THE JEST BOOK 4
A selection of jokes from 1909, selected and arranged by Mark lemon

1.— SPECIAL PLEADING. WHEN a very eminent special pleader was asked by a country gentleman if he considered that his son was likely to succeed as a special pleader, he replied, "Pray, sir, can your son eat saw-dust without butter?"

2.—ON A NEW DUKE.

ASK you why gold and velvet bind
The temples of that cringing thief?
Is it so strange a thing to find
A toad beneath a strawberry leaf?

3.— THE ZODIAC CLUB. ON the occasion of starting a convivial club, somebody proposed that it should consist of twelve members, and be called "The Zodiac," each member to be named after a sign.
"And what shall I be?" inquired a somewhat solemn man, who was afraid that his name would be forgotten.
Jerrold.—"Oh, we'll bring you in as the weight in Libra."

4.— QUIN'S SOLILOQUY. On seeing the embalmed body of duke humphrey, at St. Alban's.

A plague on Egypt's arts, I say—
Embalm the dead-on senseless clay
Rich wine and spices waste:
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, shall I,
Bound in a precious pickle lie,
Which I can never taste!
Let me embalm this flesh of mine,
With turtle fat, and Bourdeaux wine,
And spoil the Egyptian trade,
Than Glo'ster's Duke, more happy I,
Emhalm'd alive, old Quin shall lie
A mummy ready made."

5.— STRIKING REPROOF. IT being reported that Lady Caroline Lamb had, in a moment of passion, knocked down one of her pages with a stool, the poet Moore, to whom this was told by Lord Strangford, observed: "Oh! nothing is more natural for a literary lady than to double down a page." "I would rather," replied his lordship, "advise Lady Caroline to turn over a new leaf"

6.—A PRETTY PICTURE. E—— taking the portrait of a lady, perceived that when he was working at her mouth she was trying to render it smaller by contracting her lips. "Do not trouble yourself so much, madam," exclaimed the painter, "if you please, I will draw your face without any mouth at all."

7.— UNKNOWN TONGUE. DURING the long French war, two old ladies in Stranraer were going to the kirk, the one said to the other, "Was it no a wonderfu' thing that the Breetish were aye victorious ower the French in battle?" "Not a bit," said the other old lady, "dinna ye ken the Breetish aye say their prayers before ga'in into battle?" The other replied, "But canna the French say their prayers as weel?" The reply was most characteristic, "Hoot ! jabbering bodies, wha could understan' them."

8.— DUNNING AND LORD MANSFIELD. WHILST the celebrated Mr. Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, was at the bar, he by his conduct did much to support the character and dignity of a barrister, which was frequently disregarded by Lord Mansfield, at that time Chief Justice. The attempts of the Chief Justice to browbeat the counsel were on many occasions kept in check by the manly and dignified conduct of Mr. Dunning. Lord Mansfield possessed great quickness in discovering the gist of a cause, and having done so, used to amuse himself by taking up a book or a newspaper whilst counsel was addressing the court. Whenever Mr. Dunning was speaking, and his Lordship seemed thus to hold his argument as of no consequence, the advocate would stop suddenly in his address, and on his Lordship observing, "Pray go on, Mr. Dunning," he would reply, "I beg your pardon, my Lord, but I fear I shall interrupt your Lordship's more important occupations. I will wait until your Lordship has leisure to attend to my client and his humble advocate."

9.— EPIGRAM. (A good word for Ministers.)

THE Whigs 'tis said have often broke
Their promises which end in smoke
Thus their defence I build
Granted in office they have slept,
Yet sure those promises are kept
Which never are fulfilled.

10.— CHANGING HIS LINE. A GENTLEMAN, inquiring of Jack Bannister respecting a man who had been hanged, was told that he was dead. "And did he continue in the grocery line?" said the former. "Oh no," replied Jack; "he was quite in a different line when he died."

11.— TALL AND SHORT. AT an evening party, Jerrold was looking at the dancers. Seeing a very tall gentleman waltzing with a remarkably short lady, he said to a friend at hand, "Humph! there's the mile dancing with the mile-stone."

12.— HANDEL IMPROVED. A TOURIST, wandering round a village churchyard in Hampshire a few years back, fell in with some rustic members of the choir coming away from their Saturday afternoon's rehearsal. He asked one of them what music they had been singing. The answer was, "Handel." "Well, but," he said, "don't you find Handel rather difficult ?" "Why, no, sir," the Cornishman replied, "not very. You see, we alters him!"

13.— ON THE RIGHT SIDE. IT was said of one that remembered everything that he lent, but nothing that he borrowed, "that he had lost half of his memory."

14.— CAUSE OF ABSENCE. WHEN the late Lord Campbell married Miss Scarlett, and departed on his wedding trip, Mr. Justice Abbott observed, when a cause was called on in the Bench, "I thought, Mr. Brougham, that Mr. Campbell was in this case?" "Yes, my lord," replied Brougham, "but I understand be is ill- suffering from Scarlett fever."

15.— THE SCOLD'S VOCABULARY. THE copiousness of the English language perhaps was never more apparent than in the following character, by a lady, of her own husband "He is," says she, "an abhorred, barbarous, capricious, detestable, envious, fastidious, hard-hearted, illiberal, ill-natured, jealous, keen, loathsome, malevolent, nauseous, obstinate, passionate, quarrelsome, raging, saucy, tantalising, uncomfortable, vexatious, abominable, bitter, captious, disagreeable, execrable, fierce, grating, gross, hasty, malicious, nefarious, obstreperous, peevish, restless, savage, tart, unpleasant, violent, waspish, worrying, acrimonious, blustering, careless, discontented, fretful, growling, hateful, inattentive, malignant, noisy, odious, perverse, rigid, severe, teasing, unsuitable, angry, boisterous, choleric, disgusting, gruff, hectoring, incorrigible, mischievous, negligent, offensive, pettish, roaring, sharp, sluggish, snapping, snarling, sneaking, sour, testy, tiresome, tormenting, touchy, arrogant, austere, awkward, boorish, brawling, brutal, bullying, churlish, clamorous, crabbed, cross, currish, dismal, dull, dry, drowsy, grumbling, horrid, huffish, insolent, intractable, irascible, ireful, morose, murmuring, opinionated, oppressive, outrageous, overbearing, petulant, plaguy, rough, rude, rugged, spiteful, splenetic, stern, stubborn, stupid, sulky, sullen, surly, suspicious, treacherous, troublesome, turbulent, tyrannical, virulent, wrangling, yelping dog-in-a-manger."

16.— A FAMILIAR ILLUSTRATION A MEDICAL student tinder examination, being asked the different effects of heat and cold, replied: "Heat expands and cold contracts." "Quite right; can you give me an example?" "Yes, sir, in summer, which is hot, the days are longer; but in winter, which is cold, the days are shorter."

17.— ON FORTUNE. FORTUNE, they say, doth give too much to many. And yet she never gave enough to any.

18.— TRANSPOSING A COMPLIMENT. IT was said of a work (which had been inspected by a severe critic), in terms which at first appeared very flattering, "There is a great deal in this book which is new, and a great deal that is true." So far good, the author would think; but then came the negation: "But it unfortunately happens, that those portions which are new are not true, and those which are true are not new!"

19.— A HANDSOME CONTRIBUTION. A GENTLEMAN waited upon Jerrold one morning to enlist his sympathies in behalf of a mutual friend, who was constantly in want of a round sum of money. "Well," said Jerrold, who had contributed on former occasions, "how much does —— want this time ?"
"Why, just a four and two noughts will, I think, put him straight,"
the bearer of the hat replied.
Jerrold.— "Well, put me down for one of the noughts this time."

20.— WASTE OF TIME. AN old man of ninety having recovered from a very dangerous illness, his friends congratulated him, and encouraged him to get up. "Alas!" said he to them, "it is hardly worth while to dress myself again."

21.— SCOTCH SIMPLICITY. AT Hawick, the people used to wear wooden clogs, which made a clanking noise on the pavement. A dying old woman had some friends by her bedside, who said to her, "Weel, Jenny, ye are gaun to Heeven, an' gin you should see our folk, ye can tell them that we're a' weel" To which Jenny replied, "Weel, gin I shud see them I'se tell them, but you manna expect that I am to gang clank clanking through Heeven looking for your folk."

22.— TWOFOLD ILLUSTRATION. SIR FLETCHER NORTON was noted for his want of courtesy. When pleading before Lord Mansfield on some question of manorial right, he chanced unfortunately to say, "My lord, I can illustrate the point in an instant in my own person: I myself have two little manors." The judge immediately interposed, with one of his blandest smiles, "We all know it, Sir Fletcher."

23.— NAT LEE AND SIR ROGER L'ESTRANGE. THE author of "Alexander the Great", whilst confined in a madhouse, was visited by Sir Roger L'Estrange, of whose political abilities Lee entertained no very high opinion. Upon the knight inquiring whether the poet knew him, Lee answered

Custom may alter men, and manners change:
But I am still strange Lee, and you L'Estrange:
I'm poor in purse as you are poor in brains."

24.— MAIDS AND WIVES. WOMEN are all alike. When they're maids they're mild as milk: once make 'em wives, and they lean their backs against their marriage certificates, and defy you. — D.J.

25.— TRAGEDY MS. LISTON, seeing a parcel lying on the table in the entrance-hall of Drury Lane Theatre, one side of which, from its having travelled to town by the side of some game, was smeared with blood, observed, "That parcel contains a manuscript tragedy." And on being asked why, replied, "Because the fifth act is peeping out at one corner of it."

26.— A TRUE COURTIER. ONE day, when Sir Isaac Hearth was in company with George III., it was announced that his majesty's horse was ready for hunting. "Sir Isaac," said the king, "are you a judge of horses?" In my younger days, please your majesty, I was a great deal among them," was the reply. "What do you think of this, then?" said the king, who was by this time preparing to mount his favourite: and, without waiting for an answer, added, "we call him Pefection." "A most appropriate name," replied the courtly herald, bowing as his majesty reached the saddle, "for be bears the best of characters."

27.— RARE VIRTUE. THE paucity of some persons' good actions reminds one of Jonathan Wild, who was once induced to be guilty of a good action, after fully satisfying himself, upon the maturest deliberation, that he could gain nothing by refraining from it.
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