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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Colman the Younger

  • [George Colman, “the Younger,” an English dramatic author; born 1762; director of the Haymarket Theatre, and author of many popular comedies; died 1836.]
  • Literature is a very good walking-stick, but very bad crutches.

  • Said of the uncertain rewards of the literary profession. The remark has been attributed to Sir Walter Scott. Colman and Bannister were dining one day with ex-Lord-Chancellor Erskine, who boasted that he kept nearly one thousand sheep. “I perceive, then,” said Colman, “that your lordship still keeps an eye to the woolsack.” A lady was listening to Lord Erskine’s account of the people at the North Pole, and when he mentioned that the natives clothe themselves in the skins of the seals, and eat their flesh,—“What! live upon the seals?” exclaimed the lady with a look of horror. “Yes, madam,” replied Erskine, “and devilish good living, too, if one could but keep them.” The lord chancellor sits upon the woolsack, and is the keeper of the Great Seal.
  • Colman was asked if he knew Theodore Hook: “Oh, yes,” he replied, “Hook and I (eye) are old associates.” When the Prince Regent said, “Why, Colman, you are older than I,”—“Oh, sir,” rejoined Colman, “I could not take the liberty of coming into the world before your Royal Highness.”
  • Here follow certain additional anecdotes of Foote. He was asked if Richmond Bridge would be built of stone: “Yes, we have enough wooden piers already.” He said of a favorite horse, “I’ll wager it to stand still faster than yours can gallop.” He called darned stockings, “premeditated poverty.” When he was about to open the “Primitive Puppet Show” at the Haymarket, a titled lady asked Foote if his figures would be large as life: “Oh, no, my lady, not much larger than Garrick.” The latter was a small man. Johnson said of him, “David looks much older than he is, for his face has had double the business of any other man’s.”