The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 20
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MERCER mentioned that, on the death of the Danish amba.s.sador here, (in Paris,) some commissaire of police, having come to the house for the purpose of making a _proces verbal_ of his death, it was resisted by the suite, as an infringement of the amba.s.sador's privilege, to which the answer of the police was, that _Un amba.s.sadeur des qu'il est mort, rentre dans la vie privee._--"An amba.s.sador, when dead, returns to private life." Lord Bristol and his daughters came in the evening; the Rancliffes, too. Mr. Rich said, at dinner, that a cure (I forget in what part of France) asked him once, whether it was true that the English women wore rings in their noses? to which Mr. R. answered, that "in the north of England, near China, it was possible they might, but certainly not about London."
WE talked of Wordsworth's exceedingly high opinion of himself; and she mentioned, that one day, in a large party, Wordsworth, without anything having been previously said that could lead to the subject, called out suddenly, from the top of the table to the bottom, in his most epic tone, "Davy!" and, on Davy's putting forth his head, in an awful expectation of what was coming, said, "Do you know the reason why I published the 'White Doe' in quarto?" "No, what was it?" "To show the world my own opinion of it."
BUSHE told of an Irish country squire, who used, with hardly any means, to give entertainments to the militia, &c., in his neighborhood; and when a friend expostulated with him, on the extravagance of giving claret to these fellows, when whiskey punch would do just as well, he answered, "You are very right, my dear friend; but I have the claret on tick, and where the devil would I get credit for the _lemons_?" Douglas mentioned the story of some rich grazier, in Ireland, whose son went on a tour to Italy, with express injunctions from the father, to write to him whatever was worthy of notice. Accordingly, on his arrival in Italy, he wrote a letter, beginning as follows: "Dear Father, the Alps is a very high mountain, and bullocks bear no price." Lady Susan and her daughters, and the Kingstons, came in the evening, and all supped. A French writer mentions, as a proof of Shakspeare's attention to particulars, his allusion to the climate of Scotland, in the words, "Hail, hail, all hail!"--_Grele, grele, toute grele._
MET Luttrell on the Boulevards, and walked with him. In remarking rather a pretty woman who pa.s.sed, he said, "The French women are often in the suburbs of beauty, but never enter the town." Company at Lord Holland's, Allen, Henry Fox, the _black_ Fox, (attached to the emba.s.sy,) Denon, and, to my great delight, Lord John Russell, who arrived this morning.
Lord Holland told, before dinner, (_a propos_ of something,) of a man who professed to have studied "Euclid," all through, and upon some one saying to him, "Well, solve me that problem," answered, "Oh, I never looked at the cuts."
AFTER Williams and I had sung one of the "Irish melodies," somebody said, "Everything that's national, is delightful." "Except the National Debt, ma'am," says Poole. Took tea at Vilamil's, and danced to the piano-forte. Wrote thirteen or fourteen lines before I went out. In talking of the organs in Gall's craniological system, Poole said he supposed a drunkard had a _barrel_ organ.
DINED at Lattin's: company, Lords Holland, John Russell, Thanet, and Trimelstown; Messrs. Maine de Biron and Denon, Luttrel and Concannon.
Abundance of noise and Irish stories from Lattin; some of them very good. A man asked another to come and dine off boiled beef and potatoes, with him. "That I will," says the other; "and it's rather odd it should be exactly the same dinner I had at home for myself, _barring the beef_." Some one, using the old expression about some light wine he was giving, "There's not a head-ache in a hogshead of it," was answered; "No, but there's a belly-ache in every gla.s.s of it." Denon told an anecdote of a man, who, having been asked repeatedly to dinner, by a person whom he knew to be but a shabby Amphitryon, went at last, and found the dinner so meagre and bad, that he did not get a bit to eat.
When the dishes were removing, the host said, "Well, now the ice is broken, I suppose you will ask me to dine with you, some day."--"Most willingly." "Name your day, then."--"_Aujourd'hui par example_,"
answered the dinnerless guest. Luttrel told of a good phrase of an attorney's, in speaking of a reconciliation that had taken place between two persons whom he wished to set by the ears, "I am sorry to tell you, sir, that a compromise has _broken out_ between the parties."
A PERSON meeting a friend running through the rain, with an umbrella over him, said, "Where are you running to in such a hurry, _like a mad mushroom_?"
A YANKEE, whose face had been mauled in a pot-house brawl, a.s.sured General Jackson that he had received his scars in battle. "Then," said Old Hickory, "be careful the next time you run away, and don't look back."
"THERE can be no doubt," said Mrs. Nickleby, "that he is a gentleman, and has the manners of a gentleman, and the appearance of a gentleman, although he does wear smalls, and gray worsted stockings. That may be eccentricity, or he may be proud of his legs. I don't see why he shouldn't be. The Prince Regent was proud of his legs, and so was Daniel Lambert, who was also a fat man; _he_ was proud of his legs. So was Miss Biffin: she was--no, "added Mrs. Nickleby, correcting herself, "I think she had only toes, but the principle is the same."--_d.i.c.kens._
THERE is a young man in Cincinnati, who is so modest that he will not "embrace an opportunity." He would make a good mate for the lady who fainted when she heard of the naked truth.
SOMEBODY once remarked, that the Englishman is never happy, but when he is miserable; the Scotchman is never at home, but when he is abroad; and the Irishman is never at peace, but when he is fighting.
A DUTCH JURY.
JUDGE JONES, of Indiana, who never allows a chance for a joke to pa.s.s him, occupied the bench when it became necessary to obtain a juryman in a case in which L----and B---- were employed as counsel. The former was an illiterate Hibernian, the latter decidedly German in his modes of expression:
The sheriff immediately proceeded to look around the room in search of a person to fill the vacant seat, when he espied a Dutch Jew, and claimed him as his own. The Dutchman objected.
"I can't understant goot Englese."
"What did he say?" asked the judge.
"I can't understant goot Englese," he repeated.
"Take your seat," cried the judge, "take your seat; that's no excuse.
You are not likely to hear any of it!"
Under that decision he took his seat.
A YELLOW FEVER JOKE.
THE _Mobile Advertiser_, of the 19th ult., tells the following good story of a notorious practical joker of that city, yclept "Straight-back d.i.c.k." d.i.c.k was at the wharf, one day last week, when one of the up river boats arrived. He watched closely the countenance of each pa.s.senger as he stepped from the plank upon the wharf, and at length fastened his gaze upon an individual, who, from his appearance and manner, was considerably nearer Mobile than he had ever been before. He was evidently ill at ease, and had probably heard the reports which were rife in the country relative to the hundreds dying in Mobile every hour from yellow fever. The man started off towards Dauphin street, carpet sack in hand, but had not proceeded far when a heavy hand was laid upon his shoulder, and he suddenly stopped. Upon turning round, he met the cold, serious countenance of d.i.c.k, and it seemed to send a thrill of terror throughout his whole frame. After looking at him steadily for about a minute, d.i.c.k slowly e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed:
"Yes, you are the man. Stand straight!"
With fear visible in his countenance, the poor fellow essayed to do as commanded.
"Straighter yet!" said d.i.c.k. "There, that will do," and taking from his pocket a small tape measure, he stooped down and measured him from the sole of his boot to the crown of his hat, took a pencil and carefully noted the height in his pocket book, to the utter amazement of the stranger; after which he measured him across the shoulders, and again noted the dimensions. He then looked the stranger firmly in the face and said:
"Sir, I am very sorry that it is so, but I really will not be able to finish it for you before morning."
"Finish what?" asked the stranger, endeavoring in vain to appear calm.
"Why, your coffin, to be sure! You see, I am the city undertaker, and the people are dying here so fast, that I can hardly supply the demand for coffins. You will have to wait until your turn comes, which will be to-morrow morning--say about 9 o'clock."
"But what do I want with a coffin? I have no idea of dying!"
"You haven't, eh? Sir, you will not live two hours and a half. I see it in your countenance. Why, even now, you have a pain--a slight pain--in your back."
The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 20
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