an old joke

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Sep 5 22:59:44 UTC 2002

I recall a story about George Bernard Shaw: an actress said to him that she wanted to have a baby by him.  "Just think! It would have my beauty and your brains."  Shaw replied: "That would be fine, but what if it has my beauty and your brains."

By no means do I accuse Shaw of having read The Delaware Gazette (Delhi, N. Y.) of October 19, 1825.  But the circumstantial evidence is suggestive.

An old gentleman, who was paying his addresses to a young lady, one day said to her, "From our approaching union, my dear, I prognosticate unbounded happiness; your age, and my prudence, will be approved of by all the world."  "That may be, sir," replied the lady, "but what will all the world say to your age and my prudence?"  (page 4, col. 2)

Speaking of plagiarism, not that I was, (even the dead may have lawyers), the following joke was immediately above the preceeding:

Two gentlemen who had attended a charity sermon, were talking of it afterwards in company.  "Didn't you like our parson's sermon very much?" said one.  "Yes," replied the other, "it was a good sermon, but he stole it."  This was told to the preacher, who resented it, and called on the gentleman to retract what he had said.  "I am not," replied the aggressor, "very apt to retract my words, but in this instance I will; I said you had stolen the sermon; I perceive I was wrong; for on returning home and referring to the book I tho't it was taken from, I found it there."

Why was I reading a newspaper from Delhi, N. Y?  Looking for the baseball news, of course.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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