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A black-letter Collection of Jests and Waggeries.*
There was a Fryer in London, which did use to go often to the house of an old woman; but ever when he came to her house, she hid all the meat she had. On a time, this Fryer came to her house, (bringing certain company with him) and demanded of the wife, if she had any meat? She said, "Nay." "Well, quoth the Fryer, have you not a whetstone?" "Yea, quod the woman, what will you do with it?" "Marry, quod he, I would make meat thereof." Then she brought a whetstone. He asked her likewise, if she had not a frying pan ?" Yea, said she, but what the d\vil will ye do therewith?" "Marry, said the Fryer, you shall see by and by what I will do with it." And when he had the pan, he set it on the fire, and put the whetstone therein. "Cocks body, said the woman, you will burn the pan." "No, no, quod the Fryer, if you will give me some eggs, it wil not burn at all." But she would have the pan from him, when that she saw it in daunger: yet he wquld not let her, but still urged her to fetch him some eggs; which she did. "Tush, said the Fryer, here are not enow: go fetch ten or twelve." So the good wife was constrayned to fetch more, for feare lest the pan should burn. And when he had them, he put them in the pan.— "Now, quod he, if you have no butter, the pan will burn and the eggs too." So the good wife, being very loth to have her pan burnt and her eggs lost, she fetcht him a dish of butter; the which he put into the pan, and made good meat thereof, and brought it to the table, saying, "Much good may it do you, my masters, now may you say, you have eaten a buttered whetstone." Whereat all the company laughed; but the woman was exceeding angry, because the Fryer had subtilly beguiled her of her meat.
There was a priest in the country, which had christned a child, and when he had christned it, he and the dark were bidden to the drinking that should be there, and thither they went with other people, and being there, the priest drank and made so merry, that he was quite foxed, and thought to go home before he laid him down to sleep: but having gone a little way, he grew so
• Licensed, says Warton, to John Kynge ; who died before 1562, according to Herbert. It is mentioned in Laneham's letter to Master Humphrey Martin, 1575. See Quoeiv Elizabeth's Progresses, vol. i. The discovery of any extaat copy.nf this boolv, had long been a desideratum with. the. late Mr. Ritaou.
drowsie, that he could go no further, but laid him down by a ditch side, so that his feet did hang in the water, and lying on his back, the moon shined in his face. Thus he lay till the rest of the company came from drinking, who, as they came home, found the priest lying as aforesaid: and they thought to get him away; but do what they could he would not rise, but said—" Do not meddle with me, for I lie very well, and will not stir hence before morning; but I pray lay some more cloathes on my feet, and blow out the candle, and let me lie and take my rest."
A Certain butcher was flaying a calf at night, and had stuck a lighted candle upon his head, because he would be the quicker about his business, and when he had done, he thought to take the same candle to light him to bed: but he had forgot where he had set it, and sought about the house for it, and all the while it stuck in his cap upon his head, and lighted him in seeking it. At the last, one of his fellows came and asked him, what he sought for?" Marry, quoth he, I look for the candle which I did flay the calf withal." "Why, thou fool, quod he, thou hast a candle in thy cap:"—and then he felt towards his cap, and took away the candle burning; whereat there was great laughing, and he mocked for his labour, as he was well worthy.
SUSPICION AND JEALOUSY.
No two passions can be more distinct than Suspicion and Jealousy. One is the offspring of a narrow and brutal mind, and may be entirely unconnected with love. The other is a certain proof of a most violent and unreasonable passion, and may exist in a mind naturally the least inclined to suspicion, as our great poet has shewn in the character of Othello. So far only do these passions appear to be connected, that, in the same circumstances, a temper naturally suspicious will be most likely to be susceptible of jealousy.
It is a common observation, that jealousy before marriage is a proof of love, and afterwards of an ill opinion of the woman, or at best of a suspicious temper: but this arises from confounding the effects of suspicion and jealousy. A suspicion founded on the natural disposition, and unmixed with love, can hardly exist in the lover's breast before marriage; it would induce him to quit his mistress. But such a suspicion may be entertained afterwards, when love possibly has ceased, and the blending these by an unskilful hand, in imitative poetry, has given rise to the supposed mixture of the passions.
It is lucky, perhaps, sometimes for domestic quiet, that the idea that a want of jealousy after marriage arises from confidence in the' wife's virtue, is so generally received. For if jealousy before marriage be a proof (and undoubtedly it is) of a most violent passion, the cessation of it, after marriage, is as much a proof of its cessation. Happy is it, therefore, for the husband, that his wife imputes his total disregard of what she does, and where she goes, only to an implicit reliance on her fidelity and discretion.
I do conceive (absurd and savage as the notion may appear to the liberal-minded sons of modern gallantry) that no man who possessed a beautiful wife, and whose passion for her was not extinct, would like to surrender the possession of her to a young, handsome, and agreeable man, for a whole night, in that degree which is the consequence of his being her partner in country dances. He may entertain no doubt either of her love, her prudence, or her chastity; but could he wish to put either in a hazardous situation? No wise man would leave a candle burning on a flootwhen he went to bed; for though the odds possibly may be a thousand to one against his house being burnt by it, yet, as houses are burned from slighter acts of negligence, common prudence revolts against the experiment.
Besides, the man who feels an ardent passion for a woman (let a lover contradict me if he can) like Othello, will not choose to keep even
"A corner in the thing he loves "For others' uses." There are gradations in enjoyment, as well as in every thing else. "Est quodam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra." There are many liberties extremely pleasant to take with a beautiful woman, without proceeding to extremities.
Bp x«' it xmaitji tyiXet.iMttTi aStx rse^is. Now, though the cushion dance is laid aside^till certain manoeuvres are practised in country dancing, that are as applicable to the word QAvjjMTa, as the contact of lips; and which, practised with a wife in her husband's company, on any other occasion, would put him in a very awkward situation, even if he had no acquaintance with " the green-eyed monster." And why these should be less disagreeable because performed to the tune of Nancy Dawson, I have never been able to discover.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
MR. ROBERT PALMER.
tVUh a Portrait.
This gentleman, who, we believe, with the exception of Mr. Packer and Miss Pope, is the performer of longest standing in Drury-lane theatre, was born in Banbury-court, Long-acre, in the month of September, 1757. His father, Robert Palmer, had served his country in Germany, under the Marquis of Granby; and by his good conduct, acquired the favour of his lordship, who, when the war terminated, recommended him to Mr. Garrick, and he was made one of the box-door keepers of the theatre; to which were annexed some other appendages, that made his latter days easy, after the fatigues of war. In this situation he conciliated the esteem of his superiors, and verified the saying of the poet: .-*.»• "Honour or shame from no condition rise: "Act well your part—there all the honour lies."
Robert, the more immediate object of our present notice, received the rudiments of education, in a school kept by a Mr. Avarello, at Brook Green, Hammersmith; from which he was brought to town, at the early age of six years, by Mr. Garrick's desire, to appear as Mustard-seed, in The Midsummer Night's Dream. Our young actor's employment, for some time, was as page, to support the trains of Mrs. Barry, Mrs., Yates, and other tragedy heroines of the day; but he was afterwards promoted to the superior rank of Page to Polydore in The Orphan.
As his destination now seemed to be the stage as a profession, his education was not to be neglected. He was, therefore, kept closely at a school, then under a Mr. Dick, in Hart Street, Covent Garden, and was, at the same time, articled as a pupil to Gritnaldi the dancer.
His first entree as an efficient actor, was, we believe, at Canterbury, in the summer of 1773, being then sixteen years of age; and in the character of 'Squire Richard, in The Provoked Husband. What other parts he undertook at that time we know not; but he was favoured with a salary of twelve shillings per' week. On his return, he passed the winter at his father's house, wholly unemployed. In the following summer, 1774, he went to Birmingham, and was entered of Mr. Yates's company, at fifteen shillings.
In the autumn of 17*74, Robert came to London; and Mr. Garrick, " to prevent (as he said) Bob's getting bad habits by strolling
in the country," desired that he might stay in town, and make himself useful at the theatre; promising to make him a compliment at the end of the season. His employment was chiefly in dances and pantomimes; and at the close of the season, Mr. Garrick ordered him four pounds nineteen shillings, which was paid to his father; and appeared to amount, upon calculation, to nearly one shilling for each of his performances.
In the summer of 1775, Mr. Foote engaged him at a salary of a guinea-and-half per week; and he made his debut at the little theatre, as James, in The Bankrupt, of which Lamash was the original performer. He had never before had a settled engagement in London; and now, considering himself as setting out for life, he resolved, by attention and diligence, to deserve credit, if he could not hope to achieve fame.
Dicky Drugget was the first new character that was given to him; and he performed it in such a manner, as to gain the approbation of the audience, and the praise of his manager. This also led to his establishment at Drury-lane.
The season 1776-7, was that in which the new proprietors of Drury-lane theatre (Messrs. Sheridan, Ford, &c.) commenced their operations; and by them our hero was engaged at one pound aweek; but, though at the Haymarket he had figured away as Sir James Elliot, Sir George Wealthy, Razor, fyc. he found his talents seldom employed at Drury in a higher sphere than delivering or receiving messages. The season following, though his salary was advanced to one pound ten shillings, and in the subsequent one, to three pounds, his duty was not made much more respectable: he •till remained in the back-ground, though (with the exception of 1792 at the Haymarket, and 1793-4 at Drury-lane, during which time he was in Scotland) he has been regularly engaged in both companies, from that to the present time.
That his talents, if not of the very highest class, were even then capable of better service than they were usually employed in, was evinced by an accidental occurrence, in 1782; when, during the temporary absence of Mr. Lee Lewes, he was borrowed by the manager of Covent Garden, to play the part of Sparkle, in Which is the Man? Though under the disadvantage of following so favourite a performer, the audience flattered our hero with very liberal applause.
In the season of 1783-4, another accident placed Mr. R. Palmer in a situation to the full as irksome, as the one we have just mentioned was pleasant to him. On some account it was found neces..