Saturday’s smiles

These glorious insults are from an era before the richness of the English vocabulary was obscured by foul language.

The Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes M.P.: “Sir, you are a scoundrel; you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease”.

John Wilkes in reply: “That depends, my noble lord, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress”. 

“He had delusions of adequacy:” – Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire”.  Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure”.  Clarence Darrow (US lawyer)

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary”.  William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it”.  – Moses Hadas

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it”.  Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends”.- Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second …. if there is one”.  Winston Churchill, in response.

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here”.  Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator”.  John Bright

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial”.  Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others”.  Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up”.  Paul Keating (and also Rob Muldoon – who was first?).

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily”.  Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him”.  Forrest Tucker

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” –  Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination”.  Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music”.  Billy Wild

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening.But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx


3 Responses to Saturday’s smiles

  1. Richard says:

    Or, from Denis Healy, Britsh Labour politician, in 1978 in response on being criticized by the mild mannered Tory minister Geoffrey Howe-
    “Like being savaged by a dead sheep”
    I was living in the UK at the time and immediately thought of NZ and my uncle’s farm

  2. willdwan says:

    That first one is a ripper:)

  3. Rob says:

    “He has not a single redeeming defect” – Benjamin Disraeli on William Gladstone.

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