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Some funny things I have found in history….
Joe Miller’s Jests (1739)
The following quotes are somewhat questionably attributed to Joe Miller (1684-1738), who was an actor in Drury Lane from 1709. The book, written by a friend and published after Miller’s death, ran to multiple editions throughout the century, each one adding more jokes to its pages. I have inserted quotation marks to help understanding.
A Country Clergyman meeting a Neighbour who never came to Church, altho’ an old Fellow of above Sixty, he gave him some Reproof on that Account, and asked him if he never read at Home? “No,” replied the Clown, “I can’t read”; “I daresay,” said the Parson, “you don’t know who made you”: “Not I, in troth,” said the Countryman. A little Boy coming by at the same Time, “Who made you, Child?” cry’d the Parson. “God, Sir”, answered the Boy. “Why look you there,” quoth the honest Clergyman, “are not you ashamed to hear a Child of five or six Years old tell me who made him, when you that are so old a Man can not”: “Ah,” said the Countryman, “it is no Wonder that he should remember, he was made but t’other Day, it is a great while, Master, since I were made.”
A Gentlewoman, who thought her Servants always cheated her, when they went to Billingsgate to buy Fish, was resolved to go thither one Day herself; and asking the Price of some Fish, which she thought too dear, she bid the Fish-Wife about half what she asked. “Lord, Madam,” said the Woman, “I must have stole it to sell it at that Price, but you shall have it, if you will tell me what you do to make your Hands look so white.” “Nothing, good Woman,” answered the Gentlewoman, “but wear Dog-Skin Gloves.” “D–mn you for a lying Bitch,” replied the other, “my Husband has wore Dog-Skin Breeches these ten Years, and his A–se is as brown as a Nutmeg.”
A Gentlewoman growing big with Child, who had two Gallants, one of them with a wooden Leg, the Question was put, which of the two should father the Child. He who had the wooden Leg offer’d to decide it thus: ‘If the Child, says he, comes into the World with a wooden Leg, I will father it, if not, it must be yours.’
Related Post: Joe Miller had a Sense of Humour
Source: Joe Miller’s Jests, or the Wit’s Vade-Mecum – read online
The Diary of Sarah Hurst
Sarah writes to her sister-in-law concerning an amusing conversation she had with her nephew, Robert, whom she has been seeing safely settled in school.
As to Robert, his objections to school are innumerable, some of them I shall mention – His bed is hard, the puddings are too fat, the housekeeper is too lean; the Usher is monstrous ugly, boxes the boys’ ears who don’t mind their Book, and goes to sleep when they are all at play […] Bob told me all his Schoolfellows flock’d about him and asked, “which way did you come?” Another “where did you come from?” A third “does your father keep a Coach?” I said yes; “how many horses does he drive?” “four said I“; “how come you to say so Bob?” said Aunt [Sarah]; “because I lik’d to appear grand“. He is now standing by me chattering so fast I fear I shall not be able to write much more.
Related Post: Sarah Hurst’s Diaries: From 1759-1762
The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century
One funny account of the difficulties of Continental travel in 1751:
…the worst roads I have yet seen in Germany. The carriage broke into pieces before we got to the end of our journey, fairly separating the fore part of the chaise, from the hind, leaving us miserable and ridiculous spectators in the middle of the highway, whilst the postilion drove away with the coach box, and fore wheels. Mr Hubert was fast asleep, when this happened, and I was reading Peregrine Pickle’s verses on Lady Vane, but we were both obliged to change our easy situation for that of a hard trotting chaise horse, with miserable saddles so bad, that we were ashamed to ride into the town, therefore alighted at the gate, and walked to the inn.
Related Post: The British Grand Tour