#CreamofJokes: 11 jokes that were funny in the 1800s

Weekly ‘Irish Times’ competition gave cash reward for funniest, often darkest, joke

Cream of Jokes was a weekly competition that ran in The Irish Times in the late 19th century which awarded a cash prize to the writer of the best gag. Recently, the jokes have been republished on irishtimes.com (part 1, part 2 and part 3) - below is the fourth instalment as published on Saturday, May 28th, 1892. For this edition, the editors changed the format slightly and upped the prize money to an eye-watering 5 shillings.

The 5s goes this week to Mr W Anthony, Loughall, Co Donegal for the following:

- An Irishman the other day, the very appearance of destitution, called at a marine store and inquired if they bought rags and bones, here.

“ We do,” was the reply.

“Then, by jabers,” said Pat, “put me on the scales.”

- "Papa," said Maudie, "why does oo put muzzle on Fido's mouf?"

“Because he bites.”

“Den oo ought to put muzzle on pussy foots, she scratches me wiv ‘em.”

- Mamma: "Did you thank Mr Nicefello when he gave you that silver dollar?"

Little Boy: “Yes’m -that is, sorter. “

Mamma: “What did you say?”

Little Boy: “I tole him nex’ time he kissed Sis I wouldn’t tell.”

- "That young minister will never succeed; he is too easily rattled."

“I never noticed it.”

“I did. At Emma Harkins’ wedding he kissed the groom and shook hands with the bride.”

- Cora: "Why do they call an engagement a match?"

Dora: “Because it is so easily broken.”

- Mrs Van Neering (hiring her first butler): And you are sure you are conversant with, the duties of a butler, and will not need my instructions?"

Ennery Obbs (reassuringly): “That’s hall right me leddy. No von shall hever know but what you’ve been used to a butler hall your life.”

- Mrs Bloombumper: "Yes, everybody is always ready to give advice."

Bloombumper: “There are exceptions.”

“Are there?”

“Yes; doctors and lawyers.”

- "Mamma," said Johnnie, "can anybody hear with their mouth?"

“No, child, I don’t think they can,” replied the mother.

“Then, mamma, what made Mr Jones tell sister he wanted to tell her something, and put his lips to her mouth, instead of her ears?”

The mother didn’t question Johnnie, but turned her attention to Mr Jones: but that worthy gentleman made it all right by proper explanations.

- Mamma: "Can you pass me the cake, dear?"

Little Dear: “I thinks you’s had all ‘at is good for you.”

Mamma: “How do you know!”

Little Dear: “I don’t know, I only fink like you do when I wants fings.”

- She was not worried in the house of prayer,

Because her soul’s condition weakened fear,

But, ah! Her perturbation it was great

Whene’er she thought her bonnet was not straight

- Inquisitive neighbour: "I hear that your sister is engaged. Is that true?"

Small boy: “Guesse. She generally is.”