The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 62

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IN a party of young fellows, the conversation turned on their learning and education, and one of the company having delivered his thoughts on the subject very respectably, his neighbor, neither extremely wise nor witty, said, "Well, Jack, you are certainly not the greatest fool living." "No," answered he, "nor shall I be while you live."


"MY DEAR," said an affectionate wife, "what shall we have for dinner to-day?"

"One of your smiles," replied the husband. "I can dine on that every day."

"But I can't," replied the wife.

"Then take this," and he gave her a kiss and went to his business.

He returned to dinner.

"This is excellent steak," said he, "what did you pay for it?"

"Why, what you gave me this morning, to be sure," replied the wife.

"You did!" exclaimed he; "then you shall have the money next time you go to market."


A TRADESMAN pressing one of his customers for payment of a bill, the latter said, "You need not be in such a hurry; I am not going to run away." "But," says the creditor, "_I am._"



I MET with a ludicrous instance of the dissipation of even latter days, a few months after my marriage. Lady B---- and myself took a tour through some of the southern parts of Ireland, and among other places visited Castle Durrow, near which place my brother, Henry French Barrington, had built a hunting-cottage, wherein he happened to have given a house-warming the previous day.

The company, as might be expected at such a place and on such an occasion, was not the most select; in fact, they were "_hard-going_"


Among the rest, Mr. Joseph Kelly, of unfortunate fate, brother to Mr.

Michael Kelly (who by-the-by does not say a word about him in his Reminiscences), had been invited, to add to the merriment by his pleasantry and voice, and had come down from Dublin for the purpose.

Of this convivial a.s.semblage at my brother's, he was, I suppose, the very life and soul. The dining-room had not been finished when the day of the dinner-party arrived, and the lower parts of the walls having only that morning received their last coat of plaster, were, of course, totally wet.

We had intended to surprise my brother; but had not calculated on the scene I was to witness. On driving to the cottage-door I found it open, while a dozen dogs, of different descriptions, showed ready to receive us not in the most polite manner. My servant's whip, however, soon sent them about their business, and I ventured into the parlor to see what cheer. It was about ten in the morning: the room was strewed with empty bottles--some broken--some interspersed with, plates, dishes, knives, spoons, &c., all in glorious confusion. Here and there were heaps of bones, relics of the former day's entertainment, which the dogs, seizing their opportunity, had picked. Three or four of the Baccha.n.a.lians lay fast asleep upon chairs--one or two others on the floor, among whom a piper lay on his back, apparently dead, with a table-cloth spread over him, and surrounded by four or five candles, burnt to the sockets; his chanter and bags were laid scientifically across his body, his mouth was wide open, and his nose made ample amends for the silence of his drone. Joe Kelly and a Mr. Peter Alley were fast asleep in their chairs, close to the wall.

Had I never viewed such a scene before, it would have almost terrified me; but it was nothing more than the ordinary custom which we called _waking the piper_, when he had got too drunk to make any more music.

I went out, and sent away my carriage and its inmate to Castle Durrow, whence we had come, and afterward proceeded to seek my brother. No servant was to be seen, man or woman. I went to the stables, wherein I found three or four more of the goodly company, who had just been able to reach their horses, but were seized by Morpheus before they could mount them, and so lay in the mangers awaiting a more favourable opportunity. Returning hence to the cottage, I found my brother, also asleep, on the only bed which it then afforded: he had no occasion to put on his clothes, since he had never taken them off.

I next waked Dan Tyron, a wood-ranger of Lord Ashbrook, who had acted as maitre d'hotel in making the arrangements, and providing a horse-load of game to fill up the banquet. I then inspected the parlor, and insisted on breakfast. Dan Tyron set to work: an old woman was called in from an adjoining cabin, the windows were opened, the room cleared, the floor swept, the relics removed, and the fire lighted in the kitchen.

The piper was taken away senseless, but my brother would not suffer either Joe or Alley to be disturbed till breakfast was ready. No time was lost; and, after a very brief interval, we had before us abundance of fine eggs, and milk fresh from the cow, with brandy, sugar, and nutmeg, in plenty; a large loaf, fresh b.u.t.ter, a cold round of beef, which had not been produced on the previous day, red herrings, and a bowl dish of potatoes roasted on the turf ashes; in addition to which, ale, whiskey, and port, made up the refreshments. All being duly in order, we at length awakened Joe Kelly, and Peter Alley, his neighbor: they had slept soundly, though with no other pillow than the wall; and my brother announced breakfast with a _view holloa_!

The twain immediately started, and roared in unison with their host most tremendously! It was, however, in a very different tone from the _view holloa_, and perpetuated much longer.

"Come, boys," says French, giving Joe a pull, "come!"

"Oh, murder!" says Joe, "I can't!"--"Murder!--murder!" echoed Peter.

French pulled them again, upon which they roared the more, still retaining their places. I have in my lifetime laughed till I nearly became spasmodic; but never were my risible muscles put to greater tension than upon this occasion. The wall, as I said before, had only that day received a coat of mortar, and of course was quite soft and yielding, when Joe and Peter thought proper to make it their pillow; it was, nevertheless, setting fast, from the heat and lights of an eighteen hours' carousal; and, in the morning, when my brother awakened his guests, the mortar had completely set and their hair being the thing most calculated to amalgamate therewith, the entire of Joe's stock, together with his _queue_, and half his head, was thoroughly and irrecoverably bedded in the greedy and now marble cement, so that, if determined to move, he must have taken the wall along with him, for separate it would not. One side of Peter's head was in the same state of imprisonment. n.o.body was able to a.s.sist them, and there they both stuck fast.

A consultation was now held on this pitiful case, which I maliciously endeavored to prolong as much as I could, and which was, in fact, every now and then interrupted by a roar from Peter or Joe, as they made fresh efforts to rise. At length, it was proposed by Dan Tyron to send for the stone cutter, and get him to cut them out of the wall with a chisel. I was literally unable to speak two sentences for laughing. The old woman meanwhile tried to soften the obdurate wall with melted b.u.t.ter and new milk--but in vain. I related the school story how Hannibal had worked through the Alps with hot vinegar and hot irons: this experiment likewise was made, but Hannibal's solvent had no better success than the old crone's.

Peter Alley, being of a more pa.s.sionate nature, grew ultimately quite outrageous: he roared, gnashed his teeth, and swore vengeance against the mason; but as he was only held by one side, a thought at last struck him: he asked for two knives, which being brought, he whetted one against the other, and introducing the blades close to his skull, sawed away at cross corners till he was liberated, with the loss only of half his hair and a piece of his scalp, which he had sliced off in zeal and haste for his liberty. I never saw a fellow so extravagantly happy! Fur was sc.r.a.ped from the crown of a hat, to stop the bleeding; his head was duly tied up with the old woman's _praskeen_; and he was soon in a state of bodily convalescence. Our solicitude was now required solely for Joe, whose head was too deeply buried to be exhumed with so much facility. At this moment, Bob Casey, of Ballynakill, a very celebrated wig-maker, just dropped in, to see what he could pick up honestly in the way of his profession, or steal in the way of anything else; and he immediately undertook to get Mr. Kelly out of the mortar by a very expert but tedious process, namely clipping with his scissors, and then rooting out with an oyster-knife. He thus finally succeeded, in less than an hour, in setting Joe once more at liberty, at the price of his queue, which was totally lost, and of the exposure of his raw and bleeding occiput.

The operation was, indeed, of a mongrel description--somewhat between a complete tonsure and an imperfect scalping, to both of which denominations it certainly presented claims. However, it is an ill wind that blows n.o.body good! Bob Casey got the making of a skull-piece for Joe, and my brother French had the pleasure of paying for it, as gentlemen in those days honored any order given by a guest to the family shopkeeper or artisan.

A PARTNERs.h.i.+P.

AFTER divine service at Worcester cathedral, where a remarkably fine anthem had been performed, the organ-blower observed to the organist, "I think we have performed mighty well to-day." "_We_ performed!" answered the organist, "if I am not mistaken it was _I_ that performed." Next Sunday, in the midst of a voluntary, the organ stopped all at once. The organist, enraged, cried out, "Why don't you blow?" The fellow, popping out his head, said, "Shall it be _we_ then?"


A LADY of vivacity was by a waggish friend proposed to be made acquainted with a gentleman of infinite wit, an offer she gladly accepted. After the interview, her friend asked how she liked him. She said, "Delightfully! I have hardly ever found a person so agreeable."

The damsel, uninterrupted in her own loquacity, had not discovered that this witty gentleman was----_dumb_!


AN officer relating his feats to the Marshal de Bessompiere, said, that in a sea-fight he had killed 300 men with his own hand: "And I," said the Marshal, "descended through a chimney in Switzerland to visit a pretty girl." "How could that be," said the captain, "since there are no chimneys in that country?" "What, Sir!" said the Marshal, "I have allowed you to kill 300 men in a fight, and surely you may permit me to descend a chimney in Switzerland."

The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 62

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