sitting on the hillside with a shepherd, and, observing the sheep reposing in the coldest situation, he remarked to him, “John, if I were a sheep, I would lie on the other side of the hill.” The shepherd answered, “Ah, my lord, but if ye had been a sheep ye would hae had mair sense.”
SIR RICHARD JEBB being called to see a patient who fancied himself very ill, told him ingenuously what he thought, and declined prescribing for him. “Now you are here,” said the patient, “I shall be obliged to you, Sir Richard, if you will tell me how I must live; what I may eat, and what I may not.” — “My directions as to that point,” replied Sir Richard, “will be few and simple ! You must not eat the poker, shovel, or tongs, for they are hard of digestion; nor the bellows, because they are windy; but eat anything else you please !”
AN opulent farmer applied to an attorney about a lawsuit, but was told he could not undertake it, being already engaged on the other side; at the same time he gave him a letter of recommendation to a professional friend. The farmer, out of curiosity, opened it, and read as follows : —45
“Her are two fat wethers fallen out together,
If you’ll fleece one, I’ll fleece the other,
And make ’em agree like brother and brother.”
The perusal of this epistle cured both parties, and terminated the dispute.
“MY notion of a wife at forty,” said Jerrold, “is, that a man should be able to change her, like a bank-note, for two twenties.”
AN actor played a season at Richmond theatre for the privilege only of having a benefit. When his night came, and having to sustain a principal part in the piece, the whole of his audience (thirty in number), hissed him whenever he appeared. When the piece ended, he came forward and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I return you my sincere thanks for your kindness, but when you mean to hiss me again on my benefit night, I hope you will be at least six times as many as are here to-night.”