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. 284-307.
( Jests 1300-1399. )
A SCOTCH lady gave her servant very particular instructions regarding visitors, explaining, that they were to be shown into the drawing-room, and no doubt used the Scotticism, “Carry any ladies that call up stairs.” On the arrival of the first visitors, Donald was eager to show his strict attention to the mistress’s orders. Two ladies came together, and Donald, seizing one in his arms, said to the other, “Bide ye there till I come for ye, ” and, in spite of her struggles and remonstrances, ushered the terrified visitor into his mistress’s presence in this unwonted fashion.
THE late James Smith might often be seen at the Garrick Club, restricting himself at dinner to a half-pint of sherry; whence he was designated an incorporated temperance society. The late Sir William Aylett, a grumbling member of the Union, and a two-bottle man, 285 Observing Mr. smith to be thus frugally furnished, eyed his cruet with contempt, and exclaimed : “So I see you have got one of those life-preservers ! ”
DR. GLYNN, whose name is still remembered in Cambridge, being one day in attendance on a lady, in the quality of her physician, took the liberty of lecturing here on the impropriety of eating cucumber, of which she was immoderately fond, and gave her the following humorous receipt for dressing them : “Peel the cucumber,” said the doctor, “with great care; then cut it into very thin slices, pepper and salt it well, and then — throw it away. ”
CAPTAIN INNES of the Guards (usually called Jock Innes by his contemporaries) was with others getting ready for Flushing, or some of those expeditons at the beginning of the great war. His commanding officer remonstrated about the badness of his hat, and recommended a new one, “Na ! na ! bide a wee,” said Jock; “whare we ’re ga’in’, faith there’ll soon be mair hats nor heads. ”
SIR WILLIAM B. being at a parish meeting, made some proposals which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, “Sir,” said he to the farmer, “do you know that I have been at two universities, and at two colleges in each university?” — “Well, sir,” replied 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.”
IN an Irish paper was an advertisement for horses to stand at livery, on the following terms : —
Long-tailed horses, at 3s. 6d. per week.
Short-tailed horses, at 3s. per week.
On inquiry into the cause of the difference, it was answered, 286 that the horses with long tails could brush the flies off their backs while eating, whereas the short-tailed horses were obliged to take their heads from the manger.
WHEN the Duke of Wellington was at Paris, as Commander of the Allied Armies, he was invited to dine with Cambacères, one of the most distinguished statesmen and gourmets of the time of Napoleon. In the course of dinner, his host having helped him to some particularly recherché dish, expressed a hope that he found it agreeable. “Very good,” said the Duke, who was probably reflecting on Waterloo; “very good, but I really do not care what I eat.” — “Don’t care what you eat !” exclaimed Cambacères, as he started back, and dropped his fork; “what did you come here for, then !”
“ ALL that is necessary for the enjoyment of sausages at breakfast is confidence. ”
A JEW, who was condemned to be hanged, was brought to the gallows, and was just on the point of being turned off, when a reprieve arrived. When informed of this, it was expected he would instantly have quitted the cart, but he stayed to see a fellow-prisoner hanged; and being asked why he did not get about his business, he said, “he waited to see if he could bargain with Mr. Ketch for the other gentleman’s clothes.”
IN the list of benefactors to Peter-House is Lady Mary Ramsay, who is reported to have offered a very large property, nearly equal to a new foundation to this college, on condition that the name should be changed to Peter and Mary’s ; but she was thwarted in her intention by Dr. Soame, then master. “Peter,” said the crabbed humorist, “has been too long a bachelor to think of a female companion in his old days.”287
“I SWEAR,” said a gentleman to his mistress, “you are very handsome.” — “Pooh !” said the lady, “so you would say if you did not think so.” — “And so you would think,” answered he, “though I should not say so. ”
A LECTURER, wishing to explain to a little girl the manner in which a lobster casts his shell when he has outgrown it, said, “What do you do when you have outgrown your clothes ? You throw them aside, don’t you ?” — “O no !” replied the little one, “we let out the tucks ! ” The doctor confessed she had the advantage of him there.
A FACETIOUS old gentleman, who thought his two sons consumed too much time in hunting and shooting, styled them Nimrod and Ramrod.
UPON the occasion of the birth of the Princess Royal, the Duke of Wellington was in the act of leaving Buckingham Palace, when he met Lord Hill; in answer to whose inquiries about Her Majesty and the little stranger, his grace replied, “Very fine child, and very red, very red; nearly as red as you, Hill ! ” a jocose allusion to Lord Hill’s claret complexion.
IN a country market a lady, laying her hand upon a joint of veal, said, “Mr. Smallbone, I think this veal is not quite so white as usual.” — “Put on your gloves, madam,” replied the butcher, “and you will think differently.” The lady did so, and the veal was ordered home immediately.
IT may be all very well to say that the office of a tax-gatherer needs no great ability for the fulfilment of its duties, 288 but there is no employment which requires such constant application.
SCOTT is known to have profited much by Constable’s bibliographical knowledge, which was very extensive. The latter christened “Kenilworth,” which Scott named “Cumnor Hall.” John Ballantyne objected to the former title, and told Constable the result would be “something worthy of the kennel” ; but the result proved the reverse. Mr. Cadell relates that Constable’s vanity boiled over so much at this time, on having his suggestions gone into, that, in his high moods, he used to stalk up and down his room, and exclaim, “By Jove, I am all but the author of the Waverley Novels !”
LE SAGE, the author of Gil Blas, said, to console himself for his deafness, with his usual humor, “When I go into a company where I find a great number of blockheads and babblers, I replace my trumpet in my pocket, and cry, ‘Now, gentlemen, I defy you all. ’ ”
A SCOTCH clergyman preaching a drowsy sermon, asked, “What is the price of earthly pleasure ?” The deacon, a fat grocer, woke up hastily from a sound sleep, and cried out, lustily, “Seven-and-sixpence a dozen !”
“WELL, sir,” asked a noisy disputant, “don’t you think that I have mauled my antagonist to some purpose ?” — “O yes,” replied a listener, “you have, — and if ever I should happen to fight with the Philistines, I ’ll borrow your jaw-bone ! ”
THE following cannot be omitted from a Jest Book, although somewhat lengthy : —
A man was convicted of bigamy, and the annexed conversation 289 took place. — Clerk of Assize : “What have you to say why judgment should not be passed upon you according to law ?” Prisoner : “Well, my Lord, my wife took up with a hawker, and run away five years ago, and I ’ve never seen her since, and I married this other woman last winter.” Mr. Justice Maule : “I will tell you what you ought to have done; and if you say you did not know, I must tell you the law conclusively presumes that you did. You ought to have instructed your attorney to bring an action against the hawker for criminal conversation with your wife. That would have cost you about £ 100. When you had recovered substantial damages against the hawker, you would have instructed your proctor to sue in the Ecclesiastical Courts for a divorce à mensa atque thoro. That would have cost you £ 200 or £ 300 more. When you had obtained a divorce à mensa atque thoro, you would have had to appear by counsel before the House of Lords for a divorce à vinculo matrimonii. The bill might have been opposed in all its stages in both Houses of Parliament; and altogether you would have had to spend about £ 1000 or £ 1200. You will probably tell me that you never had a thousand farthings of your own in the world; but, prisoner, that makes no difference. Sitting here as a British judge, it is my duty to tell you that this is not a country in which there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. ”
IN a cause tried in the Court of Queen’s Bench, the plaintiff being a widow, and the defendants two medical men who had treated her for delirium tremens, and put her under restraint as a lunatic, witnesses were called on the part of the plaintiff to prove that she was not addicted to drinking. The last witness called by Mr. Montagu Chambers, the leading counsel on the part of the plaintiff, was Dr. Tunstal, who closed his evidence by describing a case of delirium tremens treated by him, in which the patient recovered in a single night. “It was,” said the witness, “a case of gradual drinking, sipping all day, from morning till night.” these words were scarcely uttered, than Mr. Chambers, turning to the Bench, said, “My lord, that is my case. ”290
A COMEDIAN, who had been almost lifted from his feet by the pressure at the funeral of a celebrated tragedian, ultimately reached the church-door. Having recovered his breath, which had been suspended in the effort, he exclaimed, “And so this is the last we shall ever see of him. Poor fellow ! he has drawn a full house, though, to the end.”
IF anybody comes to I,
I physics, bleeds, and sweats ’em ;
If after that they like to die,
Why, what care I, I Lettsom.
A RICH man made his will, leaving all he had to a company of fellow-citizens to dispose of, but reserving to his right heir “such a portion as pleased them.” The heir having sued the company for his share of the property, the judge inquired whether they wished to carry out the will of the testator, and if so, what provision they proposed making for the heir ? “He shall have a tenth part,” said they, “and we will retain for ourselves the other nine.” — “Take, then,” said the judge, “the tenth part to yourselves, and leave the rest to the heir; for by the will he is to have what part ’pleaseth you. ’ ”
WHEN George the Fourth went to Ireland, one of the “pisintry” said to the toll-keeper as the king passed through, “”Och, now ! an’ his majesty never paid the turnpike, an’ how ’s that ?” — “O, kings never does; we lets ’em go free,” was the answer. “Then there ’s the dirty money for ye,” says Pat; “It shall never be said that the king came here, and found nobody to pay the turnpike for him. ” Tom Moore told this story to Sir Walter Scott, when they were comparing notes as to the two royal visits. “Now, Moore,” replied Scott, “there ye have just the advantage of us : there was no want of 291 enthusiasm here; the Scotch folk would have done anything in the world for his majesty, except pay the turnpike. ”
THE valet of a man of fashion could get no money from him, and therefore told him that he should seek another master, and begged he would pay him the arrears of his wages. The gentleman, who liked his servant, and was desirous of keeping him, said, “True, I am in your debt, but your wages are running on. ” — “That ’s the very thing,” answered the valet; “I am afraid they are running so fast, that I shall never catch them.”
BLOOMFIELD, thy happy-omened name
Ensures continuance to thy fame ;
Both sense and truth this verdict give.
While fields shall bloom, thy name shall live !
A SCOTCH pedestrian, attacked by three highwaymen, defended himself with great courage, but was at last overpowered, and his pockets rifled. The robbers expected, from the extraordinary resistance they had experienced, to find a rich booty; but were surprised to discover that the whole treasure which the sturdy Caledonian had been defending at the hazard of his life, was only a crooked six-pence. “The deuse is in him,” said one of the rogues : “if he had eighteen-pence I suppose he would have killed the whole of us.”
IN the year 1797, when democratic notions ran high, the king’s coach was attacked as his majesty was going to the House of Peers. A gigantic Hibernian, who was conspicuously loyal in repelling the mob, attracted the attention of the king. Not long after, the Irishman received a message from Mr. Dundas to attend at his office. He went, and met with a gracious reception from the great 292 man, who praised his loyalty and courage, and desired him to point out any way in which he would wish to be advanced, his majesty being desirous to reward him. Pat hesitated a moment, and then smirkingly said, “I ’ll tell you what, mister, make a Scotchman of me, and, by St. Patrick, there ’ll be no fear of my gettin’ on.” the minister, dumfounded for the moment by the mal-apropos hit, replied, “Make a Scotchman of you, sir ! That ’s impossible, for I can ’t give you prudence. ”
THE Earl of P—— kept a number of swine at his seat in Wiltshire, and crossing the yard one day he was surprised to see the pigs gathered round one trough, and making a great noise. Curiosity prompted him to see what was the cause, and on looking into the trough he perceived a large silver spoon. A servant-maid came out, and began to abuse the pigs for crying so. “Well they may,” said his lordship, “when they have got but one silver spoon among them all.”
THAT there is falsehood in his looks,
I must and will deny ;
They say their master is a knave ;
And sure they do not lie.
A COUNTRY mayor being newly got into office, that he might be seen to do something in it, would persuade his brethren to have a new pair of gallows built; but one of the aldermen said, that they had an old pair which would serve well enough. “Yea,” said the mayor, “the old ones shall be to hang strangers on, and the new pair for us and our heirs for ever.”
DURING the riots of 1780, most persons in London, in order to save their houses from being burnt or pulled down, wrote on their doors, “No Popery ! ” Old Grimaldi, 293 the father of the celebrated “Joey,” to avoid all mistakes, wrote on his, “No Religion ! ”
IN an election for the borough of Tallagh, Councillor Egan, or “bully Egan,” as he was familiarly called, being an unsuccessful candidate, appealed to a Committee of the House of Commons. It was in the heat of a very warm summer, and Egan (who was an immensely stout man) was struggling through the crowd, his handkerchief in one hand, his wig in the other, and his whole countenance raging like the dog-star, when he met Curran. “I ’m sorry for you, my dear fellow,” said Curran. “Sorry ! why so, Jack, why so ? I ’m perfectly at my ease.” — “Alas ! Egan, it is but too visible that you’re losing tallow (Tallagh) fast !”
“ HARRY, I cannot think, ” says Dick,
“ What makes my ankles grow so thick. ”
“ You do not recollect, ” says Harry,
“ How great a calf they have to carry. ”
ERASMUS, of whom Cambridge has a right to be not a little proud, was entreated by Lord Mountjoy to attack the errors of Luther. “My lord,” answered Erasmus, “nothing is more easy than to say Luther is mistaken, and nothing more difficult than to prove him so.”
SHERIDAN was once talking to a friend about the Prince Regent, who took great credit to himself for various public measures, as if they had been directed by his political skill, or foreseen by his political sagacity. “But, ” said Sheridan, “what his Royal Highness more particularly prides himself in, is the late excellent harvest. ”
THE only practical joke in which Richard Harris Barham 294 (better known by his nom-de-plume of Thomas Ingoldsby) ever personally engaged, was enacted when he was a boy at Canterbury. In company with a schoolfellow, D——, now a gallant major, he entered a Quakers’ meeting-house; when, looking round at the grave assembly, the latter held up a penny tart, and said solemnly, “Whoever speaks first shall have this pie.” — “Go thy way, boy,” said a drab-colored gentleman, rising; “go thy way, and ——” — “The pie ’s yours, sir !” exclaimed D——, placing it before the astonished speaker, and hastily effecting his escape.
A GENTLEMAN of Trinity College, travelling through France, was annoyed at the slowness of the pace, and wishing to urge the postilion to greater speed, tried his bad French until he was out of patience. At last it occurred to him that, if he was not understood, he might at least frighten the fellow by using some high-sounding words, and he roared into the ear of the postilion : “Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham ! ” which the fellow mistaking for some tremendous threat, had the desired effect, and induced him to increase his speed.
GEORGE the First was always reckoned
Vile, — but viler, George the Second ;
And what mortal ever heard
Any good of George the Third ?
When from earth the Fourth descended,
God be praised, the Georges ended.
HOPKINS once lent Simpson, his next door neighbor, an umbrella, and having an urgent call to make on a wet day, knocked at Simpson’s door. “I want my umbrella.” — “Can’t have it,” said Simpson. “Why ? I want to go to the East End, and it rains in torrents; what am I to do for an umbrella?” — “Do ?” — answered Simpson, passing through the door, “do as I did, borrow one ! ”295
LORD ALTHORP, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, having to propose to the House of Commons a vote of £ 400 a year for the salary of the Archdeacon of Bengal, was puzzled by a question from Mr. Hume, “What are the duties of an archdeacon ?” So he sent one of the subordinate occupants of the Treasury Bench to the other House to obtain an answer to the question from one of the bishops. To Dr. Blomfield accordingly the messenger went, and repeated the question, “What is an archdeacon ?” — “An archdeacon,” replied the Bishop, in his quick way, “an archdeacon is an ecclesiastical officer, who performs archidiaconal functions” ; and with this reply Lord Althorp and the House were perfectly satisfied. It ought to be added, however, that when the story was repeated to the bishop himself, he said that he had no recollection of having made any such answer; but that if he had, it must have been suggested to him by a saying of old John White, a dentist, whom he had known in early days, who used to recommend the use of lavender-water to his patients, and when pressed for a reason for his recommendation, replied, “On account of its lavendric properties.”
THE City-feast inverted here we find,
For Pitt had his dessert before he dined.
THE pious and learned martyr, and bishop of Worcester, who was educated at Christ College, Cambridge, and was one of the first reformers of the Church of England, at a controversial conference, being out-talked by younger divines, and out-argued by those who were more studied in the fathers, said, “I cannot talk for my religion, but I am ready to die for it.”
A BRAGGART ran away from battle, and gave as a reason, 296 that a friend had written his epitaph, which had an excellent point in it, provided he attained the age of one hundred.
ONE of Mrs. Montague’s blue-stocking ladies fastened upon Foote, at one of the routs in Portman Square, with her views of Locke “On the Understanding,” which she protested she admired above all things; only there was one particular word, very often repeated, which she could not distinctly make out, and that was the word (pronouncing it very long) ide-a. “But I suppose,” said she, “it comes from a Greek derivation.” — “You are perfectly right, madam,” said Foote; it comes from the word ideowski. ” — “And pray, sir, what does that mean?” — “It is the feminine of idiot, madam !”
FOR the Rector in vain through the parish you ’ll search,
But the Curate you ’ll find living hard by the church.
SIR GODFREY KNELLER and Dr. Ratcliffe lived next door to each other, and were extremely intimate. Kneller had a very fine garden, and as the doctor was fond of flowers, he permitted him to have a door into it. Ratcliffe’s servants gathering and destroying the flowers, Kneller sent to inform him that he would nail up the door; to which Ratcliffe, in his rough manner, replied, “Tell him, he may do anything but paint it.” — “Well,” replied Kneller, “he may say what he will, for tell him, I will take anything from him, except physic. ”
MR. DOUGLAS, son of the Bishop of Salisbury, was six feet two inches in height, and of enormous bulk. The little boys of Oxford always gathered about him when he went into the streets, to look up at his towering bulk. “Get out of my way, you little scamps,” he used to cry, 297 “or I will roll upon you. ” It was upon this gentleman that Canning composed the following epigram : —
That the stones of our chapel are both black and white,
Is most undeniably true ;
But, as Douglas walks o’er them both morning and night,
It ’s a wonder they ’re not black and blue.
GIBBON, the historian, was one day attending the trial of Warren Hastings in Westminster Hall, and Sheridan, having perceived him there, took occasion to mention “the luminous author of The Decline and Fall. ” After he had finished, one of his friends reproached him with flattering Gibbon. “Why, what did I say of him ?” asked Sheridan. “You called him the luminous author.” — “Luminous ! Oh, I meant voluminous !”
THEODORE HOOK once observed a party of laborers sinking a well. “What are you about ?” he inquired. “Boring for water, sir,” was the answer. “Water ’s a bore at any time,” responded Hook; “besides, you ’re quite wrong; remember the old proverb, — ‘Let well alone. ’ ”
IN reading his name it may truly be said,
You will make that man dy if you cut off his Hed.
HOOK, in the supposed character of Gower-street undergraduate, says : “One problem was given me to work which I did in a twinkling. Given C A B to find Q. Answer : Take your C A B through Hammersmith, turn to the left just before you come to Brentford, and Kew is right before you.”
AN East-India Governor having died abroad, his body 298 was put in arrack, to preserve it for interment in England. A sailor on board the ship being frequently drunk, the captain forbade the purser, and indeed all in the ship, to let him have any liquor. Shortly after the fellow appeared very drunk. How he obtained the liquor, no one could guess. The captain resolved to find out, promising to forgive him if he would tell from whom he got the liquor. After some hesitation, he hiccupped out, “Why, please your honor, I tapped the Governor. ”
MATHEWS once went to Wakefield, then, from commercial failures, in a dreadful state. In vain did he announce his inimitable “Youthful Days” ; the Yorkshiremen came not. When he progressed to Edinburgh, a friend asked him if he made much money in Wakefield. “Not a shilling !” was the reply. “Not a shilling !” reiterated his astonished acquaintance. “Why, did n’t you go there to star ? ” — “Yes,” replied Mathews, with mirthful mournfulness; “but they spell it with a ve in Wakefield.”
WHEN Mr. Wilberforce was a candidate for Hull, his sister, an amiable and witty young lady, offered the compliment of a new gown to each of the wives of those free-men who voted for her brother, on which she was saluted with a cry of “Miss Wilberforce for ever ! ” when she pleasantly observed, “I thank you, gentleman, but I can not agree with you; for really, I do not wish to be Miss Wilberforce for ever ! ”
WHY should we explain, that the times are so bad,
Pursuing a querulous strain ?
When Erin gives up all the rights that she had,
What right has she left to complain?
AT the breaking up of a fashionable party at the west end of town, one of the company said he was about to “drop in” at Lady Blessington’s; whereupon a young gentleman, a perfect stranger to the speaker, very modestly said, “O then, you can take me with you; I want very much to know her, and you can introduce me.” While the other was standing aghast at the impudence of the proposal, and muttering something about being but a slight acquaintance himself, etc., Sydney Smith observed, “Pray oblige our young friend; you can do it easily enough by introducing him in a capacity very desirable at this close season of the year, — say you are bringing with you the cool of the evening. ”
WHEN Messrs. Abbot and Egerbon took the old Coburg Theatre for the purpose of bringing forward the legitimate drama, the former gentleman asked Hook if he could suggest a new name, the old being too much identified with blue fire and broadswords to suit the proposed change of performance. “Why,” said Hook, “as you will of course butcher everything you attempt, suppose you call it Abbatoir. ”
HORACE WALPOLE, on one occasion observed that there had existed the same indecision, irresolution, and want of system in the politics of Queen Anne, as at the time he spoke, under the reign of George the Third. “But,” added he, “there is nothing new under the sun ! ” — “No,” said George Selwyn, “nor under the grand-son ! ”
A WELL-FED rector was advising a poor starving laborer to trust to Providence, and be satisfied with his lot. “Ah !” replied the needy man, “I should be satisfied with his lot if I had it, but I can’t get even a little. ”300
O DRY that tear so round and big,
Nor waste in sighs your precious wind ;
Death only takes a single pig —
Your lord and son are still behind.
MRS. SMITH, hearing strange sounds, inquired of her new servant if she snored in her sleep. “I don’t know, marm,” replied Becky, quite innocently; “I never lay awake long enough to diskiver.”
AN affectionate Irishman once enlisted in the 75th Regiment, in order to be near his brother, who was a corporal in the 76th.
MR. MOORE having been long under a prosecution in Doctors’ Commons, his proctor called on him one day whilst he was composing the tragedy of The Gamester. The proctor having sat down, he read him four acts of the piece, being all he had written; by which the man of law was so affected, that he exclaimed, “Good ! good ! Can you add to this couple’s distress in the last act ?” — “O, very easily,” said the poet, “I intend to put them into the Ecclesiastical Court. ”
“ TAXES are equal is a dogma which
I ’ll prove at once, ” exclaimed a Tory boor ;
“ Taxation hardly presses on the rich,
And likewise presses hardly on the poor. ”
SHERIDAN being asked what wine he liked best, replied, “The wine of other people. ”301
A GRAND entertainment taking place at Belvoir Castle, on the occasion of the coming of age of the Marquis of Granby, the company were going out to see the fireworks, when Theodore Hook came in great tribulation to the Duke of Rutland, who was standing near Sir Robert Peel, and said : “Now is n’t this provoking ? I ’ve lost my hat. What can I do ?” — “Why did you part with your hat ? I never do,” said his Grace. “Ay !” rejoined Theodore, “but you have especial good reasons for sticking to your Beaver ” (Belvoir).
A DIMINUTIVE lawyer appearing as witness in one of the Courts, was asked by a gigantic counsellor what profession he was of; and having replied that he was an attorney, — “You a lawyer !” said Brief; “why I could put you in my pocket.” — “Very likely you may,” rejoined the other; “and if you do, you will have more law in your pocket than ever you had in your head. ”
AT the Irish bar, Moran Mahaffy, Esq., was as much above the middle size as Mr. Collis was below it. When Lord Redesdale was Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Messrs. Mahaffy and Collis happened to be retained in the same case a short time after his lordship’s elevation, and before he was acquainted personally with the Irish bar. Mr. Collis was opening the motion, when Lord. R. observed, “Mr. Collis, when a barrister addresses the court, he must stand.” — “I am standing on the bench, my lord,” said Collis. “I beg a thousand pardons,” replied his lordship, somewhat confused; “sit down, Mr. Mahaffy,” — “I am sitting, my lord,” was the reply to the confounded Chancellor.
THE Rev. Mr. Johnston was one of those rough but quaint preachers of the former generation who were fond of visiting and good living. While seated at the table of 302 a good lady in a neighboring parish, she asked him if he took milk in his tea. “Yes, ma’am, when I can’t get cream, ” was the ready reply.
“IS my wife out of spirits ?” said John with a sigh,
As her voice of a tempest gave warning.
“Quite out, sir, indeed,” said her maid in reply,
“For she finished the bottle this morning.”
PETER MACNALLY, an Irish attorney, was very lame, and, when walking, had an unfortunate limp, which he could not bear to be told of. At the time of the Rebellion he was seized with a military ardor, and when the different volunteer corps were forming in Dublin, that of the lawyers was organized. Meeting with Curran, Macnally said, “My dear friend, these are not times for a man to be idle; I am determined to enter the lawyers’ corps, and follow the camp.” — “You follow the camp, my little limb of the law !” said the wit; “tut, tut, renounce the idea; you never can be a disciplinarian.” — “And why not, Mr. Curran ?” said Macnally. “For this reason,” said Curran; “the moment you were ordered to march, you would halt! ”
A PERSON deeply in debt, was walking through the streets in a melancholy way, when a friend asked him the cause of his sadness. “I owe money and cannot pay it,” said the man, in a tone of extreme dejection. “Can’t you leave all the uneasiness to your creditors ?” replied the other. “Is it not enough that one should be sorry for what neither of you can help? ”
A LADY had a favorite lapdog, which she called Perchance. “A singular name,” said somebody, “for a beautiful pet, madam. Where did you find it ?” — “O,” drawled she, “it was named from Byron’s dog. You remember where he says, ‘Perchance my dog will howl. ’ ”303
ON the approach of Holy Week, a great lady said to her friend, “We must, however, mortify ourselves a little. ” — “Well,” replied the other, “let us make our servants fast. ”
A GENTLEMAN riding one day near Richmond, observed a house delightfully situated, and asking his companion to whom it belonged, was answered, “To a card-maker. ” — “Upon my life,” he replied, “one would imagine all that man’s cards must have been trumps. ”
THE charity of Closefist give to fame,
He has at last subscribed — how much ? — his name.
THE play of “King Lear” being performed at Reading, the representative of Glo’ster was, on one occasion, taken ill, and another actor was found to take the part at a short notice. He got on famously as far as the scene where Glo’ster had his eyes put out, when he came to a stand still, and was obliged to beg permission to read the rest of the part.
FUSELI had a great dislike to common-place observations. After sitting perfectly quiet for a long time in his own room, during the “bald disjointed chat” of some idle visitors, who were gabbling with one another about the weather, and other topics of as interesting a nature, he suddenly exclaimed, “We had pork for dinner to-day. ” — “Dear me ! Mr. Fuseli, what an odd remark.” — “Why, it is as good as anything you have been saying for the last hour. ”
AS Burke was declaiming with great animation against Hastings, he was interrupted by little Major Scott. “Am 304 I,” said he, indignantly, “to be teased by the barking of this jackal while I am attacking the royal tiger of Bengal ?”
A SPANISH Archbishop having a dispute with an opulent duke, who said with scorn, “What are you ? your title and revenues are only for your life,” answered by asking, “And for how many lives does your Grace hold yours ?”
WHEN the Duke de Choiseul, who was a remarkably meagre-looking man, came to London to negotiate a peace, Charles Townshend, being asked whether the French government had sent the preliminaries of a treaty, answered, he did not know, but they had sent “the outline of an ambassador. ”
This is a repeat of Jest 1250.
ON Waterloo’s ensanguined plain,
Full many a gallant man lies slain,
But none, by bullet or by shot,
Fell half so flat as Walter Scott.
THE ugliest of trades have their moments of pleasure. Now, if I were a grave-digger, or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment. — D. J. [Douglas Jerrold.]
AN Irish gentleman parting with a lazy servant-woman, was asked, with respect to her industry, whether she was what is termed afraid of work. “O, not at all,” said he; “not at all; she’ll frequently lie down and fall asleep by the very side of it. ”
A KEEN sportsman, who kept harriers, was so vexed 305 when any noise was made while the hounds were at fault, that he rode up to a gentleman who accidentally coughed at such a time, and said, “I wish, with all my heart, sir, your cough was better.”
WHEN Lord Chesterfield was one day at Newcastle House, the Duke happening to be very particularly engaged, the Earl was requested to sit down in an ante-room. “Garnet upon Job,” a book dedicated to the Duke, happened to lie in the window; and his Grace, on entering, found the Earl so busily engaged in reading, that he asked how he liked the commentary. “In any other place,” replied Chesterfield, “I should not think much of it; but there is so much propriety in putting a volume upon patience in the room where every visitor has to wait for your Grace, that here it must be considered as one of the best books in the world. ”
Quest. WHY is a pump like Viscount Castlereagh?
Ans. Because it is a slender thing of wood,
That up and down its awkward arm doth sway,
And coolly shout, and spout, and spout away,
In one weak, washy, everlasting flood !
ARCHDEACON PALEY was in very high spirits when he was presented to his first preferment in the Church. He attended at a visitation dinner just after this event, and during the entertainment called out jocosely, “Waiter, shut down that window at the back of my chair, and open another behind some curate. ”
“SIR,” said a barber to an attorney who was passing his door, “will you tell me if this is a good half-sovereign ?” The lawyer, pronouncing the piece good, deposited it in his pocket, adding, with gravity, “If you ’ll 306 send your lad to my office, I ’ll return the three and four-pence. ”
EDWIN JAMES, examining a witness, asked him what his business was. He answered, “A dealer in old iron.” — “Then,” said the counsel, “you must of course be a thief.” — “I don’t see,” replied the witness, “why a dealer in iron must necessarily be a thief, more than a dealer in brass. ”
“ BE less prolix, ” says Grill. I like advice,
“ Grill, you ’re an ass ! ” Now, surely, that ’s concise.
DEAN SWIFT was one day in company, when the conversation fell upon the antiquity of the family. The lady of the house expatiated a little too freely on her descent, observing that her ancestors’ names began with De, and, of course, of antique French extraction. When she had finished; “And now,” said the Dean, “will you be so kind as to help me to a piece of that D—umpling? ”
AN author once praised another writer very heartily to a third person. “It is very strange,” was the reply, “that you speak so well of him, for he says that you are a charlatan.” — “O,” replied the other, “I think it very likely that both of us may be mistaken.”
A MECHANIC his labor will often discard,
If the rate of his pay he dislikes ;
But a clock — and its case is uncommonly hard —
Will continue to work though it strikes !
A YOUTH had borrowed a hundred pounds of a very 307 rich friend, who had concluded that he should never see them again. He was mistaken, for the youth returned him the money. Some time after, the youth came again to borrow, but was refused. “No, sir,” said his friend, “you shall not deceive me twice.”
SOME of the friends of a famous painter, observed to him, that they never heard him bestow any praises but on his worst paintings. “True,” answered he; “for the best will always praise themselves.”
SYDNEY SMITH, writing in the Edinburgh Review says, “If the English were in a paradise of spontaneous productions, they would continue to dig and plough, though they were never a peach or a pine-apple the better for it. ”