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An old friend of Charles Lamb having teen in vain trying to make out a blackletter text of Chancer in the Temple Library, laid down the precious volume, and with an erudite look told Lamb that "in those old books, Charley, there is sometimes a deal of very indifferent spelling;" and the antibibiicmaniac seemed to console himself in the conclusion.
DEGREES OF BEAUTY.
On a certain occasion, a friend was conversing with Talleyrand on the subject of Mademoiselle Duchesnois, the French actress, and another lady, neither of them remarkable for beauty; and the first happening to have peculiarly bad teeth, the latter none at all. "If Madame S.," said Talleyrand, " only had teeth, she would be as ugly as Mademoiselle Duchesnois."
TOAST OF A SCOTCH PEER.
Lord K , dining at Provost S 's.
and being the only Peer present, one of the company gave a toastj."The Duke of Buccleuch." So the Peerage went round till it
came to Lord K , who said he would give
them a Peer, which, although not toasted, was of more use than the whole. His Lordship gave "the Pier of Leith."
Talleyrand had a confidential servant, excessively devoted to his interests, but withal superlatively inquisitive. Having one day entrusted him with a letter, the Prince watched his faithful valet from the window of his apartment, and, with some surprise, observed him coolly reading the letter en route. On the next day a similar commission was confided to the servant; and to the second letter was added a postscript couched in the following terms:—"You may send a verbal answer by the bearer; he is perfectly acquainted with the whole affair, having taken the precaution to read this previous to its delivery." Such a postscript must have been more effective than the severest reproaches.
SAILOR AND BULL.
As a party of seamen were walking up Point-street, Portsmouth, rather elated with liquor, a bull, which had escaped from the King's slaughter-house, came running towards the jolly tars, with his tail erect in the air, when all the men jumped out of his way, except one, and he, being an immense, sturdy fellow, stood in the street directly in the way of the bull, and hailed him in the following words: "Bull ahoy! bull ahoy! I cry. Drop your peak, and put your helm n-starboard, or you'll run aboard of me." The bull continuing his course, came in contact with Jack, and capsized him; but the sailor, nowise intimidated, sprang from the ground, and, shaking his clothes, very goodBaturedly observed to the bull, "Oh, you lubberly beast, I told you how it would be."
Extract from a letter from a market-gardener to the Secretary of the Horticultural Society:—" My Wif had a Tomb Cat that dyd. Being a torture Shell, and a Grate faverit, he had Him berrid in the Guardian, and for the sake of inrichment of the Mould, I had the carkis deposeted under the roots of a Gosberry Bush. The Frute being up till then of a smoothe kind. But the nex Seson's Frute after the Cat was berrid, the Gosberris was all hairy—and more Remarkable, the Capilers of the same bush was All of the same hairy description.
"I am, Sir, you humble servant,
Rouge. A lady consulted St Francis of Sales on the lawfulness of using rouge. "Why," says he, "some pious men object to it; others see no harm in it; I will hold a middle course, and allow you to use it on one cheek."
SWIFT AND THE BISHOP OF KILMORE.
Josiah Hort, Bishop of Kilmore, and afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, was the author of "A New Proposal for the better Regulation and Improvement of Quadrille," for the publication of which Faulkner, the bookseller, was imprisoned. His not having indemnified the publisher excited the ire of Dean Swift in the following satire, published anonymously some years ago, but since found in M.S., and acknowledged by Dean Swift, in his own hand:—
"An Epigram on seeing a worthy Prelate go out of Church in the time of Divine Service to wait on his Grace the Duke of Dorset, on his coming to Town:—
"Lord Pam in the church (could you think
it?) kneel'd down, When told that the Duke was just come to
town— His station despising, unaw'd by the place, He flies from his God to attend on his Grace. To the Court it was fitter to pay his devotion, Since God had no hand in his Lordship's
promotion." Wilde's "Closing Tears of Dean Swift's Life," 1849.
DUMENIL AT ACHE.
During the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, while Napoleon was in the trenches, a shell fell at his feet, and one of the corps of guides threw himself between him and the shell, and shielded the General with his body. Luckily, the shell did not explode. At the moment? forgetful of the danger, Napoleon started up, exclaiming, "What a soldier!" This brave man was afterwards General Dumenil, who lost a leg at Wagram, and who was Governor of Vincennes to 1814; whose laconic reply to the Russian summons to surrender was, "Give me my leg, and I will give you the place."
TALLEYRAND S WIT.
Talleyrand being asked, if a certain authoress, whom he had long since known, hut who belonged rather to the last age, was not "a little tiresome?" "Not at all," said he, "she was perfectly tiresome."
A gentleman in company was one day making a somewhat zealous eulogy of his mother's beauty, dwelling upon the topic at uncalled-for length—he himself having certainly inherited no portion of that kind under the marriage of his parents. "It was vour father, then, apparently, who may not have been very well favoured," was Talleyrand's remark, which at once released the circle from the subject.
When Madame de Stael published her celebrated novel of " Delphine," she was supposed to have painted herself in the person of the heroine, and M. Talleyrand in that of an elderly ladv, who is one of the principal characters. "They tell me," said he, the first time he met her, "that we are both of us in your novel, in the disguise of women."
Rulhieres, the celebrated author of the work on the Polish revolution, having said, "I never did but one mischievous work in my life." "And when will it be ended?" was Talleyrand's reply.
"Is not Geneva dull?" asked a friend of Talleyrand. "Especially when they amuse themselves," was the reply.
"She is insupportable," said Talleyrand, with marked emphasis, of one well known; but, as if he had gone too far, and to take something off what he had said, he added, "It is her only defect."
•' Ah! I feel the torments of hell," said a person, whose life had been supposed to be somewhat of the loosest. "Already?" was the inquiry suggested to M. Talleyrand. Certainly, it came naturally to him. It is, however, not original; the Cardinal de Retz's physician is said to have made a similar exclamation on a like occasion.
Nor ought we to pass over the only mot that will ever be recorded of Charles X., uttered on his return to France in 1814, on seeing, like our second Charles on a similar reception, that the adversaries of bis family had disappeared—" There is only one Frenchman the more." This was the suggestion of M. Talleyrand. He afterwards proposed, in like manner, to Charles's successor, that the foolish freaks of the Duchess de Berri should be visited with this rescript to her and her faction: "Madame, no hope remains for you. You will be tried, condemned, and pardoned."
HOW TO STOP A RUNAWAY HORSE.
"I was one day riding," says Sir Francis Head," with a snaffle-bridle, on the glare ice of the great Bay of Toronto- on a horse I had just purchased, without having been made aware of his vice, which I afterwards learned had been the cause of a serious accident to his late master, when he suddenly, unasked, explained it to me by running away. On one side of me was the open
water of the lake, into which if I had ridden, I should almost instantly have been covered with a coating of ice as white as that on a candle that has just received its first dip; while on every other side I was surrounded by jagged rocks of ice, through the narrow passes of which I was going much too fast to be able to investigate them. My only course, therefore, was to force my horse round and round within the circumference of the little trouble that environed me, and this I managed to do, every time diminishing the circle, until before I was what Sydney Smith termed ' squirrel-minded,' the animal became sufficiently tired to stop."
MR. TIERNEY'S HUMOUR.
Mr. Tierney, one evening, in the House of Commons, spoke of Mr. Pitt-s motion as "smelling of a contract;" and even called him "the right hon. shipwright"—in allusion to his proposal to build men-of-war in the merchants' yards. On one occasion he fell by a less illustrious hand, but yet the hand of a wit When alluding to the difficulty the Foxites and Pittites had in passing over to join each other in attacking the Addington Ministry, Mr. Tierney (forgetting at the moment how easily he had himself overcomea like difficulty in joiningthat Ministry) alluded to the puzzle of the Fox and the Goose, and did not clearly expound his idea. Whereupon, Mr. Dudley North said, "It's himself he means—who left the Fox to go over to the Goose, and put the bag of oats in his pocket."
WINE AND WATER.
A water-drinking 'squire would fain have persuaded some of his brother 'squires to adopt his specific, as the only certain preventive of gout; but in this he met with poor success. He reduced one of them by degrees to half a pint of sherry, and he began to flatter himself the victory was gained. But, approaching him one morning with a very hypochondriac countenance, his refractory patient thus addressed him: "I really think, my gcod friend, I am too far gone for all this." And so he was; for that very evening he returned to his bottle, the next to two bottles, and in a very years to the dust from whence he sprang.
RATS STEALING EGGS.
The captain of a merchantman, trading to the port of Boston, in Lincolnshire, had constantly missed eggs from his sea-stock; he suspected that he was robbed by his crew; but, not being able to discover the thief, he was determined to watch his storeroom: accordingly (having laid in a fresh stock of eggs), he secreted himself at night in a situation that commanded a view of his eggs. To his great astonishment, he saw a number of rats approach; they formed a line from his egg-baskets to their hole, and handed the eggs from one to the other in their fore-paws. Almost every farmer's wife knows that eggs are removed by rats from a hen-house without breaking them. a
The Baron de Be'ranger relates, that,having secured a pickpocket in the very act of irregular abstraction, he took the liberty of inquiring whether there was anything in his face that had procured him the honour of being singled out for such an attempt:— "Why, sir," said the fellow, "your face is well enough, but you had on thin shoes and white stockings in dirty weather, and so I made sure you were a. fiat."
PRIDE OF ANCESTRY.
A mature spinster of an illustrious house having desired her attendant to read the Scriptures to her, the latter stumbled on a passage in Genesis, in which the word giants was rather defaced, and read, "There were Grants on the earth in those days." "Ah!" exclaimed the lady, with rapture, "there is a convincing proof that my family yields to none in antiquity!"
la the castles and palaces of the ancient nobility of France, the tapestry frequently presents memorials of their pride of ancestry. On the tapestry of an apartment in the palace of the Due de C is a representation of the Deluge, in which a man is seen running after Noah, and calling out, " My
good friend, save the archives of the C
LORD NORTH'S DROLLERY.
A few only of Lord North's sayings have reached us, and these, as might be expected, are rather things which he had chanced to coat over with some sarcasm or epigram that tended to preserve them; they consequently are far from giving an idea of his habitual pleasantry and the gaiety of thought which generally pervaded his speeches. Thus, when a vehement declaimer, calling aloud for his head, turned round and perceived his victim unconsciously indulging in a soft slumber, and, becoming still more exasperated, denounced the Minister as capable of sleeping while he ruined his country, the latter only complained how cruel it was to be denied a solace which other criminals so often enjoyed, that of having a night's rest before their fate. When surpiised in a like indulgence during the performance of a very inferior artist, who, however, showed equal indignation at so illtimed a recreation, he contented himself with observing how hard it was that he should be grudged so very natural a release from considerable suffering; but, as if recollecting himself, added, that it was somewhat unjust in the gentleman to complain of him for taking the remedy which he had himself been considerate enough to administer. The same good-humour and drollery quitted him not when in opposition. On Mr. Martin's proposal to have a starling placed near the chair, and taught to repeat the cry of "Infamous coalition!" Lord North coolly suggested, that, as long as the worthy member was preserved to them, it would be a needless waste of the public money, since the starling might well perform his office by deputy.
DIALOGUE IN THE WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND.
"How long is this loch?"
"It will be about twanty mile.''
• Twenty miles! surely it cannot be so much?"
"May be, it will be twelve."
"It does not really seem more than four.''
u Indeed, I'm thining you're right."
"Really, you seem to know nothing about the matter."
"Troth, I canna say I do."
Foote's Wooden Leg. There is no Sbakspeare nor Roscius upon record who, like Foote, supported a theatre for a series of years by his own acting, in his own writings, and for ten years of the time upon a wooden leg! This prop to his person was once seen standing by his bedside, ready dressed in a handsome silk stocking, with a polished shoe and a gold buckle, awaiting the owner's getting up; it had a kind of tragic-comical appearance, but we leave to inveterate wags the ingenuity of punning upon a Foote in bed, and a leg out of it. The proxy for a limb thus decorated, though ludicrous, is too strong a reminder of amputation to be very laughable. His undressed supporter was the common wooden stick, which was not a little injurious to a well-kept pleasure-ground. George Colman once followed him, after a shower of rain, upon a nicely rolled terrace, in which he stumped a deep round hole at every other step he took, till it appeared as if the gardener had been there with his dibble, preparing, against all horticnltual practice, to plant a long row of cabbages in a gravel walk.
Cueean's Law Ltoeaey. Who could ever have supposed a judge capable of sneering at a barrister's poverty, by telling him he suspected "his law library was rather contracted." Yet this was the brutal remark to Curran, by Judge Robinson, the author of many stupid, slavish, and scurrilous political pamphlets, and by his demerits raised to the eminence which he thus disgraced. Curran replied: "It is very true, my Lord, that I am poor, and the circumstance has certainly somewhat curtailed my library: my books are not numerous, but they are select, and I hope they have been perused with proper dispositions. I have prepared myself for this high profession rather by the study of a few good works than by the composition of a great many bad ones I am not ashamed of my poverty; but I should be ashamed of my wealth, could I have stooped to acquire it by servility and corruption. If I rise not to rank, I shall at least be honest; and, should I ever cease to be so, many an example shows me that an ill-gained elevation, by making me the more conspicuous, would only make me the more universally and the more notorious!y contemptible.'
An Irish gentleman, resident in Canada, was desirous to persuade his sons to work as backwoodsmen, instead of frittering away their constitutions and money in luxuries and pleasure; and as champagne costs in America something more than a dollar a bottle, whenever this old gentleman saw his sons raise the bright sparkling mixture to their lips, he used humorously to exclaim to them, "Ah, my boys! there goes an acre of land, trees and all."
The Abbe Sieyes is known to have proposed for France a form of government which, for its absurdity, may fairly challenge the pre-eminence with any not the produce of Dean Swift's satirical humour. Napoleon should, according to this strange scheme, have been invested with the supreme magistracy, but without any power, executive or legislative; enriched with an enormous salary, and suffered to exercise the whole patronage, civil and military, of the state, while others were named by the people to make the laws, and conduct, in union with his executive nominees, the government of the country. Napoleon's remark was, that he had no wish to "be a fattened hog, on a salary of some millions, after the life which he had led and in the position to which it had carried him."
MARAT, THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONIST.
Marat, in recommending the massacre of all aristocrats, scrupled not to proclaim through his paper, the "Ami de Peuple," that 270,000 heads must fall by the guillotine; and he published lists of persons whom he consigned to popular vengeance and destruction, by their names, descriptions, and places of residence. He was remarkable for the hideous features of a countenance at once horrible and ridiculous, and for the figure of a dwarf, not above five feet high. He was, on his first appearance in the mob meetings of his district, the constant butt of the company, and maltreated by all, even to gross personal rudeness. The mob, however, always took his part, because of the violence of his horrid language. Thus, long before he preached wholesale massacre in his journal, he had denounced 800 deputies as fit for execution, and demanded that they should be hanged on as many trees. His constant topic was assassination, not only in his journal, but in private society. Barbaroux describes him, in his "Memoires," as recommending that all aristocrats should be obliged to wear a badge, in order that they might be recognised and killed. "ButV' he used to add, "you have only to wait at the playhouse door, and mark those who come out, and to observe who have servants, carriages, and silk clothes; and if you kill them all, you are pretty sure you have killed so many aristocrats. Or if ten in a hundred should be patriots, it don't signify—you have killed ninety aristocrats."
A MOSQUITO HTORY.
An American living near the Grand River, Michigan, being in the woods, was one day so annoyed by mosquitoes, that he took refuge under an inverted potash-kettle. His first emotions of joy at his happy deliverance and secure asylum were hardly over, when the mosquitoes, having found him, began to drive their probosces through the kettle. Fortunately he had a hammer in his pocket, and he clinched them down as fast as they came through, until at last such a host of them were fastened to the poor man's domicile, that they rose and flew away with it, leaving him shelterless 1
Charles Carrol, the last survivor of the patriarchs of the American revolution, was among the foremost to sign the celebrated Declaration of Independence. All who did so were believed to have devoted themselves and their families to the furies. As he set his hand to the instrument, the whisper ran round the Hall of Congress, "There go some millions of property!" And there being many of the same name, ha heard it said, "Nobody will know what Carrol it is," as no one signed more than his name; and one at his elbow, addressing him, remarked, •' You'll get clear—there are several of the name— they will never know which to take." "Not so," he replied, and instantly added his residence, " of Carrolton."
Wilkes's Wit. Of Wilkes's convivial wit no doubt can remain. Gibbon, who passed an evening with him in 1762, when both were militia officers, says, "I scarcely ever met with a better companion; he has inexhaustible spirits, infinite wit and humour, and a great deal ot knowledge." He adds, "A thorough profligate in principle as in practice; his life stained with every vice, and his conversation full of blasphemy and indecency. These morals he glories in, for shame is a weaknes* he has long since surmounted." This, no doubt, is greatly exaggerated, and the historian, believing him really to confess his political profligacy, is perhaps in error also; "he told us that in this time of public dis sension he was resolved to make his fortune.' Possibly this was little more than a variety of his well-known saying to some one who was fawning on him with extreme doctrines, "I hope you don't take me for a Wilkite?" His exclamation, powerfully humorous certainly, on Lord Thurlow's solemn hypocrisy in the House of Lords, is well known. When that consummate piece of cant was performed with all the solemnity which the actor's incredible air, eyebrows, voice, could lend the imprecation, "If I foiget my sovereign, may my God forget me!" Wilkes, seated on the steps of the throne, eyeing him askance with his inhuman squint and demoniac grin, muttered, "Foiget you! He'll see you d~d first."
KEMBLE AND LISTON.
When Liston was iu the Newcastle company, he had a strong hias in favour of tragedy, and, having been in the scholastic profession, it suited his notions of the dignity of the drama. In some case of emergency he was sent on for David in the "Rivals." C. Kemble, who was in Newcastle for practice and improvement, saw him play this one part, and advised Liston to stick to the country boys, and recommended him to the London managers, but the advice was not listened to until five years afterwards.
Liston, during his tragedizing, applied to Stephen Kemble, the manager, for an increase of salary. "Pooh! pooh!" said Stephen, "such actors as you are to be found in every hedge." The insult struck deep, but Liston's mode of revenging it was peculiar. Some days afterwards, as the manager was driving from Newcastle to Sunderland, to his horror, he saw his perpetrator of Kings and courtiers stuck up to his middle in a quickset hedge. "Good heavens !" Mr. Liston," he exclaimed," what is the matter? What are vou doing there?"
"Looking for some of the actors you told me of the other day," replied the comedian.
THE BRITISH FLAG IN CANADA.
"What animals are those?" said a man through his nose, on St. George's Day, as he pointed to the congregation of Lions with lists clenched ready to box, and of Unicorns quite as eager to butt, that were waving over his head. "Is it animals you're after spaking?" sharply replied a young Irishman, who like the querist had been standing in the crowd, waiting to see the procession of Englishmen arrive: "one of thim animals I tell ye is the Irish harp; and so get out o' that, ye — Yankee, or I'll bate the sowl out o' ye!" Now it so happened that by the time the last words were ejaculated, the young Irishman's white teeth had almost reached the middle-aged querist's eye-brows; and as they were evidently advancing, and as the surgical operation proposed strongly resembled that of taking the kernel out of a nut, or an oyster out of its shell, the republican naturalist deemed it prudent instantly to decamp, or, as it is termed by his fellowcountrymen, to " absouantUate"
A TELEGRAPHIC BLUNDER.
During the mania for the dethronement of Kin;;s, subsequent to the French Revolution of 1848, when, for a time, almost every post brought tidings of " change perplexing nations," it was related in the papers of the day that the King of Prussia had abdicated. The news not being confirmed, it was speedily discovered to be erroneous. An ingenious provincial editor thus accounts for the mistake:—the magnetic interpreter at the office of the electric telegraph is a politician, and considerably interested in foreign affairs.
Late events have considerably excited him, and news from France has been so extraordinary, that there is not anything which his excited mind does not anticipate on the first word of communication. The telegraph, after due warning, the other day, said "The — King — of—Prussia" (the reader turned pale, and thought of the morning paper that had offered the highest price for early and exclusive intelligence) the dial proceeded—" The—King—of—Prussia—has gone—to—Pot—" In another minute the communication was on its way to the newspaper-office. Not long after, however, the dial was again agitated, and then came '-S—dam." Making it read thus—"The King of Prussia has gone to Potsdam."
A Niggee's Idea Of Tue Electeic
At the railway depot in Lowell, not long since, "Lookahea, Jake," said Sambo, his eyes dilating, and his rows of shining teeth protruding like a regiment of pearls, "Look a hea, Jake; what you call detn ar?" "What ar?" rejoined Jake. "Dem ar I is pint in to?" "Dem ar is postes," said Jake. "What !" said Sambo, scratching his head; "dem are postes wid de glass?" "Yes, de same identical," returned Jake. "Ah, but you sees dem are horzontal wires." "Well," observed Jake, "de posts supports de wires." "Gosh! I takes you nigger," ejaculated Siinbo, clapping his sides, and both setting up a loud yah yah. "But what's de wires for?" said Sambo, after a pause. "De wires," replied Jake, completely staggered for a moment, and at a nonplus for a reply to the philosophic curiosity of brother Sambo; but, suddenly lighting up with more than nigger fire, he said "JJe wires is for to keep de postes up I"
In the siege of Rouen, in 1652, there is a curious incident of an officer named Francois Civil, who owed his life to the fidelity of his servant, who, searching for his body, in order to inter it, was quitting the ground in despair, when he observed, by the light of the moon, a diamond ring on a hand not covered with earth; approaching nearer, he knew it to be the hand of his master by the ring. Great was his joy; but greater, when, taking the body to inter it, he found it warm. He took it to the hospital to be examined by the surgeons, who were so occupied by the number of the wounded, that they paid no attention to a dead man, as they thought him. On this, the valet took on himself the sole care of his master, who soon began to recover. Shortly after, the city was taken, and the house in which Civil lay was broken into, and he, in a weak state, was thrown out of the window. He fortunately fell on a heap of dung, unhurt by the fall, but was obliged to remain there till he was conveyed, privately, by his relations out of the city, where, with great care, he recovered.