The best jokes of the 1900s


Waitress: “He ain’t no good, Lil-he’s one of these fellers wot chooses the price first an’ then runs his fingers along the bill o’ fare to see wot he gets for it.”

* * *


Penelope: “What made George and Alice break their engagement?”

Clarissa: “He complained that she was too ‘Effeminate’ for the present day.”

* * *

“Some wise person once said that silence was golden, did he not?”

[Pg 289]

“I believe so. Why?”

“I was just thinking how extravagant some women are.”

* * *


“That gentleman who is being introduced to Miss Binks is a free thinker.”

“Which is he, a bachelor or a widower?”

* * *

John: “Yew wait here, Mirandy, while I buy your ticket.”

Mirandy: “Daon’t yew dew it, John; yew can’t say fer sure that the train’ll show up-I don’t never believe in payin’ fer a thing ’til I git it.”

* * *

The Wife: “Oh, you needn’t sneer! I mean every word I say.”

“I’m not sneering, my dear. I’m just thinking what a lot you must mean.”

* * *

The Escort: Who’s that fellow who seems to know you?

The Lady: Only a second cousin once removed.

The Escort: Hm! Well, he looks as if he wanted removing again.

* * *

Voice (far off): Cuc-koo! Cuc-koo! Cuc-koo!

Satiated Camper: All right, all right! Who’s arguing about it?

[Pg 290]

* * *


Micky Bryan and Patsy Kelly had been schoolmates together, but they had drifted apart in after life. They met one day, and the conversation turned on athletics.

“Did ye ivir meet my bruther Dennis?” asked Pat. “He has just won a gold medal in a foot race.”

“Bedad,” replied Mike. “Sure, an’ thot’s foine. But did I ivir tell ye about my uncle at Ballycluna?”

“I don’t remember,” replied Pat.

“Well,” said Mike, “he’s got a gold medal for five miles, an’ one for ten miles, two sets of carvers for cycling, a silver medal for swimming, two cups for wrestling, an’ badges for boxing an’ rowing!”

“Begorra,” said Pat, “he must have bin a wonderful athlete, indade!”

“Shure, an’ he’s no athlete at all-at all,” came the reply. “He kapes the pawnshop!”

* * *


The motor car was driven by a determined young woman, who had knocked down a man without injuring him much.

She did not try to get away. Instead, she stopped the car, descended to the solid earth and faced him manfully.

“I’m sorry it happened,” she said grudgingly, “but it was all your fault. You must have been walking carelessly. I’m an experienced driver. I’ve been driving a car for seven years.”

[Pg 291]

“Well,” replied her victim angrily, “I’m not a novice myself. I’ve been walking for fifty-seven years.”

* * *

Lady (to pedlar): “No, thank you, we never buy anything at the door.”

Pedlar: “Then I’ve just the thing for you, Madam. You will, I am sure, appreciate these tasteful little ‘No Pedlars’ notices.”

* * *

There is a lot to be said for the cheap car, we read. Yes; but it is just as well not to say it when there are women and children around.

* * *

Mother: It is rude to whisper, Humphrey.

Humphrey (aged five): Well, I was saying what a funny nose that man’s got. So you see it would have been much ruder if I’d said it aloud.

* * *

She (pouting): You don’t value my kisses as you used to.

He: Value them? Why, before we were married I used to expect a dozen in payment for a box of candy, and now I consider only one of them sufficient payment for a new dress.

* * *


The son of the family was home on his first vacation since he had attained to the dignity of college prefect.[Pg 292] He and his father were discussing affairs of the day, and finally the boy remarked: “Say, Guv, I hope when I am as old as you are, I’ll know more than you do.”

“I’ll go you one better, my boy,” the father replied. “I hope that when you are that old you will know as much as you think you do now.”

* * *


An old Scotchwoman, who had resisted all entreaties of her friends to have her photo taken, was at last induced to employ the services of a local artist in order to send her likeness to a son in America. On receiving the first impression she failed to recognise the figure thereon depicted as herself; so, card in hand, she set out for the artist’s studio to ask if there was no mistake.

“Is that me?” she queried.

“Yes, madam,” replied the artist.

“And is it like me?” she again asked.

“Yes, madam; it’s a speaking likeness.”

“Aweel!” she said, resignedly, “it’s a humblin’ sicht.”

* * *

Dollie: Yes, Miss Fethers is a pretty girl, but she doesn’t wear very well.

Pollie (kindly): I know, but the poor thing wears the best she has, I suppose.

* * *


A woman who had visited every department of one of the big London shops and worried the majority of[Pg 293] the salesmen without spending a penny, so exasperated one of them that he ventured to make a mild protest. “Madam,” he asked, “are you shopping here?”

The lady looked surprised, but not by any means annoyed. “Certainly!” she replied. “What else should I be doing?”

For a moment the salesman hesitated; then he blurted out, “Well, madam, I thought perhaps you were taking an inventory!”

* * *

Officer (to sailor who has rescued him from drowning): Thank you, Smith. To-morrow I will thank you before all the crew at retreat.

Sailor: Don’t do that, sir, they’ll half kill me!

* * *

Steward: Can I do anything for you, sir?

Passenger (faintly): You might present my compliments to the chief engineer and ask him if there is any hope of the boilers blowing up.

* * *

Lady (to box office manager): Can you tell me what they are playing to-morrow night?

* * *

Box Office Manager: “You Never Can Tell,” Madam.

Lady: Don’t they even let you know?

* * *

Village Idiot: Beg pardon, mam, seeing you’re painting the church, I thought I’d better tell you the clock is ten minutes fast.

[Pg 294]

* * *

Employer (rebuking employee for slackness): Have you any idea of the meaning of “Esprit de Corps”?

Stenographer: No, I haven’t, and if it’s anything vulgar I don’t want to.

* * *

Sympathetic Lady: What’s the matter with your hand, my little man?

Boy: Sawed the top of my finger off.

Sympathetic Lady: Dear, dear, how did you do that?

Boy: Sawing.

* * *


Blinks, after inviting his friend, Jinks, who has just returned from abroad, to dinner, is telling him what a fine memory his little son Bobby has.

“And do you suppose he will remember me?” said Jinks.

“Remember you? Why, he remembers every face that he ever saw.”

An hour later they entered the house, and after Jinks had shaken hands with Mrs. Blinks, he calls Bobby over to him.

“And do you remember me, my little man?”

“Course I do. You’re the same man that pa brought home last summer, and ma was so wild about it that she didn’t speak to pa for a whole week.”

[Pg 295]

* * *


“The man that argues with a woman is a fool,” said Mr. Gadspur.

“I agree with you,” said Mr. Twobble.

“And if he expects to have the last word he’s an even bigger fool.”

“Quite so, quite so. What did you and the ‘Missus’ quarrel about this morning?”

* * *


“Well, Alice,” said a Southern woman to a coloured girl formerly in her employ, “I hear that you have married.”

“Yassum, Ah done got me a husband now.”

“Is he a good provider, Alice?”

“Yassum. He’s powerful good provider, but Ah’s powerful skeered he’s gwine git catched at it.”

* * *


Mother: “What! Have you been fighting again, Johnnie? Good little boys don’t fight.”

Johnnie: “Yes, I know that. I thought he was a good little boy, but after I hit him once, I found he wasn’t.”

* * *


Little Willie looked up from the paper he had been reading, and inquired of his father:

[Pg 296]

* * *

“Dad, who was Mozart?”

“Good gracious, boy! You don’t know that!” indignantly returned his parent. “Go and read your Shakespeare.”

* * *


“The chief objection we have to the man who ‘knows it all,'” remarked the Observer of Events and Things, “is that he insists that everyone he knows shall know it all, too.”

* * *


“Did your watch stop when it dropped on the floor?” asked one man of his friend.

“Sure,” was the answer. “Did you think it would go through?”

* * *


Real Estate Agent: “This tobacco plantation is a bargain. I don’t see why you hesitate. What are you worrying about?”

Prospective, but Inexperienced, Purchaser: “I was just wondering whether I should plant cigars or cigarettes.”

[Pg 297]

* * *


“What’s this new conference they’re going to have in America?”

“Oh, they’re going to make peace among the Allies.”

* * *


It was a case of attempted murder, in which the prisoner was accused of having fired twice at his intended victim. One of the witnesses for the prosecution was being severely cross-examined by the defending counsel.

“You say that you heard both shots fired?” he asked sternly.

“Yes, sir.”

“How near were you to the scene of the affair?”

“At the time the first shot was fired I was about twenty feet from the prisoner.”

“Twenty feet. Humph! Now tell the court how far you were off when you heard the second shot.”

“Well, sir,” replied the witness slowly, “I didn’t exactly measure the distance; but, speaking approximately, I should say about half a mile.”

* * *


She: “And what would you be now if it weren’t for my money?”

He: “A bachelor.”

[Pg 298]

* * *


Lily: “Harold proposed to me last night while turning the music for me at the piano.”

Edith: “Ah, I see, dear; you played right into his hands!”

* * *


Pat was a simple country yokel who had never strayed from the outskirts of his native village, and because he stood in a railway station for the first time of his life, his amazement was great.

The vastness of his surroundings completely dazzled him, but when the 3.30 express dashed through the station, that did it. He kept his eyes glued on the tunnel through which it had disappeared, staring after it as though some kind of miracle had happened. He remained like this for several minutes, much to the amusement of the onlookers, until at length an inquisitive porter asked him what he was staring at.

“Oi was just thinkun’,” he said, pulling himself together, “what a terribal smash there’d ‘a’ bin if he’d ‘a’ missed the ‘ole!”

* * *

Breathless Visitor: Doctor, can you help me? My name is Jones–

Doctor: No, I’m sorry; I simply can’t do anything for that.

[Pg 299]

* * *

They were talking over the days that will never return, so they asserted; the days when there was no thirst in the land. But they had particular reference to the old state militia camp of long ago. For be it known, there was much taken to camp in those days that had little to do with military training, and it was carried in capacious jugs and big bottles. Everybody expected his city friends to run down to the camp, and be called upon to act as an assuager of thirst. “The year I have reference to,” said one of the old-timers, “was a notably wet one. The first night in camp everybody seemed to be bent on sampling what everybody else had brought down from the city. The result was that when the company of which I was a member was ordered to fall in the next morning to answer the roll-call there was a pretty wobbly line-up. We had a new sergeant-new to the routine of a camp, and after he had checked up he should have reported, ‘Sir, the company is present and accounted for.’ Instead he got rattled and said, ‘Sir, the company is full.’ Our captain, looking us over, sarcastically remarked, ‘I should say as much, full as a tick.'”

* * *


Magistrate: “Can’t this case be settled out of court?”

Mulligan: “Sure, sure; that’s what we were trying to do, your honor, when the police interfered.”

* * *

* * *

An airman had been taking up passengers for short trips, and by the time his last trip came was absolutely fed up by being asked silly questions. He told his passengers, two ladies, that on no account were they to speak to him; that he could not talk and give his attention to his machine, and that they must keep silent. Up they went, and the airman quite enjoyed himself. He looped the loop and practiced all sorts of stunts to his own satisfaction with no interruption from his passengers until he felt a touch on his arm. “What is it?” he said impatiently. “I’m so sorry to trouble you,” said a voice behind, “and I know I oughtn’t to speak. I do apologize sincerely, but I can’t help it. I thought perhaps you ought to know Annie’s gone.”

* * *

Chloe: I sho’ mighter knowed I gwine have bad luck if I do dat washin’ on Friday.

Daphne: What bad luck done come to you?

Chloe: I sen’ home dat pink silk petticoat wid de filly aidge what I was gwine keep out to wear to chu’ch on Sunday.

* * *

The professor was deeply absorbed in some scientific subject when the nurse announced the arrival of a boy. “What-who?” stammered the professor absently. “Why interrupt me-isn’t my wife at home?”

[Pg 301]

* * *


Everything that could be done to make the great unemployed meeting a success had been accomplished. A large hall, and a good speaker had been engaged.

When the latter arrived he seemed in a crabby frame of mind. Looking round, he beckoned the chairman.

“I should like to have a glass of water on my table, if you please,” he said.

“To drink?” was the chairman’s idiotic question.

“Oh, no,” was the sarcastic retort, “when I’ve been speaking half-an-hour I do a high dive.”

* * *


Sandy had gone to the station to see his cousin off.

“Mac,” he said, “ye micht like to leave me a bob or twa tae drink ye a safe journey.”

“Mon, I canna,” was the reply. “A’ my spare cash I gie tae my auld mither.”

“That’s strange! Your mither said you niver gave her anything!”

“Well, if I dinna gie my auld mither anything, what sort of chance d’ye think you’ve got?”

* * *


Husband: “What was that you were playing, my dear?”

Wife: “Did you like it?”

[Pg 302]

“It was lovely-the melody divine, the harmony exquisite!”

“It is the very thing I played last evening, and you said it was horrid.”

“Well, the steak was burnt last evening.”

* * *


Mistress: “Don’t call them jugs, Mary; they’re ewers.”

Maid: “Oh, thank you, ma’am. And are all them little basins mine, too?”

* * *


A gentleman who was walking through a public gallery, where a number of artists were at work, overheard the following amusing conversation between a big, heavy-looking man, who was painting on a large picture, and a weak-looking little cripple, who, limping over to where he sat, looked over his shoulder for a few minutes, and said timidly:

“I beg your pardon, sir, may I ask what medium you paint with?”

“Brains,” shouted the other in a voice of thunder.

“Oh, indeed! That accounts for its fogginess,” which caused a roar of laughter.

* * *


Just before the service the clergyman was called into the vestibule by a young couple, who asked that[Pg 303] he should marry them. He answered he had not time then, but that if they would wait until after the sermon he would be glad to do so. Accordingly, just before the end of the service, he announced:

“Will those who wish to be married to-day please come forward?”

Thirteen women and one man quickly stepped up.

* * *


Neighbour: “I hear that you had an actor employed on your farm.”

Farmer: “Yes, and he’s a fairly good actor, too. Why, I thought he was working the last week he was here.”

* * *


A tourist was chatting with the proprietor of the village inn.

“This place boasts of a choral society, doesn’t it?” he asked.

The innkeeper looked pained.

“We don’t boast about it,” he replied, in low, sad tones. “We endure it with all the calm resignation we can!”

* * *

The swain and his swainess had just encountered a bulldog that looked as if his bite might be quite as[Pg 304] bad as his bark. “Why, Percy,” she exclaimed as he started a strategic retreat, “you always swore you would face death for me.” “I would,” he flung back over his shoulder, “but that darn dog ain’t dead.”

* * *

Wife (enthusiastically): I saw the most gorgeous chiffonier to-day, dear. But, of course, I know we can not afford–

Hubby (resignedly): When have they promised to deliver it?

Leave a Comment