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“And to have all you kill?” said the farmer—“eh 2 ” “Exactly so,” said Tom. “Half a guinea,” said the farmer. “That's too much,” said Tom, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do—I’ll give you a seven shilling piece, which happens to be all the money I have in my pocket.” “Well,” said the man, “hand 't over.” The payment was made—Tom, true to his bargain, took his post by the barn door, and let fly with one barrel, and then with the other; and such quacking, and splashing, and screaming, and fluttering, had never been seen in that place before. Away ran Tom, and, delighted at his success, picked up first a hen, then a chicken, then fished out a dying duck or two, and so on, until he numbered eight head of domestic game, with which his bag was nobly distended. “Those were right good shots, sir,” said the farmer. “Yes,” said Tom; “eight ducks and fowls are more than you Targained for, old fellow—worth rather more, I suspect, than seven shillings—eh 7” “Why, yes,” said the man, scratching his head, of think they be, but what doi care for that—they are none of mine !” “Here,” said Tom, “I was for once in my life beaten, and made off as fast as I could, for fear the right owner of my anne o: make his appearance—not É. that I could have given the fellow that took me in seven times as much as I did, for his cunning and coolness.”
“THAT FOUR SHILLIN’.”
“MANY years ago Hank Miller was the omnibus king of New York. That was before street cars were known. And Hank's 'busses were going on all the principal lines. He was a good-natured man, uiet and full of fun. The drivers of the 'busses were cashiers too, received the passengers' money, made change, and at night handed over the day's receipts. One evening Hank was inspecting the stalls of one of the stables, when Johnny Derrick, a well-known driver, came in and without noticing Hank emptied his pockets in the next stall, and commenced to make up his account.
“That's four shillin' for Hank and four
for me!” said he, laying them in two different piles. “There's four shillin' for Hank and four for me!” and thus he continued until the money was divided into two different piles, with an odd half dollar in Johnny's hand. “How is this?” said Johnny; “who does this belong to? Well, we'll toss up; heads for me and tails for Hank; ” and up he flipped it. . “Tails!” he exclaimed. “Ah, but that wasn't fair; we'll try it again; ” and up it went once more. “Heads! I thought it was mine!” and with a satisfied air he pocketed his share, and started for the office to make his returns. Hank took a short cut, and when Johnny entered he was behind the counter, ready to receive the money. “Good evening,” said Johnny, touching his hat to Hank, as he laid the money on the counter. “That's all right, Johnny,” said Hank, quietly; “we don't need your services any more.” ‘Eh! how's that? What's the matter Mr. Miller?” exclaimed the astonished John. “Well, I don't think you treated me exactly fair,” Hank dryly replied; “you ought to have given me another chance for that four shillin'!”
[REGINALD HEben. Born at Malpas, Cheshire, 1783, Educated at Oxford, where he was elected Fellow of All Souls. Appointed Bishop of Calcutta, 1822. Was found dead in his bath in 1826.]
A KNIGHT and a lady once met in a grove, While each was in quest of a fugitive love; A river ran mournfully murmuring by, And they wept in its waters for sympathy.
“Oh, never was knight such a sorrow that
They search'd for an eddy that suited the deed,
They gazed at each other, the maid and the knight, How fair was her form, and how goodly his height! “One mournful embrace;” sobb'd the youth, “ere we die | * So kissing and crying kept company.
“Oh, had I but loved such an angel as you!”
At length spoke the lass, 'twixt a smile and a
THE TOWN OF PASSAGE.
[By the Rev. Francis Mahony, the Father Prout whose Reliques in Fraser and other magazines are so well known to all lovers of wit, humour, and scholarship. The Town of Passage—the Queenstown of Cork of the present day—is a parody on the Groves of Blarney, a rambling and thoroughly Irish rhapsody; one of those, says Samuel Lover, “so frequently heard amongst the peasantry, who were much given, of old, to the sustian flights of hedge schoolmasters, who delighted in dealing with gods and goddesses, and high historic personages, and revelled in the “Cambyses vein.”’)
THE town of Passage
'Tis there the turf is,
There are ships from Cadiz,
Mosquitoes.—Two Irishmen, on a sultry night, took refuge under the bedclothes from a party of mosquitoes. At last one of them, gasping from heat, ventured to peep beyond the bulwarks, and espied a fire-fly which had strayed into the room. Arousing his companion with a punch, he said: “Furgus!. Furgus! it's no use; you might as well come out; here's one of the craythers searching for us wid a lantern.”
A citizen drunk, and locked up in the station house, may certainly be said to be in a tight place.
JOE MILLER, AND THE JESTERS OF ALL TIMES AND CLIMES.
“Motley's your only wear!” quoth Shakspeare, and of a verity o aS usual, is in the right; for motley has worn long and well, and found favour in the sight of our forefathers and ourselves from the time it was first donned by the Vice of the Old Moralities, some centuries since, until it was doffed by poor Joe Grimaldi, who had not the smallest particle of a vice about him but this same suit of motley.
In all ages and conditions of society the humours of the professed droll, or merry. maker, have found universal welcome. To discuss the why and the wherefore would here be out of place; the fact was and is as we have stated it.
In the olden days, the monks, who sought to instruct their unlettered flocks by dramatic representations of the most striking incidents recorded in Scripture story, knowing as well as Dryden himself that
“Men are but children of a larger growth,”
seasoned the feast of reason to the popular palate, and enlivened the grave scenes of Biblical history by the introduction of a singular character entitled the Vice, a buf. foon wearing a fool's habit, and the greater part of whose employment consisted in teazing and tormenting upon every occasion the Devil, whose bitter enemy he was. This character, according to the late Mr. Douce, teased to be in fashion at the end of the sixteenth century. But as, in the times of which we are speaking, this love of fun and frolic could rarely be gratified by anything approaching to the character of dramatic performances, since the mysteries and moralities were for the most part enacted only in celebration of the great festivals of the Church,-this fondness for mad pranks and witty conceits gave rise to that now obsolete character, the domestic fool, or jester; and the reader will readily conceive how prevalent must have been the custom of keeping such merry retainers, when he learns that a clever German writer has devoted a goodly octavo volume to the discussion and illustration of the history of Court Fools. The subject indeed is a prolific one, for the practice was universal. Not a court in Christendom but resounded with their wit. ticisms; not a feudal lord but sought relief from the troubles of wars, or relaxation and
amusement after the fatigues of the chase, in listening to the gibes of his jester; while so far was this practice from being confined to sovereign princes and the secular nobles, that it prevailed among ecclesiastics of the very highest rank, and this notwithstanding that the Council held at Paris, A. D. 1212, had expressly declared that churchmen should not keep fools! The Popes, Paul the Second and Leo the Tenth, are known to have numbered such philosophers in motley among their retainers; and old Sebastian Brandt tells a story of a bishop (by other writers said to be the Archbishop of Cologne) who did so, much to his discomfort. The story paints in such vivid colours the manners and spirit of the times as to justify its insertion, though certainly of a very questionable character. This bishop had a favourite fool, who, as was the custom of that age, lay in the same bed with him, in which, upon one occasion. it so happened that a stranger made a third party. The fool, upon finding more legs than ordinary in the bed, laid hold of one, and asked whose it was. ‘Mine,' said the bishop. He then laid hold of a second, a third, and a fourth, asking the same question, the bishop each time answering that it was his; whereupon the fool sprang from the bed, and running to the window, cried, “Come in here !—come in here !—behold a miracle! Our bishop has got four legs I’’ And thus made he known to all the world what his master would fain have kept secret. Among the cardinals who are recorded as having kept fools, our own Wolsey must not be forgotten; and, like the bishop we have just referred to, he would seem to have had good cause to repent of having disobeyed in this respect the ordinances of the Church. Wolsey who, as is well known, was the son of a butcher, received no heartier congratulations on obtaining his cardinal's hat than those which his jester offered him. “Thank God l you are a cardinal,” said the jester; “now have I nothing more to desire than to see you pope.” The cardinal inquired of him his reasons for this wish. “Why,” said the saucy knave, “St. Peter was a fisherman, and he therefore ordained fasts, that fish might fetch a better price; now, your eminence being a butcher bred, would of course abolish fasts, and command us to eat meat, that your trade might flourish.” But if it be matter of surprise to find the dignitaries of the Church seeking amusement in the rude sallies of these capering knaves, it must be still more so to see them intruding into the Council-chamber when matters of the gravest moment were under discussion; yet such was undoubtedly the case. Triboulet, the favourite jester of Francis the First, was, we are told, present at the council of war held by that monarch previous to his unfortunate campaign of 1525, in which he was taken prisoner at Pavia. The council, after gravely deliberating upon the most advantageous mode of entering Italy, being at length dissolved, were very coolly told by the jester, that though they doubtless flattered themselves they had given their sovereign most excellent advice, they had unquestionably forgotten the most important part of the question. “What is that?” inquired they. “Why,” said Triboulet, “you don't, I suppose, mean to stay in Italy; and yet have never once considered how you are to get back again l’’ The unfortunate issue of this expedition o that, though the fool's bolt might ave been soon shot, it had hit the mark. The following anecdote furnishes, however, a still more remarkable proof of the extent to which this practice was carried, and shows how little the presence of such characters, even upon the gravest occasions, was considered either intrusive or indecorous. At the time of the celebrated disputation between Luther and Eckius at the castle of Leipsic, in 1519, Duke George of Saxony, the bitter enemy of Luther and his followers, who was always present, was attended by a favourite jester, who had but one eye, and who generally sat at his master's feet. Some of the courtiers had in jest told the fool that the learned doctors were disputing upon the subject of his marriage, which Luther defended, but which Eckius would by no means allow. This was sufficient to o the poor fellow with a violent dislike to Eckius, against whom, therefore, during the disputation, he kept continually darting all the angry looks that his one eye was capable of Eckius at length noticing this, and not knowing the reason of it, looked just as angrily at the fool, and by way of deriding him for the infirmity under which he laboured, put up his hand, and mockingly closed one of his eyes. At the sight of this, the jester lost all patience, and, in the face of the whole assembly, he called Eckius a lying priest, a rascal, and a thief, and * the hall in a towering passion, amidst the laughter of all who witnessed this extraordinary scene.
58 JOE MILLER AND THE JESTERS OF Air, L TIMES AND CLIMES.
But it would appear that there is more of philosophy and shrewdness in the practice of keeping fools than one would at the first glance be inclined to suspect. The celebrated Professor Hufeland, at Berlin, tells us that “Laughter is one of the greatest helps to digestion with which he is No. and the custom prevalent among our forefathers of exciting it by jesters and buf. foons was founded on true medical principles. In a word, endeavour to have cheerful and merry companions at your meals. What nourishment one receives amidst mirth and jollity will certainly produce good, and light blood " And from a very curious account of Lord Burghley, written by one of his household, which is preserved among the manuscripts in the British Museum, we learn that that profound minister was habitually “very free and cheerful in his hours of refection.”
Professed jesters have, however, now for many years, been out of vogue; the reader, of course, knows why. I might dissertate
at some length upon the point, speak in loud-,
sounding phrases an infinite deal of nothing, hide the reasons like two grains of wheat in a bushel of chaff—yet, gloss them over as I might, the causes of this altered state of things, designate them what you will, are those stereotype ones which are now-a-days called into use to account for every change, be it for the better or for the worse, or neither for better nor worse, but merely for change sake, the march of intellect, the schoolmaster being abroad (which, by the bye, he never ought to be)—the diffusion of useful knowledge. But if jesters are gone out, the love of a good jest is as strong as ever,
“And men keep jest-books now, who once kept fools.”
Not that jest-books have arisen since jesters disappeared—far from it. Their origin is coeval with the existence of the jester, and among the earliest specimens of them which exist, must be reckoned those which are devoted to the quips, quirks, and merry pranks of some well-known droll. In fact they were originally special biographies of individual men of fun, and not, as now, medleys made up from the good things said and done by a whole body of wits. In the former class, one of the most curious is a book which Fuseli is said to have delighted in, “The Merry Adventures of Tyll Eulenspiegel or Howlglas,” a German knave or a
German fool, which you will, or both, an’ it so please you. But as we have elsewhere' introduced Master Eulenspiegel to the English reader, we will bid him stand aside, and give place to another rogue as witty as himself, but who, we believe, now makes his first appearance in this country, though the collection in which his witticisms are recorded was for many years the delight of the lovers of such merry histories throughout all Germany Klauss Won Ranstet, or, as he is more generally called, Claus Narr, filled , the office of court-jester, or domestic fool, in the household of four successive Electors of Saxony and one Archbishop. He is first found in the service of the Elector Ernest, who died in 1486; then in that of his successor, Albert, who died in 1500; he is next seen in the service of Ernst, Archbishop of Madgeburgh, who died in 1513; from whom he appears to have been transferred to that o Frederick the Wise, who died in 1525; and lastly we find him among the retainers of the Elector John, commonly called the Confessor. The incident which led to his adoption of this strange calling is so characteristic of the state of society at the period when it occurred, as not only to justify but to call for its insertion. Claus, being the son of very indigent parents, was employed by them to watch their flock of geese in the environs of Ranstadt. The Elector passing that neighbourhood upon some occasion, accompanied by a numerous retinue, both on horseback and in carriages, Claus, the goose-herd, was very desirous of seeing the sight; but that he might not pay too dearly for it by losing his geese, he determined to take them with him ; and accordingly he tucked the necks of the young ones under his girdle, took the two old ones, one under each arm, and thus accoutred, set out for Ranstadt. The Elector, as may be supposed, was struck with his extraordinary appearance, and laughing heartily at his simplicity, set him down in his own mind as being by nature intended for a fool. He accordingly desired Claus's father to be sent for, and asked him whether he was willing to allow him to take his son to court. The father readily consented, saying, “My gracious lord, you will thereby rid me of a plaguey trouble, for the lad is not of the slightest use to me. He
does nothing but create a riot in the house, whilst his follies set the whole village in an uproar!” Upon this the Elector took Claus into his service, paid his father for the geese, and dismissed him with a handsome present. The French, if they cannot boast greatly of their jest-books, may very justly be proud of that most admirable substitute for them, their matchless Ana, of which we purpose speaking at large on some future occasion. Their collections of facetiae are also very abundant; and one among them, a very prominent volume in the Shandean Library, “Les Bigarrures et Touches du Seigneur des Accords,” contains (at least the best edition of it), two collections of jests, one entitled, “Les Escraigmes Dijonnoises,” and the other a number of ridiculous stories, somewhat like the Facetiae of Hierocles, or our own Tales of the Wise Men of Gotham, and which are there attributed to a certain. Sieur Gaulard. The following may serve, as a specimen, and has, at all events, its brevity to recommend it: The Sieur Gaulard being told by a friend that the Dean of Besançon was dead, begged his informant not to believe the report. “Depend upon it,” quoth he, “it is not true; if it had been, he would have written to me, for he always makes a point of writing to me when he has anything particular to communicate.” One of the best of the modern French jest books is that published in London some few years since under the title of “Marottes à vendre, ow Triboulet Tabletier,” which contains, among other remarkable productions, the song of “Le Fameux La Galisse,” which has been imitated by Goldsmith in his two elegies, on a Mad Dog, and on Mrs. Mary Blaze. It is much to be regretted, however, that this collection, which contains many admirable stories, is as much disfigured by indecencies as if it had been formed three centuries since. If, quitting France, we cross the Alps in search of the Facetiae of Italy, the first object, and, indeed, the principal one which we encounter, is the collection of witty sayings and doings attributed to the Florentine priest, Arlotto. Provano Arlotto, or, to give him his proer title, Arlotto Mainardi, was born at lorence, on the 25th of December, 1396, and, though originally brought up as a wool-stapler, afterwards entered into holy orders, was priest at the Church of Saint