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“ It is written in the great book of nature,” said a barrister in his exordium.-“ In what page?” said the opposite counsel. “ In every page, and in every line,” replied the barrister.
A Scotchman was desirous to insult Mr. Wilkes, in consequence of his publication entitled “ The North Briton.” He pursued him from place to place. Mr. Wilkes entering a coffee-house, his attendant followed and sat down in the same box.-“ The North Briton is a scoundrel,” said the Scotchman.—“ Certainly,” answered Mr. Wilkes, “ they are all scoundrels.”
Abou-Joseph, docteur Mahometan, grand justicier de Bagdad, travailla beaucoup à repandre la doctrine d'Abou Hanifah. Il etoit d'une modestie peu commune dans ceux qui se melent d'instruire les hommes. Ayant avoué ingenument son ignorance sur un point qu'on lui proposoit à eclaircir on lui reprocha les sommes quil tiroit du tresor royal, pour decider généralement sur toutes les quetisons. Il fit cette reponse.
«. Je reçois du trésor à proportion de ce que je sçais ; mais si je recevois à proportion de ce que je ne sçais pas, toutes les richesses du calife ne suffiroient par pour me payer.”
A young man of strong understanding entered early in life into holy orders. Disappointed in his prospects, disliking his profession, having some money at his command, and a very active mind unemployed, he endeavoured to improve his fortune at the Stock Exchange. His acuteness was soon discovered, and he was regarded with considerable jealousy by some of the attendants at that money-market. A Jew, by the name of Israel Solomons, considered a man of wit, was selected for the purpose of ridiculing the clergyman. In the midst of the Stock Exchange he walked up to him, and said_“You are a parson, I understand, sir.”'_“I am a clergyman,' was the answer.—“ Pray sir,” resumed Mr. Solomons, “ can you inform this assembly how the first book of Esdras begins ?”—“ I think I can,” was answered with undisturbed coolness. “ Unless I am much mistaken, it begins thus : In the fulness of time a man shall be born unto you, and he shall be distinguished amongst his fellows for effrontery and impudence, and his name shall be Israel Solomons.'”
Mr. Meredith, a tory, and Mr. Cole, a whig, were rival wits. In a conversation upon chartered companies, Mr. Cole said, they were but a name; their liberties and the liberties of England were destroyed.Mr. Meredith was taking a pinch of snuff.-“ Why, that snuff-box,” said Mr. Cole, “is large enough to hold all the charters and all the liberties of all the chartered companies.”—“ Large enough,” answered Mr. Mere.
dith, “ I dare say to hold all the liberties, except those which you take.”
A clergyman was patronized by the Bishop of London who was patronized by the Queen.—The Bishop gave him a living -“ Not for your merit,” said an acquaintance,“ but because you are the Queen's Bishop's Pawn.”—“But I have got a move,” said the clergy
Retort exhibits good nature above the influence of anger, and intellect upon its guard. The good horseman is scarcely perceived to be thrown, who quickly recovereth the saddle. It is, therefore, a source of pleasure by enabling the audience to indulge the feeling of justice in the retaliation, and of kindness in rejoicing at a falling man's rising. It may, therefore, excite laughter in these cases where it does not excite bigh and noble sentiment.
There is an unexpected mode of shewing displeasure, which is nearly allied to retort.
Wilkes with a friend, went to Dolly's to dine. A person was sitting in a box eating a beef-steak. Wilkes doubting whether he would have beef or mutton-steak, said to this person :-“ Pray, sir, is the beef tender?” “ Why don't you order a steak and try, instead of asking me,” was the answer. “Do you not see,” said Wilkes, turning to his friend, “ the difference between this man and a bear? They take a bear to the stake, here, they bring the stake to the bear.”
“ I wish you would not interrupt our conversation
by your puns,” said a sort of gentleman farmer, to an extremely intelligent scholar, who, by occasional sparkles of wit, was enlivening his discourse, which happened to be upon the circulation of the blood. The scholar took no notice of the rudeness, but proceeded, “ In this stage the oxygen mixes with the blood.” “In what stage?” said the farmer. “ In the Reading stage,” an swered the scholar.
With similar instances every jest book abounds.
An Irish footman, having carried a basket of game from his master to a friend, waited a considerable time for the customary fee; but finding no person appear, he said,—“Sir,
my master should say, Paddy, what did the gentleman give you, what would your honour have me to tell him?"
A Welsh baronet talking to a friend about the antiquity of his family, which he carried up to Noah, was told that he was a mere mushroom. “ Ay,” said he, « how so, pray?"
“ Why,” replied the other, “ when I was in Wales a pedigree of a particular family was shewn to me; it filled up above five large skins of parchment, and at the middle of it was a note in the margin :- About this time the world was created.”
When a certain person told Galba that he bought in Sicily, for three farthings, a lamprey five foot long“ I think nothing of that,” replied Galba, “ for lam. preys there are so long that fishermen make use of them for ropes."
The pleasure arising from seeing others laugh is a common cause of laughter; so common that it is difficult, when in a room full of laughter, to refrain even without knowledge of the cause.—“I was,” says Goldsmith,“ by nature an admirer of happy human faces, and I seldom if ever enter a merry party without sharing the mirth.”_Walking some time since in Lincoln's Inn Fields, I followed a party of chimney-sweepers, who at the turning under the gateway, suddenly met three Chinese, apparently just arrived in London. It was clear they had never before seen chimney-sweepers, and it seemed that the chimney-sweepers had never, till that moment, seen such figures as the Chinese. Each party and every spectator was in a convulsion of laughter.