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From The Repository of Wit and Humor; comprising more than One Thousand Anecdotes, Odd Scraps, Off-Hand Hits, and Humorous Sketches; selected and arranged by M. Lafayette Byrn, M. D.; Boston: John P. Jewitt & Co., 1857; pp. 5-30.



SIR EDWARD SAUNDERS, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Charles the Second, was once a poor beggar-boy strolling about the streets, without any knowledge of his parentage. — Sir Thomas Gresham, who, under the patronage of Elizabeth, became the founder of the Royal Exchange in London, was the son of a poor woman, who, while he was an infant, abandoned him in the fields; and his life was preserved by the chirping of a grasshopper, which attracted a little boy to the place where he lay. — Nicholas Saunderson, the celebrated mathematician, lost his sight when he was a year old by the small-pox. Assisted by his friends, he pursued his studies. He became lecturer on optics in Cambridge; he was the bosom friend of Newton; he was elected Professor of Mathematics; and is one of the most acute and learned commentators of the Principia. — Our own Hamilton was the office-boy and runner of his early patron. — William Jones, the friend of Madison and Jefferson, once Secretary of the Navy, and first President of the United States Bank, served his apprenticeship to a ship-builder.

You have all read of the sexton’s son, who became a fine astronomer by spending a short time every evening in gazing on the stars, after ringing the bell for nine o’clock. — Sir 6 William Phipps, who at the age of forty-five had attained the order of knighthood, and the office of High-sheriff of New England and Governor of Massachusetts, learned to read and to write after his eighteenth year, and whilst learning the trade of a ship-carpenter in Boston. — William Gifford, the great editor of the Quarterly, was an apprentice to a shoemaker, and spent his leisure hours in study; and because he had neither pen nor paper, slate nor pencil, he wrote out his problems on smooth leather, with a blunted awl. — David Rittenhouse, the American astronomer, when a plough-boy, was observed to have covered his plough and the fences with figures and calculations. — James Ferguson, the great Scotch astronomer, learned to read by himself, and mastered the elements of astronomy whilst a shepherd’s boy, in the fields, by night; and perhaps it is not too much to say, that if the hours wasted in idle company, in vain conversation, at the tavern, were only spent in the pursuit of useful knowledge, the dullest apprentice in any of your shops might become an intelligent member of society, and a fit candidate for most of your civil offices. By such a course the rough covering of many a youth might be laid aside, and their ideas, instead of being confined to local subjects and professional technicalities, might range throughout the wide fields of creation; and other stars from the young men of this city might be added to that bright constellation of worthies that is gilding our country with a bright yet mellow light.


WHO is a quack? One would think that there where there are so many this question need scarcely be asked; and yet there is not a term in the English language so little understood, or 7 so often misapplied. The regular faculty call all vendors of patent medicines, all practitioners who have not received a collegiate education, and all who differ widely from them in practice, quacks; but they are often wrong. A quack is one who professes to possess more knowledge than he really has, and promises more than he can perform; but he who knows how to cure one particular disease, and actually does cure it, who promises and attempts no more, is no quack, all the colleges in the world to the contrary, notwithstanding. All knowledge is not got at school; nor can a diploma make a savant of an idiot. Learning is knowledge; but all knowledge is not learning. The celebrated “Red Bottle Doctors,” of Hertford, England, altogether eclipsed all their neighbors of the regular faculty; and yet they never went to school. They were farriers, — men of strong minds and sound practical sense; and they judged rightly, that what was good for horses might be good for men; — we say rightly, because they were eminently successful in their practice. The most valuable discoveries have been made by uneducated people. Little children discovered the telescope, an untutored Indian the Peruvian bark, a soap-boiler the iodine, and a shepherd navigated Noah’s ark.

There are other than medical quacks, a plenty of them. The teacher who pretends to teach a hundred different arts and sciences is a quack; the lawyer who predicts the result of a case without hearing the evidence is a quack; and the preacher who preaches that his is the only true way of salvation, is a quack.


THE profound knowledge of scripture displayed by some public men is a caution to heathen nations. For instance, 8 Mr. Hoge, of Illinois, undertook to compliment one of his colleagues in Congress, the other day, by quoting (as he said) from the Bible the following passage:

“And while the lamp holds out to burn, The vilest sinner may return.”

Mr. Hoge’s scripture quotation, “While the lamp holds out to burn,” &c., brings to mind an anecdote related to us by a clergyman as occurring to him or within his knowledge. A good woman (the “weaker vessel,” very likely, of the two) had lost her husband by death; and, receiving a visit of condolence from the minister, she entered pretty fully into a detail of her feelings of loneliness and grief, in her widowed condition. She said she found herself going back and forth, wandering about the house all day long, from garret to cellar, — now looking into the room where her poor, dear husband died, then trying to divert her mind by doing chores about house, and then, again, going to the good Book for consolation. She was, she said, a poor lone woman; and she could n’t help thinking, all day long, of that very touching passage of scripture, — in Lamentations, she believed it was, — which hit her case exactly: “Goosey, goosey gander, where will ye wander?


MY friends, too many of you (city folks especially) are ever inclined to meanness. I know some who are so vastly little (if I may be allowed to use the term) that when they are brushed from the earth into the devil’s dust-pan, the old chap will have to put on a pair of double-magnifying spectacles, and poke a long while among the rubbish of immortality, 9 before he can find them. There is neighbor Tightfist, in some respects a worthy member of my congregation, and yet I regret to say is mean enough to chase a mosquito through a five-mile swamp for the sake of his suet. To his credit, however, he once made a sacrifice to the good cause, by putting an unfortunate looking penny into the box, and going supperless to bed. And neighbor Stick-in-the-mud, too, if he had the power, and could enrich himself thereby, would brush the silver stars from the firmament, and snatch the golden sun from the sky, and sell the moon for brass; and if sixpence was required at the gate of heaven, rather than pay the fee; I verily believe he would rise from his resting-place at midnight, and pick the lock with a tenpenny nail!


A MOST moving incident, illustrative of the extraordinary strength as well as attachment of the Arab horses, is given by Lamartine, in his beautiful travels in the East:

“An Arab chief, with his tribe, had attacked in the night a caravan of Damascus, and plundered it. When loaded with their spoils, however, the robbers were overtaken in their return by some horsemen of the Pacha of Acre, who killed several, and bound the remainder with cords. In this state of bondage they brought one of the prisoners, named Abou el Marck, to Acre, and laid him, bound hand and foot, wounded as he was, at the entrance of the tent, as they slept during the night.

“Kept awake by the pain of his wounds, the Arab heard his horse’s neigh at a little distance; and, being desirous to stroke, for the last time, the companion of his life, he dragged himself up, bound as he was, to his horse, which was 10 picketed at a short distance. ‘Poor friend,’ said he, ‘what will you do among the Turks? You will be shut up under the roof of a khan, with the horses of a pacha, or an aga. No longer will the women and children of the tent bring your barley, camel’s milk, or dourra, in the hollow of their hand; no longer will you gallop, free as the wind of Egypt, in the desert; no longer will you cleave with your bosom the waters of the Jordan, which cool your sides, as pure as the foam of your lips. If I am to be a slave, at least you may go free. Go; return to our tent, to which Marck will return no more, but put your head still in the folds of the tent, and lick the hands of my children.’

“With these words, as his hands were tied, he undid with his teeth the fetters which held the courser bound, and set him at liberty; but the noble animal, in receiving its freedom, instead of bounding away to the desert, bent its head over its master, and, seeing him in fetters and on the ground, took his clothes gently in his teeth, lifted him up, and set off at full speed towards home. Without ever resting, he made straight for the distant but well-known tent, in the mountains of Arabia. He arrived there in safety, and laid his master safe down at the feet of his wife and children, and immediately dropped down dead with fatigue. The whole tribe mourned him, and his name is still constantly in the mouths of the Arabs in Jericho.”


A RECENT traveller gives an account that, when he was walking on the beach in Brazil, he overtook a colored woman with a tray on her head. Being asked what she had to sell, she lowered the tray, and with reverent tenderness uncovered 11 it. It was the lifeless form of her babe, covered by a neat white robe, with a garland round the head, and flowers within the little hands, that lay clasped upon its bosom. “Is that your child?” said the traveller. “It was mine a few days ago,” she replied, “but the Madonna has it for her little angel now.” “How beautifully you have laid it out!” said he. She added, cheerfully, “Ah! what is that to the bright wings it wears in heaven?”


IN 1626 a pamphlet was published in London, entitled “A most Delectable, Sweet, Perfumed Nosegay, for God’s Saints to smell at.” About the year 1646 there was published a work entitled “A Pair of Bellows, to blow off the Dust cast upon John Fay;” and another called “The Snuffers for Divine Love.” Cromwell’s time was particularly famous for title-pages. The author of a work on charity entitles his book “Hooks and Eyes for Believers’ Breeches;” and another, who professed a wish to exalt poor human nature, called his labors “High-heeled Shoes for Dwarfs in Holiness;” and another, “Crumbs of Comfort for the Chickens of the Covenant.” A Quaker, whose outward man the powers thought proper to imprison, published “A Sigh of Sorrow for the Sinners of Zion, breathed out of a hole in the wall of an Eastern Vessel, known among men by the name of Samuel Fish.” About the same time there was also published “The Spiritual Mustard-pot, to make the Soul Sneeze with Devotion;” “Salvation’s Vantage-ground, or a Leaping Stand for Heavenly Believers;” another, “A Shot at the Devil’s Head-quarters, through the Tube of the Cannon of the Covenant.” “This is an author who speaks plain language, that the most 12 illiterate reprobate cannot fail to understand;” another, “Reaping-hook, well tempered for the Stubborn Ears of the Coming Crop; or, Biscuits baked in the Oven of Charity, carefully conserved for the Chickens of the Church, the Sparrows of the Spirit, and the Sweet Swallows of Salvation.” To another, we have the following copious description of its contents: “Seven Sobs of a Sorrowful Soul for Sin, or the Penitential Psalms of the Princely Prophet David; whereunto are also annexed William Huinnis’ Handful of Honeysuckles, and Divers Godly and Pithy Ditties, now newly augmented.”


IN a large company at dinner, Mr. Bruce was, according to his custom, talking away. Some one asked him what musical instruments are used in Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question, and at last said, “I think I saw one lyre there.” George Selwyn whispered to the man next to him, “Yes, and there is one less since he left the country.”

PRIESTS (says a punster) are elected in Spain to head armies, with perfect propriety, as they have been bred to the canon law.

A LADY, visiting the British Museum, said to one of the librarians, “Pray, sir, have n’t you a skull of Oliver Cromwell here?” “No, madam,” replied the man of learning and antiquity. “Dear me,” said she, “I wonder at that, for they have a very fine one in the museum at Oxford.”



A COMPANY of gentlemen and ladies were very sportive in interrogating each other; one asked the other if she spoke the Spanish language. A gentleman sitting by answered the lady in saying “that one was enough, for he had understood that a lady’s tongue hung on a pivot, for both ends moved at the same time.” “O, dear sir,” said the lady, “I think one is enough, if it is well used.”


A COUNTRY woman, who was very anxious to hear a certain clergyman preach, at some distance from her place of residence, put a black pudding into her bosom to serve as a refreshment. The clergyman, happening to preach on our darling sins, used the expression so often, “Pull them out of your bosom,” that the woman, in a pet, pulled out the pudding, and threw it at him, saying, “There, tak it; what need for makin’ a’ this noise about a bit of black puddin’?”


IT was formerly a custom, among the Scottish clergy, to make perpetual allusions in their prayers to the Pope, whom they always characterized by the epithet Antichrist. At the time, however, of the French Revolution, the good old hatred of popery gave way before a still more dreadful subject of antipathy and horror, — the mingled infidelity and Jacobinism propagated in consequence of that tremendous event; and it then became customary to pray for the altar and the throne. Soon after this material change in the prayers had taken place, a poor woman one day said to the 14 Rev. Mr. M——, of Montrose, “Sir, I hae something to spier at ye; but ye maunna tak it ill.” “Na, na,” returned Mr. M——, “I’ll no tak it ill.” “Ou, der me, then,” rejoined the old woman; “is yon Anna Christie dead, or is she better, that ye prayed sae lang about, for I ne’er hear ye speak about her noo?”


THE late Archbishop of Seville, in Spain, lived to the extraordinary age of one hundred years, eight months, and fourteen days. He used to tell his friends, when asked what regimen he observed to be even at that age in the full enjoyment of every faculty, “By being old when I was young, I find myself young now I am old.”


THE story of Sir Francis Anderson’s ring is curious. He was Mayor of Newcastle in 1559. Standing on the bridge, he accidentally dropped a ring from his finger, which fell into the river. The marvellous part of the relation is that, some time after, one of his servants bought a fish in the market, in the body of which the identical ring was found, and thus restored to the owner. In 1783 Mr. Brand saw the ring in the possession of Mr. Edward Anderson, merchant, who permitted him to take a drawing of it. He tells us that the engraving on the signet seems to be a Roman antique, and he adds that this Mr. Anderson has a deed of family property the seal of which exhibits an impression answerable to that on this memorable ring, and is of a date prior to the supposed time of this extraordinary event.


AN officer being much intoxicated, an old soldier observed that he was afraid there was something wrong at headquarters.

A GENTLEMAN calling on a friend who, on account of certain duns, was a good deal at home, and had given out to his friends as an excuse that he was confined to his room, which was on the third floor, asked him if he had been ill. ‘Yes,” replied the other, “I have had a severe fit of the room-atism.” “Ay, ay,” said his friend, looking round, “I perceive you are room-attic.”

A CERTAIN gentleman, not well skilled in orthography, requested his friend to send him too monkeys. The t not being distinctly written, the friend concluded his too was intended for 100. With difficulty he procured fifty, which he sent, adding, “The other fifty, agreeable to your order, will be forwarded as soon as possible.”

A YOUNG poet offered his play to one of the theatres for nothing. The manager said the author well knew the exact value of it.

A SCHOOLMASTER who was charged with using the birch rather too violently, declared that it was the only way to make a dull boy smart.


THE passengers on board an Aberdeen smack were most grievously annoyed by the nocturnal visitations of myriads 16 of hungry bugs. These little blood-suckers were so incessant in their attacks, that to close an eye was utterly out of the question; nay, so severely did some suffer, that in the morning, when all hands were mustered in the cabin, their physiognomies were to be recognized with considerable difficulty! One night their agonies became so intolerable that they bellowed out to the master of the vessel, “O, master! master! they’re biting us!” “Wha the deil’s biting ye?” cries the master. “O, sir, the bugs.” The response of the master, if not consolatory, was admirably laconic: “Weel, mair feil ye; canna ye bite them again?”


A GENTLEMAN visiting Mr. Wood’s school in Edinburgh, had a book put into his hand for the purpose of examining a class. The word inheritance occurring in the verse, the querist interrogated the youngster as follows: “What is inheritance?” “Patrimony.” “What is a patrimony?” “Something left by a father. “ “What would you call it, if left by a mother? “Matrimony.


THESE three geniuses were at one time at the court of Frederic, and, as Voltaire expresses it, “made their escape at the same time.” It is well known how much must be borne from princes and great men. But Frederic was too free in the abuse of his prerogative. All society has its laws, except the society of the lion and the lamb. Frederic continually failed in the first of these laws, which is to say nothing disobliging of any of the company. He often used 17 to ask his chamberlain, Polnitz, if he would not willingly change his religion a fifth time, and offer to pay an hundred crowns down for his conversion. He treated poor D’Argens in much the same way. As for Maupertuis, who had been silly enough to place out his money at Berlin, he was obliged to remain there; “where his treasure was,” there was his body obliged also to remain.


THIS celebrated statesman and lawyer had accumulated a great number of very lucrative places; and so great was his avidity, that Lord North humorously said, “If England and Ireland were given to this man, he would solicit the Isle of Man for a potato-garden.”


MR. POPE’S aunt taught him to read when he was a child, and he learnt to write from copying only.

The subscriptions for his Iliad amounted to six thousand pounds, beside twelve hundred pounds from Lintot for the copy.

Mr. Pope did not, in his last hours choose to be attended by the Catholic priest, recommended by Mr. Hooke to come to him, till he knew Lord Bolingbrook had quitted his house.

Mr. Pope died as he was receiving extreme unction. It is probable, for his not having sufficiently attended to his religious faith and principles, that he was almost in the state of that French nobleman, mentioned in a French miscellany, called Ana, who, at the requisition of his wife, sent for a priest; and when the priest asked him whether he believed 18 such and such particular article, he turned to his wife, and said, “My dear, should I believe that?

A BRILLIANT talker is not always liked by those whom he has most amused.

Quick believers need broad shoulders. Some people should be all shoulders.

He that would reprove the world must be one whom the world cannot reprove.

When the winds of applause blow fresh and strong, then steer with a steady hand.

Those who declaim loudest against money-getting are often the most avaricious.

The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first, it deceives, — at last, it betrays.

If judges would make their decisions just, they should behold neither plaintiff, defendant nor pleader, but only the cause itself.

By cultivating the beautiful, we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers; by doing good, we foster those already belonging to humanity.

The nerve which never relaxes, the eye which never blenches, the thought which never wanders, — these are the masters of victory.

DIGBY, the other day, found some money in the street. “Ah!” said he, with a knowing look, “papers have been saying that ‘money’s tight,’ but I would n’t have believed it, if I had n’t found it in the gutter.”



FOUR days before the death of Cardinal d’Amboise, Louis XII. having paid him a visit, he burst into tears, and made a general and ministerial confession to the monarch. He acknowledged that he left considerable riches, in the acquisition of which he had many things to reproach himself with. He maintained that he had taken nothing from his majesty’s subjects; but he told him that he had for a long time received a pension of fifty thousand ducats from different princes and republics of Italy, thirty thousand of which were from the Florentines alone. He had, besides, got considerable presents, and amassed large sums. He begged the king, therefore, to permit him to dispose of all that he possessed; and the good king granted him more than he asked.


AT a parochial examination, the minister asked a sort of half-crazy woman what love was, which the string of his former question led him to. “What ’s love, Nanny?” “Hoot fye, sir,” says Nanny, “dinna speer sic daft like questions as that, when I’m sure ye ken that love ‘s joost an unco fykiness i’ mind; an’ what mair can me or ony other body say about it?”


THE equivocality of many of the names of places in Scotland has given occasion to a very amusing saying regarding a clergyman: “He was born in the parish of Dull, brought up at the school of Dunse (quasi Dunce), and finally settled minister in the parish of Drone!”


THE following anecdote may be relied on. — When Foote had a house at Hampstead, he invited a number of friends in London to dine with him, twenty of whom obeyed the invitation, and fared sumptuously. The repast being over, Dr. Heffernan, who was one of the company, drew from his pocket proposals for a new edition of Horace; the conditions stating that the price would be two guineas, half to be paid at the time of subscribing, and the other half on the delivery of the book. Our Aristophanes threw down his guinea without delay, declaring himself a subscriber, and every person present instantly followed his example. But, after Heffernan had pocketed the twenty guineas, our host delivered the following remonstrance, addressing himself to the now affluent physician: “Heffernan, this is about the thirty-fifth time that I have subscribed to your Horace, but for heaven’s sake never think of printing it! It is hardship enough to be obliged to throw away a guinea; but the further punishment of reading your vile nonsense would be intolerable.” The doctor smiled, and implicitly followed his advice, for not a line of his Horace ever appeared.

A PARTICULAR old gentleman of the name of Hair received a letter from one who did not know how to spell his name exactly, and directed the letter to Mr. Hare. The letter was returned by the former as an insult, with the remark “that he had seen too much of the world to suffer himself to be made game of.”

FOOTE, being asked by a lady to translate a physician’s motto, which was “a numine salus,” he quickly replied, “God help the patient!”




SOON after the Rye-house plot was discovered, thinking to be severe upon the character of his brother, he exhibited a striking feature of his own. The duke, one day, returning from hunting with his guards, found the king in Hyde Park. He expressed his surprise how his majesty could venture his person alone at such a perilous time. “James,” replied the king, “take you care of yourself, and I am safe. No man will kill me to make you king !”


THE Rev. Mr. Shirra, a most eccentric dissenting clergyman at Kirkaldy, could never endure to see any of his flock attend public worship in clothes that he thought too fine for their station in life. One Sunday afternoon a young lass, who attended his meeting-house regularly, and was personally known to him, came in with a new bonnet of greater magnitude and more richly decorated than he thought befitted the wearer. He soon observed it; and, pausing in the middle of his discourse, said, “Leuk, ony o’ ye that ’s near hand there, whether my wife be sleepin’ or no, as I canna get a glint o’ her for a’ thae fine falderals about Jenny Bean’s braw new bannet.”

AN Irishman, warmly expressing his gratitude to the United States to a friend of ours who was travelling through that country, said, “Had it not been for Ameriky, in sending us flour and male, Ireland would n’t have been here to this day.”



WAS one of the first introducers of short-hand writing. His skill in micrography, or miniature writing, was, we believe, unparalleled. Mr. Evelin informs that, in the year 1575, he wrote the Lord’s Paryer, the creed, the decalogue, with two short prayers in Latin, his own name, motto, day of the month, year of the Lord, and reign of the queen (Elizabeth), to whom he presented it at Hampton Court, all within the circle of a silver penny, inchased in a ring and borders of gold, and covered with a crystal so accurately wrought as to be very plainly legible. He died about 1600.


MOLIÈRE, the great comic poet of France, was also an excellent performer. He died while sustaining a part in a comedy of his own writing, called “Le Malade Imaginaire,” in the year 1679, in his grand climacteric. The Archbishop of Paris, who held the amusement of the stage in detestation, would not suffer his body to be inhumed in consecrated ground. The king, being informed of the obstinacy of the rigid prelate, sent for him into his presence, and began to expostulate with him on the impropriety of his conduct; but the holy man was not to be convinced. His majesty, finding fair arguments ineffectual, at length asked him how many feet deep the consecrated ground reached. The bishop, without reflection or ceremony, replied, “About eight.” “Then,” replied the king, “let the grave of Molière be dug twelve feet, which is four below the consecrated earth !” Louis the Fourteenth spoke this in a tone which convinced the churchman that it would b unsafe to make further resistance.



MACLAURIN, the able expounder of Newton’s “Principia,” and Professor of Mathematics in the College of Edinburgh, could not yawn without dislocating his jaw. At the same time, his instinct of imitation was so strong, that he could not resist yawning when he witnessed that act in others. His pupils were not slow in discovering and taking advantage of his weakness. When tired of his lecture, they either began to yawn, or open their mouths in imitation of that act, and prelection was immediately interrupted. The professor stood before them with his mouth wide open, and could not proceed till he rang for his servant to come and shut it. In the mean time the conspirators effected their escape.


DURING the intended French invasion into Scotland, in the year 1708, the English fleet at the mouth of the Frith of Forth was mistaken at Edinburgh for the French. Upon that occasion, Sir Hugh Dalrymple, Lord President of the Session, who was flying into England himself, advised Sir James Stuart to do the same, putting him in mind that he had had a hand in drawing the Prince of Orange’s manifesto. He answered, “Ay, ay, my dear, that is true; and I must draw this man’s, too.” This is a story well known to both families.

THE Rev. Rowland Hill, in a conversation on the powers of the letter H, where it was contended that it was no letter, but a simple aspiration or breathing, took the opposite side of the question, and insisted on its being, to all intents and 24 purposes, a letter; and concluded by observing that, if it were not, it was a very serious affair to him, as it would occasion his being ill all the days of his life.


A YOUNG gentleman, celebrated for his wit at college, was asked by his father for a specimen of his talents, while entertaining a party of friends at vacation. The scholar knelt upon the hearth and roared lustily twice, to the great surprise of the old squire, who asked him what the ——— he meant by that. “Why, sir,” replied the son, “seeing the fire so low, I thought it might be the better for a pair of bellows.”


WAS not only fond of reading novels, but of reading them aloud to his company. Ladies were always extremely delight to have him to read works of that sort. One day, a beautiful young lady, of the name of Miss Paine, had come over from the charming seat of Paine’s Hill, near Cobham, to visit Mrs. Burke, and was a hearer of one of these readings. The phrase Mons Veneris happening to occur, the young lady asked the meaning. “Paine’s Hill,” replied the gallant Edmund.


IT occurred to one of Boissi’s friends that it was very extraordinary he could never find him at home, and, at length he burst open the door. He now beheld his friend, with his wife and child, lying on a bed, pale and emaciated, scarcely 25 able to utter a sound. The parents lay still, in a perfect stupor; they never heard the bursting open of the door, and felt nothing of the embraces of their agitated friend. They were restored to health and the world. This transaction made a great noise at Paris, and at length came to the ears of Madam Pompadour. She immediately sent Boissi one hundred louis d’or, and procured him a profitable place, with a pension for his wife and child. He was a member of the French Academy. His works are printed in three vols., 8vo.


WHEN Garrick was last at Paris, Preville invited him to his villa. Preville was reckoned the most accomplished comedian of the French theatre. Our Roscius, being in a very gay humor, proposed to go in one of the hired coaches that go to Versaille, on which road the villa of Preville lies. When they got in, he ordered the coachman to drive on, who answered that he would do so as soon as he got his complement of four passengers. A caprice immediately seized Garrick; he determined to give his brother-player a specimen of art. While the coachman was attentively plying for passengers, Garrick slipped out of the door, went round the coach, and, by his wonderful command of countenance, — a power which he so happily displayed in Abel Drugger, — palmed himself upon the coachman for a stranger. This he did twice, and was admitted each time into the coach as fresh passenger, to the astonishment and admiration of Preville. He whipped out a third time, and, addressing himself to the coachman, was answered, in a surly tone, “that he had already got his complement;” and he would have driven off without him, had not Preville called out that, as the stranger appeared a very little 26 man, they would, to accommodate the gentlemen, contrive to make room.


IT is well knwn that Madam de Guercheville was extremely beautiful, that Henry IV. was in love with her, that she resisted his passion a long time, and that the king conceived so much esteem for her that he appointed her a lady of the bedchamber to the queen, telling her that had he known a more virtuous woman in his kingdom he would have given her the preference.

The Abbé de Choissy relates a circumstance in the life of this lady hitherto unknown. Henry IV., knowing that Madam de Guercheville was at Roche-Guyon, resolved to pay her a visit; and sent a gentleman to acquaint her that, having been on a hunting party in the neighborhood, he requested leave to sup with her, and to sleep in her castle. The lady replied, with great respect, that she would do her best to receive the king in a manner suitable to his rank and dignity. The monarch, enchanted with this answer, repaired to the castle, where he found Madame de Guercheville at the bottom of the staircase, full-dressed, and ready to receive him. She conducted him, with much ceremony, into the best apartment; and, as he passed along, he observed in the kitchen every preparation for a magnificent supper. The lady informed him, as soon as he had enjoyed a little repose, it would be served up. When the supper was ready, and the king about to sit down to table, he learned that Madam de Guercheville had ordered her carriage, and departed from the castle. Surprised and much vexed at this information, he sent to inquire the reason; upon which she sent back this answer: that a king ought always to be master wherever he was; and that, 27 as for her part, she wished to enjoy freedom, wherever she might be.

LET us so order our conversation in the world that we may live, when we are dead, in the affections of the best, and leave an honorable testimony in the consciences of the worst.

HE who troubles himself more than he needs grieves also more than is necessary; for the same weakness which makes him anticipate his misery makes him enlarge it too.

HE that can apprehend and consider vice, with all her baits and seeming pleasure, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer, that which is truly better, — he is the true warfaring Christian.

HENRY the Eighth, and Francis the First of France, were both princes of very warm tempers; and the former, having a design of sending a very warm message to the latter; pitched on Sir Thomas More, his chancellor, for the messenger. Sir Thomas, having received his instructions, told Henry that he feared, if he carried such a message to so violent a man as Francis, it might cost him his head. “Never fear, man,” said the king; “if Francis were to cut off your head, I would make every Frenchman in my power a head shorter.” “I am obliged to your majesty,” replied the facetious chancellor, “but I must doubt if any of their heads would fit my shoulders.”

TRUTH, they say, lies in a well. “For my part,” said a wit, “I thought it the property of truth to lie nowhere.”



THE celebrated Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, to his other qualities added a most inordinate vanity. In 1736 he erected a monument (still extant) in the old church of Kirkhill, within a few miles of Castle Dounie, to the memory of his father, in which he took occasion to say of himself that “both at home and abroad, by his eminent actions in the war and the state, he had acquired great honors and reputation.” Sir Robert Munro, who fell at Falkirk, being on a visit to Lord Lovat, they went together to view the monument. Sir Robert, upon reading the inscription, in a free manner said, “Simon, how the devil came you to put up such boasting, romantic stuff?” To which the wary Jacobite replied, “The monument and inscription are chiefly for the Frasers, who must believe whatever I, their chief, require of them, and their posterity will think it as true as the gospel.”


SOME time previous to the landing of the Prince of Orange, it was generally reported that the whole armament was lost. James received the news at dinner; and, with an appearance of great devotion, remarked, “It is not to be wondered at, for the host has been exposed these several days !”


WHEN Sergeant Maynard, then ninety years of age, came at the head of the lawyers to congratulate the Prince of Orange, the prince having paid him this compliment on the vigor of his age, “that he had outlived all the men of the 29 law of his time,” Maynard answered, “Had not your Highness come over, I should have outlived the law itself.”


WHEN D’Avaux, the French ambassador, hastened to inform James, then in Ireland, of some advantage obtained by the French fleet, James, with a generous peevishness, answered, “C’est bein la première fois donc:” — “It is the first time, then.”

LADY LANE was presiding, one evening, at the card-table, when her ruffles caught the fire of the candle. Lord Lyttleton, intending to be witty on the accident, said he did not think her ladyship so apt to take fire. “Nor am I, my lord, from such a spark as you.”

THERE are none or very few evils, but penury and guilt. The dignity of virtue makes everything else a trifle, or very tolerable. Penury itself may flatter one, for it may be inflicted on a man for his virtue.

It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy unenvied, to be healthy without physic, secure without a guard, and to obtain from the bounty of nature what the great and wealthy are compelled to procure by the help of art. — Johnson.

LORD CHESTERFIELD’S physicians having informed him that he was dying “by inches,” he thanked Heaven that he was not so tall by a foot as Sir Thomas Robinson.


AN ignorant lawyer, pleading in an action of assault and battery, to aggravate matters, gravely told the court that his client had been beaten by a certain wooden instrument, called an iron pestle.

“DEAR me, how fluidly he does talk!” said Mrs. Partington, recently, at a temperance lecture. “I am always rejoiced when he mounts the nostril, for his eloquence warms me in every nerve and cartridge of my body, — verdigrease itself could n’t be more smooth than his blessed tongue is !” and she wiped her spectacles with her cotton bandanna, and never took eyes from the speaker during the whole hour he was on the stand.

Women are curious creatures, after all; when they once see a man that they like, they will watch him.

AN Hibernian traveller, expressing how cheering and comfortable the roads are made by mile-stones, suggests that it would be a great improvement if they were nearer each other.

AN Irish footman, having carried a basket of game from his master to a friend, waiting a considerable time for his customary fee, but finding no present appear, scratched his head and said, “Sir, if my master should say, ‘Paddy, what did the gentleman give you,’ what would your honor have me tell him?”

WHY is a mariner tracking his way upon a map like the old Pharisees? — Because he compasses sea and land.

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