The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 73

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The commissioners admitted the premises, but denied the conclusion; and being of opinion that the artist had made out his claim, awarded the sum sought, and costs.

The defendant laid down six s.h.i.+llings one by one with the air of a man undergoing the operation of having so many teeth extracted, and taking up his picture, consoled himself by saying, that "pr'aps his foreman, Bill Jones, vould buy it, as he had the luck of vearing a votch on Sundays."

RETORT COURTEOUS.

SOON after Whitefield landed in Boston, on his second visit to this country, he and Dr. Chauncey met in the street, and, touching their hats with courteous dignity, bowed to each other. "So you have returned, Mr.

Whitefield, have you?" He replied, "Yes, Reverend Sir, in the service of the Lord." "I am sorry to hear it," said Chauncey. "So is the Devil!"

was the answer given, as the two divines, stepping aside at a distance from each other, touched their hats and pa.s.sed on.

TEACH YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO SUCK AN EGG.

"YOU see, grandma, we perforate an aperture in the apex, and a corresponding aperture in the base; and by applying the egg to the lips, and forcibly inhaling the breath, the sh.e.l.l is entirely discharged of its contents."

"Bless my soul," cried the old lady, "what wonderful improvements they do make! Now in my young days we just made a hole in each end and sucked."

ACCOMMODATING BOARDER.

THE landlord of an hotel at Brighton entered, in an angry mood, the sleeping apartment of a boarder, and said, "Now, Sir, I want you to pay your bill, and you _must_. I've asked you for it often enough; and I tell you now, that you don't leave my house till you pay it!" "Good!"

said his lodger; "just put that in writing; make a regular agreement of it; I'll stay with you as long as I live!"

ACCOMMODATING COOK.

_Mistress:_ "I think, cook, we must part this day month."

_Cook:_ (in astonishment)--"Why, ma'am? I am sure I've let you 'ave your own way in most everything?"

GOOD SHOT.

A SON of Erin, while hunting for rabbits, came across a jacka.s.s in the woods, and shot him.

"By me soul and St. Patrick," he exclaimed, "I've shot the father of all the rabbits."

BILLINGSGATE RHETORIC.

AN action in the Court of Common Pleas, in 1794, between two Billingsgate fishwomen, afforded two junior Barristers an opportunity of displaying much small wit.

The counsel for the plaintiff stated, that his client, Mrs. Isaacs, labored in the humble, but honest vocation of a fishwoman, and that while she was at Billingsgate market, making those purchases, which were afterwards to furnish dainty meals to her customers, the defendant Davis grossly insulted her, and in the presence of the whole market people, called her a thief, and another, if possible, still more opprobrious epithet. The learned counsel expatiated at considerable length on the value and importance of character, and the contempt, misery, and ruin, consequent upon the loss of it. "Character, my lord," continued he, "is as dear to a fishwoman, as it is to a d.u.c.h.ess. If 'the little worm we tread on feels a pang as great as when a giant dies;' if the vital faculties of a sprat are equal to those of a whale; why may not the feelings of an humble retailer of 'live cod,' and 'dainty fresh salmon,'

be as acute as those of the highest rank in society?" Another aggravation of this case, the learned counsel said, was, that his client was an _Old Maid_; with what indignation, then, must she hear that foul word applied to her, used by the Moor of Venice to his wife? His client was not vindictive, and only sought to rescue her character, and be restored to that _place_ in society she had so long maintained.

The Judge inquired if that was the _sole_ object of the plaintiff, or was it not rather baiting with a _sprat_ to catch a _herring_?

Two witnesses proved the words used by the defendant.

The counsel for the defendant said, his learned brother on the opposite side had been _floundering_ for some time, and he could not but think that Mrs. Isaacs was a _flat fish_ to come into court with such an action. This was the first time he had ever heard of a fishwoman complaining of abuse. The action originated at Billingsgate, and the words spoken (for he would not deny that they had been used) were nothing more than the customary language, the _lex non scripta_, by which all disputes were settled at that place. If the court were to sit for the purpose of reforming the language at Billingsgate, the sittings would be interminable, actions would be as plentiful as mackerel at midsummer, and the Billingsgate fishwomen would oftener have a new suit at Guildhall, than on their backs. Under these circ.u.mstances, the learned counsel called on the jury to reduce the damages to a _shrimp_.

Verdict. Damages, _One Penny_.

HANG TOGETHER OR HANG SEPARATELY.

RICHARD PENN, one of the proprietors, and of all the governors of Pennsylvania, under the old regime, probably the most deservedly popular,--in the commencement of the revolution, (his brother John being at that time governor,) was on the most familiar and intimate terms with a number of the most decided and influential whigs; and, on a certain occasion, being in company with several of them, a member of Congress observed, that such was the crisis, "they must all _hang together_." "If you do not, gentlemen," said Mr. Penn, "I can tell you, that you will be very apt to _hang separately_."

WEBSTER MATCHED BY A WOMAN.

IN the somewhat famous case of Mrs. Bogden's will, which was tried in the Supreme Court some years ago, Mr. Webster appeared as counselor for the appellant. Mrs. Greenough, wife of Rev. William Greenough, late of West Newton, a tall, straight, queenly-looking woman with a keen black eye--a woman of great self-possession and decision of character, was called to the stand as a witness on the opposite side from Mr. Webster.

Webster, at a glance, had the sagacity to foresee that her testimony, if it contained anything of importance, would have great weight with the court and jury. He therefore resolved, if possible, to break her up. And when she answered to the first question put to her, "I believe--"

Webster roared out:

"We don't want to hear what you believe; we want to hear what you know!"

Mrs. Greenough replied, "That is just what I was about to say, Sir," and went on with her testimony.

And notwithstanding his repeated efforts to disconcert her, she pursued the even tenor of her way, until Webster, becoming quite fearful of the result, arose apparently in great agitation, and drawing out his large snuff-box thrust his thumb and finger to the very bottom, and carrying the deep pinch to both nostrils, drew it up with a gusto; and then extracting from his pocket a very large handkerchief, which flowed to his feet as he brought it to the front, he blew his nose with a report that rang distinct and loud through the crowded hall.

_Webster:_ Mrs. Greenough, was Mrs. Bogden a neat woman?

_Mrs. Greenough:_ I cannot give you very full information as to that, Sir; she had one very dirty trick.

The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 73

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