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Title: Joe Miller's Jests, With Copious Additions
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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JOE MILLER’S JESTS; OR, THE WIT’S VADE-MECUM: being a collection of the
most brilliant Jests; the politest _Repartees_; the most elegant _Bon
mots_, and most pleasant short Stories in the _English_ language. First
carefully collected in the company, and many of them transcribed from
the mouth of the Facetious _Gentleman_, whose name they bear; and now
set forth and published by his lamentable friend and former companion,
Elijah Jenkins, Esq. Most humbly inscribed to those Choice Spirits of
the Age, Captain Bodens, Mr. Alexander Pope, Mr. Professor Lacy, Mr.
Orator Henley, and Job Baker, the Kettle-Drummer. London: Printed and
sold by T. Read, in Dogwell Court, White’s Fryars, Fleet Street.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by


In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New-York.


A few years ago, at a dinner party in England, a very good story was
told by one of the company, who represented the hero of the anecdote as
a well-known nobleman then living. This story was immediately pronounced
to be an “old Joe.” On this, a warm discussion took place, when it came
out incidentally, that not one of those present had ever seen the book
so familiarly referred to. This discovery aroused the curiosity of one
of the party, who immediately resolved to procure a copy of the work―a
most difficult and costly matter. Having procured the book, he decided
to republish it for the benefit of his benighted fellow-countrymen, and
the following volume is the result.

A singular fact connected with this work is, that every body presumes
that he himself, and every other person, is perfectly familiar with its
contents; and yet, if the reader will ask his friends, it will appear
that not one in a thousand ever set eyes on a copy; indeed, we doubt
much whether there are a dozen persons in the United States who have
ever seen the work.

Mr. Joseph Miller―or Joe Miller, as he is generally called, with a
familiarity that smacks of immortality―whose name as a wit is now
current wherever the English language is spoken, was, when living,
himself a jest for dulness, so that his name appended to this work is
what Mr. Artemus Ward would call “sarkasum.” According to report,
Miller, who _was_ an excellent comic actor, but taciturn and saturnine,
“was in the habit of spending his afternoons at the _Black Jack_, a
well-known public-house in Portsmouth street, Clare Market, which at
that time was frequented by the most respectable tradesmen in the
neighborhood, who, from Joe’s imperturbable gravity, whenever any
risible saying was recounted, ironically ascribed it to him. After his
death, having left his family unprovided for, advantage was taken of
this _badinage_. A Mr. Mottley, a well-known dramatist of that day, was
employed to collect all the stray jests, then current on town. Joe
Miller’s name was prefixed to them, and from that day to this, the man
who never uttered a jest has been the reputed author of every jest, past
and present, and doubtless through future ages will receive credit for
all the good things that may be said by the grandchildren of those
youngsters who now collect ― and our knees, and, in the innocence of
their hearts, never suspect (that which they will, alas! discover in
after years) that we have been palming off on them “Old Joe’s,” as the
production of our own unparalleled humor. Fathers may well dread the
effect this book may have on the filial respect of their sons a
generation hence, when they will cease to be the respected wits and
become the beloved impostors.

This volume not only contains the jests of Joe Miller, but a large
number of others, gathered from collections of Facetiæ previously and
since published. But to the bookworm and student of Jokology, it will be
sufficient to say that the first one hundred and ninety-eight jokes
comprise the whole of the genuine edition.

When we look at the reputation of this Miller, we must needs be deeply
impressed with the capriciousness of the character of Fame. A hero or a
martyr dies―she gives one small toot and hangs up her horn. But some
obscure person is hot with a jest, and her trumpet brays away in his
honor for ages. Then, too, her mendacity―George of England is
advertised as a saint, and Joe Miller as a wit. For aught we can tell to
the contrary, our great-grandchildren may honor the name of Greeley as a
leader of fashion. They may speak of him as Dandy Horace or Beau
Greeley―tailors may adorn their magazines of fashion with his portrait.
Miles O’Reilly may be canonized, and Artemus Ward handed down to
posterity as a general officer in the confederate army.


1. The Duke of Atholl, who says more good things than anybody, being
behind the scenes the first night of the Beggars’ Opera, and meeting
Cibber there, Well, Colley, said he, how do you like the Beggars’ Opera?
Why it makes one laugh, my lord, answered he, on the stage; but how will
it do in print? O! very well, I’ll answer for it, said the duke, if you
don’t write a preface to it.[1]

  [1] See Cibber’s preface to Provoked Husband.

2. There being a great disturbance one night at Drury Lane play-house,
Mr. Wilks, coming upon the stage to say something to pacify the
audience, had an orange thrown full at him, which he having taken up,
making a low bow, This is no civil orange, I think, said he.

3. Joe Miller sitting one day in the window at the Sun Tavern in Clare
Street, a fishwoman and her maid passing by, the woman cried, “Buy my
souls, buy my maids.” Ah! you wicked old creature, said honest Joe, what
are you not content to sell your own soul, but you must sell your maid’s

4. A poor man who had a termagant wife, after a long dispute, in which
she was resolved to have the last word, told her, If she spoke one more
crooked word, he’d beat her brains out. Why then, ram’s-horns, you
rogue, said she, if I die for it.

5. A hackney-coachman, who was just set up, had heard that the lawyers
used to club their threepence a-piece, four of them, to go to
Westminster; and being called by a lawyer at Temple Bar, who, with two
others in their gowns, got into his coach, he was bid to drive to
Westminster Hall; but the coachman still holding his door open, as if he
waited for more company, one of the gentleman asked him, why he did not
shut the door, and go on? The fellow, scratching his head, cried, You
know, master, my fare’s a shilling; I can’t go for ninepence.

6. Two free-thinking authors proposed to a bookseller, that was a little
decayed in the world, That if he would print their works, they would set
him up; and, indeed, they were as good as their word, for in six weeks
time he was in the pillory.

7. A gentleman was saying one day at the Tilt Yard Coffee-house, when it
rained exceedingly hard, that it put him in mind of the general deluge.
Zoons, sir, said an old campaigner, who stood by, who’s that? I have
heard of all the generals in Europe but him.

8. A certain poet and player, remarkable for his impudence and
cowardice, happening many years ago to have a quarrel with Mr. Powel,
another player, received from him a smart box on the ear; a few days
after, the poetical player having lost his snuff-box, and making strict
inquiry if anybody had seen his box, What, said another of the buskined
wits, that which George Powel gave you the other night?

9. Gun Jones, who had made his fortune himself, from a mean beginning,
happening to have some words with a person who had known him some time,
was asked by the other, how he could have the impudence to give himself
so many airs, when he knew very well, that he remembered him seven years
before with hardly a rag to his back. You lie, sirrah, replied Jones,
seven years ago I had nothing but rags to my back.

10. Lord R― having lost fifty pistoles one night at the gaming-table in
Dublin, some friends condoling with him upon his ill luck: Faith, said
he, I am very well pleased at what I have done; for I have bit them,
there is not one pistole that don’t want six-pence of weight.

11. A gentleman saying something in praise of Mrs. C―m, who is, without
dispute, a good player, though exceeding saucy and exceeding ugly;
another said, her face always put him in mind of Mary-bone Park; being
desired to explain himself, he said, It was vastly rude, and had not one
bit of pale about it.

12. A pragmatical young fellow, sitting at table over against the
learned John Scott, asked him, What difference there was between Scott
and Sot? Just the breadth of the table, answered the other.

13. Another poet asked Nat Lee, if it was not easy to write like a
madman, as he did? No, answered Nat; but it is easy to write like a
fool, as you do.

14. Colley, who, notwithstanding his odes, has now and then said a good
thing, being told one night by the late Duke of Wharton, that he
expected to see him hanged or beggared very soon: If I had your grace’s
politics and morals, said the laureat, you might expect both.

15. Sir Thomas More for a long time had only daughters, his wife
earnestly praying that they might have a boy; at last they had a boy,
who, when he came to man’s estate, proved but simple: Thou prayedst so
long for a boy, said Sir Thomas to his wife, that at last thou hast got
one who will be a boy as long as he lives.

16. The same gentleman, when Lord Chancellor, being pressed by the
counsel of the party, for a longer day to perform a decree, said, Take
St. Barnaby’s Day, the longest in the year, which happened to be next

17. This famous Chancellor, who preserved his humour and wit to the last
moment, when he came to be executed on Tower Hill, the headsman demanded
his upper garment as his fee; Ah! friend, said he, taking off his cap,
that, I think, is my upper garment.

18. When Rabelais, the greatest droll in France, lay on his death-bed,
he could not help jesting at the very last moment; for, having received
the extreme unction, a friend coming to see him, said, he hoped he was
prepared for the next world: Yes, yes, replied Rabelais, I am ready for
my journey now; they have just greased my boots.

19. Henry the Fourth of France, reading an ostentatious inscription on
the monument of a Spanish officer, “Here lies the body of Don &c. &c.,
who never knew what fear was.” Then, said the king, he never snuffed a
candle with his fingers.

20. A certain member of the French Academy, who was no great friend to
the Abbot Furetiere, one day took the seat that was commonly used by the
abbot, and soon after having occasion to speak, and Furetiere being by
that time come in: Here is a place, said he, gentlemen, from whence I am
likely to utter a thousand impertinencies. Go on, answered Furetiere,
there’s one already.

21. When Sir Richard Steele was fitting up his great room in York
Buildings, for public orations, he happened at one time to be pretty
much behind-hand with his workmen, and coming one day among them, to see
how they went forward, ordered one of them to get into the rostrum, and
make a speech, that he might observe how it could be heard; the fellow
mounting, and scratching his pate, told him, he knew not what to say,
for in truth he was no orator. Oh! said the knight, no matter for that,
speak anything that comes uppermost. Why here, Sir Richard, says the
fellow, we have been working for you these six weeks, and cannot get one
penny of money: pray, sir, when do you design to pay us?―Very well,
very well, said Sir Richard, pray come down, I have heard enough; I
cannot but own you speak very distinctly, though I don’t admire your

22. A country clergyman, meeting a neighbour, who never came to church,
although an old fellow of above sixty, he gave him some reproof on that
account, and asked him if he never read at home? No, replied the clown,
I can’t read. I dare say, said the parson, you don’t know who made you.
Not I, in troth, said the countryman. A little boy coming by at the same
time, Who made you, child? said the parson. God, sir, answered the boy.
Why, look you there, quoth the honest clergyman, are not you ashamed to
hear a child of five or six years old tell me who made him, when you,
that are so old a man, cannot? Ah! said the countryman, it is no wonder
that he should remember; he was made but t’other day, it is a great
while, master, sin’ I was made.

23. A certain reverend clergyman in the country was 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.

24. One of the aforesaid gentlemen, as was his custom, preaching most
exceedingly dull to a congregation not used to him, many of them slunk
out of the church, one after another, before the sermon was near ended.
Truly, said a gentleman present, this learned doctor has made a very
moving discourse.

25. Sir William Davenant the poet had no nose, who going along the Mews
one day, a beggar-woman followed him, crying, Ah! God preserve your
eye-sight, sir; the Lord preserve your eye-sight. Why, good woman, said
he, do you pray so much for my eye-sight? Ah! dear sir, answered the
woman, if it should please God that you grow dim-sighted, you have no
place to hang your spectacles on.

26. A Welchman, bragging of his family, said, His father’s effigy was
set up in Westminster Abbey; being asked whereabouts, he said, In the
same monument with Squire Thynne’s; for he was his coachman.

27. A person was saying, not at all to the purpose, that Samson was a
very strong man. Ay, said another, but you are much stronger, for you
make nothing of lugging him in by the head and shoulders.

28. My Lord Strangford, who stammered very much, was telling a certain
bishop that sat at his table, that Balaam’s ass spoke because he was
pri―est― Priest-rid, sir, (said a valet-de-chambre, who stood behind
the chair,) my lord would say. No, friend, replied the bishop, Balaam
could not speak himself, and so his ass spoke for him.

29. The same noble lord asked a clergyman once, at the bottom of his
table, why the goose, if there was one, was always placed next to the
parson? Really, said he, I can give no reason for it; but your question
is so odd, I shall never see a goose, for the future, without thinking
of your lordship.

30. A gentleman was asking another how that poor devil S―ge could live,
now my Lord T―l had turned him off. Upon his wits, said the other. That
is living upon a slender stock indeed, replied the first.

31. A country parson having divided his text under two and twenty heads,
one of the congregation went out of the church in a great hurry, and
being met by a friend, he asked him, whither he was going? Home for my
night-cap, answered the first, for I find we are to stay here all night.

32. A very modest young gentleman, of the county of Tipperary, having
attempted many ways in vain to acquire the affections of a lady of great
fortune, at last was resolved to try what could be done by the help of
music, and therefore entertained her with a serenade under her windows
at midnight; but she ordered her servant to drive him hence, by throwing
stones at him. Your music, my friend, said one of his companions, is as
powerful as that of Orpheus, for it draws the very stones about you.

33. A certain senator, who, it may be, is not esteemed the wisest man in
the house, has a frequent custom of shaking his head when another
speaks; which, giving offence to a particular person, he complained of
the affront; but one who had been long acquainted with him, assured the
house, It was only an ill habit he had got, for though he would
oftentimes shake his head, there was nothing in it.

34. A gentleman having lent a guinea for two or three days to a person
whose promises he had not much faith in, was very much surprised to
find, that he punctually kept his word with him; the same gentleman
being some time after desirous of borrowing the like sum, No, said the
other, you have deceived me once, and I am resolved you shan’t do it a
second time.

35. My Lord Chief Justice Holt had sent, by his warrant, one of the
French prophets, a foolish sect, that started up in his time, to prison;
upon which, Mr. Lacy, one of their followers, came one day to my lord’s
house, and desired to speak with him; the servants told him, he was not
well, and saw no company that day: But tell him, said Lacy, I must see
him; for I come to him from the Lord; which being told the Chief
Justice, he ordered him to come in, and asked him his business: I come,
said he, from the Lord, who has sent me to thee, and would have thee
grant a _nolle prosequi_ for John Atkins, whom thou hast cast into
prison. Thou art a false prophet, answered my lord, and a lying knave;
for if the Lord had sent thee, it would have been to the Attorney
General; he knows it is not in my power to grant a _nolle prosequi_.

36. Tom B―rn―t happening to be at dinner at my Lord Mayor’s, in the
latter part of Queen Anne’s reign, after two or three healths, the
ministry was toasted; but when it came to Tom’s turn to drink, he
diverted it for some time by telling a story to the person who sat next
him; the chief magistrate of the city, not seeing his toast go round,
called out, Gentlemen, where sticks the ministry? At nothing, said Tom,
and so drank off his glass.

37. My Lord Craven, in King James the First’s reign, was very desirous
to see Ben Jonson, which being told to Ben, he went to my lord’s house;
but being in a very tattered condition, as poets sometimes are, the
porter refused him admittance, with some saucy language, which the other
did not fail to return. My lord, happening to come out while they were
wrangling, asked the occasion of it? Ben, who stood in need of nobody to
speak for him, said, he understood his lordship desired to see him. You,
friend? said my lord, who are you? Ben Jonson, replied the other. No,
no, quoth my lord, you cannot be Ben Jonson, who wrote the Silent Woman;
you look as if you could not say Bo to a goose. Bo, cried Ben. Very
well, said my lord, who was better pleased at the joke than offended at
the affront, I am now convinced, by your wit, you are Ben Jonson.

38. A certain fop was boasting in company that he had every sense in
perfection. There is one you are quite without, said one who was by, and
that is common sense.

39. An Irish lawyer of the Temple having occasion to go to dinner, left
these directions written, and put in the key-hole of his chamber door: I
am gone to the Elephant and Castle, where you shall find me; and if you
can’t read this note, carry it down to the stationer’s, and he will read
it for you.

40. Old Dennis, who had been the author of many plays, going by a
brandy-shop in St. Paul’s Church Yard, the man who kept it came out to
him, and desired him to drink a dram. For what reason? said he. Because
you are a dramatic poet, answered the other. Well, sir, said the old
gentleman, thou art an out-of-the-way fellow, and I will drink a dram
with thee: but when he had so done, he asked him to pay for it: ’Sdeath,
Sir, said the bard, did you not ask me to drink a dram, because I was a
dramatic poet? Yes, sir, replied the fellow, but I did not think you had
been a dram-o’tick poet.

41. Daniel Purcell, the famous punster, and a friend of his, having a
desire to drink a glass of wine together, upon the 30th of January, they
went to the Salutation Tavern upon Holborn Hill, and finding the door
shut, they knocked at it, but it was not opened to them, only one of the
drawers looked through a little wicket, and asked what they would please
to have? Why, open your door, said Daniel, and draw us a pint of wine:
the drawer said, his master would not allow of it that day, for it was a
fast. Hang your master, replied he, for a precise coxcomb, is he not
contented to fast himself, but he must make his doors fast too?

42. The same gentleman calling for some pipes in a tavern, complained
they were too short. The drawer said they had no other, and those were
but just come in. Ay, said Daniel, I see you have not bought them very

43. The same gentleman, as he had the character of a great punster, was
desired one night in company, by a gentleman, to make a pun extempore.
Upon what subject? said Daniel. The King, answered the other. The king,
sir, said he, is no subject.

44. G―s E―l, who, though he is very rich, is remarkable for his sordid
covetousness, told Cibber one night in the green room, that he was going
out of town, and was sorry to part with him, for faith he loved him. Ah!
said Colley, I wish I was a shilling for your sake. Why so? said the
other. Because then, cried the laureat, I should be sure you loved me.

45. Lord C―by, coming out of the House of Lords one day, called out,
Where’s my fellow? Not in England, said a gentleman who stood by.

46. A beggar asking alms under the name of a poor scholar, a gentleman
to whom he applied himself asked him a question in Latin; the fellow,
shaking his head, said, he did not understand him. Why, said the
gentleman, did you not say you were a poor scholar? Yes, replied the
other, a poor one indeed, sir, for I do not understand one word of

47. Several years ago, when Mrs. Rogers the player was young and
handsome, Lord North and Grey, remarkable for his homely face, accosting
her one night behind the scenes, asked her with a sigh, what was a cure
for love? Your Lordship, said she; the best I know in the world.

48. Colonel ――, who made the fine fireworks in St. James’s Square,
upon the peace of Ryswick, being in company with some ladies, was highly
commending the epitaph just then set up in the Abbey on Mr. Purcell’s
monument―“He is gone to that place where only his own harmony can be
exceeded.” Well, Colonel, said one of the ladies, the same epitaph might
serve for you, by altering one word only: “He is gone to that place
where only his own fireworks can be exceeded?”

49. Sir B―ch―r W―y, in the beginning of Queen Anne’s reign, and three
or four more drunken tories, reeling home from the Fountain Tavern in
the Strand, on a Sunday morning, cried out, We are the pillars of the
church. No, said a whig, that happened to be in their company, you can
be but the buttresses, for you never come on the inside of it.

50. After the fire of London, there was an act of parliament to regulate
the buildings of the city; every house was to be three stories high. A
Gloucestershire gentleman, a man of great wit and humour, just after
this act passed, going along the street, and seeing a little crooked
gentlewoman on the other side of the way, ran over to her in great
haste; Lord, madam, said he, how dare you to walk the streets thus
publicly? Walk the streets! and why not? answered the little woman.
Because, said he, you are built directly contrary to act of parliament:
you are but two stories high.

51. One Mr. Topham was so very tall and large, that if he was living
now, he might be shewn at Yeate’s theatre for a sight. This gentleman
going one day to inquire for a countryman a little way out of town, when
he came to the house, he looked in at a little window over the door, and
asked the woman, who sat by the fire, if her husband was at home? No,
Sir, said she, but if you please to alight, and come in, I’ll go and
call him.

52. The same gentleman walking across Covent Garden, was asked by a
beggar-woman for a halfpenny, or farthing; but finding he would not part
with his money, she begged he would give her one of his old shoes. He
was very desirous to know what she could do with one shoe. To make my
child a cradle, sir, said she.

53. King Charles II. having ordered a new suit of clothes to be made,
just at a time when addresses were coming up to him from all parts of
the kingdom, Tom Killigrew went to the tailor, and ordered him to make a
very large pocket on one side of the coat, and one so small on the
other, that the king could hardly get his hand into it; which seeming
very odd, when they were brought home, he asked the meaning of it; the
tailor said, Mr. Killigrew ordered it so. Killigrew being sent for, and
interrogated, said, One pocket was for the addresses of his majesty’s
subjects, the other for the money they would give him.

54. My Lord B― had married three wives, who were all his servants; a
beggar-woman meeting him one day in the street, made him a very low
curtesy. Ah, bless your lordship, said she, and send you a long life; if
you do but live long enough, we shall all be ladies in time.

55. Dr. Sadler, who was a very fat man, happening to go thump, thump,
through a street in Oxford, where the paviours were at work, in the
midst of July, the fellows immediately laid down their rammers. Ah,
bless you, master, said one of them, it was very kind of you to come
this way; it saves us a great deal of trouble this hot weather.

56. An arch wag, of St. John’s College, asked another of the same
College, who was a great sloven, why he would not read a certain author
called Go-Clenius.

57. Swan, the famous punster of Cambridge, being a non-juror, upon which
account he had lost his Fellowship, as he was going along the Strand, in
the beginning of King William’s reign, on a very rainy day, a
hackney-coachman called to him, Sir, won’t you please to take coach? it
rains hard. Ay, friend, said he, but this is no rain [reign] for me to
take coach in.

58. When Oliver first coined his money, an old cavalier looking upon one
of the new pieces, read the inscription on one side, God with us: On the
other, The commonwealth of England. I see, said he, God and the
commonwealth are on different sides.

59. Colonel Bond, who had been one of King Charles the First’s judges,
died a day or two before Oliver, and it was strongly reported everywhere
that Cromwell was dead; No, said a gentleman, who knew better, he has
only given Bond to the devil for his further appearance.

60. Mr. Serjeant G―d, being lame of one leg, and pleading before
Judge Fortescue, who had little or no nose, the Judge told him he was
afraid he had but a lame cause of it. Oh! my lord, said the Serjeant,
have but a little patience, and I’ll warrant I prove everything as plain
as the nose on your face.

61. A gentleman, eating some mutton that was very tough, said, it put
him in mind of an old English poet; being asked who that was, Chau-cer,
replied he.

62. Michael Angelo, in his picture of the Last Judgment, in the Pope’s
chapel, painted among the figures in hell that of a certain cardinal,
who was his enemy, so like, that everybody knew it at first sight:
whereupon the cardinal complaining to Pope Clement VII. of the affront,
and desiring that it might be defaced; You know very well, said the
Pope, I have power to deliver a soul out of purgatory, but not out of

63. A gentleman being at dinner at a friend’s house, the first thing
that came upon the table was a dish of whitings, and one being put upon
his plate, he found it smell so strong, that he could not eat a bit of
it; but he laid his mouth down to the fish, as if he was whispering with
it, and then took up the plate, and put it to his own ear. The
gentleman, at whose table he was, inquiring into the meaning, he told
him, that he had a brother lost at sea about a fortnight ago, and he was
asking that fish if he knew anything of him: And what answer made he?
said the gentleman. He told me, said he, that he could give no account
of him, for he had not been at sea these three weeks.―I would not have
any of my readers apply this story as an unfortunate gentleman did who
had heard it, and was, the next day, whispering a rump of beef, at a
friend’s house.

64. An English gentleman happening to be in Brecknockshire, he used
sometimes to divert himself with shooting; but being suspected not to be
qualified by one of the little Welch justices, his worship told him,
that unless he could produce his qualification, he should not allow him
to shoot there, and he had two little manors. Yes, sir, said the
Englishman, everybody may perceive that. Perceive what? cried the
Welchman: That you have too little manners, said the other.

65. The Chaplain’s boy of a man of war, being sent out of his own ship
of an errand to another, the two boys were comparing notes about their
manner of living: How often, said one, do you go to prayers now? Why,
answered the other, in case of a storm, or any other danger: Ay, said
the first, there’s some sense in that, but my master makes us pray when
there is no more occasion for it than for my leaping overboard.

66. A midshipman, one night, in company with Joe Miller and myself, told
us, that being once in great danger at sea, everybody was observed to be
upon their knees but one man, who, being called upon to come, with the
rest of the hands, to prayers: Not I, said he, it is your business to
take care of the ship, I am but a passenger.

67. Three or four roguish scholars walking out one day from the
University of Oxford, spied a poor fellow near Abingdon asleep in a
ditch, with an ass by him, loaded with earthen ware, holding the bridle
in his hand: says one of the scholars to the rest, If you will assist
me, I’ll help you to a little money, for you know we are bare at
present. No doubt of it they were not long consenting. Why, then, said
he, we’ll go and sell this old fellow’s ass at Abingdon; for you know
the fair is to-morrow, and we shall meet with chapmen enough: therefore
do you take the panniers off, and put them upon my back, and that bridle
over my head, and then lead you the ass to market, and let me alone with
the old man. This being done accordingly, in a little time after, the
poor man awaking, was strangely surprised to see his ass thus
metamorphosed. Oh! for God’s sake, said the scholar, take this bridle
out of my mouth, and this load from my back. Zoons! how came you here?
replied the old man. Why, said he, my father, who is a necromancer, upon
an idle thing I did to disoblige him, transformed me into an ass; but
now his heart has relented, and I am come to my own shape again, I beg
you will let me go home and thank him.―By all means, said the crockery
merchant, I do not desire to have any thing to do with conjuration; and
so set the scholar at liberty, who went directly to his comrades, that
by this time were making merry with the money they had sold the ass for.
But the old fellow was forced to go the next day to seek for a new one
in the fair; and after having looked on several, his own was shown him
for a good one. Oh! said he, what have he and his father quarrelled
again already? No, no, I’ll have nothing to say to him.

68. Mr. Congreve going up the water in a boat, one of the watermen told
him, as they passed by Peterborough House, that that house had sunk a
story. No, friend, said he, I rather believe it is a story raised.

69. The aforesaid house, which is the very last in London, one way,
being rebuilt, a gentleman asked another, Who lived in it? His friend
told him, Sir Robert Grosvenor. I don’t know, said the first, what
estate Sir Robert has, but he ought to have a very good one; for nobody
lives beyond him in the whole town.

70. Two gentlemen disputing about religion, in Button’s Coffee-house,
said one of them, I wonder, sir, you should talk of religion, when I’ll
hold you five guineas you can’t say the Lord’s Prayer. Done, said the
other, and Sir Richard Steele shall hold stakes. The money being
deposited, the gentleman began with, I believe in God, and so went
cleverly through the Creed. Well, said the other, I own I have lost; I
did not think he could have done it.

71. A certain author was telling Dr. Sewel, that a passage he found
fault with in his poem might be justified, and that he thought it a
metaphor: It is such a one, said the doctor, as truly I never met-afore.

72. King Henry VIII. designing to send a nobleman on an embassy to
Francis I. at a very dangerous juncture, he begged to be excused,
saying, such a threatening message to so hot a prince as Francis I.
might go near to cost him his life. Fear not, said old Harry, if the
French king should offer to take away your life, I would revenge you by
taking off the heads of many Frenchmen now in my power. But of all those
heads, replied the nobleman, there may not be one to fit my shoulders.

73. A parson preaching a tiresome sermon on happiness or bliss; when he
had done, a gentleman told him he had forgot one sort of happiness:
Happy are they that did not hear your sermon.

74. A country fellow, who was just come to London, gaping about in every
shop he came to, at last looked into a scrivener’s, where seeing only
one man sitting at a desk, he could not imagine what commodity was sold
there; but calling to the clerk, Pray, sir, said he, what do you sell
here?―Loggerheads, cried the other. Do you? answered the countryman;
egad, then you’ve a special trade; for I see you have but one left.

75. Manners, who was himself but lately made Earl of Rutland, told Sir
Thomas More, He was too much elated by his preferment; that he verified
the old proverb, “Honores mutant Mores.” No, my lord, said Sir Thomas,
the pun will do much better in English, “Honors change Manners.”

76. A mayor of Yarmouth, in ancient times, being by his office a justice
of the peace, and one who was willing to dispense the laws wisely,
though he could hardly read, got him the statute book, where, finding a
law against firing a beacon, or causing any beacon to be fired, after
nine of the clock at night; the poor man read it, frying bacon or
causing any bacon to be fried; and accordingly went out the next night
upon the scent, and being directed by his nose to the carrier’s house,
he found the man and his wife both frying of bacon, the husband holding
the pan while the wife turned it; being thus caught in the fact, and
having nothing to say for themselves, his worship committed them both to
jail without bail or mainprize.

77. The late facetious Mr. Spiller, being at the rehearsal, on a
Saturday morning, the time when the actors are usually paid, was asking
another, Whether Mr. Wood, the treasurer of the house, had anything to
say to them that morning: No, faith, Jemmy, replied the other, I’m
afraid there’s no cole―(which is a cant word for money). Then, said
Spiller, if there’s no cole we must burn Wood.

78. A witty knave coming into a lace shop upon Ludgate Hill, said, he
had occasion for a small quantity of very fine lace, and having pitched
upon that he liked, asked the woman of the shop how much she would have
for as much as could reach from one of his ears to the other, and
measure which way she pleased, either over his head or under his chin.
After some words they agreed, and he paid the money down, and began to
measure, saying, One of my ears is here, and the other is nailed to the
pillory in Bristol, therefore I fear you have not enough to make good
the bargain; however, I will take this piece in part, and desire you
will provide the rest with all expedition.

79. When Sir Cloudesly Shovel set out on his last expedition, there was
a form of prayer composed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the
success of the fleet, in which his grace made use of this unlucky
expression, That he begged God would be a rock of defence to the fleet;
which occasioned the following lines to be made upon the monument set up
for him in Westminster Abbey, he being cast away in that expedition on
the rocks called The Bishop and his Clerks:

  As Lambeth pray’d, such was the dire event,
  Else had we wanted now this monument;
  That God unto our fleet would be a rock,
  Nor did kind Heaven the wise petition mock:
  To what the Metropolitan said then,
  The Bishop and his Clerks replied, Amen.

80. A French marquis, being one day at dinner at the late Roger
Williams’s, the famous punster and publican, and boasting of the happy
genius of his nation, in projecting all the fine modes and fashions,
particularly the ruffle, which, he said, was de fine ornament to de
hand, and had been followed by all de oder nations. Roger allowed what
he said, but observed at the same time, That the English, according to
custom, had made a great improvement upon their invention, by adding the
shirt to it.

81. A poor dirty shoe-boy going into a church, one Sunday evening, and
seeing the parish boys standing in a row upon a bench to be catechized,
he gets up himself, and stands in the very first place; so the parson,
of course beginning with him, asked him, What is your name? Rugged and
Tough, answered he; Who gave you that name? said Domine: Why the boys in
our alley, replied poor Rugged and Tough.

82. A prince laughing at one of his courtiers, whom he had employed in
several embassies, told him he looked like an owl. I know not, answered
the courtier, what I look like; but this I know, that I have had the
honor several times to represent your majesty’s person.

83. A lady’s age happening to be questioned, she affirmed she was but
forty, and called upon a gentleman who was in company, for his opinion:
Cousin, said she, do you believe I am in the right when I say I am but
forty? I am sure, madam, replied he, I ought not to dispute it; for I
have constantly heard you say so for above these ten years.

84. A Venetian ambassador, going to the court of Rome, passed through
Florence, when he went to pay his respects to the Duke of Tuscany. The
duke complaining to him of the ambassador the state of Venice had sent
him, as a man unworthy of his public character. Your highness, said he,
must not wonder at it, for we have many idle pates at Venice. So have
we, replied the duke, in Florence; but we do not send them to treat of
public affairs.

85. It being proved in a trial at Guildhall, that a man’s name was
really Inch, who pretended it was Linch, I see, said the judge, the old
proverb is verified in this man, who being allowed an Inch has taken an

86. A certain person came to a cardinal in Rome, and told him that he
had brought his reverence a dainty white palfrey, but he fell lame by
the way. Saith the cardinal to him, I’ll tell thee what thou shalt do;
go to such a cardinal, and such a one, naming half a dozen, and tell
them the same; and so as thy horse, if it had been sound, could have
pleased but one, with this lame horse thou shalt please half a dozen.

87. The Emperor Augustus being shown a young Grecian who very much
resembled him, asked the young man if his mother had not been at
Rome―No, sir, answered the Grecian, but my father has.

88. Cato, the censor, being asked how it came to pass that he had no
statue erected for him, who had so well deserved of the commonwealth? I
had rather, said he, have this question asked, than why I had one.

89. A lady coming into a room hastily with her mantua brushed down a
Cremona fiddle that lay on a chair, and broke it; upon which, a
gentleman that was present, burst into this exclamation from Virgil:

  Mantua, væ miseræ nimium vicina Cremonæ!
  Ah! miserable Mantua, too near a neighbour to Cremona.

90. A devout gentleman being very earnest in his prayers in the church,
it happened that a pickpocket, being near him, stole away his watch,
who, having ended his prayers, missed it, and complained to his friend
that his watch was lost while he was at prayers; to which his friend
replied, Had you watched as well as prayed, your watch had been secure;
adding these following lines:

  He that a watch will wear, this must he do,
  Pocket his watch, and watch his pocket too.

91. A lieutenant-colonel to one of the Irish regiments in the French
service, being dispatched by the Duke of Berwick from Fort-Keil to the
King of France, with a complaint relating to some irregularities that
had happened in the regiment; his majesty, with some emotion of mind,
told him, that the Irish troops gave him more uneasiness than all his
forces besides. Sir, said the officer, all your majesty’s enemies make
the same complaint.

92. Mr. G―n, the surgeon, being sent for to a gentleman who had just
received a slight wound in a rencounter, gave orders to his servant to
go home with all haste imaginable, and fetch a certain plaister; the
patient turning a little pale, Lord, sir, said he, I hope there is no
danger? Yes, indeed, is there, answered the surgeon, for if the fellow
don’t set up a good pair of heels, the wound will heal before he

93. Not many years ago, a certain temporal peer having, in a most
pathetic and elegant speech, exposed the vices and irregularities of the
clergy, and vindicated the gentlemen of the army from some imputations
unjustly laid upon them: A prelate, irritated at the nature, as well as
at the length of the speech, desired to know when the noble lord would
leave off preaching? The other answered, The very day he was made a

94. It chanced that a merchant ship was so violently tossed in a storm
at sea, that all, despairing of safety, betook themselves to prayer,
saving one mariner, who was ever wishing to see two stars: O! said he,
that I could but see two stars, or but one of the two; and of these
words he made so frequent repetition, that disturbing the meditations of
the rest, at length one asked him what two stars, or what one star he
meant? To whom he replied, O! that I could but see the Star in
Cheapside, or the Star in Coleman Street, I care not which.

95. Dr. Heylin, a noted author, especially for his Cosmography, happened
to lose his way going to Oxford, in the forest of Whichwood, being then
attended by one of his brother’s men, the man earnestly entreated him to
lead the way; but the doctor telling him he did not know it! How, said
the fellow, that is very strange, that you who have made a book of the
whole world, cannot find the way out of this little wood.

96. Monsieur Vaugelas having obtained a pension from the French king, on
the interest of Cardinal Richelieu, the cardinal told him he hoped he
would not forget the word pension in his dictionary. No, my lord, said
Vaugelas, nor the word gratitude.

97. A melting sermon being preached in a country church, all fell a
weeping but one man, who being asked why he did not weep with the rest?
Oh! said he, I belong to another parish.

98. A gentleman who had been out a shooting, brought home a small bird
with him, and having an Irish servant, he asked him if he had shot that
little bird? Yes, he told him. Arrah! by my shoul, honey, replied the
Irishman, it was not worth powder and shot; for this little thing would
have died in the fall.

99. An Irishman being at a tavern, where the cook was dressing some
carp, observed some of them move after they were gutted and put into the
pan, which very much surprising Teague, Well now, faith, said he, of all
the Christian creatures that ever I saw, this same carp will live the
longest after it is dead of any fish.

100. A young fellow riding down a steep hill, and doubting the foot of
it was boggish, called out to a clown that was ditching, and asked him
if it was hard at the bottom. Ay, answered the countryman, it is hard
enough at the bottom, I’ll warrant you. But in half a dozen steps the
horse sunk up to the saddle skirts, which made the young gallant whip,
spur, curse and swear. Why, thou rascal, said he to the ditcher, didst
thou not tell me it was hard at bottom? Ay, replied the other, but you
are not half way to the bottom yet.

101. It was said of one who remembered everything that he lent, but
quite forgot what he borrowed, that he had lost half his memory.

102. One speaking of Titus Oates, said, he was a villain in grain, and
deserved to be well threshed.

103. It was said of Henry Duke of Guise, that he was the greatest
usurer in all France, for he had turned all his estate into
obligations―meaning he had sold and mortgaged his patrimony to make
presents to other men.

104. An Englishman and a Welchman disputing in whose country was the
best living; said the Welchman, There is such noble housekeeping in
Wales, that I have known above a dozen cooks employed at one wedding
dinner. Ay, answered the Englishman, that was because every man toasted
his own cheese.

105. The late Sir Godfrey Kneller had always a great contempt, I will
not pretend to say how justly, for Jervis the painter; and being one day
about twenty miles from London, one of his servants told him at dinner,
that there was Mr. Jervis come that day into the same town with a coach
and four. Ay, said Sir Godfrey, but if his horses draw no better than
himself, they will never carry him to town again.

106. A gentleman asked Nanny Rochford why the Whigs, in their mourning
for Queen Anne, all wore silk stockings? Because, says she, the Tories
were worsted.

107. A counsellor pleading at the bar with spectacles on, who was blind
with one eye, said he would produce nothing but what was _ad rem_. Then,
said one of the adverse party, you must take out one glass of your
spectacles, which I am sure is of no use.

108. The famous Tom Thynne, who was very remarkable for his good
housekeeping and hospitality, standing one day at his gate in the
country, a beggar coming up to him cried, He begged his worship would
give him a mug of his small beer. Why, how now, said he, what times are
these, when beggars must be choosers! I say, bring this fellow a mug of
strong beer.

109. It was said of a person, who always ate at other people’s tables,
and was a great railer, that he never opened his mouth but to somebody’s

110. Pope Sixtus Quintus, who was a poor man’s son, and his father’s
house ill thatched, so that the sun came in at many places of it, would
himself make a jest of his birth, and say, That he was _nato di casa

111. Diogenes begging, as was the custom among many philosophers, asked
a prodigal man for more than any one else; whereupon one said to him, I
see your business, that when you find a liberal mind, you will make the
most of him. No, said Diogenes, but I mean to beg of the rest again.

112. Dr. Sewel, and two or three more gentlemen, walking towards
Hampstead on a summer’s day, were met by the famous Daniel Purcell, who
was very importunate with them to know upon what account they were going
there. The doctor merrily answering him, To make hay. Very well, replied
the other, you will be there at a very convenient season, the country
wants rakes.

113. A gentleman speaking of his servant said, I believe I command more
than any man; for before my servant will obey me in one thing, I must
command him ten times over.

114. A poor fellow who was carrying to execution, had a reprieve just as
he came to the gallows, and was carried back by a sheriff’s officer, who
told him he was a happy fellow, and asked him if he knew nothing of the
reprieve beforehand? No, replied the fellow, nor thought any more of it
than I did of my dying day.

115. A countryman admiring the stately fabric of St. Paul’s, asked,
whether it was made in England, or brought from beyond sea?

116. Fabricius, the Roman consul, showed a great nobleness of mind, when
the physician of King Pyrrhus made him a proposal to poison his master,
by sending the physician back to Pyrrhus, with these memorable words;
Learn, O king, to make better choice both of thy friends and of thy

117. A soldier was bragging before Julius Cæsar of the wounds he had
received in his face. Cæsar, knowing him to be a coward, told him he had
best take heed the next time he ran away, how he looked back.

118. The Trojans sending ambassadors to condole with Tiberius, upon the
death of his father-in-law, Augustus, it was so long after, that the
emperor hardly thought it a compliment; but told them he was likewise
sorry that they had lost so valiant a knight as Hector [slain above a
thousand years before].

119. Cato Major used to say, That wise men learnt more from fools, than
fools from wise men.

120. A braggadocio chancing, upon an occasion, to run away full speed,
was asked by one, What was become of that courage he used so much to
talk of? It is got, said he, all into my heels.

121. Somebody asked my Lord Bacon what he thought of poets? Why, said
he, I think them the very best writers next to those who write in prose.

122. A profligate young nobleman, being in company with some sober
people, desired leave to toast the devil. The gentleman, who sat next to
him, said, He had no objection to any of his lordship’s friends.

123. A Scotsman was very angry with an English gentleman, who, he said,
had abused him, and called him, false Scot. Indeed, said the Englishman,
I said no such thing, but that you were a true Scot.

124. The late Commissary-General G―ley, who once kept a glass-shop,
having Colonel P―c―k’s regiment under a muster, made great complaints
of the men’s appearance, &c., and said that the regiment ought to be
broke. Then, sir, said the Colonel, perhaps you think a regiment is as
soon broke as a looking-glass.

125. Curll, the bookseller, being under examination at the bar of the
House of Lords, for publishing the posthumous works of the late Duke of
Buckingham, without leave of the family, told their Lordships in his
defence, That if the duke was living, he was sure he would readily
pardon the offence.

126. Mr. E―ll―s, the painter, having finished a very good picture of
Figg, the prize-fighter, who had been famous in getting the better of
several Irishmen of the same profession, the piece was shown to old
Johnson the player, who was told at the same time, that Mr. E―ll―s
designed to have a mezzotinto print taken from it, but wanted a motto to
be put under it. Then, said old Johnson, I’ll give you one: A Fig for
the Irish.

127. A gentleman coming to an inn in Smithfield, and seeing the ostler
expert and tractable about the horses, asked how long he had lived
there, and what countryman he was? I’se Yorkshire, said the fellow, and
ha’ lived sixteen years here. I wonder, replied the gentleman, that, in
so long a time, so clever a fellow as you seem to be, have not come to
be master of the inn yourself. Ay, answered the ostler, but maister’s
Yorkshire too.

128. The late Colonel Chartres, reflecting on his ill life and
character, told a certain nobleman, that if such a thing as a good name
was to be purchased, he would freely give 10,000_l._ for one. The
nobleman said, it would certainly be the worst money he ever laid out in
his life. Why so? said the honest Colonel. Because, answered the lord,
you would forfeit it again in less than a week.

129. A seedy, poor, half-pay captain, who was much given to blabbing
everything he heard, was told, There was but one secret in the world he
could keep, and that was, where he lodged.

130. Jack M―n going one day into the apartments in St. James’s, found a
lady of his acquaintance sitting in one of the windows, who very
courteously asked him to sit down by her, telling him there was a place.
No, madam, said he, I do not come to court for a place. If the gentle
reader should have a desire to repeat this story, let him not make the
same blunder that a certain English-Irish foolish lord did, who made the
lady ask Jack to sit down by her, telling him there was room.

131. A certain lady of quality sending her Irish footman to fetch home a
pair of new stays, strictly charged him to take coach if it rained, for
fear of wetting them: but a great shower of rain falling, the fellow
returned with the stays dropping wet; and being severely reprimanded for
not doing as he was ordered to do, he said, he had obeyed her orders.
How then, answered the lady, could the stays be wet, if you took them
into the coach with you? No, replied Teague, I knew my place better, I
did not go into the coach, but rode behind, as I always used to do.

132. Tom Warner, the late publisher of newspapers and pamphlets, being
very near his end, a gentlewoman in the neighbourhood sending her maid
to inquire how he did? he bid the girl tell her mistress, That he hoped
he was going to the new Jerusalem. Ay, dear sir, said she, I dare say
the air of Islington would do you more good.

133. The deputies of Rochelle attending to speak with Henry the Fourth
of France, met with a physician who had renounced the Protestant
religion, and embraced the Popish communion, whom they began to revile
most grievously. The king, hearing of it, told the deputies, he advised
them to change their religion too; for it is a dangerous symptom, said
he, that your religion is not long lived, when a physician has given it

134. Two Oxford scholars meeting on the road with a Yorkshire ostler,
they fell to bantering him, and told the fellow that they would prove
him to be a horse or an ass. Well, said the ostler, and I can prove your
saddle to be a mule. A mule! cried one of them, how can that be?
Because, said the ostler, it is something between a horse and an ass.

135. A Frenchman travelling between Dover and London, came into an inn
to lodge, when the host, perceiving him a close-fisted cur, having
called for nothing but a pint of beer and a pennyworth of bread, to eat
with a salad he gathered by the way, resolved to fit him for it,
therefore seemed to pay him an extraordinary respect, laid him a clean
cloth for supper, and complimented him with the best bed in the house.
In the morning he set a good salad before him, with cold meat, butter,
&c., which provoked the monsieur to the generosity of calling for
half-a-pint of wine; then coming to pay, the host gave him a bill,
which, for the best bed, wine, salad, and other appurtenances, he had
enhanced to the value of twenty shillings. Jernie, says the Frenchman,
twenty shillings! Vat you mean? But all his spluttering was in vain; for
the host, with a great deal of tavern elocution, made him sensible
nothing could be abated. The monsieur, therefore, seeing no remedy but
patience, seemed to pay it cheerfully. After which, he told the host,
that his house being extremely troubled with rats, he could give him a
receipt to drive them away, so as they should never return again. The
host being very desirous to be rid of those troublesome guests, who were
every day doing him one mischief or another, at length concluded to give
monsieur twenty shillings for a receipt: which done, Big-gar, says the
monsieur, you make a de rat one such bill as you make me, and if ever
dey trouble your house again, me will be hang.

136. A Westminster justice taking coach in the city, and being set down
at Youngman’s Coffee-house, Charing Cross, the driver demanded
eighteenpence as his fare, the justice asked him if he would swear the
ground came to the money. The man said, He would take his oath on’t. The
justice replied, Friend, I’m a magistrate; and pulling the book out of
his pocket, administered the oath, and then gave the fellow sixpence,
saying, he must reserve the shilling to himself for the affidavit.

137. A countryman passing along the Strand, saw a coach overturned, and
asking what the matter was, he was told, That three or four members of
parliament were overturned in that coach. Oh! says he, there let them
lie; my father always advised me not to meddle with state affairs.

138. One saying that Mr. Dennis was an excellent critic, was answered,
That indeed his writings were much to be valued; for that by his
criticism, he taught men how to write well; and by his poetry showed
them what it was to write ill; so that the world was sure to edify by

139. One going to see a friend who had lain a considerable time in the
Marshalsea prison, in a starving condition, was persuading him, rather
than lie there in that miserable case, to go to sea; which not agreeing
with his high spirit, I thank you for your advice, replied the prisoner,
but if I go to sea, I’m resolved it shall be upon good ground.

140. A drunken fellow carrying his wife’s bible to pawn for a quartern
of gin, to an ale-house, the man of the house refused to take it. What,
said the fellow, will neither my word nor the word of God pass with you?

141. A certain Justice of the Peace not far from Clerkenwell, in the
first year of King George the First, when his clerk was reading a
mittimus to him, coming to Anno Domini 1714, he cried out with some
warmth, And why not Georgio Domini? sure, you forget yourself strangely.

142. A certain nobleman, a courtier, in the beginning of the late reign,
coming out of the House of Lords, accosted the Duke of Buckingham, with,
How does your pot boil, my lord, these troublesome times? To which his
grace replied, I never go into my kitchen, but I dare say the scum is

143. The Lord North and Grey being once at an assembly at the Theatre
Royal in the Haymarket, was pleased to tell Mr. Heidigger, he would make
him a present of 100_l._, if he could produce an uglier face in the
whole kingdom, than his, the said Heidigger’s, within a year and a day.
Mr. Heidigger went instantly and fetched a looking-glass, and presented
it to his lordship, saying, He did not doubt but that his lordship had
honour enough to keep his promise.

144. A person who had an unmeasurable stomach, coming to a cook-shop to
dine, said, it was not his way to have his meat cut, but to pay 8_d._
for his ordinary; which the cook seemed to think reasonable enough, and
so set a shoulder of mutton before him of a half-crown price, to cut
where he pleased; with which he so played the cormorant, that he
devoured all but the bone, paid his ordinary and trooped off. The next
time he came, the cook casting a sheep’s-eye at him, desired him to
agree for his victual, for he’d have no more ordinaries. Why? says he, I
am sure I paid you an ordinary price.

145. The extravagant Duke of Buckingham (Villiers) once said in a
melancholy humour, he was afraid he should die a beggar, which was the
most terrible thing in the world; upon which a friend of his grace
replied, No, my lord, there is a more terrible thing than that, and
which you have reason to fear, and that is, that you will live a beggar.

146. The same noble Duke, another time, was making his complaint to Sir
John Cutler, a rich miser, of the disorder of his affairs, and asked him
what he should do to prevent the ruin of his estate? Live as I do, my
lord, said Sir John. That I can do, answered the duke, when I am ruined.

147. At another time a person who had long been a dependant on His
Grace, begged his interest for him at court; and to press the thing more
home upon the duke, said, he had nobody to depend upon but God and His
Grace. Then, said the duke, you are in a miserable way; for you could
not have pitched upon any two persons who have less interest at court.

148. The old Lord Strangford taking a bottle with the parson of the
parish, was commending his own wine: Here, doctor, said he, I can send a
couple of ho-ho-hounds to Fra-Fra-France (for his lordship had a great
impediment in his speech) and have a ho-ho-hogs-head of this wine for
them: What do you say to that, doctor? Why, replied he, I say, that your
lordship has your wine dog cheap.

149. The famous Jack Ogle of facetious memory, having borrowed on note
five pounds, and failing the payment, the gentleman who had lent it,
indiscreetly took occasion to talk of it in the public coffee-house,
which obliged Jack to take notice of it, so that it came to a challenge.
Being got into the field, the gentleman, a little tender in point of
courage, offered him the note to make the matter up, to which our hero
consented readily, and had the note delivered. But now, said the
gentleman, if we should return without fighting, our companions will
laugh at us; therefore, let’s give one another a slight scar, and say we
wounded one another. With all my heart, says Jack; come, I’ll wound you
first; so drawing his sword, he whipt it through the fleshy part of his
antagonist’s arm, till he brought the very tears in his eyes. This being
done, and the wound tied up with a handkerchief: Come, said the
gentleman, where shall I wound you? Jack putting himself in a fighting
posture, cried, Where you can, good sir. Well, well, said the other, I
can swear I received this wound of you; and so marched off contentedly.

150. A traveller coming into an inn once, on a very cold night, stood so
near the fire that he burned his boots. An arch rogue that sat in the
chimney corner, called out to him, Sir, you’ll burn your spurs
presently. My boots you mean, I suppose? No, sir, said he, they are
burned already.

151. In eighty-eight, when Queen Elizabeth went from Temple Bar along
Fleet Street, on some procession, the lawyers were ranged on one side of
the way, and the citizens on the other; says the Lord Bacon, then a
student, to a lawyer that stood next to him, Do but observe the
courtiers; if they bow first to the citizens, they are in debt; if to
us, they are in law.

152. Some gentlemen having a hare for supper at a tavern, the cook,
instead of a pudding, had crammed the belly full of thyme, but had not
above half roasted the hare, the legs being almost raw; which one of the
company observing, said, There was too much thyme (time) in the belly,
and too little in the legs.

153. Two countrymen, who had never seen a play in their lives, nor had
any notion of it, went to the theatre in Drury Lane, when they placed
themselves snug in the corner of the middle gallery; the first music
played, which they liked well enough; then the second and third, to
their great satisfaction: at length the curtain drew up, and three or
four actors entered to begin the play; upon which one of the countrymen
cried to the other, Come, Hodge, let’s be going, mayhap the gentlemen
are talking about business.

154. A countryman sowing his ground, two smart fellows riding that way,
called to him with an insolent air, Well, honest fellow, said one of
them, ’tis your business to sow, but we reap the fruits of your labour.
To which the countryman replied, ’Tis very likely you may, truly; for I
am sowing hemp.

155. Two inseparable comrades who rode in the guards in Flanders, had
everything in common between them. One of them being an extravagant
fellow, and unfit to be trusted with money, the other was always
purse-bearer, which yet he gained little by, for the former would at
night frequently pick his pocket to the last stiver; to prevent which,
he bethought himself of a stratagem; and coming among his companions the
next day, he told them he had bit his comrade. Ah, how? said they. Why,
replied he, I hid my money in his own pocket last night, and I was sure
he would never look for it there.

156. The famous Sir George Rook, when he was a captain in the marines,
was quartered at a village where he buried a pretty many of his men; at
length the parson refused to perform the ceremony of their interment
unless he was paid for it; which being told Captain Rook, he ordered six
men of his company to carry the corpse of the soldier then dead, and lay
him upon the parson’s hall-table. This so embarrassed the parson, that
he sent the captain word, if he would fetch the man away, he would bury
him and all his company for nothing.

157. A reverend and charitable divine, for the benefit of the country
where he resided, caused a large causeway to be begun; and as he was one
day overlooking the work, a certain nobleman came by: Well, doctor, said
he, for all your great pains and charity, I don’t take this to be the
highway to heaven. Very true, replied the doctor, for if it had, I
should have wondered to have met your lordship here.

158. Two Jesuits having packed together an innumerable parcel of
miraculous lies, a person who heard them, without taking upon him to
contradict them, told them one of his own: That at St. Alban’s there was
a stone cistern, in which water was always preserved for the use of that
saint, and that ever since, if a swine should drink out of it, he would
instantly die. The Jesuits, hugging themselves at the story, set out the
next day to St. Alban’s, where they found themselves miserably deceived.
On their return, they upbraided the person with telling them so
monstrous a story. Look you there now, said he, you told me a hundred
lies t’other night, and I had more breeding than to contradict you: I
told you but one, and you have rid twenty miles to confute me, which is
very uncivil.

159. A Welchman and an Englishman vapouring one day at the fruitfulness
of their countries, the Englishman said, there was a close near the town
where he was born, which was so very fertile, that if a kiboo was thrown
in overnight, it would be so covered with grass that it should be
difficult to find it the next day. Splut, said the Welchman, what’s
that? There’s a close where hur was born, where you may put your horse
in overnight, and not be able to find him next morning.

160. A country fellow in Charles the Second’s time, selling his load of
hay in the Haymarket, two gentlemen who came out of the Blue Posts, were
talking of affairs; one said, that things did not go right, the king had
been at the house and prorogued the parliament. The countryman coming
home, was asked, What news in London? Odd’s heart, said he, there’s
something to do there, the king has, it seems, berogued the parliament

161. A wild young gentleman having married a very discreet, virtuous
young lady, the better to reclaim him, she caused it to be given out at
his return that she was dead, and had been buried. In the meantime, she
had so placed herself in disguise, as to be able to observe how he took
the news; and finding him still the gay, inconstant man he always had
been, she appeared to him as the ghost of herself, at which he seemed
not at all dismayed; at length, disclosing herself to him, he then
appeared pretty much surprised; a person by said, Why, sir, you seem
more afraid now than before! Ay, replied he, most men are more afraid of
a living wife than of a dead one.

162. An under officer of the Customs at the port of Liverpool, running
heedlessly along the ship’s gunnel, happened to tip overboard, and was
drowned; being soon after taken up, the coroner’s jury was summoned to
sit upon the body. One of the jurymen returning home, was called to by
an alderman of the town, and asked, what verdict they brought in, and
whether they found it _felo de se_? Ay, ay, says the juryman, shaking
his noddle, he fell into the sea, sure enough.

163. One losing a bag of money of about 50_l._ between the Temple Gate
and Temple Bar, fixed a paper up, offering 10_l._ reward to those who
took it up, and should return it; upon which the person that had it,
came and writ underneath to the following effect: Sir, I thank you, but
you bid me to my loss.

164. Two brothers coming to be executed once for some enormous crime,
the eldest was turned off first, without speaking one word; the other
mounting the ladder, began to harangue the crowd, whose ears were
attentively open to hear him, expecting some confession from him. Good
people, says he, my brother hangs before my face, and you see what a
lamentable spectacle he makes; in a few moments I shall be turned off
too, and then you will see a pair of spectacles.

165. It was an usual saying of King Charles II., that sailors got their
money like horses, and spent it like asses. The following story is
somewhat an instance of it; one sailor coming to see another on pay-day,
desired to borrow twenty shillings of him. The monied man fell to
telling out the sum in shillings, but a half-crown thrusting its head
in, put him out, and he began to tell again; but then an impertinent
crown-piece was as officious as his half brother had been, and again
interrupted the tale; so that taking up a handful of silver, he cried,
Here, Jack, give me a handful when your ship’s paid; what signifies
counting it?

166. A person inquiring what became of Such-a-one? Oh, dear, says one of
the company, poor fellow, he died insolvent, and was buried by the
parish. Died insolvent! cries another, that’s a lie, for he died in
England: I am sure, I was at his burying.

167. A humorous countryman having bought a barn in partnership with a
neighbor of his, neglected to make the least use of it, whilst the other
had plentifully stored his part with corn and hay. In a little time the
latter came to him, and conscientiously expostulated with him about
laying out his money so fruitlessly. Pray neighbour, says he, ne’er
trouble your head, you may do what you will with your part of the barn,
but I will set mine o’ fire.

168. A young gentlewoman, who had married a very wild spark, that had
run through a plentiful fortune, and was reduced to some straits, was
innocently saying to him one day, My dear, I want some shifts sadly. How
can that be? replied he, when we make so many every day.

169. A fellow once standing in the pillory at Temple Bar, it occasioned
a stop, so that a carman with a load of cheeses had much ado to pass;
and driving just up to the pillory, he was asked, What that was that was
writ over the person’s head? They told him, it was a paper to signify
his crime, that he stood for forgery. Ay! said he, What is forgery? They
answered him, That forgery was counterfeiting another’s hand, with
intent to cheat people. To which the carman replied, looking up at the
offender, Oh, this comes of your writing and reading, you silly dog.

170. When the Prince of Orange came over, five of the seven bishops who
were sent to the Tower, declared for his highness, and the two others
would not come into measures; upon which, Mr. Dryden said, that the
seven Golden Candlesticks were sent to be assayed at the Tower, and five
of them proved to be prince’s metal.

171. A dog coming open-mouthed at a serjeant on a march, he ran the
spear of his halbert into his throat and killed him. The owner coming
out, raved extremely that his dog was killed, and asked the serjeant,
Why he could not as well have struck at him with the blunt end of the
halbert? So I would, said he, if he had run at me with his tail.

172. King Charles II. being in company with Lord Rochester and others of
the nobility, who had been drinking best part of the night, Killigrew
came in. Now, says the king, we shall hear of our faults. No, faith,
says Killigrew, I don’t care to trouble my head with that which all the
town talks of.

173. One, who had been a very termagant wife, lying on her death-bed,
desired her husband, That as she had brought him a fortune, she might
have liberty to make her will, for bestowing a few legacies to her
relations. No, madam, says he, you have had your will all your lifetime,
and now I will have mine.

174. When the Lord Jeffries, before he was a judge, was pleading at the
bar once, a country fellow giving evidence against his client, pushed
the matter very home on the side he swore of. Jeffries, after his usual
way, called out to the fellow, Hark you, you fellow in the leather
doublet, what have you for swearing? To which the countryman smartly
replied, Faith, sir, if you have no more for lying than I have for
swearing, you may go in a leather doublet too.

175. The same Jeffries afterward on the bench, told an old fellow with a
long beard, that he supposed he had a conscience as long as his beard.
Does your lordship, replied the old man, measure consciences by beards?
If so, your lordship has no beard at all.

176. Apelles, the famous painter, having drawn the picture of Alexander
the Great on horseback, brought it and presented it to the prince; but
he not bestowing that praise on it which so excellent a piece deserved,
Apelles desired a living horse might be brought; who, moved by nature,
fell a prancing and neighing, as though it had been actually a living
creature of the same species; whereupon Apelles told Alexander, That his
horse understood painting better than himself.

177. A company of gamesters falling out at a tavern, gave one another
very scurvy language; at length, those dreadful messengers of anger, the
bottles and glasses, flew about like hail shot; one of which mistaking
its errand, and hitting the wainscot instead of the person’s head it was
thrown at, brought the drawer rushing in, who cried, D’ye call,
gentlemen? Call gentlemen, said one of the standers by, no, they don’t
call gentlemen, but they call one another rogue and rascal as fast as
they can.

178. One observing a crooked fellow in close argument with another, who
would have dissuaded him from some inconsiderable resolution, said to
his friend, Prithee let him alone, and say no more to him, you see he’s
bent upon it.

179. Bully Dawson was overturned in a hackney-coach once, pretty near
his lodgings; and being got on his legs again, he said, ’Twas the
greatest piece of providence that ever befell him, for it had saved him
the trouble of bilking the coachman.

180. Sir Godfrey Kneller and the late Dr. Ratcliffe had a garden in
common, with a common gate: Sir Godfrey upon some occasion, ordered the
gate to be nailed up. When the doctor heard of it, he said he did not
care what Sir Godfrey did to the gate, so he did not paint it. This
being told Sir Godfrey, he replied he would take that, or anything else,
from his good friend Dr. Ratcliffe, but his physic.

181. A certain worthy gentleman having among his friends the nickname of
Bos, which was a kind of contraction of his real name; when his late
majesty conferred the honour of a peerage upon him, a pamphlet was soon
after published, with many sarcastical jokes upon him, and had this part
of a line from Horace as a motto, viz., “_Optat epipipa Bos_.” My lord
asked a friend who could read Latin, What that meant? It is as much as
to say, my lord, said he, that you become honours as a sow does a
saddle. Oh! very fine! said my lord. Soon after, another friend coming
to see him, the pamphlet was again spoken of. I would, says my lord,
give five hundred pounds to know the author of it. I don’t know the
author of the pamphlet, said his friend, but I know who wrote the motto.
Ay, cried my lord, prithee who was it? Horace, answered the other. How,
replied his lordship, a dirty dog, is that the return he makes for all
the services I have done him and his brother?

182. In the great dispute between South and Sherlock, the former, who
was a great courtier, said, His adversary reasoned well, but he barked
like a cur. To which the other replied, That fawning was the property of
a cur as well as barking.

183. Second thoughts, we commonly say, are best, and young women, who
pretend to be averse to marriage, desire not to be taken at their words.
One asking a girl, If she would have him? Faith, no, John, says she, but
you may have me, if you will.

184. A gentleman lying on his death-bed, called to his coachman, who had
been an old servant, and said, Ah, Tom, I am going a long and rugged
journey, worse than ever you drove me. Oh, dear sir, replied the fellow,
(he having been but an indifferent master to him,) ne’er let that
discourage you, for it is all down hill.

185. An honest bluff country farmer, meeting the parson of the parish in
a bye lane, and not giving him the way so readily as he expected, the
parson with an erected crest, told him he was better fed than taught.
Very true, indeed, sir, replied the farmer, for you teach me, and I feed

186. One making a furious assault upon a hot apple pie, burned his mouth
until the tears ran down, his friend asked him, Why he wept? Only, said
he, because it is just come into my mind, that my grandmother died this
day twelvemonth. Phoo, said the other, is that all? so whipping a large
piece into his mouth, he quickly sympathized with his companion; who
seeing his eyes brim full, with a malicious sneer, asked him why he
wept? Because you were not hanged the same day your grandmother died.

187. A lady who had married a gentleman that was a tolerable poet, one
day sitting alone with him, she said, Come, my dear, you write upon
other people, prithee write something for me; let me see what epitaph
you’ll bestow upon me when I die. Oh, my dear, replied he, that’s a
melancholy subject, prithee don’t think of it. Nay, upon my life you
shall, adds she. Come, I’ll begin―

            Here lies Bid-
  To which he answered,
            Ah! I wish she did.

188. A cowardly servant having been hunting with his lord, they had
killed a wild boar; the fellow seeing the boar stir, betook himself to a
tree; upon which his master called to him, and asked him What he was
afraid of? the boar’s guts are out. No matter for that, said he, his
teeth are in.

189. One telling another that he had once so excellent a gun, that it
went off immediately upon a thief’s coming into the house, although it
was not charged. How the devil can that be? said the other. Because,
said the first, the thief carried it off; and what was worse, before I
had time to charge him with it.

190. Some gentlemen coming out of a tavern pretty merry, a link-boy
cried, Have a light, gentlemen? Light yourself to the devil, you dog,
said one of the company. Bless you, master, replied the boy, we can find
the way in the dark; shall we light your worship thither?

191. A person was once tried at Kingston before the late Lord Chief
Justice Holt, for having two wives, where one Unit was to have been the
chief evidence against him. After much calling for him, word was brought
that they could hear nothing of him. No! says his lordship, why then,
all I can say is, Mr. Unit stands for a cipher.

192. It is certainly the most transcendent pleasure to be agreeably
surprised with the confession of love from an adored mistress. A young
gentleman, after a very great misfortune, came to his mistress, and told
her, he was reduced even to the want of five guineas. To which she
replied, I am glad of it, with all my heart. Are you so, madam? adds he,
suspecting her constancy: Pray, why so? Because, said she, I can furnish
you with five thousand.

193. On a public night of rejoicing, when bonfires and illuminations
were made, some honest fellows were drinking the king’s health, and
prosperity to England as long as the sun and moon endured. Ay, says one,
and 500 years after, for I have put both my sons apprentices to a

194. A young fellow having made an end of all he had, even to his last
suit of clothes, one said to him, Now, I hope, you’ll own yourself a
happy man, for you have made an end of all your cares. How so? said the
gentleman. Because, said the other, you have nothing left to take care

195. Dr. Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester, so eminent for his prophecies, when
by his solicitations and compliance at court, he got removed from a poor
Welsh bishopric, to a rich English one, a reverend Dean of the church
said, that he found his brother Lloyd spelt prophet with an _f_.

196. Some years ago, when his majesty used to hunt frequently in
Richmond Park, it brought such crowds of people thither, that orders
were given to admit none, when the king was there himself, but the
servants of his household. A fat country parson having on one of these
days a great inclination to make one of the company, Captain B―d―ns
promised to introduce him; but coming to the gate, the keepers would
have stopped him, by telling him that none but the household were to be
admitted. Why, said the captain, don’t you know the gentleman? He’s his
majesty’s hunting chaplain. Upon which, the keepers asked pardon, and
left the reverend gentleman to his recreation.

197. The learned Mr. Charles Barnard, serjeant-surgeon to Queen Anne,
being very severe upon parsons having pluralities, a reverend and worthy
divine heard him a good while with patience, but at length took him up
with this question: Why do you, Mr. Serjeant Barnard, rail thus at
pluralities, who have always so many fine cures upon your hands?

198. A worthy old gentleman in the country having employed an attorney,
of whom he had a pretty good opinion, to do some law business for him in
London, he was greatly surprised, on his coming to town, and demanding
his bill of law charges, to find that it amounted to at least three
times the sum he expected; the honest attorney assured him, that there
was no article in his bill, but what was fair and reasonable. Nay, said
the country gentleman, there’s one of them I am sure cannot be so, for
you have set down three shillings and fourpence for going to Southwark,
when none of my business lay that way; pray, what is the meaning of
that, sir? Oh, sir, said he, that was for fetching the chine and turkey
from the carrier’s that you sent me for a present out of the country.

199. A gentleman going into a meeting-house, and stumbling over one of
the forms that were set there, cried out in a passion, Who expected set
forms in a meeting-house?

200. My Lord Chief Justice Jeffries had a cause before him between a Jew
that was plaintiff, and a Christian defendant. The latter pleaded,
though the debt was very just, that the Jew had no right, by the laws of
England, to bring an action. Well, says my lord, have you no other plea?
No, my lord, says he, I insist on this plea. Do you? said my lord, then
let me tell you, you are the greater Jew of the two.

201. A butcher in Smithfield, that lay on his death-bed, said to his
wife, My dear, I am not a man for this world, therefore I advise you to
marry our man John. Oh, dear husband, said she, if that’s all, never let
it trouble you, for John and I have agreed that matter already.

202. A gentleman having bespoke a supper at an inn, desired his landlord
to sup with him. The host came up, and thinking to pay a greater
compliment than ordinary to his guest, pretended to find fault with the
laying the cloth, and took the plates and knives, and threw them down
stairs. The gentleman resolving not to balk his humour, threw the
bottles and glasses down also; at which the host being surprised,
inquired the reason of his so doing. Nay, nothing, replied the
gentleman; but when I saw you throw the plates and knives down stairs, I
thought you had a mind to sup below.

203. A philosopher carrying something hid under his cloak, an
impertinent person asked him what he had under his cloak? To which the
philosopher answered, I carry it there that you might not know.

204. When his late majesty, in coming from Holland, happened to meet
with a violent storm at sea, the captain of the yacht cried to the
chaplain, In five minutes more, doctor, we shall be with the Lord. The
Lord forbid, answered the doctor.

205. A gentleman, who had been a great traveller, would oftentimes talk
so extravagantly of the wonderful things he had seen abroad, that a
friend of his took notice to him of his exposing himself as he did to
all companies, and asked him the meaning of it? Why, says the traveller,
I have got such a habit of lying since I have been abroad, that I really
hardly know when I lie, and when I speak truth; and should be very much
obliged to you, if you would tread upon my toe at any time when I am
likely to give myself too much liberty that way. His friend promised he
would; and accordingly, not long after, being at a tavern with him and
other company, when the traveller was, amongst other strange things,
giving an account of a church he had seen in Italy, that was above two
miles long, he trod on his toe, just as one of the company had asked,
How broad that same church might be? Oh, said he, not above two feet.
Upon which, the company bursting into a loud laugh; Zounds, said he, if
you had not trod upon my toe, I should have made it as broad as it was

206. A justice of peace seeing a parson on a very stately horse, riding
between London and Hampstead, said to some gentlemen who were with him,
Do you see what a beautiful horse that proud parson has got? I’ll banter
him a little. Doctor, said he, you don’t follow the example of your
great master, who was humbly content to ride upon an ass. Why really,
sir, replied the parson, the king has made so many asses justices, that
an honest clergyman can hardly find one to ride, if he had a mind to.

207. The Duchess of Newcastle, who wrote plays and romances, in King
Charles the Second’s time, asked Bishop Wilkins, How she could get up to
the world in the moon, which he had discovered; for as the journey must
needs be very long, there would be no possibility of going through it,
without resting on the way? Oh, madam, said the bishop, your grace has
built so many castles in the air, that you can never want a place to
bait at.

208. A rich farmer’s son, who had been bred at the University, coming
home to visit his father and mother, they being one night at supper on a
couple of fowls, he told them, that by Logic and Arithmetic, he could
prove those two fowls to be three. Well, let us hear, said the old man.
Why this, cried the scholar, is one, and this, continued he, is two; two
and one, you know, make three. Since you have made it out so well,
answered the old man, your mother shall have the first fowl, I will have
the second, and the third you may keep yourself for your great learning.

209. A gentleman, who had a suit in Chancery, was called upon by his
counsel to put in his answer, for fear of incurring contempt. And why,
said the gentleman, is not my answer put in? How should I draw your
answer, cried the lawyer, ’till I know what you can swear? Pshaw,
replied the client, prithee do your part as a lawyer, and draw a
sufficient answer, and let me alone to do the part of a gentleman, and
swear to it.

210. A country lass, with a pail of milk on her head going to market,
was reckoning all the way, what she might make of it. This milk, said
she, will bring me so much money, that money will buy so many eggs,
those eggs so many chickens, and, with the fox’s leave, those chickens
will make me mistress of a pig, and that pig may grow a fat hog, and
when I have sold that, I may buy a cow and calf: and then, says she,
comes a sweetheart, perhaps a farmer; him I marry, and my neighbours
will say, How do you do, goody Such-a-one? and I’ll answer, Thank you,
neighbour, how do you? But maybe my sweetheart may be a yeoman, and then
it will be, How do you do, Mrs. Such-a-one? I’ll say, Thank you. Oh! but
suppose I should marry a gentleman; then they’ll say, Your servant,
madam, but then I’ll toss up my head, and say nothing. Upon the sudden
transport of this thought, and with the motion of her head, down came
the milk, which put an end at once to her fine scheme of her eggs, her
chickens, her pig, her hog, and her husband.

211. Daniel Purcell, who was a nonjuror, was telling a friend of his,
when King George the First landed at Greenwich, that he had a full view
of him. Then, said his friend, you know him by sight? Yes, replied
Daniel, I think I know him, but I can’t swear to him.

212. An Englishman going into one of the French ordinaries in Soho, and
finding a large dish of soup with about half-a-pound of mutton in the
middle of it, began to pull off his wig, his stock, and then his coat;
at which one of the monsieurs, being much surprised, asked him what he
was going to do? Why, monsieur, I mean to strip, that I may swim through
this ocean of porridge, to yon little island of mutton.

213. A countryman driving an ass by St. James’s gate one day, which
being dull and restive, he was forced to beat it very much; a gentleman
coming out of the gate, chid the fellow for using his beast so cruelly;
Oh dear, sir, said the countryman, I am glad to find my ass has a friend
at court.

214. One Irishman meeting another, asked, What was become of their old
acquaintance Patrick Murphy? Arrah, now, dear honey, answered the other,
poor Pat was condemned to be hanged; but he saved his life by dying in

215. Another Irishman, getting on a high-mettled horse, it ran away with
him; upon which, one of his companions called to him to stop him: Arrah,
honey, cried he, how can I do that, when I have got no spurs?

216. An honest Welch carpenter, coming out of Cardiganshire, got work in
Bristol, where, in a few months, he had saved, besides his expenses,
about twelve shillings; and with this prodigious sum of money, returning
into his own country, when he came upon Mile Hill, he looked back on the
town: Ah, poor Pristow, said he, if one or two more of hur countrymen
were to give hur such another shake as hur has done, it would be poor
Pristow indeed.

217. It being asked in company with my Lord C―d, whether the piers of
Westminster bridge would be of stone or wood, Oh, said my lord, of stone
to be sure, for we have too many wooden piers (peers) already at

218. One telling Charles XII. of Sweden, just before the battle of
Narva, that the enemy was three to one; I am glad to hear it, answered
the king, for then there will be enough to kill, enough to take
prisoners, and enough to run away.

219. A poor ingenious lad, who was a servitor at Oxford, not having
wherewithal to buy a new pair of shoes, when his old ones were very bad,
got them capped at the toes, upon which being bantered by some of his
companions, Why should they not be capped, said he, I am sure they are

220. The standers-by, to comfort a poor man, who lay on his death-bed,
told him, he should be carried to church by four very proper fellows: I
thank ye, said he, but I had much rather go by myself.

221. When poor Daniel Button died, one of his punning customers being at
his burial, and looking on the grave, cried out, This is a more lasting
Button hole, than any made by a tailor.

222. A toping fellow was one night making his will over his bottle: I
will give, said he, fifty pounds to five taverns, to drink to my memory
when I am dead; ten pounds to the Salutation for courtiers; ten pounds
to the Castle for soldiers; ten pounds to the Mitre for parsons; ten
pounds to the Horn for citizens; and ten pounds to the Devil for the

223. A gentleman calling for small beer at another gentleman’s table,
finding it very hard, gave it the servant again without drinking. 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.

224. A certain lord who had a termagant wife, and at the same time a
chaplain who was a tolerable poet, my lord desired him to write him a
copy of verses on a shrew. I cannot imagine, said the parson, why your
lordship should want a copy, who have so good an original.

225. A parson in his sermon having vehemently inveighed against usury,
and said, That lending money upon use was as great a sin as wilful
murder; having some time after an occasion to borrow twenty pounds
himself, and coming to one of his parishioners with that intent, the
other asked him, If he would have him guilty of a crime he had spoke so
much against, and lend out money upon use? No, said the parson, I would
have you lend it gratis. Ay, replied the other, but in my opinion, if
lending money upon use be as bad as wilful murder, lending it gratis can
be little better than _felo de se_.

226. One asked his friend, Why he, being so tall and large a man
himself, had married so small a wife. Why, friend, said he, I thought
you had known, that of all evils we should choose the least.

227. A gentleman threatening to go to law, was dissuaded from it by his
friends, who desired him to consider, for the law was chargeable: I
don’t care, replied the other, I will not consider, I will go to law.
Right, said his friend, for if you go to law, I am sure you don’t

228. One good housewife, who was a notable woman at turning and
torturing her old rags, was recommending her dyer to another, as an
excellent fellow in his way: That’s impossible, said the other, for I
hear he is a great drunkard, and beats his wife, and runs in every
body’s debt. What then? said the first, he may never be the worse dyer
for all these things. No! answered the other, can you imagine so bad a
liver can die well?

229. A poor fellow, growing rich on a sudden, from a very mean and
beggarly condition, and taking great state upon him, was met one day by
one of his poor acquaintance, who accosted him in a very humble manner,
but having no notice taken of him, cried out, Nay, it is no great wonder
that you should not know me, when you have forgot yourself.

230. Marcus Livius, who was governor of Tarentum when Hannibal took it,
being envious to see so much honour done to Fabius Maximus, said one day
in open senate, that it was himself, not Fabius Maximus, that was the
cause of the retaking the city of Tarentum. Fabius said smilingly,
Indeed thou speakest truth, for hadst thou not lost it, I should never
have retaken it.

231. One asking another which way a man might use tobacco to have any
benefit from it: By setting up a shop to sell it, said he, for certainly
there is no profit to be had from it any other way.

232. Ben Jonson being one night at the Devil tavern, there was a country
gentleman in the company, who interrupted all other discourse, with an
account of his land and tenements; at last Ben, able to bear it no
longer, said to him, What signifies your dirt and your clods to us?
where you have one acre of land I have ten acres of wit. Have you so,
said the countryman, good Mr. Wiseacre? This unexpected repartee from
the clown, struck Ben quite mute for a time: Why, how now, Ben, said one
of the company, you seem to be quite flung? I never was so pricked by a
hobnail before, replied he.

233. A tailor sent his bill to a lawyer for money: the lawyer bid the
boy tell his master, that he was not running away, but very busy at that
time. The boy comes again, and tells him he must needs have the money.
Didst tell thy master, said the lawyer, that I was not running away?
Yes, sir, answered the boy, but he bad me tell you that he was.

234. A smart fellow thinking to show his wit one night at the tavern,
called to the drawer, Here, Mercury, said he, take away this bottle full
of emptiness. Said one of the company, Do you speak that, Jack, of your
own head?

235. An extravagant young fellow, rallying a frugal country ’squire, who
had a good estate, and spent but little of it, said, among other things,
I’ll warrant you that plate-buttoned suit was your great-grandfather’s.
Yes, said the other, and I have my great-grandfather’s lands too.

236. A gentleman having sent for his carpenter’s servant to knock a nail
or two in his study, the fellow, after he had done, scratched his ears,
and said, He hoped the gentleman would give him something to make him
drink. Make you drink? says the gentleman, there’s a pickle herring for
you, and if that won’t make you drink I’ll give you another.

237. Alphonso, king of Naples, sent a moor, who had been his captive a
long time, to Barbary, with a considerable sum of money to purchase
horses, and to return by such a time. There was about the king a
buffoon, or jester, who had a table-book, wherein he used to register
any remarkable absurdity that happened at court. The day the moor was
dispatched to Barbary, the said jester waiting on the king at supper,
the king called for his table-book, in which the jester kept a regular
journal of absurdities. The king took the book, and read, how Alphonso,
king of Naples, had sent Beltram the moor, who had been a long time his
prisoner, to Morocco, his own country, with so many thousand crowns to
buy horses. The king turned to the jester, and asked, why he inserted
that? Because, said he, I think he will never come back to be a prisoner
again; and so you have lost both man and money. But, if he does come,
says the king, then your jest is marred: No, sir, replies the buffoon,
for if he should return, I will blot out your name, and put in his for a

238. A sharper of the town seeing a country gentleman sit alone at an
inn, and thinking something might be made of him, he went and sat near
him, and took the liberty to drink to him. Having thus introduced
himself, he called for a paper of tobacco, and said, Do you smoke, sir?
Yes, says the gentleman, very gravely, any one that has a design upon

239. A certain country farmer was observed never to be in a good humour
when he was hungry; for this reason, his wife was fain carefully to
watch the time of his coming home, and always have dinner ready on the
table; one day he surprised her, and she had only time to set a mess of
broth ready for him, who, soon, according to custom, began to open his
pipes, and maundering over his broth, forgetting what he was about,
burnt his mouth to some purpose. The good wife seeing him in that
sputtering condition, comforted him as follows: See what it is now, had
you kept your breath to cool your pottage, you had not burnt your mouth,

240. The same woman taking up dinner once on a Sunday, it happened that
the lickerish plough-boy, who lay under a strong and violent temptation,
pinched off the corner of a plum dumpling; which his dame espying, in a
great rage, laid the wooden ladle over his pate, saying, Can’t you stay,
sirrah, till your betters are served before you? The boy clapping his
hand on his head, and seeing the blood come, ’tis very hard, said he. So
it is, sirrah, said she, or it had not broke my ladle.

241. Three gentlemen being at a tavern, whose names were Moore, Strange,
and Wright: said the last, There is but one knave in company, and that
is Strange: Yes, answered Strange, there is one Moore: Ay, said Moore,
that’s Wright.

242. A Scotch bagpiper travelling in Ireland, opened his wallet by a
wood side, and sat down to dinner; no sooner had he said grace, but
three wolves came about him. To one he threw bread, to another meat,
till his provender was all gone―At length he took up his bagpipes, and
began to play, at which the wolves ran away. The deel faw me, said
Sawney, an I had kenned you loved music so, you should have had it
before dinner.

243. Metullus Nepos, asking Cicero, the Roman orator, in a scoffing
manner, Who was his father? Cicero replied, Thy mother has made that
question harder for thee to answer.

244. The archduke of Austria having been forced to raise the siege of a
town called Grave, in Holland, and to retreat privately in the night;
Queen Elizabeth said to his secretary here,―What, your master is risen
from the grave without sound of trumpet.

245. Soon after the death of a great officer, who was judged to have
been no great advancer of the king’s affairs, the king said to his
solicitor Bacon, who was kinsman to that lord: Now, Bacon, tell me
truly, what say you of your cousin? Mr. Bacon answered, Since your
Majesty charges me to speak, I will deal plainly with you, and give you
such a character of him, as though I was to write his history. I do
think he was no fit counsellor to have made your affairs better, yet he
was fit to have kept them from growing worse. On my soul, quoth the
king, in the first thou speakest like a true man; and in the latter like
a kinsman.

246. The same king in one of his progresses asked, How far it was to
such a town? They told him six miles and a half. He alighted out of his
coach, and went under the shoulder of one of the led horses. When some
asked his majesty what he meant? I must stalk, says he, for yonder town
is shy, and flies me.

247. Lawyers and chambermaids, said a wicked young fellow, are like
Balaam’s ass, they never speak unless they see an angel.

248. One being at his wife’s funeral, and the bearers going pretty quick
along, he cried out to them, Don’t go so fast, what need we make a toil
of pleasure?

249. A country ’squire being in company with his mistress, and wanting
his servant, cried out, Where is the blockhead? Upon your shoulders,
said the lady.

250. A philosopher being asked, why learned men frequented rich men’s
houses, but rich men seldom visited the learned, answered, That the
first know what they want, but the latter do not.

251. Among the articles exhibited to King Henry by the Irish, against
the Earl of Kildare, the last concluded thus:―And finally all Ireland
cannot rule the earl. Then said the king, The earl shall rule all
Ireland: and so made him deputy.

252. Plutarch used to say that men of small capacities put into great
places, like statues set upon great pillars, are made to appear the less
by their advancement.

253. A young fellow being told that his mistress was married; to
convince him of it, the young gentleman who told him, said, he had seen
the bride and bridegroom. Prithee, said the forsaken swain, do not call
them by those names; I cannot bear it. Shall I call them dog and cat?
answered the other. Oh, no, for heaven’s sake, replied the first, that
sounds ten times more like man and wife.

254. A sea officer, who for his courage in a former engagement, where he
had lost his leg, had been preferred to the command of a good ship; in
the heat of the next engagement, a cannon-ball took off his wooden
deputy, so that he fell upon the deck: A seaman thinking he had been
fresh wounded, called out for a surgeon. No, no, said the captain, the
carpenter will do this time.

255. A gentleman saying he had bought the stockings he had on in Wales.
Really, sir, answered another, I thought so, for they seemed to be
Well-chose, _i. e._ Welch hose.

256. A nobleman, in a certain king’s reign, being appointed groom of the
stole, his majesty took notice to him of the odd sort of perukes he used
to wear, and desired that he would now get something that was graver,
and more suitable to his age, and the high office he had conferred on
him. The next Sunday his lordship appeared at court in a very decent
peruke, which being observed by another nobleman, famous for the art of
punning, he came up to him, and told him, That he was obliged to alter
his locks now he had got the key.[2]

  [2] The groom of the stole wears a gold key, tied with a blue ribbon,
  at his left pocket.

257. A gentleman named Ball being about to purchase a cornetcy in a
regiment of horse, was presented to the colonel for approbation, who
being a nobleman, declared he did not like the name, and would have no
Balls in his regiment: Nor powder neither, said the gentleman, if your
lordship could help it.

258. Two Irishmen having travelled on foot from Chester to Barnet, were
confoundedly tired and fatigued with their journey; and the more so,
when they were told they had still about ten miles to London. By my soul
and St. Patrick, cries one of them, it is but five miles apiece, let’s
e’en walk on.

259. Mr. Pope, being at dinner with a noble duke, had his own servant in
livery waiting on him: The duke asked him, Why he, that eat mostly at
other people’s tables, should be such a fool as to keep a fellow in
livery only to laugh at him? ’Tis true, answered the poet, he kept but
one to laugh at him; but his grace had the honour to keep a dozen.

260. An Irish fellow, vaunting of his birth and family, affirmed, That
when he came first to England, he made such a figure, that the bells
rang through all the towns he passed to London: Ay, said a gentleman in
company, I suppose that was because you came up in a waggon with a

261. One meeting an old acquaintance, whom the world had frowned upon a
little, asked him, Where he lived? Where do I live―said he, I don’t
know; but I starve down towards Wapping and that way.

262. Two country attornies overtaking a waggoner on the road, and
thinking to break a joke upon him, asked him, Why his fore-horse was so
fat and the rest so lean? The waggoner knowing them to be limbs of the
law, answered them, That his fore-horse was his lawyer and the rest were
his clients.

263. At a cause tried at the King’s Bench bar, a witness was produced
who had a very red nose, and one of the counsel, a good impudent fellow,
being desirous to put him out of countenance, called out to him, after
he was sworn―Well, let’s hear what you have to say with your copper
nose. Why, sir, said he, by the oath I have taken, I would not exchange
my copper nose for your brazen face.

264. A gentleman having received some abuse, in passing through one of
the Inns of Chancery, from some of the impudent clerks, he was advised
to complain to the Principal, which he did accordingly; and coming
before him, accosted him in the following manner: I have been grossly
abused here by some of the rascals of this house, and understanding you
are the principal, I am come to acquaint you with it.

265. An old roundhead in Oliver’s time, complaining of some heavy rain
that fell, said a cavalier, standing by, What unreasonable fellows you
roundheads are, who will neither be pleased when God rains, nor when the
king reigns.

266. A young curate, with more pertness than wit or learning, being
asked in company, How he came to take it into his head to enter into the
ministry of the church? Because, said he, the Lord had need of me. That
may be, replied a gentleman present, for I have often read the Lord had
once need of an ass.

267. A very ignorant, but very foppish young fellow, going into a
bookseller’s shop with a relation, who went thither to buy something he
wanted, seeing his cousin look into a particular book, and smile, asked
him, What there was in that book that made him smile? Why, answered the
other, this book is dedicated to you, cousin Jack. Is it so? said he,
pray let me see it, for I never knew before that I had had such an
honour done me: upon which, taking it into his hands, he found it to be
Perkin’s Catechism, dedicated to all ignorant persons.

268. There was a short time when Mr. Handel, notwithstanding his merit,
was deserted, and his opera at the Hay-Market neglected almost by
everybody but his Majesty, for that of Porpora at Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields;
at this time another nobleman asking the earl of C―d if he would go
one night to the opera? My lord asked, Which? Oh, to that in the
Hay-Market, answered the other. No, my lord, said the earl, I have no
occasion for a private audience of his majesty to-night.

269. Some scholars, on a time, going to steal conies, by the way they
warned a novice amongst them to make no noise, for fear of spoiling
their game: but he no sooner espied some, but he cried out aloud, _Ecce
conniculi multi_. Whereupon the conies ran with all speed into their
burrows; upon which his fellows chiding him―Who, said he, would have
thought that the conies understood Latin?

270. A drunken fellow having sold all his goods, to maintain himself at
his pot, except his feather bed, at last made away with that too; when
being reproved for it by some of his friends; Why, said he, I am very
well, thank God, and why should I keep my bed?

271. An old lady meeting a Cambridge man, asked him, How her nephew
behaved himself? Truly, madam, says he, he’s a brave fellow, and sticks
close to Catherine Hall―[name of a college]. I vow, said she, I feared
as much, he was always hankering after the girls from a boy.

272. A gentleman being arrested for a pretty large sum of money, sent to
an acquaintance, who had often professed a great friendship for him, to
beg he would bail him; the other told him, that he had promised never to
be bail for anybody; but with much kindness said, I’ll tell you what you
may do, you may get somebody else if you can.

273. When king Charles the First was in great anxiety about signing the
warrant for the Earl of Strafford’s execution, saying, it was next to
death to part with so able a minister, and so loyal a subject; a certain
favorite of the king’s standing by, soon resolved his majesty, by
telling him, that in such an exigence, a man had better part with his
crutch than his leg.

274. Some rattling young fellows from London putting into a country inn,
seeing a plain rough-hewn farmer there; said one of them, You shall see
me dumb-found that countryman. So coming up to him, he gave his hat a
twirl round, saying, there’s half a crown for you, countryman. The
former, after recovering a little from his surprise, reared his oaken
towel, and surveying him very gravely, gave him two very handsome drubs
on the shoulder, saying, I thank you for your kindness, friend, there’s
two shillings of your money again.

275. One of the aforesaid rattling blades having been once a little
kicked for his impertinence, demanded of his benefactor with a bluff
face, Whether he was in earnest, or not? Yes, faith, said the other, in
very good earnest, laying his hand on his sword. Say you so? replied he,
I am glad of that with all my heart, for I don’t like such jests.

276. A merchant in London, having bought a pretty estate in Surrey, and
afterwards two or three more fields adjoining to it, a person speaking
of his purchase to a friend, said, he did not think Mr. Such-a-one had
been in circumstances to make so large a purchase. O dear! said the
other, you don’t know how considerable a man he is; why, since he bought
that estate in Surrey, he has bought Moor-fields. That must be a great
purchase, indeed, replied the other.

277. The old earl of B―d, one of the most facetious men of his time,
being once in waiting at court, made an excuse one morning to leave the
king, assuring his majesty he would be back to wait on him before 12
o’clock, there being great occasion for his attendance. The king had
inquired for him several times, his lordship having exceeded his time:
at length he came, and going to the clock in the drawing-room, heard it
strike one; at which, being a little enraged, he up with his cane and
broke the glass of the clock. The king asked him afterwards, What made
him break the clock? I am sure, says my lord, your majesty won’t be
angry when you hear. Prithee, said the king, what was it? Why blood, my
liege, the clock struck first.

278. A person having been put to great shifts to get money to support
his credit; some of his creditors at length sent him word, that they
would give him trouble. Pshaw! said he, I have had trouble enough to
borrow the money, and had not need be troubled to pay it again.

279. Queen Elizabeth seeing a gentleman in her garden, who had not felt
the effect of her favours so soon as he expected, looking out of her
window, said to him in Italian, What does a man think of, Sir Edward,
when he thinks of nothing? After a little pause, he answered, He thinks,
madam, of a woman’s promise. The queen shrunk in her head, but was heard
to say, Well, Sir Edward, I must not confute you: anger makes dull men
witty, but it keeps them poor.

280. A lady whose beauty was very much upon the decline, having sent her
picture to a gentleman that was to come a wooing to her, bid her
chambermaid, when she was coming to dress her, take care in repairing
her decays a little, or she should not look like her picture. I warrant
you, madam, says she, laying on the Bavarian red, a little art once made
your picture like you, now a little of the same art shall make you like
your picture; your picture must sit to you.

281. A termagant sempstress coming to dun a young fellow at his
lodgings, where he was terribly afraid to have his landlady hear; she
began to open her quail pipes at a great rate, but was presently seized
with a fit of coughing. Lord, says she, I have got such a cold I can
hardly speak. Nay, as to that, says he, I don’t care how softly you
speak. Don’t tell me of speaking softly, said she, let me have my money,
or I’ll take the law of you. Do, says he, then you’ll be forced to hold
your tongue, for the law allows nobody to scold in their own cause.

282. Some persons talking of a fine lady that had many suitors: Well,
says one of them, you may talk of this great man and that great man, of
this lord and t’other knight; but I know a fellow without a foot of
estate, that will carry her before them all. Pho, that’s impossible,
says another, unless you mean her coachman.

283. Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador here, in Queen Elizabeth’s
time, sent a compliment to the Lord St. Albans, whom he lived on no good
terms with, wishing him a merry Easter. My lord thanked the messenger,
and said, he could not requite the count better than by wishing him a
good Pass-over.

284. A certain philosopher, when he saw men in a hurry to finish any
matter, used to say, Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.

285. Sir Francis Bacon was wont to say of a passionate man, who
suppressed his anger, That he thought worse than he spoke; and of an
angry man, that would vent his passion in words, That he spoke worse
than he thought.

286. The same gentleman used to say, that power in an ill man was like
the power of a witch―he could do harm, but no good; as the magicians,
said he, could turn water into blood, but could not turn blood into
water again.

287. He was likewise wont to commend much the advice of a plain old man
at Buxton, who sold brooms. A proud lazy young fellow came to him for a
besom upon trust, to whom the old man said, Friend, hast thou no money?
Borrow of thy back and of thy belly, they’ll never ask thee for’t; I
shall be dunning thee every day.

288. When recruits were raising for the late wars, a serjeant told his
captain that he had got him a very extraordinary man: Ay, says the
captain, prithee what’s he? A butcher, sir, replied the serjeant, and
your honour will have double service of him, for we had two
sheep-stealers in the company before.

289. A harmless country fellow having commenced a suit against a
gentleman that had beat down his fences, and spoiled his corn; when the
assizes grew near, his adversary bribed his only evidence to keep out of
the way: Well, says the fellow, I’m resolved I’ll up to town, and the
king shall know it. The king know it! said his landlord, who was an
attorney, prithee what good will that do you, if the man keeps out of
the way? Why, sir, said the poor fellow, I have heard you say, the king
could make a man a-peer at any time.

290. One speaking of an agreeable young fellow, said, He had wit enough
to call his good nature in question, and yet good nature enough to make
his wit suspected.

291. A person seeing a tolerably pretty fellow, who, by the help of a
tailor and sempstress had transformed himself into a beau, said, What
pity it is to see one, whom nature has made no fool, so industrious to
pass for an ass. Rather, said another, one should pity those whom nature
abuses than those who abuse nature; besides, the town would be robbed of
one-half of its diversion, if it should become a crime to laugh at a

292. At the masquerade in the Hay-Market, one appearing in the habit of
a bishop, another, for the jest’s sake, bowed his knee to ask a
blessing. The former laying his hand on his head, very demurely said,
Prithee rise, there’s nothing in’t indeed, friend.

293. Of all coxcombs, the most intolerable in conversation is your
fighting fool, and your opiniated wit; the one is always talking to show
his parts, and the other always quarrelling to show his valour.

294. One said of a fantastical fellow, that he was the folio of himself,
bound up in his own calf’s leather, and gilt about the edges.

295. A decayed gentleman coming to one who had been a servant, to borrow
money of him, received a very scurvy answer, concluding in the following
words: Pray, sir, what do you trouble me for? I’ve no money to lend. I’m
sure you lie, said the gentleman, for if you were not rich, you durst
not be so saucy.

296. The Roman Catholics make a sacrament of matrimony, and, in
consequence of that notion, pretend that it confers grace. The
Protestant divines do not carry matters so high, but say, This ought to
be understood in a qualified sense; and that marriage so far confers
grace, as that, generally speaking, it brings repentance, which
everybody knows is one step towards grace.

297. An extravagant young gentleman, to whom the title of lord, and a
good estate, was just fallen, being a little harassed by duns, bid his
steward tell them, That whilst he was a private gentleman he had leisure
to run in debt, but being now advanced to a higher rank, he was too busy
to pay them.

298. A gentleman complaining of a misfortune, said it was all along with
that drunken sot his man, who could not keep himself sober. With your
worship, said the fellow, I know very few drunken sots that do keep
themselves sober.

299. A certain Irishman making strong love to a lady of great fortune,
told her, He could not sleep for dreaming of her.

300. A plain country yeoman bringing his daughter to town, said, for all
she was brought up altogether in the country, she was a girl of sense.
Yes, said a pert young female in the company, country sense. Why, faith,
madam, says the fellow, country sense is better sometimes than London

301. I’ll swear, said a gentleman to his mistress, you are very
handsome. Pho, said she, so you’d say, though you did not think so. And
so you’d think, answered he, though I should not say so.

302. A gentleman in King Charles the Second’s time, who had paid a
tedious attendance at court for a place, and had a thousand promises, at
length resolved to see the king himself; so getting himself introduced,
he told his majesty what pretensions he had to his favour, and boldly
asked him for the place just then vacant. The king hearing his story,
told him he had just given the place away. Upon which the gentleman made
a very low obeisance to the king, and thanked him extremely; which he
repeated often. The king, observing how over-thankful he was, called him
again, and asked the reason why he gave him such extraordinary thanks,
when he had denied his suit. The rather, an’t please your majesty,
replied the gentleman; your courtiers have kept me waiting here these
two years, and gave me a thousand put-offs; but your majesty has saved
me all that trouble, and generously given me my answer at once. Gads
fish, man, said the king, thou shalt have the place for thy downright

303. A merry droll servant, who lived with a lady that was just on the
point of matrimony, being sent with a How-d’ye-do to an acquaintance of
hers, who lived a few miles off, was asked how his lady did? Ah, dear
madam, replied the fellow, she can never live long in this condition.

304. ’Twas a beautiful turn given by a great lady, who being asked,
Where her husband was, when he lay concealed for having been deeply
concerned in a conspiracy? resolutely answered, She had hid him. This
confession drew her before the king, who told her, Nothing but her
discovering where her lord was concealed, could save her from the
torture. And will that do? said the lady. Yes, said the king, I give you
my word for it. Then, said she, I have hid him in my heart, there you’ll
find him.

305. An English gentleman travelling to France, had made choice of an
abbé as reckless as himself, for the companion of his pleasures. One of
his countrymen told him, That though the abbé and he differed about the
way to heaven, they were in a fair way of going to the devil together.

306. A petulant self-willed coxcomb was threatening, if his humour was
not gratified, to leave his relations and family and go away to France.
Let him alone, said one, he will come back from France, before he gets
half way to Dover.

307. A countryman in the street inquiring the way to Newgate, an arch
fellow that heard him, said, he’d show him presently. Do but go across
the way, said he, to yon goldsmith’s shop, and move off with one of
those silver tankards, and it will bring you thither presently.

308. Men sometimes blurt out very unlucky truths. A town beggar was very
importunate with a rich miser, whom he accosted in the following phrase:
Pray, sir, bestow your charity; good, dear sir, bestow your charity.
Prithee, friend, be quiet, replied old Gripus, I have it not.

309. A certain priest in a rich abbey in Florence, being a fisherman’s
son, caused a net to be spread every day, on a table in his apartment,
to put him in mind of his origin: the abbot dying, this dissembled
humility procured him to be chosen abbot; after which, the net was used
no more. Being asked the reason, he answered, There is no occasion for
the net now the fish is caught.

310. A farmer who had a very great name in the country for his dexterity
in manly exercises, such as wrestling, throwing the bar, and the like,
drew upon himself many occasions to try his skill, with such as came far
and near to challenge him: among the rest, a conceited fellow rode a
great way to visit this champion, and being told that he was in his
ground behind the house, he alighted, and walked with his horse’s bridle
in his hand, till he came where he found him at work; so hanging the
bridle upon the pales, he accosted him thus: That having heard much of
his fame, he had come forty miles to try a fall with him. The champion,
without more words, came up to him, and closing with him, took him upon
such an advantageous lock, that he pitched him clean over the pales;
with a great deal of unconcern, he took up his spade, and fell to work
again: the fellow getting upon his legs again, as nimbly as he could,
called to speak to him. Well, said the champion, have you any more to
say to me? No, no, replied the fellow, only to desire you would be so
kind as throw my horse after me.

311. A busy impertinent, entertaining Aristotle the philosopher one day
with a tedious discourse, and observing that he did not much regard him,
made an apology, That he was afraid he had interrupted him. No, really,
replied the philosopher, you have not interrupted me at all, for I have
not minded one word you said.

312. Two conceited coxcombs wrangling and exposing one another before
company, one told them, That they had both done like wits: for wits,
said he, never give over till they prove one another fools.

313. A lawyer and a physician having a dispute about precedence,
referred it to Diogenes, who gave it in favour of the lawyer, in these
terms: Let the thief go before, and the executioner follow.

314. A person having two very graceless sons, the one robbed him of his
money, and the other of his goods: His neighbour coming to condole with
him, told him, He might sue the county, for he had been robbed between
son and son.

315. A person speaking to the Earl of C―d of the false taste of
several people of quality, and their ignorance in many things that they
pretend to understand; Why, said my Lord, most of our people of quality
judge of everything by their ears but the opera, and that they go to

316. A citizen dying greatly in debt, it coming to his creditors’
ears―Farewell, said one, there is so much of mine gone with him. And he
carried so much of mine, said another. One hearing them make their
several complaints, said, Well, I see now, that though a man can carry
nothing of his own out of the world, yet he may carry a great deal of
other men’s.

317. Three young conceited wits, as they thought themselves, passing
along the road near Oxford, met a grave old gentleman, with whom they
had a mind to be rudely merry; Good morrow, father Abraham, said one:
Good morrow, father Isaac, said the next: Good morrow, father Jacob,
cried the last. I am neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob, replied the old
gentleman, but Saul, the son of Kish, who went out to seek his father’s
asses, and lo! here I have found them.

318. An ingenious young gentleman at the University of Oxford, being
appointed to preach before the Vice Chancellor, and the heads of the
colleges, at St. Mary’s, and having formerly observed the drowsiness of
the Vice Chancellor, took this place of scripture for his text: “What!
cannot ye watch one hour?” At every division he concluded with his text;
which by reason of the Vice Chancellor sitting so near the pulpit, often
awaked him. This was so noted among the wits, that it was the talk of
the whole University, and withal it so nettled the Vice Chancellor, that
he complained to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, willing to redress
him, sent for this scholar up to London, to defend himself against the
crime laid to his charge; where coming, he gave so many proofs of his
extraordinary wit, that the Archbishop enjoined him to preach before
King James. After some excuses, he at length consented; and coming into
the pulpit, began, “James the First, and the Sixth, waver not”; meaning
the first king of England, and the sixth of Scotland; at first the king
was somewhat amazed at the text, but in the end was so well pleased with
his sermon, that he made him one of his chaplains in ordinary. After
this advancement, the Archbishop sent him down to Oxford to make his
recantation to the Vice Chancellor, and to take leave of the University,
which he accordingly did, and took the latter part of the verse of the
former text, “Sleep on now and take your rest”: concluding his sermon,
he made his apology to the Vice Chancellor, Whereas I said before, which
gave offence, What! cannot ye watch one hour? I say now, Sleep on and
take your rest―and so left the University.

319. A plain country fellow, born in Essex, coming to London, which
place he had never seen before, as he walked in a certain street, not a
great way from Mark Lane, espied a rope hanging at a merchant’s door,
with a handle to it; and wondering what it meant, he took it in his
hand, and played with it to and fro; at length, pulling it hard, he
heard a bell ring; it so happened, that the merchant, being near the
door, went himself, and demanded what the fellow would have. Nothing,
sir, said he, I did but play with this pretty thing which hangs at your
door. What countryman are you? said the merchant. An Essex man, an’t
please you, replied the other. I thought so, replied the merchant, for I
have often heard say, that if a man beat a bush in Essex, there
presently comes forth a calf. It may be so, replied the countryman, and
I think a man can no sooner ring a bell in London, but out pops a

320. A young man married to an ill-tempered woman, who, not contented,
though he was very kind to her, made continual complaints to her father,
to the great grief of both families; the husband being no longer able to
endure this strange humour, beat her soundly. Hereupon she complained to
her father, who understanding well the perverseness of her humour, took
her to task, and laced her soundly too; saying, Go, and commend me to
your husband, and tell him, I am now even with him, for I have cudgelled
his wife, as he hath beaten my daughter.

321. A fellow hearing one say, according to the Italian proverb, That
three women make a market with their chattering; Nay, then, said he, add
my wife to them, and they will make a fair.

322. A scholar, in College Hall, declaiming, having a bad memory, was at
a stand; whereupon in a low voice, he desired one that stood close by,
to help him out: No, said the other, methinks you are out enough

323. A gentleman riding near the forest of Which-wood, in Oxfordshire,
asked a fellow, What that wood was called; he said, Which-wood, sir: Why
that wood, said the gentleman. Which-wood, sir: Why that wood, I tell
thee;―he still said Which-wood. I think, said the gentleman, thou art
as senseless as the wood that grows there. It may be so, replied the
other, but you know not Which-wood.

324. A physician was wont to say, when he met a friend, I am glad to see
you well. In troth, sir, said one, I think you do but dissemble, for the
world always goes ill with you, when it goes well with your friends.

325. A gentleman falling to decay, shifted where he could; among the
rest, he visited an old acquaintance, and stayed with him seven or eight
days, in which time the man began to be weary of his guest, and to be
rid of him, feigned a falling out with his wife, by which means their
fare was very slender. The gentleman perceiving their drift, but not
knowing whither to go to better himself, told them, He had been there
seven days, and had not seen any falling out betwixt them before; and
that he was resolved to stay seven weeks longer, but he would see them
friends again.

326. A gentleman who loved everything that was foreign, and was
extremely fond of hard names, dining at a friend’s house, asked him,
What the name of the wine was, of which he had just drank a glass at
table; his friend, knowing that it was but indifferent, and recollecting
that he had bought it at the Stocks Market, told him, it was the true
Stoko Marketto; upon which he found the wine excellent, and gave it
great encomiums.

327. A knavish attorney asking a very worthy gentleman, what was
honesty? What is that to you? said he; meddle with those things that
concern you.

328. A simple bumpkin, coming to London, was very much taken with the
sight of a chair, or sedan, and bargained with the chairmen to carry him
to a place he named. The chairmen, observing the curiosity of the clown
to be suitable to the meanness of his habit, privately took out the
bottom of the chair, and then put him into it, which when they took up,
the countryman’s feet were upon the ground, and as the chairmen
advanced, so did he; and to make the better sport, if any place was
dirtier in the way than the rest, that they chose to go through; the
countryman not knowing but others used to be carried, or rather driven
in the same manner, coming to his lodgings, gave them their demand.
Returning into the country, he related what rare things he had seen in
London, and withal, that he been conveyed in a sedan: Sedan, quoth one,
what is that? Why, said he, like our watch-house, only it is covered
with leather; but were it not for the name of a sedan, a man might as
well walk on foot.

329. An ignorant clown, who had the reputation of being a great scholar
in the country, because he could read and write, coming to London, and
inquiring into all the strange things he saw, at last read on a
sign-post, Horses to be let, 1748. Well, said he, if there are so many
horses in one inn, how many are there in the whole city?

330. One reading a witty preface before a dull book, said, he wondered
how such a preface came to be matched so preposterously to such a book.
In truth, sir, said another, I see no reason why they may not be
matched, for I’m sure they are not at all a-kin.

331. A person not belonging to Merton College, put his horse in a field
thereunto appertaining; being warned of so doing, and he taking no
notice thereof, the master of that College sent his man to him, bidding
him say, if he continued his horse there, he would cut off his tail. Say
you so? said the person: go tell your master, if he cuts off my horse’s
tail, I will cut off his ears. The servant returning, told his master
what he said; whereupon he was sent back to bring the person to him; who
appearing, the master said, How now, sir! what mean you by the menace
you sent me? Sir, said the other, I threatened you not, for I only said,
if you cut off my horse’s tail, I would cut off his ears.

332. One seeing a scholar that looked very much a-squint, Sure, said he,
this man must be more learned than his fellows, for with one cast of his
eyes he can read both sides of the book at once.

333. A youth standing by whilst his father was at play, observing him to
lose a great deal of money, burst into tears; his father asked him the
reason why he wept? Oh, sir, I have heard that Alexander the Great wept
when he heard his father Philip had conquered a great many towns,
cities, and countries, fearing that he would leave him nothing to win;
but I wept the contrary way, fearing you will leave me nothing to lose.

334. A rich citizen of London, in his will, left something considerable
to Christ’s Hospital, but little or nothing to one of his extravagant
sons. At the funeral, the Blue-coat boys were ordered, in acknowledgment
of so great a gift, to sing before the corpse to the grave. As they
marched through Cheapside, this extravagant son led his mother, who
observing the boys made a rest, he opened his pipes in such a manner,
that he was heard almost from one end of the street to the other; and
still leading his mother, he continued thus singing, ’till a kinsman
came to him, and stopping his mouth, asked him his reason for his
irreverent and indecent carriage. Why, cousin, quoth this Ne’er-be-good,
the boys there at my father’s death sing for something, and won’t you
let me sing for nothing?

335. The famous Mr. Amner going through a street in Windsor, two boys
looked out of a one-pair of stairs window, and cried, There goes Mr.
Amner that makes so many bulls. He hearing them, looked up saying, You
rascals, I know you well enough, and if I had you here, I’d kick you
down stairs.

336. The same gentleman crossing the water in a ferry-boat at Datchet,
the good man of the ferry being from home, his wife did his office; and
not putting in the boat just at the landing place, Mr. Amner at his
landing sunk into the mud over his shoes; and going a little farther he
met with a friend, who asked, How he came so dirty? Egad, replied Mr.
Amner, no man was ever so abused as I have been; for coming over Datchet
ferry, a scurvy woman waterman put over his boat and landed me clean in
the mire.

337. A poor woman in the country sent her son to a gentleman’s house,
upon some errand or other. The loitering lad stayed somewhat too long,
looking upon a dog in the wheel that turned the spit; so that when he
came home, his mother beat him soundly: execution ended, the boy told
her, If she had been there, she would have stayed as long as he; and she
demanding the reason, he said, Oh, mother, it would have done you good
to have seen how daintily a dog in a wheel spun roast meat.

338. In Flanders, by accident, a Flemish tiler falling from the top of a
house upon a Spaniard, killed him, though he escaped himself. The next
of the blood prosecuted his death with great violence against the tiler;
and when he was offered pecuniary recompence, nothing would serve him
but _lex talionis_. Whereupon, the judge said unto him, That if he did
urge that kind of sentence, it must be, that he should go up to the top
of the same house, and from thence fall down upon the tiler.

339. A lord intended to take in a great part of the common belonging to
the town, and he agreed with a carpenter to have it railed in: My lord,
said he, it shall be done, and I think I can save you some charges in
the business; For, said he, do you but get posts, and I doubt not but
all the neighbors round about will find you railing enough.

340. A brave Dutch captain being commanded by his colonel to go on a
dangerous exploit against the French, with forces that were unlikely to
achieve the enterprise, the captain advised his colonel to send but half
so many men: Send but half so many men! why so? said the colonel.
Because, replied the captain, they are enough to be knocked on the head.

341. A fellow hearing the drums beat up for volunteers for France, in
the expedition against the Dutch, imagined himself valiant enough, and
thereupon listed himself; returning again, he was asked by his friends,
What exploits he had done there? He said, That he had cut off one of the
enemy’s legs; and being told that it had been more honourable and manly
to have cut off his head; Oh, said he, you must know his head was cut
off before.

342. A person of quality coming into a church, at the place where
several of his ancestors were buried, after he had said much in their
commendation and praised them for worthy men; Well, said he, I am
resolved, if I live, to be buried as near them as possible.

343. An Irishman having been obliged to live with his master some time
in Scotland; when he came home again, some of his companions asked him,
How he liked Scotland? I will tell you now, said he, I was sick all de
while I was dere, and if I had lived dere till this time, I had been
dead a year ago.

344. A certain duchess, in a late reign, hearing that a man in a high
office, which gave him an opportunity of handling much cash, had married
his mistress; Good Lord, said she, that old fellow is always robbing the

345. A book being published in Queen Elizabeth’s time that gave her much
offence, she asked Bacon if he could find no treason in it? No, madam,
said he, but abundance of felony, for the author hath stolen half his
conceits out of Tacitus.

346. A young lady being sick, a physician was sent for to feel her
pulse; she being very coy, and loth he should touch her skin, pulled her
sleeve over her hand; the doctor observing it, took a corner of his
coat, and laid it upon the sleeve; at which a lady that stood by
wondered: O, madam, said he, a linen pulse must always have a woollen

347. Tom Clarke, of St. John’s, desired a fellow of the same college to
lend him Bishop Burnet’s History of the Reformation; the other told him,
He could not spare it out of his chamber, but, if he pleased, he might
come there and read it all day long. Some time after the same gentleman
sent to Tom to borrow his bellows: Tom sent him word, that he could not
possibly spare them out of his chamber, but he might come there and use
them all day long if he would.

348. King Charles II. on a certain time paying a visit to Dr. Busby, the
doctor is said to have strutted through his school with his hat upon his
head, while his majesty walked complaisantly behind him, with his hat
under his arm; but, when he was taking his leave at the door, the doctor
with great humility addressed him thus: Sire, I hope your majesty will
excuse my want of respect hitherto; but if my boys were to imagine there
was a greater man in the kingdom than myself, I should never be able to
rule them.

349. Dr. Hickringal, who was one of King Charles the Second’s chaplains,
whenever he preached before his majesty, was sure to tell him of his
faults, and to scold him from the pulpit very severely. One day his
majesty, walking in the Mall, observed the doctor before him, and sent
to speak to him; when he came,―Doctor, said the king, What have I done
to you that you are always quarreling with me? I hope your majesty is
not angry with me, quoth the doctor, for telling the truth. No, no, said
the king, but I would have us for the future be friends. Well, well,
quoth the doctor, I’ll make it up with your majesty on these terms, as
you mend, I’ll mend.

350. In a little country town, it happened that the ’squire of the
parish’s lady came to church after her lying-in, to return thanks, or as
it is commonly called, to be churched: The parson aiming to be
complaisant, and thinking plain ‘woman’ a little too familiar, instead
of saying, O Lord, save this woman; said, O Lord, save this lady. The
clerk, resolving not to be behindhand with him, answered, Who putteth
her ladyship’s trust in thee.

351. One of King James the First’s chaplains preaching before the court
at Whitehall, made use of the following quibbles in his discourse.
Speaking of the depravity of the age, Almost all-houses, he said, were
made ale-houses;―that men made matri-money a matter of money; and
placed their Para-dise in a pair of dice: Was it so in the days of
No-ah? Ah, no.

352. The Rev. Mr. Henley waiting one day at Sir Robert Walpole’s levee,
was asked by the knight what brought him there? The orator replied, I
hear you want a good pen. No, said Sir Robert, I don’t. Then, said the
orator, I have a bad one, which perhaps you may not like. Well, said the
knight, if it is very bad, I must get one of the Secretaries of State to
mend it.

353. Several press-gangs infesting the streets of the city and suburbs,
one of which giving umbrage to a merry punster, who had just staggered
from a tavern into the middle of them: he said pleasantly enough, God
bless his majesty’s arms! But as to the supporters, they are beasts.

354. It was well answered by Archbishop Tillotson to King William, when
he complained of the shortness of his sermon: Sir, said the bishop,
could I have bestowed more time on it, it would have been shorter.

355. Mr. Prior, when ambassador, witnessing one of the French operas at
Paris, and seated in a box with a nobleman he was free with, who, as
usual in France, sung louder than the performer, burst into bitter
invectives against the latter; upon which his lordship gave over to
inquire the reason, adding, that the person he exclaimed against so
fiercely, was one of the finest voices they had. Yes, replied his
excellency, but he makes such a horrid noise, that I can’t have the
pleasure to hear your lordship.

356. A living of 500_l._ per annum, falling in the gift of the late Lord
Chancellor Talbot, Sir Robert Walpole recommended one of his friends as
very deserving of the benefice, whom his lordship approved of. In the
interim, the curate, who had served the last incumbent many years for a
poor 30_l._ per annum, came up with a petition, signed by many of the
inhabitants, testifying his good behaviour, setting forth that he had a
wife and seven children to maintain, and begging his lordship would
stand his friend, that he might be continued in his curacy; and, in
consideration of his large family, if he could prevail with the next
incumbent to add 10_l._ a year, he should for ever pray for him. His
lordship, according to his usual goodness, promised to use his utmost
endeavours to serve him; and the reverend gentleman, for whom the living
was designed, coming soon after to pay his respects, my lord told him
the affair of the curate, with this difference only, that he should
allow him 60_l._ a year instead of 30_l._ The clergyman in some
confusion, replied, He was sorry that he could not grant his request,
for that he had promised the curacy to another, and could not go from
his word. How! said the nobleman, have you promised the curacy before
you were possessed of the living? Well, to keep your word with your
friend, if you please, I’ll give him the curacy, but the living, I
assure you, I’ll give to another: and saying this he left him. The next
day the poor curate coming to know his destiny, my lord told him, That
he had used his endeavours to serve him as to the curacy, but with no
success, the reverend gentleman having disposed of it before. The
curate, with a deep sigh, returned his lordship thanks for his goodness,
and was going to withdraw, when my lord calling him back, said with a
smile, Well, my friend, ’tis true, I have it not in my power to give you
the curacy; but if you will accept of the living ’tis at your service.

357. The same noble lord, when he was under the tuition of the Reverend
―, who used to call him his little chancellor, one day replied, that
when he was so he would give him a good living. One happening to become
vacant soon after he was chancellor, he recollected his promise, and
ordered the presentation to be filled up for his old master, who soon
after came to his lordship to remind him of his promise, and to ask him
for the living. Why, really, said my lord, I wish you had come a day
sooner, but I have given it away already, and when you see to whom, I
dare say you will not think me to blame.

358. A country curate being one Friday in Lent to examine his young
catechumens, and the bell tolling for prayers, he was obliged to leave a
game of all-fours unfinished, in which he had the advantage; but told
his antagonist he would soon dispatch his audience, and see him out. Now
for fear any tricks should be played with the cards in his absence, he
put them in his cassock; and asking one of the children how many
commandments there were, which the boy not readily answering, by
accident one of the cards dropped out of his sleeve; he had the presence
of mind to bid the boy take it up, and tell him what card it was; which
he readily did: when turning to the parents of the child, Are you not
ashamed, said he, to pay so little regard to the eternal welfare of your
children, as not to teach them their commandments? I suspected your
neglect, and brought this card with me, to detect your immorality, in
teaching your children to know their cards before their commandments.

359. Dr. South visiting a gentleman one morning, he was asked to stay to
dinner; which he accepting, the gentleman stepped into the next room,
and told his wife he had invited the doctor to dinner, and desired her
to provide something extraordinary. Hereupon she began to murmur and
scold, and make a thousand words, till at last her husband, being very
much provoked at her behaviour, protested, that if it was not for the
stranger in the next room, he would kick her out of doors. Upon which
the doctor, who had heard all that passed, immediately stepped out,
crying, I beg, sir, you’ll make no stranger of me.

360. A woman of bad character who had lived in Clerkenwell, having left
by her will a handsome sum of money to be given to the Rev. Dr. Lee, to
preach her funeral sermon, but on condition that he should say nothing
but what was well of her. Her executors accordingly waited on the
doctor, and acquainted him with the conditions of the will; who being
very much surprised at such a request, desired them to call again, and
he would consider of it. Soon after they came again when he agreed that
on the money being paid directly, he would preach the following Sunday.
The doctor kept his word, and taking the text, “Blessed are they,” &c.,
made an excellent sermon on a well-spent life, and the reward they would
have in the next world; concluding, Dear friends, said he, as for the
deceased, of whom I am now going to speak (which caused great attention
from the congregation), all I shall say of her is, that she was born at
Camberwell, lived great part of her time in Bridewell, and died in
Clerkenwell, and at last has done well; then let us pray that she may
fare well, &c., &c.

361. The Rev. Mr. B―n coming from Holland with the King, a terrible
hurricane arising, the sloop was in great danger of being lost. The
facetious Mr. B―d, of Albemarle-street, being in the cabin with him,
and very willing to prepare himself for another world, desired him to
take notice, that if they were cast away, the shirt he had on belonged
to Mr. G―, and that he might have it again; then falling on his
knees, he attempted to rehearse the Lord’s Prayer, but with such a tone
as affrighted the ship’s crew; on which the captain running down,
desired him to pray to himself; and to his great surprise found the
doctor stripping himself: Pray, doctor, said he, what do you design to
do? Oh, said he, let him pray; I design to swim for my life.

362. The Lord Chief Justice Wh―d, of the King’s Bench in Ireland, being
esteemed a very able lawyer, and Judge C―d and B―t but very
indifferent ones; Well, said an attorney of that court, no bench was
ever supplied like ours, for we have got a hundred judges upon it. A
hundred! said another, how can that be? Why, replied the other, there is
a figure of one, and two ciphers.

363. One Mr. Ash, who was himself a famous punster, in Ireland, coming
into an inn, desired the landlord to lend him a hand to pull off his
great coat: Indeed, sir, said he, I dare not. Dare not! replied the
other, what do you mean by that? You know, sir, answered he, there is an
act of parliament against stripping of Ash.

364. King Charles the Second, after the Restoration, told Waller the
poet, that he had made better verses and said finer things of Cromwell
than of him. That may very well be, replied Waller, for poets generally
succeed better in imaginary things, than in real ones.

365. An honest French dragoon in the service of Louis the Fourteenth,
having caught a man of whom he was jealous in the room with his wife,
after some words, told him, he would let him escape that time; but if
ever he found him there again, he’d throw his hat out of the window.
Notwithstanding this terrible threat, in a very few days he caught the
spark in the same place, and was as good as his word. Knowing what he
had done, he posted away to a place where the king was, and throwing
himself at his majesty’s feet, implored his pardon. The king asked him
what his offence was? he told him the story, and how he had thrown the
man’s hat out of the window. Well, well, said the king, laughing, I very
readily forgive you; considering your provocation, I think you were much
in the right to throw his hat out of the window. Yes, and may it please
you, my liege, said the dragoon, but his head was in it. Was it so?
replied the king: well, my word is passed.

366. A young and learned gentleman, who was to preach a probation sermon
for a very good lectureship in the city, and had but a bad voice, though
otherwise an excellent preacher; a friend, when he came out of the
pulpit, wished him joy, and said he would certainly carry the election,
for he had nobody’s voice against him but his own.

367. Some repartees, strictly speaking, ought not to be brought under
the head of jests, yet, for the readiness of the thought, and the
politeness of the expression, are somewhat better. Of this sort was the
answer made by Sir Robert Sutton to the late King of Prussia, on his
asking him at a review of his tall grenadiers, if he would say an equal
number of Englishmen could beat them? No, sire, answered Sir Robert, I
won’t pretend to say that, but I believe half the number would try.

368. Sir John H. C. being in the Court of Requests one morning, soon
after Sir Rob. W― had married Miss S―, and overhearing him tell a
gentleman, who congratulated him upon that occasion, that he was glad
his friends were pleased with what he had done―Ay, and so are your
enemies too, said he.

369. The Earl of C―d, notwithstanding his great good nature, upon
some provocation was, at a certain time, forced to lay his cane across
the shoulders of Sir Harry ―, who took it very patiently. Some time
after, Sir Harry himself caned a fellow, who was a great coward: upon
which, my lord meeting him the next day, told him he was glad to hear he
behaved so gallantly yesterday. Ay, my lord, said he, you and I know
whom we beat.

370. The Cardinal de Retz being out of favour at court, and at last
recalled to kiss the King’s hand, the king said to him, Your eminence’s
hair is grown quite white. To which he replied, It would make a younger
man than I am look grey, to have been so long in disgrace with your
majesty as I have.

371. Upon the death of the famous Molière, a poet waiting with his
epitaph upon the Prince of Condé, the Prince told him, he should have
been much better pleased, if Molière had brought him his.

372. A bishop going in great haste to Rome, to be cardinalized, missed
his promotion, and returned; but got a violent cold by the way: It is no
wonder, said one that was told of it, since he came so far without his

373. A gentleman being very drunk, came to a friend’s house, and told
him, he came three miles on purpose to sup with him: to which the other
answered, He was greatly obliged to him, since he came so far to see him
before he came to himself.

374. A Scotch parson in the rump-time, in his babbling prayer, said,
Laird bless the grand council, the parliament, and grant they may all
hang together. A country-fellow standing by, said, Yes, yes, with all my
heart, and the sooner the better; and I am sure it is the prayers of all
good people. But friends, said Sawney, I don’t mean as that fellow
means, but pray they may all hang together in accord and concord. No
matter what cord, replied the other, so it is but a strong cord.

375. An honest highlander, walking along Holborn, heard a voice cry,
Rogue, Scot; Rogue, Scot; his northern blood fired at the insult, he
drew his broadsword, looking round him on every side, to discover the
object of his indignation; he at last found that it came from a parrot,
perched in a balcony within his reach; but the generous Scot, disdaining
to stain his trusty blade with such ignoble blood, put up his sword
again, with a sour smile, saying, Gin ye were a mon, as ye’re a green
geuse, I would split your ween.

376. The Rev. Mr. Brodie preaching one day at the kirk in Edinburgh on
hell torments, represented them to be intolerable, by the extreme cold
they suffered there. And it being at that time very cold weather, one of
his congregation, after sermon, took upon him to ask him the reason of
his so doing, when all the eminent divines had preached it up to be the
reverse. O sir, said he, I had good reason; for if I had told them it
was hot, I should have had them all run away to warm themselves.

377. An Irishman having a looking-glass in his hand, shut his eyes, and
placed it before his face; another asking him, Why he did so? Upon my
shoul, said Teague, it is to see how I look when I am asleep.

378. Two gentlemen standing together, as a young lady passed by them,
said one, There goes the handsomest woman I ever saw. She hearing him,
turned back, and seeing him very ugly, said, I wish I could, in
return, say as much by you. So you may, madam, said he, and tell a
falsehood as I did.

379. An impudent ridiculous fellow, being laughed at by all who came in
his company, told some of his acquaintance, that he had a happy quality
of laughing at all who laughed at him. Then, said one of them, you lead
the merriest life of any man in Christendom.

380. Alexander the Great asked Dionedes, a famous pirate, who was
brought prisoner to him, why he was so bold as to rob and plunder in his
seas? he answered, That he did it for his profit, and as Alexander
himself was used to do it. But because I do it with one single galley, I
am called a pirate; but you, sire, who do it with a great army, are
called a king. This bold answer so pleased Alexander, that he set him at

381. A ploughman seeing the Archbishop of Cologne go by, attended by a
great many soldiers, laughed; the archbishop pressed him to know the
reason: It is because I wonder, said the ploughman, to see an archbishop
armed and followed, not by churchmen, but by soldiers, like a general of
an army. Friend, replied the archbishop, in my church I perform the part
of an archbishop with my clergy; but in the field I march like a duke,
accompanied by my soldiers. I understand you, my lord, answered the
peasant; but pray tell me, when my lord duke goes to the devil, what
will then become of my lord the archbishop?

382. The Duke of Guise, after a battle fought between Francis I. and
Charles V. reproached Villandry, that though he was in complete armour,
yet he had not been seen in the fight. I’ll make it out, answered
Villandry, boldly, that I was there, and in a place where you durst not
be seen. The duke nettled at this reproach, threatened to punish him
severely; but he appeased him with these words: I, my lord, was with the
baggage, where your courage would not suffer you to go.

383. Hermon was so covetous, according to the testimony of Lucilius,
that dreaming one night that he had spent some money, he hanged himself
in the morning; but Dinarchee Philo quitted the design he had once taken
to hang himself, because he grudged the expense of a rope.

384. Dr. M―d coming out of Tom’s coffee-house, an impudent broken
apothecary met him at the door, and accosted him with a request to lend
him five guineas: Sir, said the doctor, I am surprised that you should
apply to me for such a favour; who do not know you! Oh, dear sir,
replied the apothecary, it is for that very reason; for those who do
won’t lend me a farthing.

385. An old superstitious Roman, who had his buskins rateaten, consulted
Cato, in a grave manner, what such an accident might portend. Cato bid
him set his mind at rest, for there would come no mischief from it. But,
said the philosopher, if your buskins had eaten the rats, it might have
been dangerous.

386. Philip, king of Macedon, after the battle of Cheronea, having
generously set all the Athenian prisoners free, upon their
unconscionably demanding their baggage, Sure, said he, the men fancy we
had but a mock fight.

387. An archbishop finding fault with some actions of Queen Elizabeth,
brought her good arguments out of the scriptures to prove, that they
favoured more of the politician than the christian. I see, said she, my
lord, you have read the scriptures, but not the book of Kings.

388. In a visit Queen Elizabeth made to the famous Lord Chancellor
Bacon, at a small country seat, which he had built for himself before
his preferment; she asked him, how it came that he had made himself so
small a house? It is not I, madam, answered he, who have made my house
too small for myself, but your majesty, who has made me too big for my

389. Some person praising a generous prince for virtues he had not;
Well, said he, I’ll do my utmost to hinder your telling an untruth.

390. King William III. being upon a march for some secret expedition,
was entreated by a general to tell him what his design was: the king,
instead of answering him, asked him, whether, in case he should tell
him, he could keep it a secret, and would let it go no farther; the
general promised it should not. Well, answered his majesty, I know how
to keep a secret as well as you.

391. Mr. T―s C―r, the comedian, coming one day to his father, begged
him to let him have a hundred pounds, which would make him perfectly
easy in his affairs. Why, then, said the father, it is very strange you
can’t live upon your salary, your benefit, and other advantages; when I
was of your age, I never spent any of my father’s money. I do not know
that, answered the son, but I am sure you have spent a great many
hundred pounds of my father’s money.

392. An ordinary country fellow being called as an evidence in a court
of judicature, in a cause where the terms of mortgager and mortgagee
were frequently used, the judge asked the countryman if he knew the
difference between the mortgager and mortgagee: Yes, said he, it is the
same as between the nodder and noddee. How is that? replied the judge.
Why, you sit there, my lord, said the clown, and I nod at you; then I am
the nodder, and your lordship is the noddee.

393. Two fellows meeting, one asked the other, why he looked so sad? I
have very good reasons for it, answered the other; poor Jack Such-a-one,
the greatest crony and best friend I had in the world, was hanged but
two days ago. What had he done? said the first. Alas, replied the other,
he did no more than you or I would have done on the like occasion; he
found a bridle in the road, and took it up. What! answered the other,
hang a man for taking a bridle! That’s hard indeed. To tell the truth of
the matter, said the other, there was a horse at the end of it.

394. It was a fine saying of my lord Russell, who was beheaded in the
reign of King Charles II., when on the scaffold, he delivered his watch
to Dr. Gilbert Burnet, afterwards bishop of Salisbury: Here, sir, said
he, take this, it shows time: I am going into eternity, and shall have
no longer any need of it.

395. Queen Elizabeth, having taken notice of the Duke de Villa Medina’s
gallant behaviour at a tournament, told him one day, that she would
absolutely know who his mistress was: Villa Medina excused himself
awhile, but at last yielding to her curiosity, he promised to send her
her picture. The next morning he sent her majesty a packet; wherein the
Queen finding nothing but a small looking-glass, presently understood
the Spaniard’s meaning.

396. A dyer, in a court of justice, being ordered to hold up his hand
that was all black; Take off your glove, friend, said the judge to him.
Put on your spectacles, my lord, answered the dyer.

397. A sober young woman, who was treating with a maidservant about work
and wages, asked her, among other questions, what religion she was of?
Alack-a-day, madam, said the poor innocent girl, I never trouble my head
about that; for religion, I thought, was only for gentlefolks.

398. Admiral Chatillon being on a holiday gone to hear mass in the
Dominican friars’ chapel, a poor fellow begged his charity, just as he
was most intent on his devotions. He felt in his pocket, and gave him
several pieces of gold, without counting them, or minding what they
were. The considerable alms so dazzled the beggar’s eyes, that he was
amazed at it. As M. Chatillon was going out of the church door, where
the poor man waited for him; Sir, said he, showing him what he had given
him, I cannot tell whether you intended to give me so large a sum; if
not, I am very ready to return it. The admiral, wondering at the honesty
of the man, said, I did not, indeed, honest man, intend to have given
you so much; but, since you have the generosity to offer to return it, I
will have the generosity to desire you to keep it, and there are five
pieces more for you.

399. A certain captain, who had made a greater figure than his fortune
could well bear, and the regiment not being paid as was expected, was
forced to put off a great part of his equipage; a few days after, as he
was walking by the roadside, he saw one of his soldiers sitting cleaning
himself under a hedge: What are you doing there, Tom? said the officer.
Why, faith, sir, answered the soldier, I am following your example,
getting rid of part of my retinue.

400. One who had formerly been rich, but had squandered away his estate,
and left himself no furniture in the house but a sorry bed, a little
table, a few broken chairs, and some other odd things, seeing a parcel
of thieves, who knew not his condition, breaking into his house in the
night, he cried out to them, Are not you a pack of fools, to think to
find anything here in the dark, when I can find nothing by daylight?

401. A certain great lord having, by his extravagancies, run himself
over head and ears in debt, and seeming very little concerned about it,
one of his friends told him one day, That he wondered how he could sleep
quietly in his bed, whilst he was so much in debt. For my part, said my
lord, I sleep very well; but I wonder how my creditors can.

402. A bishop of Cervia in Italy came in great haste to the Pope, and
told him, that it was generally reported his holiness had done him the
honour to make him governor of Rome. How, said the Pope, don’t you know
that fame spreads a great many false reports? and I dare say you will
find this one of them.

403. A Gascon, one day reading in company a letter he had just received
from his father, who therein acquainted him, that he was threatened with
an assessment, which would be very hard upon him, whose whole estate was
not above two hundred livres per annum. This sum was written in figures,
thus (200). But the Gascon reading two thousand instead of two hundred,
a lady that stood behind him, and read the letter without uttering a
word, so that he could not perceive her, hearing him say two thousand;
Hold, hold, sir, said she, there are but two hundred. Let me be hanged,
said he, turning about to her, if the coxcomb, meaning his father, has
not forgot a cipher.

404. Another Gascon officer, who had served under Henry IV. King of
France, and not having received any pay for a considerable time, came to
the king, and confidently said to him, Sire, three words with your
majesty: Money or discharge. Four with you, answered his majesty:
Neither one nor t’other.

405. A certain Italian having wrote a book upon the art of making gold,
dedicated it to Pope Leo X. in hopes of a good reward: His holiness
finding the man constantly following him, at length gave him a large
empty purse, saying, Sir, since you know how to make gold, you can have
no need of anything but a purse to put it in.

406. A countryman seeing a lady in the street in a very odd dress as he
thought, begged her to be pleased to tell him what she called it. The
lady, a little surprised at the question, called him impertinent fellow.
Nay, I hope no offence, madam, cried Hodge, I am a poor countryman, just
going out of town, and my wife always expects I should bring her an
account of the newest fashion, which occasioned my inquiring what you
call this that you wear. It is a sack, said she, in a great pet. I have
heard, replied the countryman (heartily nettled at her behaviour) of a
pig in a poke, but never saw a sow in a sack before.

407. A proud parson, and his man, riding over a common, saw a shepherd
tending his flock, and having a new coat on, the parson asked him, in a
haughty tone, who gave him that coat? The same, said the shepherd, that
clothed you, the parish. The parson, nettled at this, rode on a little
way, and then bade his man go back, and ask the shepherd if he’d come
and live with him, for he wanted a fool. The man going accordingly to
the shepherd, delivered his master’s message, and concluded as he was
ordered, that his master wanted a fool. Why, are you going away then?
said the shepherd. No, answered the other. Then you may tell your
master, replied the shepherd, his living can’t maintain three of us.

408. A lad was running along the gunnel of a ship, with a can of flip in
his hand, of which he was to have part himself, when a cannon ball came
suddenly, and took off one of his legs; Look ye there now, said he, all
the flip’s spilt.

409. Lord Falkland, the author of the play, called The Marriage Night,
was chosen very young to sit in parliament; and when he was first
elected, some of the members opposed his admission, urging, That he had
not sown all his wild oats. Then, replied he, it will be the best way to
sow them in the house, where there are so many geese to pick them up.

410. The Duke of ― asked a friend, Who he thought had undertaken the
most difficult task, Mr. Whiston, in his attempts to discover the
longitude, or Mr. Lisle, to find the philosopher’s stone? The friend
answered, that he could not tell which was the more arduous task of the
two which those gentlemen had undertaken, but he was sure that he had
himself engaged in a much more difficult work than either of them. What
is that? said his grace. I have been these six years endeavouring to
prevail on you to pay your debts, replied the friend.

411. A schoolmaster asking one of his boys, in a sharp wintry morning,
what was Latin for cold, the boy hesitated a little: What, sirrah, said
he, can’t you tell? Yes, yes, replied the boy, I have it at my fingers’

412. When the gate, which joined to Whitehall, was ordered by the House
of Commons to be pulled down, to make the coach-way more open and
commodious, a member made a motion, that the other which was contiguous
to it, might be taken down at the same time; which was opposed by a
gentleman, who told the house, that he had a very high veneration for
that fabric, that he looked upon it as a noble piece of antiquity; that
he had the honour to have lived by it many years; and therefore humbly
begged the house would continue the honour to him, for it would really
make him unhappy to be deprived of it now. Counsellor Hungerford
seconded the gentleman, and said, ’Twould be a thousand pities, but he
should be indulged to live still by his gate, for he was sure he could
never live by his style.

413. A nobleman having presented King Charles II. with a fine horse, his
majesty bade Killigrew, who was present, tell him his age; whereupon
Killigrew went and examined the tail; What are you doing? said the king,
that is not the place to find out his age. O! sir, said Killigrew, Your
majesty knows one should never look a gift horse in the mouth.

414. A certain poetaster, whose head was full of a play of his own
writing, was explaining the plot and design of it to a courtier. The
scene of it, said he, is in Cappadocia; and, to judge rightly of the
play, a man must transport himself into the country, and get acquainted
with the genius of the people. You say right, answered the courtier, and
I think it would be best to have it acted there.

415. A young man, who was a very great talker, making a bargain with
Isocrates to be taught by him, Isocrates asked double the price that his
other scholars gave him; and the reason, said he, is, that I must teach
thee two sciences, one to speak, and the other to hold thy tongue.

416. A certain couple going to Dunmow in Essex, to claim the flitch of
bacon, which is to be given to every married pair, who can swear they
had no dispute, nor once repented their bargain in a year and a day, the
steward ready to deliver it, asked where they would put it; the husband
produced a bag, and told him, in that. That, answered the steward, is
not big enough to hold it. So I told my wife, replied the good man; and
I believe we have had a hundred words about it. Ay, said the steward,
but they were not such as will butter any cabbage to eat with this
bacon; and so hung the flitch up again.

417. Two gentlemen, one named Chambers, the other Garret, riding by
Tyburn, said the first, This is a very pretty tenement, if it had but a
Garret. You fool, said Garret, don’t you know there must be Chambers

418. Two gentlemen, one named Woodcock, the other Fuller, walking
together, happened to see an owl; said the last, That bird is very much
like a Woodcock. You are very wrong, said the first, for it’s Fuller in
the head, Fuller in the eyes, and Fuller all over.

419. An arch boy having taken notice of his schoolmaster’s often reading
a chapter in Corinthians, wherein is this sentence, ‘We shall all be
changed in the twinkling of an eye,’ privately erased the letter c in
the word changed. The next time the master read it, we shall all be
hanged in the twinkling of an eye.

420. A certain great man, who had been a furious party man, and most
surprisingly changed sides, by which he obtained a coronet, was soon
after at cards at a place where Lady T―nd was, and complaining in the
midst of the game, that he had a great pain in his side, I thought your
lordship had no side, said she.

421. A gentleman living in Jamaica, not long ago, had a wife not of the
most agreeable humour in the world; however, as an indulgent husband, he
had bought her a fine pad, which soon after gave her a fall that broke
her neck. Another gentleman in the same neighbourhood, blessed likewise
with a termagant spouse, asked the widower, if he would sell his wife’s
pad, for he had a great fancy for it, and he would give him what he
would for it. No, said the other, I don’t care to sell it, for I am not
sure that I shan’t marry again.

422. A scholar of Dr. Busby’s coming into a parlour where the doctor had
laid a fine bunch of grapes for his own eating, took it up and said
aloud, I publish the banns between these grapes and my mouth; if any one
knows any just cause or impediment why these two should not be joined
together, let them declare it. The doctor, being but in the next room,
overheard all that was said, and coming into the school, he ordered the
boy who had eaten his grapes to be taken up, or, as they called it,
horsed on another boy’s back; but before he proceeded to the usual
discipline, he cried out aloud, as the delinquent had done: I publish
the banns between my rod and this boy’s breech, if any one knows any
just cause or impediment why these two should not be joined together,
let them declare it. I forbid the banns, cried the boy. Why so? said the
doctor. Because the parties are not agreed, replied the boy. Which
answer so pleased the doctor, who loved to find any readiness of wit in
his scholars, that he ordered the boy to be set down.

423. The late Sir Robert Henley, who was commonly pretty much in debt,
walking one day with two or three other gentlemen in the Park, was
accosted by a tradesman, who took him aside for a minute or two, and
when the baronet rejoined his company, he seemed to be in a great
passion, which his friends taking notice of, asked him what was the
matter? Why the rascal, said he, has been dunning me for money I have
owed him these seven years, with as much impudence as if it was a debt
of yesterday.

424. The late Mr. D―t, the player, a man of great humanity, as will
appear by the story, having heard that his landlady’s maid had cut her
throat with one of his razors, of which an account was brought to him
behind scenes at the time of the play; D―t, with great concern and
emotion, cried out, Zoons, I hope it was not with my best razor!

425. Joe Haines, the player, being asked what could transport Mr.
Collier into so blind a zeal for the general suppression of the stage,
when only some particular authors had abused it; whereas the stage, he
could not but know, was generally allowed, when rightly conducted, to be
a delightful method of mending the morals? For that reason, replied
Haines; Collier is, by profession, a moral-mender himself, and two of a
trade, you know, can never agree.

426. Some gentlemen being at a tavern together, for want of better
diversion, one proposed play; but, said another of the company, I have
fourteen good reasons against gaming. What are they? said another. In
the first place, answered he, I have no money. Oh! said the other, if
you had four hundred reasons, you need not name another.

427. A parson, in the country, taking his text from St. Matthew, chap.
viii. 14, ‘And Peter’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever,’ preached for
three Sundays together on the same subject. Soon after, two country
fellows going across the church-yard, and hearing the bell toll, one
asked the other, who it was for? Nay, I can’t tell you; perhaps, replied
he, it is for Peter’s wife’s mother, for she has been sick of a fever
these three weeks.

428. The Hon. Mr. L― one morning, at the late Sir Robert Walpole’s
levee, as I sat by them, asked John Lawton for a pinch of snuff, who
told him he had none in his box, for he seldom took any, but now and
then to keep him awake at church. That, said the other, is the most
improper thing you can do there; for it quite destroys the natural
operation of the sermon.

429. I remember in the reign of the late Queen Anne, when disputes ran
high between Whig and Tory, some persons suffered party to mix in every
their minutest action. A Tory would not cock his hat in the same manner
that a Whig did, nor a Whig lady patch her face on the same side that
the Tory ladies patched theirs. A pleasant instance of this strict
adherence to party in trivial affairs, was Dick W―l, who, being sent to
parliament on the Tory interest, was resolved to do nothing but what was
on that side. The house, a few days after he took his seat in it,
happening to sit late, a motion was made for candles to be brought in,
which being put to the vote, Dick pulled a high-flying member, who sat
near him, by the sleeve, and asked him if candles were for the church?
And being answered in the affirmative, very readily gave his voice for
them, which otherwise he would not have done.

430. A young fellow, not quite so wise as Solomon, eating some Cheshire
cheese full of mites, one night at the tavern: Now, said he, have I done
as much as Sampson, for I have slain my thousands and my ten thousands.
Yes, answered one of the company, and with the same weapon too, the
jawbone of an ass.

431. Poor Joe Miller going one day along the Strand, an impudent Derby
captain came swaggering up to him, and thrust between him and the wall.
I don’t use to give the wall, said he, to every jackanapes. But I do,
said Joe; and so made way for him.

432. When the late Duke of ― went over as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland,
he took an excellent man cook with him, but they had not been there
above a month, when, finding his grace kept a very scurvy house, he gave
him warning. What’s the reason, said the duke, that you have a mind to
leave me? Why, if I continue with your excellency much longer, answered
the cook, I shall quite forget my trade.

433. A certain officer in the guards telling one night, in company with
Joe Miller, of several wonderful things he had seen abroad, among the
rest he told the company he had seen a pike caught that was six feet
long. That’s a trifle, said Joe, I have seen a half-pike, in England,
longer by a foot, and yet not worth twopence.

434. Jemmy Spiller, another of the jocose comedians, going one day
through Rag Fair, a place where they sell second-hand goods, cheapened a
leg of mutton, he saw hanging up there, at a butcher’s stall. The
butcher told him it was a groat a pound. Are you not an unconscionable
fellow, said Spiller, to ask such a price, when one may have a new one
for the same price in Clare Market?

435. A gentleman having a servant with a very thick skull, used often to
call him the king of fools. I wish, said the fellow one day, you could
make your words good, I should then be the greatest monarch in the

436. A lawyer being sick, made his last will, and gave all his estate to
fools and madmen; being asked the reason for so doing: From such, said
he, I had it, and to such I give it again.

437. A thief being brought to Tyburn to be executed, the ordinary of
Newgate, in taking his last confession, asked him if he was not sorry
for having committed the robbery for which he was going to suffer? The
criminal answered, Yes, but that he was more sorry for not having stolen
enough to bribe the jury.

438. A certain poor unfortunate gentleman was so often pulled by the
sleeve by the bailiffs, that he was in continual apprehension of them;
and going one day through Tavistock Street, his coat sleeve happened to
hitch upon the iron spike of one of the rails; whereupon he immediately
turned about in a great surprise, and cried out, At whose suit, sir? at
whose suit?

439. A soldier in the late wars, a little before an engagement, found a
horse-shoe, and stuck it in his girdle; shortly after, in the heat of
the action, a bullet came and hit him upon that part. Well, said he, I
find a little armour will serve a turn, if it be put in the right place.

440. The late famous Arthur Moor, who was much in favor with the Tory
ministry, in the latter part of Queen Anne’s reign, had a lady who was
reckoned a woman of great wit and humour, but of political principles
quite opposite to those of her husband. After the death of the Queen,
when it was talked of as if the late ministers would have been called to
account, my Lord B―ke meeting Mrs. Moor one day, in a visit, Well,
madam, said he, you hear how terribly we are threatened; you’ll come, I
hope, and see me, when I go to Tower Hill? Upon my word, my lord, said
she, I should be extremely glad to do it: but I believe I shall be
engaged another way, for I am told my Snub (the name by which she always
called her husband) will be obliged to go the same day to Tyburn.

441. The same lady, coming home one evening, told her husband she wished
him joy, for she heard he was to be made a lord. (This was before the
death of Queen Anne.) And pray, said he, what did they say was to be my
title? My Lord Tariff, replied she, which was a sneer upon him, for
having been engaged in settling a tariff of trade which he was thought
well skilled in. And why don’t you, when you hear any one abuse your
husband, spit in their face? said he. No, I thank you, answered the
lady, I don’t intend to spit myself into a consumption.

442. The late Sir John Tash was a famous wine-merchant, and sold great
quantities of that liquor, but was supposed to make it chiefly without
much of the juice of the grape; therefore Alderman Parsons meeting him
one day, saluted him by the name of brother brewer. I deal in wine, Mr.
Alderman, said Sir John, and am no brewer. But I know you are, replied
the other, and can brew more by an inch of candle, than I can with a
caldron of coals.

443. A late archbishop having promised one of his chaplains, who was a
favourite, the first good living in his gift, that he should like, and
think worthy his acceptance; soon after hearing of the death of an old
rector, whose parsonage was worth about 300_l._ a year, sent his
chaplain to the place to see how he liked it; the doctor, when he came
back again, thanked his grace for the offer he had made him, but said,
he had met with such an account of the country, and the neighbourhood,
as was not at all agreeable to him, and therefore should be glad, if his
grace pleased, to wait till something else fell. Another vacancy not
long after happening, the archbishop sent him also to view that; but he
returned as before, not satisfied with it, which did not much please his
grace. A third living, much better than either of the others becoming
vacant, as he was told, the chaplain was sent to take a view of that;
and when he came back, Well, now, said my lord, how do you like this
last living? what objection can you have to this? I like the country
very well, my Lord, answered he, and the house, the income, and the
neighbourhood, but― But! replied the archbishop, what but can there
be then? But, my lord, said he, I found the old incumbent smoking his
pipe at the gate of his house.

444. Two city ladies meeting at a visit, one a grocer’s wife, and the
other a cheesemonger’s (who perhaps stood more upon the punctilio of
precedence than some of their betters would have done at the court end
of the town) when they had risen up and taken their leaves, the
cheesemonger’s wife was going out of the room first, upon which the
grocer’s lady, pulling her back by the tail of her gown, and stepping
before her, No, madam, said she, nothing comes after cheese.

445. Old Johnson, the player, who was not only a very good actor, but a
good judge of painting, and remarkable for making many dry jokes, was
shown a picture, done by a very indifferent hand, but much commended,
and was asked his opinion of it. Why, truly, said he, the painter is a
very good painter, and observes the Lord’s commandments. What do you
mean by that, Mr. Johnson? said one who stood by. Why, I think, answered
he, that he hath not made to himself the likeness of anything that is in
Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth.

446. A certain noble lord in the county of Hants, who had not much
applied himself to letters, and was remarkable for his ill-spelling,
dining at a neighbouring gentleman’s house, took notice several times,
and commended a snuff-box he made use of; when my lord was gone away,
the gentleman’s wife said to her husband, My dear, you did not observe
how often my lord commended your snuff-box; I dare say he would have
been highly pleased if you had made him an offer of it; if I was you I
would send it after him. The gentleman took his lady’s advice, and the
next morning sent a servant away with a letter, and the snuff-box, as a
present to the lord.―The lady judged right, for my lord was mightily
delighted with it, and returned a most complaisant letter of thanks for
the present, and told the gentleman, in his ill-spelling, that he was
greatly obliged to him, and in a few days would send him an elephant,
(equivalent he would have written). The gentleman, not at all liking my
lord’s proposal, sent his servant with a letter again next day, telling
his lordship, that he was very glad the box was so acceptable to him,
and thanking him for the honour he designed him, but begged he would not
think of sending what he mentioned, for it would not only be attended
with an expense, which he could not very well afford, being such a
devouring animal, but would bring such numbers of people to see it, that
it would make his house a perfect house of call. My lord, a little while
after, meeting the gentleman, told him, he was surprised at his letter,
and could not imagine what he meant by it. The elephant, said he, that
your lordship spoke of sending me. Elephant! said the learned lord, how
could a man of your understanding make such a mistake? I said I would
send you an equivalent. I beg your lordship’s pardon, returned the
gentleman, and am ashamed of being such a dunce that I could not read
your lordship’s letter.

447. Young Griffith Lloyd, of the county of Cardigan, being sent to
Jesus College, Oxford, where he was looked upon as an errant dunce, wore
a calf-skin waistcoat, tanned with the hair on, and trimmed with a broad
gold lace, and gold buttons. One of the Oxonians, an eminent punster,
said, that Griffith was like a dull book, bound in calf-skin, and gilt,
but very ill-lettered.

448. Old G―, the rich miser of Gloucestershire, going home one day,
between Wickivarr and Badminton, the way being greasy, after a shower of
rain, his foot slipped, and he fell off a high bank into a wet ditch,
where he was almost smothered; a countryman, who knew his character,
coming by, he begged him, for God’s sake, to help him. Ay, said the
countryman, give me your hand. _Give_ being a word that old G― had a
great aversion to, cried out, I thank you, honest friend, I will lend
you my hand with all my heart. I have often heard, said the other, that
you would never give anything in your life, so you may lie there; and on
he walked.

449. An old woman at the head of a table, said a satirical young one,
seems to revive the old Grecian custom of serving up a death’s head with
their banquets.

450. The famous Tony Lee, a player in King Charles the Second’s reign,
being killed in a tragedy, having a violent cold, could not forbear
coughing as he lay dead upon the stage, which occasioned a good deal of
laughter and noise in the house; he lifted up his head, and speaking to
the audience, said, This makes good what my poor mother used to tell me;
for she would often say that I should cough in my grade, because I used
to drink in my porridge. This set the house in such good humour, that it
produced a thundering peal of applause, and made every one very readily
pardon the solecism he had before committed.

451. Tom S―, the organist of St. M―, being reckoned to have a fine
finger, drew many people to hear him, whom, he would oftentimes
entertain with a voluntary after evening service, and his auditory
seeming one day greatly delighted with his performance, after the church
was cleared, Adad, sir, said his organ-blower, who was an idiot, I think
we did rarely to-day. We, sirrah! said Tom. Ay, we, to be sure, answered
the other; what would you have done without me? The next Sunday, Tom
sitting down to play, could not make his organ speak, whereupon, calling
to the bellows-blower, asked him what he meant? why he did not blow?
Shall it be we, then? said the other.

452. A certain French gentleman, having been but a very little while in
England, was invited to a friend’s house, where a large bowl of punch
was made, a liquor he had never seen before, and which did not at all
agree with him; but having forgot the name of it, he asked a person the
next day, What dey call a dat liqur in England, which is all de
contradiction; where is de brandy to make it strong, and de vater to
make it small, de sugar to make it sweet, and de lemons to make it
sower. Punch, answered the other, I suppose you mean. Ay, ponche, begar,
cried monsieur, it almost ponche my brain out last night.

453. The famous Captain Fitzpatrick, who married ’Squire Western’s
niece, and was reckoned an excellent hand at making bulls, was walking
one day with two or three ladies, a little way out of West Chester, with
his hat under his arm; the wind blowing very hard, one of the ladies
said, I wonder, captain, you will be so ceremonious to walk bare-headed
in such boisterous weather; pray, sir, put on your hat. Arrah, by my
shoul, dear madam, answered the captain, I have been after trying two or
three times already, and the wind is so high, that I can’t keep my hat
upon my head any longer than ’tis under my arm.

454. The same gentleman being with the aforesaid ladies, in a nobleman’s
garden, where there was a large iron roller, told them, he thought it
was the biggest iron rolling-stone he had ever seen in his life.

455. A philosopher being blamed by a stander-by, for defending an
argument weakly against the Emperor Adrian, replied, What! would you
have me contend with a man that commands thirty legions of soldiers?

456. A painter turned physician; upon which change, a friend applauded
him, saying, You have done well, for before, your faults could be
discovered by the naked eye, but now they are hid.

457. Bishop Latimer preaching at court, said, that it was reported the
king was poor, and that they were seeking ways and means to make him
rich; but he added, For my part, I think the best way to make the king
rich, would be to give him a good post, or office, for all his officers
are rich.

458. Zelim, the first of the Ottoman Emperors that shaved his beard, his
predecessors having always worn it long, being asked by one of his
bashaws, why he altered the custom of his predecessors? answered,
Because you bashaws shall not lead me by the beard, as you did them.

459. It being told Antigonus, in order to intimidate him, as he marched
to the field of battle, that the enemy would shoot such volleys of
arrows, as would intercept the light of the sun. I am glad of it,
replied he, for it being very hot, we shall then fight in the shade.

460. A sailor having received ten guineas for turning Roman Catholic,
said to the priest who paid him the money, Sir, you ought to give me ten
guineas more, because it is so hard to believe transubstantiation.

461. One seeing an affected coxcomb buying books, told him, His
bookseller was properly his upholsterer, for he furnished his room
rather than his head.

462. An arch wag once said, That tailors were like woodcocks, for they
got their sustenance by their long bills.

463. A complaint being made to the court of Spain of a certain Viceroy
of Mexico, the Secretary of State, who was his friend, wrote him word,
that he was accused at court of having extorted great sums of money from
the people under his government; which I hope, said the Secretary, is
true, or else you are undone.

464. At a religious meeting a lady persevered in standing on a bench,
and thus intercepting the view of others, though repeatedly requested to
sit down. A reverend old gentleman at last rose, and said gravely, I
think, if the lady knew that she had a large hole in each of her
stockings, she would not exhibit them in this way. This had the desired
effect―she immediately sunk down on her seat. A young minister standing
by, blushed to the temples, and said, O, brother, how could you say what
was not the fact? Not the fact! replied the old gentleman; if she had
not a large hole in each of her stockings, I should like to know how she
gets them on.

465. A gentleman in the country having the misfortune to have his wife
hang herself on an apple tree, a neighbour of his came to him and begged
he would give him a scion of that tree, that he might graft it upon one
in his own orchard; for who knows, said he, but it may bear the same

466. St. Evremond said, in defence of Cardinal Mazarine, when he was
reproached with neglecting the good of the kingdom that he might engross
the riches of it, Well, let him get all the riches, and then he will
think of the good of the kingdom, for it will be all his own.

467. The late Earl of S― kept an Irish footman, who, perhaps, was as
expert in making bulls as the most learned of his countrymen. My lord
having sent him one day with a present to a certain judge, the judge in
return sent my lord half-a-dozen live partridges with a letter; the
partridges fluttering in the basket upon Teague’s back, as he was
carrying them home, he set down the basket, and opened the lid of it to
quiet them, whereupon they all flew away. Oh! the devil burn ye, said
he, I am glad you are gone. But when he came home, and my lord had read
the letter, Well, Teague, said my lord, I find there are half-a-dozen
partridges in the letter. Arrah now, dear sir, said Teague, I am glad
you have found them in the letter, for they are all lost out of the

468. The same nobleman going out one day, called Teague to the side of
his chariot, and bade him tell Mr. Such-a-one, if he came, that he
should be at home at dinner-time. But when my lord was got across the
square in which he lived, Teague came puffing after him, and calling to
the coachman to stop; upon which my lord, pulling the string, desired to
know what Teague wanted; My lord, said he, you bade me tell Mr.
Such-a-one, if he came, that you would dine at home; but what must I say
if he don’t come?

469. A tailor’s boy being at church, heard it said that a remnant only
should be saved. Egad, said the boy, then my master makes plaguy long

470. The renowned Mr. Wh―n, the famous astronomer, had made a
calculation that the world would be at an end in fifteen years, and some
time after offered to dispose of an estate; he asked the gentleman who
was about it, at the rate of thirty years purchase, upon which the
gentleman, in great surprise, demanded how he could ask so many years
purchase, when he very well knew the world would be at an end in half
the time.

471. Some thievish fellows being at a tavern, they agreed amongst
themselves to steal the silver cup that was brought up to them, and when
they were going by the bar, You are welcome, gentlemen, kindly welcome,
cried the landlord. Ah, said the fellow with the cup to himself, I wish
we were well gone too.

472. A waterman belonging to the Tower, being put by one of the players
into the upper gallery in Covent Garden playhouse, the fellow, not being
very sober, and falling asleep, tumbled into the pit; but having the old
proverb on his side, received little or no hurt; and being told by some
of his companions that he was now free of the house, he went to Mr. Rich
(the then manager) to put in his claim, who very readily allowed it,
with this proviso, that he should always go out the same way he had come

473. One told another, who did not use to be clothed over often, that
his new coat was too short for him; That’s true, answered his friend,
but it will be long enough before I get another.

474. A gentleman who was travelling in Italy, saw one day, as he passed
along the road near Naples, a man standing up to his chin in a puddle of
dirty water; not able to guess at the meaning of it, he cried out to
him, What are you catching there, friend? Cold, replied the other, for I
have to sing the bass part at the opera to-night. But suppose, said the
gentleman, you catch your death. Why, then, said the other, the opera
will be damned.

475. In the reign of Queen Anne, when it was said Lord Orford had got a
number of peers made at once, to serve a particular turn, being met next
day by Lord Wharton,―So, Robin, said he, I find what you lost by tricks
you have gained by honours.

476. A young gentleman who had stolen a ward, being in suit for her
fortune, before a late lord chancellor, and the counsel insisting much
on the equity of decreeing her a fortune for her maintenance, his
lordship turned briskly upon him with this sentence, That since the
suitor had stolen the flesh, he should get bread to it how he could.

477. A country fellow, who had served several years in the army abroad,
when the war was over, coming home to his friends, was received amongst
them with great rejoicing, and the miraculous stories related by him
were heard with no small pleasure. Well, said the old father, and
prythee Jack, what didst thou learn there? Learn, sir, why I learnt to
know that when I turned my shirt, the vermin had a day’s march to my
skin again.

478. An Irish barrister had a client of his own country who was a
sailor, and having been at sea for some time, his wife was married again
in his absence, so he was resolved to prosecute her; and coming to
advise with the counsellor, told him he must have witnesses to prove
that he was alive when his wife married again. Arrah, by my shoul, but
that shall be impossible, said the other, for my shipmates are all gone
to sea again upon a long voyage, and shan’t return this twelve-month.
Oh! then, answered the counsellor, there can be nothing done in it, and
what a pity it is that such a brave cause should be lost now, only
because you cannot prove yourself to be alive.

479. King Charles the First being prevailed upon by one of his courtiers
to knight a very worthless fellow, of mean aspect, when he was going to
lay the sword upon his shoulder the new knight drew a little back, and
hung down his head as out of countenance; Don’t be ashamed, said the
king, ’tis I have most reason to be so.

480. One said Sir John Cutler looked very dismally when night came on,
not because it brought darkness with it, but because daylight saved him
a candle.

481. A man was reproached by another with barbarity in beating his wife
so severely as he often did; Go, you are a fool, and ignorant of the
scriptures, said he, else you would know that it was a proof of my love
for her, otherwise I would not be at the trouble; but he that the Lord
loveth he chastizeth, and so do I.

482. An Irish soldier once returning from battle in the night, marching
a little way behind his companion, called out to him, Hollo, Pat, I have
catch’d a tartar! Bring him along then! Ay, but he won’t come. Why then
come away without him. By Jasus, but he won’t let me!

483. A very harmless Irishman, eating an apple-pie with some quinces in
it, Arrah now, dear honey, said he, if a few of these quinces give such
a flavour, how would an apple-pie taste made all of quinces?

484. The late duke of Wharton, going through Holborn in a hackney coach,
with Phil. F―, saw a fellow drumming before the door of a puppet-show;
Now, this is a pretty employment, Phil., said the duke; if you were
reduced so low, that you were obliged to be either a highwayman or
drummer to a puppet-show, which would you choose? Faith, my lord,
answered Phil., I would be the highwayman rather than the other. Ay,
replied the duke, that confirms the opinion I always had of you, that
you have more pride than honesty.

485. Sir T. P. once in parliament brought in a bill that wanted some
amendment, which being not attended to by the house, he frequently
repeated that he thirsted to mend his bill. Upon which a worthy member
got up, and said, Mr. Speaker, I humbly move, since the honourable
member thirsts so very much, that he may be allowed to mend his draught.
This put the house in such a good humour, that his request was granted.

486. An English gentleman asked Sir Richard Steele, who was an Irishman,
What was the reason that his countrymen were so remarkable for
blundering and making bulls? Faith, said the knight, I believe there is
something in the air of Ireland; and I dare say, if an Englishman was
born there he would do the same.

487. A gentleman who was a staunch Whig, disputing with a Jacobite,
said, he had two good reasons for being against the interest of the
pretender: What are those? said the other. The first, replied he, is,
that he is an impostor, not really King James’s son: Why, that, said the
Tory, would be a good reason, if it could be proved. And, pray, sir,
what is your other? Why, said the Whig, that he is King James’s son.

488. Although the infirmities of nature are not proper subjects to be
made a jest of, yet when people take a great deal of pains to conceal
what everybody sees, there is nothing more ridiculous: of this sort was
old Cross the player, who, being very deaf, did not care anybody should
know it. Honest Joe Miller going with a friend one day along Fleet
Street, and seeing old Cross on the other side of the way, told his
acquaintance he should see some sport; so beckoning to Cross with his
finger, and stretching open his mouth as wide as he could, as if he
hallooed to him, though he said nothing, the old fellow came puffing
from the other side of the way; What the deuce, said he, do you make
such a noise for? do you think one can’t hear?

489. There is in Rome a certain broken statue called Pasquin, to which,
in the night time, people affix the libels they dare not own; a kind of
dumb satire on the vices of the grandees, not sparing even the Pope
himself, as may be seen by the following story:―A late Pope, being
descended from a very mean family, on his advancement to the holy see,
bestowed great preferment on most of his poor relations; whereupon
Pasquin, on the next great festival, early in the morning, was observed
to have an extremely dirty shirt on, with a scroll of paper in his hand,
whereon was written, How now, Pasquin? What! so dirty upon a holiday?
and under that his answer: Alas! I have no clean linen, my washerwoman
is made a princess.

490. An Irishman and an Englishman falling out, the Hibernian told him
if he did not hold his tongue, he would break his impenetrable head and
let the brains out of his empty skull!

491. Rogers, when a certain M.P. wrote a review of his poems, and said
he wrote very well for a banker, wrote in return, the following:

  They say he has no heart, but I deny it:
  He has a heart, he gets his speeches by it.

492. A prisoner being brought up to Bow Street, the following dialogue
passed between him and the sitting magistrate:―How do you live? Pretty
well, sir, generally a joint and pudding at dinner. I mean, sir, how do
you get your bread? I beg your worship’s pardon; sometimes at the
baker’s, and sometimes at the chandler’s shop. You may be as witty as
you please, sir; but I mean simply to ask you how do you do? Tolerably
well, I thank your worship: I hope your worship is well.

493. When Citizen Thelwall was on his trial at the Old Bailey for high
treason, during the evidence for the prosecution, he wrote the following
note, and sent it to his counsel, Mr. Erskine: I am determined to plead
my cause myself. Mr. Erskine wrote under it: If you do you’ll be
hanged;―to which Thelwall immediately returned this reply: I’ll be
hanged if I do.

494. Chateauneuf, keeper of the seals under Louis XIII. when a boy of
only nine years old, was asked many questions by a bishop, and gave very
prompt answers to them all. At length the prelate said, I will give you
an orange if you will tell me where God is? My lord, replied the boy, I
will give you two if you will tell me where He is not.

495. A Mr. Johnstone having been lost in the dreadful conflagration of
the Theatre Royal Covent Garden, Mr. John Johnstone, of Drury Lane,
received a letter from an Irish friend, requesting to know, by the
return of post, if it was he that was really burned or not.

496. A gentleman who lived in Great Turnstile, Holborn, being the
subject of conversation in a party, a person inquired where he lived, if
he had a large house, kept a good table, &c. Oh! yes, answered another,
he lives in the greatest stile in Holborn.

497. Gentleman and ladies,―said the facetious Beau Nash, the then
master of the ceremonies for Bath, introducing a most lovely woman into
the ball-room,―this is Mrs. Hobson. I have often heard of Hobson’s
choice, but never had the pleasure to view it until now, and you must
coincide with me that it reflects credit on his taste.

498. A gentleman on circuit narrating to Lord Norbury some extravagant
feat in sporting, mentioned that he had lately shot thirty-three hares
before breakfast. Thirty-three hairs! exclaimed his lordship; Zounds,
sir! then you must have been firing at a wig.

499. During Lord Townshend’s residence in Dublin, as viceroy, he often
went in disguise through the city. He had heard much of the wit of a
shoeblack, known by the name of Blind Peter, whose stand was always at
the Globe Coffee-house door; having found him out, he stopped to get his
boots cleaned; which was no sooner done than his lordship asked Peter to
give him change for a guinea. A guinea! your honour, said the ragged
wit, change for a guinea from me! Sir, you may as well ask a Highlander
for a knee-buckle. His lordship was so well pleased, that he left him
the gold.

500. A late nobleman, who was very avaricious, was upon the same good
terms with his lady as the elements of water and lightning when they
encounter in the atmosphere. I am of opinion, my lord, said her
ladyship, that you would marry the devil’s daughter, after my decease,
if her dowry were equal to your expectations. That is impossible, my
lady, replied the earl, for it is contrary to the law of England to
marry two sisters.

501. A gentleman staying late one night at the tavern, his wife sent his
servant for him about twelve. John, said he, go home and tell your
mistress it can be no more. The man returned, by his mistress’s order,
again at one, the answer then was, it could be no less. But, sir, said
the man, day has broke. With all my heart, replied the master, he owes
me nothing. But the sun is up, sir. And so he ought to be, John, ought
he not? He has farther to go than we have, I am sure.

502. A noisy talkative spark, who had a handsome place in the king’s
revenue, more than he merited, was holding an argument one day with a
gentleman, at a public coffee-house; the controversy turned upon some
point of government, and his antagonist, who had somewhat galled him by
the strength of his argument, referred him to such a place in history,
where he would find how much he was mistaken in the dispute. Phoo, said
said he, d’ye think I have no other business but to read histories?
Faith, said the other, ’tis pity you had, till you had read a little

503. Susan, a country girl, desirous of matrimony, received from her
mistress a present of a 5_l._ bank note for her marriage portion. Her
mistress wished to see the object of Susan’s favour; and a very
diminutive fellow, swarthy as a Moor, and ugly as an ape, made his
appearance. Ah, Susan, said her mistress, what a strange choice you have
made! La, ma’am, said Susan, in such hard times as these, when almost
all the tall fellows are gone for soldiers, what more of a man than this
can you expect for a 5_l._ note?

504. There happened, when Swift was at Larcone in Ireland, the sale of a
farm and stock, the farmer being dead. Swift chanced to walk past during
the auction, just as a pen of poultry had been put up. Roger (Swift’s
clerk) bid for them, but was overbid by a farmer of the name of Hatch.
What, Roger, won’t you buy the poultry? exclaimed Swift. No, sir, said
Roger, I see they are just a going to Hatch.

505. In a debate on the leather tax, in 1795, in the Irish House of
Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John P―) observed, with
great emphasis, That, in the prosecution of the present war, every man
ought to give his last guinea to protect the remainder. Mr. Vaudelure
said, that however that might be, the tax on leather would be severely
felt by the barefooted peasantry of Ireland. To which Sir Boyle Roache
replied, that this could be easily remedied, by making the
under-leathers of wood.

506. Lieutenant Connolly, an Irishman in the service of the United
States, during the American war, chanced to take three Hessian prisoners
himself, without any assistance. Being asked by the commander in chief
how he had taken them? I surrounded them, was the answer.

507. A seedsman being held to bail for having used inflammatory language
respecting the reform bill, a wag observed, It was probably in the line
of his profession―to promote business, he wished to sow sedition.

508. When Quin and Garrick performed at the same theatre, and in the
same play, the night being very stormy, each ordered a chair. To the
mortification of Quin, Mr. Garrick’s chair came up first. Let me get
into the chair, cried the surly veteran―let me get into the chair, and
put little Davy into the lantern. By all means, said Garrick; I shall
ever be happy to give Mr. Quin light in anything.

509. The late Richard Russel, esq. had a renter’s share at Drury Lane,
where he used to go almost every evening; and, notwithstanding his
immense fortune, his penury was so great, that rather than give a trifle
to any of the women who attended in the lobby-box to take care of his
great coat on an evening, he used constantly to pledge it for a
shilling, at a pawnbroker’s near the theatre, and redeem it when the
performance was over, which cost him one halfpenny interest.

510. A mountebank, expatiating on the virtues of his drawing salve, and
reciting many instances of its success, was interrupted by an old woman,
who asserted, rather iron-ically, that she had seen it draw out of a
door four rusty tenpenny nails, that defied the united efforts of two of
the strongest blacksmiths, with their hammers and pincers.

511. At the close of that season in which Shuter, the comedian, first
became so universally and deservedly celebrated in his Master Stephen,
in the revived comedy of Every Man in his Humour, he was engaged for a
few nights, in a principal city in the north of England. It happened
that the coach in which he went down (and in which there was only an old
gentleman and himself) was stopped on the other side of Finchley Common
by a highwayman. The old gentleman, in order to save his own money,
pretended to be asleep; but Shuter resolved to be even with him.
Accordingly, when the highwayman presented his pistol, and commanded
Shuter to deliver his money instantly, or he was a dead man―Money!
returned he, with an idiotic shrug, and a countenance inexpressibly
vacant; Oh! Lord, sir, they never trusts me with any; for nuncle here
always pays for me, turnpikes and all, your honour! Upon which the
highwayman giving him a few curses for his stupidity, complimented the
old gentleman with a smart slap on the face to awaken him, and robbed
him of every shiling; while Shuter, who did not lose a single farthing,
with great satisfaction and merriment, pursued his journey, laughing
heartily at his fellow-traveller.

512. This excellent comedian was once in disgrace with the audience, in
consequence of irregularities:―they demanded an apology. Shuter was
somewhat tardy; and a lady was going on with her part; but the audience
called out, Shuter! Shuter!―the arch comedian peeped from behind the
curtain, and said, Pray do not shoot her; the lady is innocent, the
fault is entirely my own. This put the house in good humour, and Shuter
was received with applause.

513. Two sailors, the one Irish, the other English, agreed reciprocally
to take care of each other, in case of either being wounded in an action
then about to commence. It was not long before the Englishman’s leg was
shot off by a cannon-ball; and on asking Paddy to carry him to the
doctor according to their agreement, the other very readily complied;
but had scarcely got his wounded companion on his back when a second
ball struck off the poor fellow’s head. Paddy, through the noise and
bustle, had not perceived his friend’s last misfortune, but continued to
make the best of his way to the surgeon. An officer observing him with
the headless trunk, asked him where he was going? To the doctor, said
Paddy. To the doctor! said the officer, why, blockhead, the man has lost
his head. On hearing this, he flung the body from his shoulders, and
looking at it very attentively, By my shoul, said he, he told me it was
his leg, but I was a fool to believe him, for he was always a great

514. C. Bannister employed his tailor to make him a pair of
small-clothes, and sent him an old pair as a pattern. When the new ones
came home, Charles complained that there was no fob. I didn’t think you
wanted one, said Snip, since I found the duplicate of your watch in the
old pocket!

515. What’s the matter? inquired a passer-by, observing a crowd
collected around a black fellow, whom an officer was attempting to
secure, to put on board an outward-bound whale ship, from which he had
deserted. Matter! matter enough, (exclaimed the delinquent,) pressing a
poor negro to get oil.

516. In a small party, the subject turning on matrimony, a lady said to
her sister, I wonder, my dear, you have never made a match, I think you
want the brimstone. To which she replied, No, not the brimstone, only
the spark.

517. A mischievous English rider, who happened to sleep at an inn with
an Irishman, whose naked leg was hanging over the bed, wantonly buckled
a spur round his ancle. In tossing about in his slumbers, Pat drew his
foot across the other leg, and mangled it most cruelly. On discovering
his situation, he knocked up the bootjack-boy, and swore at him for an
awkward scoundrel, for taking off his boots and letting a spur remain

518. An Irish clergyman having gone to visit the portraits of the
Scottish kings in Holyrood House, observed one of the monarchs of a very
youthful appearance, while his son was depicted with a long beard, and
wore the traits of extreme old age. Sancta Maria, exclaimed the good
Hibernian, is it possible that this gentleman was an old man when his
father was born!

519. Mr. Watson, uncle to the late Marquis of Rockingham, a man of
immense fortune, finding himself at the point of death, desired a friend
who was present, to open him a drawer, in which was an old shirt, that
he might put it on. Being asked why he would wish to change his linen
when he was so ill, he replied, Because I am told that the shirt I die
in must be the nurse’s perquisite, and that is good enough for
her!―This was as bad as the old woman, who, with her last breath, blew
out an inch of candle, Because, said she, I can see to die in the dark!

520. An officer had the misfortune to be severely wounded in an
engagement. As he lay on the field, an unfortunate near him, who was
also badly wounded, gave vent to his agony in dreadful howls, which so
irritated the officer, who bore his own suffering in silence, that he
exclaimed, What do you make such a noise for? Do you think nobody is
killed but yourself?

521. The love of long christian names by the Spaniards has frequently
been an object of ridicule. A Spaniard on his travels arrived in the
night at a little village in France, in which there was but one hotel.
As it was almost midnight, he knocked at the door a long while without
hearing any one stir. At length the host putting his head out of his
chamber window, asked who was there? The Spaniard replied, Don Juan
Pedro Hernandez Rodriguez Alvarez de Villa-nova, Count de Malafra,
Cavallero de Santiago de Alcantara. Mercy on me! said the host, as he
shut the window, I have but two spare beds, and you ask me lodging for a

522. A gentleman, of the name of Pepper, having informed a noble amateur
in the sports of the field, that he had a very hot and lively horse,
which had flung him in the course of a chase on the preceding day, a
conversation ensued on the qualities of the animal. In reply to a
question as to the name of the horse, the gentleman stated that he had
not yet given it one, and was at a loss what to call him. A name, a
name, said Lord N., why, sir, you should call him Peppercaster.

523. A wag passing through a country town, observed a fellow placed in
the stocks. My friend, said he, I advise you by all means to sell out. I
should have no objection, your honour, he replied drily, but at present
they seem much too low.

524. Two Irishmen about to be hanged during the rebellion of 1798, the
gallows was erected over the margin of a river. When the first man was
drawn up, the rope gave way, he fell into the stream, and escaped by
swimming. The remaining culprit, looking up to the executioner, said,
with genuine native simplicity, and an earnestness that evinced his
sincerity, Do, good Mr. Ketch, if you please, tie me up tight, for, if
the rope breaks, I’m sure to be drowned, for I can’t swim a stroke.

525. A country justice of the peace, when upwards of seventy years of
age, married a girl about nineteen, and being well aware that he was
likely to be rallied on the subject, he resolved to be prepared.
Accordingly, when any of his intimate friends called upon him, after the
first salutations were passed, he was sure to begin the conversation, by
saying, he believed he could tell them news. Why, said he, I have
married my tailor’s daughter. If he was asked why he did so? the old
gentleman replied, Why, the father suited me so well for forty years
past, that I thought the daughter might suit me for forty years to come.

526. Sheridan inquiring of his son what side of politics he should
espouse on his inauguration to St. Stephen’s Chapel; the son replied,
that he intended to vote for those who offered best, and that in
consequence he should wear on his forehead a label, ‘To let.’ To which
the facetious critic rejoined, I suppose, Tom, you mean to add,

527. A certain person asking a merry Andrew, why he played the fool? For
the same reason, said he, that you do, out of want―you do it for want
of wit, and I do it for want of money.

528. David Garrick was once on a visit at Mr. Rigby’s seat, Mistley
Hall, Essex, when Dr. Gough formed one of the party. Observing the
potent appetite of the learned doctor, Garrick indulged in some coarse
jests on the occasion, to the great amusement of the company, the doctor
excepted; who, when the laugh had subsided, thus addressed the
party:―Gentlemen, you must doubtless suppose from the extreme
familiarity with which Mr. Garrick has thought fit to treat me, that I
am an acquaintance of his; but I can assure you that, till I met him
here, I never saw him but once before, and then I paid five shillings
for the sight. Roscius was silent.

529. Mr. Carbonel, the wine-merchant who served George the Third, was a
great favourite with the king, and used to be admitted to the royal
hunts. Returning from the chase one day, his majesty entered affably
into conversation with him, and they rode side by side a considerable
way. Lord Walsingham was in attendance; and watching an opportunity,
took Mr. Carbonel aside, and whispered something to him. What’s that?
what’s that Walsingham has been saying to you? inquired the
good-humoured monarch. I find, sir, I have been unintentionally guilty
of disrespect; my lord informed me that I ought to have taken off my hat
whenever I addressed your majesty; but your majesty will please to
observe, that whenever I hunt, my hat is fastened to my wig, and my wig
is fastened to my head, and I am on the back of a very high-spirited
horse, so that if anything goes off, we must all go off together! The
king laughed heartily at the whimsical apology.

530. In the campaign of 1812, a distinguished officer of the French army
was severely wounded in the leg. The surgeons on consulting, declared
that amputation was indispensable. The general received the intelligence
with much composure. Among the persons who surrounded him, he observed
his valet-de-chambre, who showed by his profound grief the deep share
which he took in the melancholy accident. Why do you weep, Germain? said
his master, smiling to him. It is a fortunate thing for you: you will
have only one boot to clean in future.

531. So ungrateful was the sound of ‘Wilkes and No. 45’ (the famous
number of the ‘North Briton’) deemed to be to a high personage, that
about 1772, a Prince of the Blood (George IV.) then a mere boy, having
been chid for some boyish fault, and wishing to take his boyish revenge,
is related to have done so by stealing to the king’s apartments, and
shouting at the door, ‘Wilkes and 45 for ever!’ and running away. It is
hardly necessary to add, (for who knows not the domestic amiableness of
George III.?) that his majesty laughed at the thing with his accustomed
good humour.

532. Admiral Lord Howe, when a captain, was once hastily awakened in the
middle of the night by the lieutenant of the watch, who informed him
with great agitation, that the ship was on fire near the magazine. If
that be the case, said he, rising leisurely to put on his clothes, we
shall soon know it. The lieutenant flew back to the scene of danger, and
almost instantly returning, exclaimed, You need not, sir, be afraid, the
fire is extinguished. Afraid! exclaimed Howe, what do you mean by that,
sir? I never was afraid in my life; and looking the lieutenant full in
the face, he added, Pray how does a man feel, sir, when he is afraid? I
need not ask how he looks.

533. The late Councillor Caldbeck, of the Irish bar, who drudged in his
profession till he was near eighty, being a king’s counsel, frequently
went circuit, as judge of assize when any one of the twelve judges was
prevented by illness. On one of those occasions, a fellow was convicted
before him at Wexford for bigamy; and when the learned counsel came to
pass sentence, after lecturing the fellow pretty roundly upon the nature
of his uxorious crime, added, The only punishment which the law
authorizes me to inflict is, that you be transported to parts beyond the
seas for the term of seven years; but if I had my will, you should not
escape with so mild a punishment, for I would sentence you for the term
of your natural life―to live in the same house with both your wives.

534. A tailor following the army, was wounded in the head by an arrow.
When the surgeon saw the wound, he told his patient, that as the weapon
had not touched his brain, there was no doubt of his recovery. The
tailor said, If I had possessed any brains, I should not have been here.

535. A young woman had laid a wager she would descend into a vault, in
the middle of the night, and bring from thence a skull. The person who
took the wager, previously hid himself in the vault, and as the girl
seized a skull, cried, in a hollow voice, Leave me my head! There it is,
said the girl, throwing it down, and catching up another. Leave me my
head! said the same voice. Nay, nay, said the heroic lass, you cannot
have two heads: so brought the skull, and won the wager.

536. The daughter of a respectable farmer in Carmarthenshire, was lately
betrothed to a young man in the neighbourhood of Tenby; but lovers’
quarrels occurring about three weeks before the day appointed for the
marriage, the swain turned on his heel, and immediately proposed to
another sister, who assented, without hesitation, on the ground of its
being too great a sacrifice to lose such a nice young man out of the
family; and, on the day named for the former marriage, the latter took

537. The Princess of Conti, daughter of Louis XIV., speaking to the
ambassador of Morocco, highly disapproved of the plurality of wives
which prevails among the Mahomedans. We should only require one, replied
the gallant ambassador, if each resembled you, madam.

538. The Laird of M’N―b was writing to one of his Dulcineas from an
Edinburgh coffee-house, when a gentleman of his acquaintance observed
that he was setting at defiance the laws of orthography and grammar. How
can a man write grammar with a pen like this? exclaimed the Highland

539. In a village of Picardy, after a long sickness, a farmer’s wife
fell into a lethargy. Her husband was willing, good man, to believe her
out of pain; and so, according to the custom of that country, she was
wrapped in a sheet, and carried out to be buried. But, as ill-luck would
have it, the bearers carried her so near a hedge, that the thorns
pierced the sheet, and waked the woman from her trance. Some years
after, she died in reality; and, as the funeral passed along, the
husband would every now and then call out, Not too near the hedge, not
too near the hedge, neighbours.

540. The Germans sleep between two beds; and it is related, that an
Irish traveller, upon finding a feather-bed thus laid over him, took it
into his head that the people slept in strata, one upon the other, and
said to the attendant, Will you be good enough to tell the gentleman or
lady that is to lay over me, to make haste, as I wish to go to sleep.

541. When Lord Chesterfield was in administration, he proposed a person
to his late majesty as proper to fill a place of great trust, but which
the king himself was determined should be filled by another. The
council, however, resolved not to indulge the king, for fear of a
dangerous precedent. It was Lord Chesterfield’s business to present the
grant of office for the king’s signature. Not to incense his majesty, by
asking him abruptly, he, with great humility, begged to know with whose
name his majesty would be pleased to have the blanks filled up? With the
devil’s! replied the king, in a paroxysm of rage. And shall the
instrument, said the earl coolly, run as usual, Our trusty and
well-beloved cousin and counsellor?―a repartee at which the king
laughed heartily, and with great good humour signed the grant.

542. A fire happening at a public-house, one of the crowd was requesting
the engineer to play against the wainscot: but being told it was in no
danger, I am sorry for that, said he, because I have a long score upon
it, which I shall never be able to pay.

543. Among the curiosities at Apsley House, is the truckle bed in which
the Duke of Wellington slept. Why it is so narrow? exclaimed a friend;
there is not room to turn in it. Turn in it! cried his grace, when once
a man begins to turn in bed, it is time to turn out.

544. A person of the name of Fish, having made a short trip in a
balloon, on coming again to _terra firma_, was seized with a swoon. A
gentleman asking one of the crowd collected around him, What was the
matter? was answered, Nothing but a flat fish, who has been out of his

545. I can’t conceive, said one nobleman to another, how it is that you
manage: I am convinced that you are not of a temper to spend more than
your income; and yet, though your estate is less than mine, I could not
afford to live at the rate you do. My lord, said the other, I have a
situation. A situation! you amaze me, I never heard of it till now―pray
what is it? I am my own steward.

546. A gentleman remarked the other day to an Irish baronet, that the
science of optics was now brought to the highest perfection; for that,
by the aid of a telescope, which he had just purchased, he could discern
objects at an incredible distance. My dear fellow, replied the
good-humoured baronet, I have one at my lodge in the county of Wexford
that will be a match for it; it brought the church of Enniscorthy so
near to my view, that I could hear the whole congregation singing

547. A clergyman was reproving a married couple for their frequent
dissensions, which were very unbecoming both in the eye of God and man,
seeing, as he observed, that they were both one. Both one! cried the
husband, Was your reverence to come by our door sometimes, you would
swear we were twenty.

548. 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.

549. A Scotchman maintained that the Garden of Eden was certainly placed
in Scotland. For said he, have we not, all within a mile of one another,
Adam’s Mount, the Elysian Fields, Paradise Place, and the city of

550. A wealthy merchant of Fenchurch Street, lamenting to a confidential
friend that his daughter had eloped with one of his footmen, concluded
by saying, Yet I wish to forgive the girl, and receive her husband, as
it is now too late to part them. But then, his condition; how can I
introduce him? Nonsense, replied his companion, introduce him as a
Livery-man of the city.

551. A gentleman perceiving the common-crier of Bristol unemployed,
inquired the reason: I can’t cry to-day, sir, said he, my wife is just

552. Truth is not unfrequently extracted by accident. Mr. L., whose
police office is frequently clamorous with the litigators of shilling
warrants, suddenly called out, Silence there! There’s been, added he,
two or three people committed already, and I have not heard a word they
have said.

553. A wag called on his friend at his country-house, and perceiving him
running very fast through his grounds to meet him, told the gentleman he
was very sorry to see him go on so ill? Why so? replied the other. I
see, rejoined the wag, you are running through your estate very fast.

554. An Irish captain being on the ocean, many leagues from the most
remote part of land, beheld at a short distance four sail of ships, and
in the joy of his heart exclaimed, Arrah! my lads, pipe all hands on
deck to behold this rich landscape.

555. An Hibernian schoolmaster, settled in a village near London, who
advertised that he intended to keep a Sunday-school twice a week,
Tuesdays and Thursdays, reminds us of the mock mayor of a place in the
west, who declared on his election, that he was resolved to hold his
Quarter Sessions monthly.

556. A Londoner told his friend he was going to Margate for a change of
hair. You had better, said the other, go to the wig-maker’s shop.

557. When Lieutenant O’Brien (who was called Sky-rocket Jack) was blown
up at Spithead, in the Edgar, he was on the carriage of a gun, and being
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 not time to shift myself.

558. An Irishman one day found a light guinea, which he was obliged to
sell for eighteen shillings. Next day he saw another guinea lying on the
street. No, no, said he, I’ll have nothing to do with you; I lost three
shillings by your brother yesterday.

559. A healthy old gentleman was once asked by the king, what physician
and apothecary he made use of, to look so well at his time of life.
Sire, replied the gentleman, my physician has always been a horse, and
my apothecary an ass.

560. A poor woman, who had attended several confirmations, was at length
recognised by the bishop. Pray, have I not seen you here before? said
his lordship. Yes, replied the woman, I get me confirmed as often as I
can: they tell me it is good for the rheumatis.

561. A dancer said to another person, You cannot stand so long upon one
leg as I can. True, answered the other, but a goose can.

562. A person applied to Quin, as manager, to be admitted on the stage.
As a specimen of his dramatic powers, he began the famous soliloquy of

  To be, or not to be, that is the question.

Quin, indignant at the man’s absurd elocution, exclaimed, very
decisively, No question, upon my honour; not to be, most certainly.

563. An Irishman going to be hanged, begged that the rope might be tied
under his arms instead of round his neck; for, said Pat, I am so
remarkably ticklish in the throat, that if tied there, I will certainly
kill myself with laughing.

564. A respectable surgeon in London, making his daily round to see his
patients, had occasion to call at a house in Charing Cross, where he
left his horse to the care of a Jew boy, whom he casually saw in the
streets. On coming out of the house, he naturally enough expected to
find his trusty servant treating himself with a ride; but no―Mordecai
knew the use of time and the value of money a little better;―he was
letting the horse to little boys in the street, a penny a ride to the
Horse Guards and back!

565. At the breaking up of a tavern dinner, two of the party fell down
stairs, the one tumbling to the first landing place, the other rolling
to the bottom:―it was observed, that the first seemed dead drunk. Yes,
said a wag, but he’s not so far gone as the gentleman below.

566. When the baggage of Lady Hamilton was landed at Palermo, Lord
Nelson’s coxswain was very active in conveying it to the ambassador’s
hotel. Lady Hamilton observed this, and presenting the man with a
moidore, said, Now, my friend, what will you have to drink? Why, please
your honour, said the coxswain, I am not thirsty. But, said her
ladyship, Nelson’s steersman must drink with me, so what will you take,
a dram, a glass of grog, or a glass of punch? Why, said Jack, as I am to
drink with your ladyship’s honour, it would not be good manners to be
backward, so I’ll take the dram now, and will be drinking the glass of
grog while your ladyship is mixing the tumbler of punch for me.

567. When Paddy Blake heard an English gentleman speaking of the fine
echo at the lake of Killarney, which repeats the sound forty times, he
very promptly observed, Poh! faith that’s nothing at all, to the echo in
my father’s garden, in the county of Galway; there, honey, if you were
to say to it, How do you do, Paddy Blake? it would answer, Very well, I
thank you, sir.

568. When a late duchess of Bedford was at Buxton, in her eighty-fifth
year, it was the medical farce of the day for the faculty to resolve
every complaint of whim and caprice into a shock of the nervous system.
Her grace, after inquiring of many of her friends in the rooms what
brought them there, and being generally answered, for a nervous
complaint, was asked, in her turn, What brought her to Buxton? I came
only for pleasure, answered the healthy duchess; for, thank goodness, I
was born before nerves came into fashion.

569. As a clergyman was burying a corpse, a woman came, and pulled him
by the sleeve, in the middle of the service. Sir, sir, I want to speak
with you. Prithee wait, woman, till I have done. No, sir; I must speak
to you immediately. Well, then, what is the matter? Why, sir, you are
going to bury a man who died of the small pox, near my poor husband, who
never had it.

570. What have you to say, old Bacon-face? said a counsellor to a
farmer, at a late Cambridge assizes. Why, answered the farmer, I am
thinking that my bacon face and your calf’s head would make a very good

571. A scholar, a bald man, and a barber, travelling together, agreed
each to watch four hours in the night, in turn, for the sake of
security. The barber’s lot came first, who shaved the scholar’s head
while he was asleep, then waked him when his turn came. The scholar,
scratching his head, and feeling it bald, exclaimed, you wretch of a
barber, you have waked the bald man instead of me.

572. A man much addicted to drinking, being extremely ill with a fever,
a consultation was held in his bed-chamber by three physicians, how to
cure the fever, and abate the thirst. Gentlemen, said he, I will take
half the trouble off your hands; you cure the fever, and I will abate
the thirst myself.

573. Dean Swift knew an old woman of the name of Margaret Styles, who
was much addicted to drinking. Though frequently admonished by him, he
one day found her at the bottom of a ditch, with a bundle of sticks,
with which, being in her old way, she had tumbled in. The dean, after
severely rebuking her, asked her, where she thought of going to?
(meaning after her death). I’ll tell you, sir, said she, if you will
help me up. When he had assisted her, and repeated his question―Where
do I think of going to? said she, where the best liquor is, to be sure!

574. A gentleman having engaged to fight a main of cocks, directed his
feeder in the country, who was a son of the sod, to pick out two of the
best, and bring them to town. Paddy, having made his selection, put the
two cocks together into a bag, and brought them with him in the
mail-coach. When they arrived, it was found upon their journey they had
almost torn each other to pieces; on which Paddy was severely taken to
task for his stupidity, in putting both cocks into one bag. Indeed, said
the honest Hibernian, I thought there was no risk of their falling out,
as they were going to fight on the same side.

575. In the late Irish rebellion, J. C. Beresford, esq. a banker, and
member for Dublin, rendered himself so very obnoxious to the rebels, in
consequence of his vigilance in bringing them to punishment, that
whenever they found any of his bank-notes in plundering a house, the
general cry was, By Jasus! we’ll ruin the rascal! we’ll destroy every
note of his we can find: and they actually destroyed, it is supposed,
upwards of 20,000_l._ worth of his notes during the rebellion.

576. An Irishman being asked which was oldest, he or his brother, I am
eldest, said he, but if my brother lives three years longer, we shall be
both of an age.

577. A reverend gentleman seeing a fishwoman skinning some eels, said to
her, How can you be so cruel? don’t you think you put them to a great
deal of pain? Why, your honour, she replied, I might when I first began
business; but I have dealt in them twenty years, and by this time they
must be quite used to it.

578. A gentleman crossing the water lately below Limehouse, and wanting
to learn the price of coals in the pool, hailed one of the labourers at
work in a tier of colliers, with Well, Paddy, how are coals? Black as
ever, your honour, replied the Irishman.

579. An English labourer in Cheshire attempting to drown himself, an
Irish reaper, who saw him go into the water, leaped after him, and
brought him safe to shore. The fellow attempting it a second time, the
reaper a second time got him out; but the labourer being determined to
destroy himself, watched an opportunity and hanged himself behind the
barn door. The Irishman observed him, but never offered to cut him down;
when, several hours afterwards, the master of the farm-yard asked him
upon what ground he had suffered the poor fellow to hang there? Faith,
replied Patrick, I don’t know what you mean by ground: I know I was so
good to him that I fetched him out of the water two times―and I know,
too, he was wet through every rag, and I thought he hung himself up to
dry, and you know, I could have no right to prevent him.

580. A devout lady offered up a prayer to St. Ignatius, for the
conversion of her husband; a few days after the good man died. What a
good saint is our Ignatius, exclaimed the consolable widow, he bestows
on us more benefits than we ask for!

581. An author, who had given a comedy into the hands of a manager for
his perusal, called on him for his opinion of the piece. Whilst the poor
author in trembling anxiety expected the fate of his performance, the
manager returned the play with a grave face, saying, Sir, depend upon it
this is a thing not to be laughed at.

582. An Irish officer in battle happening to bow, a cannon-ball passed
over his head, and took off the head of a soldier who stood behind him:
You see, said he, that a man never loses by politeness.

583. A quartermaster in a regiment of light horse, who was about six
feet high, and very corpulent, was joking with an Irishman concerning
the natural proneness of his countrymen to make bulls in conversation.
By my soul, said the Irishman, Ireland never made such a bull in all her
lifetime as England did when she made a light horseman of you.

584. An Hibernian officer, being once in company with several who
belonged to the same corps, one of them, in a laugh, said he would lay a
dozen of claret, that the Irishman made a bull before any other of the
party. Done, said Terence. The wager was laid, and by way of puzzling
him, he was asked how many bulls there were in that town. Five, said he.
How do you make them out? said the other. Faith, said he, there is the
Black Bull in the market-place, and the Red Bull over the way; then
there is the Pied Bull just by the bridge, and the White Bull at the
corner. They are but four, said the other. Why arrah, said he, there is
the Dim Cow in the butcher-row. That’s a bull, said the other. By Jasus,
then I have won my wager, said he, and you have made the bull and not

585. A noble lord, not very courageous, was once so far engaged in an
affair of honour as to be drawn to Hyde Park to fight a duel; but just
as he came to the Porter’s Lodge an empty hearse came by; on which his
lordship’s antagonist, who was a droll officer, well known, called out
to the driver, Stop here, my good fellow, a few minutes, and I’ll send
you a fare. This operated so strongly on his lordship’s nerves that he
begged the officer’s pardon, and returned home with a whole skin.

586. A gentleman who had an Irish servant, having stopped at an inn for
several days, desired, previous to his departure, to have his bill;
which being brought, he found a large quantity of port placed to his
servant’s account, and questioned him about having had so many bottles
of wine. Please yer honour, cried Pat, read how many they charge me. The
gentleman began, One bottle port, one ditto, one ditto. Stop, stop,
stop, master, exclaimed Paddy, they are cheating you; I know I had some
bottles of their port, but I did not taste a drop of their ditto.

587. A farm was lately advertised in a newspaper in which all the beauty
of the situation, fertility of the soil, and salubrity of the air, were
detailed in the richest glow of rural description, and which was further
enhanced with this N.B. There is not an attorney within fifteen miles of
the neighbourhood.

588. An Irish footman having carried a basket of game from his master to
a friend, waited a considerable time for the customary fee, but not
finding it likely to appear, he scratched his head, and said, Sir, if my
master should say, Paddy, what did the gentleman give you? what would
your honour have me tell him?

589. An Irish gentleman called at the General Post Office, and inquired
whether there were any letters for him; the clerk asked for his address.
Sure, said he, you will find it on the back of the letter.―A
circumstance somewhat similar occurred a few years ago, when a gentleman
inquired if there was any letter for him. The clerk asked his name; he
replied, What the devil makes you so impertinent as to ask any
gentleman’s name? Give me my letter, that’s all you have to do!

590. An Irish labourer being told that the price of bread had been
lowered, exclaimed, This is the first time I ever rejoiced at the fall
of my best friend.

591. An honest Hibernian tar, a great favourite with the gallant Nelson,
used to pray in these words every night when he went to his hammock: God
be thanked, I never killed any man, nor no man ever killed me; God bless
the world, and success to the British navy.

592. Davenport, a tailor, having set up his carriage, asked Foote for a
motto. There is one from Hamlet, said the wit, that will match you to a
button-hole, “List, list; oh! list.”

593. A gentleman, some years since, being obliged to ask pardon of the
House of Commons on his knees, when he rose up, he brushed the knees of
his breeches, saying, I was never in so dirty a house in my life.

594. A justice of the peace, who was possessed with the itch of
scribbling, and had written a book which he meant to publish, sent it to
Ben Jonson for his opinion, who, finding it full of absurdities,
returned it, with his compliments, and recommended his worship to send
it to the house of correction.

595. One day Charlotte Smith was walking along Piccadilly, when the tray
of a butcher’s boy came in sudden contact with her shoulder, and dirtied
her dress. The deuce take the tray, exclaimed she, in a pet. Ah, but the
deuce can’t take the tray, replied young rump-steak, with the greatest

596. George the First, 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 him, and charged 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.

597. 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.

598. Two bucks riding on the western road on a Sunday morning, met a lad
driving a flock of sheep towards the metropolis; when one of them
accosted him with, Prithee, Jack, which is the way to Windsor? How did
you know my name was Jack? said the boy, staring in their faces. We are
conjurors, young Hobnail, said the gentlemen, laughing. Oh! be you! then
you don’t want I to show you the way to Windsor, replied the lad,
pursuing his journey.

599. Two gentlemen were walking in the High Street, Southampton, one
day, 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

600. A bill was once brought into the House of Assembly at Jamaica, for
regulating wharfingers. Mr. P. Phipps, a distinguished member, rose and
said, Mr. Speaker, I very much approve of the bill; the wharfingers are
all a set of knaves; I was one myself ten years.

601. An Irishman saw the sign of the Rising Sun near the Seven Dials,
and underneath was written, A. Moon, the man’s name who kept it being
Aaron Moon. The Irishman, thinking he had discovered a just cause for
triumph, roared out to his companion, Only see, Phelim! see here! they
talk of the Irish bulls; only do but see now! here’s a fellow puts up
the Rising Sun, and calls it A Moon.

602. A grocer, in Dublin, announces that he has whiskey on sale which
was drunk by his late Majesty while he was in Ireland.

603. A servant girl, who always attended divine service, but who also
could not read, had, from constant attendance, got the service by rote,
and could repeat it extremely well. But a few Sundays previous to her
marriage, she was accompanied in the same pew by her beau, to whom she
did not like it to be known that she could not read; she, therefore,
took up the prayer-book, and held it before her. Her lover wished to
have a sight of it also, but, unfortunately for her, she held it upside
down. The man astonished, said, Good heavens! why you have the book
wrong side upwards. I know it, sir, said she, confusedly, I always read
so, I am left-handed.

604. Quin being one day in a coffee-house, saw a young beau enter, in an
elegant negligée dress, quite languid with the heat of the day. Waiter,
said the coxcomb, in an affected faint voice, Waiter, fetch me a dish of
coffee, weak as water, and cool as a zephyr! Quin, in a voice of
thunder, immediately vociferated, Waiter, bring me a dish of coffee, hot
as h-ll, and strong as d―t―n. The beau, starting, exclaimed in his
feminine way, Pray, waiter, what is that gentleman’s name? Quin, in the
same tremendous tone, exclaimed, Waiter, pray what is that lady’s name?

605. An old female methodist preached about the country, that she had
been eleven months in heaven. One of the audience started up and said,
It was a pity that she did not stay the other odd month, as she might
then have gained a legal settlement.

606. Two actors belonging to Covent Garden Theatre, being on their way
to Brighton, stopped at an inn to change horses, where there was a coach
coming towards London, waiting the same accommodation, on the roof of
which was seated a farmer’s man, who hailed the two actors thus: So,
masters, you are going a mumming I see. How the devil does that fellow
know we are performers? said one of the actors. Don’t you see he’s on
the stage himself? replied the other.

607. The tradesmen of a certain great man, having dunned him for a long
time, he desired his servant one morning to admit the tailor who had not
been so constant in his attendance as the rest. When he made his
appearance, My friend, said he to him, I think you are a very honest
fellow, and I have a great regard for you; therefore, I take this
opportunity to tell you, that I’ll never pay you a farthing! Now go
home, mind your business, and don’t lose your time by calling here.―As
for the others, they are a set of vagabonds and rascals, for whom I have
no affection, and they may come as often as they choose.

608. Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, when a certain bill was brought
into the House of Lords, said, among other things, That he prophesied
last winter this bill would be attempted in the present session, and he
was sorry to find that he had proved a true prophet. Lord Coningsby, who
spoke after the bishop, and always spoke in a passion, desired the house
to remark, That his right reverend friend had set himself forth as a
prophet; but for his part he did not know what prophet to liken him to,
unless to that furious prophet, Balaam, who was reproved by his own ass.
The bishop, in a reply, with great wit and calmness, exposed this rude
attack, concluding thus:―Since the noble lord had discovered in our
manners such a similitude, I am content to be compared to the prophet
Balaam; but, my lords, I am at a loss to make out the other part of the
parallel; where is the ass? I am sure I have been reproved by nobody but
his lordship.

609. A man in the habit of travelling, complained to his friend, that he
had often been robbed, and was afraid of stirring abroad; he was advised
to carry pistols with him on his journey. Oh! that would be still worse,
replied the hero, the thieves would rob me of them also.

610. When Brennan, the noted highwayman, was taken in the south of
Ireland, curiosity drew numbers to the gaol to see the man loaded with
irons, who had long been a terror to the country. Among others was a
banker, whose notes at that time were not held in the highest
estimation, who assured the prisoner that he was very glad to see him
there at last. Brennan, looking up, replied, Ah! sir, I did not expect
that from you; indeed, I did not; for you well know, that when all the
country refused your notes, I took them.

611. When Johnson had completed his Dictionary, the delay of which had
quite exhausted the patience of Millar, the bookseller, the latter
acknowledged the receipt of the last sheet in the following
terms:―“Andrew Millar sends his compliments to Mr. Samuel Johnson, with
the money for the last sheet of the copy of the Dictionary, and thanks
God he has done with him.” To this uncourteous intimation, the doctor
replied in this smart retort: “Samuel Johnson returns his compliments to
Mr. Andrew Millar, and is very glad to find (as he does by his note)
that Andrew Millar has the grace to thank God for anything.”

612. A man was sitting in his study at work, when one of his neighbours
came running to tell him that the back part of his house must be on
fire, as it smoked excessively: Oh! answered the man, be so good as to
tell my wife, for I do not concern myself at all with the housekeeping.

613. An old woman that sold ale, being at church, fell asleep during the
sermon, and unluckily let her old-fashioned clasped Bible fall, which
making a great noise, she exclaimed, half awake, So, you jade, there’s
another jug broke.

614. The late Countess of Kenmare, who was a devout Catholic, passing
one day from her devotions at a chapel in Dublin, through a lane of
beggars, who are there certainly the best actors in Europe, in the
display of counterfeit misery, her ladyship’s notice was particularly
attracted by one fellow apparently more wretched than the rest, and she
asked him, Pray, my good man, what is the matter with you? The fellow,
who well knew her simplicity and benevolence, answered, Oh! my lady, I’m
deaf and dumb. Poor man! replied the innocent lady, how long have you
been so? Ever since I had the fever last Christmas. The poor lady
presented him with half-a-crown, and went away commiserating his

615. Sheridan was very desirous that his son Tom should marry a young
woman with large fortune, but knew that Miss Callander had won his son’s
heart. One day he requested Tom to walk with him, and soon entered on
the subject of his marriage, and pointed out to him in glowing colours
the advantages of so brilliant an alliance. Tom listened with the utmost
patience, and then descanted on the perfections of the woman who proved
the pride and solace of his declining years. Sheridan grew warm, and
expatiating on the folly of his son, at length exclaimed, Tom, if you
marry Caroline Callander, I’ll cut you off with a shilling! Tom could
not resist the opportunity of replying, and, looking archly at his
father, said, Then, sir, you must borrow it. Sheridan was tickled at the
wit, and dropped the subject.

616. About the year 1762, a colonel in command in the West Indies, was
ordered to disembark his corps for the attack of one of the islands. In
stepping into a boat he fell overboard, and the current was carrying him
rapidly from the ship, when an honest tar jumped after him, kept him
afloat till a boat was despatched to his assistance, and put him on
board again in safety. One of Jack’s mess-mates having observed the
colonel put something into the hand of his deliverer, stepped up to him,
and exclaimed, Dam―me, Jack, you’re in luck to-day, aye! and eagerly
opening his hand, expected at least to share in a can of grog; but on
discovering the generous reward, a sixpence, the tar uttered a prayer,
and whispered his messmate, Never mind, Jack, every man knows the value
of his life best.

617. A rich, but miserly man, invited a poor acquaintance to dine with
him, and when they were seated at table, helped him to a very small
piece of meat; upon which, the poor man, starting from his chair,
exclaimed, I’m blind! I’m blind! I’m blind! The other, astonished at
this sudden misfortune, begged his guest to resume his seat, and try if
he could not see at all; on this, the poor man, taking up his plate,
said, I think I can see a little bit.

618. A gentleman happening to remark, one intensely hot evening, that
Parliament would soon be dissolved, a young lady immediately added, So
shall we all, if this weather continues.

619. Soon after the settlement of New England, Governor Dudley, taking a
walk, met a stout Indian begging, and saying he could get no work. The
governor told him to go to his house, and he would give him work. But,
said the negro, why you no work, massa? O, said the governor, my head
works. The man, however, turned out an idle good-for-nothing fellow, and
his master found it necessary one day to have him flogged. With this
view he gave him a letter, desiring him to carry it to the keeper of the
workhouse. The negro, suspecting its contents, committed it to the care
of one of his comrades, who got a sound whipping for his trouble. The
governor having learned this, asked Mungo why he did so? O, massa, said
he, head work.

620. When Lord Stair was ambassador in Holland, he gave frequent
entertainments, to which the foreign ministers were constantly invited,
not excepting the ambassador of France, with whose nation we were then
on the point of breaking. In return, the Abbé de Ville, the French
ambassador, as constantly invited the English and Austrian ambassadors
upon the like occasions. The Abbé was a man of vivacity, and fond of
punning. Agreeable to this humour, he one day proposed a toast in these
terms: “The Rising Sun, my master,” alluding to the device and motto of
Louis XIV.; which was pledged by the whole company. It came then to the
Baron de Reisback’s turn to give a toast; and he, to countenance the
Abbé, proposed the Moon, in compliment to the empress queen; which was
greatly applauded. The turn then came to the Earl of Stair, on whom all
eyes were fastened; but that nobleman, whose presence of mind never
forsook him, drank his master, King William, by the name of Joshua, the
son of Nun, who made the Sun and Moon stand still.

621. A Frenchman having called for some liquor at a public-house in
England, was surprised at receiving it in a glass, alleging, he thought
it appeared very little. You have enough for your money, replied the
host, gruffly. That may be, said the other, but in France they always
bring it in a measure. Ay, said the landlord, like enough; but we do not
want to introduce French measures here.

622. The Khalif Haroun Alraschid was accosted one day by a poor woman,
who complained that his soldiers had pillaged her house, and laid waste
her grounds. The khalif desired her to remember the words of the Koran,
That when princes go forth to battle, the people, through whose fields
they pass, must suffer. Yes, said the woman, but it is also written in
the same book, that the habitations of those princes, who authorize the
injustice, shall be made desolate. This bold and just reply had a
powerful effect on the khalif, who ordered immediate reparation to be

623. As the late beautiful Duchess of Devonshire was one day stepping
out of her carriage, a dustman, who was accidentally standing by, and
was about to regale himself with his accustomed whiff of tobacco, caught
a glance of her countenance, and instantly exclaimed, Love and bless
you, my lady, let me light my pipe in your eyes! It is said the duchess
was so delighted with this compliment, that she frequently afterwards
checked the strain of adulation, which was so constantly offered to her
charms, by saying, Oh! after the dustman’s compliment, all others are

624. A man carrying a cradle, was stopped by an old woman, and thus
accosted: So, sir, you have got some of the fruits of matrimony. Softly,
softly, old lady, said he, you mistake, this is merely the fruit-basket.

625. A Jew who was condemned to be hanged, was brought to the gallows,
and was just on the point of being turned off, when a reprieve arrived.
Moses was informed of this, and it was expected he would instantly have
quitted the cart, but he stayed to see his two fellow-travellers hanged;
and being asked, Why he did not get about his business, he said, He
waited to see if he could bargain with Maisther Ketsch for the two
gentlemen’s clothes.

626. An English drummer having strolled from the camp, approached the
French lines, and before he was aware, was seized by the piquet, and
carried before the commander, on suspicion of being a spy, disguised in
a drummer’s uniform. On being questioned, however, he honestly told the
truth, and declared who and what he was. This not gaining credit, a drum
was sent for, and he was desired to beat a couple of marches, which he
readily performed, and thus removed the Frenchman’s suspicion of his
assuming a fictitious character. But, my lad, said he, let me now hear
you beat a retreat. A retreat? replied the drummer; I don’t know what it
is, nor is it known in the English service! The French officer was so
pleased with this spirited remark, that he dismissed the poor fellow,
with a letter of recommendation to his general.

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

628. Susan, said an Irish footman the other day to his fellow servant,
what are the joy bells ringing for again? In honour of the Duke of
York’s birthday, Mr. Murphy. Be aisy now, rejoined the Hibernian, none
of your blarney―sure ’twas the Prince Regent’s on Tuesday, and how can
it be his brother’s to-day, unless, indeed, they were twins?

629. When General R― was quartered at a small town in Ireland, he and
his lady were regularly besieged, whenever they got into their carriage,
by an old beggar-woman, who kept her post at the door, assailing them
daily with fresh importunities, and fresh tales of distress. At last the
general’s charity and the lady’s patience were nearly exhausted, though
their petitioner’s wit was still in its pristine vigour. One morning, at
the accustomed hour, and close by the side of the carriage, the old
woman began―Agh! my lady, success to your ladyship, and success to your
honour’s honour this morning, of all the days in the year, for sure
didn’t I dream last night that her ladyship gave me a pound of ta (tea)
and that your honour gave me a pound of tobacco. But, my good woman,
said the general, don’t you know that dreams always go by the rule of
contrary? Do they so, plase your honour? rejoined the old woman; then it
must be your honour that will give me the ta, and her ladyship that will
give me the ’bacco.

630. A party of bon vivants, who had recently dined at a celebrated
tavern, after having drank an immense quantity of wine, rang for the
bill. It was accordingly brought, but the amount appeared so enormous to
one of the company, (not quite so far gone as the rest,) that he
stammered out, it was impossible so many bottles could have been drunk
by seven persons. True, sir, said Boniface, but your honour forgets the
three gentlemen under the table.

631. The servant of a naval commander, an Irishman, one day let a
tea-kettle fall into the sea, upon which he ran to his master, Arrah, an
plase your honour, can anything be said to be lost, when you know where
it is? Certainly not, replied the captain. Why then your kettle is at
the bottom of the sea.

632. Amiral Keppel being sent to Algiers, for the purpose of demanding
satisfaction for the injuries done to his Britannic Majesty’s subjects,
by the corsairs of that state, the Dey, enraged at the boldness of the
ambassador, exclaimed, that he wondered at the insolence of the English
monarch, in sending him a message by a foolish beardless boy. The
admiral immediately replied, That if his master had supposed wisdom was
to be measured by length of beard, he would have sent his Deyship a

633. When Lord Anson once attacked a French squadron in the Bay of
Biscay, and L’Invincible struck, Monsieur de la Jonquieu, who was the
commander, was brought aboard the admiral’s ship, where seeing Le
Glorieux, another of his squadron, engaged with an English vessel of
superior force, he bowed, surrendered his sword, and said, My Lord, you
have conquered the Invincible, and Glory must follow.

634. A fellow who loved laughing better than his meat, put a number of
rams’ horns into a basket, and went up and down the streets at the west
end of the town, crying, New fruit, new fruit, ho! as loud as he could
bawl. Lord ― hearing the noise, put his head out of his drawing-room
window, and asked the fellow to show him his fruit; which having looked
at, he asked him if he was not ashamed thus to disturb a quiet
neighbourhood; for who the devil, said the peer, do you think will buy
horns? Well, master, replied the fellow, do not put yourself in a
passion; though you are provided, I may meet with other men that are

635. Dean ―, when residing on a living in the country, had occasion
one day to unite a rustic couple in the holy bands of matrimony. The
ceremony being over, the husband began “to sink in resolution,” and
falling (as some husbands might do) into a fit of repentance, he said,
Your reverence has tied this knot tightly, I fancy, but, under favour,
may I ask your reverence, if so be you could untie it again? Why no,
replied the Dean, we never do that on this part of the consecrated
ground. Where then? cried the man eagerly. On that, pointing to the
burial ground.

636. An Irish gentleman, in the warmth of national feeling, was praising
Ireland for the cheapness of provisions; a salmon, he said, might be
bought for sixpence, and a dozen mackerel for twopence. And pray, sir,
how came you to leave so cheap a country? Arrah, my dear honey!
exclaimed the Irishman, just because there were no sixpences and
twopences to be got.

637. The Spaniards do not often pay hyperbolical compliments, but one of
their admired writers, speaking of a lady’s black eyes, said, That they
were in mourning for the murders they had committed.

638. An old gentleman of eighty-four, having taken to the altar a young
damsel of about sixteen, the clergyman said to him: The font is at the
other end of the church. What do I want with the font? said the old
gentleman. Oh! I beg your pardon, said the clerical wit, I thought you
had brought this child to be christened.

639. In a great storm at sea, when the ship’s crew were all at prayers,
a boy burst into a violent fit of laughter; being reproved for his
ill-timed mirth, and asked the reason of it―Why, said he, I was
laughing to think what a hissing the boatswain’s red nose will make when
it comes into the water. This ludicrous remark set the crew a-laughing,
inspired them with new spirits, and by a great exertion they brought the
vessel safe into port.

640. A bon vivant of fashion, brought to his death-bed by an immoderate
use of wine, after having been seriously taken leave of by Dr. Pitcairn,
and being told that he could not in all human probability survive many
hours, and would die by eight o’clock next morning, exerted the small
remains of his strength to call the doctor back, which having
accomplished with difficulty, his loudest effort not exceeding a
whisper, he said, with the true spirit of a gambler, Doctor, I’ll bet
you a bottle I live till nine!

641. Two Irish bricklayers were working at some houses, and one of them
was boasting of the steadiness with which he could carry a load to any
height. The other contested the point, and the conversation ended in a
bet that he could not carry him in his hod up a ladder to the top of the
building. The experiment was made: Pat placed himself in the hod, and
his comrade, after a great deal of care and exertion, succeeded in
taking him up. Without any reflection on the danger he had escaped, the
loser observed to the winner, To be sure, I have lost; but don’t you
remember, about the third story you made a slip―I was then in hopes.

642. The Rev. Caleb Colton, nephew of Sir George Staunton, has related
in a recent publication, the following anecdote: My late uncle, Sir G.
Staunton told me a curious anecdote of old Kien Long, Emperor of China.
He was inquiring of Sir George the manner in which physicians were paid
in England. When, after some difficulty, his majesty was made to
comprehend the system, he exclaimed, Is any man well in England that can
afford to be ill? Now, I will inform you, said he, how I manage my
physicians. I have four, to whom the care of my health is committed: a
certain weekly salary is allowed them, but the moment I am ill, the
salary stops till I am well again. I need not inform you my illnesses
are usually short.

643. The late Lord Norbury, some time since going as a judge on the
Munster circuit, was, as usual, so strict in the administration of
criminal justice, that few, of whose guilt there were any strong grounds
of suspicion, were suffered to escape, merely through any slovenly flaws
in the wording of their indictments, or doubts upon the testimony.
Dining, as usual, with the seniors of the bar, at an inn, a gentleman,
who sat near the judge, asked leave to help his lordship to part of a
pickled tongue. Lord Norbury replied, he did not like pickled tongue;
but if it had been hung, he would try it. Mr. Curran, who sat on the
other side, said, that the defect was easily obviated; for if his
lordship would only try it, it would certainly be hung.

644. A clergyman was reading the burial service over an Irish corpse,
and having forgot which sex it was, on coming to that part of the
ceremony which reads thus: our dear brother or sister, the reverend
gentleman stopped, and seeing Pat stand by, stepped back, and whispering
to him, said, Is it a brother or a sister? Pat answered, Neither, it is
only a relation.

645. Sir J. S. Hamilton, lounging one day in Dalby’s chocolate house,
when, after a long drought there fell a torrent of rain: a country
gentleman observed, This is a most delightful rain; It will bring up
everything out of the ground. By Jove, sir, said Sir John, I hope not;
for I have sown three wives, and I should be very sorry to see them come
up again.

646. The father of an Irish student, seeing his son doing something
improper, How now, sirrah, said he, did you ever see me do so when I was
a boy?

647. When Mr. Penn, a young gentleman well known for his eccentricities,
walked from Hyde Park Corner to Hammersmith, for a wager of one hundred
guineas, with the Honourable Butler Danvers, several gentlemen who had
witnessed the contest spoke of it to the Duchess of Gordon, and added,
It was a pity that a man with so many good qualities as this Penn had,
should be incessantly playing these unaccountable pranks. It is so, said
her grace, but why don’t you advise him better? He seems to be a pen
that everybody cuts, but nobody mends.

648. David Hume and R. B. Sheridan were crossing the water to Holland,
when a high gale arising, the philosopher seemed under great
apprehension lest he should go to the bottom. Why, said his friend, that
will suit your genius to a tittle; as for my part, I am only for
skimming the surface.

649. Quin sometimes said things at once witty and wise. Disputing
concerning the execution of Charles I., But by what laws, said his
opponent, was he put to death? By all the laws that he had left them.

650. An English gentleman travelling through the Highlands, came to the
inn of Letter Finlay, in the braes of Lochaber. He saw no person near
the inn, and knocked at the door. No answer. He knocked repeatedly, with
as little success; he then opened the door, and walked in. On looking
about, he saw a man lying on a bed, whom he hailed thus: Are there any
Christians in this house? No, was the reply, we are all Camerons.

651. Two bucks, lately sitting over a pint of wine, made up for the
deficiency of port by the liveliness of their wit. After many jokes had
passed, one of them took up a nut, and holding it to his friend, said,
If this nut could speak, what would it say? Why, rejoined the other, it
would say, give me none of your jaw.

652. A gentleman indisposed, and confined to his bed, sent his servant
to see what hour it was by a sun-dial, which was fastened to a post in
his garden. The servant was an Irishman, and being at a loss how to find
the time, carried the sun-dial to his master, saying, Arrah, now look at
it yourself: it is indeed all a mystery to me.

653. A gentleman in the West Indies, who had frequently promised his
friends to leave off drinking, without their discovering any
improvement, was one morning called on early by an intimate friend, who
met the negro boy at his door. Well, Sambo, said he, where is your
master? Massa gone out, sare, was the reply. And has he left off
drinking yet? rejoined the first. Oh yes, sure, said Sambo, massa leave
off drinking―he leave off two-tree time dis morning.

654. An Irishman having been summoned to the Court of Requests at
Guildhall, by an apothecary, for medicines, was asked by one of the
commissioners what the plaintiff had from time to time served him with,
to which he gave suitable answers. And pray, said the commissioner, what
was the last thing he served you with? Why, your honour, replied the
honest Hibernian, the last thing he served me with, please you, was the

655. When George II. was once expressing his admiration of General
Wolfe, some one observed that the general was mad. Oh! he is mad, is he!
said the king, with great quickness, then I wish he would bite some of
my other generals.

656. A sailor who had served on board the Romney, with Sir Home Popham,
after returning home from India, finding that wigs were all in fashion,
bespoke a red one, which he sported at Portsmouth, to the great surprise
of his companions. On being asked the cause of the change of colour in
his hair, he said it was occasioned by his bathing in the Red Sea.

657. A physician attending a lady several times, had received a couple
of guineas each visit; at last, when he was going away, she gave him but
one; at which he was surprised, and looking on the floor, as if in
search of something, she asked him what he looked for. I believe, madam,
said he, I have dropped a guinea. No, sir, replied the lady, it is I
that have dropped it.

658. A prudent poet, about the beginning of the civil, or rather
uncivil, troubles for men of his kidney, in England’s rebellious days,
was asked as he lay on his death-bed, how he would be buried? With my
face downward; for in a short time England will be turned upside down,
and then I shall be right.

659. A boy having run away from school to go to sea, his friends wrote
to him, that death would be perpetually staring him in the face; to
which he replied, Well, what of that? every ship is provided with

660. A facetious fellow having unwittingly offended a conceited puppy,
the latter told him he was no gentleman. Are you a gentleman? asked the
droll one. Yes, sir, bounced the fop. Then I am very glad I am not,
replied the other.

661. Why you have never opened your mouth this session, said Sir Thomas
Lethbridge to Mr. Gye. I beg your pardon, Sir Thomas, replied Mr. Gye;
your speeches have made me open it very frequently. My jaws have ached
with yawning.

662. A person who was famous for arriving just at dinner-time, upon
going to a friend’s (where he was a frequent dropper in), was asked by
the lady of the house if he would do as they did. On his replying he
should be happy to have the pleasure, she replied, Dine at home then. A
_quietus_ for some time at least.

663. As a worthy city baronet was gazing one evening at the gas lights
in front of the Mansion-house, an old acquaintance came up to him, and
said, Well, Sir William, are you studying astronomy? No, sir, replied
the alderman. I am studying gastronomy. His friend looked astonished,
and the baronet replied, Do you doubt my voracity? No, Sir William.

664. A certain cit, who had suddenly risen into wealth by monopolies and
contracts, from a very low condition in life, stood up in the pit of the
opera with his hat on; the Duchess of Gordon whispered to a lady, We
must forgive that man: he has so short a time been used to the luxury of
a hat, that he does not know when to pull it off.

665. A person disputing with Peter Pindar, said, in great heat, that he
did not like to be thought a scoundrel. I wish, replied Peter, that you
had as great a dislike to being a scoundrel.

666. A lady in Calcutta asked Colonel Ironsides for a mango. As he
rolled it along the table, it fell into a plate of kissmists, a kind of
grape very common in the East Indies: upon which Dr. Hunter, a gentleman
as eminent for his wit as for his skill in his profession, neatly
observed, How naturally man-goes to kiss-miss.

667. At one of those large convivial parties which distinguished the
table of Major Hobart, when he was Secretary in Ireland, amongst the
usual loyal toasts, The wooden walls of England! being given, Sir John
Hamilton, in his turn, gave The wooden walls of Ireland! The toast being
quite new, he was asked for an explanation: upon which, filling a
bumper, he very gravely stood up, and, bowing to the Marquis of
Waterford and several country gentlemen, who commanded county regiments,
he said, My lords and gentlemen, I have the pleasure of giving you The
wooden walls of Ireland―the colonels of militia.

668. When it was debated about sending bishops to America, much was said
pro and con. One gentleman wondered that anybody should object to it;
For my part, said he, I wish all our bishops were sent to America.

669. Dr. Parr once called a clergyman a fool, who, indeed, was little
better. The clergyman said he would complain of this usage to the
bishop. Do, said the doctor, and my lord bishop will confirm you.

670. Ralph Wewitzer, ordering a box of candles, said he hoped they would
be better than the last. The chandler said he was very sorry to hear
them complained of, as they were as good as he could make. Why, said
Ralph, they were very well till about half burnt down, but after that
they would not burn any longer.

671. Piavano Arloto, a buffoon, boasted that in all his life he never
spoke truth. Except, replied another, at this present moment.

672. A Cantab, who happened to be under Sir B. Harwood, when professor,
was enjoined to live temperately, as a cure for his malady. The doctor
called upon him one day, and found him enjoying himself over a bottle of
Madeira. Ah, doctor! exclaimed the patient, at the same time reaching
out his hand to bid him welcome, I am glad to see you; you are just in
time to taste the first bottle of some prime Madeira! Ah! replied Sir
Busack, these bottles of Madeira will never do―they are the cause of
all your sufferings! Are they so? cried the patient, then fill your
glass, my dear doctor; for, since we know the cause, the sooner we get
rid of it the better.

673. A late wit, at the time when the revolutionary names of the months
(Thermidor, Floréal, Nivose, &c.) were adopted in France, proposed to
extend the innovation to our own language, somewhat on the following
model: Freezy, Sneezy, Breezy, Wheezy; Showery, Lowery, Flowery, Bowery;
Snowy, Flowy, Blowy, Glowy.

674. A duel, between M. de Langerie and M. de Montande, both remarkable
for their ugliness, had a very comic catastrophe. Arrived at the place
of fighting, M. de Langerie stared his adversary in the face, and said,
I have just reflected; I can’t fight with you. With this he returned his
sword to its scabbard. How, sir, what does this mean? It means that I
shall not fight. What! you insult me, and refuse to give me
satisfaction? If I have insulted you, I ask a thousand pardons, but I
have an insurmountable reason for not fighting with you. But, sir, may
one know it? It will offend you. No, sir. You assure me? Yes, I assure
you. Well, sir, this it is: if we fight, according to all appearances I
shall kill you, and then I shall remain the ugliest fellow in the
kingdom. His adversary could not help laughing, and they returned to the
city good friends.

675. A clergyman, on leaving church, was complimented by one of his
friends on the discourse he had been delivering. South himself,
exclaimed the delighted auditor, never preached a better. You are right,
replied the honest divine,―it was the very best he ever did preach.

676. On a remarkably hot summer’s day, an Irishman, thinly and openly
dressed, sitting down in a violent perspiration, was cautioned against
catching cold. Catch it? said he, wiping his face, where? I wish I could
catch it.

677. Sheridan made his appearance one day in a pair of new boots―these
attracting the notice of some of his friends, Now guess, said he, how I
came by these boots? Many probable guesses then took place. No! said
Sheridan, no, you’ve not hit it, nor ever will; I bought them, and paid
for them.

678. A gentleman, long famous for the aptitude of his puns, observing a
violent fracas in the front of a gin-shop, facetiously termed it the
battle of A-gin-court.

679. When Lord Sandwich was to present Admiral Campbell, he told him,
that, probably, the king would knight him. The admiral did not much
relish the honour. Well, but, said Lord S., perhaps Mrs. Campbell will
like it. Then let the king knight her, answered the rough seaman.

680. A father, exhorting his son to early rising, related a story of a
person who, early one morning, found a large purse of money. Well,
replied the youth, but the person who lost it rose earlier.

681. Reynolds, the dramatist, observing to Martin the thinness of the
house at one of his own plays, added, He supposed it was owing to the
war. No, replied the latter, it is owing to the piece.

682. A physician being sent for, by a maker of universal specifics,
expressed his surprise at being called in on an occasion apparently so
trifling. Not so trifling neither, replied the quack, for, to tell you
the truth, I have taken some of my own pills.

683. About the time when Murphy so successfully attacked the
stage-struck heroes in the pleasant farce of ‘The Apprentice,’ an
eminent poulterer went to a spouting-club in search of his servant, who,
he understood, was that evening to make his _debut_ in Lear, and entered
the room at the moment he was exclaiming, “I am the king; you cannot
touch me for coining.” No, you dog, cried the enraged master, catching
the mad monarch by his collar, but I can for not picking the ducks.

684. A West Indian, who had a remarkably fiery nose, sleeping in his
chair, a negro-boy, who was in waiting, observed a musquito hovering
about his face. Quashi eyed the insect very attentively, and at last saw
him alight upon his master’s nose, and immediately fly off again. Ah!
exclaimed the negro, me glad to see you burn your foot.

685. Sheridan was dining with Lord Thurlow, when he produced some
admirable Constantia, which had been sent him from the Cape of Good
Hope. The wine tickled the palate of Sheridan, who saw the bottle
emptied with uncommon regret, and set his wits to work to get another.
The old Chancellor was not to be so easily induced to produce his
curious Cape in such profusion, and foiled all Sheridan’s attempts to
get another glass. Sheridan being piqued, and seeing the inutility of
persecuting the immovable pillar of the law, turned towards a gentleman
sitting farther down, and said, Sir, pass me up that decanter, for I
must return to Madeira since I cannot double the Cape.

686. Two city merchants conversing upon business at the door of the New
York Coffee-house, one of them made some remarks on the badness of the
times; and perceiving at the moment, a flight of pigeons passing over
their heads, he exclaimed, How happy are those pigeons! they have no
acceptances to provide for. To which the other replied, You are rather
in error, my friend, for they have their bills to provide for as well as

687. An Irishman having lost an eye, a friend of his recommended him to
one of our famous oculists, with whom he agreed to give ten guineas for
a very beautiful one shown him among the rest. He actually called the
next day to abuse him for having sold him an eye with which he could not

688. An Irish soldier pretending dumbness, and the surgeon of the
regiment, after several attempts to restore him, declaring him
incurable, was discharged. He, a short time afterwards enlisted in
another corps, and being recognized by an old comrade, and questioned
how he learned to speak? By the powers, replied Terence, ten guineas
would make any man speak.

689. A singer once complaining to Mr. Jeffery, that himself and his
brother (both of whom were deemed simpletons), had been ordered to take
ass’s milk, but that on account of its expensiveness, he hardly knew
what they should do. Do! cried Mr. Jeffery, why suck one another, to be

690. A Cantab, one day observing a ragamuffin-looking boy scratching his
head at the door of Stevenson, the bookseller, in Cambridge, where he
was begging, and thinking to pass a joke upon him, said, So, Jack, you
are picking them out, are you? Nah, sar, retorted the urchin, I takes
’em as they come!

691. An Irish gardener seeing a boy stealing some fruit, swore, if he
caught him there again, he’d lock him up in the ice-house, and warm his

692. Swift’s Stella, who was an Irish lady, being extremely ill, her
physician said, Madam, you are certainly near the bottom of the hill,
but we shall endeavour to get you up again. She replied, Doctor, I am
afraid I shall be out of breath before I get to the top again.

693. A lady observing in company, how glorious and useful a body the sun
was,―Why, yes, madam, said an Irish gentleman present, the sun is a
very fine body, to be sure; but, in my opinion, the moon is much more
useful; for the moon affords us light in the night-time, when we really
want it; whereas we have the sun with us in the day-time, when we have
no occasion for it.

694. Doctor Lucas, the celebrated Irish patriot, having, after a very
sharp contest, carried the election as a representative in parliament
for the city of Dublin, was met, a few days after, by a lady whose whole
family were very warm in the interest of the unsuccessful candidate;
Well, doctor, said she, I find you have gained the election. Yes, madam.
No wonder, sir: all the blackguards voted for you. No, madam, your two
sons did not, returned the doctor.

695. Anthony Pasquin one day leaning over the Margate Pier, after a
tremendous storm on the preceding night, You have had a blustering night
of it, said he, to an Irish sailor, who stood near him, but after a
storm comes a calm. By my sowl, and so it ought, said Pat, for the winds
and the waves had a hard night’s bout of it, and it’s time for them to
rest themselves.

696. An Irishman, speaking of the rapacity of the clergy in exacting
their tithes, said, By Jasus, let a farmer be ever so poor, they won’t
fail to make him pay his full tenths, whether he can or not; nay, they
would instead of a tenth take a twentieth, if the law permitted them.

697. When Dr. Franklin applied to the King of Prussia to lend his
assistance to America, Pray, doctor, said the veteran, what is the
object you mean to attain? Liberty, sire, replied the philosopher of
Philadelphia: liberty! that freedom which is the birth-right of man. The
king, after a short pause, made this memorable and kingly answer: I was
born a prince, I am become a king, and I will not use the power which I
possess to the ruin of my own trade.

698. Two gentlemen at Bath having a difference, one went to the other’s
door early in the morning, and wrote ‘Scoundrel’ upon it. The other
called upon his neighbour, and was answered by his servant, that his
master was not at home, but if he had anything to say he might leave it
with him. No, no, said he, I was only going to return your master’s
visit, as he left his name at my door this morning.

699. A robustious countryman, meeting a physician, ran to hide behind a
wall; being asked the cause, he replied, It is so long since I have been
sick, that I am ashamed to look a physician in the face.

700. A Cantab being out of ready cash, went in haste to a fellow-student
to borrow, who happened to be in bed at the time. Shaking him, the
Cantab demanded, Are you asleep? Why? said the student. Because, replied
the other, I want to borrow half-a-crown. Then, answered the student,
I’m asleep.

701. Through an avenue of trees, at the back of Trinity College, a
church may be seen at a considerable distance, the approach to which
affords no very pleasing scenery. The late Professor Porson, on a time,
walking that way with a friend and observing the church, remarked, That
it put him in mind of a fellowship, which was a long dreary walk, with a
church at the end of it.

702. A certain lodging-house was very much infested by vermin; a
gentleman who slept there one night, told the landlady so in the
morning, when she said, La, sir, we haven’t a single one in the house.
No, ma’am, said he, they’re all married, and have large families too.

703. One of the check-takers (an Irishman) at the Zoological Society’s
Garden, mentioned to a friend, that the Queen had visited the garden
_incog._ on a particular day. Why, said the person he was informing, It
is odd we never heard of it! Oh, not at all, at all, rejoined Pat: for
she didn’t come like a queen; but clane and dacent like another lady!

704. An officer in full regimentals passing through a street in Dublin,
apprehensive lest he should come in contact with a chimney sweep that
was pressing towards him, exclaimed, Hold off, you black rascal. You
were as black as me before you were boiled, cried sooty.

705. Voltaire, in the presence of an Englishman, was one day enlarging
with great warmth in the praise of Haller, extolling him as a great
poet, a great naturalist, and a man of universal attainments. The
Englishman, who had been on a visit to Haller, answered, that it was
handsome in Monsieur de Voltaire to speak so favourably of Monsieur
Haller, inasmuch as Monsieur Haller was by no means so liberal to
Monsieur de Voltaire. Alas! said Voltaire, with an air of philosophic
indulgence, I dare to say we are both very much mistaken!

706. One day, when Sir Isaac Heard was with his majesty King George
III., it was announced that his majesty’s horse was ready to start for
hunting. Sir Isaac, said the monarch, are you a judge of horses? In my
younger days, please your majesty, was the reply, I was a great deal
among them. What do you think of this, then? said the king, who was by
this time preparing to mount his favourite; and without waiting for an
answer, added, We call him Perfection. A most appropriate name, replied
the courtly herald, bowing as his majesty reached the saddle, for he
bears the best of characters!

707. At Worcester Assizes, a cause was tried about the soundness of a
horse, in which a clergyman, not educated in the school of Tattersall,
appeared as a witness. He was confused in giving his evidence, and a
furious blustering counsellor, who examined him, was at last tempted to
exclaim, Pray, sir, do you know the difference between a horse and a
cow? I acknowledge my ignorance, replied the clergyman: I hardly know
the difference between a horse and a cow, or a bully and a bull; only
that a bull, I am told, has horns, and a bully, bowing respectfully to
the counsellor, luckily for me, has none.

708. In a certain company, the conversation having fallen on the subject
of craniology, and the organ of drunkenness being alluded to among
others, a lady suggested that this must be the barrel-organ.

709. The colonel of the Perthshire cavalry, was lately complaining,
that, from the ignorance and inattention of his officers, he was obliged
to do the whole duty of the regiment. I am, said he, my own captain, my
own lieutenant, my own cornet. And trumpeter also, I presume, said a
certain witty duchess.

710. The late celebrated Dr. Brown paid his addresses to a lady for many
years, but unsuccessfully; during which time he had always accustomed
himself to propose her health, whenever he was called upon for a lady.
But being observed one evening to omit it, a gentleman reminded him,
that he had forgotten to toast his favourite lady. Why, indeed, said the
doctor, I find it all in vain; I have toasted her so many years and
cannot make her Brown, that I am determined to toast her no longer.

711. Mr. Henry Erskine, celebrated for his elegant repartee, being in
company with the beautiful Duchess of Gordon, asked her, Are we never
again to enjoy the pleasure of your grace’s society in Edinburgh? Oh!
said she, Edinburgh is a vile dull place, I hate it. Madam, replied the
gallant barrister, the sun might as well say, this is a vile dark
morning, I won’t rise to-day.

712. Serjeant Maynard, an eminent counsellor, waiting with the body of
the law upon the Prince of Orange (afterwards King William) on his
arrival in London, the prince took notice of his great age, the serjeant
then being near ninety. Sir, said he, you have outlived all the men of
the law of your younger years. I should have outlived even the law
itself, replied the serjeant, if your highness had not arrived.

713. When Skelton published his ‘Deism Revealed,’ the Bishop of London
asked the Bishop of Clogher if he knew the author? Oh yes, he has been a
curate in my diocese near these twenty years. More shame for your
lordship to allow a man of his merit to continue so long a curate in
your diocese, was the reply.

714. A gentleman had a cask of Armenian wine, from which his servant
stole a large quantity. When the master perceived the deficiency, he
diligently inspected the top of the cask, but could find no traces of an
opening. Look if there be not a hole in the bottom, said a by-stander.
Blockhead, he replied, do you not see that the deficiency is at the top,
and not at the bottom?

715. Malherbe, the famous reformer of French poetry, and of the French
language, dined one day at the table of a bishop, who was to preach a
sermon the same evening, but who was more hospitable than eloquent. The
dinner was good, the wines delicious; and the poet having freely
partaken of both, began to nod, for want of enlivening conversation.
When the hour came for the bishop’s going to church, he shook Malherbe
by the arm, and said, It is time to start, Malherbe:―you know I am to
preach this evening. Ah, my lord, said the poet, be so good as to excuse
me, for I can sleep very well where I am.

716. A curate of great learning and merit, but without any prospect of
preferment, found an opportunity of preaching before Bishop Hough, who
was so well pleased with his discourse and manner of delivery, that
after service he sent his compliments to him, desiring to know his name,
and where his living was. My duty to his lordship, replied the
clergyman, and tell him my name is Lewis; that living I have none; but
my starving is in Wales. The bishop soon after presented him to a
valuable benefice.

717. King John being shewn a stately monument erected over the grave of
a nobleman who had rebelled against him, and being advised to deface it,
answered, No, no, I wish all my enemies were as honourably buried.

718. One day James the Second, in the middle of his courtiers, made use
of this assertion: I never knew a modest man make his way at court. To
this observation one of the gentlemen present boldly replied: And please
your majesty, whose fault is that? The king remained silent.

719. As two Irish soldiers were passing through Chippenham, one of them
observing the Borough Arms (which have somewhat the appearance of a
hatchment) over the Town-hall door, accosted his comrade with―Arrah,
Pat, look up, what is that sign? Botheration, cried Pat, ’tis no sign at
all, at all, ’tis only a sign that somebody’s dead that lives there.

720. The Duke of Mantua once observed to the celebrated Perron, that the
court-jester was a fellow without either wit or humour. Your grace must
pardon me, said Perron; I think he has a great deal of wit to live by a
trade that he does not understand.

721. The facetious Mr. Bearcroft, told his friend Mr. Vansittart, Your
name is such a long one, I shall drop the sittart, and call you Van, for
the future. With all my heart, said he: by the same rule, I shall drop
croft, and call you Bear!

722. In a life of St. Francis Navier, written by an Italian monk, it is
said, That by one sermon he converted 10,000 persons in a desert island!

723. During the time that martial law was in force in Ireland, and the
people were prohibited from having fire-arms in their possession, some
mischievous varlets gave information that Mr. Scanlon, a respectable
apothecary of Dublin, had three mortars in his house. A magistrate, with
a party of dragoons in his train, surrounded the house, and demanded, in
the king’s name, that the mortars should be delivered to him. Mr.
Scanlon immediately produced them, adding, that as they were useless
without the pestles, those also were at his majesty’s service.

724. At the battle of Dettingen, George II., who commanded in person,
rode on a very unruly horse, which at one period ran away with him to a
very considerable distance, until Ensign Trapand, afterwards General,
seized the bridle, when the king dismounted, exclaiming, Now that I am
on my legs, I am sure that I shall not run away. At the same battle, the
Gens-d’armes, the flower of the French army, made a desperate charge on
the British line opposed to them, and were repulsed. In their retreat
they were attacked by the Scotch Greys, and forced into the river. Some
years after, at a review of the above regiment, his majesty, after
applauding their appearance, turned to the French ambassador, and asked
him his opinion of the regiment, adding, in his exultant manner, that
they were the best troops in the world. The ambassador replied, Has your
majesty ever seen the Gens-d’armes? No, rejoined the king, but my Greys

725. A cause was once tried in one of the western counties which
originated in a dispute about a pair of small-clothes. Upon this
occasion the judge observed, That it was the first time he had ever
known a suit made out of a pair of breeches.

726. Some soldiers once fell upon a watchman in a small town, in a
lonely street, and took away his money and coat. He immediately repaired
to the captain of the regiment, to complain of his misfortune. The
captain asked him whether he had on the waistcoat he then wore when he
was robbed by the soldiers. Yes, sir, replied the poor fellow. Then, my
friend, rejoined the captain, I am can assure you they do not belong to
my company; otherwise they would have left you neither waistcoat nor

727. A fashionable countess, asking a young nobleman which he thought
the prettiest flowers, roses or tulips? He replied with great gallantry,
Your ladyship’s two lips before all the roses in the world.

728. A gentleman, who did not live very happy with his wife, on the maid
telling him that she was going to give her mistress warning, as she kept
scolding her from morning till night―Happy girl! said the master, I
wish I could give warning too.

729. In a cause respecting a will, evidence was given to prove the
testatrix, an apothecary’s widow, a lunatic; amongst other things, it
was deposed, that she had swept a quantity of pots, lotions, potions,
&c. into the street as rubbish. I doubt, said the learned judge, whether
sweeping of physic into the street, be any proof of insanity. True, my
lord, replied the counsel, but sweeping the pots away, certainly was.

730. Dr. South, once preaching before Charles II. (who was not very
often in a church), observing that the monarch and all his attendants
began to nod, and, as nobles are common men when they are asleep, some
of them soon after snored, on which he broke off his sermon, and called
out, Lord Lauderdale, let me entreat you to rouse yourself; you snore so
loud that you will wake the king.

731. An Irishman, meeting an acquaintance, thus accosted him: Ah, my
dear, who do you think I have just been speaking to? your old friend
Patrick; faith, and he has grown so thin, I hardly knew him; to be sure,
you are thin, and I am thin, but he is thinner than both of us put

732. An Irishman seeing a large quantity of potatoes standing in a
market-place, observed to a by-stander, what a fine show of potatoes!
Yes, they are, replied he, very fine potatoes: I see you have the name
quite pat; how do you call them in your country? Ah, faith! returned the
Irishman, we never call ’em; when we want any, we go and dig them.

733. During the recent unpleasant situation of affairs in Ireland, a
watch-word was required of every passenger after a certain hour, with
liberty for the sentinel to interrogate at will. A poor harmless
Irishman, travelling from Kilmainy to Kilmore, being asked concerning
his place of departure, and place of destination, answered, to the
astonishment of the inquirer, I have been to kill-many, and am going to
kill-more. That you shall not, said the sentinel, and immediately ran
him through with his bayonet.

734. A blind man, who goes about the streets of London, whining out a
long story about his misfortunes, has, amongst other prayers for the
charitable and humane, the following curious wish:―May you never see
the darkness which I now see!

735. Demonax, hearing one declaim miserably, said, You should practice
more. The orator answering, I am always declaiming to myself―he
replied, No wonder you do not improve, having so foolish an audience.

736. A Highlander, who sold brooms, went into a barber’s shop in
Glasgow, to get shaved. The barber bought one of his brooms, and, after
having shaved him, asked the price of it. Tippence, said the Highlander.
No, no, said the shaver; I’ll give you a penny, and if that does not
satisfy you, take your broom again. The Highlander took it, and asked
what he had to pay. A penny, said Strap. I’ll gie ye a baubee, said
Duncan, and if that dinna satisfy ye, pit on my beard again.

737. A lady asking a gentleman, How it was that most medical men dressed
in black? he replied, The meaning is very obvious, as they are chiefly
occupied in preparing grave subjects.

738. When the British ships under Lord Nelson were bearing down to
attack the combined fleet off Trafalgar, the first lieutenant of the
Revenge, on going round to see that all hands were at quarters, observed
one of the men devoutly kneeling at the side of his gun. So very unusual
an attitude in an English sailor, exciting his surprise and curiosity,
he went and asked the man if he was afraid. Afraid! answered the honest
tar, no! I was only praying that the enemy’s shot may be distributed in
the same proportion as prize-money―the greatest part among the

739. Indeed, indeed, friend Tom, said one citizen to another, you have
spoiled the look of your nag by cropping his ears so close: what could
be your reason for it? Why, friend Turtle, I will tell you―my horse had
a strange knack of being frightened, and on very trifling occasions
would prick up his ears as if he had seen the devil, and so, to cure
him, I cropped him.

740. Macklin and Dr. Johnson disputing on a literary subject, Johnson
quoted Greek. I do not understand Greek, said Macklin. A man who argues
should understand every language, replied Johnson. Very well, said
Macklin, and gave him a quotation from the Irish.

741. A crooked gentleman, on his arrival at Bath, was asked by another,
what place he had travelled from? I came straight from London, replied
he. Did you so? said the other, then you have been terribly warped by
the way.

742. A countryman on a trial respecting the right of a fishery at a late
Lancaster assizes, was cross-examined by Serjeant Cockel, who, among
many other questions, asked the witness, Dost thou love fish? Yes, said
the poor fellow, with a look of native simplicity, but I dinna like
Cockle sauce with it. A roar of laughter of course followed.

743. A witness in a court, speaking in a very harsh and loud voice, the
lawyer employed on the other side exclaimed, Fellow, why dost thou bark
so furiously? Because, replied the rustic, I think I sees a thief.

744. When Mr. Canning was about giving up Gloucester Lodge, Brompton, he
said to his gardener, as he took a farewell look of the grounds, I am
sorry, Fraser, to leave this old place. Psha, sir, said George, don’t
fret; when you had this old place, you were out of place; now you are in
place, you can get both yourself and me a better place. The hint was
taken, and old George provided for.

745. An Irish Baronet, walking out with a gentleman, was met by his
nurse, who requested charity. The baronet exclaimed vehemently, I will
give you nothing:―you played me a scandalous trick in my infancy. The
old woman, in amazement, asked him what injury she had done to him? He
answered, I was a fine boy, and you changed me!

746. Sir William B. being at a parish meeting, made some proposals that
were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, Sir, said he to the
farmer, do you know that I have been to two universities, and at two
colleges in each university? Well, sir, said the farmer, what of that? I
had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the
more he sucked the greater calf he grew.

747. Sir W. Curtis was once present at a public dinner where the Dukes
of York and Clarence formed part of the company. The president gave as a
toast, The “Adelphi” (the Greek word for The Brothers). When it came to
the worthy baronet’s turn to give a toast, he said, Mr. President, as
you seem inclined to give public buildings, I beg leave to propose
Somerset House.

748. One of his Majesty’s frigates being at anchor on a winter’s night,
in a tremendous gale of wind, the ground broke, and she began to drive.
The lieutenant of the watch ran down to the captain, awoke him from his
sleep, and told him the anchor had come home. Well, said the captain,
rubbing his eyes, I think the anchor is perfectly right; who would stay
out such a night as this?

749. The Duke de Roquelaure meeting a very ugly country gentleman at
court, who had a suit to offer, presented it to the king, and urged his
request, saying, he was under the greatest obligations to the suitor.
The king asked what were these great obligations? Ah! Sire, were it not
for him I should be the ugliest man in your majesty’s dominions!

750. Archbishop Laud was a man of very short stature. Charles the First
and the archbishop were one day seated at dinner, when it was agreed
that Archy, the king’s jester, should say grace for them, which he did
in this fashion: Great praise be given to God, but little Laud to the
devil. For this sally Laud was weak enough to insist upon Archy’s

751. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke was very fond of entertaining his
visitors with the following story of his bailiff, who, having been
ordered by his lady to procure a sow of a particular description, came
one day into the dining-room, when full of company, proclaiming with a
burst of joy he could not suppress, I have been at Royston fair, my
lady, and I have got a sow exactly of your ladyship’s size.

752. An officer in Admiral Lord St. Vincent’s fleet, asking one of the
captains, who was gallantly bearing down upon the Spanish fleet, whether
he had reckoned the number of the enemy? No, replied the captain, it
will be time enough to do that when they strike.

753. Sir Charles F― received a severe injury one day in stepping into
his cabriolet. Whereabouts were you hurt, Sir Charles? said Sir Peter
L―; was it near the vertebræ? No, no, answered the baronet, it was
near the Monument.

754. Fletcher, of Saltoun, is well known to have possessed a most
irritable temper. His footman desiring to be dismissed, Why do you leave
me? said he. Because, to speak the truth, I cannot bear your temper. To
be sure, I am passionate, but my passion is no sooner on than it is off.
Yes, replied the servant, but it is no sooner off than it is on.

755. King James I. mounting a horse that was unruly, cried, The de’el
tak’ your saul, sirrah, an ye be na quiet, I’ll send ye to the five
hundred kings in the House o’ Commons: they’ll sune tame ye.

756. You are a Jew, said one man to another; when I bought this pig of
you it was to be a guinea, and now you demand five-and-twenty shillings,
which is more than you asked. For that very reason, replied the other, I
am no Jew, for a Jew always takes less than he asks.

757. The celebrated Hogarth was one of the most absent of men. Soon
after he set up his carriage, he had occasion to pay a visit to the lord
mayor. When he went the weather was fine; but he was detained by
business till a violent shower of rain came on. Being let out of the
mansion-house by a different door from that at which he had entered, he
immediately began to call for a hackney-coach. Not one could be
procured; on which Hogarth sallied forth to brave the storm, and
actually reached his house in Leicester Fields without bestowing a
thought on his own carriage, till Mrs. Hogarth, astonished to see him so
wet and hurried, asked him where he had left it.

758. At a city feast one of the company was expatiating on the blessings
of Providence. Ay, said the late Sir William Curtis, smacking his lips,
it is a blessed place, sure enough; we get all our turtle from it.

759. When Cortez returned to Spain, he was coolly received by the
emperor, Charles the Fifth. One day he suddenly presented himself to
that monarch. Who are you? said the emperor, haughtily. The man, said
Cortez, as haughtily, who has given you more provinces than your
ancestors left you cities.

760. Bautru, a celebrated French wit, being in Spain, went to visit the
famous library of the Escurial, where he found a very ignorant
librarian. The king of Spain interrogated him respecting the library.
’Tis an admirable one, indeed, said he; but your majesty should give the
man who has the care of it, the administration of your finances.
Wherefore? asked the king. Because, replied Bautru, the man never
touches the treasure that is confided to him.

761. Mademoiselle, said Louis XV. to a young lady belonging to his
court, I am assured that you are very learned, and understand four or
five continental tongues. I speak only two, sire, answered she,
trembling. Which are they? German and Italian. Do you speak them
fluently? Yes, sire, very fluently. Well, two are quite enough to drive
a husband mad.

762. At a grand review by George III. of the Portsmouth fleet in 1789,
there was a boy who mounted the shrouds with so much agility as to
surprise every spectator. The king particularly noticed it, and said to
Lord Lothian (an exceeding large man), Lothian, I have heard much of
your agility, let us see you run up after that boy. Sire, replied Lord
Lothian, it is my duty to follow your majesty.

763. A gentleman crossing a very narrow bridge, which was not railed on
either side to secure passengers from falling, said to a countryman whom
he met, Me-thinks this narrow causeway must be very dangerous, honest
friend! pray are not people lost here sometimes? Lost! no, sir, replied
the man, I never knew anybody lost here in my life; there have been
several drowned, but they were always found again.

764. The Earl of P― kept a number of swine at his seat in Wiltshire,
and crossing the yard one day he was surprised to see the pigs gathered
round one trough, and making a great noise. Curiosity prompted him to
see what was the cause, and on looking into the trough he perceived a
large silver spoon. Just at this crisis a servant maid came out, and
began to abuse the pigs for crying so. Well they may, said his lordship,
when they have got but one silver spoon among them all.

765. Pierre Zapata, court jester to Charles V., being one day made a
butt of by his master, that prince, expecting some joke in return, said
to his courtiers, I shall be soon paid for this. To which the jester
replied, Not so soon as you imagine, sire; I am not prompt in paying
those who are so tardy in paying others! This repartee was found the
more lively, owing to Zapata and the officers of the court not having
for a long time received their pensions.

766. David Hartley, member for Hull, during the coalition
administration, was remarkable for the length and dulness of his
speeches. On one occasion, having reduced the house from three hundred
to about eighty sleepy hearers, by one of his harangues, just at the
time it was supposed he would conclude, he moved that the Riot Act
should be read, in order to prove one of his previous assertions. Burke,
who had been bursting with impatience for full an hour and a half, and
who was anxious to speak to the question, finding himself about to be so
disappointed, rose, exclaiming, The Riot Act, my dear friend! the Riot
Act! to what purpose? Don’t you see that the mob is already completely
dispersed? Every person present was convulsed with laughter, except
Hartley, who never changed countenance, and who still insisted that the
Riot Act should be read by the clerk.

767. When Lord Townshend was lord lieutenant of Ireland, the then
provost of Dublin lost no opportunity of repeating his solicitations for
places. My dear Hely, said his lordship, you have a great many things,
and I have nothing to give but a majority in the dragoons. I accept it
then, replied the provost. What! you take a majority! answered his
lordship, zounds, it is impossible; I only meant it as a joke. And I
accept it, replied the provost, merely to show you how well I can take a

768. A lunatic in Bedlam was asked how he came there? he answered, By a
dispute. What dispute? The bedlamite replied, The world said I was mad;
I said the world was mad; and they outvoted me.

769. When Sir Elijah Impey, the Indian judge, was on his passage home,
as he was one day walking the deck, it having blown pretty hard the
preceding day, a shark was playing by the side of the ship. Having never
seen such an object before, he called to one of the sailors to tell him
what it was. Why, replied the tar, I don’t know what name they know them
by ashore, but here we call them sea-lawyers.

770. A gentleman observed one day to Mr. Henry Erskine, who was a great
punster, that punning is the lowest sort of wit. It is so, answered he,
and therefore the foundation of all.

771. A lady, who made pretensions to the most refined feelings, went to
her butcher to remonstrate with him on his cruel practices. How, said
she, can you be so barbarous as to put innocent little lambs to death?
Why not, madam, said the butcher; you would not eat them alive, would

772. When Rochelle was besieged by the royalist armies in 1627, the
inhabitants elected for their mayor, captain, and governor, Jean Guiton.
This brave man at first modestly refused the office; but being pressed
by all his fellow-townsmen, he took up a poignard and said, I will be
mayor, since you wish it, but on the condition that I may be permitted
to strike this poignard to the heart of the first who speaks of
surrendering. I consent that you shall do the same to me, if I mention
capitulating; and I demand that this poignard lie always ready on the
table, when we assemble in the Town House. Cardinal de Richelieu, who
conducted the operations of the siege, had raised a mole before the gate
of the city, which shut up the entrance, and prevented provisions from
reaching it. Some one saying to Guiton that many of the people had
perished of hunger, and that death would soon sweep away all the
inhabitants―Well, said he coolly, it will be sufficient if one remains
to shut the gates.

773. Among the addresses presented upon the accession of James the
First, was one from the ancient town of Shrewsbury, wishing his majesty
might reign as long as the sun, moon, and stars endured. Faith, mon,
said the king to the person who presented it, if I do, my son must reign
by candlelight.

774. A Frenchman meeting an English soldier with a Waterloo medal, began
sneeringly to animadvert on our government for bestowing such a trifle,
which did not cost them three francs. That is true, to be sure, replied
the hero, it did not cost the English government three francs, but it
cost the French a Napoleon.

775. Collins the poet, though of a melancholy cast of mind, was by no
means averse to a _jeu de mot_, or quibble. Upon coming into a town the
day after a young lady, of whom he was fond, had left it, he said, How
unlucky it was that he had come a day after the fair.

776. A negro in Jamaica was tried for theft, and ordered to be flogged.
He begged to be heard, which being granted, he asked, If white man buy
stolen goods, why he be no flogged too? Well, said the judge, so he
would. Dere den, replied Mungo, is my massa; he buy tolen goods―he knew
me tolen, and yet he buy me.

777. Some sailors, who had made a great deal of prize-money, once
determined on purchasing a horse for the use of the mess; accordingly,
one of them was pitched upon to buy the horse. As soon as this honest
tar got on shore, he went to a noted horse-dealer, who brought out a
very clever-looking horse for the sailor’s inspection, which he
particularly recommended to him, as being a nice, short-backed horse.
Ay, that may be, said the sailor, and that is the very reason he won’t
do, for there is seven of us.

778. The late Dr. Glover, well known for being one of the best
companions in the world, was returning from a tavern one morning early,
across Covent Garden, when a chairman cried out, A chair! your honour, a
chair! Glover took no notice, but called his dog, who was a good way
behind, Scrub, Scrub, Scrub! Och, indeed! says the chairman, there goes
a pair o’ ye! The facetious doctor gave his countryman half-a-crown for
the merry witticism.

779. A nabob, in a severe fit of the gout, told his physician that he
suffered the pains of the damned. The doctor coolly answered, What,

780. A surgeon aboard a ship of war used to prescribe salt water for his
patients in all disorders. Having sailed one evening, on a party of
pleasure, he happened, by some mischance, to be drowned. The captain,
who had not heard of the disaster, asked one of the tars next day if he
had heard anything of the doctor. Yes, answered Jack, after a turn of
his quid, he was drowned last night in his medicine chest.

781. The celebrated Daniel Burgess, dining with a gentleman of his
congregation, a large Cheshire cheese, uncut, was brought to table.
Where shall I cut it? asked Daniel. Anywhere you please, Mr. Burgess,
answered the gentleman. Upon which Daniel handed it to the servant,
desiring him to carry it to his house, and he would cut it at home.

782. How does your new purchased horse answer? said the late Duke of
Cumberland to George Selwyn. I really don’t know, replied George, for I
never asked him a question.

783. A young fellow once came dancing, whistling, and singing into a
room where old Colley Cibber sat coughing and spitting; and, cutting a
caper, triumphantly exclaimed, There, you old put, what would you give
to be as young as I am? Why, young man, replied he, I would agree to be
almost as foolish.

784. A recruiting serjeant addressing an honest country bumpkin in one
of the streets in Manchester, with Come my lad, thou’lt fight for thy
king, won’t thou? Voight for my king, answered Hodge, why, has he fawn
out wi’ ony body?

785. After a battle lately between two celebrated pugilists, an Irishman
made his way to the chaise, where the one who had lost the battle had
been conveyed, and said to him, How are you, my good fellow? can you see
at all with the eye that’s knocked out?

786. Two dinner-hunters meeting at Pall Mall a short time back, one
inquired of the other how he had been for some days? He replied, In a
very poor way indeed. I have not been able to eat anything at all. God
bless me! said his hungry friend, that is extremely strange, you
generally have a very good appetite, you must have been seriously ill.
Oh! not at all, believe me, you misconceive my meaning; I could have
eaten, but the reason why I have not been able to do so is, that no one
has invited me to dinner.

787. Mr. Curran was once asked, what an Irish gentleman, just arrived in
England, could mean by perpetually putting out his tongue? I suppose,
replied the wit, he’s trying to catch the English accent.

788. Have you anything else old? said an English lady at Rome, to a boy
of whom she had bought some modern antiques; Yes, said the young urchin,
thrusting forward his hat, which had seen some dozen summers, my hat is
very old. The lady rewarded his wit.

789. The late celebrated penurious H. Jennings, esq., who was reputed to
be the richest commoner in England, when at the age of 92, was applied
to by one of his tenants, then in the 80th year of his age, to renew his
lease for a further term of 14 years, when, after some general
observations, Mr. Jennings coolly said, Take a lease for 21 years, or
you will be troubling me again!

790. Sancho, said a dying planter to his slave, for your faithful
services, I mean now to do you an honour; and leave it in my will, that
you shall be buried in our family ground. Ah, massa! replied Sancho,
Sancho no good to be buried; Sancho rather have de money or de freedom;
besides, if de devil should come in de dark to look for massa, he might
mistake, and take de poor negar man.

791. Two gentlemen, the other day, conversing together, one asked the
other, if ever he had gone through Euclid. The reply was, I have never
been farther from Liverpool than Runcon, and I don’t recollect any place
of that name.

792. Lady Rachel is put to bed, said Sir Boyle to a friend. What has she
got? Guess. A boy? No; guess again. A girl? Who told you?

793. The wife of a Scotch laird being suddenly taken very ill, the
husband ordered the servant to get a horse ready to go to the next town
to the doctor; by the time, however, the horse was ready, and his letter
to the doctor written, the lady recovered, on which he added the
following postcript, and sent off the messenger: My wife being
recovered, you need not come.

794. In a company, consisting of naval officers, the discourse happened
to turn on the ferocity of small animals; when an Irish gentleman
present stated his opinion to be, that a Kilkenny cat, of all animals,
was the most ferocious; and added, I can prove my assertion by a fact
within my own knowledge: I once, said he, saw two of these animals
fighting in a timber yard, and willing to see the result of a long
battle, I drove them into a deep saw-pit, and placing some boards over
the mouth, left them to their amusement. Next morning I went to see the
conclusion of the fight, and what d’ye think I saw? One of the cats dead
probably, replied one of the company. No, by St. Patrick, there was
nothing left in the pit but the two tails, and a bit of flue.

795. Dr. Wall, at a public dinner, was playing with a cork upon the
table. What a dirty hand Dr. W. has, said Mr. E. I will bet you a bottle
there is a dirtier in company, said the doctor, who had overheard. Done.
Upon which he produced his other hand, and won the wager.

796. Dr. Ratcliffe being in a tavern one evening, a gentleman entered in
great haste, almost speechless: Doctor, my wife is at the point of
death, make haste, come with me. Not till I have finished my bottle,
however, replied the doctor. The man, who happened to be a fine athletic
fellow, finding entreaty useless, snatched up the doctor, hoisted him on
his back, and carried him out of the tavern; the moment he set the
doctor upon his legs, he received from him, in a very emphatic manner,
the following threat: Now, you rascal, I’ll cure your wife in spite of

797. A little girl, who knew very well the painful anxiety which her
mother had long suffered, during a tedious course of litigation, hearing
that she had at last lost her law-suit, innocently cried out, O, my dear
mama! how glad I am that you have lost that nasty law-suit, which used
to give you so much trouble and uneasiness.

798. A gentleman, who possessed a small estate in Gloucestershire, was
allured to town by the promises of a courtier, who kept him in constant
attendance for a long while to no purpose; at last the gentleman, quite
tired out, called upon his pretended friend, and told him that he had at
last got a place. The courtier shook him very heartily by the hand, and
said he was very much rejoiced at the event: But pray, sir, said he,
where is your place? In the Gloucester coach, replied the other; I
secured it last night; and so good-bye to you.

799. Mr. Rogers was requested by Lady Holland to ask Sir Philip Francis,
whether he was the author of Junius. The poet approached the knight,
Will your kindness, Sir Philip, excuse my addressing to you a single
question? At your peril, sir! was the harsh and the laconic answer. The
bard returned to his friends, who eagerly asked him the result of his
application. I don’t know, he answered, whether he is Junius: but, if he
be, he is certainly Junius Brutus.

800. A girl forced by her parents into a disagreeable match with an old
man, whom she detested, when the clergyman came to that part of the
service where the bride is asked if she consents to take the bridegroom
for her husband, said, with great simplicity, Oh dear, no, sir; but you
are the first person who has asked my opinion upon the affair.

801. It is well known that the veterans who preside at the examinations
of surgeons, question minutely those who wish to become qualified. After
answering very satisfactorily to the numerous inquiries made, a young
gentleman was asked, if he wished to give his patient a profuse
perspiration, what he would prescribe. He mentioned many diaphoretic
medicines in case the first failed, but the unmerciful questioner thus
continued, Pray, sir, suppose none of those succeeded, what step would
you take next? Why, sir, enjoined the harassed young Esculapius, I would
send him here to be examined; and if that did not give him a sweat, I do
not know what would.

802. There is a celebrated reply of Mr. Curran to a remark of Lord
Clare, who exclaimed at one of his legal positions, O! if that be law,
Mr. Curran, I may burn my law books! Better read them, my lord, was the
sarcastic and appropriate rejoinder.

803. Rock, the comedian, when at Covent Garden, advised one of the
scene-shifters, who had met with an accident, to the plan of a
subscription; and a few days afterwards he asked for the list of names,
which, when he read it over, he returned. Why, Rock, said the poor
fellow, won’t you give me something? Zounds, man, replied the other,
didn’t I give you the hint.

804. When Mr. Hankey was in vogue as a great banker, a sailor had as
part of his pay, a draft on him for fifty pounds. This the sailor
thought an immense sum, and calling at the house, insisted upon seeing
the master in private. This was at length acceded to; and when the
banker and the sailor met together, the following conversation ensued.
Sailor: Mr. Hankey, I’ve got a tickler for you―didn’t like to expose
you before the lads.―Hankey: That was kind. Pray, what’s this
tickler?―Sailor: Never mind, don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you; ’tis a
fifty.―Hankey: Ah! that’s a tickler, indeed.―Sailor: Don’t fret; give
me five pounds now, and the rest at so much a week, I shan’t mention it
to anybody.

805. A conceited coxcomb once said to a barber’s boy, Did you ever shave
a monkey? Why no, sir, replied the boy, never; but if you will please to
sit down, I will try.

806. An Irishman, a short time since, bid an extraordinary price for an
alarum clock, and gave as a reason, That, as he loved to rise early, he
had nothing to do but to pull the string, and he could wake himself.

807. A certain noble lord being in his early years much addicted to
dissipation, his mother advised him to take example by a gentleman,
whose food was herbs, and his drink water. What! madam, said he, would
you have me to imitate a man who eats like a beast and drinks like a

808. The town of Chartres was besieged by Henry IV., and at last
capitulated. The magistrate of the town, on giving up his keys,
addressed his majesty:―This town belongs to your highness by divine
law, and by human law. And by cannon law, too, added Henry.

809. The Marquis St. André applied to Louvois, the war-minister of Louis
XIV., for a small place then vacant. Louvois having received some
complaints against the marquis, refused to comply. The nobleman,
somewhat nettled, rather hastily said, If I were to enter again into the
service, I know what I would do. And pray what would you do? inquired
the minister in a furious tone. St. André recollected himself, and had
the presence of mind to say, I would take care to behave in such a
manner, that your excellency should have nothing to reproach me with.
Louvois, agreeably surprised at this reply, immediately granted his

810. An Irish soldier, who came over with General Moore, being asked if
he met with much hospitality in Holland? O yes, replied he, too much: I
was in the hospital almost all the time I was there.

811. Henry IV. having bestowed the _cordon bleu_ on a nobleman, at the
solicitation of the Duke de Nevers, when the collar was put on, the
nobleman made the customary speech, Sire, I am not worthy. I know it
well, said the king, but I give you the order to please my cousin De

812. Dr. A., physician at Newcastle, being summoned to a vestry, in
order to reprimand the sexton for drunkenness, he dwelt so long on the
sexton’s misconduct, as to raise his choler so as to draw from him this
expression:―Sir, I was in hopes you would have treated my failings with
more gentleness, or that you would have been the last man alive to
appear against me, as I have covered so many blunders of yours!

813. When I have a cold in my head, said a gentleman in company, I am
always remarkably dull and stupid. You are much to be pitied, then, sir,
replied another, for I don’t remember ever to have seen you without.

814. A prisoner, at the bar of the Mayor’s Court, being called on to
plead to an indictment for larceny, was told by the clerk to hold up his
right hand. The man immediately held up his left hand. Hold up your
right hand, said the clerk. Please your honour, said the culprit, still
keeping up his left hand, I am left-handed.

815. In a large party, one evening, the conversation turned upon young
men’s allowance at College. Tom Sheridan lamented the ill-judging
parsimony of many parents, in that respect. I am sure, Tom, said his
father, you need not complain; I always allowed you eight hundred a
year. Yes, father, I must confess you allowed it; but then it was never

816. When Dr. Parr’s preface to Bellendenus was the theme of general
admiration, Horne Tooke said of it, rather contemptuously, It consists
of mere scraps; alluding to the frequent use of the Ciceronean language.
This sarcasm was mentioned to Parr, who afterwards meeting Tooke, said
to him, So, Mr. Tooke, you think my Preface mere scraps? True, replied
Tooke, with inimitable readiness, but you know, my dear Doctor, scraps
are often tit-bits.

817. An old woman received a letter from the post-office, at New York.
Not knowing how to read, and being anxious to know the contents,
supposing it to be from one of her absent sons, she called on a person
near to read the letter to her. He accordingly began and read:
Charleston, June 23, 1826. Dear mother,―then making a stop to find out
what followed (as the writing was rather bad), the old lady
exclaimed―Oh, ’tis my poor Jerry, he always stuttered!

818. When Kleber was in Egypt, he sustained, during five hours, with
only two thousand men, the united efforts of twenty thousand. He was
nearly surrounded, was wounded, and had only a narrow defile by which to
escape. In this extremity, he called to him a chef de bataillon, named
Chevardin, for whom he had a particular regard. Take, said he to him, a
company of grenadiers, and stop the enemy at the ravine. You will be
killed, but you will save your comrades. Yes, general, replied
Chevardin. He gave his watch and his pocket-book to his servant,
executed the order, and his death, in fact, arrested the enemy, and
saved the French.

819. An Irish gentleman was relating in company that he saw a terrible
wind the other night. Saw a wind! said another, I never heard of a wind
being seen! But, pray, what was it like? Like to have blown my house
about my ears, replied the first.

820. Dr. O’Connor, in his History of Poland, says that the Irish are
long-lived; that some of them attain to the age of a hundred: in short,
adds the doctor, they live as long as they can.

821. An Irish labourer bought a pair of shoes, and at the same time
asked the shoemaker, if he could tell him what would prevent them going
down on the sides? The shoemaker said, The only way to prevent that was
to change them every morning. Pat accordingly returned the following
morning, called for a pair of shoes, fitted them on, left the pair he
bought the day before, and was walking out of the shop without further
notice, when the shoemaker called to him to know what he was doing,
telling him at the same time, that he had forgotten to pay for the shoes
he had just bought. And is it what am I doing, you ask? Am not I doing
what you told me yesterday, changing my shoes every morning?

822. 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, said Rich, that question I am
at present unable to answer, but were you to appear but one night on my
stage, I should be able to tell you to the utmost shilling.

823. Sir William Curtis lately sat near a gentleman at a civic dinner,
who alluded to the excellence of the knives, adding, that articles
manufactured from Cast steel were of a very superior quality, such as
razors, forks, &c. Aye, replied the facetious baronet, and soap
too―there’s no soap like Castile soap.

824. A miller, who attempted to be witty at the expense of a youth of
weak intellects, accosted him with, John, people say that you are a
fool. To this, John replied, I don’t know that I am, sir; I know some
things, sir, and some things I don’t know, sir. Well, John, what do you
know? I know that millers always have fat hogs, sir. And what don’t you
know? I don’t know whose corn they eat, sir.

825. When Dr. Ehrenberg (the Prussian traveller) was in Egypt, he said
to a peasant, I suppose you are quite happy now; the country looks like
a garden, and every village has its minaret. God is great! replied the
peasant; our master gives with one hand and takes with two.

826. Frank Hayman was a dull dog. When he buried his wife, a friend
asked him why he expended so much money on her funeral? Ah, sir, replied
he, she would have done as much, or more, for me, with pleasure.

827. At a doctor’s shop, a few doors from Westminster Bridge, may be
seen written up the following notification: ― ―, surgeon,
apothecary, and accoucheur to the king.

828. A certain bishop having recently conferred a piece of preferment on
an able and amiable divine, resident near London, the gentleman wrote to
his son, who was at school at Brighton, announcing the circumstance;
adding, how extremely kind the bishop had been in giving him a stall: to
which the youth returned the following answer: Dear father, I am
extremely glad to hear of your preferment―now the bishop has given you
another stall, perhaps you will keep a horse for me.

829. Some one seeing a beggar in his shirt, in winter, as brisk as
another muffled up to the ears in furs, asked him how he could endure to
go so? The man of many wants replied, Why, sir, you go with your face
bare; I am all face. A good reply, for a regular beggar, whether taken
in a jocose or a philosophical sense.

830. How do you find yourself, Mrs. Judy? said a St. Bartholomew’s
surgeon, after taking off the arm of an Irish basket-woman. How do I
find myself? why, without my arm―how the devil else should I?

831. A loving husband once waited on a physician to request him to
prescribe for his wife’s eyes, which were very sore. Let her wash them,
said the doctor, every morning, with a small glass of brandy. A few
weeks after, the doctor chanced to meet the husband. Well, my friend,
has your wife followed my advice? She has done everything in her power
to do it, doctor, said the spouse, but she never could get the glass
higher than her mouth.

832. Two Scotch clergymen, who were not so long-headed as they
themselves imagined, met one day at the turning of a street, and ran
their heads together unawares. The shock was rather stunning to one of
them. He pulled off his hat, and laying his hand on his forehead, said,
Sic a thump! my heed’s a’ ringing again. Nae wonder, said his companion,
your heed was aye Boss (empty), that makes it ring; my heed disna ring a
bit. How could it ring, said the other, seeing it is cracket? cracket
vessels never ring.―Each described the other to a T.

833. I will save you a thousand pounds, said an Irishman to an old
gentleman, if you don’t stand in your own light. How? You have a
daughter, and you intend to give her ten thousand as a marriage portion.
I do, sir. I will take her with nine thousand.

834. An Irishman telling what he called an excellent story, a gentleman
observed, he had met with it in a book published many years ago.
Confound those ancients, said Teague, they are always stealing one’s
good thoughts.

835. A man of the name of Mark Noble, passing by the garrison at Hull,
the sentinel, as usual, called out, Who goes there? Twenty shillings,
answered Mark. That cannot be, said the sentinel. Why, a Mark and a
Noble make twenty shillings, said Mark.

836. I live in Julia’s eyes, said an affected dandy in Colman’s hearing.
I don’t wonder at it, replied George, since I observed she had a sty in
them when I saw her last.

837. A veteran at the battle of Trafalgar, who was actively employed at
one of the guns on the quarter-deck of the Britannia, had his leg shot
off below the knee, and observed to an officer, who was ordering him to
be conveyed to the cockpit, That’s but a shilling touch; an inch higher
and I should have had my eighteen pence for it; alluding by this to the
scale of pensions allowed for wounds, which, of course, increase
according to their severity. The same hearty fellow, as they were
lifting him on a brother tar’s shoulders, said to one of his friends,
Bob, take a look for my leg, and give me the silver buckle out of my
shoe; I’ll do as much for you, please God, some other time.

838. Some time after Louis XIV. had collated the celebrated Bossuet to
the bishopric of Meaux, he asked the citizens how they liked their new
bishop. Why, your majesty, we like him pretty well. Pretty well! why
what fault have you to find with him? To tell your majesty the truth, we
should have preferred having a bishop who had finished his education;
for whenever we wait upon him, we are told that he is at his studies.

839. A boy who did not return after the holidays to Winchester school,
by the time the master had charged him to do, returned at last loaded
with a fine ham, as a bribe. The master took the ham, and told him, that
he might give his compliments to his mother for the ham, but assured him
it should not save his bacon, and flogged him.

840. Previous to a late general election, two candidates for a northern
county met in a ball-room. Why do you sit still? said a friend, to one
of them, whilst your opponent is tripping it so assiduously with the
electors’ wives and daughters? The aspirant for parliamentary fame
replied, I have no objection to his dancing for the county, if I am
allowed to sit for it.

841. An uninformed Irishman, hearing the Sphinx alluded to in company,
whispered to a friend, Sphinx! who is he now? A monster-man. Oh, a
Munster man! I thought he was from Connaught, replied the Irishman,
determined not to seem totally unacquainted with the family.

842. An Irish gentleman, sojourning at Mitchner’s Hotel, Margate, felt
much annoyed at the smallness of the bottles, considering the high price
of the wine. One evening, taking his glass with a friend in the
coffee-room, the pompous owner came in, when the gentleman, after
apologizing to Mitchner, told him he and his friend had laid a wager,
which he must decide, by telling him what profession he was bred to.
Mitchner, after some hesitation at the question, answered that he was
bred to the law. Then, said the gentleman, I have lost, for I laid that
you was bred a packer. A packer, sir! said Mitchner, swelling like a
turkey-cock, what could induce you, sir, to think I was bred a packer?
Why, sir, said the other, I judged so from your wine measures, for I
thought no man but a skilful packer could put a quart of wine into a
pint bottle.

843. Lady Carteret, wife of the lord lieutenant of Ireland, in Swift’s
time, said to him, The air of this country is good. For God’s sake,
madam, said Swift, don’t say so in England: if you do they will
certainly tax it.

844. King Charles II. was reputed a great connoisseur in naval
architecture. Being once at Chatham, to view a ship just finished, on
the stocks, he asked the famous Killigrew, if he did not think he should
make an excellent shipwright? who pleasantly replied, He always thought
his majesty would have done better at any other trade than his own. No
favourable compliment, but as true a one, perhaps, as ever was paid.

845. One day Dean Swift observed a great rabble assembled before the
deanery door, in Kevin Street, and upon inquiring into the cause of it,
he was told they were waiting to see the eclipse. He immediately sent
for the beadle and told him what he should do. Away ran Davy for his
bell, and after ringing it some time among the crowd, bawled out―O yes,
O yes? all manner of persons here concerned are desired to take notice,
that it is the Dean of St. Patrick’s good will and pleasure, that the
eclipse be put off till this time to-morrow! so God save the king and
his reverence the dean. The mob upon this dispersed; only some Irish
wit, more shrewd and cunning than the rest, said, with great
self-complacency, that they would not lose another afternoon, for that
the dean, who was a very comical man, might take it into his head to put
off the eclipse again, and so make fools of them a second time.

846. Some school-boys meeting a poor woman driving asses, one of them
said to her, Good morning, mother of asses! Good morning, my children,
was the reply.

847. A clergyman being at the point of death, a neighbouring brother,
who had some interest with his patron, applied to him for the next
presentation; upon which the former, who soon recovered, upbraided him
with a breach of friendship, and said he wanted his death. No, no,
doctor, said the other, you quite mistake: it was your living I wanted.

848. A gentleman in company complaining that he was very subject to
catch cold in his feet, another, not over-loaded with sense, told him
that might easily be prevented, if he would follow his directions. I
always get, said he, a thin piece of lead out of an India chest, and fit
it to my shoe for this purpose. Then, sir, said the former, you are like
a rope-dancer’s pole, you have lead at both ends.

849. The late Duchess of Kingston, who was remarkable for having a very
high sense of her own dignity, being one day detained in her carriage by
a cart of coals that was unloading in the street, she leaned with both
her arms upon the door, and asked the fellow, How dare you, sirrah, stop
a woman of quality in the street? Woman of quality! replied the man.
Yes, fellow, rejoined her grace, don’t you see my arms upon my carriage?
Yes, I do, indeed, said he, and a pair of plaguy coarse arms they are.

850. A worthy churchwarden of Canterbury lately excused himself, by
note, from a dinner party, by alleging that he was engaged in taking the
senses (census) of his parish.

851. On the day for renewing the licences of the publicans in the West
Riding of Yorkshire, one of the magistrates said to an old woman who
kept a little alehouse, that he trusted she did not put any pernicious
ingredients into the liquor; to which she replied, There is nought
pernicious put into our barrels but the exciseman’s stick.

852. Some soldiers at Chelsea were bragging of the privations they had
often undergone; when one of them said, he had slept for weeks on rough
boards, with a wooden pillow; the other observed, that was a comfort to
what he endured, having slept night after night, in Italy, on marble. An
Irish fisherman, who was in company, observed, It was all bother and
nonsense, for he had often slept on a bed of oysters.

853. A droll fellow, who got a livelihood by fiddling at fairs and about
the country, was one day met by an acquaintance that had not seen him a
great while, who accosted him thus: Bless me! what, are you alive? Why
not? answered the fiddler; did you send anybody to kill me? No, replied
the other, but I was told you were dead. Ay, so it was reported, it
seems, said the fiddler, but I knew it was false as soon as I heard it.

854. Mr. M―, the artist, was reading the paper the other day, while
his boy, who had the daily task of preparing his palette for him, was
rubbing in the various tints, when the boy suddenly stopped, and, with
an anxious look, said, Pray, sir, I have heard so much about it, will
you have the goodness to tell me what is the Color o’ Morbus?

855. Milton, the British Homer, and prince of modern poets, in his
latter days, and when he was blind―(a thing some men do with their eyes
open), married a shrew. The Duke of Buckingham one day, in Milton’s
hearing, called her a rose. I am no judge of flowers, observed Milton,
but it may be so, for I feel the thorns daily.

856. One of the wooden mitres, carved by Gui. Gibbon, over one of the
stalls, in the cathedral church of Canterbury, happening to become
loose, Jessy White, the surveyor of that edifice, inquired of the dean
whether he should make it fast; for, perhaps, said Jessy, it may fall on
your reverence’s head. Well, Jessy, suppose it does, answered the
humorous Cantab, suppose it does fall on my head, I don’t know that a
mitre falling on my head would hurt it.

857. A gentleman of Magdalen College, whose name was Nott, returning
late from his friend’s rooms in rather a merry mood, and, not quite able
to preserve his centre of gravity, in his way home, attracted the
attention of the proctor, who demanded his name and college. I am Nott
of Maudlin, was the hiccuping reply. Sir, said the proctor, in an angry
tone, I did not ask of what college you are not, but of what college you
are. I am Nott of Maudlin, was again the broken reply. The proctor,
enraged at what he considered contumely, insisted on accompanying him to
Maudlin, whither having arrived, he demanded of the porter whether he
knew the gentleman. Know him, sir, said the porter, yes, it is Mr. Nott,
of this college. The proctor now perceived his error in not
understanding the gentleman, and, laughing heartily at the affair,
wished him a good night.

858. Bishop Sherlock and Hoadly were both fresh-men of the same year, at
Catherine Hall, Cambridge. The classical subject in which they were
first lectured, was Tully’s Offices, and it so happened, one morning,
that Hoadly received a compliment from the tutor for the excellence of
his construing. Sherlock, a little vexed at the preference shown to his
rival (for such they then were), and, thinking to bore Hoadly by the
remark, said, when they left the lecture-room, Ben, you made good use of
L’Estrange’s translation to-day. Why, no, Tom, retorted Hoadly, I did
not, for I had not got one; and I forgot to borrow yours, which is the
only one in the college.

859. A cockney sportsman, being out one day amusing himself with
shooting, happened to fire through a hedge, on the other side of which
was a man, standing or leaning, no matter which. The shot passed through
the man’s hat, but missed the bird. Did you fire at me, sir? he hastily
asked. O no, sir, said the shrewd sportsman, I never hit what I fire at.

860. Some persons broke into the stables belonging to a troop of horse,
which was quartered at Carlisle, and wantonly docked the tail of every
horse close to the rump. The captain, relating the circumstance next
day, to a brother officer, said he was at a loss what to do with the
horses. I fancy you must dispose of them by wholesale, was the reply.
Why by wholesale? Because you’ll certainly find it impossible to retail

861. At one of the Holland House Sunday dinner-parties, a few years ago,
Crockford’s club, then forming, was talked of; and the noble hostess
observed, that the female passion for diamonds was surely less ruinous
than the rage for play among men. In short, you think, said Mr. Rogers,
that clubs are worse than diamonds. This joke excited a laugh, and when
it had subsided, Sydney Smith wrote the following impromptu
sermonet―most appropriately on a card;

  Thoughtless that “all that’s brightest fades,”
  Unmindful of that Knave of Spades,
    The Sexton and his Subs:
  How foolishly we play our parts!
  Our wives on diamonds set their hearts,
    We set our hearts on clubs.

862. The Duke of Clarence jocularly observing to a captain of the navy,
that he heard he read the Bible, wished to know what he had learned from
it. The captain replied that there was one part of Scripture, at least,
which he well remembered, and thought it contained an admirable lesson.
What is that? cried the duke. Not to put my trust in princes! your royal

863. Mr. Abrahams, said Lord Mansfield, this man is your son, and cannot
go in the same bail bond. He ish not my son, my lord. Why, Mr. Abrahams,
here are twenty in court will prove it. I will shwear, my lord, he ish
not. Take care, Abrahams, or I will send you to the King’s Bench. Now,
my lord, if your lordship pleases, I will tell you the truth. Well, I
shall be glad to hear the truth from a Jew, replied Lord Mansfield. My
lord, I wash in Amsterdam two years and three quarters; when I came home
I findish this lad; now the law obliges me to maintain him; and
consequently, my lord, he ish but my son-in-law. Well, rejoined Lord
Mansfield, this is the best definition of a son-in-law I ever heard.

864. An Irishman being told that a friend of his had put his money in
the stocks, Well, said he, I never had a farthing in the stocks, but I
have had my legs often enough in them.

865. Dr. Fuller having requested one of his companions, who was a bon
vivant, to make an epitaph for him, received the following, with the
conceit of which he always expressed himself much pleased―“Here lies
Fuller’s earth.”

866. Two Irish seamen being on board a ship of war that was lying at
Spithead, one of them, looking on Haslar Hospital, observed, How much
that building puts me in mind of my father’s stables. Arrah, my honey,
cried the other, come with me, and I will shew you what will put you in
mind of your father’s house. So saying, he led him to the pig-sty.
There, said he, does not that put you in mind of your father’s parlour?

867. At a violent opposition election for Shrewsbury, in the reign of
George I., a half-pay officer, who was a non-resident burgess, was, with
some other voters, brought down from London at the expense of Mr.
Kynaston, one of the candidates. The old campaigner regularly attended
and feasted at the houses which were opened for the electors in Mr.
Kynaston’s interest, until the last day of the polling, when, to the
astonishment of the party, he gave his vote to his opponent. For this
strange conduct he was reproached by his quondam companions, and asked,
what could have induced him to act so dishonourable a part, and become
an apostate. An apostate! answered the old soldier―an apostate! by no
means. I made up my mind about whom I should vote for before I set out
upon this campaign; but I remembered the duke’s constant advice to us
when I served with our army in Flanders―Always quarter upon the enemy,
my lads; always quarter upon the enemy.

868. One of those Hibernian lapidaries to whose skill the London
pavements are so highly indebted, was tried at the Old Bailey one day
for biting off the nose of a Welchman, a brother paviour, in a quarrel,
at their work. The unfortunate Cambrian appeared in court with his
noseless countenance, and swore the fact against the prisoner; but
Dennis stoutly denied it, and called his gossip, another Hibernian
paviour, to give evidence in his defence. This witness, with great
apparent simplicity, stated, That to be sure his gossip and the other
man had a little bit of a scrimmage, and both fell together; that the
Welchman made several attempts to bite his gossip’s face, and at last he
made a twist of his mouth, and bit off his own nose in a mistake.

869. Counsellor Crips, of Cork, being on a party at Castle Martyr, the
seat of the Earl of Shannon, in Ireland, one of the company, who was a
physician, strolled out before dinner into the church-yard. Dinner being
served up, and the doctor not returned, some of the company were
expressing their surprise where he could be gone to. Oh, said the
counsellor, he is but just stepped out to pay a visit to some of his old

870. Sir John Davis, a Welchman, in the reign of King James I., wrote a
letter to the king in these words: Most mighty Prince! the gold mine
that was lately discovered in Ballycurry turns out to be a lead one.

871. An Irish gentleman in company, seeing that the lights were so dim
as only to render the darkness visible, called out lustily, Here,
waiter, let me have a couple of daycent candles, just that I may see how
these others burn.

872. An Irishman lately arriving in London, and passing through Broad
Street, observed a glass globe, containing some fine large gold fish, he
exclaimed―And sure, this is the first time in my life that I have seen
live red herrings.

873. The father of the celebrated Sheridan was one day descanting on the
pedigree of his family, regretting that they were no longer styled the
O’Sheridans, as they were formerly. Indeed, father, replied Sheridan,
then a boy, we have more right to the O than any one else; for we owe

874. A country carpenter having neglected to make a gibbet (which was
ordered by the executioner), on the ground that he had not been paid for
the last he erected, gave so much offence, that the next time the judge
went the circuit he was sent for. Fellow, said the judge, in a stern
tone, how came you to neglect making the gibbet that was ordered on my
account? I humbly beg your pardon, said the carpenter, had I known it
had been for your lordship, it should have been done immediately.

875. An Intendant of Montpellier, having lost his lady, was solicitous
that the chief officers of the city should attend her funeral obsequies.
This honour the magistrates thought proper to refuse, because it was not
customary, and might introduce a bad precedent. With a view, however, to
conciliate the favour of a person whom it would not be their interest to
offend, they politely added, If, sir, it had been your own funeral, we
should have attended it with the greatest pleasure.

876. An Irish bookseller, previous to a trial in which he was the
defendant, was informed by his counsel, that if there were any of the
jury to whom he had personal objection, he might legally challenge them.
Faith, and so I will, replied he; if they do not bring me off handsomely
I will shoot every man of them.

877. A prisoner confined in a French prison for a petty debt, lately
sent to his creditor, to let him know he had a proposal to make for
their mutual benefit. The creditor came, and the incarcerated thus
addressed him: Sir, I have been thinking that it is a very idle thing
for me to be here, and put you to the expense of twenty sous a day. My
being so chargeable to you has given me great uneasiness, and God knows
what it may cost you in the end. Therefore, I propose that you should
let me out of prison, and, instead of a franc, you shall allow me only
ten sous a day, and the other half franc shall go towards the discharge
of the debt.[3]

  [3] By the French law a creditor is bound to allow his debtor a franc
  a day so long as he detains him in prison.

878. Porson was no less distinguished for his wit and humour during his
residence in Cambridge, than for his profound learning; and he would
frequently divert himself by sending quizzical morceaux, in the shape of
notes, to his companions. He one day sent his gyp with a note to a
certain Cantab, who is now a D.D. and master of his college, requesting
him to find the value of nothing; next day he met his friend walking,
and, stopping him, he desired to know, whether he had succeeded? His
friend answered, Yes. And what may it be? asked Porson. Sixpence!
replied he, which I gave the man for bringing the note.

879. A fellow of atrocious ugliness chanced to pick up a looking-glass
on his road. But when he looked at himself he flung it away in a rage,
crying, Curse you, if you were good for anything you would not have been
thrown away by your owner.

880. Dr. Graham being on his stage at Chelmsford, in Essex, in order to
promote the sale of his medicines, told the country people that he came
there for the good of the public, not for want. Then speaking to his
merry Andrew, Andrew, said he, do we come here for want? No, faith, sir,
said Andrew, we have enough of that at home.

881. An Irish gentleman meeting his nephew, who told him he had just
been entered at college, replied, I am extremely happy to hear it; make
the most of your time and abilities, and I hope I shall live to hear you
preach my funeral sermon.

882. An old gentleman, who used to frequent one of the coffee-houses in
Dublin, being unwell, thought he might make so free as to steal an
opinion concerning his case; accordingly, one day he took an opportunity
of asking one of the faculty, who sat in the same box with him, what he
should take for such a complaint? Advice, said the doctor.

883. An Irishman maintained in company that the sun did not make his
revolution round the earth. But how, said one to him, is it possible,
that having reached the west, where he sets, he could be seen to rise in
the east, if he did not pass underneath the globe? How puzzled you are,
replied the obstinate ignorant man; he returns the same way; and if it
be not perceived, it is on account of his coming back by night.

884. Baron d’Adrets occasionally made his prisoners throw themselves
headlong, from the battlements of a high tower, upon the pikes of his
soldiers. One of these unfortunate persons, having approached the
battlements twice, without venturing to leap, the baron reproached him
with his want of courage, in a very insulting manner. Why, sir, said the
prisoner, bold as you are, I would give you five times before you took
the leap. This pleasantry saved the poor fellow’s life.

885. An Irishman, angling in the rain, was observed to keep his line
under the arch of a bridge; upon being asked the reason, he gave the
following answer: To be sure, the fishes will be after crowding there,
in order to keep out of the wet.

886. A foolish fellow went to the parish priest, and told him, with a
very long face, that he had seen a ghost. When and where? said the
pastor. Last night, replied the timid man, I was passing by the church,
and up against the wall of it, did I behold the spectre. In what shape
did it appear? replied the priest. It appeared in the shape of a great
ass. Go home, and say not a word about it, rejoined the pastor: you are
a very timid man, and have been frightened by your own shadow.

887. A lady remarking to a bookseller that she had just had Crabbe’s
Tales, and thought them excellent; another lady heard the observation
with astonishment, and on the departure of the speaker, asked the
bookseller, with a very grave face, If he could tell her how the crab’s
tails were dressed, as she should like much to taste them.

888. A very worthy, though not particularly erudite, underwriter at
Lloyd’s was conversing one day with a friend in the coffee-house, on the
subject of a ship they had mutually insured. His friend observed, Do you
know, I shrewdly suspect our ship is in jeopardy. The devil she is! said
he; well, I am glad that she has got into port at last.

889. Sir Thomas Overbury says, that the man who has not anything to
boast of but his illustrious ancestors, is like a potato plant―the only
good belonging to him is under ground.

890. It is well known that the celebrated lawyer Dunning (afterwards
Lord Ashburton) was a severe cross-examiner, unsparing in his sarcasms
and reflections upon character, when he thought that the truth might be
elicited by alarming a witness. He sometimes was harsh and overbearing,
when milder behaviour would have done him more credit, and answered his
purpose quite as well. Among the numerous rebukes which he received for
this habit of severity, the following is related, from his brother
barrister, Jack Lee. He mentioned to Lee that he had made a purchase of
some manors in Devonshire. It would be well, said Lee, if you could
bring them to Westminster Hall.

891. The late Lee Lewes shooting on a field, the proprietor attacked him
violently: I allow no person, said he, to kill game on my manor but
myself, and I’ll shoot you, if you come here again. What, said the
other, I suppose you mean to make game of me.

892. George the Fourth, on hearing some one declare that Moore had
murdered Sheridan, in his biography of that statesman, observed: I won’t
say that Mr. Moore has murdered Sheridan, but he has certainly attempted
his life.

893. The late Duke of Norfolk was remarkably fond of his bottle. On a
masquerade night, he consulted Foote as to what character he should
appear in. Don’t go disguised, said Foote, but assume a new character;
go sober.

894. Lord B―, who sports a ferocious pair of whiskers, meeting Mr.
O’Connell in Dublin, the latter said, When do you mean to place your
whiskers on the peace establishment? When you place your tongue on the
civil list! was the witty rejoinder.

895. A gentleman, at whose house Swift was once dining in Ireland,
introduced at dinner remarkably small hock glasses, and at length
turning to Swift addressed him,―Mr. Dean, I shall be happy to take a
glass of _hic_, _hæc_, _hoc_, with you. Sir, rejoined the doctor, I
shall be happy to comply, but it must be out of a _hujus_ glass.

896. There were two very fat noblemen at the court of Louis the
Fifteenth, the Duke de L― and the Duke de N―. They were both one day
at the levee, when the king began to rally the former on his corpulence.
You take no exercise, I suppose, said the king. Pardon me, sire, said de
L―, I walk twice a day round my cousin de N―.

897. An avaricious fenman, who kept a very scanty table, dining on
Saturday with his son at an ordinary in Cambridge, whispered in his ear,
Tom, you must eat for to-day and to-morrow. O, yes, retorted the
half-starved lad, but I ha’nt eaten for yesterday and to-day yet,

898. Shortly after the commencement of the last war, a tax was laid on
candles, which, as a political economist would prove, made them dear. A
Scotch wife, in Greenock, remarked to her chandler, Paddy Macbeth, that
the price was raised, and asked why. It’s a’ owin’ to the war, said
Paddy. The war! said the astonished matron, gracious me! are they gaun
to fight by candle light?

899. Dr. Parr, who, it is well known, was not very partial to the Thea
linensis, although lauded so warmly by a French writer as _nostris
gratissima musis_, being invited to take tea by a lady, with true
classic wit and refined gallantry, uttered the following delicate
compliment:―_Non possum te-cum vivere, nec sine te!_

900. Benjamin Franklin, when a child, found the long graces used by his
father before and after meals, very tedious. One day, after the winter’s
provisions had been salted―I think, father, said Benjamin, if you were
to say grace over the whole cask once for all, it would be a great
saving of time.

901. Mr. Pitt, said the Duchess of Gordon, I wish you to dine with me at
ten this evening. I must decline the honour, said the premier, for I am
engaged to sup with the Bishop of Lincoln at nine.

902. Burnet relates that the Habeas Corpus Act was carried by an odd
artifice in the House of Lords. Lords Grey and Norris being named the
tellers, and Lord Norris being subject to vapours, was not at all times
attentive; on a very fat lord passing, Lord Grey counted him as ten, as
a jest at first, but seeing Lord Norris had not observed it, he went on,
and it was reported to the house, and it was declared, that they who
were for the bill, were the majority, though it was really on the other
side; and by this means the bill was passed. Would that all tricks had
the same happy results!

903. The late Bonnel Thornton, like most wits, was a lover of
conviviality, which frequently led him to spend the whole night in
company, and all the next morning in bed. On one of these occasions, an
old female relation, having waited on him before he had risen, began to
read him a familiar lecture on prudence; which she concluded by saying,
Ah! Bonnel, Bonnel! I see plainly that you’ll shorten your days. Very
true, Madam, replied he, but, by the same rule, you must admit that I
shall lengthen my nights.

904. An attorney, who was much molested by a fellow importuning him to
bestow something, threatened to have him taken up as a common beggar. A
beggar! exclaimed the man, I would have you to know that I am of the
same profession as yourself; are we not both solicitors? That may be,
friend, yet there is this difference―you are not a legal one, which I

905. Two Oxonians dining together, one of them noticing a spot of grease
on the neckcloth of his companion, said, I see you are a Grecian. Pooh!
said the other, that’s far-fetched. No, indeed, said the punster, I made
it on the spot.

906. Foote being in company, and the Tuscan grape producing more riot
than concord, he observed one gentleman so far gone in debate as to
throw the bottle at his antagonist’s head; upon which, catching the
missile in his hand, he restored the harmony of the company, by
observing, that if the bottle was passed so quickly, not one of them
would be able to stand out the evening.

907. On Mr. H. Erskine’s receiving his appointment to succeed Mr.
Dundas, as justiciary in Scotland, he exclaimed that he must go and
order his silk robe. Never mind, said Mr. Dundas, for the short time you
will want it, you had better borrow mine! No! replied Erskine, how short
a time soever I may need it, heaven forbid that I commence my career by
adopting the abandoned habits of my predecessor.

908. Lord Mansfield being willing to save a man who stole a watch,
desired the jury to value it at tenpence; upon which the prosecutor
cried out, Tenpence, my lord! why the very fashion of it cost me five
pounds. Oh, said his lordship, we must not hang a man for fashion’s

909. One morning a party came into the public rooms at Buxton, somewhat
later than usual, and requested some tongue. They were told that Lord
Byron had eaten it all. I am very angry with his lordship, said a lady,
loud enough for him to hear the observation. I am sorry for it, madam,
retorted Lord Byron; but before I ate the tongue, I was assured you did
not want it.

910. Sir William Gooch being engaged in conversation with a gentleman in
a street of the city of Williamsburgh, returned the salute of a negro,
who was passing by about his master’s business. Sir William, said the
gentleman, do you descend so far as to salute a slave? Why, yes, replied
the governor; I cannot suffer a man of his condition to exceed me in
good manners.

911. A learned Irish Judge, among other peculiarities, has a habit of
begging pardon on every occasion. On his circuit, a short time since,
his favourite expression was employed in a singular manner. At the close
of the assize, as he was about to leave the bench, the officer of the
court reminded him that he had not passed sentence on one of the
criminals, as he had intended―Dear me! said his lordship, I really beg
his pardon―bring him in.

912. Dr. Parr and Lord Erskine are said to have been the vainest men of
their time. At dinner, some years since, Dr. Parr, in ecstasy with the
conversational powers of Lord E., called out to him, My lord, I mean to
write your epitaph. Dr. Parr, replied the noble lawyer, it is a
temptation to commit suicide.

913. Gibbon the historian, notwithstanding his shortness and rotundity,
was very gallant. One day being alone with Madame de Cronuas, Gibbon
wished to seize the favourable moment, and suddenly dropping on his
knees, he declared his love in the most passionate terms. Madame de
Cronuas replied in a tone to prevent the repetition of such a scene.
Gibbon was thunder-struck, but still remained on his knees, though
frequently desired to get up and resume his seat. Sir, said Madame de
Cronuas, will you have the goodness to rise? Alas, madam, replied the
unhappy lover, I cannot―(his size prevented him from rising without
assistance)―upon this Madame de Cronuas rang the bell, saying to the
servant, Assist Mr. Gibbon up.

914. An Irishman, who served on board a man-of-war in the capacity of a
waister, was selected by one of the officers to haul in a tow-line, of
considerable length, that was towing over the taffrail. After rowsing-in
forty or fifty fathoms, which had put his patience severely to proof, as
well as every muscle of his arms, he muttered to himself, By my soul,
it’s as long as to-day and to-morrow!―It’s a good week’s work for any
five in the ship!―Bad luck to the arm or leg it’ll lave me at
last!―What! more of it yet!―Och, murder; the sa’s mighty deep, to be
sure! When, after continuing in a similar strain, and conceiving there
was little probability of the completion of the labour, he stopped
suddenly short, and addressing the officer of the watch, exclaimed, Bad
manners to me sir, if I don’t think somebody’s cut off the other end of

915. Rose, private secretary to Louis XIV., having married his daughter
to M. Portail, president of the parliament, was constantly receiving
from his son-in-law, complaints of his daughter’s ill temper. To one of
these he at length answered, that he was fully convinced of her
misconduct, and was resolved to punish her for it: in short, that if he
heard any more of it, he would disinherit her. He heard no more.

916. It was some years ago said in the parliament-house at Edinburgh,
that a gentleman who was notorious for a pretty good appetite, had eaten
away his senses. Poh! replied Erskine, they would not be a mouthful to a
man of his bowels.

917. Sir Watkin Williams Wynne talking to a friend about the antiquity
of his family, which he carried up to Noah, was told that he was a mere
mushroom of yesterday. How so, pray? said the baronet. Why continued the
other, when I was in Wales, a pedigree of a particular family was shown
to me: it filled up above five large skins of parchment, and near the
middle of it was a note in the margin―About this time the world was

918. A gentleman having occasion to call upon Mr. Joseph Graham, writer,
found him at home in his writing chamber. He remarked the great heat of
the apartment, and said, It was hot as an oven. So it ought, replied Mr.
G., for ’tis here I make my bread.

919. Judge Burnet, son of the famous Bishop of Salisbury, when young, is
said to have been of a wild and dissipated turn. Being one day found by
his father in a very serious humour, What is the matter with you, Tom?
said the bishop; what are you ruminating on? A greater work than your
Lordship’s History of the Reformation, answered the son. Ay! what is
that? asked the father. The reformation of myself, my lord, replied the

920. A facetious abbé having engaged a box at the opera-house at Paris,
was turned out of his possession by a marshal of France, as remarkable
for his ungentlemanlike behaviour as for his cowardice and meanness. The
abbé, for his unjustifiable breach of good manners, brought his action
in a court of honour, and solicited permission to be his own advocate,
which was granted, when he pleaded to the following effect:―It is not
of Monsieur Suffrein, who acted so nobly in the East Indies, that I
complain; it is not of the Duke de Crebillon, who took Minorca, that I
complain; it is not of the Comte de Grasse, who so bravely fought Lord
Rodney, that I complain; but it is of Marshal ―, who took my box at
the opera-house, and never took anything else. This most poignant stroke
of satire so sensibly convinced the court that he had already inflicted
punishment sufficient, that they refused to grant him a verdict―a fine
compliment to the abbé’s wit.

921. Frederic, conqueror as he was, sustained a severe defeat at Coslin
in the war of 1755. Some time after, at a review, he jocosely asked a
soldier, who had got a deep cut in his cheek, Friend, at what alehouse
did you get that scratch? I got it, said the soldier, at Coslin, where
your majesty paid the reckoning.

922. During an action of Admiral Rodney with the French, a woman
assisted at one of the guns on the main deck, and being asked by the
admiral, what she did there? she replied, An’t please your honour, my
husband is sent down to the cockpit wounded, and I am here to supply his
place: do you think, your honour, I am afraid of the French?

923. The celebrated Bubb Doddington was very lethargic. Falling asleep
one day after dinner with Sir Richard Temple and Lord Cobham, the
general, the latter reproached Doddington with his drowsiness.
Doddington denied having been asleep; and to prove he had not, offered
to repeat all Lord Cobham had been saying. Cobham challenged him to do
so. Doddington repeated a story, and Lord Cobham owned he had been
telling it. And yet, said Doddington, I did not hear a word of it; but I
went to sleep because I knew that about this time you would tell that

924. When the late Duchess of Kingston wished to be received at the
court of Berlin, she got the Russian minister there to mention her
intention to his Prussian majesty, and to tell him at the same time,
that her fortune was at Rome, her bank at Venice, but that her heart was
at Berlin. The king replied, I am sorry we are only intrusted with the
worst part of her grace’s property.

925. Fletcher, Bishop of Nismes, was the son of a tallow-chandler. A
proud duke once endeavoured to mortify the prelate, by saying, at the
levee, that he smelt of tallow: to which the bishop replied, My lord, I
am the son of a chandler, it is true, and if your lordship had been, you
would have remained so all the days of your life.

926. Zimmerman, who was very eminent as a physician, went from Hanover
to attend Frederic the Great in his last illness. One day the king said
to him, You have, I presume, sir, helped many a man into another world?
This was a rude speech, and an unpleasant pill for the doctor; but the
dose he gave the king in return, was a judicious mixture of truth and
flattery: Not so many as your majesty, nor with so much honour to

927. During the riots of 1780, most persons in London, in order to save
their houses from being burned or pulled down, wrote on the outside, No
Popery! Old Grimaldi, to avoid all mistakes, wrote on his, No Religion.

928. Mr. Palmer going home, after the business of the theatre was
concluded one evening, saw a man lying on the ground, with another on
him beating him violently; upon this he remonstrated with the uppermost,
telling him his conduct was unfair, and that he ought to let his
opponent get up, and have an equal chance with him. The fellow drolly
turned up his face to Mr. Palmer, and drily replied, Faith, sir, if you
had been at as much trouble to get him down as I have, you would not be
for letting him get up so readily.

929. A French ambassador at an audience with James I. conversed with
such rapidity, gesticulation, and grimace, as excited the wonder and
conversation of the court. James afterwards asked Lord Chancellor Bacon,
what he thought of the ambassador. Sire, replied the philosopher, he
appears a fine, tall, well-built man. I mean, interrupted the king, what
do you think of his head? is it equal to his employment? Sire, answered
Bacon, men of high stature very often resemble houses of four or five
stories, where the upper one is always the worst furnished.

930. In Mr. Fox’s frolicsome days, a tradesman, who held his bill for
two hundred pounds, called for payment. Charles said he could not then
discharge it. How can that be? said the creditor; you have just now
lying before you bank notes to a large amount. Those, replied Mr. Fox,
are for paying my debts of honour. The tradesman immediately threw his
bill into the fire. Now, sir, said he, mine is a debt of honour, which I
cannot oblige you to pay. Charles, much to his honour, instantly paid
him his full demand.

931. The Duke d’Ossuna, being viceroy of Naples, went on board a Spanish
galley, on a festival, to exercise his right of delivering one of the
wretches from punishment. On interrogating them why they were brought
there, they all asserted their innocence but one, who confessed that his
punishment was too small for his crimes. The duke said, Here, take away
this rascal, lest he should corrupt all these honest men!

932. V― having satirized a nobleman who was powerful at court, the
latter sought every occasion to revenge himself, and challenged V― to
fight him with swords. We are not equals, replied the poet; you are very
great, I am little; you are brave, I am cowardly; you wish to kill
me―_eh bien_, I will consider myself as dead. This timely jest turned
the anger of the nobleman into irrestrainable laughter, and they parted
good friends.

933. In the time of the old court, the faces of the Parisian ladies were
spotted with patches like pards, and plastered with rouge like so many
red lions of the roadside. Lord Chesterfield, being at Paris, was asked
by Voltaire, if he did not think some French ladies, then in company,
whose cheeks were fashionably tinted, very beautiful. Excuse me, said
Chesterfield, from giving an opinion: I am really no judge of amateur

934. George II. passing through his chamber one evening, preceded by a
single page, a small canvas bag of guineas, which he held in his hand,
accidentally dropped, and one of them rolled under a closet door, in
which wood was usually kept for the use of his bed-chamber. After the
king had very deliberately picked up the money, he found himself
deficient of a guinea; and, guessing where it went, Come, said he to the
page, we must find this guinea; here, help me to throw out the wood. The
page and he accordingly went to work, and after some time found it.
Well, said the king, you have wrought hard, there is the guinea for your
labour, but I would have nothing lost.

935. A beauish marquis waited on some ladies, in order to take them to
the Paris Observatory, where the celebrated Cassini was to observe an
eclipse of the sun. The arrival of this party had been delayed by the
toilet; and the eclipse was over when the petit-maitre appeared at the
door. He was informed he had come too late, and that all was over. Never
mind, ladies, said he, step up; Monsieur Cassini is a particular friend
of mine; he will be so obliging as to begin again for me.

936. When Rabelais was on his death-bed, a consultation of physicians
was called. Dear gentlemen, said the wit to the doctors, raising his
languid head, let me die a natural death.

937. Dr. Busby, whose figure was beneath the common size, was one day
accosted in a public coffee-room, by an Irish baronet of colossal
stature, with, May I pass to my seat, O Giant? When the doctor, politely
making way, replied, Pass, O Pigmy! Oh, sir, said the baronet, my
expression alluded to the size of your intellect. And my expression,
sir, said the doctor, to the size of your’s.

938. An apothecary, who used to value himself on his knowledge of drugs,
asserted that all bitter things were hot. No, said a gentleman present,
there is one of a very different quality―a bitter cold day.

939. Philip, Earl Stanhope, whose dress always corresponded with the
simplicity of his manners, was once prevented from going into the House
of Peers by a door-keeper who was unacquainted with his person. Lord
Stanhope was resolved to get into the house without explaining who he
was; and the door-keeper, equally determined on his part, said to him,
Honest man, you have no business here; honest man, you can have no
business in this place. I believe, rejoined his lordship, you are right;
honest men have no business here.

940. When the late King of Denmark was in England, he very frequently
honoured Sir Thomas Robinson with his company, though the knight spoke
French in a very imperfect manner, and the king had scarce any knowledge
of English. One day, when Sir Thomas was in company with the late Lord
Chesterfield, and boasted much of his intimacy with the king, and added,
that he believed the monarch had a greater friendship for him than any
man in England, How report lies, exclaimed Lord Chesterfield; I heard no
later than this day, that you never met but a great deal of bad language
passed between you.

941. One of the most flattering and ingenious compliments Frederick ever
paid, was that which he addressed to the celebrated General Laudohn, at
the time of his interview with the emperor at the camp of Neiss. After
they had discoursed for about an hour, the two monarchs sat down to
dinner, with the princes and general officers in their train. Marshal
Laudohn, who had been invited among the rest, was about to seat himself
at the bottom of the table, but the king bade him come and sit by him,
saying, Come here, General Laudohn; I have always wished to see you on
my side, instead of fronting me.

942. Dr. Walcot, better known as Peter Pindar, called one day upon a
bookseller in Paternoster Row, the publisher of his works, by way of
inquiring into the literary and other news of the day. After some chat,
the doctor was asked to take a glass of wine with the seller of his wit
and poetry. Our author consented to accept of a little negus as an
innocent morning beverage; when instantly was presented to him a
cocoa-nut goblet, with the face of a man carved on it. Eh! eh! said the
doctor, what have we here? A man’s skull, replied the bookseller; a
poet’s for what I know. Nothing more likely, rejoined the facetious
doctor, for it is universally known that all you booksellers drink your
wine from our skulls.

943. A gentleman who was dining with another, praised very much the
meat, and asked who was the butcher? His name is Addison. Addison!
echoed the guest, pray is he any relation to the poet? In all
probability he is, for he is seldom without his steel (Steele) by his

944. Swift having paid a visit at Sir Arthur Acheson’s country seat, and
being, on the morning of his return to his deanery, detained a few
minutes longer than he expected at his breakfast, found, when he came to
the door, his own man on horseback, and a servant of Sir Arthur’s
holding the horse he was to ride himself. He mounted, turned the head of
his horse towards his own man, and asked him in a low voice if he did
not think he should give something to the servant who held his horse,
and if he thought five shillings would be too much: No, sir, it will
not, if you mean to do the thing handsomely, was the reply. The dean
made no remark upon this, but when he paid his man’s weekly account,
wrote under it, Deducted from this, for money paid to Sir Arthur’s
servant for doing your business, five shillings.

945. Two Irish porters meeting in Dublin, one addressed the other with,
Och, Thady, my jewel, is it you? Are you just come from England! Pray
did you see anything of our old friend, Pat Murphy? The devil a sight,
replied he, and what’s worse, I’m afraid I never shall. How so? Why, he
met with a very unfortunate accident lately. Amazing! What was it? O,
indeed, nothing more than this; as he was standing on a plank, talking
devoutly to a priest, at a place in London which I think they call the
Old Bailey, the plank suddenly gave way, and poor Murphy got his neck

946. A Quaker from Bristol, who lately alighted at an inn, called for
some porter, and observing, as it is now the fashion, the pint deficient
in quantity, thus addressed the landlord: Pray, friend, how many butts
of beer dost thou draw in a month? Ten, sir, replied Boniface. And thou
wouldst like to draw eleven if thou couldst, rejoined Ebenezer.
Certainly, exclaimed the smiling landlord. Then I will tell thee how,
friend, added the Quaker―fill thy measures.

947. A man who was on the point of being married, obtained from his
confessor his certificate of confession. Having read it, he observed
that the priest had omitted the usual penance. Did you not tell me, said
the confessor, that you were going to be married?

948. Lord Galloway was an enemy to the Bute administration. At the
change of the ministry he came to London, for the first time in the late
king’s reign. He was dressed in black, in a very uncourtly style. When
he appeared at the levee, the eyes of the company were turned upon him,
and George Selwyn being asked who he was, replied, A Scotch undertaker
come to bury the last administration.

949. Old Astley, one evening, when his band was playing an overture,
went up to the horn players, and asked why they were not playing? They
said they had twenty bars rest. Rest! said he, I’ll have nobody rest in
my company; I pay you for playing, not for resting.

950. Tom Tickle was peculiarly odd in his manner of drawing characters.
He once sent his servant to a gentleman, remarkable for being always in
a hurry, with a message of great importance; but the servant returned,
and told his master that the gentleman was in so great a hurry he could
not speak to him. It is no more than what I expected, said Tom, for he
loses an hour in the morning, and runs after it all day.

951. As the late Chevalier Taylor was once enumerating, in company, the
great honours which he had received from the different princes of
Europe, and the orders with which he had been dignified by numerous
sovereigns, a gentleman present took occasion to remark, that he had not
named the king of Prussia; adding, I suppose, sir, that monarch never
gave you any order! You are quite mistaken, sir, replied the Chevalier;
for I can most positively assure you, that he gave me a very peremptory
order―to quit his dominions.

952. A lady of rank, dancing one evening, approached so near to a
chandelier, that the fluttering plume of feathers, waving to and fro on
her forehead, came in contact with the flame, and the whole was
instantly in a blaze. The illumination, however, was quickly and happily
extinguished without harm; when her husband, seeing the danger avoided,
and the thoughtlessness of the act, peevishly and half angrily
exclaimed, Surely, your ladyship must be absolutely mad! No, no, replied
her ladyship, only a little light-headed.

953. A poor player, in a mixed company, undertook to quote a passage
from Shakespeare, that should be applicable to any remark that might be
made by any person present. A forward young fellow undertook to supply a
sentence that he believed could not be answered from the works of the
bard; and addressing the player, he said, You are the most insolent
pretender in the room. “You forget yourself,” promptly replied the
player, quoting from the quarrel-scene between Brutus and Cassius.

954. At a public dinner, a gentleman observed a person who sat opposite
use a toothpick which had just done the same service to his neighbour.
Wishing to apprise him of his mistake, he said, I beg your pardon, sir,
but you are using Mr. ―’s toothpick. I know I am. By the powers, sir,
do you think I am not going to return it!

955. A Leicestershire farmer, who had never seen a silver fork, had some
soup handed to him at a dinner lately. He found that no spoon was placed
at his elbow. Lifting the fork, and twirling it in his fingers for some
time, he called the waiter, and requested him to bring a silver spoon
wi’out ony slits in it.

956. A sailor coming across Blackheath one evening, was stopped by a
footpad, who demanded his money, when a scuffle ensued. The tar took the
robber, and bore away with his prize to a justice of the peace at
Woolwich. When the magistrate came to examine into the assault, he told
the sailor that he must take his oath that the robber had put him in
bodily fear, otherwise he could not commit him. The sailor, looking
stedfastly at the justice, answered, He,―he put me in bodily fear! No,
nor any he that ever lived; therefore, if that is the case you may let
him go, for I will not swear to any such thing.

957. A barrister entered the hall with his wig very much awry, of which
he was not apprised, but endured from almost every observer some remark
on its appearance, till at last, addressing himself to Mr. Curran, he
asked him, Do you see anything ridiculous in this wig? The answer
instantly was, Nothing but the head.

958. Sterne, who used his wife very ill, was one day talking to Garrick
in a fine sentimental manner, in praise of conjugal love and fidelity.
The husband, said Sterne, who behaves unkindly to his wife, deserves to
have his house burnt over his head. If you think so, said Garrick, I
hope your house is insured.

959. A lady after performing, with the most brilliant execution, a
sonata on the pianoforte, in the presence of Dr. Johnson, turning to the
philosopher, took the liberty of asking him if he was fond of music? No,
madam, replied the doctor; but of all noises I think music is the least

960. The Abbé Maury, who had rendered himself obnoxious to the
democrats, during the French revolution, was one night seized by the
mob, who looked round for a lamp-post to suspend him on. Pray, my good
friends, said the Abbé, were you to hang me to that lamp-post, do you
think that you would see any the clearer for it? This well-timed wit
softened the rabble and saved his life.

961. Salezzo de Pedrada praising an old lady for her beauty, she
answered, that beauty was incompatible with her age. To which Salezzo
replied, We say, as beautiful as an angel; and yet the angels are, of
all creatures, the most ancient.

962. A French officer quarreling with a Swiss, reproached him with his
country’s vice of fighting on either side for money, while we Frenchmen,
said he, fight for honour. Yes, sir, replied the Swiss, every one fights
for that which he most wants.

963. When the late Mr. Windham, the war minister, was upon a trip to the
continent, he met with a Dutch clergyman, who was very eager in his
inquiries as to the doctrines and discipline of the church of England,
to which he received satisfactory answers; those, however, were
succeeded by others of a more difficult nature, particularly as to the
manner in which some English preachers manufacture their sermons. Upon
Mr. Windham confessing his ignorance of this subject, the Dutchman, in a
tone of disappointment, exclaimed, Why, then, I find, sir, after all the
conversation we have had, that I have been deceived as to your
profession: they told me you were an English minister.

964. Dr. Savage, who died in 1747, travelled in his younger days with
the Earl of Salisbury, to whom he was indebted for a considerable living
in Hertfordshire. One day at the levee, the king (George I.) asked him
how long he had resided at Rome with Lord Salisbury? Upon his telling
how long, Why, said the king you stayed there long enough; how is it you
did not convert the Pope? Because, sir, replied the doctor, I had
nothing better to offer him.

965. On the Scotch circuits, the judges gave dinners, having an
allowance for that purpose. The great Lord Kames was extremely
parsimonious; and, at a circuit dinner at Perth, did not allow claret,
as had been the custom. The conversation turned on Sir Charles Hardy’s
fleet, which was then blockaded by the French; and one of the company
asked what had become of our fleet. Mr. Henry Erskine answered,
Confined, like us, to port.

966. M. Lalande, the French astronomer, during the whole time of the
revolution, confined himself to the study of that science. When he found
that he had escaped the fury of Robespierre, he jocosely said, I may
thank my stars for it.

967. After Dr. Johnson had been honoured with an interview with the
king, in the queen’s library at Buckingham House, he was interrogated by
a friend concerning his reception, and his opinion of the royal
intellect. His majesty, replied the doctor, seems to be possessed of
much good-nature and much curiosity, and is far from contemptible. His
majesty, indeed, was multifarious in his questions, but he answered them
all himself.

968. A common councilman was hoaxed into an opinion, that, as a
representative of the citizens, he was entitled to ride through the
turnpikes free of expense. He next day mounted his nag, to ascertain his
civic privileges; and asked at the turnpike at the Dog-row, in Mile-end
road, if, as a common councilman, he had not a right to pass without
payment? Yes, replied the turnpike man archly, you may pass yourself,
but you must pay for your horse.

969. There was a lady of the west country, that gave a great
entertainment at her house, to most of the gallant gentlemen thereabout,
and, among others, Sir Walter Raleigh. This lady, though otherwise a
stately dame, was a notable good housewife; and in the morning betimes
she called to one of her maids that looked to the swine, and asked, Are
the pigs served? Sir Walter Raleigh’s chamber was close to the lady’s.
Before dinner the lady came down in great state into the
assembling-room, which was full of gentlemen, and as soon as Sir Walter
cast his eyes upon her, Madam, are the pigs served? The lady answered,
You know best whether you have had your breakfast.

970. Joseph II. Emperor of Germany, travelling in his usual way, without
his retinue, attended by only a single aide-de-camp, arrived very late
at the house of an Englishman, who kept an inn in the Netherlands. It
being fair time, and the house rather crowded, the host, ignorant of his
guest’s quality, appointed them to sleep in an out-house, which they
readily complied with; and, after eating a few slices of ham and
biscuit, retired to rest, and in the morning paid their bill, which
amounted to only 3_s._ 6_d._ English, and rode off. A few hours
afterwards, several of his suite coming to inquire after him, and the
publican understanding the rank of his guest, appeared very uneasy.
Psha! psha! man, said one of the attendants, Joseph is accustomed to
such adventures, and will think no more of it. But I shall, replied the
landlord; for I can never forget the circumstance, nor forgive myself
neither, for having had an emperor in my house, and letting him off for
3_s._ 6_d._

971. Some years ago, says Richardson, in his Anecdotes of Painting, a
gentleman came to me to invite me to his house: I have, said he, a
picture of Rubens, and it is a rare good one. There is little H. the
other day came to see it, and said it was a copy. If any one says so
again, I’ll break his head. Pray, Mr. Richardson, will you do me the
favour to come, and give me your real opinion of it?

972. A chimney-sweep having descended a wrong chimney, made his sudden
appearance in a room where two men, one named Butler and the other Cook,
were enjoying themselves over a pot of beer. How now, cried the former,
what news from the other world? The sweep perceiving his mistake, and
recollecting the persons, very smartly replied, I came to inform you
that we are very much in want of a Butler and Cook.

973. One of the Dover stages, on its way to London, was stopped by a
single highwayman, who was informed by the coachman there were no inside
passengers, and only one in the basket, and he was a sailor. The robber
then proceeded to exercise his employment on the tar; when waking him
out of his sleep Jack demanded what he wanted; to which the son of
plunder replied, Your money. You shan’t have it, said Jack. No! replied
the robber, then I’ll blow your brains out. Blow away then, you
land-lubber, cried Jack, squirting the tobacco-juice out of his mouth, I
may as well go to London without brains as without money; drive on,

974. After a loud preface of O yes, pronounced most audibly three times,
in the High Street, Newmarket, the late Lord Barrymore, having collected
a number of persons together, made the following general proposal to the
gapers, Who wants to buy a horse that can walk five miles an hour, trot
sixteen, and gallop twenty? I do, said a gentleman, with manifest
eagerness. Then, replied Lord Barrymore, If I see any such animal to be
sold, I will be sure to let you know.

975. The Duke of Longueville’s reply, when it was observed to him that
the gentlemen bordering on his estates were continually hunting upon
them, and that he ought not to suffer it, is worthy of imitation: I had
much rather, answered the duke, have friends than hares.

976. A gentleman was once praising the style of Swift before Johnson:
the doctor did not find himself in the humour to agree with him; the
critic was driven from one of his performances to another. At length,
you must allow me, said the gentleman, that there are strong facts in
the account of the “Four last years of Queen Anne.” Yes, surely, replied
Johnson, and so there always are in the Newgate Calendar.

977. Johnson made Goldsmith a comical answer one day, when he was
repining at the success of Beattie’s Essay on Truth. Here is such a
stir, said he, about a fellow that has written one book, and I have
written many. Ah, doctor, said his friend, there go two and forty
sixpences, you know, to one guinea.

978. A finished coquette, at a ball, asked a gentleman near her, while
she adjusted her tucker, whether he could flirt a fan, which she held in
her hand. No, madam, answered he, proceeding to use it, but I can fan a

979. A notorious thief, being to be tried for his life, confessed the
robbery he was charged with. The judge hereupon directed the jury to
find him guilty on his own confession. The jury having laid their heads
together, brought him in Not guilty. The judge bid them consider of it
again; but still they brought in their verdict Not guilty. The judge
asked the reason. The foreman replied, There is reason enough, for we
all know him to be one of the greatest liars in the world.

980. A notorious culprit, who suffered some years since at Salisbury,
and the last of three brothers who had been executed for similar
offences, after sentence was passed, said, My lord, I humbly thank you.
His lordship, astonished, asked him for what? Because, my lord, I
thought I should have been hung in chains, which would have been a
disgrace to the family.

981. Dean Jackson, passing one morning through Christchurch quadrangle,
met some undergraduates, who walked along without capping. The dean
called one of them, and asked, Do you know who I am? No, sir. How long
have you been in college? Eight days, sir. Oh, very well, said the dean,
walking away, puppies don’t open their eyes till the ninth day.

982. A little lawyer appearing as evidence in one of the courts, was
asked by a gigantic counsellor, what profession he was of; and having
replied that he was an attorney―You a lawyer! said Brief, why I could
put you in my pocket. Very likely you may, rejoined the other, and if
you do, you will have more law in your pocket than ever you had in your

983. When George Bidder, the calculating phenomenon, was a very little
boy, he made the tour of England with his father, displaying everywhere
his astonishing power of combining and resolving numbers. Among several
very ingenious and difficult questions prepared purposely for him, an
ignorant pedagogue asked (without furnishing any data), How many cow’s
tails would reach to the moon? The boy, turning upon the inquirer an eye
of considerable archness, answered instantly, One, if it were long

984. Mr. Moore having been long under a prosecution in Doctors Commons,
his proctor called on him one day whilst he was composing the tragedy of
the Gamester. The proctor having sat down, he read him four acts of the
piece, being all he had written, by which the man of law was so much
affected, that he exclaimed, Good God! can you add to this couple’s
distress in the last act? Oh, very easily, said the poet, I intend to
put them in the Ecclesiastical Court.

985. Ned Shuter was often very poor, and being still more negligent than
poor, was careless about his dress. A friend overtaking him one day in
the street, said to him, Why, Ned, are you not ashamed to walk the
streets with twenty holes in your stockings? why don’t you get them
mended? No, my friend, said Ned, I am above it; and if you have the
pride of a gentleman, you will act like me, and walk with twenty holes
rather than have one darn. How, replied the other, how do you make that
out? Why, replied Ned, a hole is the accident of the day; but a darn is
premeditated poverty.

986. The witty Lord Ross, having spent all his money in London, set out
for Ireland, in order to recruit his purse. On his way, he happened to
meet with Sir Murrough O’Brien, driving towards Dublin in a lofty
phaeton with six prime dun-coloured horses. Sir Murrough, exclaimed his
lordship, what a contrast there is between you and me! you are driving
your duns before you, but my duns are driving me before them.

987. The high-bailiff of Birmingham, attended by some officers of the
town, goes round on a market-day to examine the weight of the butter,
and they seize all which is found short of sixteen ounces. A countryman,
who generally stood in a particular place, having on a former market-day
lost two pounds of butter, was seen, the next time they came round, to
laugh heartily, while the officers were taking a considerable quantity
from a woman who stood near him. One of the officers, not pleased with
the fellow’s want of decorum, particularly in the presence of men vested
with such high authority, said, What do you mean by laughing, fellow? I
took two pounds from you last week. I’ll lay you a guinea of it, said
the countryman. Done, replied the officer; and immediately put a guinea
into the hands of a respectable tradesman, who was standing at his own
door. The countryman instantly covered it; and then, with a triumphant
grin, said, Well done, thickhead, if it had been two pounds would you
have taken it from me? Was it not for being short of weight that I lost
it? The umpire without hesitation decided it in his favour, to the great
mortification of the humble administrator of justice.

988. An Irishman, some years ago, attending the University of Edinburgh,
waited upon one of the most celebrated teachers of the German flute,
desiring to know on what terms he would give him a few lessons: the
flute-player informed him, that he generally charged two guineas for the
first month, and one guinea for the second. Then, by my soul, replied
the Hibernian, I’ll begin the second month!

989. Foote being at table next to a gentleman who had helped himself to
a very large piece of bread; he took it up and cut a piece off. Sir,
said the gentleman, that is my bread. I beg a thousand pardons, sir,
said Foote, I protest I took it for the loaf.

990. The Marquis della Scalas, an Italian nobleman, having invited the
neighbouring gentry to a grand entertainment, where all the delicacies
of the season were provided, some of the company arrived very early, for
the purpose of paying their respects to his excellency: soon after
which, the major-domo, entering the dining-room in a great hurry, told
the marquis that there was a fisherman below, who had brought one of the
finest fish in all Italy, for which, however, he demanded a most
extravagant price. Regard not his price, cried the marquis; pay him the
money directly. So I would, please your highness, but he refuses to take
any money. What, then, would the fellow have? A hundred strokes of the
strappado on his bare shoulders, my lord; he says he will not bate a
single blow. On this, the whole company ran down stairs, to see so
singular a man. A fine fish! cried the marquis; what is your demand, my
friend? Not a quatrini, my lord, answered the fisherman; I will not take
money: if your lordship wishes to have the fish, you must order me a
hundred lashes of the strappado on my naked back; otherwise I shall
apply elsewhere. Rather than lose the fish, said the marquis, we must
e’en let this fellow have his humour. Here! cried he to one of his
grooms, discharge this honest man’s demands: but don’t lay on too hard;
don’t hurt the poor devil very much! The fisherman then stripped, and
the groom prepared to execute his lordship’s orders. Now, my friend,
said the fisherman, keep an exact account, I beseech you; for I don’t
desire a single stroke more than my due. The whole company were
astonished at the amazing fortitude with which the man submitted to the
operation, till he had received the fiftieth lash; when, addressing
himself to the servant, Hold, my friend, cried the fisherman; I have now
had my full share of the price. Your share? exclaimed the marquis; what
is the meaning of all this? My lord, returned the fisherman, I have a
partner, to whom my honour is engaged, that he shall have his full half
of whatever I receive for the fish; and your lordship, I dare venture to
say, will by and by own that it would be a thousand pities to defraud
him of a single stroke. And pray, honest friend, said the marquis, who
is this partner? Your porter, my lord, answered the fisherman, who keeps
the outer gate of the palace, and refused to admit me, unless I would
promise him half what I should obtain for the fish. Ho! ho! exclaimed
the marquis, laughing very heartily, by the blessing of heaven, he shall
have double his demand in full! The porter was accordingly sent for; and
being stripped to the skin, two grooms were directed to lay on with all
their might till he had fairly received what he was so well entitled to.
The marquis then ordered his steward to pay the fisherman twenty
sequins; desiring him to call annually for the like sum, as a recompense
for the friendly service he had rendered him.

991. Mr. Pope being one night crossing the street from Button’s
coffee-house, when the moon occasionally peeped through a cloud, was
accosted by a link-boy with, Light, your honour! light, your honour! He
repeatedly exclaimed, I do not want you. But the lad still following
him, he peevishly cried out, Get about your business: God mend me! I
will not give you a farthing; it’s light enough. It’s light enough,
echoed the lad, what’s light enough? your head or your pocket? God mend
you, indeed! it would be easier to make two men, than mend one such as

992. A fellow, walking down Holborn Hill on a sultry summer evening,
observed an old gentleman, without his hat, panting and leaning upon a
post, and courteously asked him what was the matter? Sir, said the old
man, an impudent puppy has just snatched my hat off, and run away with
it: I have run after him until I have quite lost my breath, and cannot,
if my life depended on it, go a step farther. What, not a step? said the
fellow. Not a step, returned he. Why then, by Jupiter, I must have your
wig; and snatching off his fine flowing caxon, the thief was out of
sight in a minute.

993. Two tars, just landed, went to see an old acquaintance, who kept
what they humorously called a grog-shop, in a village near Portsmouth,
the sign of the Angel. On their entering the place, they stared about
for the wished-for sign. There it is! said one. Why, you fool, replied
the other, that’s a peacock. Who do you call fool? retorted Ben; how the
devil should I know the difference, when I never saw an angel in my

994. The late Colonel O’Kelly, well known to all the lovers of the turf,
having, at a Newmarket meeting, proposed a considerable wager to a
gentleman who, it seems, had no knowledge of him; the stranger,
suspecting the challenge came from one of the black-legged fraternity,
begged to know what security he would give for so large a sum if he
should lose, and where his estates lay. O! the dear craters, I have the
map of them about me, and here it is, sure enough, said O’Kelly, pulling
out a pocket-book, and giving unequivocal proofs of his property, by
producing bank-notes to a considerable amount.

995. After a successful attack on the royal party in 1745, a Higlander
gained a watch as his share of the plunder. Unacquainted with its use,
he listened with equal surprise and pleasure to the ticking sound with
which his new acquisition amused him; after a few hours, however, the
watch was down, the noise ceased, and the dispirited owner, looking on
the toy no longer with satisfaction, determined to conceal the
misfortune which had befallen it, and to dispose of it to the first
person who should offer him a trifle in exchange. He soon met with a
customer, but at parting he could not help exclaiming, Why, she died
last night.

996. When Mr. Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania, and the most
considerable man among the Quakers, went to court to pay his respects to
Charles II., that merry monarch, observing the Quaker not to lower his
beaver, took off his own hat, and stood uncovered before Penn, who said,
Prithee, friend Charles, put on thy hat. No, friend Penn, said the king,
it is usual for only one man to stand covered here.

997. A person had been relating many incredible stories when Professor
Engel, who was present, in order to repress his impertinence, said, But,
gentlemen, all this amounts to but very little, when I can assure you
that the celebrated organist, Abbé Vogler, once imitated a thunder-storm
so well, that for miles round all the milk turned sour.

998. The late Bishop of Worcester, Dr. Hough, was remarkable for
sweetness of temper, as well as every other christian virtue; of which
the following story affords a proof:―A young gentleman, whose family
had been well acquainted with the bishop, in making the tour of England
before he went abroad, called to pay his respects to his lordship as he
passed by his seat in the country. It happened to be at dinner time, and
the room full of company. The bishop, however, received him with much
familiarity; but the servant in reaching him a chair, threw down a
curious weather-glass that had cost twenty guineas, and broke it. The
gentleman was under infinite concern, and began to make an apology for
being himself the occasion of the accident, when the bishop with great
good nature interrupted him. Be under no concern, sir, said his
lordship, smiling, for I am much beholden to you for it: we have had a
very dry season; and now I hope we shall have rain, as I never saw the
glass so low in my life. Every one was pleased with the humour and
pleasantry of the turn.

999. Dr. Johnson was observed by a musical friend of his to be extremely
inattentive at a concert, whilst a celebrated solo player was running up
the divisions and subdivisions of notes upon his violin. His friend, to
induce him to take greater notice of what was going on, told him how
extremely difficult it was. Difficult, is it, sir! replied the doctor; I
wish it were impossible.

1000. An American general was once in company where there were some few
Scotch. After supper, when the wine was served up, the general rose and
addressed the company in the following words:―Gentlemen, I must inform
you, that when I get a little groggish, I have an absurd custom of
railing against the Scotch; I hope no gentleman in company will take it
amiss. With this he sat down. Up started M―, a Scotch officer, and
without seeming the least displeased, said, Gentlemen, I, when I am a
little groggish, and hear any person railing against the Scotch, have an
absurd custom of kicking him out of the company; I hope no gentleman
will take it amiss. It is hardly necessary to add, that, that night, he
had no occasion to exert his talents.

1001. The father of a late Lord Hardwicke was hanged for forgery. When
Lord H. sat as chancellor, an old countryman was examined as to a
particular fact, the exact date of which he could not recollect. All
that I remember about it, said he, is, that it happened on the day old
Yorke was hanged.

1002. A theatrical lady, celebrated for everything but continence, at
length resolved to marry and reform. Her conduct was duly canvassed in
the dressing-rooms of the theatres. I am told, cried one, that she
confessed to her liege lord all her amours. What a proof of courage!
exclaimed one lady. What an extraordinary instance of candour! said
another. What an amazing instance of memory! cried a third.

1003. Elliston had many friends and some relations in the church.
Visiting one of the latter, who had some occasion to call upon his
clerk, who was also the town crier, Elliston accompanied his friend; the
crier was from home, and whilst the reverend gentleman explained to the
man’s wife the nature of his visit, Elliston looked over two or three
things that had been left to be cried that evening, amongst others, one
was of a dog lost, who, amid his peculiar spots and blemishes, had “sore
eyes;” Elliston always alive for a joke, altered the word sore to four.
The crier came home, took up the several notices and commenced his
round, enunciating in sonorous tones, Lost a black and tan coloured
terrier, and answers to the name of Carlo; has two black legs and four
eyes. You vagabond, cried the traveller to whom the dog belonged, how do
you think I shall ever get my dog, if you describe it in that way? The
crier maintained that it was according to the original, and, upon
examination, it was evident the paper had been tampered with. Home went
the crier, boiling with indignation; his wife had informed him of the
call of his reverend employer, but had said nothing about his companion,
and therefore no doubt remained on the clerk’s mind, that his reverend
master himself had played the trick. He awaited patiently until Sunday
for his revenge, and before he took his seat in the clerk’s pew, removed
the book of St. John from the New Testament. The clergyman gave out the
lesson, as the 2nd chapter of St. John, (the clerk had previously known
it was to be selected from thence,) and then began to look in vain for
the book in question; at last he whispered to the clerk, What has become
of St. John? He can’t come, was the reply, he has got sore eyes.

1004. Dr. Carpue always gave it as his opinion, that Mathews, the
comedian, had experienced improper treatment at the time of his
accident, and that had he been in judicious hands, he would not have
been lame. Some one speaking upon this subject to R―, said, I
understand Mathews means to leave his broken leg to Carpue when he dies.
The devil he does! said R―; well, for my part, I should be sorry to
have such a leg-as-he (legacy).

1005. The Bishop of Ermeland lost a great portion of his revenues, in
consequence of the occupation of part of Poland by the King of Prussia.
Soon after this event, in the year 1773, he waited on his majesty at
Potsdam; when the king asked him, if he could, after what had happened,
still have any friendship for him? Sire! said the prelate, I shall never
forget my duty, as a good subject, to my sovereign. I am, replied the
king, still your very good friend, and likewise presume much on your
friendship towards me; for, should St. Peter refuse my entrance into
Paradise, I hope you will have the goodness to hide me under your
mantle, and take me in along with you. Sire! returned the bishop, that
will, I fear, scarcely be possible: your majesty has cut it too short to
admit of my carrying any contraband goods beneath it.

1006. A gentle sprinkle of rain happening, a plough-boy left his work
and went home; but his master seeing him there, told him that he should
not have left his work for so trifling an affair, and begged for the
future he would stay until it rained downright. A day or two afterwards
proving a very rainy day, the boy stayed till dusk, and being almost
drowned, his master asked him why he did not come home before? Why I
should, said the boy, but you zed I shou’dn’t come home vore it rained
downright; and it has not rained downright yet, for it was aslaunt all
day long.

1007. A lady desired her butler to be saving of an excellent tun of
small beer, and asked him how it might best be preserved. I know of no
method so effectual, my lady, said the butler, as placing a barrel of
good ale by it.

1008. A humorous fellow being subpœnaed as a witness on a trial for
an assault, one of the counsel, who had been notorious for brow-beating
witnesses, asked him what distance he was from the parties when the
assault happened; he answered, Just four feet five inches and a half.
How come you to be so very exact, fellow? said the counsel. Because I
expected some fool or other would ask me, said he, and so I measured it.

1009. Francis I. of France, being told the people made very free with
his character in their songs, answered, It would be hard indeed not to
allow them a song for their money.

1010. An honest Hibernian, whose bank-pocket (to use his own phrase) had
stopped payment, was forced to the sad necessity of perambulating the
streets of Edinburgh two nights together for want of a few pence to pay
his lodgings, when accidentally hearing a person talk of the Lying-in
Hospital, he exclaimed, That’s the place for me! Where is it, honey? for
I’ve been lying out these two nights past.

1011. A painter was employed in painting a West India ship in the river,
suspended on a stage under the ship’s stern. The captain, who had just
got into the boat alongside, for the purpose of going ashore, ordered
the boy to let go the painter (the rope which makes fast the boat): the
boy instantly went aft, and let go the rope by which the painter’s stage
was held. The captain, surprised at the boy’s delay, cried out,
Heigh-ho, there, you lazy lubber, why don’t you let go the painter? The
boy replied, He’s gone, sir, pots and all.

1012. A young man, boasting of his health and constitutional stamina, 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 a point, sir, to eat a great deal every
morning. Then I presume, sir, remarked Wewitzer, you usually breakfast
in a timber-yard.

1013. A captain in the navy, meeting a friend as he landed at
Portsmouth, boasted that he had left his whole ship’s company the
happiest fellows in the world. How so? asked his friend. Why I have just
flogged seventeen, and they are happy it is over; and all the rest are
happy that they have escaped.

1014. A witness was called upon to testify concerning the reputation of
another witness for veracity. Why, said he, I hardly know what to tell
you: M― sometimes jests and jokes, and then I don’t believe him; but
when he undertakes to tell anything for a fact, I believe him as much as
I do the rest of my neighbours.

1015. An Irish journal announced the accouchement of her grace the Duke
of Dorset. Next day it was thus corrected: For “her grace the Duke of
Dorset,” read “his grace the Duchess of Dorset.”

1016. One evening, Tom Sheridan, after sitting with his father over a
bottle, was complaining of the emptiness of his pocket. The right
honourable manager told him jocularly, to go on the highway. I have
tried that already, said he, but without success. Ah! how? replied the
father. Why, resumed he, I stopped a caravan full of passengers, who
assured me they had not a farthing, as they all belonged to Drury Lane
Theatre, and could not get a penny of their salary.

1017. A man meeting his friend, said, I spoke to you last night in a
dream. Pardon me, replied the other, I did not hear you.

1018. An eccentric barber, some years ago, opened a shop under the walls
of the King’s Bench prison. The windows being broken when he opened the
house he mended them with paper, on which appeared―‘Shave for a penny,’
with the usual invitation to customers; and over the door was scrawled
these lines:

  Here lives Jemmy Wright,
  Shaves as well as any man in England,
  Almost―not quite.

Foote (who loved anything eccentric) saw these inscriptions, and hoping
to extract some wit from the author, whom he justly concluded to be an
odd character, pulled off his hat, and thrusting his head through one of
the paper panes into the shop, called out, Is Jemmy Wright at home? The
barber immediately forced his own head through another pane into the
street, and replied, No, sir, he has just popped out. Foote laughed
heartily, and gave the man a guinea.

1019. A fellow had to cross a river, and entered the boat on horseback;
being asked the cause, he replied, I must ride, because I am in a hurry.

1020. Pray, Mr. Abernethy, what is the cure for gout? asked an indolent
and luxurious citizen. Live upon sixpence a day, and earn it! was the
pithy answer.

1021. Dr. Boldero, of Jesus College, had been treated with great
severity by the protectorate for his attachment to the royal cause, as
was also Herring, at that time Bishop of Ely, and in whose gift the
mastership of Jesus College is vested. On a vacancy of the mastership
occurring, Boldero, without any pretensions to the appointment,
presented a petition to the bishop. Who are you? said his lordship, I
know nothing of you? I never heard of you before! My lord, replied
Boldero, I have suffered long and severely for my attachment to my royal
master, as well as your lordship, and I believe your lordship and I have
been in all the gaols in England. What does the fellow mean! exclaimed
the bishop; Man! I never was confined in any prison but the Tower! And,
my lord, said Boldero, I have been in all the rest myself! The bishop’s
heart was melted at this reply, and he granted Boldero’s petition.

1022. The witty and licentious Earl of Rochester meeting with the great
Isaac Barrow in the park, told his companions that he would have some
fun with the rusty old put. Accordingly, he went up with great gravity,
and, taking off his hat, made the doctor a profound bow, saying, Doctor,
I am yours to my shoe-tie. The doctor, seeing his drift, immediately
pulled off his beaver, and returned the bow, with My lord, I am yours to
the ground. Rochester followed up his salutation by a deeper bow,
saying, Doctor, I am yours to the centre. Barrow, with a lowly
obeisance, replied, My lord, I am yours to the Antipodes. His lordship,
nearly gravelled, exclaimed, Doctor, I am yours to the lowest pit of
hell. There, my lord, said Barrow, sarcastically, I leave you; and
walked off.

1023. The following anecdote is related of the great Duke of
Marlborough. The duchess was pressing the duke to take a medicine; and,
with her usual warmth, said, I’ll be hanged if it do not prove
serviceable. Dr. Garth, who was present, exclaimed, Do take it then, my
lord duke; for it must be of service, in one way or the other.

1024. Cardinal de Bernis, when only an Abbé, solicited Cardinal Fleury,
then fourscore, for some preferment. Fleury told him fairly, he should
never have anything in his time. Bernis replied, _Monseigneur,
j’attendrai_ [My lord, I shall wait].

1025. Mr. Suckling, a clergyman of Norfolk, having a quarrel with a
neighbouring gentleman, who insulted him, and at last told him, his gown
was his protection. The doctor replied, It may be mine, but it shall not
be yours; and pulling it off, thrashed the aggressor.

1026. In some parish churches it was the custom to separate the men from
the women. A clergyman, being interrupted by loud talking, stopped
short, when a woman, eager for the honour of the sex, arose and said,
Your reverence, it is not among us. So much the better, answered the
priest; it will be over the sooner.

1027. The evening before a battle, an officer came to ask Marshal Toiras
for permission to go and see his father, who was at the point of death.
Go, said the general, who saw through the pretext; thou shalt honour thy
father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth.

1028. A French gentleman, being married a second time, was often
lamenting his first wife before his second, who one day, said to him,
_Monsieur, je vous assure qu’il n’y a personne qui la regrette plus que
moi_ [I assure you, sir, no one regrets her more than I do].

1029. A methodist in America, bragging how well he had instructed some
Indians in religion, called up one of them, and, after some questions,
asked him if he had not found great comfort last Sunday, after receiving
the sacrament. Ay, master, replied the savage, but I wished it had been

1030. Towards the close of the reign of George the Second, the beautiful
Countess of Coventry talking to his majesty about shows, and thinking
only of the figure she herself would make in a procession, told him, the
sight she wished most to see was a coronation.

1031. William, Duke of Cumberland, gave promises of talents that were
never accomplished. One day he had given some offence to his royal
mother, and was remanded to the confinement of his chamber. After what
the queen thought a sufficient duration of his punishment, she sent for
him. He returned in a very sullen humour. What have you been doing? said
the queen. Reading. What book? The New Testament. Very well: what part?
Where it is said, Woman, why troublest thou me?

1032. A vicar and curate of a village, where there was to be a burial,
were at variance. The vicar not coming in time, the curate began the
service, and was reading the words, “I am the resurrection,” when the
vicar arrived, almost out of breath, and, snatching the book out of the
curate’s hands, with great scorn, cried, You the resurrection! “I am the
resurrection”―and then went on.

1033. A French officer being just arrived at the court of Vienna, and
the empress hearing that he had the day before been in company with a
great lady, asked him if it were true that she was the most handsome
princess of her time? The officer answered, with great gallantry, Madam,
I thought so yesterday.

1034. The _spretæ injuria formæ_ is the greatest with a woman. A man of
rank, hearing that two of his female relations had quarrelled, asked,
Did they call each other ugly? No. Well, well; I shall soon reconcile

1035. Wit, or even what the French term _esprit_, seems little
compatible with feeling. Fontenelle was a great egotist, and thought of
nothing but himself. One of his old acquaintances went one day to see
him at his country house, and said he had come to eat a bit of dinner.
What shall we have? Do you like asparagus? said Fontenelle. If you
please; but with oil. Oil! I prefer them with sauce. But sauce disagrees
with me, replied the guest. Well, well, we will have them with oil.
Fontenelle then went out to give his orders; but on his return, found
his poor acquaintance dead of an apoplexy. Running to the head of the
stairs, he called out, Cook! dress the ’sparagus with sauce.

1036. An ignorant soldier at Quebec, observing some of his comrades stay
behind him at church, asked them, on their coming out, what was the
reason? They told him, jeeringly, that the parson had treated them with
some wine. No other liquor? said the fellow. Seeing he swallowed the
bait, they answered, that he might have what liquor he chose. Next
Sunday he stayed to have his share; and when the clergyman offered him
the wine, he put up his hand to his head, in token of salutation, and
said modestly, Please your reverence, I should prefer punch.

1037. A French peer, a man of wit, was making his testament: he had
remembered all his domestics, except his steward; I shall leave him
nothing, said he, because he has served me these twenty years.

1038. A president of the parliament of Paris asked Langlois, the
advocate, why he so often burdened himself with bad causes? My lord,
answered the advocate, I have lost so many good ones, that I am puzzled
which to take.

1039. Mr. Pitt’s plan, when he had the gout, was to have no fire in his
room, but to load himself with bed-clothes. At his house at Hayes he
slept in a long room, at one end of which was his bed, and his lady’s at
the other. His way was, when he thought the Duke of Newcastle had fallen
into any mistake, to send for him, and read him a lecture. The duke was
sent for once, and came, when Mr. Pitt was confined to bed by the gout.
There was, as usual, no fire in the room; the day was very chilly, and
the duke, as usual, afraid of catching cold. The duke first sat down on
Mrs. Pitt’s bed as the warmest place; then drew up his legs into it, as
he got colder. The lecture unluckily continuing a considerable time, the
duke at length fairly lodged himself under Mrs. Pitt’s bed-clothes. A
person, (who related the story to Horace Walpole,) suddenly going in,
saw the two ministers in bed, at the two ends of the room; while Pitt’s
long nose, and black beard unshaved for some days, added to the
grotesqueness of the scene.

1040. The Duke of Orleans, the regent, had four daughters, distinguished
by the names of the Four Cardinal Sins. A wag wrote on their mother’s
tomb, _Cy gist l’Oisiveté_, [Here lies Idleness,] which, you know, is
termed the mother of all the vices.

1041. Sir T. Robinson was a tall, uncouth man, and his stature was often
rendered still more remarkable by his hunting dress, and postillion’s
cap, a tight green jacket, and buckskin breeches. He was liable to
sudden whims; and once set off on a sudden, in his hunting suit, to
visit his sister, who was married and settled at Paris.―He arrived
while there was a large company at dinner. The servant announced M.
Robinson, and he came in, to the great amazement of the guests. Among
others, a French abbé thrice lifted his fork to his mouth, and thrice
laid it down, with an eager stare of surprise. Unable to restrain his
curiosity any longer, he burst out with, Excuse me, sir, are you the
famous Robinson Crusoe so remarkable in history?

1042. General Sutton, brother of Sir Robert Sutton, was very passionate:
Sir Robert Walpole the reverse. Sutton being one day with Sir Robert,
while his valet de chambre was shaving him, Sir Robert said, John, you
cut me;―and then went on with the conversation. Presently, he said
again, John, you cut me―and a third time―when Sutton starting up in a
rage, and doubling his fist at the servant, swore a great oath, and
said, If Sir Robert can bear it, I cannot, and if you cut him once more,
I’ll knock you down.

1043. We read more of pearls than of diamonds in ancient authors. The
ancients had not skill enough to make the most of diamonds; and the art
of engraving on them is not older than the sixteenth century. The most
remarkable of modern pearls is that in the Spanish treasury, called The
Pilgrim. It was in the possession of a merchant, who had paid for it
100,000 crowns. When he went to offer it for sale to Philip IV. the king
said, How could you venture to give so much for a pearl? The merchant
replied, I knew there was a king of Spain in the world. Philip, pleased
with the flattery, ordered him his own price.

1044. Mr. Pennant, the ingenious and pleasing historian, had many
peculiarities and eccentricities in his private character, among the
latter may be classed his singular antipathy to a wig―which, however,
he can suppress, till reason yields a little to wine. But when this is
the case, off goes the wig next to him, and into the fire!―Dining once
at Chester with an officer who wore a wig, Mr. Pennant became half seas
over; and another friend that was in company carefully placed himself
between Pennant and wig, to prevent mischief. After much patience, and
many a wistful look, Pennant started up, seized the wig, and threw it
into the fire. It was in flames in a moment, and so was the officer, who
ran to his sword. Down stairs ran Pennant, and the officer after him,
through all the streets of Chester. But Pennant escaped, from superior
local knowledge. A wag called this “Pennant’s Tour in Chester.”

1045. The harengères, or fish-women at Paris, form a sort of
body-corporate. In the time of Louis XIV. the Dauphin having recovered
from a long illness, the fish-women deputed four of their troop to offer
their congratulations. After some difficulties, the ladies were admitted
by the king’s special command, and conducted to the dauphin’s apartment.
One of them began a sort of harangue, What would have become of us if
our dear dauphin had died? We should have lost our all. The king
meanwhile had entered behind, and being extremely jealous of his power
and glory, frowned at this ill-judged compliment; when another of the
deputation, with a ready wit, regained his good graces, by adding, True;
we should have lost our all―for our good king could never have survived
his son, and would doubtless have died of grief. The _naïf_ policy of
this unexpected turn was much admired.

1046. Lord William Poulet, though often chairman of committees of the
House of Commons, was a great dunce, and could scarce read. Being to
read a bill for naturalizing Jemima, Duchess of Kent, he called her,
Jeremiah, Duchess of Kent. Having heard south walls commended for
ripening fruit, he showed all the four sides of his garden for south

1047. Queen Caroline spoke of shutting up St. James’s Park, and
converting it into a noble garden for the palace of that name. She asked
Sir Robert Walpole what it might probably cost? who replied, Only three

1048. Cardinal Dubois offered an abbey to a bishop, who refused it,
because, he said, he could not reconcile to his conscience the
possession of two benefices. The cardinal, in great surprise, said, You
should be canonized. I wish, my lord, answered the bishop, that I
deserved it; and that you had the power. A delicate reproach of his

1049. A low Frenchman bragged that the king had spoken to him. Being
asked what his majesty had said, he replied, He bade me stand out of his

1050. I prefer the quarto size to the octavo: a quarto lies free and
open before one. It is surprising how long the world was pestered with
unwieldy folios. A Frenchman was asked if he liked books _in folio_ [in
the leaf]. No, says he, I like books _in fructu_ [in the fruit].

1051. Lady Sandon was bribed with a pair of diamond earrings, and
procured the donor a good place at court. Though the matter was
notoriously known, she was so imprudent as to wear them constantly in
public. This being blamed in company, Lady Wortley Montague, like Mrs.
Candour, undertook Lady Sandon’s defence. And pray, said she, where is
the harm? I, for my part, think Lady Sandon acts wisely―for does not
the bush show where the wine is sold?

1052. A Jew and a Christian, both Italians, united their endeavours in a
snuff-shop. On Saturday, the sabbath, the Jew did not appear; but on
Sunday he supplied the place of the Christian. Some scruples were
started to the Jew, but he only answered, _Trovata la legge, trovato
l’inganno_, [When laws were invented, tricks were invented.]

1053. After the French revolution, Lord Orford was particularly
delighted with the story of the Tigre National. A man who showed wild
beasts in Paris, had a tiger from Bengal, of the largest species,
commonly called the Royal Tiger. But when royalty, and everything royal,
was abolished, he was afraid of a charge of incivism; and, instead of
Tigre Royal, put on his sign-board, Tigre National.

1054. An attorney in France having bought a charge of bailiff for his
son, advised him never to work in vain, but to raise contributions on
those who wanted his assistance. What, father! said the son in surprise,
would you have me sell justice? Why not? answered the father: is so
scarce an article to be given for nothing?

1055. A father wished to dissuade his daughter from any thoughts of
matrimony. She who marries does well, said he; but she who does not
marry does better. Father, answered the girl meekly, I am content with
doing well; let her do better who can.

1056. A gentleman, travelling on a journey, having a light guinea which
he could not pass, gave it to his Irish servant, and desired him to pass
it upon the road. At night he asked him if he had passed the guinea.
Yes, sir, replied Teague, but I was forced to be very sly; the people
refused it at breakfast and at dinner; so, at a turnpike, where I had
fourpence to pay, I whipped it in between two halfpence, and the man put
it into his pocket, and never saw it.

1057. 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 a very sensible boy, sir, must you have been!
returned the child.

1058. At an examination for the degree of B.A. in the Senate House,
Cambridge, under an examiner whose name was Payne, one of the moral
questions was, Give a definition of happiness. To which one of the
candidates returned the following laconic answer, An exemption from

1059. A student of St. John’s College, who was remarkable for his larks
and eccentricities, during the time he was dining in hall, called to a
_bon vivant_, at another table, to say, that he had got a fine fox in
his rooms, for him. This being overheard by the marker, who was a kind
of mongrel fetch-and-carry to a certain dean, and who understood the
student in a literal sense, he informed the dean of the circumstance.
The student was very soon summoned before the master and seniors, for
what he knew not; however, on entering, he was informed, they had
learned he kept a fox in his rooms, a thing not to be tolerated by the
college. It is very true, replied the accused; I have a bust of Charles
James Fox, at your service.

1060. When the celebrated Beau Nash was ill, Dr. Cheyne wrote a
prescription for him. The next day, the doctor coming to see his
patient, inquired if he had followed his prescription? No, truly,
doctor, replied Nash, if I had I should have broken my neck, for I threw
it out of a two pair of stairs window.

1061. The son of a fond father, when going to war, promised to bring
home the head of one of the enemy. His parent replied, I should be glad
to see you come home without a head, provided you come safe.

1062. Dr. Cheyne, of Bath, and a Mr. Santly, were deemed the two fattest
men in Somersetshire. When they were once sitting together after dinner,
Cheyne asked the other what made him look so melancholy? Faith, replied
he, I was thinking how it will be possible for the people to get either
you or me to the grave after we die. Why, as to me, replied Cheyne, six
or eight stout fellows will do the business, but you must be taken at

1063. 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.

1064. A jockey lord met his old college tutor at a great horse fair. Ah!
doctor, exclaimed his lordship, what brings you here, among these high
bred cattle? Do you think you can distinguish a horse from an ass? My
lord, replied the tutor, I soon perceived you among these horses.

1065. A French officer was speaking at a table-d’hote of his first
impressions on seeing English soldiers, and attempted to ridicule them,
by saying, that they had faces as round as Cheshire cheeses. An English
officer replied, Monsieur, you are very polite; and allow me to say,
that if your soldiers had shown us a little more of their faces, and
less of their backs, I should be very happy to return you the

1066. The late Right Hon. Charles James Fox, in the course of a speech
he made in the House of Commons, when enlarging on the influence
exercised by government over the members, observed, that it was
generally understood that the minister employed a person as manager of
the House of Commons; here there was a general cry of Name him! name
him! No, said Mr. Fox, I don’t choose to name him, though I might do it
as easy as say Jack Robinson. This was really his name.

1067. A traveller relating some of his adventures, told the company,
that he and his servant made fifty wild Arabians run; which exciting
surprise, he observed there was no such great matter in it; for, said
he, we ran, and they ran after us.

1068. A certain young clergyman, modest almost to bashfulness, was once
asked by a country apothecary, of a contrary character, in a public and
crowded assembly, and in a tone of voice sufficient to catch the
attention of the whole company, How it happened that the patriarchs
lived to such extreme old age? To which question he immediately replied,
Perhaps they took no physic.

1069. Two English gentlemen, some time ago, visited the field of
Bannockburn, so celebrated for the total defeat of the English army, by
Robert Bruce, with an army of Scottish heroes, not one fourth their
number. A sensible countryman pointed out the positions of both armies,
the stone where the Bruce’s standard was fixed during the battle, &c.
Highly satisfied with his attention, the gentleman, on leaving him,
pressed his acceptance of a crown-piece. Na, na, said the honest man,
returning the money, keep your crown-piece; the English hae paid dear
enough already for seeing the field of Bannockburn.

1070. Soon after Dr. Johnson’s return from Scotland to London, a
Scottish lady, at whose house he was, as a compliment, ordered some
hotch-potch for his dinner. After the doctor had tasted it, she asked
him if it was good? To which he replied, Very good for hogs! Then, pray,
said the lady, let me help you to a little more.

1071. A noble lord a short time ago applied to a pawn-broker to lend him
1000 guineas on his wife’s jewels, for which he had paid 4000. Take the
articles to pieces, said his lordship, number the stones, and put false
ones in their place, my lady will not distinguish them. You are too
late, my lord, said the pawnbroker; your lady has stolen a march upon
you; these stones are false, I bought the diamonds of her ladyship a
twelvemonth ago.

1072. A common councilman’s lady paying her daughter a visit at school,
and inquiring what progress she had made in her education, the
schoolmistress answered, Pretty good, madam, miss is very attentive: if
she wants anything it is a capacity; but for that deficiency, you know
we must not blame her. No, madam, replied the mother; but I blame you
for not having mentioned it before. Her father, thank goodness, can
afford his daughter anything, and I desire that a capacity may be bought
immediately, cost what it may.

1073. A tanner near Swaff’ham, in Norfolk, invited the supervisor to
dine with him, and after pushing the bottle about briskly, the
supervisor took his leave; but, in passing through the tan yard, he
unfortunately fell into a pit, and called lustily to the tanner to get
him out. Can’t, said the tanner; if I draw any hides without giving
twelve hours notice, I shall be exchequered and ruined; but I’ll go and
inform the excise.

1074. As Mr. Reynell, 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 his way. Sir, said the other, I don’t
understand this: I am upon the footpath, where I certainly have a right
to walk. Do you know, sir, said Mr. Reynell, to whom you speak? I do
not, indeed. Sir, I am Mr. Reynell, of Edinburgh. Well, sir, but that
certainly does not entitle you to ride on the footpath, 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, after a very awkward apology, sneaked into the
main road.

1075. Lord Norbury was asking the reason of the delay that happened in a
cause, and he was answered, it was because Mr. Serjeant Joy, who was to
lead, was absent, but Mr. Hope, the solicitor, had said that he would
return immediately; when his lordship humorously repeated the well-known

  Hope told a flattering tale,
  That Joy would soon return.

1076. An Irish officer in Minorca was found by a gentleman who came to
visit him in a morning a little ruffled, and being asked the reason, he
replied he had lost a pair of fine black silk stockings out of his room,
that cost eighteen shillings; but he hoped he should get them again, for
he had ordered them to be cried, with a reward of half-a-crown to the
person who brought them. His friend observing that this was too poor a
recompense for such a pair of silk stockings: Pooh, man, replied he, I
directed the crier to say they were worsted.

1077. A young man having asked an Hibernian who was looked up to as a
scholar, what was meant by the posthumous works of such a writer? Why,
said the other, posthumous works are those books which a man writes
after he is dead.

1078. As you do not belong to my parish, said a clergyman to a begging
sailor, with a wooden leg, you cannot expect that I should relieve you.
Sir, said the sailor, with a noble air, I lost my leg fighting for all

1079. Henry IV. of France, passing through a small town, perceived the
inhabitants assembled to congratulate him on his arrival. Just as the
principal magistrate had commenced a tedious oration, an ass began to
bray; on which the king, turning towards the place where the noisy
animal was, said gravely, Gentlemen, one at a time, if you please.

1080. Henry IV. to an excellent wit, added most amiable manners, and a
most captivating address. On General Armand de Biron coming into his
presence, when he was surrounded by some foreign ambassadors, the king
immediately took Biron by the hand, and said, Gentlemen, this is Marshal
Biron, whom I present with equal pleasure and confidence to my friends
as well as my enemies.

1081. The benevolent Dr. Wilson once discovered a clergyman at Bath, who
he was informed was sick, poor, and had a numerous family. In the
evening, he gave a friend fifty pounds, requesting he would deliver it
in the most delicate manner, and as from an unknown person. The friend
replied, I will wait upon him early in the morning. You will oblige me
by calling directly. Think, sir, of what importance a good night’s rest
may be to that poor man.

1082. In a lawsuit respecting boundaries, the counsel on both sides
explained their claims on a plan―My lord, said one, we lie on this
side: and the other said, My lord, we lie on this side. Nay, said the
judge, if you lie on both sides, I can believe neither of you.

1083. The celebrated Henry, Earl of Worcester, once observing the enemy
leaving the field, turned round and said, I love to see my own danger,
especially when it is marching off.

1084. The earl once calling for a glass of claret, was told by his
physician, that claret was bad for the gout. What, my old friend claret!
nay, give it me in spite of all physicians and their advice; it shall
never be said that I forsook my friend for my enemy.

1085. One was telling the earl, how strangely he had escaped a shot, by
the bar of a window. A musket bullet had hit full against the edge of an
iron bar of a chamber-window, so that the bullet was split in two, one
half flying by on one side and the other on the other. The earl hearing
this, asked in what room it was, and was answered, in the cross-barred
room; upon which he answered, You will now believe me, how safe it is to
stand before the cross, when you face your enemy.

1086. Charles II. hearing a high character of a preacher in the country,
attended one of his sermons. Expressing his dissatisfaction, one of the
courtiers replied, that the preacher was applauded to the skies by the
congregation. Ay! observed the king, I suppose his nonsense suits their

1087. Some one once asked Bruce what musical instruments were used in
Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question; and at
last said, I think I saw one lyre there. George Selwyn whispered the man
sitting next him, Yes, and there is one less since he left the country.

1088. The attachment of some ladies to their lap-dogs amounts, in some
instances, to infatuation. I have heard of a lap-dog biting a piece out
of a male visitor’s leg: his mistress thus expressed her compassion,
Poor dear little creature, I hope it will not make him sick.

1089. A Frenchman, a farmer of the duty upon salt, (farmed in France, as
post horses are in England,) had built a most magnificent villa;
displaying it to his friends, it was observed that a statue was wanting
for a large niche in the vestibule. I mean to put there, said the owner,
some allegorical statue relating to my business. You may put then Lot’s
wife, who was changed to a statue of salt, answered one of his friends.

1090. A master of a ship called down into the hold, Who is there? Will,
sir, was the answer. What are you doing? Nothing, sir. Is Tom there?
Yes, answered Tom. What are you doing? Helping Will, sir.

1091. Two gentlemen coming into a tavern, one of them called for a
bottle of claret: Why, do you love claret? said the other; for my part,
I’ll see it burnt before I drink a drop.

1092. One whose name was Pippin, being dressed in a green suit, chanced
to meet his friend, who, at his first salute, told him, It was a rare
thing to see a green Pippin on Christmas day.

1093. A certain gentleman was mightily taken with a lady of the name of
Wall, who was in the habit of painting a good deal. His friends tried to
persuade him from going near her, saying, they wondered at a man of his
taste setting his affections on a Painted Wall.

1094. Musicians ought to be compared to chameleons. Why? Because they
live on airs.

1095. One said a good client was like a study gown, sits himself in the
cold, and keeps his lawyer warm.

1096. A fellow whose name was Hog was convicted of felony before Lord
Bacon, then judge of assize; he used several unimportant arguments with
his lordship before sentence was pronounced, and, none prevailing, he
told him he was near of kin to him. How, to me? said the judge. Yes,
answered the fellow, for your name is Bacon, and mine is Hog. Oh! then,
replied his lordship, you will never be good Bacon till you are hanged.

1097. One being at supper at a friend’s house, (it chanced that there
was mutton and capers for supper,) fell into a discourse upon dancing,
saying, that he loved it better than any other kind of recreation. By
and bye, taking notice of the capers, which he had never seen before,
took one upon his trencher, cut it in the middle, and put the half of it
in his mouth. The master of the house observing it, said, Sir, it seems
you do love dancing well, when you cannot forbear cutting a caper at

1098. Scriveners must be hard-hearted men, said Lord Adolphus F. Why?
Since they never rejoice more than when they put other men in bonds.

1099. An ignorant drunken surgeon, that had killed most of his patients,
boasted himself a better man than the parson; For, said he, your cures
maintain but yourself, but my cures maintain all the sextons in the

1100. One threatened to break another’s head with a stone. Don’t try,
said Lord Alvanley, you will hurt the stone.

1101. A patient man being domineered over by his wife, who was always
ill-treating him, desired her to tear his band, for he would gladly wear
it without cuffs.

1102. One said to his friend that had been speaking, I love to hear a
man talk nonsense. The other answered, I know you love to hear yourself
talk as well as any man.

1103. One asked the reason why lawyers’ clerks wrote such wide lines.
Another answered, it was done to keep the peace; for if the plaintiff
should be in one line and the defendant in the next, the lines being too
near together, they might fall together by the ears.

1104. One hearing a usurer say he had been on the Peak of Teneriffe,
asked him why he had not stayed there, for he was persuaded he would
never get so near heaven again.

1105. One having drunk a cup of very flat beer, declared that the beer
was more than foxed. Upon being asked his reason, he declared, it was
dead drunk.

1106. One saw a man and his wife fighting; the people asked him, why he
did not part them. He answered, That he was too well bred to part man
and wife.

1107. One seeing another wear a threadbare cloak, asked him, whether his
cloak was not sleepy? Why do you ask? said his friend. Because, I am
sure it has not had a nap this seven years.

1108. A lawsuit being referred to a gentleman, the plaintiff, who had
the equity of the cause on his side, presented him with a new carriage,
the defendant with a couple of horses. The arbitrator liking the horses
better than the coach, gave sentence on the defendant’s side. The
plaintiff called on him, and asked how it came to pass the coach went
out of the right way? He answered, He could not help it, the horses had
drawn it so.

1109. A saucy fellow named Jack, abusing a gentleman whose name was
Fisher, the gentleman struck him, for which, being reproved and
threatened with an action, he said, Is it not lawful for a Fisher to
strike a Jack?

1110. A person had a picture of the Seven Senses stolen out of his
house: whereupon he came to a justice and desired that the thieves might
be bound to the peace: For what? For stealing my senses. I thought so,
said the justice, you talk so idly.

1111. A woman was commending a boy’s face: Give me a man’s, quoth
another, a boy’s is not worth a hair.

1112. A gentleman whose name was Stone, falling off his horse, in
crossing a river, into deep water, out of which he got not without some
danger: his companions laughed at his mischance, and being reproved,
answered, That there was no man but would laugh to see a Stone swim.

1113. One being about to write the superscription of a letter to his
mistress, asked a scholar what terms were best to give her,―who told
him, “the Venus, lass of his affections,” was good; he mistaking, wrote,
To the Venice-glass of his affections.

1114. A drunken fellow returning home towards evening, found his wife
hard at her spinning; she, reproving him for his ill husbandry, and
commending herself for her good housewifery, he told her that she had no
great cause to chide, for as she had been spinning at home, he had been
reeling abroad.

1115. One that was skilled in writing short-hand promised a lawyer’s
clerk to teach him his skill, who thanked him, and said they could not
live by making short-hand of anything.

1116. A company of gentlemen in a tavern, amongst the rest, one whose
name was Bramble, quarrelled and fell to blows; one of these got his
face cut by the said Bramble; upon going home, and being asked the cause
of his face bleeding so, No great harm, replied he, only a Bramble by
chance scratched me.

1117. A rude overbearing young man was placed by his friends with a
proctor, who observing the misbehaviour of the youth, told his parents
he feared their son would never make a civil lawyer.

1118. One having a play-book called The Wits, which he valued much, by
chance lost it; but while he was chafing and swearing about the loss of
his book, in came one of his friends, who asking the cause of his
disquiet, was answered, That he had lost his wits.

1119. One wondered why there were so many pickpockets about the streets,
notwithstanding a watch was at every corner. It was answered, that was
all one, a pickpocket would as gladly meet a watch as anything else.

1120. During the siege of a castle, when the besieged were hard pressed,
a lady, one of the defenders, was remarking, that the colours that hung
upon one of the towers, were one of her bed-curtains. To which a person
replied, Madam, I wish you would set up the little boy, (who stands up
over the curtain,) on the top of that tower, that we might see whether
he would drive away all those men with his bow and arrows. To which the
lady replied, Cupid never raises a siege.

1121. A great eater was once boasting that he was a great wit, saying,
The world knew him to be “all wit:” one standing by, that knew him very
well, said, Is it possible that you are taken for a wit! if so, your
anagram is wit-all.

1122. Two being in a tavern together, one swore the other should pledge
him, Why then, quoth the other, I will;―and presently went down stairs
and left him for the reckoning.

1123. A drunken fellow passing by a shop asked a ’prentice boy, What
their sign was? He answered, it was a sign he was drunk.

1124. It was said by one, a barber had need be honest and trusty,
because, whoever employed him, though it was but for a hair matter, put
his life into his hands.

1125. It has been said, that a tooth-drawer was an unconscionable trade,
because his business was nothing else but to take away those things
whereby every man gets his living.

1126. Of all knaves, there is the greatest hope for a cobbler, for be he
ever so idle, yet when he does anything, he is always mending.

1127. It being demanded of a wild young man, why he wished to sell his
lands? He answered, because he hoped to go to heaven, which he could not
possibly do till he forsook the earth.

1128. A merry fellow said, The ale-house was the only place to thrive
in, for he had known many a score made there.

1129. A rich stationer wished himself a scholar, to whom one answered,
That he was one already, being _doctus in libris_. Nay, said the
stationer, I am but _dives in libris_―(meaning rich in pounds.)

1130. Before Derrick was master of the ceremonies at Bath, he went to
Cambridge on a visit; his friends made him so welcome, that, owing to
hard drinking, he could never rise till dinner-time; being one day asked
how he liked the place? he replied, Very well, but that there was no
forenoon at it.

1131. A lady having a dispute with Mr. Derrick, told him by way of joke,
that if he did not give up the argument, she would put him in her
patch-box. Madam, said he, you are at full liberty to do so; and should
you condescend to use me as a patch, I beg you will stick me upon your

1132. Mr. Derrick being one morning at a coffee-house at Bath, was much
disturbed by a very noisy man who sat at a small distance from him, upon
which he inquired who the spark was; they told him he was one of those
gentry who are called Rooks. A Rook, sir, replied Derrick, zounds, ’tis
impossible―by his chattering, I am sure he is a magpie.

1133. A gentleman who had had several wives, paid his addresses to a
widow lady at Bath; and it being remarked that he was a great duellist,
Derrick replied, the match would be more apropos, for the lady has
killed her man.

1134. Two gentlemen going very hungry into the White Lion at Bath,
ordered a couple of chickens to be roasted for supper, which were
brought upon table just as Mr. Derrick came in to speak to one of them
upon business. They went out together, and while they were absent, the
remaining person fairly ate up all the supper. When they returned, the
other gentleman was astonished, and asked Mr. Derrick what he thought of
his companion? Why, I think, said Derrick, that he is a very fowl

1135. A man being brought before a magistrate, when Mr. Derrick was
present, for defamation, in calling his neighbour a scavenger. Pray,
sir, (said Derrick to the justice,) attend seriously to this charge, for
to me it appears that there is some very dirty work going forward.

1136. A gentleman having written an epitaph on a deceased friend, showed
it to Mr. Derrick for his opinion: Sir, said he, I never read anything
better suited to the mournful occasion―they are the saddest verses that
ever were penned.

1137. A lady of fashion and beauty inveighing against smugglers, Mr.
Derrick interrupted her: Hold, madam, be not too severe; I believe it
will be found that the blackness of your crimes far exceeds theirs: the
people you are railing against, smuggle only a few common goods, for
which, they run the risk of losing their lives; but you, without any
danger to yourself, absolutely have smuggled the affections of every
person in Bath.

1138. Mr. Derrick being in a company, among whom there was a gentleman
remarkable for a rude kind of satirical wit, and who, having levelled
his jeers at almost all present, chiefly by mimicking their voices,
gestures, or taking them off, as it is commonly called, Mr. Derrick,
expecting it would presently come to his turn, got up, and was going
away. When being asked the reason of his leaving the company so soon, he
replied, In order to save the gentleman the trouble of taking me off, I
think it best to take myself off.

1139. At a private masquerade, Derrick appeared in the character of a
cook, and being met by Lord ―, was desired to dress a couple of pork
chops. Sir, replied Derrick, as you are the only hog in company, I must
then beg leave to cut them from your carcase.

1140. Mr. Derrick going through the Strand one evening, detected a boy
picking his pocket, and seizing him, had determined to have him
committed, when the boy begged heartily for mercy, For indeed, sir, said
he, it is my first offence; here’s your own handkerchief again, and take
any of these five you like best.

1141. A lady of distinction meeting Derrick in the long room, told him
his old friend Lady ― was just delivered. Of a boy or girl? said
Derrick. Neither, replied the lady―of a husband, you donkey, and he is
to be buried to-morrow.

1142. Mr. Derrick being on a visit at a gentleman’s house at Bath, a
young lady to entertain the company, obliged them with a tune on the
harpsichord: while she was playing, a female friend of Mr. Derrick’s
asked him, Who was the Goddess of Music? Venus, said he. Pooh, replied
she, you banter. No, upon honour, returned Derrick; if you doubt, appeal
to her―for there she sits.

1143. One of those troublesome gentry called meal hunters, one day
invited himself to dine with Derrick; the dinner consisted of some fish
and a fine piece of roast beef; the gentleman helped himself about
half-a-dozen times, and approved highly of Mr. Derrick’s taste, in
preferring the roast beef of old England to those flimsy kickshaws so
much in fashion, adding, Here’s cut and come again. Sir, said Derrick,
you may cut, but you never come again.

1144. A talkative gentleman boasting that he had been instructed in the
art of speaking by the celebrated Quin. Sir, said Derrick, this company
would have thought themselves more highly obliged to that gentleman, had
he taught you the art of holding your tongue.

1145. A gentleman bragging that he was promised the lease of the next
house that fell in, Sir, said Derrick, had it been my case, I should
rather have desired the lease of the next house that stood.

1146. Derrick one day condoling with an Irish gentleman whose father had
lately died. Well, well, said Paddy, it does not signify grieving, for
it is what we must all come to, if we do but live long enough.

1147. It being disputed, while Lady ―, who had a remarkable red face,
was present in the long room, when there would be an eclipse of the sun.
It will be, said Derrick, let me see―ay, it will be, whenever Lady ―
shall hide her beauties under a veil.

1148. There was some years ago, a society in the metropolis, called the
Court of Humour, the members of which met once a week for the purpose of
trying causes. To this meeting, Derrick was invited; and when the lord
judge, in summing up the evidence in one of the trials, pronounced, with
great gravity, “I must here desire to pause”―My lord, with submission,
give me leave to fill up your paws; and immediately presented his
lordship with a large tumbler of negus.

1149. Derrick once went to see the tragedy of Richard the Third
performed by a country company; the person who played Richard was as
wretched a performer as ever disgraced the buskin; and when he came to
the scene where he says to Buckingham, “Bring the mayor and aldermen to
see me here.” If they see you once, said Derrick, they will never come

1150. The late Dr. Stukely says, that one day, by appointment, visiting
Sir Isaac Newton, the servant told him he was in his study. No one was
permitted to disturb him there, but as it was near dinner-time, the
visitor sat down to wait for him. After a time, dinner was brought in―a
boiled chicken under a cover. An hour passed, and Sir Isaac did not
appear. The doctor ate the fowl, and covering up the empty dish, bid
them dress their master another. Before that was ready, the great man
came down; apologized for his delay, and added, Give me but leave to
take my short dinner, and I shall be at your service; I am fatigued and
faint. Saying this, he lifted up the cover, and without any emotion,
turned about to Stukely with a smile: See, said he, what we studious
people are: I forgot I had dined.

1151. Leveridge, the actor, in giving out the play, made a small
mistake, and instead of saying on Monday next will be performed, he
addressed the audience with―Ladies and gentlemen, to-morrow will be
performed―To-morrow? said a buck from the pit, why to-morrow is Sunday!
I know it, my good friend, replied Leveridge;―to-morrow there will be a
charity sermon preached at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, and, on Monday, at
this theatre, will be presented the Recruiting Officer, with a farce
called Wit at a Pinch. This turned the laugh of the audience, and he
went off with an unusual plaudit.

1152. Derrick one day sent his footboy with a message to a gentleman
whose name was Mr. Hodges Podger. The boy went to the street, as
directed, but not being able, at once, to find the house, he knocked at
another person’s door, and mistaking the name, asked if Mr. Hodge-podge
was at home. Hodge-podge! said the servant maid, why, you little puppy,
does this house look like a cookshop?

1153. Some ladies in the long room at Bath observing that Mr. Derrick
was exceedingly gay, a smart fellow thought to exercise his wit, by
asking him who was his tailor? Oh, sir, replied Derrick, he won’t do for
you, he deals only for ready money.

1154. A conceited fellow presented King James with a manuscript, who,
finding it exceeding bad, returned it, and bade him put it into rhyme.
The fellow set to work, despatched it, and presented it anew to his
Majesty, who, laughing, said, It was better now he had put into rhyme,
“for, by my soul, man, afore ’twas neither rhyme nor reason.”

1155. What herb is it that cures all diseases? Thyme [time] to be sure.

1156. An upholder was chiding his apprentice because he was not notable
enough at his work, and had not his nails and hammer in readiness when
he should use them, telling him, when he was an apprentice he was taught
to have his nails at his fingers’ ends.

1157. One hearing a great noise, sent his servant to know what was the
matter, who brought him back word, One had taken a cup too much―meaning
that he had stolen a silver tankard.

1158. A fortune-hunter at Bath, telling Mr. Derrick that he had got an
excellent phaeton on the new plan, Derrick answered, I am rather of
opinion you got it on the old plan, for I suppose you never mean to pay
for it.

1159. An impudent fellow met an unfortunate person who was blessed with
a very red nose, and who also squinted; making a stop and looking at him
hard, the gentleman asked the reason of his gazing at him, Truly (was
the rude answer) if your eyes were matches, your nose would undoubtedly
set them on fire.

1160. An attorney riding into the country, was asked what news he
brought, and answered, Nothing, but that Marriot (a great eater) was
reported to have lost his appetite; to which another answered, Pray God
a poor man meets not with it, for if he does it will utterly undo him.

1161. One Brown, of Oxford, ringing in one of the belfrys of the said
city, the clapper of the bell he was ringing fell upon his head, and
almost killed him; an arch young student seeing his mischance, and
conceiving the wound incurable, wrote over against the place where the
accident happened, these verses:

  Here lies John Brown, the University capper,
  That lived by the bell, and died by the clapper.

But Brown recovering, and seeing these verses, wrote underneath―

  John Brown’s alive, and lives in hope
  To live by the bell, when thou diest by the rope.

1162. A gentleman bought some articles upon trust at a shop, promising
the master that he would owe him so much money for them; the tradesman
was therewith contented, but finding that the gentleman delayed the
payment, he demanded his money. The gentleman told him he had not
promised to pay him; he had, indeed, promised to owe him so much money,
and he would in no way break from his word, which, if he paid him, he
must do.

1163. One asked why B stood before C? Because, said another, a man must
B, before he can C.

1164. How long is the longest letter in the English alphabet, said
D’Orsay to Alvanley the other day? An L long to be sure, was the answer.

1165. One said, physicians had the best of it, because they lived by
other men’s pains―meaning the griefs and diseases of their patients.

1166. One was saying, he wondered why the people in Ethiopia did not
write straight along as the northern people do; he was answered, it was
no wonder, for they write under the line, and that is the reason.

1167. The Lord Cecil (who was rather crooked) having gone to much
expense in building a superb house, an ingenious architect viewing it
room after room, said, there was one great fault committed, which could
not be amended. He was desired to explain himself. Why, there is not one
room in this house in which his lordship can stand upright.

1168. A gentleman being entreated to stand godfather to one of his
tenant’s children, granted the request, having no children of his own.
The child, growing up, he was sent to visit his godfather, in the hopes
he would do something for him. Upon his arrival his godfather asked him
how his father and mother did? Very well in health, replied the child,
but my father has so many children, he can hardly provide bread for us.
Child, was the answer, God never sends mouths but he sends meat. It may
be so, godfather, answered the child, but I think God has sent the
mouths to our house, and the meat to you. This witty answer so pleased
the old gentleman, that he took the child and brought him up as his own.

1169. Glovers get their living by cutting purses, and yet are never
punished for it.

1170. King James removing once from Whitehall to Greenwich house, to
take his pleasure, the constables were commanded to guard several
passages, to hinder the concourse of people flocking thither: amongst
many gentlemen stopped was one rather meanly dressed, who was asked to
what lord he belonged? To the Lord Jehovah, he readily answered. The
wise constable not catching the meaning, asked his companions if they
knew any such lord. To which they replied, There is none such belonging
to the court. The constable, unwilling to give offence, replied, Well, I
believe it is some Scotch lord or other, so let him pass.

1171. A person holding an argument with a grocer concerning matters of
trade, the grocer’s wife bid him give over arguing, for she was sure her
husband could show a thousand reasons [raisins] to his one.

1172. One said painters were cunning fellows, for they had a colour for
everything they did.

1173. Mr. Derrick being asked his opinion of a young rake at Bath, who
went under the denomination of a knowing one, said, he did not pretend
to any great skill in physiognomy, but he believed he could venture to
pronounce that the young gentleman would one day be fixed in a very
exalted station.

1174. At a general hunting in Cornwall, which is still observed twice a
year, when also there is great wrestling and cudgel playing, a clergyman
happened to be among the multitude, and for reproving a fellow for
swearing, got his head cut by a stone flung at him by the man, which
some that stood by seeing, said, Come, sir, we’ll go along with you to a
justice. No, said the minister, truly I think there is much more need to
go with me to a surgeon.

1175. A gentleman of good estate, who, it seems, hated tobacco, and
hearing that his eldest son did take it, though not in his presence, he
told him, if he knew that he took tobacco he would disinherit him.
Truly, father, said he, they that told you so were mistaken; for before
I will take any tobacco I’ll see it all on fire. Sayest thou so, my boy!
cried the old gentleman, I’ll give thee five hundred a year the more for

1176. A crafty fellow being extremely in debt, and being threatened by
his creditors that they would have him if he was above ground, got
himself into a cellar, and there lay with the tapster, and being
reproved for so doing, he said there was no fear of his being caught
there, because he was under ground, and they dared not break their
oaths, as they swore they would have him if above ground.

1177. The French ambassador being at dinner with King James, the king,
in mirth, drank a health to him, saying, “The King of France drinks a
health to the French King.” Upon which, the French ambassador suddenly
replied, The king, my master, is a good lieutenant, for he holds France
well for you. No, said the king, he holds it from me. Truly, sir,
replied the ambassador, it is no further from you than it was.

1178. A humorous country knight gave his man that waited on him this
charge: that he should never say anything to him but what he asked him;
a little after he invited two gentlemen to his child’s christening; his
man accordingly went to them and acquainted them with it; they bid him
thank his master, but to let him know they were pre-engaged, and could
not come that day; the knight waited an hour later than ordinary for
their coming, but seeing they came not, he asked his man if he had
spoken to them? Yes, replied he, but they said they could not come. You
rogue, why did you not tell me so before? Why, truly, sir, said he, you
did not ask me.

1179. One speaking of the burning of the streets of London, at the great
fire, said Cannon Street roared, Wood Street was burnt to ashes, Bread
Street was burnt to a coal, Ironmonger Lane became red hot, Snow Hill
was melted down, Shoe Lane was burnt to boot, Creed Lane would not
believe it till it came, and Pudding Lane and Pye Corner were

1180. A cobbler, sitting in his stall, offended a gentleman who was
passing by: Sirrah, said the gentleman, you are a rascal, and if you
come out I will give you a kick. Thank you, said the cobbler, if you
would give me two I would not come out.

1181. A schoolmaster was always dictating to his scholars that H was no
letter; soon after, he called out to one of the boys, and bid him heat
the caudle; and when he asked for it, the scholar told him he had done
with the caudle as he bid him. What’s that? said the master, Why, sir,
replied the boy, I did eat it. Sirrah, said he, I bid you heat it, with
an _h_. Yes, sir, I did eat it with bread, as there is no _h_.

1182. Pride and Hewson, two Oliverian colonels, the first a drayman and
the other a cobbler, being met together, began joking one with the
other. Pride told Hewson, he saw a piece of cobbler’s wax sticking upon
his scarlet cloak. Poh, said Hewson, a handful of brewer’s grains will
scour it off presently.

1183. Some gentlemen were sitting in a coffee-house together, one was
asking what news there was? The other told him, There were forty
thousand men rose that day,―which made them all stare, and ask him to
what end they rose, and what they intended? Why faith, said he, only to
go to bed at night again.

1184. In the time of the Rump, two Rump parliament men being in a boat,
said one of them, You watermen are hypocrites; for you row one way and
look another. O sir, said one of the watermen, we have not plyed so long
at Westminster, but we have learned something of our masters, that is,
to pretend one thing and act another.

1185. A person hiring a lodging, said to the landlady, I assure you,
madam, I am so much liked, that I never left a lodging but my landlady
shed tears. Perhaps, said she, you always go away without paying.

1186. An alehouse girl took it into her head to be catechised at church.
The parson asked her what was her name? La, sir, said she, how can you
pretend not to know my name, when you come to our house so often, and
cry, ten times in an evening, Nan, you slut, bring us another pot!

1187. Smiths, of all the handicraft men, are the most irregular; for
they never think themselves better employed, than when they are at their

1188. A child of one of the crew of his majesty’s ship Peacock, during
the action with the United States vessel, Hornet, amused himself with
chasing a goat between decks. Not in the least terrified by the
destruction and death all around him, he persisted, till a cannon-ball
came and took off both the hind legs of the goat, when seeing her
disabled, he jumped astride, crying, Now I’ve caught you.

1189. Charles the Second asked Bishop Stillingfleet how it happened that
he preached in general without book, but always read the sermons which
he delivered before the court. The bishop answered, that the awe of
seeing before him so great and wise a prince, made him afraid to trust
himself. But will your majesty, continued he, permit me to ask you a
question in my turn? Why do you read your speeches in parliament? Why,
doctor, replied the king, I’ll tell you very candidly. I have asked them
so often for money, that I am ashamed to look them in the face!

1190. The late Duchess of York having desired her housekeeper to seek
out for a new laundress, a decent looking woman was recommended for the
situation. But, said the housekeeper, I am afraid she will not suit your
royal highness; as she is a soldier’s wife, and these people are
generally loose characters. What is it you say? said the duke, who had
just entered the room―a soldier’s wife! Pray, madam, what is your
mistress? I desire, that the woman may be immediately engaged.

1191. A man that had been terribly troubled with lawsuits, went one day
to Tyburn to see an execution, and then swore ’twas better to have to do
with Tyburn than Westminster Hall; for there, suits hang half a year,
but at Tyburn, half an hour’s hanging ends all.

1192. Some men sitting drinking together, were praising the ale about
England, as Hull ale, Margate ale, Cheshire ale, and Lambeth ale. One
said there was in London to his knowledge the best in all England; and
yet, said another, there’s as good ale in England, as in London.

1193. A notorious cunning thief, upon being taken up, applied for a
peace warrant against the justice,―as, he said, he stood in fear of his
life from him.

1194. A country gentleman asked a wise man, when he saw a fellow abuse
and sneer at him, Why he did not return it. Why truly, said he, I think
I should do very indiscreetly in so doing; for if an ass kicks you, do
you kick him again?

1195. A man, in a bitter cold night, was passing through the street, and
seeing all a-bed, and no candle in any window, bethought himself of this
project; up and down he went crying, Fire, fire, fire! which made
several come to their windows. They asked him where it was? he replied,
That was just what he wanted to know, for he was devilish cold.

1196. Some apprentices in London being about to act a play one
Christmas, when they were perfect, went to a grave citizen, and
requested him to lend them his clothes to act a play in. No, said he,
nobody shall play the fool in my clothes but myself.

1197. At a certain battle, a Spanish cardinal went in among the
soldiers, and advised them not to spare their lives, but to exert their
utmost courage, promising them a remission of all their sins, and that
those who died in battle should dine with the angels in Paradise; and
having thus reconciled them, he was about to retire from the field,
which one of the soldiers perceiving, said to him, And will you not stay
and dine with us in Paradise? To which the valiant cardinal replied, His
dinner hour was later.

1198. The bishop of the diocese in which Dornfront in Normandy is
situated, understanding that the curates within his diocese exacted too
much from their parishioners, made a table to regulate the fees for
baptism, marriages, and burials; but the curate of Dornfront would not
baptize under double the sum limited by the table; whereupon, complaint
being made to the bishop, he was summoned to appear before his diocesan,
and for his defence, he alleged, that he baptized all, but seldom buried
any, for that as soon as they came to be of age, they were generally
carried to Rouen to be hanged for false witnesses; so that by this
means, he was deprived of the fees for interment. But he would agree,
that if any were buried in the parish, he would undertake to do it for
nothing; and to prove his statement correct, he produced a list of two
hundred he had baptized, of which more than one hundred and eighty had
been hanged. The bishop, upon the aforesaid consideration, ordered the
poor curate to pay himself for the burials at the time of baptism.

1199. ― was but of little stature, and dining one day at the royal
table, with two scholars, both large men, the king sent him a dish with
two large fishes and one small one, bidding him to divide them between
himself and the two scholars; upon which, ― laid the two large fishes
in his own plate, and sent the small one to the two scholars. His
majesty laughing, said, Faith, you are no equal divider. That is your
majesty’s mistake, said he, and pointing to himself and the two great
fishes, said, Here are two great and one little, and on the other side
are one little and two great.

1200. A Franciscan one day mounted on a showy horse, was met by a
burgess, who reminded him, that being of the order of St. Francis, he
was obliged by vow to follow him, but he went on foot, and you are on
horseback. Alas! replied the friar, you have reason to say I ought to
follow the holy founder of our order, but ’tis so long since he went
before, that it is impossible to overtake him on foot, and it will be
hard to do it on horseback, unless I spur along.

1201. Dominico, the harlequin, going to see Louis XIV. at supper, fixed
his eyes on a dish of partridges. The king, who was fond of his acting,
said, Give that dish to Dominico. And the partridges too, sire? Louis,
penetrating into the artfulness of the question, replied, And the
partridges too. The dish was gold.

1202. A fool being at church at vespers, and observing that as soon as
one of the priests began the office, all the rest fell a singing,
presently ran to him and gave him a sound cuff on the ear, saying, We
should have been quiet enough, if this brawling fellow had not begun to
cry first.

1203. Admiral Duncan’s address to the officers who came on board his
ship for instructions, previous to the engagement with Admiral de
Winter, was both laconic and humorous―Gentlemen, you see a severe
Winter approaching; I have only to advise you to keep up a good fire.

1204. Johnson did not like to be over-fondled: when a certain gentleman
out-acted his part in this way, he is said to have demanded of him, What
provokes your risibility, sir? Have I said anything that you understand?
If I have, I ask pardon of the rest of the company.

1205. A lady meeting a girl who had lately left her service, inquired,
Well, Mary, where do you live now? Please, Ma’am, I don’t live nowhere
now, rejoined the girl, I’m married!

1206. A tobacconist having set up his chariot, in order to anticipate
the jokes that might be passed on the occasion, displayed on it the
Latin motto of “_Quid rides_.” Two sailors who had often used his shop,
seeing him pass by in his carriage, the one asked the meaning of the
inscription, when his companion said it was plain enough, repeating them
as two English words, Quid rides.

1207. Two gentlemen passing a blackberry-bush when the fruit was unripe,
one said it was ridiculous to call them black berries, when they were
red. Don’t you know, said his friend, that blackberries are always red
when they are green!

1208. An Athenian, who wanted eloquence, but was very brave, when
another had, in a long and brilliant speech, promised great affairs, got
up, and said, Men of Athens, all that he has said, I will do.

1209. Louis XII. being at his castle of Plassey, near Tours, went one
evening into the kitchen, where he found a boy turning the spit. The lad
had something in his countenance which prepossessed the king in his
favour, and he demanded who he was. The boy, not knowing the king,
replied with simplicity, that his name was Stephen―that he came from
Berri―and that he gained as much as the king. How much gains the king?
demanded Louis, with some degree of astonishment. His expenses, said the
boy, and I gain mine. This answer so much pleased the monarch, that he
appointed him one of the valets-de-chambre.

1210. When Pope Clement XIV. (Ganganelli) ascended the papal chair, the
ambassadors of the different states waited on him with congratulations:
when they were introduced, they bowed, and he returned the compliment by
bowing likewise; the master of the ceremonies told his holiness he
should not have returned their salute. O, I beg your pardon, said the
pontiff, I have not been pope long enough to forget good manners.

1211. It was said of a great calumniator, and a frequenter of other
persons’ tables, that he never opened his mouth but at somebody’s

1212. A link-boy asked Dr. Burgess, the preacher, if he would have a
light? No, child, said the doctor, I am one of the lights of the world.
I wish then, replied the boy, you were hung up at the end of our alley,
for we live in a terrible dark one.

1213. Two very honest fellows, who dealt in brooms, meeting one day in
the street, one asked the other, how he could afford to under sell him
everywhere as he did, when he stole the stuff, and made the brooms
himself? Why, you silly dog, answered the other, I steal them ready

1214. Two sporting men discoursing about a horse that had lost a race,
one of them, by way of apology, observed, That the cause of it was an
accident, his running against a waggon; to which the other, who affected
not to understand him, archly replied, Why, what else was he fit to run

1215. A fellow stole Lord Chatham’s large gouty shoes: his servant not
finding them, began to curse the thief. Never mind, said his lordship,
all the harm I wish the rogue is, that the shoes may fit him!

1216. Sir Isaac Newton, one evening in winter, feeling it extremely
cold, instinctively drew his chair very close to the grate, in which a
fire had been recently lighted. By degrees, the fire being burnt up, Sir
Isaac began to feel the heat intolerably intense, and rang his bell with
unusual violence. John was not at hand; he at last made his appearance,
by the time Sir Isaac was almost literally roasted. Remove the grate,
you lazy rascal! exclaimed Sir Isaac, in a tone of irritation very
uncommon with that amiable and placid philosopher; remove the grate, ere
I am burned to death? Please your honour, might you not rather draw back
your chair? said John, a little waggishly. Upon my word, said Sir Isaac,
smiling, I never thought of that.

1217. A judge, on passing sentence of death upon an Irishman, said as
usual, I have nothing now to do but to pass the dreadful sentence of the
law upon you. Oh, don’t trouble yourself on my account, interrupted Pat.
I must do my duty, resumed the judge:―you must go from hence to the
place of execution, where you are to be hanged by your neck till you are
dead; and the Lord have mercy on your soul! I am much obliged to you,
said the prisoner, but I never heard of any one thriving after your

1218. Triboulet, the fool of Francis the First, was threatened with
death by a man in power, of whom he had been speaking disrespectfully;
and he applied to the king for protection. Be satisfied, said the king;
if any man shall put you to death, I will order him to be hanged a
quarter of an hour after. Ah, Sir! replied Triboulet, I should be much
obliged, if your Majesty would order him to be hanged a quarter of an
hour before.

1219. An Irishman, having bought a sheep’s head, had been to a friend
for a direction to dress it. As he was returning, repeating the method,
and holding his purchase under his arm, a dog snatched it, and ran away.
Now, my dear joy, said the Irishman, what a fool you make of yourself!
what use will it be to you, as you don’t know how it is to be dressed?

1220. A penurious citizen, who used to feed his apprentices with nothing
but lights and livers, and such like trash, having appointed to meet one
of his men in the fields, the fellow came to him with a heavy clog upon
his neck; his master asking him his reason for so doing, he answered
him, That he had fed so long on lights, that he was forced to carry that
weight about him, lest the air should blow him away.

1221. Dryden’s wife complained to him that he was always reading, and
took little notice of her: I wish, said she, that I was a book, and then
I should enjoy more of your company. Yes, my dear, replied Dryden, I
wish you were a book―but an almanack, I mean, for then I should change
you every year.

1222. Two gentlemen having wagered upon the number of characteristic
specimens of native brilliancy they should encounter in a rural
excursion, one of them thus addressed a stone-breaker on the road:―My
good fellow, were the devil to come now, which of us two would he carry
away? After a little hesitation, that savoured of unexpected dulness,
the man modestly lifting up his eyes from his work, answered, Me, sir.
Annoyed by the stolidity of this reply, the querist pressed him for a
reason: Because, your honour, he would be glad of the opportunity to
catch myself―he could have you at any time.

1223. A gentleman meeting another upon the high road, riding upon an
exceedingly lean horse, and with a great stick by his side, asked the
reason why he was so armed: he replied, That it was to defend his person
and keep off false knaves. But, sir, said he, in my mind you had better
have ridden with a gun. Why so? said the horseman. To keep away the
crows, who are waiting to prey upon the carrion you are riding upon.

1224. When Brummell retired to France, he was altogether ignorant of
French, and obtained a grammar for the purpose of study. Scrope Davies
being asked what progress he had made, replied, That Brummell had been
stopped like Bonaparte in Russia, by the elements.

1225. A thatcher being at work upon a cold Christmas Eve, and beating
his arms about his ribs to warm himself, a fellow passing by, observed
it, and said, You have but cold working there on the edge of the house.
’Tis very true, answered the old man, for I have wrought on a hundred
Christmas Eves, and if I said a hundred more, I think I should not be
wrong, and yet I vow I never felt such a cold one before.

1226. One going into Smithfield on a market-day, called to a
horse-courser aloud, and said, Prithee, friend, how go horses to-day?
Marry, as you see―some amble, some trot, some gallop.

1227. A pleasant fellow willing to put off a lame horse, rode him from
the Sun Tavern, Cripplegate, to the Sun in Holborn, and the next day
offered to sell him in Smithfield; a bidder asking why the horse looked
so lean? was answered, It was no marvel, as he rode him yesterday from
Sun to Sun, and never drew bit.

1228. One entering of a cold morning into a tavern with his friend,
called to the waiter to have a fire quickly made, who brought wet
faggots, which were long in kindling, making only a smothering smoke,
while the sap fired apace out of the faggots; which observing, he said,
I now perceive, and never knew before, from whence the river of Styx was

1229. One meeting a drunkard reeling in the street, bade him stand up
like a man; who answered him, That for his own part, he could stand well
enough, but he could not make his shoes stand.

1230. A country farmer’s wife in the north, having a nice lad for her
son, about seven years old, bid him fetch home the kine from the field,
to be milked in the yard; there were six in number. The boy went as bid,
and drove home but five. Marry, said his mother, what’s become of the
sixth? She is turned down that deep dirty lane where I could not come at
her, and I think she is going to the devil. To the devil! said the
mother; nay, then stay, Bob, thy father shall go, as he has boots on.

1231. There was a man whose nose leaned more towards one side than the
other; a friend disposed to have a laugh with him, said, I know what
your nose is not made of, and I know of what it is. First, I can assure
you, it is not made of wheat, and secondly, I will be fudged by all the
company, if it be not made a-rye.

1232. A traveller reported to be drowned, a friend of his being in
company, when the letters came that brought the first news of his death,
fetched a deep sigh, with these words, God rest his soul, for he has
gone the way of all flesh. Nay, said another then standing by, if he is
drowned, he has gone the way of all fish.

1233. One of the great stone letters fell from the top of Northampton
House and dashed out a scholar’s brains. It happened not long after,
that a good honest fellow, who could neither read nor write, being in
company with three or four very ingenious gentlemen, upon a sudden broke
out into a deep melancholy, and said, Well, I thank God I can neither
read nor write. One of the others smiling, replied, You speak strangely,
for I and the rest here thank God we can do both. All’s one for that,
said he, yet let myself and others be thankful we can do neither. They
asked his reason; he gave them this explanation, Because, said he, we
can walk the street with a security that you bookmen cannot. They
desired him to explain himself. Why, said he, if one letter falling from
the top of a house, had the power to knock out the brains of a scholar,
what safety should we live in, to be troubled with four and twenty
letters? Now, thank heaven, I have nothing to do with letters, and I
cannot see that letters have anything to do with me.

1234. Two country fellows meeting at an assizes in the country, one
asked the other, What news, and how many were condemned to suffer? The
other answered, This hath been the strangest session that ever was in my
time; I have not known the like, for there is no execution at all; and
is it not worth observation, that so many justices should sit on the
bench, and not one thought proper to be hanged?

1235. Miss Pope was one evening in the green-room, commenting on the
excellencies of Garrick, when, amongst other things, she said, he had
the most wonderful eye imaginable―an eye, to use a vulgar phrase, that
would penetrate through a deal board. Ay, cried Wewitzer, I now
understand what they call a gimlet eye.

1236. A worthy gentleman and good scholar had been a long time in
disgrace with Queen Elizabeth, the reason I know not, nor am willing to
examine; but a friend of his, who was in great favour at court,
persuaded the queen to give him an audience. The time came, and after
the customary introduction, the queen said, I understand you are a great
scholar; may I ask you one question? Anything, madam, said he, that I am
capable of resolving. Then pray you, how many vowels are there? Madam,
that is a question a schoolboy can resolve, but since you would be
answered by me, there are five. Five, said her majesty―well, of these
five, which can we best spare? Not any of them, madam, replied he,
without corrupting our natural dialect. Yes, replied the queen, I can
tell you, for of all these, we can (for our own part) best spare _u_

1237. One gentleman objecting to another, that he was the first of his
house, the other answered, That I am the first of my house, is so much
more to my honour―you are likely to be the last of yours.

1238. One thinking with barbarous Latin to confound a scholar, came and
saluted him in these words, _Ars tu fons_, art thou well? To whom the
scholar quickly, _Asinus fons asinus tu_, that is, as well as you.

1239. Two fellows purposing a journey, hired a horse betwixt them, to
ride by turns; the one laid down half the hire, and called upon his
partner for the other half, which he willingly paid; which being done,
said he, Mark the conditions between us, which are these―when I ride,
then you shall go on foot; and when you go on foot, then I shall ride;
that is the condition―will you stand to it? Yes, with all my heart,
said the other. So the first mounted and rode the whole journey, and
left the other to come on foot after him.

1240. A sleepy waiter, sitting asleep under the pulpit, the preacher
beating his desk so hard, that he being suddenly awakened, cried out in
a loud voice, Coming, sir, coming.

1241. Two gentlemen having quarrelled in a passage, one of them, wishing
to make his escape from the house, asked, How shall I get by you? Get by
me! replied the other, what did I ever get by you?

1242. I am going to write a work upon Popular Ignorance, said a young
man to a much older person: I know no one more competent, was the reply.

1243. Walpole once persuaded Mrs. Kerwood not to go home by water,
because it would be damp after the rain.

1244. Lord Hartington asked the Governor of Rome, what they had
determined about the vessel that the Spaniards had taken under the
cannon of Civita Vecchia, whether they had restored it to the English?
The governor said, They had done justice. His lordship replied, If you
had not, we should have done it ourselves.

1245. The late Duchess of Bolton resolved upon going to China, when
Whiston told her the world would be burnt in three years.

1246. A gentleman coming into a church, where was none of the best music
in the world, hearing them sing, “Have mercy upon us miserable sinners.”
Ay, said he, they might very well have said, Have mercy upon us
miserable singers.

1247. A humorous schoolmaster, one morning as he was washing his hands,
called one of his higher boys to him, and said, Here boy, what is the
Latin for a ladder? The youth answered, _Scala_. Fye, fye, quoth the
schoolmaster, what an _asinego_ you are! prithee tell me, what is the
Latin for a lad? _Adolescens_, replied the boy. Very well, and cannot
you form the comparative degree of that? _Adolescentior_, said the boy.
Ay, ay, now thou hast done it like a scholar indeed.

1248. A country baker having occasion to call at the house of a certain
justice of the peace, as he was riding out through a great court, saw a
parcel of fat geese, and, catching up one, whipped it into his basket.
The justice by chance espying him from one of the windows, called after
him, saying, Bak-er, bak-er. To which the baker replied, I will, sir, I
will, sir, and rode away as fast as he could. Some days after, the
justice sent a warrant for him, and demanded of him how he dare carry
away his goose in that manner? To which he replied, I have done nothing
but what your worship commanded me, for your worship bid me bake-her,
and that I have done in a good pie, and drank your worship’s health at
the eating of it. The justice, for the jest’s sake, excused the baker.

1249. A Welchman having been to London, his friends, according to
custom, on his return, demanded of him what news? He answered, That he
knew little news; he had only observed one strange thing there, that
every little boy of five or six years old could speak English perfectly,
which he thought very strange; because, in his country, they learn to
speak it, as in England they learn to speak French.

1250. A ship being in a storm at sea, was in great danger; whereupon,
the captain commanded every man to throw into the sea his heaviest
things. A passenger, who had his wife, then offered to throw her
overboard; but the crew saved her, and asked him whether he was mad to
try and throw her overboard; who answered, She is the heaviest thing I
have, and I can best spare her. I assure you, she has long been a heavy
burthen to me; I pray, therefore, let me throw her over.

1251. A talking barber once asked a gentleman in what fashion he would
be trimmed, In silence, was the reply.

1252. It is related of a well-known magistrate of times past, that being
often deceived by false rumours of Queen Elizabeth’s death, he protested
that he would never believe she was dead, until he saw it under her own

1253. A good fellow having tippled rather too liberally, and his head
being fuller of liquor than discretion, as he went along the streets,
happened in the dark to run against a post; and he, conceiving it to
have been some man that had affronted him, fell upon the post with his
fists, and of course soon beat off all the skin from his knuckles. One
coming by, demanded of him, what was the matter? Why, said he, I have
met here with a rascal who jostled me, and will not suffer me to pass
quietly by him. Alas, see, said the other, you are mistaken, it is a
post. A post! said he, why then he should have blown his horn.

1254. A cook of one of the colleges at Cambridge, serving up dinner,
gave to one of the assistants a neat’s tongue to put upon the table; the
fellow not having firm hold of the dish, let it fall to the ground, so
that it was not fit for serving, whereat the cook was very angry; the
poor fellow begged the cook not to be so very angry, it was but a
_lapsus linguae_.

1255. Two or three gentlemen visiting a citizen, he, at their departure,
asked them if they would please to take a glass of beer, apologizing for
its being small beer, but such as contented him and his family; they
accepted it, saying, it was no matter for the smallness, so it were
fresh. One of them tasting it, the other asked him if the beer was
fresh. Yes, quoth he, I assure you it is fresh, as if it had been all
night in water.

1256. At a general assizes in Queen Elizabeth’s days, two plain country
fellows having some business there, were gazing upon the bench, until
the time they should be called, discoursing betwixt themselves, said the
one to the other, I much wonder at one thing, and would gladly be
resolved thereof: the other demanding of him what it was he wished to
know, was answered, I have often mused with myself, why all the judges
go shaven, and there is no appearance of a beard to be seen amongst them
all. To which the other replied, Neighbour, that is a doubt which is
easily decided; for in this place they ought to wear no beards, for you
ought to know they represent her majesty.

1257. In many towns of this kingdom, mechanics are often made mayors.
Amongst others, one who was elected to that office, thought it would be
but becoming that his wife should be dressed according to the dignity of
the situation, and accordingly ordered her new apparel from top to toe;
she not accustomed to such gaiety, was not a little proud, and coming
somewhat late to church, at the moment when the auditory rose up for the
reverence of the gospel, which she mistaking, and thinking it had been
done to her, said aloud, I thank you all, my good friends and
neighbours, I shall not be unmindful of this courtesy.

1258. A person being asked the reason why his head was so intermixed
with white hairs, that it was indeed quite grey, and that not one could
be seen in his beard, answered, It is no wonder, the hair of my head is
older than that of my beard by twenty years.

1259. The parson of a country village, visiting one of his sick
parishioners, among other comforting words, said to him, Be of good
cheer, my good friend, for I hope thou wilt be carried into Paradise. To
which the sick man replied, Your speech is comforting to me, for if the
way is long, I should never be able to walk there.

1260. Two country fellows falling out, were at very hot words, insomuch
that one gave the other the lie, who taking it in great disgrace, bent
his fist and threatened revenge; the other, knowing himself unable to
grapple with him, denied his words; in conclusion, the defendant was so
pressed, that in plain terms he gave him the lie, saying, Thou liest to
say I gave thee the lie. To which the other answered, It is well now at
last that thou hast given me satisfaction.

1261. A country fellow had an idle housewife, who would do nothing but
sit before the fire, and suffer everything to go to sixes and sevens;
coming one day from his labour, and finding her sitting as customary,
lolling by the fire, he took up a stick, and began to cudgel her
soundly; at which she cried out, Alas, husband, what do you mean? you
see I am doing nothing, I am doing nothing. That is the very reason why
I am beating you, said he.

1262. A person who had a great shrew for his wife, in one of the
quarrels, got so enraged, that he could not contain himself, but
snatched up a flagon that happened to be near, and gave her a very deep
wound on her head, the cost of curing which was very considerable. This
woman sitting at another time among her gossips, said openly, My husband
does not dare to break my head any more, he paid so dearly for the last
cure. This being told to the husband, he sent for the apothecary and
surgeon, and, calling for his wife, when they arrived, he paid each of
them their bill, and also gave them money in advance, in earnest of the
next cure she might require. We need not say, the husband was not
further annoyed.

1263. An Irishman said to his companions on Christmas Eve, he did not
mean to have a plum-pudding for dinner next day. Why so? asked they.
Och, I have raisons for it. Then you did intend it, since you have got
the _raisins_.

1264. A gentleman passing in dirty weather through a street in which the
pavement had been broken up, got bespattered with mud―on looking about
him in his distress, he saw written up on a board, “No
thorough-fare”―Egad, said he, they may well say that; for I have proved
it _thorough foul_.

1265. A distinguished gentleman, whose nose and chin are both very long,
and who has lost his teeth, whereby the nose and chin are brought very
close together, was told, I am afraid your nose and chin will fight
before long, they approach each other so very menacingly. I was afraid
of it myself, replied the gentleman, for a good many words have passed
between them already.

1266. A servant, near Limerick, at the time that everybody was required
to deliver in their arms, wrote to his master at Dublin, that he had
secured the fire arms, having sent all the pokers and tongs to the

1267. A young lady at the Exhibition at the Suffolk Street Gallery,
looking at a subject of still life,―plates, dishes, &c., asked the
gentleman who accompanied her, to look in the catalogue and see what it
was; he replied, A study. Why, goodness, said she, I took it for a

1268. A fine ship was lately launched, at which Sir Henry Tempest
attended. A wag observed, What a pity it is, that a tempest should
accompany such a launch.

1269. On the expulsion of Mr. Jones from the Irish House of Commons, a
punning wag remarked, that this was not In-I-go Jones―but Out-I-go

1270. Of a person as remarkable for his irregularity as for his musical
talents, it was aptly remarked, that the whole tenor of his conduct was
thorough base.

1271. A fashionable Irish gentleman having made a purchase of Hume’s
History of England, went into a bookseller’s shop to have it most
elegantly bound. What binding would you like best? asked the bookseller,
would you like it bound in Russia? In Russia! exclaimed the man of
fashion; Oh, no, no, that is too far off, I’d rather have it bound in
Bond Street.

1272. A very corpulent gentleman travelling in the north, was walking
backwards and forwards in front of an inn, while the horses were
changing. One of the gapers, an inhabitant of the place, had a mind to
be witty: viewing the gentleman’s person, he accosted him with―I see,
sir, you carry your portmanteau before ye. Certainly, said he, I always
think it requisite to have it under my eye, when passing through a
suspicious looking place.

1273. Grattan being asked his opinion of the valour of a certain
captain, who from excess of feeling put up with a severe castigation,
replied, That he thought it odd, for to his knowledge the captain had
fought. Who, who? cried his informant. Shy, said the witty barrister.

1274. A trader in Dublin, said one day to his friend, I will be ruined.
I am sorry for it, said the other, but if you will be ruined, you know
no one can prevent it.

1275. A gentleman being much pressed in company to sing a song, observed
pettishly, That they only wanted to make a butt of him. By no means, my
dear fellow, rejoined one of his tormentors, we only want to get a stave
out of you.

1276. A Welchman coming to London to pursue a suit at law, chanced to
steal a sow, for which he was taken and burnt in the hand. His friends
asked him, when he arrived home, How the law went with him? Priddie
well, said he, for hur has got hur in hur hand.

1277. What did Mr. King die of? asked a simple neighbour. Of a
complication of disorders, replied his friend. How do you describe a
complication, my good sir? He died, rejoined the other, of two
physicians, an apothecary, and a surgeon.

1278. Parson Hawkins passing the River Wye, to Biford, where he lived,
had with him one Bartholomew Herring, who, being heavy laden, fell over
the side of the boat into the river; Hawkins cried out, Save the man,
save the man. Herring answered, Hold your tongue, am I not in my

1279. Serjeant Hoskins having married an old widow, and being asked by a
companion of his, Why he did not marry a young woman? answered, He had a
maxim for it in his accidence, In _legendis veteribus proficiscis_, [In
reading old authors thou dost profit.]

1280. A young man walking along Cheapside, espied a house shut up, with
a bill over the door, showing that the house and shop were to be let. He
asked a person at the next door, If the shop might be let alone? Yes,
replied the other, you may let it alone, for anything I know.

1281. A gownsman at Cambridge was once bargaining with Fordham for a
horse; the latter was taken suddenly very ill and died; there were very
few pounds between them in respect to the price. The gownsman, not
knowing what had occurred, called next morning at the yard, and asked to
see Mr. Fordham. Master, sir, said the ostler, is dead, but he left word
you should have the horse.

1282. A caravan of wild beasts arriving lately in an American village,
the elephant was accommodated in a large carriage-house―where, it
appeared, a tall two-fisted negro from the country, who had never seen
or heard of an elephant, had lain down to sleep. On waking, blacky was
not a little astonished at his strange bed-fellow. What could it be? The
devil! The huge mass moved, when lo, a tail at both ends put an end to
all doubt, and, with one despairing leap, he was out of the loft window,
without once calculating upon the chance of breaking his neck. In the
fulness of his astonishment and joy at his escape, he could tell no more
of the occasion of his alarm, than of a devil with two tails, and
describe in his best way, an extending, contracting, flexible tail, that
no distance could secure you from.

1283. The following anecdote is related of Lessing, the German author,
who, in his old age, was subject to extraordinary fits of abstraction.
On his return home one evening, after he had knocked at his door, the
servant looked out of the window to see who was there; not recognizing
his master in the dark, and mistaking him for a stranger, he called out,
The Professor is not at home. Oh, very well, replied Lessing, no matter,
I will call another time; and very composedly walked away.

1284. A young clergyman finding it impossible to provide for his family
with his very slender income, wrote to his friend―Dear Frank, I must
part with my living to save my life.

1285. A bookseller in Paris being lately asked for a copy of the
‘Constitution of 1814,’ replied―Sir, I keep no periodicals.

1286. A lecturer on the history of chemistry, thus described the
celebrated Mr. Boyle: He was a great man, a very great man; he was
father of modern chemistry, and brother of the Earl of Cork.

_A Receipt to make an Epigram._


  A pleasing subject first with care provide;
  Your matter must with nature be supplied;
  Nervous your diction, be your measure long,
  Nor fear your verse too stiff if sense be strong:
  In proper places proper numbers use,
  And now the quicker, now the slower chuse:
  Too soon the dactyl the performance ends,
  But the slow spondee coming thoughts suspends;
  Your last attention on the sting bestow,
  To that your good or ill success you’ll owe;
  For there, not wit alone must shine, but humour flow.
  Observing these, your epigram’s completed;
  Nor fear ’twill tire, though seven times repeated.

_On Ben Jonson’s Bust set up in Westminster Abbey, with the buttons on
the wrong side of his coat._


  O rare Ben Jonson! What, a turn-coat grown!
  Thou ne’er wert such till thou wert clad in stone.
  When time thy coat, thy only coat, impairs,
  Thou’lt find a patron in a hundred years:
  Then let not this mistake disturb thy sprite,
  Another age shall set thy buttons right.

_On Quin’s comparing Garrick to Whitfield, and complaining, that the
people were madding it after him._


  Pope Quin, who damns all churches but his own,
  Complains that heresy misleads the town,
  That Whitfield-Garrick does corrupt the age,
  And taints the sound religion of the stage.
  ―Thou great infallible! forbear to roar;
  Thy bulls and errors are revered no more:
  Where doctrines meet with general approbation,
  It is not heresy, but reformation.

_On Miss Biddy Floyd._ BY DEAN SWIFT.

  When Cupid did his grandsire Jove intreat,
  To form some beauty by a new receipt,
  Jove sent and found, far in a country scene,
  Truth, innocence, good-nature, looks serene;
  From which ingredients first the dextrous boy
  Picked the demure, the awkward, and the coy:
  The Graces from the court did next provide
  Breeding, and wit, and air, and decent pride;
  These Venus cleansed from every spurious grain
  Of nice, coquet, affected, pert, and vain:
  Jove mixed up all, and his best clay employed,
  Then called the happy composition, Floyd.

_On the Gravestone of a Blacksmith, buried in Chester Church-yard._

  My sledge and hammer lie reclined,
  My bellows too have lost their wind;
  My fire’s extinct, my forge decayed,
  And in the dust my vice is laid;
  My coal is spent, my iron’s gone,
  My nails are drove, my work is done;
  My fire-dried corpse lies here at rest,
  My soul, smoke like, is soaring to be blest.

_On a Monument intended to be erected for Mr. Rowe, by his Widow._

_Written before Mr. Dryden’s was set up._


  Thy reliques, Rowe, to this fair shrine we trust,
  And, sacred, place by Dryden’s awful dust.
  Beneath a rude and nameless stone he lies,
  To which thy tomb shall gain inquiring eyes:
  Peace to thy gentle shade, and endless rest,
  Blest in thy genius, in thy love too blest;
  One grateful woman to thy fame supplied
  What a whole thankless land to his denied.

_On Maids._

  Most maids resemble Eve now in their lives,
  Who are no sooner women, but they’re wives.

_On Giles Jacob, the Poet._ BY DR. SEWELL.

  Parent of dulness! genuine son of night!
  Total eclipse! without one ray of light:
  Born when dull midnight bells for funerals chime,
  Just at the closing of the bellman’s rhyme.


  As Thomas was cudgelled one day by his wife,
  He took to his heels and ran for his life:
  Tom’s three dearest friends came by in the squabble,
  And skreened him at once from the shrew and the rabble;
  Then ventured to give him some wholesome advice:
  But Tom is a fellow of humour so nice,
  Too proud to take counsel, too wise to take warning,
  He sent to all three a challenge next morning:
  He fought with all three, thrice ventured his life,
  Then went home again, and was thrashed by his wife.

_Translated from_ BUCHANAN.

_Beginning_, Pauper eram juvenis, _&c._

  Poor, when in youth, now worn with feeble age
  I’m rich; but wretched still in either stage:
  When wealth I could enjoy I then had none;
  Now plenty’s come, all power of use is gone.

_On a Company of bad Dancers to good Music._ BY MR. BUDGELL.

  How ill the motion with the music suits!
  So Orpheus fiddled, and so danced the brutes.

_The Lover’s Legacy._

  Unhappy Strephon, dead and cold,
    His heart was from his bosom rent,
  Embalmed, and in a box of gold,
    To his beloved Kitty sent.

  Some ladies might, perhaps, have fainted,
    But Kitty smiled upon the bauble;
  A pin-cushion, said she, I wanted,
    Go put it on the dressing-table.

_The Scotch Weather-Wife._

  Scotland, thy weather’s like a modish wife;
  Thy winds and rains maintain perpetual strife;
  So termagant, a while, her thunder hies;
  And when she can no longer scold―she cries.

_On Milton._ BY MR. DRYDEN.

  Three poets, in three distant ages born,
  Greece, Italy, and England did adorn;
  The first in loftiness of thought surpast;
  The next in majesty; in both the last.
  The force of nature could no farther go―
  To make a third she joined the former two.

_Written, in the leaves of a Fan._


  Flavia the least and slightest toy,
  Can with resistless art employ:
  This fan in meaner hands would prove
  An engine of small force in love;
  Yet she with graceful air and mien,
  Not to be told or fairly seen,
  Directs its flowing motion so,
  That it wounds more than Cupid’s bow;
  Gives coolness to the matchless dame,
  To every other breast a flame.

_Written in Miss F―’s Pew at I― Church._

  With awe, with pleasure and surprise,
  I view the lightning of your eyes;
  Lightning! that wounds me as it flies.

  What prayer! what vow! to Heaven can go?
  For all devotion you subdue;
  At least, ’tis all transferred to you.

  In vain is human strength―its boasted art―
  While you sit here, you share my vows in part;
  To Y―[4] I give my ears, to you my eyes and heart.

  [4] The Minister.

_The Lucky Man._ BY MR. WELSTED.

  I owe, says Metius, much to Colon’s care;
  Once only seen, he chose me for his heir:
  True, Metius; hence your fortunes take their rise;
  His heir you were not, had he seen you twice.

_To Mr. T―d, on his complimenting Mr. F―de on his Poetry._

  F―de writes well, you say; suppose it true,
  You pawn your word for him;―he’ll vouch for you;
  So two poor knaves, when once their credit fail,
  To cheat the world, become each other’s bail.

_On a handsome Woman, with a fine voice, but very covetous and proud._

  So bright is thy beauty, so charming thy song,
  As had drawn both the beasts, and their Orpheus along;
  But such is thy avarice and such is thy pride,
  That the beasts must have starved, and the poet have died.

_Venus mistaken._ BY MR. PRIOR.

  When Chloe’s picture was to Venus shown,
  Surprised, the goddess took it for her own;
  And what, said she, does this bold painter mean?
  When was I bathing thus, and naked seen?
  Pleased, Cupid heard, and checked his mother’s pride;
  And who’s blind now, mamma? the urchin cried.
  ’Tis Chloe’s eye, and cheek, and lip, and breast,
  Friend Howard’s genius fancied all the rest.

_Epitaph on Mr. Harcourt’s Tomb._ BY MR. POPE.

  To this sad shrine, whoe’er thou art, draw near,
  Here lies the friend most wept, the son most dear,
  Who ne’er knew joy but friendship might divide,
  Nor gave his father grief―but when he died.
  How vain is reason! eloquence how weak!
  When Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak.
  Yet let thy once-loved friend inscribe the stone,
  And with a father’s sorrow mix his own.
  Ah, no! ’tis vain to strive―it will not be;
  No grief that can be told is felt for thee.

_Prometheus ill-painted._ BY MR. COWLEY.

  How wretched does Prometheus’ state appear,
  Whilst he his second misery suffers here.
  Draw him no more, lest, as he tortured stands,
  He blame great Jove’s less than the painter’s hands.
  It would the vulture’s cruelty outgo,
  If once again his liver thus should grow.
  Pity him, Jove, and his bold theft allow;
  The flames he once stole from thee grant him now.

_On a Lady who pretended to tell Fortunes._ BY MR. MOTTLEY.

  Some oracles of old, to cause more wonder,
  Were, when pronounced, accompanied with thunder:
  But thy predictions come not in a storm,
  They are delivered by the brightest form:
  If, when you speak, Jove does not pierce the sky,
  Yet still you’ve all his lightning in your eye.

_The Cure of Love._

  When, Chloe, I confess my pain,
    In gentle words your pity show;
  But gentle words are all in vain,
    Such gales my flame but higher blow.

  Ah, Chloe, would you cure the smart
    Your conqu’ring eyes have keenly made,
  Yourself upon my bleeding heart―
    Yourself, fair Chloe, must be laid.

  Thus for the viper’s sting we know,
    No surer remedy is found,
  Than to apply the tort’ring foe,
    And squeeze his venom on the wound

_Epitaph on an unknown Person._

  Without a name, for ever senseless, dumb,
  Dust, ashes, nought else, lies within this tomb.
  Where’er I lived, or died, it matters not;
  To whom related, or by whom begot;
  I was, but am not, ask no more of me―
  It’s all I am, and all that thou shalt be.


  Here lies a lady, who, if not belied,
  Took wise St Paul’s advice, and all things tried;
  Nor stopt she here; but followed through the rest,
  And always stuck the longest to the best.

_In a window of a room in the Tower of London is written_;

R. WALPOLE, 1712.

_Underneath that, are the following lines_:

  Good unexpected, evil unforeseen,
  Appear by turns, as fortune shifts the scene:
  Some, raised aloft, come tumbling down again,
  And fall so hard, they bound to rise again.

_The Artist._ BY MR. CONCANEN.

  Very nicely thou lay’st on thy colours, dear Nan,
      And no painter in skill can o’ertop ye;
  When to Ellys you sat, he dully brushed on,
  Till he thought he had an original drawn,
      Which you proved to be only a copy.

_Epitaph on a talkative old Maid._

  Beneath this silent stone is laid
  A noisy antiquated maid,
  Who, from her cradle, talked till death,
  And ne’er before was out of breath.
  Whither she’s gone we cannot tell,
  For if she talks not she’s in hell:
  If she’s in heaven she’s there unblest,
  Because she hates a place of rest.

_A Simile._

  Women to cards may be compared: we play
  A round or two; when used, we throw away,
  Take a fresh pack; nor is it worth our grieving
  Who cuts and shuffles with the dirty leaving.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Thais, her teeth are black and naught,
      Lucania’s white are grown:
  But what’s the reason? These are bought,
      The other wears her own.

_The disappointed Husband._

_Mulieri ne crede, ne mortuæ quidem._

  A scolding wife so long a sleep possessed,
  Her spouse presumed her soul was now at rest.
  Sable was called to hang the room in black;
  And all their cheer was sugar-rolls and sack.
  Two mourning staffs stood sentry at the door;
  And silence reigned, who ne’er was there before.
  The cloaks, and tears, and handkerchiefs prepared,
  They marched in woeful pomp to Abchurch Yard;
  When see of narrow streets what mischiefs come!
  The very dead can’t pass in quiet home:
  By some rude jolt, the coffin lid was broke,
  And madam from her dream of death awoke.
  Now all was spoiled: the undertaker’s pay,
  Sour faces, cakes, and wine, quite thrown away.
  But some years after, when the former scene
  Was acted, and the coffin nailed again,
  The tender husband took especial care,
  To keep the passage from disturbance clear;
  Charging the bearers that they tread aright,
  Nor put his dear in such another fright.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Among the fair that Hyde Park Circus grace,
  Canidia seeks admirers of her face;
  In vain her airs, her wanton arts she tries,
  Among those beauties that engage all eyes:
  Bright rays, like diamonds, they around ’em fling,
  Whilst she is but the cipher of the ring.

_On a Robbery._

  Ridway robb’d Duncote of three hundred pounds;
    Ridway was taken and condemned to die:
  But for his money was a courtier found,
    Begged Ridway’s pardon: Duncote now doth cry,
  Robbed both of money and the law’s relief,
  The courtier is become the greater thief.

_On Suicide: from_ MARTIAL. BY MR. SEWELL.

  When all the blandishments of life are gone,
  The coward creeps to death, the brave lives on.

_A Dialogue between two very bad Poets._ BY MR. CONCANEN.

  Says Richard[5] to Joe,[6] thou’rt a very sad dog,
  And thou canst write verses no more than a log;
  Says Joseph to Dick, prithee, ring-rhyme, get hence:
  Sure my verse, at least, is as good as thy sense.
  Was e’er such a contest recorded in song?
  The one’s in the right, and the other’s not wrong.

  [5] Savage.

  [6] Mitchel.

_To a Painter drawing a Lady’s Picture._ BY MR. DENNIS.

  He[7] who great Jove’s artillery aped so well,
  By real thunder and true lightning fell;
  How then durst thou, with equal danger try
  To counterfeit the lightning of her eye?
  Painter, desist; or soon the event will prove
  That Love’s as jealous of his arms as Jove.

  [7] Salmoneus.

_The Choice._

  Too conscious of her worth, a noble maid
  Baulked many a lover, and her mind out-strayed,
  While yet a peer, less doubting than the rest,
  Defied her coldness, and attacked her breast.
  A spaniel whelp, and spaniel lord, declare
  Their vows to serve, and hope to please the fair;
  The cautious nymph, still fearing a trepan,
  Their fortune, wit, and worth, did nicely scan;
  Then, as the reason of the case is clear,
  Embraced the puppy, and dismissed the peer.

_On a certain Writer._

  Half of your book is to an index grown;
  You give your book contents, your readers none.

_On a Flower painted by_ VARELST. BY MR. PRIOR.

  When famed Varelst this little wonder drew,
  Flora vouchsafed the growing work to view;
  Finding the painter’s science at a stand,
  The goddess snatched the pencil from his hand,
  And, finishing the piece, she smiling said,
  Behold one work of mine, which ne’er shall fade.

_An Epitaph on Little Stephen, a noted Fiddler in the County of

  Stephen and Time
    Are now both even;
  Stephen beat Time,
    Now Time beats Stephen.

_On Giles and Joan._

  Who says that Giles and Joan at discord be?
  The observing neighbours no such mood can see;
  Indeed, poor Giles repents he married ever,
  But that his Joan doth too: and Giles would never,
  By his free will, be in Joan’s company;
  No more would Joan he should: Giles riseth early,
  And having got him out of doors is glad;
  The like is Joan: but turning home is sad;
  And so is Joan: oft-times when Giles doth find
  Harsh sights at home, Giles wishes he were blind;
  All this doth Joan; or, that his long-earned life
  Were quite out-spun; the like wish hath his wife:
  In all affections she concurreth still;
  If now with man and wife to will and nill
  The self same things, a note of concord be,
  I know no couple better can agree.

_To a Sempstress._

  Oh, what bosom but must yield,
    When, like Pallas, you advance,
  With a thimble for your shield,
    And a needle for your lance!
  Fairest of the stitching train,
    Ease my passion by your art;
  And in pity to my pain,
    Mend the hole that’s in my heart.

_On a Certain Poet._

  Thy verses are eternal, O my friend!
  For he who reads them, reads them to no end.

_A Distich, written under the sign of the King’s Head and Bell in
Dublin, at the host’s request._


  May the king live long;
  Dong, ding, ding, dong.

_On seeing a Miser at Vauxhall Gardens._

  Music has charms to sooth a savage breast,
  To calm the tyrant, and relieve the opprest:
  But Vauxhall’s concert’s more attracting power
  Unlocked Sir Richard’s pocket at threescore:
  Oh! strange effect of music’s matchless force,
  To attract a shilling from a miser’s purse!

_To a Lady who had very bad teeth._

  Ovid, who bids the ladies laugh,
    Spoke only to the young and fair;
  For thee his counsel were not safe,
    Who of sound teeth have scarce a pair.

  If thou the glass or me believe,
    Shun mirth, as foplings do the wind;
    At Cibber’s face affect to grieve,
      And let thy eyes alone be kind.

  If thou art wise see dismal plays,
    And to sad stories lend thy ear;
  With the afflicted spend thy days,
    And laugh not above once a year.

_On an old Maid’s Marriage._

  Celia, a coquet in her prime,
    The vainest, ficklest thing alive;
  Behold the strange effects of time!
    Marries and doats at forty-five.

  Thus weathercocks, that for awhile
    Have turned about with every blast,
  Grown old, and destitute of oil,
    Rust to a point, and fix at last.

_A Cure for Love._

  Of two reliefs to cure a love-sick mind,
  Flavia prescribes despair; I urge, be kind;
  Flavia, be kind: the remedy’s as sure;
  ’Tis the most pleasant, and the quickest cure.

_Under the Picture of a Beau._

  This vain thing set up for a man,
    But see what fate attends him;
  The powdering barber first began,
    The barber-surgeon ends him.

_On a Gentleman drinking the Health of an unkind Mistress._

  Why dost thou wish that she may live,
  Whose living beauties make thee grieve!
  Thou wouldst more wisely wish her kind,
  That she may change her cruel mind;
  Thy present wish but this can gain,
  That she may live, and thou complain.

_On a Prize-Fighter._

  His thrusts like lightning flew, yet subtle death
  Parried them all, and beat him out of breath.

_The Penance._

  When Phillis confessed, the father was rash,
    And so, without further reflection,
  Her delicate skin he condemned to the lash,
    While himself would bestow the correction.
  Her husband, who heard this, opposed it by urging,
    That he, in regard to her weakness,
  And to save her soft back, would himself bear the scourging
    With humble submission and meekness.
  She piously cried, when the priest gave accord,
    To show what devotion was in her,
  He’s able and lusty, pray cheat not the Lord,
    For, alas! I’m a very great sinner.

_On a Gentleman who died the day after his Lady._

  She first departed; he for one day tried
  To live without her: liked it not, and died.

_On a Welchman._

  A Welchman coming late into an inn,
  Asked the maid what meat there was within?
  Cow-heels, she answered, and a breast of mutton;
  But, quoth the Welchman, since I am no glutton,
  Either of these shall serve: to-night the breast,
  The heels i’ th’ morning, then light meat is best;
  At night he took the breast and did not pay,
  I’ th’ morning took his heels, and ran away.

_The Fate of Poets._

  Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead,
  Through which the living Homer begged his bread.

_On an old Woman with false Hair._

  The golden hair that Galla wears
    Is hers: who would have thought it!
  She swears ’tis hers,―and true she swears;
    For I know where she bought it.

_On another old Woman._ BY MR. PRIOR.

  From her own native France, as old Alison past,
    She reproached English Nell with neglect or with malice;
  That the slattern had left, in the hurry and haste,
    Her lady’s complexion and eye-brows at Calais.

_An Epitaph._

  Here lies honest Strephon with Mary his bride,
  Who merrily lived and cheerfully died;
  They laughed and they loved, and drank while they were able,
  But now they are forced to knock under the table.
  This marble, which formerly served them to drink on,
  Now covers their bodies,―and sad thing to think on!―
  That do what one can to moisten our clay,
  ’Twill one day be ashes, and moulder away.

_On an ugly old Woman in the Dark._ FROM MARTIAL.

  Whilst in the dark on thy soft hand I hung,
  And heard the tempting syren in thy tongue;
  What flames, what darts, what anguish I endured!
  But, when the candle entered, I was cured.

_On a beautiful and ingenious young Lady._

  Minerva, one day, pray let nobody doubt it,
  Rid an airing from Oxford six miles, or about it,
  Where she ’spied a young damsel so blooming and fair,
  That, ah, Venus! she cried, is your ladyship there?
  Pray is not yon Oxford?―and lately you sware,
  Neither you, nor aught like you, should ever come there:
  Do you thus keep your promise? and am I defied?
  The virgin drew near her, and, smiling replied,
  ―My goddess! what have you your pupil forgot?
  ―Your pardon, my dear,―Is it you, Molly Scot?

_To a Lady who married her Footman._ COLONEL P―.

  Dear cousin, think it no reproach,
    (Thy virtue shines the more,)
  To take black John into the coach
    He rode behind before.

_On stealing a Pound of Candles._

  Light-fingered Catch, to keep his hand in ure,
  Stole anything; of this you may be sure,
  That he thinks all his own which once he handles,
  For practice-sake did steal a pound of candles;
  Was taken in the fact: Oh, foolish wight!
  To steal such things as needs must come to light.

_On a very plain Lady, that patched much._

  Your homely face, Flippanta, you disguise,
  With patches, numerous as Argus’ eyes;
  I own that patching’s requisite to you,
  For more we are pleased, if less your face we view;
  Yet I advise, if my advice you’d ask,
  Wear but one patch; but be that patch a mask.

_The Dart._

  Whene’er I look, I may descry
  A little face peep through that eye;
  Sure that’s the boy, who wisely chose
  His throne among such beams as those,
  Which, if his quiver chance to fall,
  May serve for darts to kill withal.

_To L―, the Miser._

  When thou art asked to sup abroad,
    Thou swear’st thou hast but newly dined;
  That eating late does over-load
    The stomach and the mind.

  Then thou wilt drink ’till every star
    Be swallowed by the rising sun;
  Such charms hath wine we pay not for,
    And mirth at others’ charge begun.

  Who shuns his club, yet flies to every treat,
  Does not a supper, but a reck’ning hate.

_On Jealousy._ BY A LADY.

  Oh! shield me from his rage, celestial powers,
  This tyrant that embitters all my hours.
  Ah, love, you’ve poorly played the monarch’s part,
  You conquered, but you can’t defend my heart.
  So blessed was I, throughout the happy reign,
  I thought this monster banished from thy train;
  But you would raise him to support your throne,
  And now he claims your empire as his own:
  Or tell me, tyrants, have you both agreed,
  There where one reigns, the other shall succeed?

_On Julia’s throwing a Snow-Ball._

  Julia, young wanton, flung the gathered snow,
  Nor feared I burning from the watery blow:
  ’Tis cold, I cried; but, ah! too soon I found,
  Sent by that hand, it dealt a scorching wound.
  Resistless fair! we fly thy power in vain,
  Who turn’st to fiery darts the frozen rain.
  Burn, Julia, burn like me, and that desire
  With water which thou kindlest quench with fire.

_To Zelinda._

  The poet and the painter safely dare
  To form an image of the proudest fair:
  Your brighter charms, by lavish nature wrought,
  Transcend the painter’s skill, the poet’s thought.

_Occasioned by seeing some verses on Cælia, written on a pane of Glass._

  Well hast thou drawn, fond youth, in properest place,
  The short-lived beauties of false Cælia’s face.
  When words’ obscurities thy sense o’er-shade,
  The place gives light to what thou wouldst have said.
  Bright as this lucid glass her eyes now seem,
  Like this, breathed on by fell disease, grown dim.
  Like glass is every strongest vow she makes,
  Brittle as that, as easily she breaks;
  Such is her honour. Short her fame, we find,
  Which cracked, must perish by the first high wind.

_On a Riding-House turned into a Chapel._ BY MR. FARQUHAR.

  A chapel of a riding-house is made,
  Thus we once more see Christ in manger laid,
  Where still we find the jockey trade supplied,
  The laymen bridled, and the clergy ride.

_On Chloe._

  Here Chloe lies,
    Whose once bright eyes
  Set all the world on fire:
    And not to be
    Ungrateful, she
  Did all the world admire.

_Written extempore, on the Duke of Devonshire’s House at Chatsworth._

  Qualiter in mediis quam non speraverat urbem,
    Attonitus, Venetam navita cernit aquis;
  Sic improviso emergens et montibus imis,
    Attollis sese Devoniana Domus.

_And thus translated by_ COLLEY CIBBER, ESQ.

  Not sailors view with more astonished eyes,
  In open seas Venetian towers arise,
  Than from the mountains strangers, with delight,
  See unexpected Chatsworth charm the sight.

       *       *       *       *       *

  George came to the crown without striking a blow:
  Ah! quoth the Pretender, would I could do so.

_On the Clare-market and other Orators._

  To wonder now at Balaam’s ass, is weak:
  Is there a day that asses do not speak?

_The Numskull._

  You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
  Knock as you please, there’s nobody at home.


  Sylvia makes a sad complaint she has lost her lover;
  Why nothing strange I in that news discover.
  Nay, then thou’rt dull; for here the wonder lies,
  She had a lover once!―Don’t that surprise?

_On a Painter, who stabbed a man fastened to a Cross, that he might draw
the picture of the Crucifixion more naturally._

  While his Redeemer on his canvas dies,
  Stabbed at his feet his brother weltering lies.
  The daring artist, cruelly serene.
  Views the pale cheek, and the distorted mien;
  He drains off life by drops, and deaf to cries,
  Examines every spirit as it flies;
  He studies torment, dives in mortal woe,
  To rouse up every pang repeats his blow;
  Each rising agony, each dreadful grace,
  Yet warm transplanting to his Saviour’s face.
  Oh, glorious theft! O nobly wicked draught!
  With its full charge of death each feature fraught!
  Such wondrous force the magic colours boast,
  From his own skill he starts, in horror lost.

_On a handsome Idiot._ BY MR. CONGREVE.

  When Lesbia first I saw, so heavenly fair,
  With eyes so bright, and with that awful air,
  I thought my heart, which durst so high aspire,
  As bold as his who snatched celestial fire;
  But soon as e’er the beauteous idiot spoke,
  Forth from her coral lips such folly broke,
  Like balm the trickling nonsense healed my wound,
  And what her eyes enthralled, her tongue unbound.

_On a dumb Boy, very beautiful, and of great quickness of parts._


  I sing the boy, who, gagged and bound,
  Has been by nature robbed of sound;
  Yet has she found a generous way,
  One loss by many gifts to pay.
  His voice, indeed, she close confined,
  But blest him with a speaking mind;
  And every muscle of his face
  Discourses with peculiar grace:
  The ladies tattling o’er their tea,
  Might learn to charm by copying thee.
  If silence thus can man become,
  All women beauties would be dumb.
  Then, happy boy, no more complain,
  Nor think thy loss of speech a pain:
  Nature has used thee like good liquor,
  And corked thee but to make thee quicker.

_Written on the Chamber Door of King Charles II._


  Here lies the mutton-eating king,
    Whose word no man relies on;
  Who never said a foolish thing,
    Nor ever did a wise one.

_Mankind Punished._

  The crimes of men began to grow so great,
  That how to punish justly puzzled Fate;
  Heaven sighed at last, that to his sons so dear
  A punishment’s decreed, and so severe:
  Go, says eternal justice, hell-hounds, go,
  And execute my dread commands below;
  Fix your rapacious claws on every door,
  Despoil the rich, and poorer make the poor;
  Pity not age, add to his weight of years,
  And fill the wretched widow’s eyes with tears;
  Disturb their sleep, and poison every dish,
  Nor let them taste, without a doubt, a wish:
  The judge supreme, who each effect foresaw,
  Cried, Havock, and let loose the dogs of law.

_To a young Gentleman who loved to drive hard with a sorry pair of


  Thy nags, the leanest things alive,
  So very hard thou lov’st to drive,
  I heard thy anxious coachman say
  It cost thee more in whips than hay.

_Solid Worth in a Wife._

  When Loveless married Lady Jenny,
  Whose beauty was the ready penny;
  I chose her, said he, like old plate,
  Not for the fashion, but the weight.

_Epitaph on a Miser._

  Reader, beware immoderate love of pelf:
  Here lies the worst of thieves, who robbed himself.

_On a crooked Woman._

  Nature in pity has denied you shape,
  Else how should mortals Flavia’s chain escape?
  Your radiant aspect, and your rosy bloom,
  Without this form would bring a general doom:
  At once our ruin and relief we see,
  At sight are captives, and at sight are free.

_Phillis’s Age._

  How old may Phillis be, you ask,
    Whose beauty thus all hearts engages?
  To answer is no easy task;
    For she really has two ages.

  Stiff in brocade, and pinched in stays,
    Her patches, paint, and jewels on;
  All day let Envy view her face,
    And Phillis is but twenty-one.

  Paint, patches, jewels, laid aside,
    At night astronomers agree,
  The evening has the day belied.
    And Phillis is full forty-three.

_On Timothy Mum, a Tapster._

  Here Tim the tapster lies, who drew good beer,
    But now, drawn to his end, he draws no more;
  Yes, still he draws from every friend a tear,
    Water he draws, who drew good beer before.

_On seeing an engraved Portrait of the late Dr. Cheyne ill done._

  Nature and Vandergutch in this agree,
  Unfinished she has left him, so has he.

_On the death of Mary, Countess of Pembroke._

    Underneath this sable hearse
    Lies the subject of all verse,
  Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother:
  Death, ere thou hast killed another,
    Fair, and learned, good as she,
    Time shall throw his dart at thee.

_To a bad Fiddler._

  Old Orpheus played so well he moved old Nick,
  Whilst thou mov’st nothing but thy fiddle-stick.

_Written on a Glass with the Earl of Chesterfield’s diamond pencil._

  Accept a miracle instead of wit;
  See two dull lines by Stanhope’s pencil writ.

_The real Affliction._

  Doris, a widow, past her prime,
    Her spouse long dead, her wailing doubles;
  Her real griefs increase by time,
    And what abates, improves her troubles.
  Those pangs her prudent hopes suppressed,
    Impatient now she cannot smother:
  How should the helpless woman rest?
    One’s gone―nor can she get another.

_To an old Woman who used Paint._

  Leave off thy paint, perfumes, and youthful dress,
  And nature’s failing honestly confess;
  Double we see those faults which art would mend,
  Plain downright ugliness would less offend.

_To Flirtilla._

  In church, the prayer-book and the fan displayed,
  And the solemn curtesies, show the wily maid;
  At plays, the leering looks, and wanton airs,
  And nods, and smiles, are fondly meant for snares.
  Alas! vain charmer, you no lovers get;
  There you seem hypocrite, and here coquet.

_On a picture of Mrs. Arabella Hunt, drawn playing on a lute, after her

  Were there on earth another voice like thine,
  Another hand so blessed with skill divine,
  The late afflicted world some hopes might have,
  And harmony retrieve thee from the grave.

_On a Bursar of a certain college in Oxford cutting down the Trees near
the said college for his own use._

  Indulgent nature to each creature shows
  A secret instinct to discern its foes:
  The goose, a silly bird, avoids the fox;
  Lambs fly from wolves, and sailors steer from rocks;
  The thief the gallows, as his fate foresees,
  And bears the like antipathy to trees.

_On the death of Mrs. B―, who died soon after her marriage._

  Hail, happy bride! for thou art truly bless’d,
  Three months of rapture crowned with endless rest.
  Merit like yours was heaven’s peculiar care,
  You loved,―yet tasted happiness sincere.
  To you the sweets of love were only shown;
  The sure succeeding bitter dregs unknown;
  You had not yet the fatal change deplored,
  The tender lover for the imperious lord;
  Nor felt the pains that jealous fondness brings,
  Nor wept the coldness from possession sprung:
  Above your sex distinguished in your fate,
  You trusted―yet experienced no deceit.
  Soft were your hours, and winged with pleasures flew,
  No vain repentance gave a sigh to you;
  And if superior bliss heaven can bestow,
  With fellow angels you enjoy it now.

_The Emperor Adrian’s Death-bed Verses to his Soul imitated._

  Poor little, pretty, fluttering thing,
    Must we no longer live together?
  And dost thou prune thy trembling wing
    To take thy flight the Lord knows whither?

  Thy humorous vein, thy pleasing folly,
    Lie all neglected, all forgot;
  And pensive, wavering, melancholy,
    Thou dread’st and hopest thou know’st not what.

_To Celia, with a Snuff-box, having a Looking-Glass in the Lid._

  Let others Venus and the Graces place,
  Or Cupid, god of love, these toys to grace;
  Deign, charmer, but to cast those sparkling eyes
  On this fair mirror, lo! with glad surprise,
  A fairer form than Venus shall arise.
  Smile but my fair, and view ten thousand loves,
  Cheerful as light, and soft as cooing doves:
  Beauty and love with thee for ever stay,
  Soon as thou closest the lid both fly away.

_To Oliver Cromwell._

  A peaceful sway the great Augustus bore;
  O’er what great Julius gained by arms before;
  Julius was all with martial trophies crowned;
  Augustus for his peaceful arts renowned:
  Rome calls them great, and makes them deities;
  That, for his valour; this, his policies:
  You, mighty prince, than both are greater far,
  Who rule in peace that world you gained in war;
  You sure from heaven a finished hero fell,
  Who thus alone two Pagan Gods excel.

_Inscription for a Fountain, adorned with Queen Anne’s and the late Duke
of Marlborough’s Images, and the chief Rivers of the World round the

  Ye active streams! where’er your waters flow,
  Let distant climes and farthest nations know,
  What ye from Thames and Danube have been taught,
  How Anne commanded and how Marlborough fought.

_On Blood’s stealing the Crown._

  When daring Blood, his rent to have regained,
  Upon the English diadem distrained;
  He chose the cassock, surcingle, and gown,
  The fittest mark for one who robs the crown:
  But his Lay Pity underneath prevailed,
  And while he saved the keeper’s life, he failed.
  With the priest’s vestment, had he but put on
  The prelate’s cruelty, the crown had gone.

_A Declaration of Love._

  You I love, nor think I joke,
  More than ivy does the oak;
  More than fishes do the flood;
  More than savage beasts the wood;
  More than merchants do their gain;
  More than misers to complain;
  More than widows do their weeds;
  More than friars do their beads;
  More than Cynthia to be praised;
  More than courtiers to be raised;
  More than lawyers do the bar;
  More than ’prentice boys a fair;
  More than topers t’other bottle;
  More than women tittle-tattle;
  More than jailors do a fee;
  More than all things I love thee.

_Written in the ‘Nouveaux Intérêts des Princes de l’Europe.’_

  Blest be the princes who have fought
    For pompous names, or wide dominion;
  Since by their error we are taught,
    That happiness is but opinion.

_On Snuff._

  Jove once resolved, the females to degrade,
  To propagate their sex without their aid;
  His brain conceived, and soon the pangs and throes
  He felt, nor could th’ unnatural birth disclose;
  At last, when tried, no remedy would do,
  The god took snuff, and out the goddess flew.

_On a Fan, in which was painted the story of Cephalus and Procris, with
this motto_, Aura veni.

  Come, gentle air, th’Æolian shepherd said,
  While Procris panted in the sacred shade;
  Come, gentle air, the fairer Delia cries,
  While at her feet her swain expiring lies.
  Lo! the glad gales do o’er her beauties stray,
  Breathe in her lips, and in her bosom play;
  In Delia’s hand this toy is faithful found,
  Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound;
  Both gifts destructive to the givers prove,
  Alike both lovers fall, by those they love:
  Yet guiltless too this bright destroyer lives,
  At random wounds, nor knows the wounds she gives:
  She views the story with attentive eyes,
  And pities Procris, while her lover dies.

_The advantage of having two Physicians._

  One prompt physician like a sculler plies,
  And all his art and all his skill applies:
  But two physicians, like a pair of oars,
  Convey you soonest to the Stygian shores.

_The following Lines were found among_ MR. POPE’S _Papers in his own

  Argyll, his praise when Southerne wrote,
  First struck out this, and then that thought;
  Said this was flattery, that a fault.
    How shall your bard contrive?
  My lord, consider what you do,
  He’ll lose his pains and verses too;
  For if these praises fit not you,
    They’ll fit no man alive.

_On an old Miser._

  Here lies father Sparges,
  Who died to save charges.

_On a Grave-stone in Cirencester Church-Yard._

  God takes the good, too good on earth to stay,
  And leaves the bad, too bad to take away.

_Dean Swift being sent for by the Lord Carteret, then Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland, and being made to wait in the Council Chamber alone, wrote with
a Diamond on the Window―_

  My very good lord, ’tis a very hard task
  For a man to wait here who has nothing to ask.

_My Lord coming soon after into the room, wrote under it thus:_

  My very good dean, there are few who come here
  But have something to ask, or something to fear.

_Epitaph on Mr. Fenton._

  This modest stone, what few vain marbles can,
  May truly say,―Here lies an honest man!
  A poet blessed beyond a poet’s fate,
  Whom heaven kept sacred from the proud and great!
  Foe to loud praise, and friend to learned ease,
  Content with science in the vale of peace;
  Calmly he looked on either life, and here
  Saw nothing to regret, nor there to fear;
  From nature’s temperate feast rose satisfied,
  Thanked heaven that he had lived, and that he died.

_The Petition of Justice B―ns’s Horse, to his Grace the Duke of

  Quite worn to the stumps, in a piteous condition,
  I present to your grace this my humble petition;
  Full twenty-eight stone, as all the world says,
  (To me it seems more) my plump master weighs.
  A load for a team this, yet I alone
  To Claremont must draw him, for help I have none;
  O’er Esher’s hot sands, in a dry summer’s day,
  How I sweat and I chafe, and I pant all the way
  But when I return, and the draft is increased
  By what he has crammed―a stone at the least―
  No single horse can be, in conscience thought able
  To draw both the justice, and eke half your table.
  This, my case, gracious duke, to your tender compassion
  I submit, and O! take it in consideration.
  To draw with a pair, put the squire in a way,
  Your petitioner then, bound in duty, shall neigh.

_Epitaph on Cardinal Richelieu._

  Stay, traveller―for all you want is near:
  Wisdom and power I seek―they both lie here.
  Nay, but I look for more, and raise my aim,
  To wit, taste, learning, elegance, and fame.
  Here ends your journey, then; for there the store
  Of Richelieu lies―Alas! repent no more:
  Shame on my pride! what hope is left for me,
  When here death treads on all that man can be?

_A Caveat to the Fair Sex._

  Wife and servant are the same,
  But only differ in the name;
  For when that fatal knot is tied
  Which nothing, nothing can divide;
  When she the word “obey” has said,
  And man by law supreme is made,
  Then all that’s kind is laid aside,
  And nothing left but state and pride;
  Fierce as an eastern prince he grows,
  And all his innate rigour shows:
  Then but to look, or laugh, or speak,
  Will the nuptial contract break.
  Like mutes, she signs alone must make,
  And never any freedom take;
  But still be governed by a nod,
  And fear her husband as her god;
  Him still must serve, him still obey,
  And nothing act, and nothing say,
  But what her haughty lord thinks fit,
  Who with the power, has all the wit.
  Then shun, Oh! shun that wretched state,
  And all the fawning flatterers hate;
  Value yourselves, and men despise,
  You must be proud, if you’ll be wise.

_Fast and Loose._

  Colin was married in all haste,
    And now to rack doth run;
  So knitting of himself too fast
    He hath himself undone.


  Were I, who am not of the Romish tribe,
    The number of their sacraments to fix,
  I speak sincerely, without fee, or bribe,
    Instead of seven, there should be but six.
  All men of sense tautology disclaim,
  Marriage and penance always were the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Frank carves very ill, yet will palm all the meats;
  He eats more than six, and drinks more than he eats.
  Four pipes after dinner he constantly smokes;
  And seasons his whiffs with impertinent jokes.
  Yet sighing, he says, we must certainly break,
  And my cruel unkindness compels him to speak:
  For of late I invite him―but four times a week.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Yes, every poet is a fool:
    By demonstration Ned can show it:
  Happy, could Ned’s inverted rule
    Prove every fool to be a poet.

_Rhymes given by Miss ― and filled up by the_ HON. AND REV. MR.

  Thou bright inspirer of untainted               Love,
  Gay as the lark, and peaceful as the            Dove,
  Thou whose calm breast no struggling passions   Heat,
  May still thy life be, as thy temper,          Sweet,
  By flatterers wearied, when thou seek’st the   Shade,
  May peace attend thee through the silent       Glade,
  May all those powers that heavenly virtue      Bless,
  Improve thy mind, nor make thy beauty           Less,
  But if impatience for sublimer                   Joy,
  Prompt thee to call on death, may death be       Coy.

_Epitaph in Stepney Church-Yard._

  Here lies the body of John Saul,
  Spital-fields weaver, and that’s all.

_On Wine._

  I was last night a god. How! Can’t you divine?
  I was raised up to heaven by bumpers of wine.

_A Drunken Man._

  How can I forbear from dancing?
  See the stars above me prancing,
  Moon and planets to my thinking,
  Just have had a bout of drinking
  And are setting at defiance
  All the laws of musty science.
  Yonder poplar, tall and taper,
  Round and round me cuts a caper;
  Oaks and elms, and firs and birches,
  Hedges, houses, steeples, churches,
  All to-night are drunk together,
  And dance as lightly as a feather.
  I will dance, none dare refuse me,
  The world’s example must excuse me.

_To a Lady that Painted._

  Best of all things sure is water.
  So says Pindar; you say, nay―
  But detest it worse than slaughter,
  For your rouge t’would wash away.

_To the Painter of a Lady’s Portrait._

  Much hast thou done with talents rare,
    But more is left behind;
  I see the body of the fair,
    But where’s her fairer mind?

_Take care of the Pence._

  Nancy this doctrine early learned,
    Small savings make great profit;
  So she the smallest small-coal burned,
    And very little of it.

  Her stove and chimney-piece Ned sees,
    And each provokes his ire!
  He calleth this―her marble freeze,
    And that―her small cold fire.

  Indeed, the very child [query, chill’d] who’d been
    One winter’s evening by her grate
  Would learn the difference between
    A great fire and a fire-grate.

_A new Fire Escape._

  The house was on fire; Zeno, circled in flame,
  In vain called for aid,―sure no case e’er was sadder;
  He escaped. Tell me how? Why, Antimachus came
  And lent him the use of his nose for a ladder.

_On a Miser._

  A poor man went to hang himself,
    But treasure chanced to find;
  He pocketed the miser’s pelf,
    And left the rope behind.

  His money gone, the miser tied
    Himself up in despair;
  Thus each the other’s wants supplied,
    And that was only fair.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Have you read Shakespeare’s works, my friend? Ned says.
  His works! no never―but I have his plays.

_Lines written in a Lady’s Album._

  Yes, I shall live! the voice of fame
  Will not be lost to me and mine,
  Since, lady, I may write my name
  Upon this spotless leaf of thine.

  The eager hands of future ages
  Will catch the volume left by thee;
  And those who dwell within its pages
  Will gain an immortality.

_Lines written under the foregoing._

  And is it thus you hope for fame?
  Fame like this! alas! what is it?
  To give some idle thought a name,
  That some good-natured friend may quiz it.

  This constant craving―itch of soul―
  For praise and fame makes those who catch it
  Like parrots―who still stretch a pole,
  That passers-by may kindly scratch it.

_From a Tombstone in Ballyporeen Church-yard._

  Here, at length I repose―
  And my spirit at aise is―
  With the tips of my toes,
  And the point of my nose,
  Turned up to the roots of the daisies.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Where spades grow bright, and idle swords grow dull;
  Where gaols are empty, and where barns are full;
  Where church-paths are with frequent feet outworn,
  Law court-yards weedy, silent, and forlorn;
  Where doctors foot it, and where farmers ride;
  Where age abounds, and youth is multiplied;
  Where these signs are, they clearly indicate
  A happy people, a well-governed state.

_A Cure for Love._

  Hunger and time will quench the flame
    That burns on Cupid’s altar;
  But if both fail its strength to tame,
    The certain cure’s the halter.

_The Cynic’s Home._

  No single land my country call,
    No single house my home;
  But home and country, name them all
    That shield me when I come.

_On a Flatterer._

  You attack me when absent with slanderous tongue,
    But thus fail to injure my name;
  Your flattery, when present, I feel is the wrong,
    For your praise is my grief and my shame.

  John’s wife complains, that John discourses
  And thinks of nothing else but horses.
    Whilst John, a caustic wag,
  Says, it is wonderful to see
  How thoroughly their tastes agree,
  For, that his wife, as well as he,
    Most dearly loves a (k)nag.

_On the Gout._

  Venus and Bacchus both combine
  To weaken man with love and wine;
  But worse than them we find, no doubt,
  Their still more weakening son, the gout.

_To a Man with a long Nose._

  Should you e’er stand with open mouth,
  And turn your face exactly south,
  The shadow your huge nose must throw
  On your wide teeth, the hour will show.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Said Sam, Although my body weigh
    Full sixteen stone, I swear,
  Whatever people think or say,
    My heart is light as air.

  It is a likely thing enough,
    That such result should follow:
  The body he takes care to stuff,
    Whereas the heart―is hollow.

_On a Morose Man._

  So stern in death was Timon’s ghost,
    Pluto ran off for fear he’d fight him;
  And even Cerberus left his post,
    In mortal terror lest he’d bite him.

_On the Statue of an Ox._

  So wondrous Myron’s art is shown,
    That, by the gods, we vow,
  The statue harness wants alone,
    To quit its base, and plough.

_On Bentley, Milton’s Critic._

  Did Milton’s prose, O Charles! thy death defend?
  A furious foe, unconscious, proves a friend;
  On Milton’s verse does Bentley comment? know,
  A weak officious friend becomes a foe.
  While he would seem his author’s fame to further,
  The murderous critic has avenged thy murder.

_On the inimitable Miss Steele, eldest daughter of Sir Richard Steele,
afterwards the Right Hon. Lady Trevor._


  Oh! for ever could I dwell upon the name.
  Fair nymph, on whom kind nature has dispensed
  The mother’s beauty, and the father’s sense
  The piercing dart this moment do I feel,
  For sure the wound is mortal that’s from Steele.

_Franconian Proverbs_―(_From the German._)

  Nor linen, maid, or money try,
  Unless there’s daylight in the sky.

  Mishap rides up in spur and boot,
  And always slinks away on foot.

  Be the diamond e’er so fine,
  It may not without tinsel shine.

  In culprit’s house, thou shalt not hope
  To win thy suit, by talk of rope.

  Much cumbers us a flowing dress;
  Much cumbers wealth our happiness.

  Who far away for wife shall roam,
  Or starts a cheat, or brings one home.

  He that’s a good roof o’er his head,
  Is a sad fool to leave his bed.

  He that is prompt to pay a bill,
  Shall find his coffers promptly fill.

  Break not your egg, and you are wise,
  Before your salt beside it lies.

  If you would gently sink to rest,
  Mount guard on tongue, and eye, and breast.


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Transcriber’s Notes:

Italics are denoted by _underscores_.

Original spelling has been retained, unless it’s clearly a printer’s
error. The following changes have been made:

Jest 76: or causing any beacon to be fired (be added);

Jest 351 was numbered 451―this is corrected.

Jest 632: in sending him a message (original: messuage)

Jest 674: if we fight, according to all appearances (original:

Jest 714: Look if there be not a hole in the bottom (original: whole).

In the Preface, some text is not visible. This text has been replaced
by a long em-dash: “those youngsters who now collect ― and our knees”.

Inconsistent spelling of words has been retained (e.g. ale-house and
alehouse, behind-hand and behindhand).

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it’s not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

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