Joe Miller's Jests



Second Thoughts, we commonly say, are best; and young Women who pretend to be averse to Marriage, desire not to be taken at their Words. One asking a Girl, if she would have him? Faith, no, John, says she, but you may have me if you will.


A Gentleman lying on his Death-Bed, called to his Coachman, who had been an old Servant, and said, Ah! Tom, I’m going a long rugged journey, worse than ever you drove me: Oh, dear Sir, reply’d the Fellow, (he having been but an indifferent Master to him,) ne’er let that discourage you, for it is all down Hill.


An honest bluff Country Farmer, meeting the Parson of the Parish in a By-Lane, and not giving him the Way so readily as he expected, the Parson, with an erected Crest, told him, He was better fed than taught: Very likely indeed Sir, reply’d the Farmer: For you teach me and I feed myself.


A famous Teacher of Arithmetick, who had long been married without being able to get his Wife with Child: One said to her, Madam, your Husband is an excellent Arithmetician. Yes, replies she, only he can’t multiply.


One making a furious Assault upon a hot Apple-pye, burnt his Mouth ’till the Tears ran down; his Friend asked him, Why he wept? Only, says he, ’tis just come into my Mind, that my Grand-mother dy’d this Day twelvemonth: Phoo! says the other, is that all? So whipping a large Piece into his Mouth, he quickly sympathiz’d with his Companion; who seeing his Eyes brim full, with a malicious Sneer ask’d him, why he wept? A Pox on you, says he, because you were not hang’d the same Day your Grand-mother dy’d.


A Lady who had married a Gentleman that was a tolerable Poet, one Day sitting alone with him, she said, Come, my Dear, you write upon other People, prithee write something for me; let me see what Epitaph you’ll bestow upon me when I die: Oh, my Dear, reply’d he, that’s a melancholy Subject, prithee don’t think of it: Nay, upon my Life you shall, adds she, ----- Come, I’ll begin,

                    ----- Here lies Bidd:
To which he answer’d, Ah! I wish she did.


A Cowardly Servant having been hunting with his Lord, they had kill’d a wild Boar; the Fellow seeing the Boar stir, betook himself to a Tree; upon which his Master call’d to him, and asked him, what he was afraid of, the Boar’s Guts were out? No, matter for that, says he, his Teeth are in.


One telling another that he had once so excellent a Gun that it went off immediately upon a Thief’s coming into the House, altho’ it wasn’t charged: How the Devil can that be? said t’other: Because, said the First, the Thief carry’d it off, and what was worse, before I had Time to charge him with it.


Some Gentlemen coming out of a Tavern pretty merry, a Link-Boy cry’d, Have a Light, Gentlemen? Light yourself to the Devil, you Dog, says one of the Company: Bless you, Master, reply’d the Boy, we can find the Way in the Dark; shall we light your Worship thither.


A Person was once try’d at Kingston before the late Lord Chief Justice Holt, for having two Wives, where one Unit was to have been the chief Evidence against him: After much calling for him, Word was brought that they could hear nothing of him. No, says his Lordship, why then, all I can say, is, Mr. Unit stands for a Cypher.

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