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Archive for July, 2011

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Samuel Foote (1720-1777) wit, actor and dramatist
Charles Howard of Greystock published ‘Thoughts’ a book that was lightweight and of not much merit. He met Samuel Foote at a coffee-house and asked if he had read it. Samuel Foote excused himself saying that he was waiting for his second volume. ‘Why is that? Charles wanted to know. ‘Because I have heard,’ said Foote,’that man’s second Thoughts were best.’
ii
Lord Sandwich (in whose honor sandwich is named) was once dining in the company of Foote at the Beef-steak Club in Covent Garden. They made merry and wine flowed freely as the sallies were sharp and free- for all. Well oiled the Lord said,’Foote, I have often wondered what catastrophe would bring you to your end;but I think you must either die of the pox, or the halter.’-instantly replied the wit,’that will depend upon one of two contingencies-whether I embrace your lordship’s mistress, or your lordship’s principles.’
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Samuel Foote is credited with coining the word Panjandrum into English language.
When he found himself out of work in November 1754, Foote rented the Haymarket theatre and began to stage mock lectures. Satirizing Charles Macklin’s newly opened school of oratory, these lectures created a sort of theatrical war, especially when Macklin began to appear at the lectures himself. At one particular lecture, Foote extemporized a piece of nonsense prose to test Macklin’s assertion that he could memorise any text at a single reading.
So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. “What! No soap?” So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.
This introduced the nonsense term “Grand Panjandrum” into the English language and the name was adopted for the Panjandrum, an experimental World War II-era explosive device.(ack: wikipedia)

benny

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Jonathan Swift ((1667-1745)
When literary luminaries like Addison and Swift were in full flow of their talents, the literati used to assemble at Burton’s coffee house. (around 1710). Dean swift was quiet new to the place. English men of letters were quite taken aback at the oddity of his manners and Addison and others were sure that he was not quiet right in his head.
Once in the same coffee-house Dr. Arbuthnot was scribbling a letter in great haste and the letter was much blotted; seeing the odd person who was none other than the author of Gulliver’s Travels he asked,’Pray, sir, have you any sand about you?’
‘No’, replied Jonathan Swift,’but I have the gravel*,and if you’ll give me the letter I’ll piss on it.’
This bowled the doctor over and it was the beginning of acquaintance between those two great wits.
benny

*kidney stone

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Ben Jonson the poet (1572-1632) was once challenged by Sylvester who challenged him to rhyme with
‘I John Sylvester,
Lay with your sister.’
Jonson came up with this
‘I, Ben Jonson,
Lay with your wife.’
Sylvester answered,’This is not rhyme.’
Jonson admitted it was so.’But it is true.’
benny

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