Joe Miller's Jests



The Duke of A----ll, who says more good Things than any Body, being behind the Scenes the First Night of the Beggar’s Opera, and meeting Cibber there, well Colley, said he, how d’you like the Beggar’s Opera? Why it makes one laugh, my Lord, answer’d he, on the Stage; but how will it do in print. O! very well, I’ll answer for it, said the Duke, if you don’t write a Preface to it.*
* See Cibber’s Preface to Provok’d Husband.


There being a very great Disturbance one Evening at Drury-Lane Play-House, Mr. Wilks, coming upon the Stage to say something to pacify the Audience, had an Orange thrown full at him, which he having took up, making a low Bow, this is no Civil Orange, I think, said he.


Mr. H---rr---n, one of the Commissioners of the Revenue in Ireland, being one Night in the Pit, at the Play-House in Dublin, Monoca Gall, the Orange Girl, famous for her Wit and her Assurance, striding over his Back, he popp’d his Hands under her Petticoats: nay, Mr. Commissioner, said she, you’ll find no Goods there but what have been fairly entered.


Joe Miller sitting one Day in the Window at the Sun-Tavern in Clare-Street, a Fish Woman and her Maid passing by, the Woman cry’d, Buy my Soals; buy my Maids: Ah, you wicked old Creature, cry’d honest Joe, What are you not content to sell your own Soul, but you must sell your Maid’s too?


When the Duke of Ormond was young, and came first to Court, he happen’d to stand next my Lady Dorchester, one Evening in the Drawing-Room, who being but little upon the Reserve on most Occasions, let a Fart, upon which he look’d her full in the Face and laugh’d. What’s the Matter, my Lord, said she: Oh! I heard it, Madam, reply’d the Duke, you’ll make a fine Courtier indeed, said she, if you mind every Thing you hear in this Place.


A poor Man, who had a termagant Wife, after a long Dispute, in which she was resolved to have the last Word, told her, if she spoke one more crooked Word he’d beat her Brains out: Why then Ram’s Horns, you Rogue, said she, if I die for’t.


A Gentleman ask’d a Lady at Tunbridge, who had made a very large Acquaintance among the Beaus and pretty Fellows there, what she would do with them all. O! said she, they pass off like the Waters; and pray, Madam, reply’d the Gentleman do they all pass the same Way?


An Hackney-Coachman, who was just set up, had heard that the Lawyers used to club their Three-Pence a-piece, four of them, to go to Westminster, and being call’d by a Lawyer at Temple-Bar, who, with two others in their Gowns, got into his Coach, he was bid to drive to Westminster-Hall; but the Coachman still holding his Door open, as if he waited for more Company; one of the Gentlemen asked him, why he did not shut the Door and go on, the Fellow, scratching his Head, cry’d you know, Master, my Fare’s a Shilling, I can’t go for Nine-Pence.


Two Free-thinking Authors, proposed to a Bookseller, that was a little decayed in the World, that if he would print their Works they would set him up, and indeed they were as good as their Word, for in six Week’s Time he was in the Pillory.


A Gentleman was saying one Day at the Tilt-Yard Coffee-House, when it rained exceeding hard, that it put him in Mind of the General Deluge; Zoons, Sir, said an old Campaigner, who stood by, who’s that? I have heard of all the Generals in Europe but him.

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The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

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