History Jokes: Richard Wagner and Dumas


Funny anecdotes and short stories are a great source of examples in public speeches. This website contains short funny stories, clean jokes and humorous legends of kings and queens, politicians, famous literary figures and artists from many books and sources. The styles of writers from different time periods was preserved - they often enhance the stories in an amusing way. Enjoy and have fun!

Richard Wagner and Dumas 
Friday, March 7, 2008, 05:55 PM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Funny Music History
Posted by Court Jester
Of the score of greatest composers, perhaps none was
more eccentric than that founder of the modern German
operatic school, Richard Wagner. The caller who was
unaware of one of his peculiarities might suffer a mild
shock ; for on entering the room where his visitor was
seated Wagner would throw the door wide open before
him, as if it were fit that his approach should be heralded
like that of a king, and he would stand for a moment on
the threshold, a curious mediaeval figure in a frame.
The mystified visitor, rising from his seat, would behold
a man richly clad in a costume of velvet and satin,
like those of the early Tudor period, and wearing a bonnet
such as are seen in portraits of Henry VI, and his
three successors. Buffon used to put on lace ruffles and
cuffs when he wrote, and Wagner had his composing
costume that of a Meistersinger or rather several costumes,
for he would vary his attire not only according
to his own moods, but according to the faces of people
who came to see him.

Alexander Dumas, calling upon him made some goodhumored
remark about his own ignorance of music
which he had once defined as ' the most expensive of
noises '; but his pleasantries were listened to with such
a smileless stolidity that he went home in a huff, and
wrote his contemptuous protest against
'Wagnerian din inspired by the riot of
cats scampering in the dark about an ironmonger's shop.'

On the day before this protest was printed Wagner
returned Dumas' visit, and was kept waiting for half an
hour in an anteroom.
Then the author of the "Three Guardsmen " marched
in, superbly attired in a plumed helmet, a cork life belt
and a flowered dressing gown.
"Excuse me for appearing in my working dress," he said
majestically. "Half my ideas are lodged in this helmet and the
other half in a pair of jack-boots which I put on to compose love
cenes." Snubs of this sort of which Wagner encountered
many rankled deep in his mind and made him say that
the French were Vandals, whereas, in truth, their quarrel
was not so much with his music as with him personally
and with his uncivil followers.

From Anecdotes of great musicians; three hundred anecdotes and biographical sketches of famous composers and performers
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Irish composer's marriage 
Friday, March 7, 2008, 05:44 PM - British humor, history of England, Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Funny Music History
Posted by Court Jester
The Irish composer, Field, married from a somewhat
peculiar reason, if we may believe his version of it.
While yet this originator of the style of music called the "
nocturne " was single, he numbered among his pupils
one attractive young lady from whom he found it exceedingly
difficult to collect the amount of her tuition
bill.
Finally, Field concluded to proceed to law in the matter,
that is, to use one form of law for he proposed to
the slow-paying damsel and was accepted. He made
no secret of the fact that she was his pupil and he married
her to get rid of giving her lessons for which she
never paid, and for which he felt sure she never would.
This may be a good plan. Who can say but it is
applied more than the world knows. But what if the
teacher is already the happy possessor of one, or if he
has several debtors among the fair sex ?
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Queen Elizabeth's ring 
Queen Elizabeth ... drawing from her finger the coronation ring, showed it to the Commons, and told them that when she received that ring she had solemnly bound herself in marriage to the realm, and it would be quite sufficient for the memorial of her name, and for her glory, if, when she died, an inscription were engraved on her marble tomb : 'Here lyeth Elizabeth, which (sic) reigned a virgin, and died a woman.' This coronation ring was filed off her finger shortly before her death, on account of the flesh having grown over it.

From Finger-ring Lore: Historical, Legendary, Anecdotal by William Jones

Queen Elizabeth's ring actually represents a very unique catrgory of promise rings. Learn more about promise rings.


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King Philip II and Titian's famous painting 
When Titian's famous painting of the Last
Supper arrived at the Escurial, the king, Philip
II., proposed to cut the canvas to the size of the
pannel in the refectory, where it was designed
to hang. El Mudo (Philip's "deaf and dumb" painter),
who was present, to prevent the
mutilation of so capital a work, made earnest
signs of intercession with the king, to be permitted
to copy it, and reduce it to the size of the
place assigned for it, offering to do it in the space
of six months. The king expressed some hesitation
on account of the length of time required
for the work, and was proceeding to put his design
in execution, when El Mudo repeated his
supplications in behalf of his favorite master with
more fervency than ever, offering to complete
the copy in less time than he at first demanded,
tendering at the same time his head as the punishment
if he failed. The offer was not accepted,
and execution was performed upon Titian,
accompanied with the most distressing attitudes
and distortions of El Mudo.

From Percy Anecdotes
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Hanging Judge 
Thursday, March 6, 2008, 06:23 PM - British humor, history of England
Posted by Court Jester
Counsellor Grady, on a late trial in Ireland, said, he recollected to have heard of a relentless Judge; he was known by the name of the Hanging Judge, and was never seen to shed a tear but once, and that was during the representation of The Beggar's Opera, when Macheath got a reprieve! It was the same Judge, we believe, between whom and Mr. Curran, the following pass of wit once took place at table.
"Pray, Mr. Curran," said the Judge, " is that hung beef beside you? If it is, I will try it." " If you try it, my lord," replied Mr. Curran, "it is sure to be hung."

From Percy Anecdotes
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