chestnut. A stale joke


A stale joke. The term is said to have been popularized in America by a Boston actor named Warren, who, on a certain apposite occasion, quoted from The Broken Sword, a forgotten melodrama by William Dimond, which was first produced in 1816 at Covent Garden. Captain Xavier, a principal character, is for ever repeating the same yarns, with variations. He is telling about one of his exploits connected with a cork tree, when Pablo corrects him, "A chestnut-tree, you mean, captain.""Bah!" replies the captain, "I say a cork-tree.""A chestnut-tree," insists Pablo. "I must know better than you," says the captain, "it was a cork-tree, I say.""A chestnut," persists Pablo. "I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times, and it was always a chestnut before."

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