EVER HEARD THIS?
OVER THREE HUNDRED GOOD STORIES
F. W. CHAMBERS
METHUEN & CO. LTD.
36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
First Published ...... October 27th 1916
Second Edition ...... November 1916
Third Edition ...... December 1916
EVER HEARD THIS?
A lover and his lass sought a secluded lane, but to their disgust a small boy arrived there too. Said the lover:
"Here's a penny. Go and get some sweets."
"I don't want any sweets."
"Well, here's a shilling. Run away."
"I don't want a shilling."
"Then here's half a crown."
"I don't want half a crown."
"Well, what do you want?"
"I want to watch."
A little boy, who had had some insight into the disposal of surplus kittens, on being shown his mother's newly arrived twins, laid his finger on that which struck his fancy, and said, "That's the one I'll have kept."
A raw Highlander from a northern depot was put on guard at the C.O.'s tent. In the morning the Colonel looked out, and though he prided himself on knowing all his men the sentry's face was unfamiliar.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"A'am fine, thank ye," was the reply, "an' hoo's yerself?"
Jones was proud of his virtues. "Gentlemen, for twenty years I haven't touched whisky, cards, told a lie, done an unkind deed, or smoked, or sworn," he said.
"By Jove! I wish I could say that," Brown exclaimed enviously.
"Well, why don't you?" said a mutual friend. "Jones did."
A Scot and a minister were in a train together travelling through a lovely part of Scotland.
Beautiful scenery--mountains, dales, rivers, and all the glories of Nature. When passing a grand mountain they saw a huge advertisement for So-and-So's whisky.
The Scot gave a snort of disgust. The minister leant forward and said, "I'm glad to see, sir, that you agree with me, that they should not be allowed to desecrate the beauties of Nature by advertisement."
"It's no' that, sir," said the Scot bitterly, "it's rotten whusky."
Bishop Blomfield, having forgotten his written sermon, once preached ex tempore, for the first and only time in his life, choosing as his text "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." On his way home he asked one of his congregation how he liked the discourse. "Well, Mr. Blomfield," replied the man, "I liked the sermon well enough, but I can't say I agree with you; I think there be a God!"
A lawyer who was sometimes forgetful, having been engaged to plead the cause of an offender, began by saying: "I know the prisoner at the bar, and he bears the character of being a most consummate and impudent scoundrel." Here somebody whispered to him that the prisoner was his client, when he immediately continued: "But what great and good man ever lived who was not calumniated by many of his contemporaries?"
Mr. Brown expressed to his landlady his pleasure in seeing her place a plate of scraps before the cat. "Oh, yes, sir," she replied. "Wot I says, Mr. Brown, is, be kind to the cats, and yer'll find it saves yer 'arf the washin'-up."
A foolish fellow went to the parish priest, and told him, with a very long face, that he had seen a ghost. "When and where?" said the pastor. "Last night," replied the timid man, "I was passing by the church, and up against the wall of it, did I behold the spectre." "In what shape did it appear?" replied the priest. "It appeared in the shape of a great ass." "Go home and say not a word about it," rejoined the pastor; "you are a very timid man, and have been frightened by your own shadow."
A precocious child found the long graces used by his father before and after meals very tedious. One day, when the week's provisions had been delivered, he said, "I think, father, if you were to say grace over the whole lot at once, it would be a great saving of time."
A farmer in the neighbourhood of Doncaster was thus accosted by his landlord: "John, I am going to raise your rent." John replied, "Sir, I am very much obliged to you, for I cannot raise it myself."
Ayrton, Charles Lamb's friend, only made one joke in his life; it was this. Lamb had his usual Wednesday-evening gathering, and Martin Burney and the rest were playing at whist. Ayrton contented himself with looking on. Presently he said to Burney, in an undertone, the latter not being notorious for his love of soap and water, "Ah! Martin, if dirt were trumps, what hands you'd hold!"
An old woman received a letter from the post-office at New York. Not knowing how to read and being anxious to know the contents, supposing it to be from one of her absent sons, she called on a person near to read it to her. He accordingly began and read: "Charleston, June 23rd. Dear Mother"--then making a stop to find out what followed (as the writing was rather bad), the old lady exclaimed: "Oh, 'tis my poor Jerry, he always stuttered!"
A rude young fellow seeing an aged hermit going by him barefoot said, "Father, you are in a miserable condition if there is not another world." "True, son," said the hermit, "but what is thy condition if there is?"
A London girl visited the country on May Day. She came to a pond whose shallows were full of tadpoles--thousands and thousands of little black tadpoles flopping about in an inch of mud and water. "Oh," she said, "look at the tadpoles! And to think that some day every one of the horrid, wriggling things will be a beautiful butterfly!"
A member of an impecunious family having hurried off to the Continent to avoid the importunities of his creditors, a celebrated wit remarked, "It is a pass-over that will not be much relished by the Jews."
At Durham assizes a deaf old lady, who had brought an action for damages against a neighbour, was being examined, when the judge suggested a compromise, and instructed counsel to ask what she would take to settle the matter. "His lordship wants to know what you will take?" asked the learned counsel, bawling as loud as ever he could in the old lady's car. "I thank his lordship kindly," answered the ancient dame; "and if it's no illconwenience to him, I'll take a little warm ale!"
"Sir," said a barber to an attorney who was passing his door, "will you tell me if this is a good half-sovereign?" The lawyer, pronouncing the piece good, deposited it in his pocket, adding, with gravity, "If you'll send your lad to my office, I'll return the three and fourpence."
Sir G. Rose, the great punster, on observing someone imitating his gait, said, "You have the stalk without the rose."
The late Judge C---- one day had occasion to examine a witness who stuttered very much in delivering his testimony. "I believe," said his Lordship, "you are a very great rogue." "Not so great a rogue as you, my lord, t-t-t-takes me to be."
A man who was fond of visiting his friends and outstaying his welcome had been cordially received by a Quaker who treated him with attention and politeness for some days. At last his host said, "My friend, I am afraid thee wilt never visit me again." "Oh, yes, I shall," he replied. "I have enjoyed my visit very much; I will certainly come again." "Nay," said the Quaker, "I think thee wilt not visit me again." "What makes you think I shall not come again?" asked the visitor. "If thee does never leave," said the Quaker, "how canst thee come again?"
A celebrated wit coming from a bank which had been obliged to close its doors, slipped down the steps into the arms of a friend.
"Why, what's the matter?" said the latter.
"Oh," was the quick reply, "I've only lost my balance."
After a long drought, there fell a torrent of rain: and a country gentleman observed to Sir John Hamilton, "This is a most delightful rain; I hope it will bring up everything out of the ground." "By Jove, sir," said Sir John, "I hope not; for I have buried three wives."
Mr. Pitt was discoursing at a Cabinet dinner on the energy and beauty of the Latin language. In support of the superiority which he affirmed it to have over the English, he asserted that two negatives made a thing more positive than one affirmative possibly could. "Then," said Thurlow, "your father and mother must have been two complete negatives to make such a positive fellow as you are!"
"Why, you have never opened your mouth this session," said Sir Thomas Lethbridge to Mr. Gye; replied Mr. Gye, "Your speeches have made me open it very frequently. My jaws have ached with yawning."
Jane had asked for an evening off to go to her first dance. Returning at a very early hour, she was asked by her master whether she had enjoyed herself. "No, indeed, sir," she replied, "I was most insulted." "How was that, Jane?" "I 'adn't been there very long, sir, when a young man comes up and hactually hasks whether my programme was full. And I'd only 'ad two sandwiches."
"Shure an' it's married Oi am!" said Pat to an old friend he had not seen for a long time. "You don't mane it?" "Faith, an' it's true. An' Oi've got a fine healthy bhoy, an' the neighbours say he's the very picture of me." "Och, niver moind what they say," said Mick. "What's the harm so long as the child is healthy."
An Irish parson of the old school, in whom a perception of the ridiculous was developed with a Rabelaisian breadth of appreciation, was asked by a clodhopper to explain the meaning of a miracle. "Walk on a few paces before me," said his reverence, which having done the peasant was surprised to feel in the rear a kick, administered with decided energy. "What did you do that for?" demanded the young man angrily. "Simply to illustrate my meaning," replied the cleric blandly; "if you had not felt it, it would have been a miracle."
A gentleman at a musical party asked a friend, in a whisper, how he should stir the fire without interrupting the music. "Between the bars," replied the friend.
A Quaker was examined before the Board of Excise, respecting certain duties; the commissioners thinking themselves disrespectfully treated by his theeing and thouing, one of them with a stern countenance asked him--"Pray, sir, do you know what we sit here for?"--"Yea," replied Nathan, "I do; some of thee for a thousand, and others for seventeen hundred and fifty pounds a year."
"Willy, why were you not at school yesterday?" asked the teacher.
"Please, mum," answered the absentee, "Muvver made marmalade yesterday and she sent me to the cemetery."
"What on earth for?"
"To collect some jam pots, mum."
A country clergyman, meeting a neighbour, who never came to church, although an old fellow above sixty, reproved him on that account, and asked if he ever read at home? "No," replied the man, "I can't read." "I dare say," said the clergyman, "you don't know who made you." "Not I, in troth," said the countryman. A little boy coming by at the time, "Who made you, child?" said the parson. "God, sir," answered the boy. "Why, look you there," quoth the honest parson. "Are you not ashamed to hear a child of five or six years old tell me who made him, when you, that are so old a man, cannot?" "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, sin' I was made."
Jimmy giggled when the teacher read the story of the man who swam across the Tiber three times before breakfast.
"You do not doubt that a trained swimmer could do that, do you?"
"No, sir," answered Jimmy, "but I wonder why he did not make it four and get back to the side where his clothes were."
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