[Ads-l] Who was that lady I saw you with last night?

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 17 00:32:28 EDT 2017


The Arkansas Times, of Little Rock Arkansas, published a possible precursor of the joke on July 7, 1830.  The anecdote is presented as being an actual comment made to Lord Chesterfield during a "public levee of the court of St. James."  But instead of saying "that is no lady, she is my wife", he says of a woman pointed out to him as being particularly ugly, "that lady, sir, is my wife."


"Some caution is requisite in passing our opinion upon strangers; a caution, however, which few of us adopt.  At a public levee of the court of St. James, a gentleman said to Lord Chesterfield - pray, my Lord, who is that tall, awkward woman yonder?  That lady, sir - replied Lord Chesterfield, is - my sister.  The gentleman reddened with confusion, and stammerd out - no, no, my Lord, I beg pardon: I mean that very ugly woman, who stands next the Queen.  That lady, sir - answered Lord Chesterfield, calmly - that lady, sir, is - my wife."


https://www.newspapers.com/clip/13813765/arkansas_times_and_advocate/


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Subject: Re: Who was that lady I saw you with last night?

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Interesting topic, Arnold. I located a version of the joke in December
1859. The setup of the joke is rather long and complicated. I will
post it tomorrow unless someone shares an earlier instance.
Garson


On Sat, Sep 16, 2017 at 1:42 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> ... no lady: wife
>
> on the old joke, on my blog:
>
> https://arnoldzwicky.org/2017/09/16/the-nlw-punchline/
>
> quote detective needed...
>
> arnold
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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