Monday, 14 September 2009

Obviously, you have to read it in the voice.

The British Library sells postcards (that's not the main thing they do, but they do do it), and some of them are of unlikely book-covers, such as this one:

However, another thing the British Library do is allow you to order almost any book ever printed in Britain (that is the main thing they do). So anyone sufficiently intrigued by the material of nineteenth century Scotland's premier aristocratic comic can nip up to the reading rooms, and order it up. Which reminds you, have you heard this one?
"A young man had occasion to move from where he had hitherto lived, to another district. He had been associated with Presbyterians in his former abode, but it transpired that his views in Church matters were not of any rigid sort. It occurred, therefore, to the clergyman of the Episcopal church in the neighbourhood that the young man might suitably be invited to become a member of that Church. This was accomplished; but not long afterwards it transpired that he was about to join the Roman Catholics. On hearing this a friend of the Rector, who, like himself, was a keen curler, remarked, “Man, you’ve souppit him through the Hoose.”
*tap* *tap* Is this thing on? Oh, come on! He'd souppit him! Through the Hoose! Because, he had been associated with Presbyterians in his former abode, but now.... oh, never mind. Tough crowd.


riffle said...

Tam Carlisle, one of my ancestors, wrote this joke for Lord Aberdeen. They found it most amusing and Tam got a farthing for it.

To translate the punch: You've swept him (as curlers sweep the ice to speed the curling stone) through the house. ("house" is the target in curling)

Episcopalianism, though a target for the rector, is actually a gateway to catholicism.

Tam urged Lord Aberdeen to put "that friggin' twat" in the punchline instead of "him" but the Laird liked his payoffs sleek.

John Finnemore said...

You are joking, aren't you? Not about the explanation, about your ancestor writing it. I'm pretty sure you're joking... just not completely sure. I dearly hope you're not.

What I do know is that I am being deliberately and grossly unfair to his Lordship. I read the whole book, and quoted the least funny joke in it; and even then it's only not funny because it involves obscure dialect, an obscure sport, and requires some knowledge of high and low churches. Most of them range from perfectly acceptable if long-winded, to really quite funny. Tomorrow I shall quote my favourite. I think it's great.

Persephone said...

Curling? Obscure? Not in Canada, it ain't!

riffle said...

John Finnemore: "You are joking, aren't you?"

That was the intention. I'm writing a towering treatise explaining why it is actually winsome despite reaction to the contrary. I'll get back to you with the URL.

Sorry. In reality my last ancestor from the British Isles left for America sometime in the 18th Century.

Honestly I'm impressed you were at the BL digging up old humor books. That's stellar. Can't wait to see the best Lord Aberdeen joke.

John Finnemore said...

Persephone - Is that so? Well, you know who you have to thank for that: men like Lord Aberdeen; humorist, curling enthusiast and Governor General of Canada 1893-1898.

Riffle - It was an excellent joke, and not winsome in the least, which is to its credit. It was just something about your choice of the name 'Tam Carlisle', as opposed to, say, 'Sandy McHoots' that suddenly made it sound... possible.

Not as good as Lord A's best joke, though. You're going to love that.

James Lark said...

I think it's worth remembering that all jokes came in the Lord Aberdeen mould before 'The Fast Show' came along and ruined it all.

Persephone said...

Bless his heart. I think Canadian humour has been steadily improving since we started getting Canadian Governor Generals.