Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1860

Funny Bones, 1860

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 28, 2012

A young rogue accidentally broke a pane in a window, and attempted as fast as he could to get out of the way; but he was followed and seized by the proprietor, who exclaimed, “You young rascal! you broke my window.”

“I know I did!” said the lad; “and didn’t you see me running home for the money to pay you for it?”

A New Telegraph

Somebody has invented a new kind of telegraph that may be depended upon. It is this: – Place a line of women fifty steps apart, and commit the news to the first as a very profound secret.


The following direction appeared on a letter recently delivered in Auckland, Durham: – “For Elizabeth Jane Spencer, a tall woman with two little boys.”


At the battle of the Nile, Colonel S—, of the Royal Marines, directed the soldiers’ attention to the land behind the French fleet. “Do you see that land there?” he asked.

They all shouted, “Ay, ay, sir!”

“Now, my lads, that’s the land of Egypt; and if you don’t fight like devils, you’ll soon be in the house of bondage.”


Politeness is like an air-cushion: there may be nothing solid in it, but it eases the jolts wonderfully.


One of the neatest replies ever heard in a legislative body, or anywhere else, was lately made by Mr. Tilson, of Rockland, Me. A member had replied to something Mr. Tilson said, and, pausing a moment, inquired if he saw the thread of argument. “Mr. Speaker,” said he, “in answer to the gentleman, I would say, I hear the humming of the wheel, but I cannot see any thread.”


A country paper once said: – “E.B. Doolittle is in the habit of stealing pigs and robbing hen-roosts. If he does not desist, we shall publish his name.” This is equal to the minister at a camp-meeting, who said, “If the lady with a blue hat, red hair, and cross-eyes doesn’t stop talking, she will be pointed out to the congregation.”


A countryman went into one of our fashionable refreshment rooms, and was surprised at seeing nothing on the table but the cloth, knives and forks, and glasses. “What will you have?” asked the waiter. Giles stared like a stuck pig, and replied, “I dun know.” “Would you like a bill of fare, sir?” “Thank you, I don’t care if I do take a small piece.”


A lady thus addressed her servant in the presence of her guests: – “Mary, relieve that burning luminary of the superincumbent dross that bears upon it.”

“Ma’am?” said Mary, confused at what her mistress could mean.

“Take,” said the lady, “from that luminous body its superincumbent weight of consumed carbon.”

“Ma’am?” repeated Mary.

In haste replied the lady, “Snuff the candle, stupid!”


Not long ago, a bridegroom returning home from his wedding was met by a friend, who thus addressed him: – “Well, Jack, I’m goad to see thee in thy happy position: thou’st seen the end of thy trouble now.”

“Thank thee, lad,” was Jack’s answer; “I hope I have.”

About a month afterwards, the two friends again met, when Jack, speaking rather warmly, exclaimed, “Bill, thou telled me a lie that morning I got wed! Didn’t thou say I’d seen the end of my trouble?”

“I did,” said Bill; “but I didn’t tell thee which end.”


A teacher, wishing to explain to a little girl the manner in which a lobster casts its shell when it has outgrown it, said, ‘What do you do when you have outgrown your clothes? You throw them aside, don’t you?”

“Oh, no!” replied the little one; “we let out the tucks!”

Be Punctual

When Washington’s secretary excused himself for the lateness of his attendance, and laid the blame upon his watch, his master quietly said, “Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.”


“La! Mr. Smith, what makes your hair so red? Ma’s got some stuff that turns hers such a jolly black!”

A Question for Music Masters

Can a miss be said to play the piano in a master-ly manner?


A little girl, showing her little cousin, about four years old, a star, said, “That star you see up there is bigger than this world.”

“No, it ain’t,” said he.

“Yes, it is.”

“Then, why don’t it keep the rain off?”

A Compassionate Child

“I was showing dear little Charlie the picture of the martyrs thrown to the lions,” said Mrs. Jenkins, “and was talking very solemnly to him, trying to make him feel what a terrible fate it was. “Ma!” said he, all at once, “oh, ma! Just look at that poor little lion away behind there: He won’t get any!”


An honest old lady in Devonshire, when told of her cousin’s death, exclaimed, “Well, I do declare, our troubles never come alone! It ain’t a week since I lost my best hen, and now dear Tom has gone, too, poor man!”


To resuscitate a drowned Englishman, place a piece of roast beef under his nose; an Irishman, a gill of poteen; a Scotchman, a baubee; a Welshman, a few leeks; a Frenchman, a pinch of snuff; a Spaniard, some fresh blood; an old maid, an offer of marriage; a Yankee, attempt to pick his pockets.


There are trees so tall in Wisconsin, that it takes two men and a boy to look to the top of them. One looks till he gets tired, and another commences where he left off.


Felix McCarthy, of the Kerry Militia, was generally late on parade. “Ah, Felix,” said the Sergeant, “you are always last.”

“Be aisy, Sergeant Sullivan,” was his reply; “sure some one must be last.”


At a christening, while the minister was making the certificate, he happened to say, “Let me see, this is the 30th.”

“The thirtieth!” exclaimed the indignant mother; “indeed, it is only the eleventh!”


A boy was asked one day what made him so dirty; and his reply was – “They tell me I am made of dust, and I s’pose it’s just working out.”

How to Cure Measles

A good lady, who had children sick of the measles, went to a friend for the best remedy, while the friend had just received a note from another lady inquiring the way to make pickles. In the confusion, the lady who had enquired about the pickles received the remedy for the measles, while the anxious mother of the sick children read the following: “Scald them three or four times in hot vinegar, and sprinkle them well with salt, and in a few days they will be cured.”

The Widow’s Pig

“Patrick,” said the priest, “the widow Molony tells me you have stolen one of her finest pigs. Is that so?”

“Yes, yer honour.”

“What have you done with it?”

“Killed it and ate it, yer honour?”

“Oh, Patrick, when you are brought face to face with the widow and her pig on the judgment-day, what account will you be able to give of yourself when the widow accuses you of the theft?”

“Did you say the pig would be there, your rivrance?”

“To be sure I did.”

“Well, then, yer rivrance, I’ll say, ‘Mrs. Molony, there’s your pig.’”


A minikin in the guards, four feet and a half high, being one day at drill, was examining a strapper of six feet four. “Come, fellow, hold up your head. Higher, fellow!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Higher, fellow, higher!”

“What – so, sir?”

“Yes, fellow.”

“Must I always remain so?”

“Yes, fellow, to be sure.”

“Why, then, good-bye, captain,” said he; “for I never shall see you again!”

Long Lease

A certain land speculator having a piece of land to let, had a placard stuck up, which read as follows: – “This good and desirable land to be let on a lease one hundred and twenty-five yards long.”


A servant-girl, writing a letter, asked her master if the next month had come in yet. He laughed. “Well,” said she, “what I mean is, Has the last month gone out yet?”

A Smart Boy

“Tommy, my son, what are you doing there with your feet dangling in the water?”

“Trying to catch cold, ma, so that I may have some more of those cough lozenges you gave me yesterday.”



  1. To resuscitate a drowned Englishman, place a piece of roast beef under his nose; an Irishman, a gill of poteen; a Scotchman, a baubee; a Welshman, a few leeks; a Frenchman, a pinch of snuff; a Spaniard, some fresh blood; an old maid, an offer of marriage; a Yankee, attempt to pick his pockets.

    This hits most of the significant ethnic groups in Utah at the time,* except the Scandinavians. (What would you use for them? A herring?)

    In response to the joke, I almost said, “What’s a baubee?” but figured I could find the meaning as fast as anyone else here, except for Keepa’s good Scottish readers. And, of course, as is the case with 99.95 percent of the Scottish jokes in the pages of the early church magazines, it’s a jab at the tightfisted nature of the Scots — a baubee or bawbee is a halfpenny.

    *Okay, so there weren’t many Frenchmen, but I do know of a few since my children are descended from them. And there were Basques — would Basques resent being grouped with Spaniards?

    Comment by Amy T — April 28, 2012 @ 9:00 am

  2. This is true gospel generosity, Amy T — by all means, let’s find a way to insult everybody in the same joke!

    My favorite this time was the compassionate child concerned for the welfare of the little lion who wouldn’t get his fair share of Christian. Har!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  3. At least some of the Basques would object violently to being grouped with the Spaniards. See, for example, the ETA. (Not to be confused with the Greek letter or the burakumin, the lowest caste in Japanese feudal society.)

    As to the Scandinavians, skip the herring and go straight to the lutefisk (or lutfisk in Swedish). Look that up in Wikipedia if you’re afraid of an overactive appetite today–you’ll be cured for a week.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 28, 2012 @ 9:47 am

  4. Great minds laugh alike. I, too, found the Compassionate Child to be the winner in this lot!

    Comment by Mina — April 28, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  5. I was most amazed at the one in the middle about the “end of all your troubles.” I’ve heard that one quoted all over the place including in conference, only (with our more common stereotype today) as a Bride to be and her Mother getting ready for the wedding-day. I was mostly amazed that a joke had survived mostly intact for over a hundred and fifty years and folks still thought it was funny. Or, funny-ish….

    Comment by Heather B in SC — April 28, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  6. That fact is funnier than the joke itself, isn’t it, Heather!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 28, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  7. The NEW invention/women/telegraph would still be told,as the bias is still there. It could be told if with a new invention cell phone teenage girls/texting slant for instance.

    I just can’t wrap my head around it tonight.

    Comment by Diane Peel — April 28, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  8. I am fairly certain that I know the inventor of this new fangled telegraph system. She also just so happens to be the lady with a blue hat, red hair, and crossed-eyes.

    Thanks for posting Ardis! I love these.

    Comment by Stan Way — April 30, 2012 @ 9:19 am

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