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George Burgess
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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Humour

A Compilation of short articles (2)

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Transcripts from original newspaper articles: -

Page Contents

A Backslider

A Border Farmer

A Conceited Fellow

A French Doctor

A Grocer Up Town

A Hatter

A Judgment

A Lawyer

A Lecturer

A Model Letter

A New Reason For Matrimony

A Politician

A Windy Orator In The New York Legislature

Friend In Need

I Will Not Strike Thee

Taking It Differently

When Thou Wakest

Why Are There So Many Widows In New York

Border Farmer
A BORDER farmer, whose practical mind soared above a taste for things beautiful, had the good or bad fortune to marry a wife who brought with her a wooden substitute for one of her nether limbs. On being remonstrated with on the exercise of his choice, John answered his questioner in a manner that showed he had the shrewd utilitarian character of a Scotchman. “Hech, sir,” said he, “it’s may be no’ a vera bonnie thing to marry a woman wi’ a wudden leg; but, man, she’ll be awfu’ usefu’ at settin’ time, when I’m a puttin’ doon my cabbage, neeps, or tatties. She can gang in front an’ mak’ a hole wi’ her stump, while I come ahint and put in the seed.”

Conceited Fellow
A conceited fellow, in introducing his friend into company, said –
“I assure you he is not so great a fool as he seems.”
The gentleman immediately replied, -
“That is exactly the difference between my friend and myself.”

THERE is a grocer up town who is so mean that he was seen to catch a fly off his counter, hold him by the hind legs, and look in the cracks of his feet to see if he hadn’t been stealing some of his best sugar.

“I WILL not strike thee, bad man,” said a Quaker, one day; “but I will let this billet of wood fall on thee!” and at that precise moment the “bad man” was floored by the weight of a walking-stick that the Quaker was known to carry.

Here is what we consider a manifest improvement on the old story of the “friend in need” –
A friend in need is a friend indeed,
And this I’ve found most true;
But mine is such a needy friend.

A HATTER in Regent Street, London, once asked Charles Mathews for an order for the theatre. He gave it to him, and the next day sent the hatter an order entitling the bearer to a hat. The hatter handed over the hat to the bearer, but ever after found it more economical to pay for his seat when he went to the show.

A FRENCH doctor being asked by a man one day to go to a distance to see his sick child, replied that it was too far to walk, and that he had no carriage.
“Oh,” said the man. “that doesn’t matter, I am a livery stable keeper and will drive you.”
Some time afterwards the doctor’s bill was asked for. It was five francs.
The livery stable keeper then presented his bill for hire of the carriage. It was six francs.


“Husband, do you believe in special judgments Providence upon individuals in this life?”
“Yes, my dear.”
“Do you indeed? Did one of the judgements happen to you?”
“Yes, love.”
“When was it, husband?”
“When I married you, my dear.”

A Lawyer at Rome and a Priest
A LAWYER at Rome asked a priest, “What is the difference between a priest and a donkey?” and, upon the latter giving it up, the lawyer replied, “The one wears the cross on his breast, and the other on his back.” “Very true,” said the priest, “but can you tell the difference between a lawyer and a donkey?” – “No, I cannot,” was the reply. “No more can I,” said the priest.

A LECTURER, addressing a mechanics’ institute, contended with tiresome prolixity that “Art could not improve Nature,” until one of the audience, losing all patience, set the room in a roar by exclaiming, “How would you look without your wig?”

A MODEL LETTER. – The following letter is a perfect model in its way. We certainly hope it is an unique specimen: - “Dear Brother, - I’ve got one of the handsomest farms in the State, and have it nearly paid for. Crops are good, and prices never were better. We have had a glorious revival of religion in our church, and both our children (the Lord be praised) are converted. Father got to be rather an incumbrance, and last week I took him to the poor-house. – Your affectionate brother.” – New York Daily Times.

A NEW REASON FOR MATRIMONY. – An old toper was overheard the other day advising a young man to get married, “because then, my boy, you’ll have somebody to pull off your boots when you go home drunk.”

TAKING IT DIFFERENTLY. – An indifferent actor, boring Garrick one day about his own acting of a part, said - "I think I struck out somebeauties in it." "I think," said Garrick, "you struck out all the beauties in it!".

A BACKSLIDER. - Married, on Thursday, the 23rd ult., by the Rev. Clay Boulder, Mr. Andrew Horn to Miss Julia Parker, President of the Young Ladies’ Temperance Society*.

Fair Julia lived a temperate maid,
Preached temperance ditties night and morn;
But still her wicked neighbours said
She broke her pledge and took

by A. Horn.

*Married 23 Nov 1854

A POLITICIAN was boasting in a public speech, that he could bring an argument to a pint as quick as any other man. “You can bring a quart to a pint a good deal quicker,” replied an acquaintance.

“Why are there so many widows in New York?” asked some one of Aunt Betsey, who once lived there. “Because,” said she, “the men drink like violence, die off like raving destruction, and leave the poor women in screaming distress.”

…. A windy orator in the New York legislature, after a lengthy effort, stopped for a drink of water.
“I rise,” said Bloss, “to a point of order.”
Everybody started; in wonder what the point of order was.
“What is it?” said the Speaker.
“I think, sir,” said Bloss, “It is out of order for a wind-mill to go by water.”

When thou wakest, thou canst not tell whether thou shalt ever sleep again; nor lying down to sleep whether ever thou shalt awake; therefore, pray at thy up-rising, and pray at thy down-lying. – Ambrosius.