Humor and 19th-Century Nonsense


Grins and Groans From The Old Farmer's Almanac

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Ready for a smile? Once again, we present humor, philosophy, and 19th-century nonsense from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Vermont Reticence

The eminent humorist Samuel Clemens, who spoke and wrote under the name Mark Twain, at one time appeared before a gathering of Vermont natives in the town of Brattleboro, Vermont. During his allotted time on the platform, he told story after story that, before other audiences, had brought gales of laughter.

These Vermonters, however, never cracked a smile.

Afterward, Clemens decided that he would mingle with the crowd to try to learn why the reaction had been so unfavorable. Standing nearby a carriage into which a man from the audience was lifting his wife, Clemens heard him say:

“Mabel, you know, that speaker was real good. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.”

The Truth Comes Outbear_with_umbrella_quarter_width.jpg

Salesman Jack: “I made two calls this afternoon, and I must have left my umbrella at the last place I called.”

Tom: “But how do you know you didn’t leave it at the first place?”

Salesman Jack: “Because that’s where I got it.”

A Fine Job He Did

While speaking of a rival in the same trade, a painter friend of ours remarked, “Yes, John did a fine job of whitening the ceiling. He put on three coats. One for the ceiling, one for himself, and one for the floor.”

Just Between Us Cows

cow_quarter_width.jpgSays the bright young Black Angus calf [a beef cow] to her friend, the Jersey [a milk cow]:

“The difference between a milk cow and a beef cow is that they’ll only want you for what they can get out of you, while they’ll want me for what I am.”



Brown Toast

toaster_half_width.jpgFor many years, the late, celebrated Dr. Brown gave his attentions to a lady, however unsuccessfully, and whenever called upon to make a toast to a lady, took care to always propose her good health.

One evening, it was noticed that he had forgotten to toast his favorite lady.

“Indeed,” said the good doctor, “I find it all in vain. I have toasted her so many years and have not been able to make her Brown, so I am determined to toast her no longer.”


About The Author

Judson D. Hale Sr.

Jud Hale is the Editor Emeritus of The Old Farmer’s Almanac; Jud was the 12th editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac (since 1792!) and joined the parent company Yankee Publishing in 1958 as an Assistant Editor. Read More from Judson D. Hale Sr.

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