The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 10

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JOHNSON.

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 disagreeable."

CLEVER LAMPOON.

UPON Frederick Prince of Wales, son of George the Second, a prince whom people of all parties are now agreed in thinking no very great worthy, nor superior to what a lively woman has here written upon him; for if we understand Horace Walpole rightly, who says the verses were found among her papers, they were the production of the Honourable Miss Rollo, probably daughter of the fourth Lord Rollo, who was implicated in the rebellion. Frederick was familiarly termed _f.e.c.kie_ and _Fed_.

"Here lies Prince Fed, Gone down among the dead.

Had it been his father, We had much rather; Had it been his mother, Better than any other; Had it been his sister, Few would have miss'd her; Had it been the whole generation, Ten times better for the nation; But since 'tis only Fed, There's no more to be said."

IN HIS s.h.i.+RT SLEEVES.

A GOOD story is told of a "country gentleman," who, for the first time, heard an Episcopal clergyman preach. He had read much of the aristocracy and pride of the church, and when he returned home he was asked if the people were "stuck up." "Pshaw! no," replied he, "why the minister preached in his s.h.i.+rt-sleeves."

A MORMON PREACHER.

THE _Boston Herald_, in announcing the death of Elder G. Adams, a Mormon preacher, says:--"On his second visit to Boston, the Elder preached, baptized converts, whipped a newspaper editor, and played a star engagement at the National Theatre. He was industrious, and filled up all his time. We have a fund of anecdotes concerning this strange mortal, which we shall be glad to print at some other time. We close this article by briefly adverting to the chastis.e.m.e.nt he gave an editor, for strongly criticising his performance of _Richard III_. The office of the editor was in Was.h.i.+ngton street, where Propeller now keeps. Adams armed himself with a cowhide, and watched for his victim. Soon, the unsuspecting fellow came down the stairs, and Adams sprang upon him, exclaiming, "The Lord has delivered thee into my hands, and I shall give thee forty stripes, save one, Scripture measure. Brother Graham, keep tally." So saying, he proceeded to lay on the punishment with hearty good will. In the meantime, a large crowd had gathered around the avenging priest and the delinquent. When the tally was up, Adams let the man go, and addressed the crowd as follows: "Men and brethren, my name is Elder George J. Adams, preacher of the everlasting gospel. I have chastised mine enemy. I go this afternoon to fulfil an engagement at the Providence Theatre, where I shall play one of Shakspeare's immortal creations. I shall return to this city, at the end of the week, and will, by divine permission, preach three times next Sabbath, on the immortality of the soul, the eternity of matter, and in answer to the question 'Who is the Devil?' May grace and peace be with you.--Amen!"

JOHN KEMBLE.

JOHN KEMBLE was often very amusing when he had had a good deal of wine.

He and two friends were returning to town, in an open carriage, from the Priory, (Lord Abercorn's,) where they had dined; and as they were waiting for change at a toll-gate, Kemble, to the amazement of the toll-keeper, called out, in the tone of Rolla, "We seek no _change_; and, least of all, such _change_ as he would bring us."

A SURPRISE.

A GREEN 'un, who had never before seen a steamboat, fell through the hatchway, down into the hold, and being unhurt, thus loudly expressed his surprise--"Well, if the darned thing aint holler."

QUEER DUEL.

AN Englishman and a Frenchman having quarrelled, they were to fight a duel. Being both great cowards, they agreed (for their mutual safety, of course) that the duel should take place in a room perfectly dark. The Englishman had to fire first. He groped his way to the hearth, fired up the chimney, and brought down--the Frenchman, who had taken refuge there.

LAWYERS.

"A LAWYER," said Lord Brougham, in a facetious mood, "is a learned gentleman, who rescues your estate from your enemies, and keeps it himself."

A FRENCHMAN PUZZLED WITH THE WORD "BOX."

SIR--In the course of my study in the English language, which I made now for three years, I always read your periodically, and now think myself capable to write at your Magazin. I love always the modesty, or you shall have a letter of me very long time pa.s.s. But, never mind. I would well tell you, that I am come to this country to instruct me in the manners, the customs, the habits, the policies, and the other affairs general of Great Britain. And truly I think me good fortunate, being received in many families, so as I can to speak your language now with so much facility as the French.

I am but a particular gentleman, come here for that what I said; but, since I learn to comprehend the language, I discover that I am become an object of pleasantry, and for himself to mock, to one of your comedians even before I put my foot upon the ground at Douvres. He was Mr. Mathew, who tell of some contretems of me and your word detestable _Box_. Well, never mind. I know at present how it happen, because I see him since in some parties and dinners; and he confess he love much to go travel and mix himself altogether up with the stage coach and vapouring boat for fun, what he bring at his theatre.

Well, never mind. He see me, perhaps, to ask a question in the paque-bot--but he not confess after, that he goed and bribe the garcon at the hotel and the coachman to mystify me with all the boxes; but, very well, I shall tell you how it arrived, so as you shall see that it was impossible that a stranger could miss to be perplexed, and to advertise the travellers what will come after, that they shall converse with the gentleman and not with the badinstructs.

But, it must that I begin. I am a gentleman, and my goods are in the public rentes, and a chateau with a handsome propriety on the banks of the Loire, which I lend to a merchant English, who pay me very well in London for my expenses. Very well. I like the peace nevertheless that I was force, at other time, to go to war with Napoleon. But it is pa.s.sed.

So I come to Paris in my proper post-chaise, where I selled him, and hire one, for almost nothing at all, for bring me to Calais all alone, because I will not bring my valet to speak French here where all the world is ignorant.

The morning following, I get upon the vapouring boat to walk so far as Douvres. It was fine day, and after I am recover myself of a malady of the sea, I walk myself about the s.h.i.+p, and I see a great mechanic of wood with iron wheel, and thing to push up inside, and handle to turn.

It seemed to be ingenious, and proper to hoist great burdens. They use it for shoving the timber, what come down of the vessel, into the place; and they tell me it was call "Jacques in the _box_:" and I was very much pleased with the invention so novel.

Very well. I go again promenade upon the board of the vessel, and I look at the compa.s.s, and little boy sailor come and sit him down, and begin to chatter like the little monkey. Then the man that turns a wheel about and about laugh, and say, "Very well, Jacques," but I not understand one word the little fellow say. So I make inquire, and they tell me he was "_box_ the compa.s.s." I was surprise, but I tell myself, "Well, never mind;" and so we arrive at Douvres. I find myself enough well in the hotel, but as there has been no _table d'hote_, I ask for some dinner, and it was long time I wait: and so I walk myself to the customary house, and give the key to my portmanteau to the douaniers, or excis.e.m.e.n, as you call, for them to see as I had no smuggles in my equipage. Very well. I return at my hotel, and meet one of the waiters, who tell me (after I stand little moment to the door to see the world what pa.s.s by upon a coach at the instant), "Sir," he say, "your dinner is ready." "Very well," I make response, "where was it?" "This way, Sir," he answer, "I have put it in a _box_ in the _cafe_ room." "Well, never mind," I say to myself, "when a man himself finds in a stranger country, he must be never surprised. '_Nil admirari._' Keep the eyes open and stare at nothing at all."

I found my dinner only there there, because I was so soon come from France; but, I learn, another sort of the box was a part.i.tion and table particular in a saloon, and I keep there when I eated some good sole fritted, and some not cooked mutton cutlet; and a gentleman what was put in another _box_, perhaps Mr. Mathew, because n.o.body not can know him twice, like a cameleon he is, call for the "pepper-_box_." Very well. I take a cup of coffee, and then all my hards and portmanteau come with a wheel-barrow; and, because it was my resolution to voyage up at London with the coach, and I find my many little things was not convenient, I ask the waiter where I may buy a night sack, or get them tie up all together in a burden. He was well attentive at my cares, and responded, that he shall find me a _box_ to put them all into. Well, I say nothing to all but "Yes," for fear to discover my ignorance; so he brings the little _box_ for the clothes and things into the great _box_ what I was put into; and he did my affairs in it very well. Then I ask him for some spectacle in the town, and he sent boot boy with me so far as the theatre, and I go in to pay. It was shabby poor little place, but the man what set to have the money, when I say, "How much," asked me if I would not go into the _boxes_. "Very well," I say, "never mind--oh yes--to be sure;" and I find very soon the _box_ was the loge, same thing. I had not understanding sufficient in your tongue then to comprehend all what I hear--only one poor maiger doctor, what had been to give his physic too long time at a cavalier old man, was condemned to swallow up a whole _box_ of his proper pills. "Very well," I say, "that must be egregious. It is cannot be possible," but they bring a little _box_ not more grand nor my thumb. It seemed to be to me very ridiculous; so I returned to my hotel at despair how I could possibility learn a language what meant so many differents in one word.

I found the same waiter, who, so soon as I come in, tell me--"Sir, did you not say that you would go by the coach to-morrow morning?" I replied--"Yes; and I have bespeaked a seat out of the side, because I shall wish to amuse myself with the country, and you have no cabriolets in your coaches." "Sir," he say, very polite, "if you shall allow me, I would recommend you the _box_, and then the coachman shall tell everything." "Very well," I reply, "yes--to be sure--I shall have a _box_ then--yes;" and then I demanded a fire into my chamber, because I think myself enrhumed upon the sea, and the maid of the chamber come to send me in bed: but I say, "No so quick, if you please; I will write to some friend how I find myself in England. Very well--here is the fire, but perhaps it shall go out before I have finish." She was pretty laughing young woman, and say, "Oh no, Sir, if you pull the bell, the porter, who sits up all night, will come, unless you like to attend to it yourself, and then you will find the coal-_box_ in the closet."

Well--I say nothing but "Yes--oh yes." But, when she is gone, I look direct into the closet, and see a _box_ not no more like none of the other _boxes_ what I see all day than nothing.

Well--I write at my friends, and then I tumble about when I wake, and dream in the sleep what should possible be the description of the _box_, what I must be put in to-morrow for my voyage.

In the morning, it was very fine time, I see the coach at the door, and I walk all around before they bring the horses; but I see nothing what they can call _boxes_, only the same kind as what my little business was put into. So I ask for the post of letters at a little boots boy, who showed me by the Quay, and tell me, pointing by his finger at a window--"There see, there was the letter-_box_," and I perceive a crevice. "Very well--all _box_ again to-day," I say, and give my letter to the master of postes, and go away again at the coach, where I very soon find out what was coach-_box_, and mount myself upon it. Then come the coachman habilitated like the gentleman, and the first word he say was--"Keep horses! Bring my _box_-coat!" and he push up a grand capote with many sc.r.a.pes.

"But--never mind," I say; "I shall see all the _boxes_ in time." So he kick his leg upon the board, and cry "cheat!" and we are out into the country in lesser than one minute, and roll at so grand pace, what I have had fear we will be reversed. But after little times, I take courage and we begin to entertain together: but I hear one of the wheels cry squeak, so I tell him, "Sir, one of the wheel would be greased;"

then he make reply nonchalancely, "Oh it is nothing but one of the _boxes_ what is too tight." But it is very long time after as I learn that wheel a _box_ was pipe of iron what go turn round upon the axle.

Well--we fly away at the pace of charge. I see great castles, many; then come a pretty house of country well ornamented, and I make inquire what it should be. "Oh!" responded he, "I not remember the gentleman's name, but it is what we call a snug country _box_."

Then I feel myself abymed at despair, and begin to suspect that he amused himself. But, still I tell myself, "Well, never mind; we shall see." And then after sometimes, there come another house, all alone in a forest, not ornated at all. "What, how you call that?" I demand of him--"Oh!" he responded again, "that is a shooting-_box_ of Lord Killfot's." "Oh!" I cry at last out," that is little too strong;" but he hoisted his shoulders and say nothing. Well, we come at a house of country, ancient with the trees cut like some peac.o.c.ks, and I demand--"What you call these trees?" "_Box_, Sir," he tell me. "Devil is in the _box_," I say at myself. "But, never mind; we shall see." So I myself refreshed with a pinch of snuff and offer him, and he take very polite, and remark upon an instant--"That is a very handsome _box_ of yours, Sir."

The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 10

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