Joe Miller's Jests



After the Fire of London, there was an Act of Parliament to regulate the Buildings of the City, every House was to be three Stories high, and there were to be no Balconies backwards: A Gloucestershire Gentleman, a Man of great Wit and Humour, just after this Act passed, going along the Street, and seeing a little crooked Gentlewoman, on the other Side of the Way, he runs over to her in great haste, Lord, Madam, said he, how dare you walk the Streets thus publickly? Walk the Streets! why not? answer’d the little Woman. Because said he, you are built directly contrary to Act of Parliament, you are but two Stories high, and your Balcony hangs over your House-of-Office.


One Mr. Topham was so very tall, that if he was living now, he might be shewn at Yeates’s Theatre for a Sight, this Gentleman going one Day to enquire for a Countryman a little Way out of Town, when he came to the House, he looked in at a little Window over the Door, and ask’d the Woman, who sat by the Fire, if her Husband was at Home. No, Sir, said she, but if you please to alight and come in, I’ll go and call him.


The same Gentleman walking across Covent-Garden, was asked by a Beggar-Woman, for an Half-penny or Farthing, but finding he would not part with his Money, she begg’d for Christ’s-Sake, he would give her one of his old Shoes; he was very desirous to know what she could do with one Shoe, to make my child a Cradle, Sir, said she.


King Charles II. having ordered a Suit of Cloaths to be made, just at the Time when Addresses were coming up to him, from all Parts of the Kingdom, Tom Killegrew went to the Taylor, and ordered him to make a very large pocket on one Side of the Coat, and one so small on the other, that the King could hardly get his Hand into it, which seeming very odd, when they were brought home, he ask’d the Meaning of it, the Taylor said, Mr. Killegrew order’d it so; Killegrew being sent for, and interrogated, said, one Pocket was for the Addresses of his Majesty’s Subjects, the other for the Money they would give him.


By Lord B--e, had married three Wives that were all his Servants, a Beggar-Woman meeting him one Day in the Street, made him a very low Curtesy, Ah, God Almight bless your Lordship, said she, and send you a long Life, if you do but live long enough, we shall be all Ladies in Time.


Dr. Tadloe, who was a very fat Man, happening to go thump, thump, with his great Legs, thro’ a Street, in Oxford, where some Paviers had been at Work, in the Midst of July, the fellows immediately laid down their Rammers, Ah! God bless you, Master, cries one of ’em, it was very kind of you to come this Way, it saves us a great deal of Trouble this hot Weather.


An Arch-Wagg of St. John’s college, asked another of the same College, who was a great Sloven, why he would not read a certain Author called Go-Clenius.


Swan, the famous Punster of Cambridge, being a Nonjuror, upon which Account he had lost his Fellowship, as he was going along the Strand, in the Beginning of King William’s Reign, on a very rainy Day, a Hackney-Coachman called to him, Sir, won’t you please to take Coach, it rains hard: Ay, Friend, said he, but this is no Reign for me to take Coach in.


When Oliver first coined his Money, an old Cavalier looking upon one side of the new Pieces, read the Inscriptions, on one side was God with us, on the other, The Commonwealth of England; I see, said he, God and the Commonwealth are on different Sides.


Colonel Bond who had been one of King Charles the First’s Judges, dy’d a Day or two before Oliver, and it was strongly reported every where that Cromwell was dead; No, said a Gentleman, who knew better, he has only given Bond to the Devil for his farther Appearance.

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