The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 57

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"The princ.i.p.al vegetable productions of the island are the pepper tree and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that delightful condiment. [Note received from Dr. D. P.] It is said, however, that, as the oysters were of the kind called _natives_ in England, the natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct, refused to touch them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of the vessel in which they were brought over. This information was received from one of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and exceedingly fond of missionaries. He is said also to be very skillful in the _cuisine_ peculiar to the island.

"During the season of gathering the pepper, the persons employed are subject to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and long-continued sternutation, or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of these attacks, that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven backwards for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known principle of the aeolipile. Not being able to see where they are going, these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks or are precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost annually. As, during the whole pepper-harvest, they feed wholly on this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable. The smallest injury is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the _pepper-fever_, as is called, cudgeled another most severely for appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species of swine called the _Peccavi_ by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mahometan Buddhists.

"The bread-tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe and America under the familiar name of _maccaroni_. The smaller twigs are called _vermicelli_. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be observed in the soups containing them. Maccaroni, being tubular, is the favourite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island, therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the maccaroni arrives among us. It therefore always contains many of these insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that accidents from this source are comparitavely rare.

"The fruit of the bread-tree consists princ.i.p.ally of hot rolls. The b.u.t.tered-m.u.f.fin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with the cocoa-nut palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoa-nut exuding from the hybrid in the shape of b.u.t.ter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with cold"--

--There,--I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of these statements are highly improbable.--No, I shall not mention the paper.--No, neither of them wrote it, though it reminds me of the style of these popular writers. I think the fellow who wrote it must have been reading some of their stories, and got them mixed up with his history and geography. I don't suppose _he_ lies;--he sells it to the editor, who knows how many squares off "Sumatra" is. The editor, who sells it to the public----By the way, the papers have been very civil----haven't they?--to the--the--what d'ye call it?--"Northern Magazine,"--isn't it?--got up by some of those Come-outers, down East, as an organ for their local peculiarities.

SHAKSPEARE QUOTED.

A VILE sc.r.a.per making a discordant sound with his violin, a friend observed, "If your instrument could speak, it would address you in the words of Hamlet: "_Though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me_."

CAUTION TO GAMESTERS.

A GERMAN baron at a gaming house, being detected in an _odd trick_, one of the players fairly threw him out of the one pair of stairs window. On this outrage he took the advice of Foote, who told him never to play _so high again_.

AT THE BAR.

A CRIMINAL being asked, in the usual form, what he had to say why judgment of death should not be pa.s.sed against him, answered, "Why, I think there has been quite enough said about it already--if you please we'll drop the subject."

HOCK.

A PEDANTIC fellow called for a bottle of hock at a tavern, which the waiter, not hearing distinctly, asked him to repeat. "A bottle of hock--hic, haec, hoc," replied the visitor. After sitting, however, a long time, and no wine appearing, he ventured to ring again, and enquire into the cause of delay. "Did I not order some hock, sir? Why is it not brought in?" "Because," answered the waiter, who had been taught Latin grammar, "you afterwards _declined_ it."

DORIC WIT.

A PERSON asking another, while viewing the front of Covent-garden theatre, of what order the pillars at the entrance were, received the answer, "Why, sir, I am not very conversant in the orders of architecture; but from their being at the entrance of the house, I take it for granted, it must be the Dor-ic."

FAMILY LIKENESS.

A YANKEE, speaking of his children, said he had seven sons, none of whom looked alike but Jonathan, and Jonathan did look just alike.

ACTUAL EXPERIMENT.

"LA me! good old neighbor," cried Mrs. Popps, "what are you going to do with that great ugly crow?" "Why, you see, we hear as how they live a hundred years, so husband and I got one to try."

A TREMENDOUS THREAT.

A MAN being convicted of bigamy, at the Wexford a.s.sizes, the judge, in p.r.o.nouncing sentence, thus addressed the prisoner: "Yours is a most atrocious case, and I am sorry that the greatest punishment which the law allows me to inflict, is, that you be transported to parts beyond the seas, for seven years; but if I had my will, you should not escape thus easily; I would sentence you to _reside in the same house with both your wives, for the term of your natural life_."

INQUISITIVE.

A SMART old Yankee lady, being called into court as a witness, grew impatient at the questions put to her, and told the judge she would quit the stand, for he was "raly one of the most inquisitive old gentlemen she ever see."

GRAFTING.

A LADY, being so unfortunate as to have her husband hang himself on an apple tree, the wife of a neighbor immediately came to beg a branch of the tree for grafting. "For who knows," said she, "but it may bear the same kind of fruit?"

IN ORDERS.

A COUNTRY squire introduced his baboon, in clerical habits, to say grace. A clergyman, who was present, immediately left the table, and asked ten thousand pardons for not remembering, that his lords.h.i.+p's nearest relation was in orders.

The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 57

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The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 57 summary

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