From The Treasury of Wit. With Comic Engravings. London: Printed for T. Allman, 1836; pp. 250-288.







When some persons told the great Marquis de Spinola, that John de Vir, a famous general, died of having nothing to do, he answered, “Upon my word, that is sufficient to kill any general.”


A dispute arising in a public-house between two men respecting a point of law, they agreed to refer it to a third, who recommended them to the decision of the landlord, who, he said, was no doubt well versed in those matters, having been long employed at the bar.


A young fellow offered himself to the manager of Covent Garden theatre, who desired him to give a specimen of his abilities to Mr. Quin. After he had rehearsed a speech or two, in a wretched manner, Quin asked him with a contemptuous sneer, whether he had ever done any part in comedy. The young fellow answered, that he had done the part of Abel, in the Alchymist. To which Quin replied, “You mistake, it was the part of Cain you acted; for I am sure you murdered Abel.”


Louis XIV. of France, playing at backgammon, had a doubtful throw; a dispute arose, and all the courtiers remained silent. The Count of Grammont came in that instant. 251 “Decide the matter,” said the king to him. “Sire,” said the count, “your majesty is in the wrong.” “How so,” replied the king; “can you decide without knowing the question?” “Yes,” said the count, “because, had the matter been doubtful. All these gentlemen present would have given it for your majesty.”


Lord Morton, having waited very long in the Duke of Northumberland’s anti-chamber before he could see his grace, was quite out of patience. The duke at last came to him, and finding him with Dr. Garnet’s Dissertation upon Job in his hands, asked him what he thought of it. “I think,” said Lord Morton, “it is a very proper book for a prime minister’s anti-chamber.”


Why is a Gardener the most extraordinary man in the world? Addressed to the Countess of Coventry.

Because no man has more business upon earth, and he always chooses good grounds for what he does. He commands his thyme, he is master of the mint, and fingers penny-royal; he raises celery every year, and it is a bad year indeed that does not bring him a plumb. He meets with more boughs than a minister of state; he makes more beds than the French king, and has in them more painted ladies and genuine roses and lilies than are to be found at a country wake; he makes raking 252 his business more than his diversion, as many other gentlemen do, but makes it an advantage to health and fortune, which few others do; he can boast of more rapes than any rake in the kingdom. His wife, notwithstanding, has enough of lad’s love and heart’s-ease, and never wishes for weeds. Distempers fatal to others never hurt him; he walks the better for the gravel, and thrives most in a consumption. He can boast of more bleeding hearts than your ladyship, and more laurels than the Duke of Marlborough; but his greatest pride and the world’s greatest envy is, that he can have yew when he pleases.


A young officer, a cornet in a regiment not twenty miles from Chatham, being hospitably entertained by a neighbouring gentleman farmer, formed a deliberate plan of seducing his wife. The usual siege was laid, and such assiduity preserved, that it could not escape the eye of the farmer; but, depending on his wife’s constancy, he did not forbid the military advances of his constant guest, holding it as a maxim, that a woman who was not proof against the frippery parade of a regimental coxcomb, was unworthy the care of a man of sense. In process of time, however, the lady, who despised the advances of the captain, and really loved her family, took an opportunity of stating the whole case to her husband; in consequence of which a plan was laid, and the execution nearly proved fatal to the lover. Mr. B——, the farmer alluded to, invited all the officers of the regiment to dine with him, on a certain day, except the captain; and as this 253 was a palpable insult, the captain was not a little rallied upon the neglect at the mess-room, where he had often said he should make the farmer’s wife one of his regimental followers. It, however, so happened, that on the day previous to the dinner, the captain received a letter from the lady, intimating that if he would attend at the garden gate at half-past ten the same night, he should be conducted by a faithful Abigail to a much more delicate entertainment than eating and drinking could afford. This happy circumstance the captain broadly hinted at Sunday’s mess, where he said they would drink with the husband while he conversed with the wife. All things were prepared — the officers dined with the farmer — and the captain, true to his appointment, met the Abigail, who conducted him to a closet adjoining her mistress’s bed-room, desired him not to say a word, but undress, and enjoy, in the next room, what he sought for. Transported with the idea, and laughing at the fools below stairs, he was soon under the bed-clothes, and scarcely there before he received such a pressing hug, as obliged him to call out for help in tones of loud distress — the alarm was given — the company ran up stairs with lights, and, on entering the chamber, found the captain fast locked in the arms of a great she dancing-bear. The proprietor of the beast holding the chain of his property on the left-hand side of the bedstead, the first business was to release the poor lover from his hugging mistress, which, with the assistance of the keeper, was soon effected, but at the expense of three broken ribs and a violent contusion on the temple, that the bear made with the buckle that muzzled her jaws. The situation of the lover’s mind may be conceived, but not described: 254 he got home in a state only to be envied by a man who is just going to be hanged; and unable to bear what he had a right to expect from the mess, has given in his resignation, with intent to retire on the half-pay list. The squeezes which he received in this love adventure have so injured his health, that there but small hopes of his recovery. The farmer and the master of the dancing bear, therefore, stand in an awkward predicament, as indictments are lodged against both. This matter was to be hushed up., but the Abigail, in the true style of her profession, told it as a secret to another Abigail, and so it got round.

Comic engraving of a frightened man in a nightshirt in a four-poster bed with hangings, with a bear in bed with him.  The bear's handler is standing to the side of the bed. Two people are running up to see what is going on, the first on holding a candle.

Page 252.


Phocion’s wife, as plain in dress as himself, said to a fine lady, who was showing her jewels, &c.; “For my part, my only ornament is my good man, Phocion, who has commanded the Athenians these twenty years.”


A tailor who was dangerously ill, had a remarkable dream. He saw, fluttering in the air a piece of cloth of a prodigious length, composed of all the cabbage he had made, of a variety of colours. The angel of death held this piece of patch-work in one of his hands, and with the other gave the tailor several strokes with a piece of iron. The tailor awaking in a fright, made a vow, that if he recovered he would cabbage no more. He soon recovered. As he was diffident in himself, he ordered one of his apprentices to put him in mind of his dream, whenever he cut out a suit 255 of clothes. The tailor was for some time obedient to the intimations given him by his apprentice. But a nobleman having sent for him to make a coat out of a very rich stuff, his virtue could not resist the temptation. His apprentice put him in mind of his dream, but to no purpose; “I am tired with your talk about the dream,” says the tailor; “there was nothing like this in the whole piece of patchwork I saw in my dream.”


A nobleman, who had spent most of his estate, had just sold a manor of an hundred tenements, and came to court in a rich suit. “Am not I a mighty man,” said he, “that bear an hundred houses on my back.” “You had better have paid your debts,” said Cardinal Wolsey, whose father was a butcher. “True, my lord,” said he, “my father owed yours three-halfpence for a calf’s head, here is twopence for it.“


Notwithstanding the perpetual contention between Rich and Garrick for the favour of the town, they lived upon very friendly terms. Rich had improved his house at Covent Garden and made it capable of holding more. Garrick went with him to see it, and asked him in the theatrical phrase, how much money it would hold. “Sir,” says Rich, “that question I am at present unable to answer, but were you to appear one night on my stage, I should be able to tell you to the utmost shilling.”


A captain, chattering with his hostess, in an amorous humour, was resolved to give her a hint of his wishes. He placed a guinea upon one of his eyes, and with the other performed most significant ogles. The landlady, not unused to such sparks, soon guessed his meaning, and replied, “Captain, you have forgotten your learning: you know Love was blind in both eyes.”


A certain sea captain, who had considerable interest with his brother officers, and the cook aboard his vessel, were once to be tried for an offence against the laws of the navy, of such a nature as put their lives in some jeopardy. The cook displayed every mark of fear and apprehension for his safety. The captain, on the contrary, seemed in very good spirits, and said, “Cheer up man, why should you be cast down? I fear nothing, and why should you?” “Why faith, your honour,” replied the fellow, “I should be as courageous as you are, if we were to be tried by a jury of cooks.”


G. A. Stevens, having played at Lynn, in Norfolk, several nights to an empty barn, neglected to perfect himself in the part of Lorenzo, in the Merchant of Venice, which he had given out to perform before the company left town. He however bustled through it tolerably well, till he got to the part where he should address 257 Jessica on the subject of Leander’s being drowned in crossing the Hellespont, where he made a monstrous boggle, which was so intolerable to the audience, that a general hiss from all parts expressed their disapprobation and he retired, as he called it, in a blaze. As soon as silence was obtained by his exit, he returned on the stage, leading Jessica forward, with whom he addressed the audience thus: — 

“O Jessica, in such a night as this we came to


And since that night have touched but half-a-


Let you and I, then, bid these folks good night,

Lest we, by longer stay, are starved quite.”


A carpenter on board a ship returning from the West Indies, having lost his saw, suspected the captain’s negro boy of having stolen it. Mungo denied all knowledge of the affair, and in this dubious way the matter remained, when the carpenter one day exclaimed to a brother sailor, “This d—d saw sticks in my gizzard.” The boy instantly ran to his master, and joyfully cried out, “Massa, me glad, me glad, Massa! carpenman find him saw,” — “Ah, ha! and where did he find it?” — “Yes, massa; indeed me tell no lie; he say it stick in him gizzar.”


A very volatile young lord, whose conquests in the female world were numberless, at last married. “Now, my lord,” said the countess, 258 “I hope you’ll mend.” “Madam,” says he, “you may depend on it, this is my last folly.”


Philip I. of France, frequently exercised his wit at the expense of William the Conqueror’s fat paunch; and once in particular, when the latter was residing at Rouen, he jocularly inquired of one of William’s courtiers when his master would lie in? The Conqueror did not relish the jest, and gave Philip to understand, that as soon he should get abroad, he would acknowledge his kind inquiries at Paris, with ten thousand lances in his train.


“Morning, at eight went to bathe — no holes in the fan of the machine — very provoking, as gentlemen were in the next — at nine breakfasted — ten till twelve, dressing negligently for strolling with papa and mamma — till two, read the papers and played at loo, lost twenty-four shillings — saw Mr. Dapper — got behind the counter at Bettison’s, fancying myself at home — very unlucky, offered to serve young gentleman — two till four, sat at home and read ‘The Dismal Cavern of Horrors’ — very fine romance, language so grand, and words so long and out of the way — dined at five. — Mr. Dapper dined with papa — most genteel young man, so civil and gallant — papa called the waiter several times at dinner, and Mr. D. answered, ‘Coming, Sir;’ I thought he meant it as a joke, but he blushed every time, and called ‘Waiter!’ very loud — his conversation very entertaining — all about plays, the war in 259 Russia, carriages, novels, and coffee-houses, the last apparently by accident — Shakspeare very fine poetry, particularly his George Barnwell — Milton fine man too; but did not write such good plays as Shakspeare — Mr. D.’s opinion about the war in the Peninsula — Mr. Dapper very attentive to me; squeezed my hand under the table several times, and looked so engaging — Wellington ball in the evening — asked me to dance — drank tea at seven — half-past seven to half-past nine dressing — sky-blue frock, pink shoes, yellow flowers, and laurel leaves — white gloves — thought I look’d charmingly — ten, went to the ball — looked about for Mr. Dapper, but in vain, till eleven o’clock, when he came, dressed very smartly — Danced six dances with him — delightful man — squeezed my hand tenderly all the time, and said soft speeches — he seemed a little hurt at a rude gentleman, who, after staring at his smart dress, said, ‘Hollo, Jack, is it you? How long have you left the Hungerford? Who is waiter there now?’ Dapper made no answer; but I asked him what the gentleman meant, and he told me that he once waited there a whole hour for the man who spoke to him, who did not keep his appointment — Dapper seemed very dull after seeing the gentleman — left of dancing at two — Dapper saw us home, and kissed my hand at parting — dear man, dreamt of him all night.”


When matters were in debate about the abolition of episcopacy, the House usually sat so long and late, that when the questions were put, it was generally very thin of the church 260 members; on which Lord Falkland remarked, “That they who hated bishops, hated them worse than the devil; and they who loved them, did not love them so well as their dinners.”


Fontenelle being one day asked by a lord in waiting at Versailles, what difference there was between a clock and a woman, instantly replied, “A clock serves to point out the hours, and a woman to make us forget them.”


Quin being asked if he had ever been in Scotland, and how he liked the people, replied, “If you mean the lower order of them, I shall be at a loss to answer you; for I have no farther acquaintance with them than by the smell. As for the nobility, they are numerous; and for the most part, proud and beggarly. I remember, when I crossed from the north of Ireland into their country, I came to a little wretched village, consisting of a dozen huts, in the style of the Hottentots; the principle of which was an inn, and kept by an earl. I was mounted on a shrivelled quadruped, for there was no certainty of calling it horse, mare, or gelding; much like a north Wales goat, but larger, and without horns. The whole village, was up in an instant to salute me; supposing from the elegance of my appearance, that I must be some person of a large fortune and great family. The earl ran, and took hold of my stirrup while I dismounted; then turning to his eldest son, who stood by us without breeches, said, ‘My lord, do you take the gentleman’s 261 horse to the stable, and desire your sister, Lady Betty, to draw him a pint of twopenny; for I suppose so great a man will ha’ the best liquor in the whol hous.’ — I was obliged, “continued Quin, “to stay here a whole night, and to ma supper of rotten potatoes and stinking eggs. The old nobleman was indeed very complaisant, and made me accept of his own bed. I cannot say that the dormitory was the best in the world; for there was nothing but an old box to sit upon in the room, and there was neither sheets nor curtains to the bed. Lady Betty was kind enough to apologize for the apartment, assured me, many persons of great degnaty had frequently slept in it; and that though the blankets luked sae block it was not quite four years sin they had been washed by the countess, her mother, and Lady Matilda Carolina Amelia Elenora Sophia, one of her youngest sisters. She then wished me a good night, and said the viscount, her brother, would take particular care to grease my boots.”


A little girl, the daughter of the proprietor of a coal mine, after attentively listening to an account of hell, given her by her father, who said it was a place where the devil perpetually roasted sinners at an immense fire, exclaimed, “O papa! Have you not interest enough with the devil, to get him to take his coals of you?


Henley having spent a good deal of money in procuring the good will of the mayor and 262 burgesses of ——, treated them very haughtily on all occasions. Being solicited by the borough, to espouse their sentiments, in some pressing instance, he wrote laconically to them: — 

“Ye rascals, I bought, and so I’ll sell you.”


Louis XIII. being present at a process in a court of judicature, heard the counsel for the plaintiff plead his client’s cause with such pathetic eloquence, that the king being perfectly convinced of the justice of his cause, declared that he thought it was of no use for the other counsel to attempt pleading for the defendant, as the reasons made use of by his adversary were in his opinion unanswerable. A noblemen present, hearing what the king said, begged his majesty would be pleased to suspend his judgment till he had heard all the arguments on the other side. The counsel for the defendant, who was not inferior to the other in point of eloquence, made every thing which had been said in favour of the other side, appear clearly to the disadvantage of the plaintiff, and carried the cause against him, to the great astonishment of the king; the same nobleman then asked the king, what his majesty now thought of the matter? — “Why, parbleu,” replied the king, “I think they are both in the right.”


An honest sailor, who had lately returned from a successful voyage, was determined to see every diversion which was going on in London at that time of the year. Accordingly he went 263 to see a play, or rather a farce, at Bartholomew fair. Every thing was conducted to the satisfaction of such an audience, and received with much mirth to the end of the second act; when the benches of the gallery on which the sailor was placed, being overloaded, suddenly broke down with a dreadful crash and a horrible outcry; many of the company being much hurt, and one or two having their arms or legs broken. The sailor, however, not having suffered by fall, clapped his oaken staff under his arm, sacked up his trousers and walked off, so well satisfied with his entertainment, that the next night he came again to the theatre with great punctuality, and seated himself on the very same place as on the preceding night. The same farce was repeated; and at the end of the second act, our sailor with great fortitude composes himself, and calls out to those who sat next him, “Come, my masters, now for it; we are just a-going! Sit fast, my lads!” In reality, the honest tar considered the falling of the gallery, though a tragical event, as the principal part of the entertainment, for which he had paid his sixpence.


A clergyman, of the name of Wood, as remarkable for his eccentricities as for his meanness, who lived some years back in Sussex, and who never was married, had for his housekeeper a buxom damsel of the name of Stone, of whom and her reverend master, as is usually the case in country villages, report was very tender.

In the course of affairs, a poor woman, the wife of one of his neighbouring parishioners, happened to be very near the time of her making 264 her first addition to her husband’s family, and was totally unprovided with the necessary requisites for the coming stranger. The parish (or, if we may be allowed the expression, the district) nurse, a woman as well known and respected for her charity and goodness of heart as for her natural though coarse wit, plucked up a spirit on the occasion, and went to the minister; and, after relating to him the reason and circumstances which occasioned her visit to him, craved his assistance for the poor woman. The reverend gentleman was, however, deaf to all her entreaties, and as a finale to his refusal, growlingly said, that “poor people did nothing but get children, and for his part, he thought that if they could not provide for them when they came, they had no business to get them.” The nurse, irritated at the failure of her endeavours, and a faint idea of former reports flashing on her mind, immediately replied, “That while the world lasted, Flesh and Blood always must and would do so, whatever Wood and Stone might!”


A gentleman well known for his facetiousness, was dining with a nobleman, and as the company were talking of a voyage to India, some glasses of Cape wine were handed round the table. All the guests expressed their praises of its exquisite flavour, and wished much to have a second taste of it; when the gentleman found it was in vain to indulge this hope, he turned to the person who sat next him, and happily alluding to the voyage to India, said, “As we cannot double the Cape, suppose we go back to Madeira.”


The following was sent pinned in a basket, with a present of a goose: — 

Here lies the body
Gabble, the Gander,
Who died of a wound in his weasand,
September 29, 1818, aged nine months.
To this silly bird
(which thy self-sufficiency contemns),
Thou owest innumerable benefits,
Gave rise to that surprising Instrument,
Which, with magic power,
Displays to public view the sentiments of the
Which propagates works of Genius
To future ages;
And enables friends and lovers to elude
The pains of absence,
And, in spite of intervening oceans,
Enjoy a mutual intercourse in distant regions.
His downy plumes
Compose the bed of state,
His better part is a useful ornament
To the table of princes.
The present Hero,
Like the celebrated preservers of the capital,
Was remarkably vigilant;
And, though no female, extremely loquacious:
Yet his voice was not the voice of praise;
For, like the puny critics of a modern stage,
His only talent lay in


Some years ago Warren Hastings was at Epsom during the races, in company with a relation. The course was thronged, as usual, with the company of the black legs. “What a wretched set is here,” said the relative of Mr. H., “who would believe that any gentleman could bear to associate with such disgraceful company.” “And yet,” replied Warren, “they are your betters.”


Two punsters being in company together, one defied the other to make a pun upon the following words — di, do, dum; when, after a little consideration, he produced the following:

When Dido found Eneas did not come,

She mourn’d in silence, and was Di-do dum



Judge Doddridge having once complained that the sheriff of Huntingdon had summoned a grand jury that were deficient in rank, the sheriff, at the next assizes, presented him with the following high-sounding panel: Maximilian, King of Toseland; Henry, Prince of Godmanchester; George, Duke of Somersham; William, Marquis of Stukely; Edmund, Earl of Hertford; Richard, Baron of Bythorn; Samuel Pope, of Newton; Stephen Cardinal, of Kimbolton; Humphrey, Bishop of Bugden; Robert, Lord of Waresly; Joseph Knight, of Winwick; William Abbot, of Stukely; Walter Dean, of Old Weston,, 267 John Archdeacon, of Paxton; Peter Squire, of Easton; Edward Friar, of Ellington; Henry Monk, of Stukely; Thomas Gentleman, of Spaldwick; George Priest, of Graffham.


A gentleman happening to remark, one intensely hot evening two years back, that parliament would soon be dissolved, a young boy immediately added, “So shall we all, if this weather continues.”


A gentleman in a stage-coach passing through the city of Bath, and observing a handsome edifice, inquired of the driver what building it was? The driver replied, “It is the Unitarian church.” — “Unitarian!” said the gentleman, “and what is that?” — “I don’t know,” said Jehu, “but I believe it is in the opposition line.


Mr. Edmund Burke, the orator, was telling Mr. Garrick, one day, at Hampton, that all bitter things were hot.” “Ah!” says Garrick, “what do you think, Mr. Burke, of bitter cold weather?


George I. on a journey to Hanover, stopped at a village in Holland, and while the horses were getting ready, he asked for two or three eggs, which were brought to him, and charged 268 two hundred florins. “How is this?” said his Majesty, “eggs must be very scarce in this place.” “Pardon me,” said the host, “eggs are plenty enough, but kings are scarce.” The king smiled, and ordered the money to be paid.


A farmer in the neighbourhood of Doncaster, was thus accosted by his landlord; “John, I am going to raise your rent.” John replied, “Sir, I am very much obliged to you, for I cannot raise it myself.”


Two gentleman were walking in the High street, Southampton, last week, about that hour which the industrious damsels of the mop and brush usually devote to cleansing the pavement before the door. It happened that the bucket used upon such occasions was upon the stones, and one of the gentlemen stumbled against it. “My dear friend,” exclaimed the other, “I lament your death exceedingly!” “My death!” “Yes, you have just kicked the bucket.” “Not so,” rejoined his friend, “I have only turned a little pale (pail).”


“Sir,” said a barber to an attorney who was passing his door, “Will you tell me if this is a good seven-shilling piece?” The lawyer, pronouncing the piece good, deposited it in his pocket, adding, with great gravity, “If you’ll send your lad to my office, I’ll return the fourpence.”


A low Irishman was one day bragging to his friends that the king had spoken to him. On being asked what his majesty said to him, he replied, “Arrah, my dear honey, he only ax’d me to get out of the way.”


Two gentlemen passing a tavern, observed a painting of the famous Piper of Vimiera over the door. “I am glad,” said one of them, “that something has been done at last for the poor fellow.” “What has been done for him?” asked his companion. “Why, don’t you see,” said the other, “that they have made him an inn-sign.”


A young lady was accosted by a clergyman in a lane when going to church — he asked her why she did not go across the fields; upon which she replied, “they were too stile-ish for her.”


When the Archduke Charles was on his way from Bohemia, to take the command of the army in Germany, as he approached the scene of action he fell in with a number of wounded, who were abandoned by their companions on the road, for want of horses to draw the carriages in their retreat; the prince immediately ordered the horses to be unyoked from several 270 pieces of cannon that were retreating, saying that these brave men were better worth saving than a few pieces of cannon. When General Moreau heard of this benevolent act, he ordered the cannon to be restored, observing, that he would take no cannon which were abandoned from motives so humane.


An English gentleman talking with his Irish servant, said, “It is a long time since you heard from your mother, mayhap she is dead.” “Oh, no, your honour,” answered he, “she is not dead, or she would have let poor Pat know of it.”


The poet Gray was notoriously fearful of fire, and kept a ladder of ropes in his bed-room. Some mischievous young men at Cambridge, who knew this, roused him from below, in the middle of a dark night, with the cry of “Fire!” The staircase, they said, was in flames. Up went his window, and down he came by his rope-ladder, fast as he could, into a tub of water, which they had kindly placed there to receive him.


Adored and angelic Amelia. Accept an ardent and artless amourist’s affections, alleviate an anguished admirer’s alarms, and answer an amorous applicant’s avowed ardour. Ah, Amelia! all appears an awful aspect! Ambition, avarice, and arrogance, alas! are attractive 271 allurements, and abuse an ardent attachment. Appease an aching and affectionate adorer’s alarms, and anon acknowledge affianced Albert’s alliance as agreeable and acceptable. — Anxiously awaiting an affectionate and affirmative answer, accept an ardent admirer’s aching adieu. Always angelic and adorable Amelia’s admiring and affectionate amourist,



Mr. Twiss, a romancing traveller, was talking of a church he had seen in Spain a mile and a half long. “Bless me!” said Garrick, “how broad was it?” “About ten yards,” said Twiss. “This is, you’ll observe, gentlemen,” said Garrick to the company, “not a round lie, but differs from his other stories, which are generally as broad as they are long.”


A dispute about precedence once arose between a bishop and a judge, and, after some altercation, the latter thought he should quite confound his opponent by quoting the following passage: “For on these two hang all the law and the prophets.” “Do you not see,” aid the lawyer, in triumph, “that even in his passage of Scripture, we are mentioned first?” “I grant you,” says the bishop, “you hang first.”


“When I give away a place,” said Louis XIV., “I make an hundred discontented and one ungrateful.”


Lord ——, the other day, speaking of the marriages of the two sons of the late Sir Robert Peel, the great manufacturer, the one to Lady Jane Lennox, the other to Lady Jane Manners, his M——y said, “You see, my lord, these Peels can’t leave off their Spinning Jennies.”

Comic engraving of Dr. Monsey, a man in regency dress, holding a cane and moving towards a butcher, with his wares hung on a wall behind him.

DR. MONSEY.  Page 272.

Dr. Monsey once going along Oxford Market, observed a poor woman in the family way at a butcher’s shop, asking the price of a fine piece of beef. The brute answered the woman, “one penny a pound,” thinking, no doubt, it was too good for her “Weigh that piece of beef,” said the doctor. “Ten pounds and a half,” said Mr. Butcher. “Here good woman,” cried the doctor, “hold up your apron, and take that beef home to your family.” “God bless your honour!” — “Go off, directly — home: no compliments! Here, Mr. Butcher,” says the doctor, “give me change out of this shilling for that poor woman’s beef.” “What do you mean Sir?” replied the butcher. “Mean, Sir! why to pay for the poor woman’s beef what you asked her, a penny a pound. Come, make haste and give me three halfpence, I am in a hurry.” “Why, Sir ——” said the butcher. “No why sirs with me,” says the doctor, “give me my change instantly, or I will break your head.” The butcher again began to expostulate, and the doctor struck him with all his force with his cane. A number of butchers had by this time gathered around him. The doctor told the story, and 273 they could not refrain from laughing at their brother steel. The butcher vowed he would summon the doctor before the Court of Conscience. The latter gave the man his address, but never got his change nor heard any more of his butcher.


A gentleman who was in love with a lady, and had no opportunity to unfold his passion, appeared before her house, and cried out, “Fire! fire! fire!” upon which she threw up the window and asked where; when he placed his hand upon his heart, and said, “Here, here, here.”


An Irish colonel of a volunteer corps, who had long been a confirmed bachelor, excited much pleasantry by haranguing his men, “Gentlemen, we are all assembled this day to defend our wives and our children.”


Mr. Bannister passing by a house that had been almost consumed by fire, inquired whose it was? Being told it was a hatter’s, “Oh, then,” rejoined he, “the loss will be felt.”


Manœuvre with the animal till you have got his snout in the proper direction facing the plank which communicates with the vessel, then take hold of his tail and pull it hard, as though you 274 wished him to come from the place, when, from a spirit of opposition natural in pigs, he goes up the plank without further trouble.


A man having sold a gun to an Irishman, he soon returned with it, complaining that the barrel was much bent. “Is it?” said he, “Then I ought to have charged more for it.” “Why so?” said the other. “Because these pieces are constructed for shooting round a corner.


Lord Rochester was invited to dinner where were three priests of different denominations: a Presbyterian, a Protestant, and a Roman Catholic; the first dish was a salmon with lobster and shrimp sauce; the Roman Catholic helped himself to the head of the fish, saying, “Roma caput ecclesia” (Rome is the head of the church). The Protestant took the middle, saying, “Immedio consistit virtus” (in the middle is the virtue). The Presbyterian took the tail, saying, “Finis coronta opus” (the end crowns the whole). Rochester seeing all the fish gone, laid hold of the sauce, and sprinkling it over them, said, “In nomini Domino, ego baptisto vos” (in the name of the Lord I baptise you all).


As a certain musician, who had a very bad voice, was singing one day, he took notice of a gentlewoman who fell a crying; when, imagining that the sweetness of his melody 275 awakened some passion in her breast, he began to sing louder, and she to weep more bitterly. He had no sooner ended the song, but going to the lady, he asked her why she cried? “Oh!” said she, “I am the unfortunate woman whose ass the wolves devoured yesterday, and no sooner did I hear you sing, but I thought on my poor ass, for surely never were voices so much alike.”


A young lady, on hearing that a thousand coins had been found near the Brighton race-course, innocently exclaimed, “I dare say they are my brother’s; for I know he lost a thousand the last time he was at the races!”


Suett, meeting Bannister, said, “I intend dining with you soon, on eggs and bacon — what day shall I come?” To which the other replied, “Why, if you will have that dish, you most come on a — Friday.”


A young man boasting of his health and constitutional stamina, very lately in the hearing of Wewitzer, the player, was asked to what he chiefly attributed so great a happiness. “To what, Sir? — To laying in a good foundation, to be sure. I make it a point, Sir, to eat a great deal every morning.” “Then I presume, Sir,” remarked Wewitzer, “you usually breakfast in a timber yard.”


A spark being brought before a magistrate on a charge of horse-stealing, the justice, the moment he saw him, exclaimed, “I see a villain in your countenance.” “It is the first time,” said the prisoner, very coolly, “that I knew my countenance was a looking-glass.”


An evidence in a court speaking in a very harsh and loud voice, the lawyer employed on the other side, exclaimed in an angry manner, “Fellow, why dost thou bark so furiously?” “Because,” replied the rustic, “I think I sees a thief.


We understand the whole of the ballet dancers at the Italian Opera-house are engaged at — the Gas-light Company, Westminster. That valuable little work called the Mirror, is considered to — carry more guns than ever was known for so small a vessel. On Monday last, Mr. Kean was again received with raptures of applause, being his second appearance since his return from — a duel, in which he was shot through the pericranium. M. Grimaldi has undertaken for a wager to eat — Juan Bellinck and the whole of his sable family, positively for the last time. In a short time Madame Vestris intends — challenging the Champion of the ring for a hundred guineas aside. Mr. Macready is engaged for a limited number of nights at — Charley’s pit, Duck Lane, Westminster. 277 We are happy to state that Mrs. Bland appeared before the public on Saturday last, since her indisposition, which was occasioned by her falling into — Mount Vesuvius at the time of the late eruption.


Charles Bannister was one evening in company with a young man, who being in liquor, began to moralize on the folly of his past conduct. “I have been a great fool,” said he, “my late father kept a tripe-shop in Clare-market, and got a decent fortune by it, which he left to me; and I, like an idiot, have stripped myself almost of my last shilling in horse-racing and the like.” “Well,” said Charles, “never mind that; he got his money by trotters, and you lost it by galloppers.”


A fashionable countess asking a young nobleman which he thought the prettiest flower, roses or tulips? He replied with great gallantry, “your ladyship’s two lips before all the roses of the world.”


An Irish horse-dealer sold a mare as sound in wind and limb, and without fault. It afterwards appeared that the poor beast could not see at all of one eye and was almost blind of the other. The purchaser, finding this, made heavy complaints to the dealer, and reminded him, that he engaged the mare to be without 278 fault. “To be sure,” returned the other, “to be sure I did; but then, my dear, the poor crater’s blindness is not her fault, but her misfortune.”


Dr. Egerton, the late Bishop of Durham, on coming to that see, employed a person of name of Due as his agent, to find out the true value of the estates held by lease under him, and, in consequence of Due’s report, greatly raised both the fines and rents of the tenants; on which the following toast was frequently drank in the bishopric: “May the Lord take the Bishop, and the Devil have his Due.”


When Lieutenant O’Brian (who was called Skyrocket-Jack), was blown up at Spithead, in the Edgar, he was on the carriage of a gun, and when brought to the admiral, all black and wet, he said with pleasantry, “I hope, Sir, you will excuse my dirty appearance, for I came out of the ship in so great a hurry, that I had no time to shift myself.”


As Mr. R——, a man of some fortune in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, was one day taking his ride, and being, according to his own idea, a person of no small consequence, he thought proper to show it by riding on the foot-path. Meeting a plain farmer-looking man, he ordered him imperiously to get out of the way. “Sir,” said the other, “I don’t understand 279 this; I upon the foot-path, where I certainly have a right to walk.” “Do you know, Sir,” said Mr. R——, “to whom you speak?” “I do not, indeed.” “Sir, I am Mr. R——, of I——.” “Well, Sir, but that certainly does not entitle you to ride on the foot-path, and to drive a humble pedestrian off it.” “Why, Sir, I am a trustee of this road.” “If you are, you are a very bad one.” “You are a very impudent fellow, who are you, Sir?” “I am John, Duke of Montague.” It is almost unnecessary to add, that the haughty Laird of I——, after a very awkward apology, went off into the main road.


A person, whose name was Gun, complaining to a friend that his attorney, in his bill, had not let him off easily, “That is no wonder,” said he, “as he charged you too high.”


A country schoolmaster lately proved the antiquity of stage-coaches by the following passage in Cæsar’s Commentaries, “Cæsar profectus est ab urbe summâ dilgentiâ;” the true sense of which evidently is, “Cæsar left the city on the top of the diligence.”

YOUTH versus AGE.

A little boy having been much praised for his quickness of reply, a gentleman present observed, that when children were keen in their youth, they were generally stupid and dull when they advanced in years, and vice versâ. “What 280 a very sensible boy, Sir, must you have been!” returned the child.1


A beggar, in Dublin, had been a long time besieging an old gouty, testy, limping, gentleman, who refused his mite with irritability; on which the mendicant said, “Ah, please your honour’s honour, I wish your heart were as tender as your toes.”


An Englishman, travelling in Kilkenny, came to a ford, and hired a boat to take him across. The water being more agitated than was agreeable to him, he asked the boatman if any person was ever lost in the passage. “Never,” replied Pat. “My brother was drowned here last week, but we found him the next day.”


The following is the copy of a letter, written during the Rebellion, by Sir —— ——, an Irish Member of Parliament, to his friend in London.

My dear Sir. — Having now a little peace and quietness, I sit down to inform you of the dreadful bustle and confusion we are in from these blood-thirsty rebels, most of whom are, thank God! killed and dispersed.

“We are in a pretty mess; can get nothing to eat, nor any wine to drink, except whiskey; and when we sit down to dinner, we are obliged to keep both hands armed. Whilst I write this 281 letter, 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 every thing is at a stand.

“I should have answered your letter a fortnight ago, but I only received it this morning. Indeed, hardly 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 accidents, 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 colours, nor any drums, except bag-pipes. Immediately every man in the place, including women and boys, ran out to meet them. We soon found our force much too little, and they were far too near for us to think of retreating. Death was in every face; but to it we went, and by the time half of our little party were killed, we began to be all alive. Fortunately the rebels had no guns but 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, there was nothing to be heard but silence. Their uniforms were all of different colours, but mostly green. After the action, we went to rumage a sort of camp 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 282 blank French commissions, filled up with Irishmen’s names.

“Troops are now stationed every where round the country, which exactly squares with my ideas.

“I have only leisure to add, that I am, in great haste, your’s truly.

“P.S. If you don’t receive this, in course it must have miscarried; therefore I beg you will immediately write to let me know.”


About half a century ago, when it was more the fashion to drink ale at Oxford than at present, a humorous fellow, of punning memory, established an alehouse near the Pound, and wrote over his door, “Ale sold by the Pound.” As his ale was as good as his jokes, the Oxonians resorted to his house in great numbers, and sometimes staid there beyond the college hours. This was made a matter of complaint to the Vice-Chancellor, who was desired to take away his license, by one of the Proctors of the University. Boniface was summoned to attend, and when he came into the Vice-Chancellor’s presence, he began hawking and spitting about the room; this the Vice-Chancellor observed, and asked what he meant by it? “Please, your worship,” said he, “I came here on purpose to clear myself.” The Vice-Chancellor, imagining that he actually weighed his ale, and sold it in that manner; he therefore said to him, “They tell me you sell your ale by the pound; is that true?” “No, an’t please your worship,” replied the wit. “How do you then?” said the Vice-Chancellor. “Very well, I thank you, sir,” replied the wit, 283 “how do you do?” The Vice-Chancellor laughed, and said, “get away for a rascal, I will say no more to you.” The fellow departed, and, crossing the quadrangle, met the Proctor who laid the information; “Sir,” said he, “the Vice-Chancellor wants to speak with you,” and returned with him. “Here, Sir,” said he, “here he is.” “Who?” said the Vice-Chancellor. “Why, Sir,” said he, “you sent me for a rascal, and I have brought you the greatest that I know of.”


A miser of Kûfa, hearing that there was a celebrated miser at Bassora, to whom all other misers might go to school, resolved to go and take lessons of him. He went and told him wherefore he was come. “Thou art welcome,” said he of Bassora; “we will go now to the market to make purchases.” They went to the baker, “Hast thou good bread?” “At your service, gentlemen, fresh and white as butter.” “Thou seest,” said he of Bassora to him of Kûfa, “that butter is better than bread, which was compared to it, and we shall do better to get butter.” They went to the butter seller, and asked if he had good butter. “At your service, butter fresh and sweet, as the nicest oil of olives.” “Thou hearest,” said the host, “the best butter is compared with oil, which must be far preferable.” They went to the oil merchant. “Hast thou good oil?” “The very best: bright and clear as water.” “Ho! ho!” cried he of Bassora to him of Kûfa, “then water is the best diet of all; I have a whole tubful of it at home, with which I will entertain thee nobly.” And, in fact, he set nothing but 284 water before his guest; since water was better than oil, oil than butter, and butter than bread. “God be praised!” said the miser of Kûfa, “I have not made my journey in vain, but have learned something of value.”


A curious incident occurred at a meeting to pass a bankrupt’s last examination, in the Court of Commissioners of Bankruptcy. Quaker, with a new broad brimmed hat, attended to prove a debt, and having neglected the usual courtesy of being uncovered in the Commissioner’s presence, the usher reminded him of it, but the hint being disregarded, the Commissioner himself told “Friend Aminadab,” that, if he came there to transact business, he must remain, as other persons did, uncovered. The Quaker advanced with solemn step, and addressed the Commissioner to the following effect — “Friend, it is for thy sake, and not mine, that I object to take off my hat. I assure thee it is a very solemn thing to require me to render to thee the same homage I render to my maker! Consider this, Friend.” The Commissioner replied, that he could not enter into an argument on the matter, but if the party came there, he must conform to the rules of the Court. The Quaker doffed his hat, with this solemn warning to the Commissioner: — “Friend, consider coolly what thou hast done, when thou goest hence; think upon it at night, and thou’lt regret it.”


The late Earl of Chesterfield was walking 285 along the street one day, when he met a drunken man, of whom he wished to take the wall. “No, no” hickupped the fellow, “I never give way to a rascal.” “I always do,” said the earl, pulling off his hat, and bowing as he passed.


Why is Lord Brougham like a sveeping man,

What close by the pavement stalks?

Because when he’s done all the sveep that he


He takes up his Brougham and Vaux.


A young lady having purchased an assortment of music at a warehouse, situate in the western part of the metropolis, on returning to her carriage, recollected a piece which she had neglected to buy. “Sir,” said she, on re-entering the shop, “there is yet one thing which I had forgotten, and which I must now request you to give me.” “And what is that?” replied the young music-seller. “It is, Sir, One kind Kiss before we Part. The gay youth, vaulting instantaneously over the table, saluted the fair stranger.


A most egregious fop ordered his servant not to suffer any body to intrude upon him, because he was going to Adonize himself. A lady called shortly after this injunction, and inquired of the servant for his master. “Madam,” said he, “you cannot see my master.” “But I 286 must, I have very particular business with him,” returned the lady; “pray why can’t I see him?” “Because,” replied the valet, “He is but this moment gone up to idolize himself.”


Two gentlemen passing a blackberry-bush, when the fruit was unripe, one said it was ridiculous to call them blackberries, when they were red. “Don’t you know,” said his friend, “that blackberries are always red when they are green?”


A blind man having buried £500 in a corner of his garden, was robbed of them by a neighbour, who saw him at work. Suspecting who had stolen his treasure, he went to him, and asked his advice in the most friendly way, concerning a bag with £1000, which he said he had by him, and would gladly know his opinion about the disposal of them. “I have at present,” said he, “£500 in a certain part of my garden, and I believe I shall decide upon putting this there likewise.” His neighbour hearing this, took the first opportunity of replacing the £500, in hopes of being able soon to draw out double the sum; but the blind man having attained his end, put it out of his power to make a second attempt.


Not long since, Mike Smith, a ragged young urchin, was taken to the Mansion House 287 (charged with having stolen a gentleman’s pocket handkerchief), and committed to prison. Though scarcely eight years of age, it appeared that this was by no means the first time this little vagabond had been apprehended for a similar offence. During his confinement, the hardened young rascal had amused himself with scribbling over the walls of his prison, and had indulged his poetic fancy in the following elegant couplet: — 

He as prigs what is’nt is’n

When he’s cotched will go to prison.


During the late French wars in Italy, a soldier, being almost naked, had the confidence to ask his commander for a new coat. “A new coat,” exclaimed the general; “surely my good fellow, you are not aware that a new coat would quite conceal your honourable wounds.”


A young gentleman, who had quarrelled with a female to whom he had paid his addresses, was so imprudent as to threaten to publish the letters she had written him. “That,” she replied, “would be really vexatious; for though I need not be ashamed of their contents, I certainly ought to be ashamed of their directions.”


One whose visits are always so unwelcome, that in the great squares, at the west end of the town, he is constantly asked to call again.


When Walpole invited the Chevalier Lorenzi to dine at Strawberry-hill, he gave him venison, and as he was determined to like it, he protested it was “as good as beef.”


Dr. Barton invited, for the love of punning, Mr. Crowe and Mr. Rook to dine with him; and having given Mr. Birdmore, another guest, a hint to be rather after the time, on his appearing, said, “Mr. Rook! Mr. Crowe! I beg leave to introduce one bird more.



W. H Cox, 5, Great Queen Street Lincoln’s Inn Fields.


Elf.Ed Notes.

 1  This jest is at least 400 years old. It makes its appearance in the collection of facetiae by Lodovico Domenichi, No. XXII, The Facetiae of Poggio And Other Medieval Story-Tellers, translated by Edward Storer. Being much admired, it was also included later, in 1864 in one of the most widely known joke books of the 19th century, see Jest CCLXXXVIII, The Joe Miller Jest Book, by Mark Lemon



The Garden of Muses.