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Written Humour, 1936 p2

Here’s are some more samples from Written Humour by A. A. Thomson, which is a 1936 book published by A and C. Black, London.

Mr Thomson talks about wit.

He writes: Wit is to humour what salt is to meat. It is a thing of flavour rather than of substance and, mainly relying  for its effect upon quickness, aptitude and a skilful turn of phrase, it must almost of necessity, take a verbal form. When the footman dropped the ox-tongue off the dish, that was (possibly) a situation involving humour, but when he referred to the accident as a mere lapsus lingua, there, undoubtedly, was wit.

He writes: Wit comes to life in the epigrammatic summing up of a situation or in the swift neatness of a polite retort. It is recorded that while Sir Patrick Hastings was once arguing a complicated theatrical case before Mr Justice Darling, famous for his judicial sallies, the name of a celebrated comedian came up.

“And who,” asked the learned judge, “is Mr. George Robey?”

“My lord,” replied Sir Patrick blandly, “he is the darling of the music-hall stage.”

He writes: Wit is often erudite and scholarly, but not necessarily so. The Cockney and especially the London bus-conductor (bless his large heart) has an inimitable turn of wit that is characteristically his own.

“Do you stop at the Ritz?” asked the lady passenger.

“Not on thirty bob a week, mum” replied the bus-conductor.


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