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I enjoy perusing through the 19th century volumes in Google Books. While looking for a “potato salad” recipe, I came across the joke below in The Young Wife’s Cook Book, copyright 1870. I was especially interested in the term “ditto” as I think of that as a more contemporary word.

“I love you like any thing,” said a young gardener to his sweetheart.

“Ditto,” said she.

The ardent lover was sorely puzzled to understand the meaning of ditto. The next day, being at work with his father, he said, “Daddy, what is the meaning of ditto?”

“Why,” said the old man, “this here is one cabbage head, ain’t it?” 

“Yes, daddy.”

“Well, that ‘ere’s ditto.”

“Drat it,” ejaculated the indignant son, “she called me a cabbage head!” 


Do you rummage through old books? What interesting humor have you found?