Speaking of silly – Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 11 March 1848:

At the Lancaster assizes, on Monday, a witness was called to verify the signature to a deposition. Being rather tardy in entering the witness-box, Mr Baron Alderson inquired the cause of the delay. “She’s so deaf, my lord, that she can’t read writing,” exclaimed the crier of the Court, with an imperturbable countenance, which assumed a look of utter astonishment when the learned judge, the bar, and the audience, gave vent to their feelings in a loud burst of laughter.