[Ads-l] Request Curate's Egg joke in "Judy, or the London Serio-Comic Journal" circa 1895

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 3 12:49:24 UTC 2019

The curate's egg joke was discussed on this list back in 2018. The
joke is usually traced back to a cartoon published in the humor
magazine "Punch" on November 9, 1895, e.g., see this Wikipedia entry:


However, (back in 2018) I located evidence that a very similar joke
appeared in "Judy, or the London Serio-Comic Journal" in May 1895 or
earlier based on the "Huddersfield Chronicle" citation given below
(and other citations). It seems that the Google Books and HathiTrust
databases do not have the issue of "Judy" containing the joke. I have
not been able to find a match in either database.

The Gale 19th Century UK Periodicals database apparently does contain
an extensive run of "Judy". If you have access to that database would
you please search for the Curate's egg joke, i.e., look for some
phrases from the citation below.

Date: 21 May 1895
Newspaper: Huddersfield Chronicle
Newspaper Location: Yorkshire, England
Quote Page 4, Column 4
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt]
Scene: Bishop's breakfast table.— Bishop (to timid curate on a visit):
Dear me, I'm afraid your egg's not good. Timid Curate: Oh, yes, my
lord, really—er—some parts of it are very good.
[End excerpt]

As noted previously, a precursor to the Curate's egg joke was
circulating by 1875.

Date: July 26, 1875
Periodical: The Academy
Start Page 651, Quote Page 652, Column 2
Book Review of: "Our Bishops and Deans" by the Rev. F. Arnold (late of
Christ Church Oxford)

[Begin excerpt]
Without pledging our credence, we could afford a grin to the story of
the "young Levite" who at a bishop's breakfast-table, was so 'umble as
to decline the replacement of a bad egg by a good one with a "No thank
you, my Lord, it's good enough for me;" . . .
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole
Quote Investigator

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

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