“A Christmas Pie of Ye Olden Time”

James, Earl of Lonsdale, sent a Christmas pie to King George III, which contained 9 geese, 2 tame ducks, 2 turkeys, 4 fowls, 6 pigeons, 6 wild ducks, 3 teals, 2 starlings, 12 partridges, 15 woodcocks, 2 Guinea fowls, 3 snipes, 6 plovers, 3 water-hens, 1 wild goose, 1 curlew, 46 yellow-hammers, 15 sparrows, 15 chaffinches, 2 larks, 4 thrushes, 12 fieldfares, 6 blackbirds, 20 rabbits, 1 leg of veal, half a ham, 3 bushels flour, and 2 stones of butter. It weighed 22 stones, was carried to London in a two horse wagon, and if it was not as dainty as the celebrated pie containing four-and-twenty blackbirds, which, when the pie was opened, began to sing, it was, at all events, a ‘dish to set before the king.’

Bizarre Notes & Queries, January 1886

Lex Talionis

http://books.google.com/books?id=Jg0xAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=%22The+Criminal+Prosecution+and+Capital+Punishment+of+Animals%22#PPR2,M1

In 1386, the tribunal of Falaise sentenced a sow to be mangled and maimed in the head and forelegs, and then to be hanged, for having torn the face and arms of a child and thus caused its death. … As if to make the travesty of justice complete, the sow was dressed in man’s clothes and executed on the public square near the city-hall at an expense to the state of ten sous and ten deniers, besides a pair of gloves to the hangman.

— E.P. Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, 1906

“Walking Blindfolded”

Dennis Hendrick, a stone mason, sometime ago, for a wager of ten guineas, walked from the Exchange in Liverpool, along Deal-street to the corner of Byrom-street; being a distance of three quarters of a mile, blindfolded, and rolling a coach wheel. On starting, there were two plasters of Burgundy pitch put on his eyes, and a handkerchief tied over them to prevent all possibility of his seeing. He started precisely at half past seven in the morning, and completed his undertaking at twenty minutes past eight, being in fifty minutes.

Curiosities for the Ingenious, 1825

Do Us Part

Unfortunate marital grave inscriptions, collected by Susan Darling Safford in Quaint Epitaphs (1895):

Sacred to the memory of Anthony Drake,
Who died for peace and quietness sake.
His wife was constantly scolding and scoffing,
So he sought repose in a twelve dollar coffin.

Here lies my wife a sad slatterned shrew
If I said I regretted her I should lie too.

Within this grave do lie
Back to back my wife and I.
When the last trump the air shall fill,
If she gets up I’ll just lie still.

Here lies the body of Obadiah Wilkinson
And Ruth, his wife.
Their warfare is accomplished.

Here lies the body of Sarah Sexton
She was a wife that never vexed one.
But I can’t say as much for the one at the next stone.

And:

Here lies Jane Smith,
Wife of Thomas Smith, Marble Cutter.
This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute
to her memory and a specimen of his work.
Monuments of this same style are two hundred and fifty dollars.

Overruled

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:George_Bernard_Shaw_1934-12-06.jpg

A razor company once invited George Bernard Shaw to shave his famous beard. He responded with a postcard:

Gentlemen:

I shall never shave, for the same reason that I started a beard, and for the reason my father started his. I remember standing at his side, when I was five, while he was shaving for the last time. “Father,” I asked, “Why do you shave?” He stood there for a full minute and finally looked down at me. “Why the hell do I?” he said.

— GBS

“Curious Signs in New York”

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One may see in the shop-windows of a Fourth avenue confectioner, ‘Pies Open All Night.’ An undertaker in the same thoroughfare advertises, ‘Everything Requisite for a First-class Funeral.’ A Bowery placard reads, ‘Home-made Dining Rooms, Family Oysters.’ A West Broadway restaurateur sells ‘Home-made Pies, Pastry and Oysters.’ A Third avenue ‘dive’ offers for sale ‘Coffee and Cakes off the Griddle,’ and an East Broadway caterer retails ‘Fresh Salt Oysters’ and ‘Larger Beer.’ A Fulton street tobacconist calls himself a ‘Speculator in Smoke,’ and a purveyor of summer drinks has invented a new draught, which he calls by the colicky name of ‘Aeolian Spray.’ A Sixth avenue barber hangs out a sign reading ‘Boots Polished Inside,’ and on Varick street, near Carmine, there are ‘Lessons Given on the Piano, with use for Practice.’ ‘Cloth Cutt and Bastd’ is the cabalistic legend on the front of a millinery shop on Spring street; on another street the following catches the eye: ‘Washin Ironin and Goin Out by the Day Done Here.’

— Frank H. Stauffer, The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical, 1882