Some anecdotes from ‘Fun with the Famous’ by H. Cecil Hunt (1928)

Jot 101 Kipling's home in sussex


Funny book titles in Prince Edward’s Library.


In the library of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) at Marlborough House were many false book spines inscribed with amusing titles, most dating from the Victorian age. The following particularly amused the Prince.


Boyle on Steam.


Lady Godiva on the Horse


Constable’s notes on motoring.


Bacon’s History of Greece


Nine Tales of a Cat


The Voyage of Noah by Arkwright.


Payne’s Dentistry


Warm Receptions by Burns


First Sight by Lovett.


Spare the Tree by Hewett


Cochin’s Lays of China.


‘The Prince is often amused at visitors who cannot find their way out of this quaint library. There is no apparent exit, but one of the morocco volumes bears the title “ The Passage Out “, and it is in the centre of the door, so that the discerning explorer soon has a clue to his escape.’


Charles Wesley meets ‘ Beau’ Nash.


The great Wesley once had an encounter with the pompous Beau Nash. The meeting was in a narrow street, and the right of way obviously belonged to the divine. The dandy, drawing himself up proudly, said in his most haughty manner:

“I never make way for fools.”. I always do”, said Wesley, quickly stepping aside.


Kipling’s autographs


A comical situation arose some years ago when the writer made a habit of paying even small bills by cheque. He found that his balance was much larger than the counterfoils of his cheque-book warranted. It was discovered that local tradesmen never cashed his cheques. They found that admiring visitors would often willingly but them for much more than the values for which they were drawn. [Above is Kipling’s house in Sussex]

Einstein’s arithmetic


Professor Einstein, famous in connection with the theory of relativity, and one of the world’s foremost mathematicians, had an argument with the conductor of a tramcar in Berlin. The official claimed that the correct change had been given, but the Professor argued that it was a halfpenny short. The conductor, after some argument, proved his case , and concluded with the remark, “ I see you are weak at arithmetic !”


The two Churchills


Mr Winston Churchill has a namesake, an American novelist who is his senior by a few years. It is said that when the American writer first published a novel he received a note from the British Winston protesting against the unwarranted use of his distinguished and uncommon name. To this protest came this amusing reply:

“ Dear Sir, How interesting ! Is there really another Winston Churchill ?. Yours truly, Winston Churchill.”


A fan meets Rudyard Kipling.


One more about the Americans, who almost put us to shame in heir admiration of the author of “ If “.This time it was a woman who called at Kipling’s Sussex home wit a letter of introduction. When she caught sight of him, she seemed startled and amazed.

You, you…are you Mr Kipling ? ”

Then, perceiving that the opening was decidedly impolite, she began to apologise with, “ I’m sorry, but I really did expect you to be so very different. “

“ So I am, Madame, so I am, “ replied Kipling, “ only this is my day off.”


H.G. Wells on Civilisation


Mr H. G. Wells was the unconscious cause of queues outside a Leeds chapel. Posters in the City Square had said: “Mill Hill Chapel. 5.15 lecture, Thursday, November 12. H. G. Wells on ‘ Civilisation’. “

Some time before the published hour there was a long queue, and the chapel was packed when the Rev. Schroeder mounted the pulpit, bowed his head in prayer, and then addressed the congregation thus:

“From the size of this audience I imagine that some of you have come her to meet Mr Wells. I should explain that it is our custom to advertise the title of the lecture only, and not the name of the lecturer. Those who wish to remove themselves may do so in the next two or three minutes.”

There was slight pause and then a rustle. Within a few minutes a considerable portion of the people had poured out of the chapel. [R.M.Healey]


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