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PUNS BY GEORGE IV.
The best sayings attributed to George IV. are a set of middling puns, of which the following is a favourable selection:—
When Langdale's distillery was plundered, during the riots of the year 1780, he asked why the proprietor had not defended his property. "He did not possess the means to do so," was the reply. "Not the means of defence!" exclaimed the Prince; "and he a brewer—a man who has been all his life at cart and tierce!"
Sheridan having told him that Fox had cooed in vain to Miss Pulteney, the Prince replied, "that his friend's attempt on the lady's heart was a coup manque."
He once quoted, from Suetonius, the words "Jure casus videtur," to prove, jestingly, that trial by jury was as old as the time of the first Caasar.
A newspaper panegyric on Fox, apparently from the pen of Doctor Parr, having been presented to his Royal Highness, he said that it reminded him of Machiavel's epitaph, "Tanto nomini nullum Par eulogium."
A cavalry officer, at a court ball, hammered the floor with his heels so very loudly, that the Prince observed, "If the war between the mother country and her colonies had not terminated, he might have been sent to America as a republication of the stamp act."
While the Prince's regiment was in daily expectation of receiving orders for Ireland, some one told him that country quarters in the sister kingdom were so filthy, that the rich uniforms of his corps would soon be lamentably soiled. "Let the men act as dragoons, then," said his Royal Highness, "and scour the country."
When Horne Tooke, on being committed to prison for treason, proposed, while in jail, to give a series of dinners to his friends, the Prince remarked that, "As an inmate of Newgate, he would act more consistently by establishing a Ketch club."
Michael Kelly having turned wine-merchant, the Prince rather facetiously said, "that Mick imported his music, and composed his wine 1
On more accounts than one, oar. turf proceedings must make foreigners marvel. Some years since, a French gentleman visited Doncaster, and gave to it the appellation of "the guinea meeting "—nothing without the guinea. "There was (said he) the guinea tor entering the rooms to hear the people bet. There was the guinea for my dinner at the hotel. There was the guinea for the stand for myself; and (Oh! execrable!) the guinea for the stand for my carriage. There was the guinea for my servant's bed, and (Ah! mon Dieu!) ten guineas for mj own, for only two aigl.s!"
SWELLED ANKLES AT A DISCOUNT.
In the year 1699, when King William returned from Holland in a state of severe indisposition, he sent for Doctor Radcliffe, and showing him his swollen ankles, while the rest of his body was emaciated, said, "What think you of these?" "Why, truly," replied the doctor, " I would not have your Majesty's two legs for your three kingdoms." This freedom was never forgiven by the King, and no intercession could ever recover his favour towards Radcliffe.
Talleyrand's Versatility. A noble French exile, then in America, was one day passing a little shop in Philadelphia, when, observing a man with his shirt-sleeves rolled up his arms, grinding coffee, whose resemblance to the ex-Bishop of Autun was very striking, the former entered the pigmy shop, where he found the veritable Simon Pure keeping a small grocer's shop, and making a living in that way. "I pity, indeed, I pity you," said the Duke de R. "I pity you," replied Talleyrand, "that your soul should be reduced, or not to be superior, to such a state of feeling. For my part, I have long since brought my feelings and mind into such tranquillity of thought and action, that I can turn a coffeemill or an empire with equal composure."
COLLINS AND THE CRITIC.
Collins the painter's favourite method of procuring for himself the doubtful satisfaction of impartial criticism, was to join the groups of visitors to the Exhibition, who were looking at his pictures, and to listen to their remarks. This rather perilous pastime he indulged in for many years, with tolerable impunity; but he was fated, at last, to suffer for his boldness. Having observed two gentlemen at the Exhibition displaying those decided symptoms of critical power over art, which consist in shrugging the shoulders, waving the hand, throwing back the head, and marking the catalogue, before all the principal pictures, he was tempted to listen to their remarks, when they arrived opposite to one of his own works. "What's this?" cried the great man of the two, severely— "Sea-piece, by Collins? Oh, pooh, pooh!
D d tea-boardy thing." The painter had
not enough of the Roman in him to hear more. The incident so effectually cured him for some time of his predilection for sincere criticism, that when, shortly afterwards, he happened to be sitting next to Sir Henry Halford, at dinner, and was asked by that gentleman (who did not then know him personally) what be thought of " Collins's pictures?" he replied, with unwonted caution, "I think I am rather too much interested on that subject to give an opinion—I painted them myself." "Oh, you need not have feared my criticism," returned Sir Henry, laughing, "I was about to tell you how much I have been delighted by their extreme beauty!"
COST OF A PICTURE
It is said that Marshal Soult, on being asked one day how much his best picture had coat, replied, "One monk." The meaning of this was, that the picture waa given in exchange for an unfortunate monk who had oeen taken prisoner during Soult's campaign tn Spain, and condemned to death.
Stephen Pasquier, who flourished in the reign of Louis XIII., was a lawyer no less celebrated for his honesty than for the singularity of his religious opinions. A print of him was published, representing him without hands; the meaning of which is explained by the following epigram *—" How! Pasquier without bands?" "Yes, ye griping lawyers, to indicate how strictly I abstained, as the law enjoins, from fleecing my clients. Would to God ye could be shamed out of your rapacity."
THE PROUn DUKE OF SOMEHSET.
This inordinately arrogant nobleman seemed little less in his conduct than if vested with regal honours. His servants obeyed by signs. The country roads were cleared, that lie might pass without obstruction or observation. His second Duchess was Charlotte, daughter of Daniel Earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham. He made a vast distinction between a Percy and a Finch. The Duchess once familiarly tapped him on the shoulder with her fan; he turned round, and, with, an indignant, sour countenance, said, "My first Duchess was a Percy, and. she never dared to take such a liberty." His children obeyed bis mandates with profound respect. The two youngest daughters had used to stand alternately, whilst he slept of an afternoon f Lady Charlotte, being tired, sat down; the Duke awoke, and being displeased, declared he would make her remember her want of decoTum. By his will, he left her £20,000 less than iter sister. The pleasant Sir James Delaval laid a wager of £1000 that he" would make the Duke give him precedency; but that was judged impossible, as his Grace was all eyes and ears on such an occasion. Delaval, however, having one day obtained information of the precise time when the Duke was to pass a narrow part of the road on his way to town, stationed himself there in a coach, emblazoned for the day with the arms, and surrounded by many servants in livery of the head of the house of Howard, who *called out when Somerset appeared, "The Duke of Norfolk!" The former, fearful of committing a breach of etiquette, hurried his postilion under a hedge, where ho was no sooner safely fixed, than Delaval passed, who, leaning out of the carriage, bowed with a familiar air, and wished his Grace a good morning. He indignantly exclaimed, "Is it you, Sir James? I thought it had been the Duke of Norfolk!" The wager, thus fairly won, was paid, and the town made merry with the stratagem to gain it.
THE TRAVELLER KONPLCSED.
Captain Basil Hall . whose written stories have charmed all who have read them, was one day endeavouring to enliven a remarkably stiff and dull dinner-party, by a few oral relations of the same kind. He concluded one of a very extraordinary character, by saying, " Did you ever hear any story so wonderful as that?" and at the same moment his eye chanced to rest on a footboy opposite to him, who, without leaving a moment of interval, exclaimed, " Yes, man, there's a lass i' our kitchen, that kens a lass that has twa thoms I"
THE irCRDERER DISCOVERED.
Sir John Purcell, who, some forty years ago, lived at Highfort, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, was an extraordinary man. Oa one occasion, a desperate murder, in the deptq of winter, was committed in his neighbourhood. He took an active part in searching for the criminal. One person he strongly suspected, and he visited hira at his bouse. He found the man in bed, ill with the cholic, it was said. Sir John examined him, and asked him -whether he had been out on the previous night? The answer was, " No." Sir John asked for his shoes. "They were gone to be mended." "Are you sure of that?" said Sir John, who searched for and found them. Causing the man to be watched, Sir John went with the shoes to the exact spot where the murder had been committed. The ground was thickly covered with snow; he compared the shoes with the tracks made in the snow, and found one set of foot-prints to which the marks exactly tallied. A nail was wanting in the heel of one of the shoes, and the impression corresponded with the deficiency. This was the first link in a chain of circumstantial evidence against the suspected party, who was afterwards hanged, having been convicted upon the clearest testimony.
A TRUE BILL.
The following is a veritable copy of a "bill" passed, not long since, at a village in Essex, to a gentleman who had left his horse at one of the inns, with directions that it should be baited for the night, and brought home the next morning. The man who brought the animal brought also the account in question with him.
. s. d.
To anos 4 6
To agitinonimom, 0 6
5 0 For soch of our readers as are not used to decipher hieroglyphics, we give the translation :—
To an horse 4 6
To a gittin' on him heme ... 0 6
5 0 Surely it is a fine familiar episode of equestrian literature.
COLMAN AND HOOK.
George Colman being once asked if he knew Theodore Hook? "Oh yes," was his reply, " Hook and I (eye) are old associates.!'
An American paper says, this is the method of catching tigors in India:—"A man carries a board, on which a human figure is painted. As soon as he arrives at the den, he knocks behind the board with a hammer; the noise rouses the tigei, when he flies in a direct line at the board and grasps it, and the man behind clinches his claws in the wood, and so secures him."
The theatrical' career of Mr. Chas. Kemble presents a remarkable instance of intense study and application contributing to form a first-rate actor; and of this pains-taking Miss Fanny Kemble, in lrer work on the United Stales, records an example in the perseverance with which Mr. Kemble studied the character of Hamlet, and thus made his enactment of it a finished performance. Yet, in early life, Mr. Kemble was a notoriously bad actor. A writer in the New Monthly Magazine records:—"In the year 1791, Charles Kemble made his first appearance, as Malcolm (in ' Macbeth'), and the audience laughed very heartily when he exclaimed, 'Oh 1 by whom ?' on hearing the account of his father's murder. Charle.i Kemble was then said to be eighteen. I think he was no more."
A HIGHLAND HUSBAND.
Donald Macalpine rose from the ranks to be a sergeant in the Paisley Police or Seestu City Guard, and no epauletted official in his Majesty's service strutted the pave with more consequence than did Donald in his blue coat with crimson collar. He was a very careful person, and contrived, one way ox other, to become possessed of a tolerably well-furnished house aud a cow, the crowning point of his ambition; for Donald could never stomach the I hie water milk supplied by the dairyista under his surveillance. Mts. Macalpine was a very infirm personage, and had, for many years preceding her decease, been confined to bed. ^None of the family survived her. This event was the beginning of a climax of misfortunes to the poor sergeant. His house was soon after burned to the ground; and scarcely hail his spirits mastered this calamity, when what he set his heart most on, his poor cow, fell a victimto inflammation. The latter event nearly paralysed the conservator of the peace. A friend called on Donald to sympathise with him in his bereavement and ioss?s; but Donald refused to be comforted. "Ou yes," replied he, to the various arguments employed by his friend to induce submission to what had been allotted him, "I'll got plenty o' house to stay in, and plenty o' wife too, if I'll soeht her; that's all very well—but who will gie me eight pounds to buy another cow?"
ROSSINI AND BISHOP.
Rossini meeting Mr. Bishop in Paris or London (we forget which), andhaving kuewn him before, but upon this occasion, after several ineffectual attempts, failing to pronounce his name—"Ah! Monsieur—Mou
sieur" assured him of his recognition
by singing the first strain of Bishop's beautiful round, " When the wind blows."
A relative of one of the most distinguished astronomers of his time was one- day asked by a lady (herself no pretender to the sublime
science), if Sir had made any recent
discoveries of importance. "Why, no," was the answer; "and, indeed, he has rummagea the heavens S3 thoroughly, that 1 don't fancy there is much left for anybody to find out."
COLLINS'S "SKITTLE PLAYER."
This picture has been called, in reference to the attitude of the principal figure, and the advance in excellence that it displayed, "Collins's stride." The most amusing criticismonits merits proceeded from Mr. Collins's gardener, who, as a great skittle-player, was called in to test the correctness of the picture as to its main subject. "Well!" cried the gardener, with genuine delight, "This is as downright a tough game as ever I see!"— Collins's Life, by his Son.
In consequence of some transposition, by which an announcement of the decease of a country clergy man had got inserted amongst the announcements of the marriages in a newspaper a short time since, the announcement read thus: "Married the Rev. ,
curate of , to the great regret of all his
parishioners, by whom he was universally beloved. The poor will long have cause to lament the unhappy event."
In a conversation with Sir W. Knighton, Collins the painter heard from him the fol . lowing anecdotes of Lord Byron. He attended his Lordship, medically, for nine months, while he was writing the " Corsair," and other poems. During all his visits he never heard him use an offensive word, either on religion or on any other subject. Lord Byron told him (Sir W. Knighton) that he once drank seventy pints of brandy, with Douglas Kinnaird, in as many days, to enable him to undergo the fatigue of writing. When the separation took place between Lord Byron and his wife, he allowed Sir William (who told him everybody was talking against him as regarded the subject, and that ho wished for something to say in his defence) to state, that whatever offence he gave Lady Byron was in the way of omission rather than commission—that he never allowed himself to scold her—and only once showed temper in her presence, when ha threw his watch into the fire.
DELUXE S ONLY PCX.
The Abbe" Delille is said to have made only one pun. On hearing some ladies complain of hanger, after a long morning in the Champs de Mars he advised them to apply to the Fee des rations (Federation).
Mossop, the actor, was so perfect a distiller of syllables, and made such intolerably long pauses, that in the speech of Zanga, in the "Revenge," to Alonzo, "Know thou, 'twas
I "the critic might, at the first word of
the speech, have left the theatre, called a coach, and returned to his box, and still have been in time to have discovered that Zanga "did it."
SPOILING A STORY.
I.oois XIV., in a gay party at Versailles, commenced relating a facetious story, but concluded the tale abruptly and insipidly. On one of the company leaving the room, the King said, " I am sure you must have observed how very uninteresting my anecdote was. I did not recollect till I began that the turn of the narrative reflected very severely on the immediate ancestor of the Prince of Armagnac, who has just quitted us; and on this, as on every other occasion, I think it far better to spoil a good story than distress a worthy man."
Legal wrr. Jekyll calling, one day, upon George Colman the younger, in the Temple, glancing over the articles of the establishment, [observed a piece of frivolity Colman had brought with him, and which must have appeared to him, as he was then practising at the bar, a great interruption to the study of "Coke upon Lyttleton." This was a round cage with a squirrel in it. He looked for a minute or two at the little animal, which was performing the same operation as a man on the treadmill, or a donkey in the wheel, and then quietly said, "Ah, poor devil! he is going the home circuit!" If locality can make a good thing better, this technical joke was particularly happy from being uttered in the Temple.
"NICE TO A SHAVING."
When Louis VII. of France, to obey the injunctions of his Bishops, cropped his hair and shaved his beard, Eleanor, his consort, found him, with this unusual appearance, very ridiculous, and soon very contemptible. She revenged herself as she thought proper, and the poor shaved King obtmned a divorce. She then married the Count of Anjou, afterwards our Heury II. She had for her marriage dower the rich provinces of Poitou and Guyenne; and this was the origin of those wars which for three hundred years ravaged France, and cost the French three millions of men: all which, probably, had never occurred, had Louis VII. not been so rash as to crop his head and shave his beard, by which he became so disgustful in the eyes of our Queen Eleanor.
Serjeant Hoskyns, the owner of IngestonHouse, Herefordshire, entertained James I. with a morrice-dance, performed by ten persons, whose united ages exceeded 1000 years, all natives of Herefordshire.
Mirabeau's haste of temper was known, and he must be obeyed. "Monsieur Corate," said his secretary to him one day," the thing you require is impossible." "Impossible!" exclaimed Mirabeau, starting from his chair, "never again use that foolish word in my presence."
THE WIT OUTWITTED.
On the top of a small but conspicuous hill near to Hoddon Castle, on the banks of the river Annan, is a square tower, built of hewn stone, over the door of which are carved the figures of a dove and serpent, and between them the word "Repentance." Hence the building, though its proper name isTrailtrow, is more frequently called theTower of Repentance. It is said that Sir Richard Steele, while riding near this place, saw a shepherd boy reading his Bible, and asked him what he learned from it? "The way to heaven," answered the boy. "And can you show it to me," said Sir Richard, in banter. "Tou must go by that tower," replied the shepherd; and he pointed to the tower of Repentance.
Rousseau appears to have been one of the unhappiest, as well as the most unamiable of men. He imagined himself the persecuted of all persecutors, and sought an asylum in England from his supposed enemies. In April, 1766, having just settled in Derbyshire, he wrote, "Here I have just arrived at last at an agreeable and sequestered asylum, where I hope to breathe freely and at peace." He lived chiefly at Wootton Hall, and delighted to pass his leisure in the romantic Dove Dale. He did not, however, long remain "at peace," for in April following he returned to the Continent, heaping reproaches on his best friends. The rent of the house in which he lived had been greatly reduced, to allure him into the country. His spirit revolted at this; and as soon as he heard of it he indignantly left the place. Whilst at Wootton Hall, he received a present of some bottles of choice foreign wine: this was a gift, and his pride would not permit him to taste it; he therefore left it in the house, untouched, for the next comer. For some reason or other, or more probably for none, he had determined not to see Dr. Darwin. The Doctor, aware of his objections, placed himself on a terrace, which Rousseau had to pass, and was examining a plant. "Rousseau," said he, "are you a botanist?" They entered into conversation, and were intimate at once; but Ronsseau, on reflection, imagined that this meeting was the result of contrivance, and the intimacy proceeded no further.
MRS. HOWE AND HER ABSENT HUSBAND.
About the year 1706, I knew (said Dr. King) one Mr. Howe, a sensible well-natured man, possessed of an estate of £700 or £800 per annum: he married a young lady of good family in the West of England; her maiden name" was Mallet, she was agreeable in her person and manners, asd proved a very good wife. Seven or eight years after they had" been married, he rose one morning very early, and told his wife he was obliged to go to the Tower to transact some particular business; the same day at noon his wife received a note from him, in which he informed her that he was under the necessity of going to Holland, and should probably be absent three weeks or a month. He was absent from her seventeen years, during which time she never heard from him or of him. The evening before he returned, while she was at supper, with some of her friends and relations, particularly one Dr. Rose, a physician, who had married her sister, a billet, without any name subscribed, was delivered to her, in which the writer requested the favour of her to give him a meeting the next evening in the Birdcage-walk, in St James's Park. When she had read the billet she tossed it to Dr. Rose, and, laughing, said, "You see, brother, old as I am, I have a gallant." Rose, who perused the note with more attention, declared it to be Mr. Howe's handwriting: this surprised all the company, and so much affected Mrs. Howe, that she fainted away. However, she soon recovered, when it was agreed that Dr. Rose and his wife, with the other gentlemen and ladies who were then at supper, should attend Mrs. Howe the next evening to the Birdcage-walk. They had not been there more than five or six minutes, when Mr. Howe came to them, and, after Baluting his friends and embracing his wife, walked home with her, and they lived together in great harmony from that day to the time of his death. But the most curious part of my tale remains to be related. When Howe left his wife, they lived in the house in Jermyn- street, near St. James's Church: he went no further than to a little street in Westminster, where he took a room, for which he paid five or six shillings a week, and changing his name, and disguising himself by wearing a black wig (for he was a fair man), he remained in this habitation during the whole time of his absence! He had two children by his wife when he departed from her, who were both living at that time; but they died young in a few years after. However, during their lives, the second or third year after their father disappeared, Mrs Howe was obliged to apply for an Act of Parliament, to procure a proper settlement of her husband's estate, and a provision for herself out of it during his absence, as it was uncertain whether he was alive or dead. The act he suffered to be solicited and passed, and enjoyed the pleasure of reading the progress of it in the votes, in a little coffee-house near his lodging, which he fre
quented. Upon his quitting bis house and family in the manner I have mentioned, Mrs. Howe at first imagined, as she could not conceive any other cause for such an abrupt elopement, that he had contracted a large debt unknown to her, and by that means involved himself in difficulties which he could not easily surmount; and for some days she lived in continual apprehension of demands from creditors, of seizures, executions, &c. Mrs. Howe, after the death of her children, thought proper to lessen her family of servants and the expenses of her housekeeping, and therefore removed from her house in Jermyn-street, to a small house in Brewer-street, Golden-square. Just over against her lived one Salt, a corn-chandler. About ten years after Howe's indication, he contrived to make an acquaintance with Salt, and was at length in such a degree of intimacy with him that he usually dined with him twice a week. From the room in which they ate, it was not difficult to look into Mrs. Howe's dining-rooin, where she generally sat and received her company; and Salt, who believed Howe to be a bachelor, frequently recommended his own wife to him as a suitable match. During the last seven years of this gentleman's absence, he went every Sunday to St. James's Church, and used to sit in Mr. Salt's seat, where he had a view of his wife, but could not easily be seen by her. After he returned home he would never confess, even to his most intimate friends, what was the real cause of such singular conduct —apparently there was none f but whatever it was, he was certainly ashamed to own it.
TURPIN'S SANG FROID.
On May 22,1737, the noted highwayman, Richard Turpin, the butcher, who had lately killed a man who endeavoured to take him in Epping Forest, robbed several persons in their coaches and chaises at Holloway and in the back lanes of Islington- One of the gentlemen so stopped signified to him that he had reigned a long time: Turpin replied, "Tis no matter for that, I am not afraid of being taken by you; therefore, don't stand hesitating, but give me the cole."
KENNEY THE DRAMATIST.
A gentleman remonstrating with Mr. Kenney against his bringing out his comedy of "Match-breaking," said "Allow me to make a few animadversions upon it" "Excuse me, sir," said Mr. Kenney, "I do not wish for any mad versions of my comedy."
Some persons have a peculiar talent in discovering resemblances where others can perceive none. A gentleman of this description having borrowed Harris's "Hermes" (a learned treatise on universal grammar) of a friend, on returning it to him, observed, "he liked it very well, but thought it was too much in the queer, rigmarole style of 'Tristram Shandy 1'"