[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]

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. 130-153.


T H E   J E S T   B O O K.

( Jests 600-699. )


MR. PHILIP THICKNESSE, father of the late Lord Audley, being in want of money, applied to his son for assistance. This being denied, he immediately hired a cobbler’s stall, directly opposite his lordship’s house, and put up a board, on which was inscribed in large letters. “Books and shoes mended in the best and cheapest manner, by Philip Thicknesse, father of Lord Audley.” His lordship took the hint, and the board was removed.


QUEEN CAROLINE when Princess of Wales, in one of her shrewd letters, says, “My better half, or my worse, which you choose, has been ill, I hear, but nothing to make me hope or fear.”


AFTER giving Sandy certain directions about kirk matters, the minister sniffed once or twice, and remarked, “Saunders, I fear you have been ‘tasting’ (taking a glass) this morning.” — “ ’Deed, sir,” replied Sandy, with the coolest effrontery, set off with a droll glance of his brown eyes; “ ’Deed, sir, I was just ga’in’ to observe I thocht were was a smell o’ speerits amang us  this mornin’ !”



A WATCH lost in a tavern !  That ’s a crime;
Then see how men by drinking lose their time.

The watch kept time ; and if time will away,
I see no reason why the watch should stay.

You say the key hung out, and you failed to lock it ;
Time will not be kept pris’ner in a pocket.

Henceforth, if you will keep your watch, this do,
Pocket your watch, and watch your pocket, too.


AN old lady was in the habit of talking to Jerrold in a gloomy depressing manner, presenting to him only the sad side of life. “Hang it !”  said Jerrold, one day, after a long and somber interview, “she would n’t allow there was a bright side of the moon.”


A MAN bought a horse on condition that he should pay half down, and be in debt for the remainder. A short time after, the seller demanding payment of the balance, the other answered, “No; it was agreed that I should be in your debt  for the remainder ;  how can that be if I pay  it?”


IF it be true that the heads of the country should set religious example to their inferiors, the E—— of R——, in his observance of one of the commandments, is a pattern to the community; for, not only on the Sabbath, but through the week, he takes care as Postmaster-General to do no manner of work.


SOME people remarked to him that apothecaries bore the same relation to physicians that attorneys do to barristers. “So they do,” said Sterne; “but apothecaries and attorneys are not alike, for the latter do not deal in scruples.



MR. SERGEANT PAREY, in illustration of a case, told the following anecdote : —

Some merchants went to an Eastern sovereign, and exhibited for sale several very fine horses. The king admired them, and bought them; he, moreover, gave the merchants a lac of rupees to purchase more horses for him. The king one day, in a sportive humor, ordered the vizier to make out a list of all the fools in his dominions. He did so, and put his Majesty’s name at the head of them. The king asked why. He replied, “Because you entrusted a lac of rupees to men you don’t know, and who will never come back.” — “Ay, but suppose they should come back?” — “Then I shall erase your name and insert theirs.”


A JURYMAN, kept several says at his own expense, sent a friend to the judge to complain that he had been paid nothing for his attendance. “O, tell him,” said the witty judge, “that if ever he should have to go before a jury himself he will get one for nothing.”


“THE friends and opponents of the bill,” said a’Beckett, “are divided into two very distinct classes, “the a-bility and the no-bility.”


KING JAMES had two comedies acted before him, the one at Cambridge, the other at Oxford; that at Cambridge was called The Ignoramus, an ingenious thing, wherein one Mr. Sleep was a principal actor; the other at Oxford was but a dull piece, and therein Mr. Wake was a prime actor. Which made his Majesty merrily to say, that in Cambridge one Sleep  made him wake, and in Oxford one Wake  made him sleep.


GREAT Bulwer’s works fell on Miss Basbleu’s head,
And in a moment, lo !  the maid was dead !
133 A jury sat and found the verdict plain —
“She died of milk and water on the brain. ”


A THIN old man, with a rag-bag in his hand, was picking up a number of small pieces of whalebone which lay on the street. The deposit was of such a singular nature, that we asked the quaint-looking gatherer how he supposed they came there. “Don’t know,” he replied, in a squeaking voice; “but I ’spect some unfortunate female was wrecked  hereabout somewhere.”


A GOOD instance of absence of mind was an editor quoting from a rival paper one of his own articles, and heading it, “Wretched Attempt at Wit.”


A PERSON desirous of impressing Lord Ellenborough with his importance, said, “I sometimes employ myself as a doctor.” — “Very likely,” remarked his lordship; “but is any one fool enough to employ you  in that capacity?”


WE are told that a member for old Sarum (consisting of one large mansion) was once in danger of being pelted with stones; he would have found it hard  to have been assailed with his own constituents.


AN old lady who lived not far from Abbotsford, and from whom the “Great Unknown” had derived many an ancient tale, was waited upon one day by the author of “Waverley.” On Scot endeavoring to conceal the authorship, the old dame protested, “D ’ye think, sir, I dinna ken my ain  groats in ither folk’s kail?”


WHEN Jeremy Taylor was introduced to the Archbishop 134 of Canterbury, he was told by the prelate, that his extreme youth was a bar to his present employment. “If your grace,” replied Taylor, “will excuse  me this fault, I promise, if I live, to mend it.”


( On the sincerity of a certain prelate. )

—— ——’s discourses from his heart,
    Proceed, as everybody owns ;
And thus they prove the poet’s art,
    Who says that “ sermons are in stones. ”


A YOUNG fellow, every confident in his abilities, lamented one day that he had lost  all his Greek. “I believe it happened at the same time, sir,” said Dr. Johnson, “that I lost  all my large estate in Yorkshire.”


AN attorney on being called to account for having acted unprofessionally in taking less than the usual fees from his client, pleaded that he had taken all  the man had. He was thereupon honorably acquitted.


“WHY, Mr. B.,” said a tall youth to a little person who was in company with half-a-dozen huge men, “I protest you are so very small I did not see you before.”

“Very likely,” replied the little gentleman; “I am like a sixpence among six copper pennies, — not easily perceived, but worth the whole  of them.”


SAYS Kemble to Lewis, “Pray what is your play ?”
Cries Lewis to Kemble, “The Lie of the Day ! ”
“Say you so?” replied Kemble; “why, we act the same ;
But to cozen the town we adopt a new name ;
For that Vortigern’s  Shakespeare’s we some of us say,
Which you very well know is a lie  of the day.”



LAMB and Coleridge were talking together on the incidents of Coleridge’s early life, when he was beginning his career in the church, and Coleridge was describing some of the facts in his usual tone, when he paused, and said, “Pray, Mr. Lamb, did you ever hear me preach?” — “I never  heard you do anything else !” said Lamb.


A VERY stupid foreman asked a judge how they were to ignore  a bill. “Write Ignoramus for self and fellows  on the back of it.” said Curran.


DR. BALGUY, a preacher of great celebrity, after having preached an excellent discourse at Winchester Cathedral, the text of which was, “all wisdom is sorrow,” received the following elegant compliment from Dr. Wharton, then at Winchester school : —

If what you advance, dear doctor, be true,
That “wisdom is sorrow,” how wretched are you.


A COMEDIAN at Covent Garden advised one of the scene-shifters, who had met with an accident, to try a subscription; and a few days afterwards he asked for the list of names, which, when he had read over, he returned. “Why, sir,” said the poor fellow, “won’t you give me something?” — ‘Why, zounds, man,” replied the comedian, “did n’t I give you the hint ? ”


A CERTAIN Lord Mayor hearing of a gentleman who had had the small-pox twice, and died of it, asked, if he died the first time or the second.


WHEN Dido mourned, Æneas would not come,
She wept in silence, and was Di-Do-Dumb.



A CREDITOR, whom he was anxious to avoid, met Sheridan coming out of Pall Mall. There was no possibility of avoiding him, but he did not lose his presence of mind. “That ’s a beautiful mare you are on !”  said Sheridan. “Do you think so ?” — “Yes, indeed !  How does she trot ?”  the creditor highly flattered, put her into full trot. Sheridan bolted round the corner, and was out of sight  in a moment.


SIR FREDERICK FLOOD had a droll habit, of which he could never effectually break himself. Whenever a person at his back whispered or suggested anything to him whilst he was speaking in public, without a moment’s reflection, he always repeated the suggestion literatim. Sir Frederick was once making a long speech in the Irish Parliament, lauding the transcendent merits of the Wexford magistracy, on a motion for extending the criminal jurisdiction in that county, to keep down the disaffected. As he was closing a most turgid oration by declaring “that the said magistracy ought to receive some signal mark of the Lord-Lieutenant’s favor,” John Egan, who was rather mellow, and sitting behind him, jocularly whispered, “and be whipped at the cart’s tail. ” — “And be whipped at the cart’s tail !”  repeated Sir Frederick unconsciously, amidst peals of uncontrollable laughter.”


KING JAMES used to say, that he never knew a modest man make his way at court. As he was repeating this expression one day, a David Floyd, who was then waiting at his Majesty’s elbow, replied bluntly, “Pray, sir, whose fault is that !” The king stood corrected, and was silent.


SIR JAMES SCARLETT, when at the Bar, had to cross-examine a witness whose evidence it was thought would be very damaging, unless he could be bothered a little, and 137 his only vulnerable point was said to be his self-esteem. The witness presented himself in the box, — a portly, over-dressed person, — and Scarlett took him in hand.

Q.    Mr. John Tomkins, I believe ?

A.   Yes.

Q.   You are a stock-broker ?

A.   I ham !

Scarlett regarded him attentively for a few moments, and then said; “And a very fine, well-dressed ham  you are, sir !

The shouts of laughter which followed completely disconcerted the witness, and the counsel’s point was gained.


IN the days of Charles II., candidates for holy orders were expected to respond in Latin to the various interrogatories put to them by the bishop or his examining chaplain. When the celebrated Dr. Isaac Barrow ( who was fellow of Trinity College, and tutor to the immortal Newton ) had taken his bachelor’s degree, he presented himself before the bishop’s chaplain, who, with the stiff stern visage of the times, said to Barrow, —

“ Quid est fides ?”   ( What is faith ? )
“ Quod non vides ”   ( What thou dost not see ),

answered Barrow with the utmost promptitude. The chaplain, a little vexed at Barrow’s laconic answer, continued, —

“ Quid est spes ? ”   ( What is hope ? )
“ Magna res ”   ( A great thing ),

replied the young candidate in the same breath.

“ Quid est charitas ? ”   ( What is charity ? )

was the next question.

“ Magna raritas ”   ( A great rarity ),

was again the prompt reply of Barrow, blending truth and rhyme with a precision that staggered the reverend examiner, who went direct to the bishop and told him that a young Cantab had thought proper to give rhyming answers to three several moral questions, and added that he believed 138 his name was Barrow, of Trinity College, Cambridge. “Barrow, Barrow !”  said the bishop, who well knew the literary and moral worth of the young Cantab, “if that ’s the case, ask him no more questions, for he is much better qualified,” continued his lordship, “to examine us than we him. ”  Barrow received his letters of orders forthwith.


“ PISTOR erat quondam, laborando qui fregit collum :
  Qui fregit collum, collum fregitque suum. ”

Thus translated —

“ There was a baker heretofore, with labor and great pain :
   Did break his neck, and break his neck, and break his
            neck again. ”


A MAD Quaker belongs to a small and rich sect; and is, therefore, of greater importance than any other  mad person of the same degree in life.


A MALEFACTOR, under sentence of death, pretending that he was related to him, on that account petitioned Lord Chancellor Bacon for a reprieve. To which petition his lordship answered, “that he could not possibly be Bacon  till he had first been hung. ”


SAID vain Andrew Scalp, “My initials, I guess,
Are known, so I sign all my poems, A. S.”
Said Jerrold, “I own you ’re a reticent youth,
And that’s telling only two thirds of the truth.”


JERROLD said to an ardent young gentleman, who burned with a desire to see himself in print, “Be advised by me, young man : don’t take down the shutters before there is something in the window.”



JOE HAINES was more remarkable for his practical jokes than for his acting. He was seized one morning by two bailiffs, for a debt of 20£., as the bishop of Ely was passing by in his coach. “Gentlemen,” said Joe, “here’s my cousin the Bishop of Ely going by his house; let me but speak to him, and he’ll pay the debt and charges.” The bailiffs thought they might venture this, as they were within three or four yards of him. Joe went boldly to the coach, and pulled his hat off to the bishop. His lordship ordered the coach to stop, when Joe whispered him gently, “My lord, here are two men who have such great scruples of conscience, that I fear they ’ll hang themselves.” — “Very well,” said the bishop; so, calling to the bailiffs, he said, “You two men come to me to-morrow morning, and I will satisfy you. ” The men bowed, and went away pleased. Early on the following day, the bailiffs, expecting the debt and charges, paid a visit to the bishop; when, being introduced, his lordship addressed them. “Well, my men, what are your scruples of conscience?” — “Scruples !”  echoed the bailiff; “we have no scruples.  We are bailiffs, my lord, who yesterday arrested your cousin, Joe Haines, for a debt of 20£.; and your lordship kindly promised to satisfy us to-day.” The bishop, reflecting that his honor and name would be exposed were he not to comply, paid the debt and charges.


SOME gentlemen talking on the inattention of writers to punctuation, it was observed that the lawyers used no stops in their writings. “I should not mind that,” said one of the party, “but they put no periods  to their works.”


LORD BOTTETOT, in passing through Gloucester, soon after the cider tax, in which he was very unpopular, observing himself burning in effigy, he stopped his coach, and giving a purse of guineas to the mob, said, “Pray, gentlemen, if you will burn me, burn me like a gentleman; do not let me linger; I see you have not faggots enough. ” This 140 good-humored speech appeased the people, who gave him three cheers, and let him pass.


THERE is a very general notion, that if you once suffer women to eat of the tree of knowledge, the rest of the family will very soon be reduced to the same kind of aerial and unsatisfactory diet.


PORSON, once conversing with a party of congenial friends, seemed at a loss for something to cheer the inward man, and drawing his glass mechanically towards him, he took up one bottle, and then another, without finding wherewithal to replenish. A friend observing this, he inquired what the professor was in search of. “Only a-liquid ! ”  answered Porson.


THE following playful colloquy in verse took place at a dinner-table between Sir George Rose and James Smith, in allusion to Craven Street, Strand, where he resided : —

J. S. —

“ At the top of the street ten attorneys find place,
   And ten dark coal barges are moored :
   Fly, honesty, fly, to some safer retreat,
   For there’s craft  in the river, and craft  in the street. ”

Sir. G. R. — 

“ Why should Honesty fly to some safer retreat,
       From attorneys and barges, od rot ’em?
   For the attorneys are just  at the top of the street,
       And the barges are just  at the bottom. ”


JERROLD and a company of literary friends were out in the country. In the course of their walk, they stopped to notice the gambols of an ass’s foal. A very sentimental poet present vowed that he should like to send the little 141 thing as a present to his mother. “Do,” Jerrold replied, “and tie a piece of paper round its neck, bearing the motto, — “When this you see, remember me.”


THE Duke of Norfolk of Foote’s time was much addicted to the bottle. On a masquerade night, he asked Foote what new  character he should go in. “Go sober !” said Foote.


DR. MACKNIGHT, who was a better commentator than preacher, having been caught in a shower of rain, entered the vestry soaked with wet. As the time drew on for divine service he became much distressed, and ejaculated over and over, “O, I wish that I was dry !  Do you think I ’m dry ?  Do you think I ’m dry eneuch noo ?”  To this his jocose colleague, Dr. Henry, the historian, returned :  “Bide a wee, doctor, and ye’se be dry eneuch  when you get into the pu’pit. 


A CERTAIN Scotchman, who is not a member of any temperance society, being asked by a dealer to purchase some fine old Jamaica, dryly answered, “To tell you the truth, Mr. ——, I canna’ say I ’m very fond of rum; for if I tak’ mair then six  tum’lers, it’s very apt to gi’e me a headache.”


PERHAPS the best concentrated specimen of blunders, such as occur in all nations, but which, of course, are fathered upon Paddy wholesale, as if by common consent, is the following : —

Copy of a Letter, written during the Rebellion
by Sir ——, an Irish Member of Parliament,
to his friend in London.


    Having now a little peace and quietness, I sit down to inform you of the dreadful bustle and confusion we are 142 in from these blood-thirsty rebels. Most of whom are, I’m glad to say, killed and dispersed. We are in a pretty mess, can get nothing to eat, nor wine to drink, except whiskey, and when we sit down to dinner we are obliged to keep both hands armed. Whilst I write this, I hold a sword in each hand and a pistol in the other. I concluded from the beginning that this would be the end of it, and I see I was right, for it is not half over yet. At present there are such goings on that everything is at a standstill. I should have answered your letter a fortnight ago, but I did not receive it till this morning. Indeed, scarcely a mail arrives safe without being robbed. No longer ago than yesterday the coach with the mails from Dublin was robbed near this town; the bags had been judiciously left behind for fear of accident, and by good luck there was nobody in it but two outside passengers, who had nothing for the thieves to take. Last Thursday notice was given that a gang of rebels was advancing here under the French standard, but they had no colors, nor any drums except bagpipes. Immediately every man in the place, including women and children, ran out to meet them. We soon found our force much too little; we were far too near to think of retreating. Death was in every face, but to it we went, and, by the time half our little party were killed, we began to be all alive again. Fortunately the rebels had no guns, except pistols, cutlasses, and pikes, and as we had plenty of muskets and ammunition, we put them all to the sword. Not a soul of them escaped, except some that were drowned in an adjacent bog, and, in a very short time, nothing was to be heard but silence. Their uniforms were all different colors, but mostly green. After the action we went to rummage a sort of camp, which they had left behind them. All we found was a few pikes, without heads, a parcel of empty bottles full of water, and a bundle of French commissions filled up with Irish names. Troops are now stationed all round the country, which exactly squares with my ideas.
    I have only time to add that I am in great haste.

Yours truly,             
——  ——.

    P. S. — If you do not receive this, of course it must have miscarried, therefore I beg you will write to let me know.



( Spoken between the Third and Fourth Acts of Cowley’s Tragedy “The Fall of Sparta.” )

SO great thy art, that while we viewed,
    Of Sparta’s sons the lot severe,
We caught the Spartan fortitude,
    And saw their woes without a tear !


SO ungrateful was the sound of “Wilkes and No. 45” (the famous number of the “North Briton”) to George III., that about 1772, George IV., then a mere boy, having been chid for some fault, and wishing to have his boyish revenge, stole to the king’s apartment, and shouting at the door, “Wilkes and No. 45 for ever !” ran away.


A GREAT drinker being at table, they offered him grapes at dessert. “Thank you !” said he, pushing back the plate? “I don’t take my wine in pills ! ”


IT’S a great comfort for timid men, that beauty, like the elephant, does n’t know its strength. Otherwise, how it would trample upon us ! — D. J. [Douglas Jerrold.}


AT Glasgow forty years ago, when the time had come for the bowl  to be introduced, some jovial and thirsty member of the company proposed as a toast, “The trade of Glasgow and the outward bound ; ” the hint was taken, and silks and satins moved off to the drawing-room.


WHILE the “Beggar’s Opera” was under rehearsal at the Haymarket Theatre, in 1823, Miss Paton, who was to play the part of Polly, expressed a wish to sing the air of “The Miser thus a Shilling sees,” a note higher; to which the stage-manager immediately replied, “Then, Miss, you must sing, ‘The Miser thus a Guinea  sees.’ ”



AN actor, on his benefit night, having a very limited audience, when he came to the often-quoted passage, “ ’Tis not in mortals to command success, We ’ll do more, Sempronius — we ’ll deserve it,” heaved a deep sigh, and substituted for the last line, “We ’ll do more, Sempronius, — we ’ll do without it. ”


DELPINI had repeatedly applied to the Prince of Wales to speak to the Lord Chamberlain to grant him a license for a play at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, always pleading poverty :  at last, when he once met his Royal Highness coming out of Carlton House, he exclaimed, “Ah, votre Altesse !  mon Prince !   If you do not speak to Milor Chamberlain for pauvre Delpini, I must go to your papa’s  bench.”


A LITTLE girl playing at the game of “I love my love with an A,” &c., having arrived at the letter Z, displayed her orthographical acquirements by taking her lover to the sign of the Zebra, and treating him to Zeidlitz  powders.


VERY pure folks won’t be held up to the light and shown to be very dirty bottles, without paying back hard abuse for the impertinence.


WE have to congratulate the Right Honorable Lord Brougham on the following piece of intelligence : “Yarn  has risen one farthing a pound.” His lordship’s long speeches are of course at a premium. — G. a’B. [Gilbert a’Beckett.]


WESTMACOTT, of the Age  paper, having libelled a gentleman, was well thrashed for his pains. Declaring afterwards that he would have justice done him, a person 145 present remarked, “That has been done already. ” A similar story is told of Voltaire and the Regent of France.


THE most celebrated wits and bon vivants  of the day graced the dinner-table of the late Dr. Kitchener, and, inter alia, the late George Colman, who was an especial favorite; his interpolation of a little monosyllable in a written admonition which the Doctor caused to be placed on the mantelpiece of the dining parlor will never be forgotten, and was the origin of such a drinking bout as was seldom permitted under his roof. The caution ran thus : “Come at seven, go at eleven.” Colman briefly altered the sense of it; for, upon the Doctor’s attention being directed to the card, he read, to his astonishment, “Come at seven, go it  at eleven !”  which the guests did, and the claret was punished accordingly.


JERROLD said to a very thin man, “Sir, you are like a pin, but without the head or the point.”


WHEN Foote was at Salt Hill, he dined at the Castle Inn, and when Partridge, the host, produced his bill, which was rather exorbitant, the comedian asked him his name. “Partridge, sir,” said he. “Partridge !  It should have been Woodcock, by the length of your bill ! 


WHEN a noble Admiral of the White, well known for his gallant spirit, his gentlemanly manners, and real goodness of heart, was introduced to William the Fourth, to return thanks for his promotion, the cheerful and affable monarch, looking at his hair, which was almost as white as the newly-fallen snow, jocosely exclaimed, “White at the main, Admiral ! white at the main ! ”


TWO silly brothers, twins, who were very much about 146 town in Theodore Hook’s time, took pains, by dressing alike, to deceive their friends as to their identity. Tom Hill (the original of Paul Pry) was expatiating upon these modern Dromios, at which Hook grew impatient. “Well,” said Hill, “you will admit they resemble each other wonderfully. They are as like as two peas. ” — “They are,” retorted Hook, “and quite as green. ”


THIS celebrated actor was, perhaps, in no part so excellent as that of Romeo, for which he was particularly fitted by an uncommonly handsome and commanding person, and a silver-toned voice. At the time that he attracted the town to Covent Garden by his excellent performance of his part, Garrick found it absolutely necessary to divide the attention of the public by performing Romeo himself at Drury Lane. He wanted the natural advantages of Barry, and, great as he was, would, perhaps, have willingly avoided such a contention. This, at least, seems to have been a prevailing opinion; for in the garden scene, when Juliet  in soliloquy exclaims, O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ” an auditor archly replied, aloud, “Because Barry has gone to the other house. ”


MR. HARE, formerly the envoy to Poland, had apartments in the same house with Mr. Fox, and like his friend Charles, had frequent visits from bailiffs. One morning, as he was looking out of his window, he observed two of them at the door. “Pray, gentlemen,” says he, “are you Fox  hunting, or Hare  hunting this morning?”


THE amiable Mrs. W—— always insists that her friends who take grog shall mix equal quantities of spirits and water, though she never observes the rule for herself. A writer of plays having once made a glass under her directions, was asked by the lady, “Pray, sir, is it As you like it? ” — “No, madam,” replied the dramatist; “it is Measure for Measure. ”



JONATHAN and his friend Paddy were enjoying a delightful ride, when they came in sight of what is very unusual in any civilized state now a-days — an old gallows or gibbet. This suggested to the American the idea of being witty at the expense of his Irish companion. “You see that, I calculate,” said he nasally, pointing to the object just mentioned; “and now where would you be if the gallows had its due?” — “Riding alone,” coolly replied Paddy.


SEVERAL publicans being assembled at Malton, in Yorkshire, in order to renew their licenses to retail beer, the worthy magistrate addressed one of them (an old woman), and said he trusted she did not put any pernicious ingredients into the liquor; to which she immediately replied : “ I’ll assure your worship there’s naught pernicious put into our barrels that I know of, but the exciseman’s stick. ”


“I WONDER if Brougham thinks as much as he talks,”
    Said a punster perusing a trial ;
“I vow, since his lordship was made baron Vaux,
    He’s been Vaux et præterea nihil. ”


A SEXTON in Salisbury Cathedral was telling Charles Lamb that eight people had dined at the pointed top of the spire; upon which Lamb remarked that they must have been very sharp set.


DR. BARTON, being in company with Dr. Nash, who had just printed two heavy folios on the antiquities of Worcestershire, remarked that the publication was deficient in several respects, adding, “Pray, doctor, are you not a justice of the peace ?” — “I am,” replied Nash. “Then,” said Barton, “I advise you to send your work to the house of correction. ”



AS Liston lay wrapt in delicious repose,
Most harmoniously playing a tune with his nose,
In a dream there appeared the adorable Venus,
Who said, “To be sure there ’s no likeness between us ;
Yet to show a celestial to kindness so prone is,
Your looks shall soon rival the handsome Adonis.”
Liston woke in a fright, and cried, “Heaven preserve me !
If my face you improve, zounds !  Madam, you ’ll starve me ! 


A WELL-KNOWN lawyer, Mr. Marryatt, who declared he had never opened any book after he left school but a law book, once told a jury, when speaking of a chimney on fire : “Gentlemen, the chimney took fire; it poured forth volumes  of smoke !  Volumes, did I say ?  Whole encyclopædias ! ”  Mr. Maryatt is said to have applied for two mandami.


DOUGLAS JERROLD, discussing one day with Mr. Selby, the vexed question of adapting dramatic pieces from the French, that gentleman insisted upon claiming some of his characters as strictly original creations. “Do you remember my Baroness in Ask no Questions ? ”  said Mr. S. “Yes, indeed. I don’t think I ever saw a piece of yours without being struck by your barrenness, ” was the retort.


HYMEN comes when he is called, and Love when he pleases.


A FORMER laird of Brotherton was on all occasions a man of few words. He had a favorite tame goose, and for hours together Brotherton and his silent companion sat by the fireside opposite to each other. On one occasion a candidate for the representation of the county in Parliament called upon him to solicit his vote, and urged his request 149 with much eloquence; to all which the laird replied only by nods and smiles, without saying a word. When, however, the candidate was gone, he looked across to his goose, and emphatically remarked, “I ’m thinkin’ yon windy chiel ’ll no tell muckle  that you and I said  to him.”


MR. JOHN CLERK, in pleading before the House of Lords one day, happened to say, in his broadest Scotch accent, “In plain English, ma Lords;” upon which Lord Eldon jocosely remarked, “In plain Scotch, you mean, Mr. Clerk.” The prompt advacate instantly rejoined, “Na matter !  In plain common sense, ma Lords, and that ’s the same in a’ languages, ye ’ll ken.”


A FARMER, in a stage-coach with Charles Lamb, kept boring him to death with questions in the jargon of agriculturists about crops. At length he put a poser — “And pray, sir, how are turnips t’ year?” — “Why that, sir,” stammered out Lamb, “will depend  upon the boiled legs of mutton.”


PETERSON the comedian lent a brother actor two shillings, and when he made a demand for the sum, the debtor, turning peevishly from him, said, “Hang it !  I ’ll pay you to-day in some shape or other.” Peterson good-humoredly replied, “I shall be much obliged to you, Tom, to let it be as like two shillings  as you can.”


THE lawyer’s house, if I have rightly read,
Is built upon the fool or madman’s head.


COLONEL B—— was remarkably fat, and coming one night out of the playhouse, called a chair; but while he was preparing to squeeze into it, a friend, who was stepping 150 into his chariot, called out to him, “B——, I go by your door, and will set you down.” B—— gave the chairman a shilling, and was going; when one of them scratched his head, and hoped his honor would give him more than a shilling. “For what, you scoundrel ?  when I never got into your chair   ” — “But consider the fright your honor put us into,” replied Pat, — “consider the fright ! 


THIS celebrated Quaker, on visiting a lady of rank, whom he found six months after the death of her husband, sitting on a sofa covered with black cloth, and in all the dignity of woe, approached her with great solemnity, and gently taking her by the hand, thus accosted her :  “So, friend, I see that thou has not yet forgiven  God Almighty.” This seasonable reproof had such an effect upon the person to whom it was addressed, that she immediately laid aside her trappings of grief, and went about her necessary business and avocations.


A YOUNG fellow once offered to kiss a Quakeress. “Friend,” said she, “thee must not do it.” — “O, by Jove !   but I must,” said the youth. “Well, friend, as thee hast sworn, thee may do it, but thee must not make a practice of it.”


WHEN Abernethy was canvassing for the office of surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, he called upon a rich grocer. The great man, addressing him, said “I suppose, sir, you want my vote and interest at this, momentous epoch of your life.” — “No, I don’t, said Abernethy. “I want a pennyworth of figs; come, look sharp and wrap them up; I want to be off !”


SIR CHARLES LYELL, when in the United States, received the following advice from a friend :  “When 151 you are racing with an opposition steam-boat, or chasing her, and the other passengers are cheering the captain, who is sitting on the safety-valve to keep it down with his weight, go as far as you can from the engine, and lose no time, especially if you hear the captain exclaim, ‘Fire up, boys !  put on the resin !’  Should a servant call out, “Those gentleman who have not paid their passage will please to go to the ladies’ cabin,’ obey the summons without a moment’s delay, for then an explosion may be apprehended. ‘Why to the ladies’ cabin ?’  said I. “Because it is the safe end of the boat, and they are getting anxious for the personal security of those who have not yet paid their dollars, being, of course, indifferent about the rest. Therefore never pay in advance; for should you fall overboard during a race, and the watch cries out to the captain, ‘A passenger overboard,’ he will ask, ‘Has he paid his passage ?’  and if he receives an answer in the affirmative, he will call out ‘Go ahead !’ 


SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH invited Dr. Parr to take a drive in his gig. The horse became restive. “Gently, Jemmy,” says the doctor, “don’t’ irritate him; always soothe your horse, Jemmy. You’ll do better without me. Let me down, Jemmy.” Once on terra-firma, the doctor’s view of the case was changed. “Now, Jemmy, touch him up. Never let a horse get the better of you. Touch him up, conquer him, don’t spare him; and now, I’ll leave you to manage him. — I ’ll walk back. 


LONGFELLOW, the poet, was introduced to one Longworth, and some one noticed the similarity of the first syllable of the names. “Yes,” said the poet, “but in this case I fear Pope’s line will apply, ‘ Worth  makes the man, the want of it the fellow. ’ ”


A SADDLE being missing at a funeral, it was observed, no wonder that nothing was heard of it, for it is believed to have been stolen by a mute.



A YOUNG MAN (placed by his friends as a student at a veterinary college) being in company with some of his colleagues, was asked, “If a broken-winded horse were brought to him for cure, what he would advise?” After considering for a moment, “Advise,” said he, “I should advise the owner to sell  as soon as possible.”


SOON after Canning’s statue was put up in Palace Yard, in all its verdant freshness, the carbonate of copper not yet blackened by the smoke of London, Mr. Justice Gazelee was walking away from Westminster Hall with a friend, when the judge, looking at the statue (which is colossal), said, “I don’t think this is very like Canning; he was not so large  a man.” — “No, my lord,” replied his companion, “nor so green. 


DURING the assizes, in a case of assault and battery, where a stone had been thrown by the defendant, the following clear and conclusive evidence was drawn out of a Yorkshireman : —

“Did you see the defendant throw the stone ?” — “I saw a stone, and I ’ze pretty sure the defendant throwed it.”

“Was it a large stone?” — I should say it wur a largish stone.”

“What was its size ?” — “I should say a sizeable stone.”

“Can’t you answer definitely how bit it was ?” — “I should say it wur a stone of some bigness.”

“Can’t you give the jury some idea of the stone ?” — “Why, as near as I recollect, it wur something of a stone.”

“Can’t you compare it to some other object ?” — “Why, if I wur to compare it, so as to give some notion of the stone, I should say it wur as large as a lump o’ chalk !”


A CERTAIN reverend gentleman in the country was 153 complaining to another that it was a great fatigue to preach twice a day. “Oh !” said the other, “I preach twice every Sunday, and make nothing  of it.”


STEPHEN KEMBLE (who was very fat) and Mrs. Esten, were crossing the Frith, when a gale sprang up, which alarmed the passengers. “Suppose, Mr. Kemble,” said Mrs. Esten; “suppose we become food for fishes, which of us two do you think they will eat first ?nbsp; ” — “Those that are gluttons,” replied the comedian, “will undoubtedly fall foul of me, but the epicures  will attack you !”


IT was told of Jekyll, that one of his friends, a brewer, had been drowned in his own vat. “Ah !” he exclaimed, “floating in his own watery bier. 


THIS name ’s the best that could be given,
    As will by proof be quickly seen ;
For “dropping from the clouds from heaven,”
    She was, of course, the raining Queen.


[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]