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The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun; containing a collection of over one thousand of the most laughable sayings and jokes of celebrated wits and humorists.

by Various

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The following is an anecdote of the late Lord Mansfield, which his lordship himself told from the bench:—He had turned off his coachman for certain acts of peculation, not uncommon in this class of persons. The fellow begged his lordship to give him a character. "What kind of character can I give you?" says his lordship. "Oh, my lord, any character your lordship pleases to give me, I shall most thankfully receive." His lordship accordingly sat down and wrote as follows:—"The bearer, John ——, has served me three years in the capacity of coachman. He is an able driver, and a very sober man, I discharged him because he cheated me."—(Signed) "Mansfield." John thanked his lordship, and went off. A few mornings afterwards, when his lordship was going through his lobby to step into his coach for Westminster Hall, a man, in a very handsome livery, made him a low bow. To his surprise he recognized his late coachman. "Why, John," says his lordship, "you seem to have got an excellent place; how could you manage this with the character I gave you?" "Oh! my lord," says John, "it was an exceeding good character, and I am come to return you thanks for it; my new master, on reading it, said, he observed your lordship recommended me as an able driver and a sober man. 'These,' says he, 'are just the qualities I want in a coachman; I observe his lordship adds he discharged you because you cheated him. Hark you, sirrah,' says he, 'I'm a Yorkshireman, and I'll defy you to cheat me.'"


General Zaremba had a very long Polish name. The king having heard of it, one day asked him good humouredly, "Pray, Zaremba, what is your name?" The general repeated to him immediately the whole of his long name. "Why," said the king, "the devil himself never had such a name." "I should presume not, Sire," replied the general, "as he was no relation of mine."


"Cæsar," said a planter to his negro, "climb up that tree and thin the branches." The negro showed no disposition to comply, and being pressed for a reason, answered: "Well, look heah, massa, if I go up dar and fall down an' broke my neck, dat'll be a thousand dollars out of your pocket. Now, why don't you hire an Irishman to go up, and den if he falls and kills himself, dar won't be no loss to nobody?"


Mr. Newman is a famous New England singing-master; i. e., a teacher of vocal music in the rural districts. Stopping over night at the house of a simple minded old lady, whose grandson and pet, Enoch, was a pupil of Mr. Newman, he was asked by the lady how Enoch was getting on. He gave a rather poor account of the boy, and asked his grandmother if she thought Enoch had any ear for music.

"Wa'al," said the old woman, "I raaly don't know; won't you just take the candle and see?"


There was once a clergyman in New Hampshire, noted for his long sermons and indolent habits. "How is it," said a man to his neighbour, "Parson ----, the laziest man living, writes these interminable sermons?" "Why," said the other, "he probably gets to writing and he is too lazy to stop."