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. 153-175.
( Jests 700-799. )
IN one of Sir Robert Walpole’s letters, he gives a very instructive picture of a skilful minister and a condescending Parliament. “My dear friend,” writes Sir Robert, “there is scarcely a member whose purse I do not know to a sixpence, and whose very soul almost I could not purchase at the offer. The reason former ministers have been deceived in this matters is evident — they never considered the temper of the people they had to deal with. I have known a minister so weak as to offer an avaricious old rascal a star and garter, and attempt to bribe a young rogue, who set no value upon money, with a lucrative employment. I pursue methods as opposite as the poles, and 154 therefore my administration has been attended with a different effect.”
“Patriots,” says Walpole, “spring up like mushrooms, I could raise fifty of them within four-and-twenty hours. I have raised many of them in one night. It is but refusing to gratify an unreasonable or insolent demand, and up starts a patriot.”
WHEN Boswell’s “Life of Johnson,” first made its appearance, Boswell was so full of it that he could neither think nor talk of anything else : so much so, that meeting Lord Thurlow hurrying through Parliament Street to get to the House of Lords, where an important debate was expected, and for which he was already too late, Boswell had the temerity to stop and accost him with “Have you read my book ?” — “Yes, —— you !” replied Lord Thurlow, “every word of it; I could not help myself. ”
THE first of all the royal infant males
Should take the title of the Prince of Wales;
Because ’t is clear to seamen and to lubber,
Babies and whales are both inclined to blubber.
A DRUNKEN fellow coming by a shop, asked an apprentice boy what the sign was. He answered, that it was a sign he was drunk.
A YOUNG man who, on a public occasion, makes a false quantity at the outset of life, can seldom or never get over it.
A LADY was asked by her friends if she really intended to marry Mr. ——, who was a good kind of man, but so very singular. “Well,” replied the lady, “if he is very much unlike other men, he is more likely to make a good husband.”155
THE folly of betting is well satirized in one of Walpole’s Letters : “Sept. 1st, 1750; — they have put in the papers a good story made at White’s. A man dropped down dead at the door, and was carried in; the club immediately made bets whether he was alive or not, and when they were going to bleed him the wagerers for his death interposed, and said it would affect the fairness of the bet.”
PADDY being asked if he thought of doing something, which, for his own part, he deemed very unlikely, he said he should “as soon think of attempting to light a cigar at a pump. ”
These lines will be read with a deep interest, as being literally the last ever written by their highly-gifted and deeply-lamented author, — James Smith.
COLERIDGE once dined in company with a grave-looking person, an admirable listener, who said nothing, but smiled and nodded, and thus impressed the poet with an idea of his intelligence. “That man is a philosopher,” thought Coleridge. At length, towards the end of the dinner, some apple-dumplings were placed on the table, and the listener no sooner saw them than, almost jumping from his chair, he exclaimed, “Them’s the jockeys for me ! ”156
A HIGHWAYMAN and a chimney-sweeper were condemned to be hanged the same time at Tyburn, — the first for an exploit on the highway, the latter for a more ignoble robbery. “Keep farther off, can’t you ?” said the highwayman, with some disdain. “Sir,” replied the sweep, “I won’t keep off; I have as much right to be here as you !”
AN Irish counsel being asked by the judge for whom he was concerned, replied “I am concerned for the plaintiff, but I ’m retained by the defendant.”
WHEN the late Mr. Whitbread’s father, the brewer, first opposed the Duke of Bedford’s interest at Bedford, the Duke informed him that he would spend £ 50,000 rather than he should come in. Whitbread, with true English spirit, replied, that was nothing; the sale of his grains would pay for that.
A JEW called on to justify bail in the Court of Common Pleas, the opposing counsel thus examined him : “What is your name ?” — “Jacob.” — “What are you ?” — “General dealer.” — “Do you keep a shop ?” — “No.” — “How then do you dispose of your goods ? ” — “To the best advantage, my good fellow.”
DR. YOUNG was walking in his garden at Welwyn, in company with two ladies (one of whom he afterwards married), when the servant came to acquaint him a gentleman wished to speak with him. As he refused to go, one lady took him by the right arm, the other by the left, and led him to the garden-gate; when, finding resistance in 157 vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and spoke the following lines : —
“ Thus Adam looked, when from the garden driven,
And thus disputed orders sent from heaven.
Like him I go, but yet to go am loth ;
Like him I go, for angels drove us both.
Hard was his fate, but mine is more unkind ;
His Eve went with him, but mine stays behind. ”
MR. DICKENS tells an American story of a young lady, who, being intensely loved by five young men, was advised to “jump overboard, and marry the man who jumped in after her.” Accordingly, next morning, the five lovers being on deck, and looking very devotedly at the young lady, she plunged into the sea head-foremost. Four of the lovers immediately jumped in after her. When the young lady and four lovers were out again, she says to the captain, “What am I to do with them now, they are so wet ?” — “Take the dry one. ” And the young lady did, and married him.
THE old Scottich hearers were very particular on the subject of their ministers’ preaching old sermons; and to repeat a discourse which they could recollect was always made a subject of animadversion by those who heard it. A beadle who was a good deal of a wit in his way, gave a sly hit in his pretended defence of his minister on the question. As they were proceeding from church, the minister observed the beadle had been laughing as if he had triumphed over some of his parishioners with whom he had been in conversation. On asking the cause of this, he received for an answer, “Indeed, sir, they were saying ye had preached an auld sermon to-day, but I tackled them, for I tauld them it was no’ an auld sermon, for the minister had preached it no’ sax months syne.”
LOVE the sea ? I dote upon it, — from the beach. — D. J. [Douglas Jerrold.]158
A POMPOUS parish clergyman felt his dignity mightily offended by a chubby-faced lad who was passing him without moving his hat. “Do you know who I am, sir, that you pass me in that unmannerly way ? You are better fed than taught, I think, sir.” — “Whew, may be it is so, measter, for you teaches me, but I feeds myself.”
AN American braggart told Cooke that his family was amongst the oldest in Maryland. Cooke inquired if he had carefully examined the family plate, — the fetters and handcuffs !
A POOR youth, brought up in one of the colleges, could not afford the price of a pair of shoes, but when his old ones were worn out at the toes, had them capped with leather : whereupon his companions began to jeer him for so doing : “Why,” said he, “don’t you see they must be tapped ? Are they not fellows ? ”
AN unfortunate man, who had never drank water enough to warrant the disease, was reduced to such a state by dropsy, that a consultation of physicians was held upon his case. They agreed that tapping was necessary, and the poor patient was invited to submit to their operation, which he seemed inclined to do in spite of the entreaties of his son. “O, father, father, do not let them tap you,” screamed the boy, in an agony of tears; “do anything, but do not let them tap you !” — “Why, my dear ?” inquired the afflicted parent, “it will do me good, and I shall live long in health to make you happy.” — “No, father, no, you will not : there never was anything tapped in our house that lasted longer than a week.”
LISETTE had lost her wanton wiles —
What secret care consumes her youth,
159 And circumscribes her smiles ?
A speck on a front tooth.
A VERY prosy gentleman, who was in the habit of waylaying Jerrold, met his victim, and, planting himself in the way, said, “Well, Jerrold, what is going on to-day ?”
Jerrold said, darting past the inquirer, “I am !”
A CERTAIN deacon being accustomed to snore while asleep in church, he received the following polite note : “Deacon —— is requested not to commence snoring to-morrow until the sermon is begun, as some persons in the neighborhood of his pew would like to hear the text. ”
SOON after the attack of Margaret Nicholson on the life of George III., the following bill was stuck up in the window of an obscure alehouse : “Here is to be seen the fork belonging to the knife with which Margaret Nicholson attempted to stab the King.”
TWO women scolding each other, one said, “Thou liest like a thief and a witch.” The other replies, “But thou liest like an almanac-maker ; for thou liest every day and all the year long.”
A GENTLEMAN at Limehouse observed the laborers at work in a tier of colliers, and wanting to learn the price of coals, hailed one of the men with, “Well, Paddy, how are coals ?” — “ Black as ever, ” was the reply.
“ HE that will never look upon an ass,
Must lock his door and break his looking-glass. ”
A MAN was boasting before a companion of his very strong sight. “I can discern from here a mouse on the top of that very high tower.” — “I don’t see it,” answered his comrade; “but I hear it running. ”
A SWELL clerk from London, who was spending an evening in a country inn full of company, and feeling secure in the possession of most money, made the following offer. “I will drop money into a hat with any man in the room. The man who holds out the longest to have the whole and treat the company.” — “I ’ll do it,” said a farmer. The swell dropped in a half a sovereign. The country man followed with a sixpence. “Go on,” said the swell. “I won’t,” said the farmer; “take the whole, and treat the company.”
ON the trial of a cause in the Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Serjeant Vaughan having asked a witness a question rather of law than of fact, Lord Chief Justice Eldon observed, “Brother Vaughan, this is not quite fair; you wish the witness to give you, for nothing, what you would not give him under two guineas. ”.
AT a shop-window in the Strand there appeared the following notice : “Wanted, two apprentices, who will be treated as one of the family.”
WHEN an inferior actor at the Haymarket once took off David Garrick, Foote limped from the boxes to the green-room, and severely rated him for his impudence. “Why, sir,” said the fellow, “you take him off every day, and why may not I ?” — “Because,” replied the satirist, “you are not qualified to kill game, and I am. ”161
WHEN Wilkes was in France, and at Court, Madame Pompador addressed him thus; “You Englishmen are fine fellows; pray how far may a man go in his abuse of the Royal family among you ?” — ‘I do not at present know,” replied he, dryly, “but I am trying. ”
LORD J. RUSSELL endeavored to persuade Lord Langdale to resign the permanent Mastership of the Rolls for the uncertain position of Lord Chancellor, and paid the learned lord very high compliments on his talent and acquirements. “It is useless talking, my lord,” said Langdale. “So long as I enjoy the Rolls, I care nothing for your butter. ”
HIS Lordship was accustomed to sleep during the Parliamentary harangues of his adversaries, leaving Sir Grey Cooper to note down anything remarkable. During a debate on ship-building, some tedious speaker entered on an historical detail, in which, commencing with Noah’s Ark, he traced the progress of the art regularly downwards. When he came to build the Spanish Armada, Sir Grey inadvertently awoke the slumbering premier, who inquired at what era the honorable gentleman had arrive. Being answered, “We are now in the reign of Queen Elizabeth,” “Dear Sir Grey,” said he, “why not let me sleep a century or two more ? ”
“YOU had better ask for manners than money,” said a finely-dressed gentleman to a beggar who asked for alms.
“I asked for what I thought you had the most of,” was the cutting reply.
A LOQUACIOUS lady, ill of a complaint of forty years’ standing, applied to Mr. Abernethy for advice, and had 162 begun to describe its progress from the first, when Mr. A. interrupted her, saying he wanted to go into the next street, to see a patient; he begged the lady to inform him how long it would take her to tell her story. The answer was, twenty minutes. He asked her to proceed, and hoped she would endeavor to finish by the time he returned.
( A part is not equal to the whole. — Axiom. )
THIS is a vulgar error, as I ’ll prove,
Or freely forfeit half a pipe of sherry ;
’T is plain one sixteenth part of Brougham’s sense,
Equals the whole possessed by L—d—d—y.
WHEN Morris had the Haymarket Theatre, Jerrold, on a certain occasion, had reason to find fault with the strength, or rather, the want of strength, of the company. Morris expostulated, and said, “Why there ’s V——, he was bred on these boards !” — “He looks as though he ’d been cut out of them,” replied Jerrold.
A NOBLEMAN who was a great amateur painter showed one of his performances to Turner. That great artist said to him, “My lord, you want nothing but poverty to become a very excellent painter.”
A VERY old man, who was commonly very dull and heavy, had now and then intervals of gayety : some person observed, “ he resembles an old castle which is sometimes visited by spirits. ”163
“WOULD you think it ?” said A. to E. “Mr. Roscius has taken a week to study a Prologue which I wrote in a day.” — “His memory is evidently not so good as yours,” replied B.
A MAN entered a shop, saying he should like a two-penny loaf, which was accordingly placed before him. As if suddenly changing his mind, he declared he should prefer two pen ’orth of whiskey instead. This he drank off, and pushing the loaf towards the shopkeeper, was departing, when demand of payment was made for the whiskey.
“Sure, and haven ’t I given ye the loaf for the whiskey ?”
“Well, but you did not pay for the loaf, you know.”
“Thrue, and why should I ? don’t you see, I did n’t take the loaf, man alive ?” And away he quietly walked, leaving the worthy dealer lost in a brown study.
[This was re-worked into a short story later in the century, called My First Visit to Portland, by Seba Smith, which you can read on this site. — Elf.Ed.]
MR. HAWKINS, Q. C., engaged in a cause before the late Lord Campbell, had frequently to mention the damage done to a carriage called a Brougham, and this word he pronounced to its orthography, Brough-am
“If my learned friend will adopt the usual designation, and call the carriage a Bro’am, it will save the time of the court,” said Lord Campbell, with a smile.
Mr. Hawkins bowed and accepted his Lordship’s pronunciation of the word during the remainder of his speech. When Lord Campbell proceeded to sum up the evidence, he had to refer to the Omnibus which had damaged the Bro’am, and in doing so pronounced the word also, according to its orthography. “I beg your Lordship’s pardon,” said Mr. Hawkins, very respectfully; “but if your Lordship will use the common designation for such a vehicle, and call it a ’Buss —” The loud laughter which ensued, and in which his Lordship joined, prevented the conclusion of the sentence.164
SIR W. G., when governor of Williamsburg, returned the salute of a negro who was passing. “Sir,” said a gentleman present, “do you descend to salute a slave ?” — “Why, yes,” replied the governor; “I cannot suffer a man of his condition to exceed me in good manners. ”
WITH cards and dice, and dress and friends,
My savings are complete ;
I light the candle at both ends,
And thus make both ends meet.
A COWARDLY fellow having spoken impertinently to a gentleman, received a violent box of the ear. He demanded whether that was meant in earnest. “Yes, sir,” replied the other, without hesitation. The coward turned away, saying, “I am glad of it, sir, for I do not like such jests. ”
MACKLIN was once annoyed at Foote laughing and talking, just as the former was about to begin a lecture. “Well, sir, you seem to be very merry there; but do you know what I am going to say now ?” asked Macklin. “No, sir,” said Foote, “pray, do you ? ”
THE following anecdote was told with great glee at a dinner by William IV., then Duke of Clarence : “I was riding in the Park the other day, on the road between Teddington and Hampton-wick, when I was overtaken by a butcher’s boy, on horseback, with a tray of meat under his arm. — ‘Nice pony that of yours, old gentleman,’ said he. — ‘Pretty fair,’ was my reply. — ‘Mine ’s a good ’un too,’ rejoined he; ‘and I ’ll trot you to Hampton-wick for a pot o’ beer.’ I declined the match; and the butcher’s boy, as he stuck his single spur into his horse’s side, exclaimed, 165 with a look of contempt, ‘I thought you were only a muff ! ’ ”
AN eminent barrister having a case sent to him for an opinion — the case being outrageously preposterous — replied, in answer to the question, “Would an action lie ?” — “Yes, if the witnesses would lie too, but not otherwise.”
A GENTLEMAN described to Jerrold the bride of a mutual friend. “Why, he is six foot high, and she is the shortest woman I ever saw. What taste, eh ?”
“Ay,” Jerrold replied, “and only a taste !”
MR. PITT, speaking in the House of Commons of the glorious war which preceded the disastrous one in which we lost the colonies, called it “the last war.” Several members cried out, “the last war but one.” He took no notice, and soon after, repeating the mistake, he was interrupted by a general cry of “The last war but one, — the last war but one.” — “I mean, sir,” said Mr. Pitt, turning to the speaker, and raising his sonorous voice, — “I mean, sir, the last war that Britons would wish to remember. ” Whereupon the cry was instantly changed into an universal cheering, long and loud.
JERROLD hated the cant of philanthropy, and writhed whenever he was called a philanthropist in print. On one occasion, when he found himself so described, he exclaimed, “Zounds, it tempts a man to kill a child, to get rid of the reputation.”
ENGLISH tourists in Ireland soon discover that the length of Irish miles constantly recurs to their observation; eleven Irish miles being equal to about fourteen English. A stranger one day complained of the barbarous 166 condition of the road in a particular district; “True,” said a native, “but if the quality of it be rather infairior, we give good measure of it, anyhow.”
AT the time that the bubble schemes were flourishing, in 1825, Mr. Abernethy met some friends who had risked large sums of money in one of those fraudulent speculations; they informed him that they were going to partake of a most sumptuous dinner, the expenses of which would be defrayed by the company. “If I am not very much deceived,” replied he, “you will have nothing but bubble and squeak in a short time.”
( On the King’s double dealing. )
OF such a paradox as this,
Before I never dreamt ;
The King of England has become,
A subject of contempt !  ! !
A GENTLEMAN seeing a fine painting representing a man playing on the lute, paid this high compliment to the artist. “When I look on that painting I think myself deaf. ”
A GENTLEMAN calling for beer at another gentleman’s table, finding it very bad, declined drinking it. “What !” said the master of the house, “don’t you like the beer ?” — “It is not to be found fault with,” answered the other; “For one should never speak ill of the dead. ”
LADY MARGARET HERBERT asked somebody for a pretty pattern for a nightcap. “Well,” said the person, “what signifies the pattern of a nightcap ?” — “O! child,” said she, “you know, in case of fire ! ”167
A CERTAIN Irish judge, called the Hanging Judge, and who had never been known to shed a tear except when Macheath, in the “Beggar’s Opera,” got his reprieve, once said to Curran, “Pray, Mr. Curran, is that hung beef beside you ? If it is, I will try it.” — “If you try it, my lord,” replied Curran, “it ’s sure to be hung. ”
GENERAL WOLFE invited a Scotch officer to dine with him; the same day he was also invited by some brother officers. “You must excuse me,” said he to them; “I am already engaged to Wolfe.” A smart young ensign observed, he might as well have expressed himself with more respect, and said General Wolfe. “Sir,” said the Scotch officer, with great promptitude, “we never say General Alexander, or General Cæsar.” Wolfe, who was within hearing, by a low bow to the Scotch officer, acknowledged the pleasure he felt at the high compliment.
AS the late Trades Unions, by way of a show,
Over Westminster-bridge strutted five in a row,
“I feel for the bridge,” whispered Dick, with a shiver ;
“Thus tried by the mob, it may sink in the river.”
Quoth Tom, a crown lawyer : “Abandon your fears :
As a bridge it can only be tried by its piers. ”
WHEN Thomas Sheridan was in a nervous, debilitated state, and dining with his father at Peter Moore’s, the servant, in passing by the fire-place knocked down the plate-warmer, and made such a clatter as caused the invalid to start and tremble. Moore, provoked by the accident, rebuked the man, and added, “I suppose you have broken all the plates ?” — “No, sir,” said the servant, “not one !” — “Not one !” exclaimed Sheridan, “then, hang it, sir, you have made all that noise for nothing ! ”168
SOME one wrote in a hotel visitors’ book his initials, “A. S.” A wag wrote underneath, “Two-thirds of the truth.”
THEODORE HOOK once said to a man at whose table a publisher got very drunk, “Why, you appear to have emptied your wine-cellar into your book-seller. ”
WHILST a country parson was preaching, the chief of his parishioners sitting near the pulpit was fast asleep; whereupon he said, “Now, beloved friends, I am in a great strait; for if I speak too softly, those at the farther end of the church cannot hear me; and if I talk too loud, I shall wake the chief man in the parish.”
A BROW austere, a circumspective eye,
A frequent shrug of the os humeri.
A nod significant, a stately gait,
A blustering manner, and a tone of weight,
A smile sarcastic, an expressive stare, —
Adopt all these, as time and place will bear :
Then rest assured that those of little sense
Will deem you, sure, a man of consequence.
A SAILOR went to a watchmaker, and presenting a small French watch to him, demanded to know how much the repair of it would come to. The watchmaker, after examining it, said, “It will be more expense repairing than its original cost.” — “I don’t mind that,” said the tar; I will even give you double the original cost, for I gave a fellow a blow on the head for it, and if you repair it, I will give you two. ”
A LAIRD riding past a high, steep bank, stepped opposite 169 a hole in it, and said, “John, I saw a brock gang in there.” — “Did ye,” said John; “wull ye haud my horse, sir ?” — “Certainly,” said the laird, and away rushed John for a spade. After digging for half an hour, he came back, nigh speechless, to the laird, who had regarded him musingly. “I cannot find him, sir,” said John. “Deed,” said the lord very coolly, “I wad ha’ wondered if ye had, for it ’s ten years sin’ I saw him gang in there.”
“I WISH you would pay a little attention, sir !” exclaimed a state manager to a careless actor. “Well, sir, so I am paying as little as I can !” was the calm reply.
A VALIANT sailor, that had lost his leg formerly in the wars, was nevertheless, for his great prudence and courage, made captain of a ship; and being in the midst of an engagement, a cannon bullet took off his wooden supporter, so that he fell down. The seamen immediately called out for a surgeon. “Confound you all,” said he, “no surgeon, no surgeon, — “ a carpenter ! a carpenter ! ”
A PRETTY little dog had written on its collar the following distich : —
“ This collar don’t belong to you, sir,
Pass on — or you may have one too, sir. ”
The same person might have been the proprietor of another dog, upon whose collar was inscribed : —
“ I am Tom Draper’s dog. Whose dog are you ? ”
FOOTE praising the hospitality of the Irish, after one of his trips to the sister kingdom, a gentleman asked him whether he had ever been at Cork. “No, sir,” replied Foote; “but I have seen many drawings of it.”170
AN industrious tradesman having taken a new apprentice, awoke him at a very early hour on the first morning, by calling out that the family were sitting down to table. “Thank you,” said the boy, as he turned over in the bed to adjust himself for a new nap; “thank you, I never eat anything during the night ! ”
CHARLES LAMB, one afternoon, in returning from a dinner-party, took his seat in a crowded omnibus, when a stout gentleman subsequently looked in and politely asked, “All full inside ?” — “I don’t know how it may be, sir, with the other passengers,” answered Lamb, “but that last piece of oyster-pie did the business for me. ”
AN old clergyman one Sunday, at the close of the sermon, gave notice to the congregation that in the course of the week he expected to go on a mission to the heathen. One of his parishioners, in great agitation, exclaimed, “Why, my dear sir, you have never told us one word of this before; what shall we do ?” — “O, brother,” said the parson, “I don’t expect to go out of this town.”
DURING the Chief-Justiceship of the late Lord Ellenborough there was a horse-cause, to which a certain Privy Councillor was a party, and who, as of right, took his seat upon the bench at the hearing, and there (while his adversary’s counsel told his tale) ventured a whisper of remark to the Chief Justice. “If you again address me, Sir W——, I shall give you in custody of the Marshal.” It was a settler for him, and, as it turned out, of his cause; for he lost it, and most justly too.
CRIES Sylvia to a Reverend Dean,
“ What reason can be given,
Since marriage is a holy thing,
there are none in Heaven ? ”
171 “ There are no women, ” he replied.
She quick returns the jest, —
“ Women there are, but I ’m afraid
They cannot find a priest. ”
WHEN Moore was getting his portrait painted by Newton, Sydney Smith, who accompanied the poet, said to the artist, “Could n’t you contrive to throw into his face somewhat of a stronger expression of hostility to the Church Establishment !”
SOME one remarked to Mrs. Siddons that applause was necessary to actors, as it gave them confidence. “More,” replied the actress; “It gives us breath. ”
A STINGY husband threw off the blame of the rudeness of his children in company, by saying that his wife always “Gives them their own way.” — “Poor things !” was the prompt response, “it’s all I have to give them. ”
A FOOLISH scholar having almost been drowned in his first attempt at swimming, vowed that he would never enter the water again until he was a complete master of the art.
[A similar story is told of a pedant by Hierocles.]
A DENIZEN of the good city of St. Andrews, long desirous of being elected deacon of his craft, after many years of scheming and bowing, at last attained the acme of his ambition, and while the oaths of office were being administered to him, a number of waggish friends waited outside to “trot him out,” but the sequel convinced them this was unnecessary. On emerging from the City Hall, with thumbs stuck in the armlets of his vest, with head erect, and solemn step, he approached his friends, lifting 172 up his voice and saying, “Now, billies, supposing I’m a deacon, mind, I can be spoken to at ony time.”
THE late Lord Clonmel, who never thought of demanding more than a shilling for an affidavit, used to be well satisfied, provided it was a good one. In his time the Birmingham shillings were current, and he used the following extraordinary precautions to avoid being imposed upon by taking a bad one : “You shall true answer make to such questions as shall be demanded of you touching this affidavit, so help you, &c. Is this a good shilling ? Are the contents of this affidavit true ? Is this your name and handwriting ?”
JERROLD, at a party, noticed a doctor in solemn black waltzing with a young lady who was dressed in a silk of brilliant blue. “As I live ! there’s a blue pill dancing with a black draught !” said Jerrold.
CHARLES THE SECOND once said to Sidney, “Look me out a man that can ’t be corrupted : I have sent three treasurers to the North, and they have all turned thieves.” — “Well, sire, I will recommend Mivert.” — “Mivert !” exclaimed the king, “why, Mivert is a thief already.” — “Therefore he cannot be corrupted, your majesty,” answered Sidney.
ST. PAUL has declared that, when persons, though twain,
Are in wedlock united, one flesh they remain.
But had he been by, when, like Pharaoh’s kine pairing,
Dr. Douglas, of Benet, espoused Miss Mainwaring,
St. Peter, no doubt, would have altered his tone,
And have said, “These two splinters shall now make one bone.”
HORNE TOOKE, during his contest for Westminster, was thus addressed by a partisan of his opponent, of not a very reputable character. “Well, Mr. Tooke, you will have all the blackguards with you to-day.” — “I am delighted to hear it, sir, and from such good authority.”
“THE most luxurious smoker I ever knew,” says Mr. Paget, “was a young Transylvanian, who told me that his servant always inserted a lighted pipe into his mouth the first thing in the morning, and that he smoked it out before he awoke. ‘It is so pleasant,’ he observed, ‘to have the proper taste restored to one’s mouth before one is sensible even of its wants.’ ”
A CERTAIN Judge having somewhat hastily delivered judgment in a particular case, a King’s Counsel observed, in a tone loud enough to reach the bench, “Good heavens ! every judgment of this court is a mere toss-up. ” “But heads seldom win,” observed a learned barrister, sitting behind him.
BY what curious links, and fantastical relations, are mankind connected together ! At the distance of half the globe, a Hindoo gains his support by groping at the bottom of the sea for the morbid concretion of a shell-fish, to decorate the throat of a London alderman’s wife. — S. S. [Sydney Smith.]
SERJEANT MAYNARD, a famous lawyer in the days of the Stuarts, called law an “ars bablativa. ”
( Accounting for the Apostacy of Ministers. )
THE Whigs, because they rat and change
To Toryism, all must spurn ;
174 Yet in the fact there’s nothing strange,
That Wigs should twist, or curl, or turn.
THE author of the “Parson’s Daughter,” when surprised one evening in his arm-chair, two or three hours after dinner, is reported to have apologized, by saying, “When one is alone, the bottle does come round so often.” On a similar occasion, Sir Hercules Langreish, on being asked, “Have you finished all that port (three bottles) without assistance ?” answered, “No — not quite that — I had the assistance of a bottle of Madeira.
THE Rev. Mr. B——, when residing at Canterbury some years ago, was reckoned a good violoncello-player. His sight being dim obliged him very often to snuff the candles, and in lieu of snuffers he generally employed his fingers in that office, thrusting the spoils into the sound-holes of his violonello. A waggish friend of his popped a quantity of gunpowder into B——’s instrument. The tea equipage being removed, music became the order of the evening, and B—— dashed away at Vanhall’s 47th. B#8212;— came to a bar’s rest, the candles were snuffed, and he thrust the ignited wick into the usual place — fit fragor, and bang went the fiddle to pieces.
WHEN the Marylebone vestrymen were discussing the propriety of laying down wood pavement within their parish, and were raising difficulties on the subject, Jerrold, as he read the report of the discussion, said : —
“Difficulties in the way ! Absurd. They have only to put their heads together, and there is the wood pavement.”
This joke has been erroneously given to Sydney Smith.
AN undergraduate had unconsciously strayed into the garden of a certain D.D., then master of the college adjoining. 175 He had not been there many minutes, when Dr.—— entered himself, and, perceiving the student, in no very courteous manner desired the young gentleman to walk out; which the undergraduate not doing (in the opinion of the doctor) in sufficient haste, Domine demanded, rather peremptorily, “whether he knew who he was ?” at the same time informing the intruder he was Dr.——. “That,” replied the undergraduate, “is impossible; for Dr.—— is a gentleman, and you are a blackguard.”