Here is another:

A doctor lately was a captain made: It was a change of title, not of trade.

On a farce written by one Dr. Hill, who was a poor physician and a bad writer:

For physic and farces
His equal there scarce is;
His farces are physic,
His physic a farce is.

It was Voltaire who said of physicians, that “they are men who put drugs of which they know nothing, into bodies of which they know less.” The best witticism against hydropathy was uttered by Charles Lamb, who said that the cold water cure had never been tried on a large scale but once, namely, in the deluge, and that “killed more than it cured.” Another enemy to cold water declared that there was but one place in the Bible where any person was represented as calling for water, to wit: Dives, and he wanted only a drop. Many are the epigrams upon drinking customs. Here is one of the best from the English poet Aldrich:

If on my theme I rightly think,
There are five reasons why men drink;
Good wine, a friend, because I’m dry,
Or lest I should be by and by,
Or any other reason why.

Prior has left us this little story of a bibulous gentleman who had “shot the ulf,” as Montaigne has it, and found imself waking up near the farther shore of the river Styx:

When Bibo thought fit from the world to retreat,

As full of champagne as an egg's full of meat,

He waked in the boat; and to Charon he said,

He would be rowed back, for he was not yet dead;

“Trim the boat and sit quiet,” stern Charon replied.

“You may have forgot you were drunk when you died.”

Here is a feeling lament by a John Bull

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

That he found it of gold And he left it of paper.

At a dinner given by a nobleman, Lalande was placed between Madame de Stael and Madame Recamier. “How lucky I am I?’ exclaimed Lalande ; “here I am seated between wit and beauty.” “And without possessing either one or the other,” exclaimed Madame de Stael.

On Pope's Essay on Man:

The famed essays on man in this agree,
That so things are, and therefore so should be.
The proof inverted would be stronger far,
So they should be, and therefore so they are.

Here is Harrington's epigram on fortune:

Fortune, men say, doth give too much to many; But yet she never gave enough to any.

This was written on the notorious Italian satirist, Peter Aretin:

Here Aretin interred doth lie,
Whose satire lashed both high and low :

His God alone he spared, and why?
His God, he said, he did not know.

The poet Rogers, who was a conservative, once said, “If I was compelled to make a choice, I should not hesitate to refer despotism to anarchy.” To which orne Tooke, the radical, replied, “Then wou would do as our ancestors did at the eformation. They rejected purgatory and kept hell.” When Lord Erskine heard that somebody had died worth two hundred thousand pounds, he replied, “Well, that's a Ver pretty sum to begin the next world with.” The definition of an ambassador as so by Sir Henry Wotton, was shrewdy epigrammatic: “A foreign minister,” said he, “is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.” It was Wallenstein who said that “the whole art of war consists in not running away.” A bit of sound philosophy is summed up in this optimistic epigram: “When we have not what we love, we must love what he have.” When Cowper writes in “The Task; ”

“Defend me, therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up,”

it is fair to presume that he aimed at that class of pretended poets, whom Carlyle has somewhere described as “Sailing on the cloud-rack, and spinning sea-sand.”

Saxe's epigram on family quarrels:

“A fool,” said Jeannette, “is a creature I
“But hating,” quoth John, “is immoral;
Besides, my dear girl, it's a terrible fate
To be found in a family quarrel !”

And the whole race of hypochondriacs and borrowers of trouble are effectually disposed of in this epigram, rendered from the French, by Mr. Emerson:

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,

But what torments of grief you endured
From evils which never arrived I


When Governor Marcy was Secretary of State at Washington, a person, whose duty it was to receive callers on the Secretary and introduce them, in the discharge of his duties one day, could not find the Secretary in his office. After looking in vain for him, he rushed frantically up to a person who he supposed would be able to inform him, and, strikin an attitude, exclaimed: “That Marcy to others show, that Marcy show to me!” The counterpart suggests a very happy application of the quotation, made by Mrs.

arriet Beecher Stowe. Some years ago, while passing up the Mersey on a voyage to Liverpool, looking overboard, she o served the muddy character of the river, and remarked to a friend standing at her side: “The quality of Mersey is not strained.”

AN Irish judge had a habit of begging pardon on every occasion. At the close of the assize, as he was about to leave the bench, the officer of the court reminded him that he had not passed sentence of death on one of the criminals, as he had intended. “Dear me!” said his lordship; “I really beg his pardon, bring him in.”

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE Hon. Charles Backus, of the San Francisco minstrels, was once censured by the Speaker of the California Legislature for making fun of his brother members. This broke poor Charley's heart, and he joined a minstrel company, so’s to be where no one would grumble when he indulged in a little i.". The other day, Mr. Backus rode up through Stamford, Conn., . with Mr. Lem Read, the bosom friend of the lamented minstrel, Dan Bryant. . As the train stopped before the Stamford station for water, Mr. Backus saw a good old redfaced Connecticut farmer sitting in the station reading the Brooklyn scandal. “Do you want to see me get, a good joke on that old duffer, Lem?” asked r. Backus, pointing to the old farmer. “Yes,” said Lem; “le's see you.” “Well, you wait till jes' before the train starts, Lem, and I’ll show you fun —fun till you can't rest. Jes' you wait,' said Charley, laughing and pounding the palm of his left hand with his ponderous right. “All right, Tll wait,” said Lem. When the train came to a full stop, Mr. Backus jumped off, telling his friend Lem to save his seat, “for,” said he, “as soon as the bell rings I want to bound back on the train.” Then Mr. Backus rushed up to the innocent farmer, snatched the paper from his hands, stamped on it with a tragic stamp, and †: his clenched fist in the poor man's face, exclaimed, “O, you old rascall I’ve found you ’t last, you miserable old scapegrace—now I'm goin' to lick the life out of you—you contemptible old scoundrel, you — you”— Ding-a-ding ! ... ding-a-ding ! ...ding-ading! went the bell, drowning Charley's voice, and the train began moving out, “Yes, I'll lick you,” said Charley. “I’ll #" an ox whip and—” And then he jumped back from the astonished farmer and got on the last car of the train moving out. The old farmer was astonished. He

stood up bewildered. His knees quaked and his German silver glasses fell on the floor. Then gathering himself together, he picked up his newspaper and glasses and started for the train. “Whar's the man who wanted to lick me?” he shouted. “Whar's the man who called me a scoundrel ? Whar's—” “Here he is,” said Charley from the rear platform, as he held his thumb derisively to his nose amid the laughter of the |...". “Here I am, sir—I'm your oman—take me — Just then the bell went ding-a-ding again, and what do you think? Why, the train backed /. It backed poor Charley right into the hands of the infuriated farmer, who took off his coat and went for that poor fun-loving minstrel. “You want to lick me, do you?” said the farmer, jumping on the platform, while Charley ran through the car. “You miserable dandy You want to—” And then he chased that poor minstrel through the cars with his cane in the air, while his big fist came down on his back like a triphammer. “You’ve found me, have you? Yes, I guess you have l’ said the old farmer, as Charley left his hat and one coat-sleeve in his infuriated grasp. “Evidently you have.” Mr. Backus said, as he washed off the blood, and went in to interview a tailor in New Haven two hours afterwards, “I guess the next time I want to make Lem Read laugh I won't try to scare a Connecticut farmer.”


AN Irishman, being recently on trial for some offence, pleaded “not guilty,” and the jury being in the box, the district attorney proceeded to call Mr. Furkisson as a witness. With the utmost innocence Patrick turned his face to the judge and said, “Do I understand, yer honor, that Mr. Furkisson is to be a witness foremenst me?” The judge said, dryly, “It seems so.” “Well, thin, yer honor, I plade

ilty sure, ifyer honor plaise, not because

am guilty, for I’m as innocent as yer honor's suckin' babe, but jist on account of savin' Misther Furkisson's sowl.”


THE Cornhill Magazine tell this story: “A French impresario was taking out to New Orleans an opera company, which by special agreement was only to include one tenor. Foreigners are usually bad sailors, and the first few days all the members of the company were seasick, one of the effects of which malady is that it weakens the voice so much, that Pool. are frequently hoarse for several days after their recovery. Accordingly, as soon as the singers could crawl on deck, they commenced to try their voices, and among them the tenor, who always anxious to ..". a distinguished position, went on the bridge of the steamer for the purpose. , What was his surprise on hearing an echo of his own—voice,— another tenor. His amazement became disgust when he heard the third tenor running up the scale, a fourth, a fifth. He looked forward, and saw two men, eyeing him and each other with intense hatred; he looked aft, and saw two others similarly occupied. The five tenors simultaneousl .. a rush below to the manaer's ... and demanded whether he

ad not expressly stipulated to each of them that |. was to be his only tenor. “I know, I know,” replied the manager; “and I will keep my word. You see, none of you have been to New Orleans before or you would understand. When we arrive the yellow fever is sure to be raging, and as you are fresh from Europe two of you will probably be carried off before, you land, and two more during the rehearsal. One will probably survive; he will be my first and only tenor.”


In Pennsylvania, not many years ago, dwelt the descendants of Peter Van Schreubendyke, who had cleared his own farm, guarded it carefully from the attacks of Indians, and willed it to his son Jacob. Situated in the interior and far from any settlement, the farm was transmitted in regular order from father to son, and at last became the property of Heinrich Van Schreubendyke, a good-natured,

stolid Teuton, whose son Johannes, a bright and lively youth of sixteen years, was told to saddle the horse and ride to the mill with the grist, and hurry back, The grist was on such occasions placed in one end of the bag and a largé stone in the other end to balance it. Johannes having thrown the sack across the horse's back, had got the grist evenly divided, and had no need of the stone to balancé it. He ran to his father and cried : “Oh, father, come and see me; we don't need the stone any more.” The old gentleman calmly surveyed the scene, and with a severely reproachful look said: “Johannes, your fadder, your grandfadder, and your great-grandfadder, all went to de mill with de stone in one end of de bag, und de grist in de odder. Unt now you, a mere poy, sets yourself up to know more as dey do. Yust put de stone in de pag, and never more let me see such smartness like dat.”


A lady went to a Dutch corner grocery the other day, for some trifling thing. The goods wanted were on the very top shelf. The woman placed a box on a chair, and climbed up to the shelf at the evident risk of her limbs. Her husband sat up by the stove, playing with a small dog. Lady said, “Why don't you make your husband reach it?” A look of infinite contempt came into her face as she replied, “My husband I got awfully sucked in mit dat man. He knows nothing but to play mit a dog.”


Boswell once asked Johnson if there were no possible circumstances in which suicide would be justifiable. “No,” was the reply. “Well,” says Boswell, “Su pose a man has been #. of fraud he was certain would be found out.” “Why then,” says Johnson, “in that case let him go to some country where he is not known, and not to the devil, where he is known.”

« ElőzőTovább »