Monday, March 12, 2018

Great Replies, Responses and Comebacks


Wat Raleigh: 

This has previously featured in Bytes. The expanded version is at:

The following story about Sir Walter Raleigh and his son, commonly known as Wat, is written in the original format and is taken from John Aubrey’s “Brief Lives”, a 1680 collection of biographies:
My old friend James Harrington, esq. was well acquainted with Sir Benjamin Ruddyer, who was an acquaintance of Sir Walter Ralegh's. He told Mr. J. H. that Sir Walter Ralegh being invited to dinner to some great person where his son was to goe with him, he sayd to his son "Thou art expected to-day at dinner to goe along with me, but thou art such a quarrelsome, affronting creature that I am ashamed to have such a beare in my company." Mr. Walter humbled himselfe to his father, and promised he would behave himselfe mighty mannerly. So away they went (and Sir Benjamin, I think, with them). He sate next to his father and was very demure at least halfe dinner time. Then sayd he, "I, this morning, not having the feare of God before my eies but by the instigation of the devill, went to a whore. I was very eager of her, kissed and embraced her, and went to enjoy her, but she thrust me from her, and vowed I should not, ‘for your Father lay with me but an hower ago’.” Sir Walter being strangely surprised and putt out of his countenance at so great a table, gives his son a damned blow over the face. His son, as rude as he was, would not strike his father, but strikes over the face the gentleman that sate next to him and sayd "Box about: 'twill come to my father anon." * 'Tis now a common-used proverb. 
Translation: He struck the face of the man sitting next to him and said “Keep passing it along, it will get to my father quickly enough.” 

John Aubrey 

Sir Walter Raleigh and son Wat Raleigh 


Nell Gwyn: 

Eleanor "Nell" Gwyn (1650 – 16870 was a long-time mistress of King Charles II of England and Scotland. Called "pretty, witty Nell" by Samuel Pepys, she has been regarded as a living embodiment of the spirit of Restoration England and has come to be considered a folk heroine, with a story echoing the rags-to-royalty tale of Cinderella. She was the most famous Restoration actress and possessed a prodigious comic talent. Gwyn had two sons by King Charles: Charles Beauclerk (1670–1726); and James Beauclerk (1671–1680). The surname of her sons is pronounced 'Bo-Clare'. 

Gwyn had rivals, one of whom was Louise de Kérouaille, later the Duchess of Portsmouth, who came to England from France, ostensibly to serve as a maid of honour to Queen Catherine, but also to become another mistress to King Charles,. She and Gwyn were rivals for many years. The public was hostile to her for also being Catholic. 

The Comte de Gramont, in his memoirs, recounts an incident in 1681: 
Nell Gwynn was one day passing through the streets of Oxford, in her coach, when the mob mistaking her for her rival, the Duchess of Portsmouth, commenced hooting and loading her with every opprobrious epithet. Putting her head out of the coach window, "Good people", she said, smiling, "you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore." 
Nell Gwyn 

Louise de Kérouaille 


John Wilkes: 

John Montagu (1718 – 1792), the 4th Earl of Sandwich, after whom the Sandwich Islands were named, had a political career that included First Lord of the Admiralty. He is best known for having the sandwich also named after him, from a 24 hour stint at the gambling tables when he told a servant to simply put roast beef between bread for a meal. 

John Wilkes (1727 -1797) was an English radical, journalist and politician. 

Both were members of the Hellfire Club, a club of notable men of the day that met for debauchery. As a result of a prank played at the Hellfire Club by Wilkes, in one account described as introducing a dressed baboon wearing a cape, Montagu is said to have been embarrassed, giving rise to hostility towards Wilkes and a longtime rivalry. Who knows, perhaps Montagu made a pass at the baboon thinking it was a person. 

In one heated argument in Parliament, Montague said scornfully and derisively to Wilkes "Upon my soul, Wilkes, I don't know whether you'll die upon the gallows or of the pox.” 

Wilkes replied: 
"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." 
John Montagu 

John Wilkes


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