Christmas Past: Victorian Conundrums

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Today’s festive clipping is from the Angel Illustrated Pocket Keepsake and Book of Christmas Amusements for 1877. The book contains a chapter devoted to conundrums, which even today will no doubt bemuse and bewilder your friends and family.


What possesses the more cheerful disposition, gas or candles?
Why, we often hear of laughing-gas, but the best candles are always waxy

Why is wine spoilt by being converted into negus?
Because you make a mull of it.

Why is beer-making like a dancing lesson?
Because it necessitates hop-cultivation.

Why is an Irishman like his own whisky?
Because his powers come out best when he gets into hot water.

In what way do we frequently commit treason?
We tear off the Queen’s head, lick her, and then by gum we stick her.

Three Christian people went up a church steeple; they were neither men, women, not children: What were they?
Man, woman and child.

If you were obliged to swallow a man, who would you select?
A little Dublin porter.

Which is the longest word in the English language?
Smiles!—Because there is a whole mile between the first and last letter.

What is certain to produce short crops?
Barbers’ shears.

When is a horse not worth a shilling?
When its worth less (worthless).

When are scents like the sails of a ship?
When they get wind.

When is a captain in his heaviest attire?
When he wears his ship.

Who is most likely to divulge the secrets of a bank?
The teller.

When is an artist like a cook?
When he’s drawing a little duck.

When do men’s heads resemble their dwellings?
When they are covered with tiles.

What workman must always have his glass before he can do a day’s work?
A glazier.

Why is a man who can’t learn by experience like a laurel?
Because he is an ever-green.

What is the easiest way for a bad rider to show himself off?
To get on a spirited horse.

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