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Title: Mudfog and Other Sketches
Author: Dickens, Charles
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1903 Chapman and Hall _Sketches by Boz_ edition by
David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                      THE MUDFOG AND OTHER SKETCHES


CONTENTS

                                                                  PAGE
Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble                                       495
Full Report of the First Meeting of the Mudfog Association         513
for the Advancement of Everything
                 Section A.  Zoology and Botany
                 Section B.  Anatomy and Medicine
                 Section C.  Statistics
                 Section D.  Mechanical Science
Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association        531
for the Advancement of Everything
                 Section A.  Zoology and Botany
                 Section B.  Display of Models and
                 Mechanical Science
                 Section C.  Anatomy and Medicine
                 Section D.  Statistics
                 Supplementary Section, E.  Umbugology and
                 Ditchwaterisics
The Pantomime of Life                                              551
Some Particulars Concerning a Lion                                 558
Mr. Robert Bolton                                                  563
Familiar Epistle from a Parent to a Child                          567



PUBLIC LIFE OF MR. TULRUMBLE
ONCE MAYOR OF MUDFOG


MUDFOG is a pleasant town—a remarkably pleasant town—situated in a
charming hollow by the side of a river, from which river, Mudfog derives
an agreeable scent of pitch, tar, coals, and rope-yarn, a roving
population in oilskin hats, a pretty steady influx of drunken bargemen,
and a great many other maritime advantages.  There is a good deal of
water about Mudfog, and yet it is not exactly the sort of town for a
watering-place, either.  Water is a perverse sort of element at the best
of times, and in Mudfog it is particularly so.  In winter, it comes
oozing down the streets and tumbling over the fields,—nay, rushes into
the very cellars and kitchens of the houses, with a lavish prodigality
that might well be dispensed with; but in the hot summer weather it
_will_ dry up, and turn green: and, although green is a very good colour
in its way, especially in grass, still it certainly is not becoming to
water; and it cannot be denied that the beauty of Mudfog is rather
impaired, even by this trifling circumstance.  Mudfog is a healthy
place—very healthy;—damp, perhaps, but none the worse for that.  It’s
quite a mistake to suppose that damp is unwholesome: plants thrive best
in damp situations, and why shouldn’t men?  The inhabitants of Mudfog are
unanimous in asserting that there exists not a finer race of people on
the face of the earth; here we have an indisputable and veracious
contradiction of the vulgar error at once.  So, admitting Mudfog to be
damp, we distinctly state that it is salubrious.

The town of Mudfog is extremely picturesque.  Limehouse and Ratcliff
Highway are both something like it, but they give you a very faint idea
of Mudfog.  There are a great many more public-houses in Mudfog—more than
in Ratcliff Highway and Limehouse put together.  The public buildings,
too, are very imposing.  We consider the town-hall one of the finest
specimens of shed architecture, extant: it is a combination of the
pig-sty and tea-garden-box orders; and the simplicity of its design is of
surpassing beauty.  The idea of placing a large window on one side of the
door, and a small one on the other, is particularly happy.  There is a
fine old Doric beauty, too, about the padlock and scraper, which is
strictly in keeping with the general effect.

In this room do the mayor and corporation of Mudfog assemble together in
solemn council for the public weal.  Seated on the massive wooden
benches, which, with the table in the centre, form the only furniture of
the whitewashed apartment, the sage men of Mudfog spend hour after hour
in grave deliberation.  Here they settle at what hour of the night the
public-houses shall be closed, at what hour of the morning they shall be
permitted to open, how soon it shall be lawful for people to eat their
dinner on church-days, and other great political questions; and
sometimes, long after silence has fallen on the town, and the distant
lights from the shops and houses have ceased to twinkle, like far-off
stars, to the sight of the boatmen on the river, the illumination in the
two unequal-sized windows of the town-hall, warns the inhabitants of
Mudfog that its little body of legislators, like a larger and
better-known body of the same genus, a great deal more noisy, and not a
whit more profound, are patriotically dozing away in company, far into
the night, for their country’s good.

Among this knot of sage and learned men, no one was so eminently
distinguished, during many years, for the quiet modesty of his appearance
and demeanour, as Nicholas Tulrumble, the well-known coal-dealer.
However exciting the subject of discussion, however animated the tone of
the debate, or however warm the personalities exchanged, (and even in
Mudfog we get personal sometimes,) Nicholas Tulrumble was always the
same.  To say truth, Nicholas, being an industrious man, and always up
betimes, was apt to fall asleep when a debate began, and to remain asleep
till it was over, when he would wake up very much refreshed, and give his
vote with the greatest complacency.  The fact was, that Nicholas
Tulrumble, knowing that everybody there had made up his mind beforehand,
considered the talking as just a long botheration about nothing at all;
and to the present hour it remains a question, whether, on this point at
all events, Nicholas Tulrumble was not pretty near right.

Time, which strews a man’s head with silver, sometimes fills his pockets
with gold.  As he gradually performed one good office for Nicholas
Tulrumble, he was obliging enough, not to omit the other.  Nicholas began
life in a wooden tenement of four feet square, with a capital of two and
ninepence, and a stock in trade of three bushels and a-half of coals,
exclusive of the large lump which hung, by way of sign-board, outside.
Then he enlarged the shed, and kept a truck; then he left the shed, and
the truck too, and started a donkey and a Mrs. Tulrumble; then he moved
again and set up a cart; the cart was soon afterwards exchanged for a
waggon; and so he went on like his great predecessor Whittington—only
without a cat for a partner—increasing in wealth and fame, until at last
he gave up business altogether, and retired with Mrs. Tulrumble and
family to Mudfog Hall, which he had himself erected, on something which
he attempted to delude himself into the belief was a hill, about a
quarter of a mile distant from the town of Mudfog.

About this time, it began to be murmured in Mudfog that Nicholas
Tulrumble was growing vain and haughty; that prosperity and success had
corrupted the simplicity of his manners, and tainted the natural goodness
of his heart; in short, that he was setting up for a public character,
and a great gentleman, and affected to look down upon his old companions
with compassion and contempt.  Whether these reports were at the time
well-founded, or not, certain it is that Mrs. Tulrumble very shortly
afterwards started a four-wheel chaise, driven by a tall postilion in a
yellow cap,—that Mr. Tulrumble junior took to smoking cigars, and calling
the footman a ‘feller,’—and that Mr. Tulrumble from that time forth, was
no more seen in his old seat in the chimney-corner of the Lighterman’s
Arms at night.  This looked bad; but, more than this, it began to be
observed that Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble attended the corporation meetings
more frequently than heretofore; and he no longer went to sleep as he had
done for so many years, but propped his eyelids open with his two
forefingers; that he read the newspapers by himself at home; and that he
was in the habit of indulging abroad in distant and mysterious allusions
to ‘masses of people,’ and ‘the property of the country,’ and ‘productive
power,’ and ‘the monied interest:’ all of which denoted and proved that
Nicholas Tulrumble was either mad, or worse; and it puzzled the good
people of Mudfog amazingly.

At length, about the middle of the month of October, Mr. Tulrumble and
family went up to London; the middle of October being, as Mrs. Tulrumble
informed her acquaintance in Mudfog, the very height of the fashionable
season.

Somehow or other, just about this time, despite the health-preserving air
of Mudfog, the Mayor died.  It was a most extraordinary circumstance; he
had lived in Mudfog for eighty-five years.  The corporation didn’t
understand it at all; indeed it was with great difficulty that one old
gentleman, who was a great stickler for forms, was dissuaded from
proposing a vote of censure on such unaccountable conduct.  Strange as it
was, however, die he did, without taking the slightest notice of the
corporation; and the corporation were imperatively called upon to elect
his successor.  So, they met for the purpose; and being very full of
Nicholas Tulrumble just then, and Nicholas Tulrumble being a very
important man, they elected him, and wrote off to London by the very next
post to acquaint Nicholas Tulrumble with his new elevation.

Now, it being November time, and Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble being in the
capital, it fell out that he was present at the Lord Mayor’s show and
dinner, at sight of the glory and splendour whereof, he, Mr. Tulrumble,
was greatly mortified, inasmuch as the reflection would force itself on
his mind, that, had he been born in London instead of in Mudfog, he might
have been a Lord Mayor too, and have patronized the judges, and been
affable to the Lord Chancellor, and friendly with the Premier, and coldly
condescending to the Secretary to the Treasury, and have dined with a
flag behind his back, and done a great many other acts and deeds which
unto Lord Mayors of London peculiarly appertain.  The more he thought of
the Lord Mayor, the more enviable a personage he seemed.  To be a King
was all very well; but what was the King to the Lord Mayor!  When the
King made a speech, everybody knew it was somebody else’s writing;
whereas here was the Lord Mayor, talking away for half an hour-all out of
his own head—amidst the enthusiastic applause of the whole company, while
it was notorious that the King might talk to his parliament till he was
black in the face without getting so much as a single cheer.  As all
these reflections passed through the mind of Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble, the
Lord Mayor of London appeared to him the greatest sovereign on the face
of the earth, beating the Emperor of Russia all to nothing, and leaving
the Great Mogul immeasurably behind.

Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble was pondering over these things, and inwardly
cursing the fate which had pitched his coal-shed in Mudfog, when the
letter of the corporation was put into his hand.  A crimson flush mantled
over his face as he read it, for visions of brightness were already
dancing before his imagination.

‘My dear,’ said Mr. Tulrumble to his wife, ‘they have elected me, Mayor
of Mudfog.’

‘Lor-a-mussy!’ said Mrs. Tulrumble: ‘why what’s become of old Sniggs?’

‘The late Mr. Sniggs, Mrs. Tulrumble,’ said Mr. Tulrumble sharply, for he
by no means approved of the notion of unceremoniously designating a
gentleman who filled the high office of Mayor, as ‘Old Sniggs,’—‘The late
Mr. Sniggs, Mrs. Tulrumble, is dead.’

The communication was very unexpected; but Mrs. Tulrumble only ejaculated
‘Lor-a-mussy!’ once again, as if a Mayor were a mere ordinary Christian,
at which Mr. Tulrumble frowned gloomily.

‘What a pity ’tan’t in London, ain’t it?’ said Mrs. Tulrumble, after a
short pause; ‘what a pity ’tan’t in London, where you might have had a
show.’

‘I _might_ have a show in Mudfog, if I thought proper, I apprehend,’ said
Mr. Tulrumble mysteriously.

‘Lor! so you might, I declare,’ replied Mrs. Tulrumble.

‘And a good one too,’ said Mr. Tulrumble.

‘Delightful!’ exclaimed Mrs. Tulrumble.

‘One which would rather astonish the ignorant people down there,’ said
Mr. Tulrumble.

‘It would kill them with envy,’ said Mrs. Tulrumble.

So it was agreed that his Majesty’s lieges in Mudfog should be astonished
with splendour, and slaughtered with envy, and that such a show should
take place as had never been seen in that town, or in any other town
before,—no, not even in London itself.

On the very next day after the receipt of the letter, down came the tall
postilion in a post-chaise,—not upon one of the horses, but
inside—actually inside the chaise,—and, driving up to the very door of
the town-hall, where the corporation were assembled, delivered a letter,
written by the Lord knows who, and signed by Nicholas Tulrumble, in which
Nicholas said, all through four sides of closely-written, gilt-edged,
hot-pressed, Bath post letter paper, that he responded to the call of his
fellow-townsmen with feelings of heartfelt delight; that he accepted the
arduous office which their confidence had imposed upon him; that they
would never find him shrinking from the discharge of his duty; that he
would endeavour to execute his functions with all that dignity which
their magnitude and importance demanded; and a great deal more to the
same effect.  But even this was not all.  The tall postilion produced
from his right-hand top-boot, a damp copy of that afternoon’s number of
the county paper; and there, in large type, running the whole length of
the very first column, was a long address from Nicholas Tulrumble to the
inhabitants of Mudfog, in which he said that he cheerfully complied with
their requisition, and, in short, as if to prevent any mistake about the
matter, told them over again what a grand fellow he meant to be, in very
much the same terms as those in which he had already told them all about
the matter in his letter.

The corporation stared at one another very hard at all this, and then
looked as if for explanation to the tall postilion, but as the tall
postilion was intently contemplating the gold tassel on the top of his
yellow cap, and could have afforded no explanation whatever, even if his
thoughts had been entirely disengaged, they contented themselves with
coughing very dubiously, and looking very grave.  The tall postilion then
delivered another letter, in which Nicholas Tulrumble informed the
corporation, that he intended repairing to the town-hall, in grand state
and gorgeous procession, on the Monday afternoon next ensuing.  At this
the corporation looked still more solemn; but, as the epistle wound up
with a formal invitation to the whole body to dine with the Mayor on that
day, at Mudfog Hall, Mudfog Hill, Mudfog, they began to see the fun of
the thing directly, and sent back their compliments, and they’d be sure
to come.

Now there happened to be in Mudfog, as somehow or other there does happen
to be, in almost every town in the British dominions, and perhaps in
foreign dominions too—we think it very likely, but, being no great
traveller, cannot distinctly say—there happened to be, in Mudfog, a
merry-tempered, pleasant-faced, good-for-nothing sort of vagabond, with
an invincible dislike to manual labour, and an unconquerable attachment
to strong beer and spirits, whom everybody knew, and nobody, except his
wife, took the trouble to quarrel with, who inherited from his ancestors
the appellation of Edward Twigger, and rejoiced in the _sobriquet_ of
Bottle-nosed Ned.  He was drunk upon the average once a day, and penitent
upon an equally fair calculation once a month; and when he was penitent,
he was invariably in the very last stage of maudlin intoxication.  He was
a ragged, roving, roaring kind of fellow, with a burly form, a sharp wit,
and a ready head, and could turn his hand to anything when he chose to do
it.  He was by no means opposed to hard labour on principle, for he would
work away at a cricket-match by the day together,—running, and catching,
and batting, and bowling, and revelling in toil which would exhaust a
galley-slave.  He would have been invaluable to a fire-office; never was
a man with such a natural taste for pumping engines, running up ladders,
and throwing furniture out of two-pair-of-stairs’ windows: nor was this
the only element in which he was at home; he was a humane society in
himself, a portable drag, an animated life-preserver, and had saved more
people, in his time, from drowning, than the Plymouth life-boat, or
Captain Manby’s apparatus.  With all these qualifications,
notwithstanding his dissipation, Bottle-nosed Ned was a general
favourite; and the authorities of Mudfog, remembering his numerous
services to the population, allowed him in return to get drunk in his own
way, without the fear of stocks, fine, or imprisonment.  He had a general
licence, and he showed his sense of the compliment by making the most of
it.

We have been thus particular in describing the character and avocations
of Bottle-nosed Ned, because it enables us to introduce a fact politely,
without hauling it into the reader’s presence with indecent haste by the
head and shoulders, and brings us very naturally to relate, that on the
very same evening on which Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble and family returned to
Mudfog, Mr. Tulrumble’s new secretary, just imported from London, with a
pale face and light whiskers, thrust his head down to the very bottom of
his neckcloth-tie, in at the tap-room door of the Lighterman’s Arms, and
inquiring whether one Ned Twigger was luxuriating within, announced
himself as the bearer of a message from Nicholas Tulrumble, Esquire,
requiring Mr. Twigger’s immediate attendance at the hall, on private and
particular business.  It being by no means Mr. Twigger’s interest to
affront the Mayor, he rose from the fireplace with a slight sigh, and
followed the light-whiskered secretary through the dirt and wet of Mudfog
streets, up to Mudfog Hall, without further ado.

Mr. Nicholas Tulrumble was seated in a small cavern with a skylight,
which he called his library, sketching out a plan of the procession on a
large sheet of paper; and into the cavern the secretary ushered Ned
Twigger.

‘Well, Twigger!’ said Nicholas Tulrumble, condescendingly.

There was a time when Twigger would have replied, ‘Well, Nick!’ but that
was in the days of the truck, and a couple of years before the donkey;
so, he only bowed.

‘I want you to go into training, Twigger,’ said Mr. Tulrumble.

‘What for, sir?’ inquired Ned, with a stare.

‘Hush, hush, Twigger!’ said the Mayor.  ‘Shut the door, Mr. Jennings.
Look here, Twigger.’

As the Mayor said this, he unlocked a high closet, and disclosed a
complete suit of brass armour, of gigantic dimensions.

‘I want you to wear this next Monday, Twigger,’ said the Mayor.

‘Bless your heart and soul, sir!’ replied Ned, ‘you might as well ask me
to wear a seventy-four pounder, or a cast-iron boiler.’

‘Nonsense, Twigger, nonsense!’ said the Mayor.

‘I couldn’t stand under it, sir,’ said Twigger; ‘it would make mashed
potatoes of me, if I attempted it.’

‘Pooh, pooh, Twigger!’ returned the Mayor.  ‘I tell you I have seen it
done with my own eyes, in London, and the man wasn’t half such a man as
you are, either.’

‘I should as soon have thought of a man’s wearing the case of an
eight-day clock to save his linen,’ said Twigger, casting a look of
apprehension at the brass suit.

‘It’s the easiest thing in the world,’ rejoined the Mayor.

‘It’s nothing,’ said Mr. Jennings.

‘When you’re used to it,’ added Ned.

‘You do it by degrees,’ said the Mayor.  ‘You would begin with one piece
to-morrow, and two the next day, and so on, till you had got it all on.
Mr. Jennings, give Twigger a glass of rum.  Just try the breast-plate,
Twigger.  Stay; take another glass of rum first.  Help me to lift it, Mr.
Jennings.  Stand firm, Twigger!  There!—it isn’t half as heavy as it
looks, is it?’

Twigger was a good strong, stout fellow; so, after a great deal of
staggering, he managed to keep himself up, under the breastplate, and
even contrived, with the aid of another glass of rum, to walk about in
it, and the gauntlets into the bargain.  He made a trial of the helmet,
but was not equally successful, inasmuch as he tipped over instantly,—an
accident which Mr. Tulrumble clearly demonstrated to be occasioned by his
not having a counteracting weight of brass on his legs.

‘Now, wear that with grace and propriety on Monday next,’ said Tulrumble,
‘and I’ll make your fortune.’

‘I’ll try what I can do, sir,’ said Twigger.

‘It must be kept a profound secret,’ said Tulrumble.

‘Of course, sir,’ replied Twigger.

‘And you must be sober,’ said Tulrumble; ‘perfectly sober.’  Mr. Twigger
at once solemnly pledged himself to be as sober as a judge, and Nicholas
Tulrumble was satisfied, although, had we been Nicholas, we should
certainly have exacted some promise of a more specific nature; inasmuch
as, having attended the Mudfog assizes in the evening more than once, we
can solemnly testify to having seen judges with very strong symptoms of
dinner under their wigs.  However, that’s neither here nor there.

The next day, and the day following, and the day after that, Ned Twigger
was securely locked up in the small cavern with the sky-light, hard at
work at the armour.  With every additional piece he could manage to stand
upright in, he had an additional glass of rum; and at last, after many
partial suffocations, he contrived to get on the whole suit, and to
stagger up and down the room in it, like an intoxicated effigy from
Westminster Abbey.

Never was man so delighted as Nicholas Tulrumble; never was woman so
charmed as Nicholas Tulrumble’s wife.  Here was a sight for the common
people of Mudfog!  A live man in brass armour!  Why, they would go wild
with wonder!

The day—_the_ Monday—arrived.

If the morning had been made to order, it couldn’t have been better
adapted to the purpose.  They never showed a better fog in London on Lord
Mayor’s day, than enwrapped the town of Mudfog on that eventful occasion.
It had risen slowly and surely from the green and stagnant water with the
first light of morning, until it reached a little above the lamp-post
tops; and there it had stopped, with a sleepy, sluggish obstinacy, which
bade defiance to the sun, who had got up very blood-shot about the eyes,
as if he had been at a drinking-party over-night, and was doing his day’s
work with the worst possible grace.  The thick damp mist hung over the
town like a huge gauze curtain.  All was dim and dismal.  The church
steeples had bidden a temporary adieu to the world below; and every
object of lesser importance—houses, barns, hedges, trees, and barges—had
all taken the veil.

The church-clock struck one.  A cracked trumpet from the front garden of
Mudfog Hall produced a feeble flourish, as if some asthmatic person had
coughed into it accidentally; the gate flew open, and out came a
gentleman, on a moist-sugar coloured charger, intended to represent a
herald, but bearing a much stronger resemblance to a court-card on
horseback.  This was one of the Circus people, who always came down to
Mudfog at that time of the year, and who had been engaged by Nicholas
Tulrumble expressly for the occasion.  There was the horse, whisking his
tail about, balancing himself on his hind-legs, and flourishing away with
his fore-feet, in a manner which would have gone to the hearts and souls
of any reasonable crowd.  But a Mudfog crowd never was a reasonable one,
and in all probability never will be.  Instead of scattering the very fog
with their shouts, as they ought most indubitably to have done, and were
fully intended to do, by Nicholas Tulrumble, they no sooner recognized
the herald, than they began to growl forth the most unqualified
disapprobation at the bare notion of his riding like any other man.  If
he had come out on his head indeed, or jumping through a hoop, or flying
through a red-hot drum, or even standing on one leg with his other foot
in his mouth, they might have had something to say to him; but for a
professional gentleman to sit astride in the saddle, with his feet in the
stirrups, was rather too good a joke.  So, the herald was a decided
failure, and the crowd hooted with great energy, as he pranced
ingloriously away.

On the procession came.  We are afraid to say how many supernumeraries
there were, in striped shirts and black velvet caps, to imitate the
London watermen, or how many base imitations of running-footmen, or how
many banners, which, owing to the heaviness of the atmosphere, could by
no means be prevailed on to display their inscriptions: still less do we
feel disposed to relate how the men who played the wind instruments,
looking up into the sky (we mean the fog) with musical fervour, walked
through pools of water and hillocks of mud, till they covered the
powdered heads of the running-footmen aforesaid with splashes, that
looked curious, but not ornamental; or how the barrel-organ performer put
on the wrong stop, and played one tune while the band played another; or
how the horses, being used to the arena, and not to the streets, would
stand still and dance, instead of going on and prancing;—all of which are
matters which might be dilated upon to great advantage, but which we have
not the least intention of dilating upon, notwithstanding.

Oh! it was a grand and beautiful sight to behold a corporation in glass
coaches, provided at the sole cost and charge of Nicholas Tulrumble,
coming rolling along, like a funeral out of mourning, and to watch the
attempts the corporation made to look great and solemn, when Nicholas
Tulrumble himself, in the four-wheel chaise, with the tall postilion,
rolled out after them, with Mr. Jennings on one side to look like a
chaplain, and a supernumerary on the other, with an old life-guardsman’s
sabre, to imitate the sword-bearer; and to see the tears rolling down the
faces of the mob as they screamed with merriment.  This was beautiful!
and so was the appearance of Mrs. Tulrumble and son, as they bowed with
grave dignity out of their coach-window to all the dirty faces that were
laughing around them: but it is not even with this that we have to do,
but with the sudden stopping of the procession at another blast of the
trumpet, whereat, and whereupon, a profound silence ensued, and all eyes
were turned towards Mudfog Hall, in the confident anticipation of some
new wonder.

‘They won’t laugh now, Mr. Jennings,’ said Nicholas Tulrumble.

‘I think not, sir,’ said Mr. Jennings.

‘See how eager they look,’ said Nicholas Tulrumble.  ‘Aha! the laugh will
be on our side now; eh, Mr. Jennings?’

‘No doubt of that, sir,’ replied Mr. Jennings; and Nicholas Tulrumble, in
a state of pleasurable excitement, stood up in the four-wheel chaise, and
telegraphed gratification to the Mayoress behind.

While all this was going forward, Ned Twigger had descended into the
kitchen of Mudfog Hall for the purpose of indulging the servants with a
private view of the curiosity that was to burst upon the town; and,
somehow or other, the footman was so companionable, and the housemaid so
kind, and the cook so friendly, that he could not resist the offer of the
first-mentioned to sit down and take something—just to drink success to
master in.

So, down Ned Twigger sat himself in his brass livery on the top of the
kitchen-table; and in a mug of something strong, paid for by the
unconscious Nicholas Tulrumble, and provided by the companionable
footman, drank success to the Mayor and his procession; and, as Ned laid
by his helmet to imbibe the something strong, the companionable footman
put it on his own head, to the immeasurable and unrecordable delight of
the cook and housemaid.  The companionable footman was very facetious to
Ned, and Ned was very gallant to the cook and housemaid by turns.  They
were all very cosy and comfortable; and the something strong went briskly
round.

At last Ned Twigger was loudly called for, by the procession people: and,
having had his helmet fixed on, in a very complicated manner, by the
companionable footman, and the kind housemaid, and the friendly cook, he
walked gravely forth, and appeared before the multitude.

The crowd roared—it was not with wonder, it was not with surprise; it was
most decidedly and unquestionably with laughter.

‘What!’ said Mr. Tulrumble, starting up in the four-wheel chaise.
‘Laughing?  If they laugh at a man in real brass armour, they’d laugh
when their own fathers were dying.  Why doesn’t he go into his place, Mr.
Jennings?  What’s he rolling down towards us for? he has no business
here!’

‘I am afraid, sir—’ faltered Mr. Jennings.

‘Afraid of what, sir?’ said Nicholas Tulrumble, looking up into the
secretary’s face.

‘I am afraid he’s drunk, sir,’ replied Mr. Jennings.

Nicholas Tulrumble took one look at the extraordinary figure that was
bearing down upon them; and then, clasping his secretary by the arm,
uttered an audible groan in anguish of spirit.

It is a melancholy fact that Mr. Twigger having full licence to demand a
single glass of rum on the putting on of every piece of the armour, got,
by some means or other, rather out of his calculation in the hurry and
confusion of preparation, and drank about four glasses to a piece instead
of one, not to mention the something strong which went on the top of it.
Whether the brass armour checked the natural flow of perspiration, and
thus prevented the spirit from evaporating, we are not scientific enough
to know; but, whatever the cause was, Mr. Twigger no sooner found himself
outside the gate of Mudfog Hall, than he also found himself in a very
considerable state of intoxication; and hence his extraordinary style of
progressing.  This was bad enough, but, as if fate and fortune had
conspired against Nicholas Tulrumble, Mr. Twigger, not having been
penitent for a good calendar month, took it into his head to be most
especially and particularly sentimental, just when his repentance could
have been most conveniently dispensed with.  Immense tears were rolling
down his cheeks, and he was vainly endeavouring to conceal his grief by
applying to his eyes a blue cotton pocket-handkerchief with white
spots,—an article not strictly in keeping with a suit of armour some
three hundred years old, or thereabouts.

‘Twigger, you villain!’ said Nicholas Tulrumble, quite forgetting his
dignity, ‘go back.’

‘Never,’ said Ned.  ‘I’m a miserable wretch.  I’ll never leave you.’

The by-standers of course received this declaration with acclamations of
‘That’s right, Ned; don’t!’

‘I don’t intend it,’ said Ned, with all the obstinacy of a very tipsy
man.  ‘I’m very unhappy.  I’m the wretched father of an unfortunate
family; but I am very faithful, sir.  I’ll never leave you.’  Having
reiterated this obliging promise, Ned proceeded in broken words to
harangue the crowd upon the number of years he had lived in Mudfog, the
excessive respectability of his character, and other topics of the like
nature.

‘Here! will anybody lead him away?’ said Nicholas: ‘if they’ll call on me
afterwards, I’ll reward them well.’

Two or three men stepped forward, with the view of bearing Ned off, when
the secretary interposed.

           [Picture: Ned Twigger in the kitchen of Mudfog Hall]

‘Take care! take care!’ said Mr. Jennings.  ‘I beg your pardon, sir; but
they’d better not go too near him, because, if he falls over, he’ll
certainly crush somebody.’

At this hint the crowd retired on all sides to a very respectful
distance, and left Ned, like the Duke of Devonshire, in a little circle
of his own.

‘But, Mr. Jennings,’ said Nicholas Tulrumble, ‘he’ll be suffocated.’

‘I’m very sorry for it, sir,’ replied Mr. Jennings; ‘but nobody can get
that armour off, without his own assistance.  I’m quite certain of it
from the way he put it on.’

Here Ned wept dolefully, and shook his helmeted head, in a manner that
might have touched a heart of stone; but the crowd had not hearts of
stone, and they laughed heartily.

‘Dear me, Mr. Jennings,’ said Nicholas, turning pale at the possibility
of Ned’s being smothered in his antique costume—‘Dear me, Mr. Jennings,
can nothing be done with him?’

‘Nothing at all,’ replied Ned, ‘nothing at all.  Gentlemen, I’m an
unhappy wretch.  I’m a body, gentlemen, in a brass coffin.’  At this
poetical idea of his own conjuring up, Ned cried so much that the people
began to get sympathetic, and to ask what Nicholas Tulrumble meant by
putting a man into such a machine as that; and one individual in a hairy
waistcoat like the top of a trunk, who had previously expressed his
opinion that if Ned hadn’t been a poor man, Nicholas wouldn’t have dared
do it, hinted at the propriety of breaking the four-wheel chaise, or
Nicholas’s head, or both, which last compound proposition the crowd
seemed to consider a very good notion.

It was not acted upon, however, for it had hardly been broached, when Ned
Twigger’s wife made her appearance abruptly in the little circle before
noticed, and Ned no sooner caught a glimpse of her face and form, than
from the mere force of habit he set off towards his home just as fast as
his legs could carry him; and that was not very quick in the present
instance either, for, however ready they might have been to carry _him_,
they couldn’t get on very well under the brass armour.  So, Mrs. Twigger
had plenty of time to denounce Nicholas Tulrumble to his face: to express
her opinion that he was a decided monster; and to intimate that, if her
ill-used husband sustained any personal damage from the brass armour, she
would have the law of Nicholas Tulrumble for manslaughter.  When she had
said all this with due vehemence, she posted after Ned, who was dragging
himself along as best he could, and deploring his unhappiness in most
dismal tones.

What a wailing and screaming Ned’s children raised when he got home at
last!  Mrs. Twigger tried to undo the armour, first in one place, and
then in another, but she couldn’t manage it; so she tumbled Ned into bed,
helmet, armour, gauntlets, and all.  Such a creaking as the bedstead
made, under Ned’s weight in his new suit!  It didn’t break down though;
and there Ned lay, like the anonymous vessel in the Bay of Biscay, till
next day, drinking barley-water, and looking miserable: and every time he
groaned, his good lady said it served him right, which was all the
consolation Ned Twigger got.

Nicholas Tulrumble and the gorgeous procession went on together to the
town-hall, amid the hisses and groans of all the spectators, who had
suddenly taken it into their heads to consider poor Ned a martyr.
Nicholas was formally installed in his new office, in acknowledgment of
which ceremony he delivered himself of a speech, composed by the
secretary, which was very long, and no doubt very good, only the noise of
the people outside prevented anybody from hearing it, but Nicholas
Tulrumble himself.  After which, the procession got back to Mudfog Hall
any how it could; and Nicholas and the corporation sat down to dinner.

But the dinner was flat, and Nicholas was disappointed.  They were such
dull sleepy old fellows, that corporation.  Nicholas made quite as long
speeches as the Lord Mayor of London had done, nay, he said the very same
things that the Lord Mayor of London had said, and the deuce a cheer the
corporation gave him.  There was only one man in the party who was
thoroughly awake; and he was insolent, and called him Nick.  Nick!  What
would be the consequence, thought Nicholas, of anybody presuming to call
the Lord Mayor of London ‘Nick!’  He should like to know what the
sword-bearer would say to that; or the recorder, or the toast-master, or
any other of the great officers of the city.  They’d nick him.

But these were not the worst of Nicholas Tulrumble’s doings.  If they had
been, he might have remained a Mayor to this day, and have talked till he
lost his voice.  He contracted a relish for statistics, and got
philosophical; and the statistics and the philosophy together, led him
into an act which increased his unpopularity and hastened his downfall.

At the very end of the Mudfog High-street, and abutting on the
river-side, stands the Jolly Boatmen, an old-fashioned low-roofed,
bay-windowed house, with a bar, kitchen, and tap-room all in one, and a
large fireplace with a kettle to correspond, round which the working men
have congregated time out of mind on a winter’s night, refreshed by
draughts of good strong beer, and cheered by the sounds of a fiddle and
tambourine: the Jolly Boatmen having been duly licensed by the Mayor and
corporation, to scrape the fiddle and thumb the tambourine from time,
whereof the memory of the oldest inhabitants goeth not to the contrary.
Now Nicholas Tulrumble had been reading pamphlets on crime, and
parliamentary reports,—or had made the secretary read them to him, which
is the same thing in effect,—and he at once perceived that this fiddle
and tambourine must have done more to demoralize Mudfog, than any other
operating causes that ingenuity could imagine.  So he read up for the
subject, and determined to come out on the corporation with a burst, the
very next time the licence was applied for.

The licensing day came, and the red-faced landlord of the Jolly Boatmen
walked into the town-hall, looking as jolly as need be, having actually
put on an extra fiddle for that night, to commemorate the anniversary of
the Jolly Boatmen’s music licence.  It was applied for in due form, and
was just about to be granted as a matter of course, when up rose Nicholas
Tulrumble, and drowned the astonished corporation in a torrent of
eloquence.  He descanted in glowing terms upon the increasing depravity
of his native town of Mudfog, and the excesses committed by its
population.  Then, he related how shocked he had been, to see barrels of
beer sliding down into the cellar of the Jolly Boatmen week after week;
and how he had sat at a window opposite the Jolly Boatmen for two days
together, to count the people who went in for beer between the hours of
twelve and one o’clock alone—which, by-the-bye, was the time at which the
great majority of the Mudfog people dined.  Then, he went on to state,
how the number of people who came out with beer-jugs, averaged twenty-one
in five minutes, which, being multiplied by twelve, gave two hundred and
fifty-two people with beer-jugs in an hour, and multiplied again by
fifteen (the number of hours during which the house was open daily)
yielded three thousand seven hundred and eighty people with beer-jugs per
day, or twenty-six thousand four hundred and sixty people with beer-jugs,
per week.  Then he proceeded to show that a tambourine and moral
degradation were synonymous terms, and a fiddle and vicious propensities
wholly inseparable.  All these arguments he strengthened and demonstrated
by frequent references to a large book with a blue cover, and sundry
quotations from the Middlesex magistrates; and in the end, the
corporation, who were posed with the figures, and sleepy with the speech,
and sadly in want of dinner into the bargain, yielded the palm to
Nicholas Tulrumble, and refused the music licence to the Jolly Boatmen.

But although Nicholas triumphed, his triumph was short.  He carried on
the war against beer-jugs and fiddles, forgetting the time when he was
glad to drink out of the one, and to dance to the other, till the people
hated, and his old friends shunned him.  He grew tired of the lonely
magnificence of Mudfog Hall, and his heart yearned towards the
Lighterman’s Arms.  He wished he had never set up as a public man, and
sighed for the good old times of the coal-shop, and the chimney corner.

At length old Nicholas, being thoroughly miserable, took heart of grace,
paid the secretary a quarter’s wages in advance, and packed him off to
London by the next coach.  Having taken this step, he put his hat on his
head, and his pride in his pocket, and walked down to the old room at the
Lighterman’s Arms.  There were only two of the old fellows there, and
they looked coldly on Nicholas as he proffered his hand.

‘Are you going to put down pipes, Mr. Tulrumble?’ said one.

‘Or trace the progress of crime to ’bacca?’ growled another.

‘Neither,’ replied Nicholas Tulrumble, shaking hands with them both,
whether they would or not.  ‘I’ve come down to say that I’m very sorry
for having made a fool of myself, and that I hope you’ll give me up the
old chair, again.’

The old fellows opened their eyes, and three or four more old fellows
opened the door, to whom Nicholas, with tears in his eyes, thrust out his
hand too, and told the same story.  They raised a shout of joy, that made
the bells in the ancient church-tower vibrate again, and wheeling the old
chair into the warm corner, thrust old Nicholas down into it, and ordered
in the very largest-sized bowl of hot punch, with an unlimited number of
pipes, directly.

The next day, the Jolly Boatmen got the licence, and the next night, old
Nicholas and Ned Twigger’s wife led off a dance to the music of the
fiddle and tambourine, the tone of which seemed mightily improved by a
little rest, for they never had played so merrily before.  Ned Twigger
was in the very height of his glory, and he danced hornpipes, and
balanced chairs on his chin, and straws on his nose, till the whole
company, including the corporation, were in raptures of admiration at the
brilliancy of his acquirements.

Mr. Tulrumble, junior, couldn’t make up his mind to be anything but
magnificent, so he went up to London and drew bills on his father; and
when he had overdrawn, and got into debt, he grew penitent, and came home
again.

As to old Nicholas, he kept his word, and having had six weeks of public
life, never tried it any more.  He went to sleep in the town-hall at the
very next meeting; and, in full proof of his sincerity, has requested us
to write this faithful narrative.  We wish it could have the effect of
reminding the Tulrumbles of another sphere, that puffed-up conceit is not
dignity, and that snarling at the little pleasures they were once glad to
enjoy, because they would rather forget the times when they were of lower
station, renders them objects of contempt and ridicule.

This is the first time we have published any of our gleanings from this
particular source.  Perhaps, at some future period, we may venture to
open the chronicles of Mudfog.



FULL REPORT OF THE
FIRST MEETING OF THE MUDFOG
ASSOCIATION
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EVERYTHING


WE have made the most unparalleled and extraordinary exertions to place
before our readers a complete and accurate account of the proceedings at
the late grand meeting of the Mudfog Association, holden in the town of
Mudfog; it affords us great happiness to lay the result before them, in
the shape of various communications received from our able, talented, and
graphic correspondent, expressly sent down for the purpose, who has
immortalized us, himself, Mudfog, and the association, all at one and the
same time.  We have been, indeed, for some days unable to determine who
will transmit the greatest name to posterity; ourselves, who sent our
correspondent down; our correspondent, who wrote an account of the
matter; or the association, who gave our correspondent something to write
about.  We rather incline to the opinion that we are the greatest man of
the party, inasmuch as the notion of an exclusive and authentic report
originated with us; this may be prejudice: it may arise from a
prepossession on our part in our own favour.  Be it so.  We have no doubt
that every gentleman concerned in this mighty assemblage is troubled with
the same complaint in a greater or less degree; and it is a consolation
to us to know that we have at least this feeling in common with the great
scientific stars, the brilliant and extraordinary luminaries, whose
speculations we record.

We give our correspondent’s letters in the order in which they reached
us.  Any attempt at amalgamating them into one beautiful whole, would
only destroy that glowing tone, that dash of wildness, and rich vein of
picturesque interest, which pervade them throughout.

                               ‘_Mudfog_, _Monday night_, _seven o’clock_.

‘WE are in a state of great excitement here.  Nothing is spoken of, but
the approaching meeting of the association.  The inn-doors are thronged
with waiters anxiously looking for the expected arrivals; and the
numerous bills which are wafered up in the windows of private houses,
intimating that there are beds to let within, give the streets a very
animated and cheerful appearance, the wafers being of a great variety of
colours, and the monotony of printed inscriptions being relieved by every
possible size and style of hand-writing.  It is confidently rumoured that
Professors Snore, Doze, and Wheezy have engaged three beds and a
sitting-room at the Pig and Tinder-box.  I give you the rumour as it has
reached me; but I cannot, as yet, vouch for its accuracy.  The moment I
have been enabled to obtain any certain information upon this interesting
point, you may depend upon receiving it.’

                                                       ‘_Half-past seven_.

I HAVE just returned from a personal interview with the landlord of the
Pig and Tinder-box.  He speaks confidently of the probability of
Professors Snore, Doze, and Wheezy taking up their residence at his house
during the sitting of the association, but denies that the beds have been
yet engaged; in which representation he is confirmed by the chambermaid—a
girl of artless manners, and interesting appearance.  The boots denies
that it is at all likely that Professors Snore, Doze, and Wheezy will put
up here; but I have reason to believe that this man has been suborned by
the proprietor of the Original Pig, which is the opposition hotel.
Amidst such conflicting testimony it is difficult to arrive at the real
truth; but you may depend upon receiving authentic information upon this
point the moment the fact is ascertained.  The excitement still
continues.  A boy fell through the window of the pastrycook’s shop at the
corner of the High-street about half an hour ago, which has occasioned
much confusion.  The general impression is, that it was an accident.
Pray heaven it may prove so!’

                                                       ‘_Tuesday_, _noon_.

‘AT an early hour this morning the bells of all the churches struck seven
o’clock; the effect of which, in the present lively state of the town,
was extremely singular.  While I was at breakfast, a yellow gig, drawn by
a dark grey horse, with a patch of white over his right eyelid, proceeded
at a rapid pace in the direction of the Original Pig stables; it is
currently reported that this gentleman has arrived here for the purpose
of attending the association, and, from what I have heard, I consider it
extremely probable, although nothing decisive is yet known regarding him.
You may conceive the anxiety with which we are all looking forward to the
arrival of the four o’clock coach this afternoon.

‘Notwithstanding the excited state of the populace, no outrage has yet
been committed, owing to the admirable discipline and discretion of the
police, who are nowhere to be seen.  A barrel-organ is playing opposite
my window, and groups of people, offering fish and vegetables for sale,
parade the streets.  With these exceptions everything is quiet, and I
trust will continue so.’

                                                          ‘_Five o’clock_.

‘IT is now ascertained, beyond all doubt, that Professors Snore, Doze,
and Wheezy will _not_ repair to the Pig and Tinder-box, but have actually
engaged apartments at the Original Pig.  This intelligence is
_exclusive_; and I leave you and your readers to draw their own
inferences from it.  Why Professor Wheezy, of all people in the world,
should repair to the Original Pig in preference to the Pig and
Tinder-box, it is not easy to conceive.  The professor is a man who
should be above all such petty feelings.  Some people here openly impute
treachery, and a distinct breach of faith to Professors Snore and Doze;
while others, again, are disposed to acquit them of any culpability in
the transaction, and to insinuate that the blame rests solely with
Professor Wheezy.  I own that I incline to the latter opinion; and
although it gives me great pain to speak in terms of censure or
disapprobation of a man of such transcendent genius and acquirements,
still I am bound to say that, if my suspicions be well founded, and if
all the reports which have reached my ears be true, I really do not well
know what to make of the matter.

‘Mr. Slug, so celebrated for his statistical researches, arrived this
afternoon by the four o’clock stage.  His complexion is a dark purple,
and he has a habit of sighing constantly.  He looked extremely well, and
appeared in high health and spirits.  Mr. Woodensconce also came down in
the same conveyance.  The distinguished gentleman was fast asleep on his
arrival, and I am informed by the guard that he had been so the whole
way.  He was, no doubt, preparing for his approaching fatigues; but what
gigantic visions must those be that flit through the brain of such a man
when his body is in a state of torpidity!

‘The influx of visitors increases every moment.  I am told (I know not
how truly) that two post-chaises have arrived at the Original Pig within
the last half-hour, and I myself observed a wheelbarrow, containing three
carpet bags and a bundle, entering the yard of the Pig and Tinder-box no
longer ago than five minutes since.  The people are still quietly
pursuing their ordinary occupations; but there is a wildness in their
eyes, and an unwonted rigidity in the muscles of their countenances,
which shows to the observant spectator that their expectations are
strained to the very utmost pitch.  I fear, unless some very
extraordinary arrivals take place to-night, that consequences may arise
from this popular ferment, which every man of sense and feeling would
deplore.’

                                               ‘_Twenty minutes past six_.

‘I HAVE just heard that the boy who fell through the pastrycook’s window
last night has died of the fright.  He was suddenly called upon to pay
three and sixpence for the damage done, and his constitution, it seems,
was not strong enough to bear up against the shock.  The inquest, it is
said, will be held to-morrow.’

                                             ‘_Three-quarters part seven_.

‘PROFESSORS Muff and Nogo have just driven up to the hotel door; they at
once ordered dinner with great condescension.  We are all very much
delighted with the urbanity of their manners, and the ease with which
they adapt themselves to the forms and ceremonies of ordinary life.
Immediately on their arrival they sent for the head waiter, and privately
requested him to purchase a live dog,—as cheap a one as he could meet
with,—and to send him up after dinner, with a pie-board, a knife and
fork, and a clean plate.  It is conjectured that some experiments will be
tried upon the dog to-night; if any particulars should transpire, I will
forward them by express.’

                                                       ‘_Half-past eight_.

‘THE animal has been procured.  He is a pug-dog, of rather intelligent
appearance, in good condition, and with very short legs.  He has been
tied to a curtain-peg in a dark room, and is howling dreadfully.’

                                                   ‘_Ten minutes to nine_.

‘THE dog has just been rung for.  With an instinct which would appear
almost the result of reason, the sagacious animal seized the waiter by
the calf of the leg when he approached to take him, and made a desperate,
though ineffectual resistance.  I have not been able to procure admission
to the apartment occupied by the scientific gentlemen; but, judging from
the sounds which reached my ears when I stood upon the landing-place
outside the door, just now, I should be disposed to say that the dog had
retreated growling beneath some article of furniture, and was keeping the
professors at bay.  This conjecture is confirmed by the testimony of the
ostler, who, after peeping through the keyhole, assures me that he
distinctly saw Professor Nogo on his knees, holding forth a small bottle
of prussic acid, to which the animal, who was crouched beneath an
arm-chair, obstinately declined to smell.  You cannot imagine the
feverish state of irritation we are in, lest the interests of science
should be sacrificed to the prejudices of a brute creature, who is not
endowed with sufficient sense to foresee the incalculable benefits which
the whole human race may derive from so very slight a concession on his
part.’

                                                          ‘_Nine o’clock_.

‘THE dog’s tail and ears have been sent down-stairs to be washed; from
which circumstance we infer that the animal is no more.  His forelegs
have been delivered to the boots to be brushed, which strengthens the
supposition.’

                                                        ‘_Half after ten_.

‘MY feelings are so overpowered by what has taken place in the course of
the last hour and a half, that I have scarcely strength to detail the
rapid succession of events which have quite bewildered all those who are
cognizant of their occurrence.  It appears that the pug-dog mentioned in
my last was surreptitiously obtained,—stolen, in fact,—by some person
attached to the stable department, from an unmarried lady resident in
this town.  Frantic on discovering the loss of her favourite, the lady
rushed distractedly into the street, calling in the most heart-rending
and pathetic manner upon the passengers to restore her, her Augustus,—for
so the deceased was named, in affectionate remembrance of a former lover
of his mistress, to whom he bore a striking personal resemblance, which
renders the circumstances additionally affecting.  I am not yet in a
condition to inform you what circumstance induced the bereaved lady to
direct her steps to the hotel which had witnessed the last struggles of
her _protégé_.  I can only state that she arrived there, at the very
instant when his detached members were passing through the passage on a
small tray.  Her shrieks still reverberate in my ears!  I grieve to say
that the expressive features of Professor Muff were much scratched and
lacerated by the injured lady; and that Professor Nogo, besides
sustaining several severe bites, has lost some handfuls of hair from the
same cause.  It must be some consolation to these gentlemen to know that
their ardent attachment to scientific pursuits has alone occasioned these
unpleasant consequences; for which the sympathy of a grateful country
will sufficiently reward them.  The unfortunate lady remains at the Pig
and Tinder-box, and up to this time is reported in a very precarious
state.

‘I need scarcely tell you that this unlooked-for catastrophe has cast a
damp and gloom upon us in the midst of our exhilaration; natural in any
case, but greatly enhanced in this, by the amiable qualities of the
deceased animal, who appears to have been much and deservedly respected
by the whole of his acquaintance.’

                                                        ‘_Twelve o’clock_.

‘I TAKE the last opportunity before sealing my parcel to inform you that
the boy who fell through the pastrycook’s window is not dead, as was
universally believed, but alive and well.  The report appears to have had
its origin in his mysterious disappearance.  He was found half an hour
since on the premises of a sweet-stuff maker, where a raffle had been
announced for a second-hand seal-skin cap and a tambourine; and where—a
sufficient number of members not having been obtained at first—he had
patiently waited until the list was completed.  This fortunate discovery
has in some degree restored our gaiety and cheerfulness.  It is proposed
to get up a subscription for him without delay.

‘Everybody is nervously anxious to see what to-morrow will bring forth.
If any one should arrive in the course of the night, I have left strict
directions to be called immediately.  I should have sat up, indeed, but
the agitating events of this day have been too much for me.

‘No news yet of either of the Professors Snore, Doze, or Wheezy.  It is
very strange!’

                                                   ‘_Wednesday afternoon_.

‘ALL is now over; and, upon one point at least, I am at length enabled to
set the minds of your readers at rest.  The three professors arrived at
ten minutes after two o’clock, and, instead of taking up their quarters
at the Original Pig, as it was universally understood in the course of
yesterday that they would assuredly have done, drove straight to the Pig
and Tinder-box, where they threw off the mask at once, and openly
announced their intention of remaining.  Professor Wheezy may reconcile
this very extraordinary conduct with _his_ notions of fair and equitable
dealing, but I would recommend Professor Wheezy to be cautious how he
presumes too far upon his well-earned reputation.  How such a man as
Professor Snore, or, which is still more extraordinary, such an
individual as Professor Doze, can quietly allow himself to be mixed up
with such proceedings as these, you will naturally inquire.  Upon this
head, rumour is silent; I have my speculations, but forbear to give
utterance to them just now.’

                                                          ‘_Four o’clock_.

‘THE town is filling fast; eighteenpence has been offered for a bed and
refused.  Several gentlemen were under the necessity last night of
sleeping in the brick fields, and on the steps of doors, for which they
were taken before the magistrates in a body this morning, and committed
to prison as vagrants for various terms.  One of these persons I
understand to be a highly-respectable tinker, of great practical skill,
who had forwarded a paper to the President of Section D. Mechanical
Science, on the construction of pipkins with copper bottoms and
safety-values, of which report speaks highly.  The incarceration of this
gentleman is greatly to be regretted, as his absence will preclude any
discussion on the subject.

‘The bills are being taken down in all directions, and lodgings are being
secured on almost any terms.  I have heard of fifteen shillings a week
for two rooms, exclusive of coals and attendance, but I can scarcely
believe it.  The excitement is dreadful.  I was informed this morning
that the civil authorities, apprehensive of some outbreak of popular
feeling, had commanded a recruiting sergeant and two corporals to be
under arms; and that, with the view of not irritating the people
unnecessarily by their presence, they had been requested to take up their
position before daybreak in a turnpike, distant about a quarter of a mile
from the town.  The vigour and promptness of these measures cannot be too
highly extolled.

‘Intelligence has just been brought me, that an elderly female, in a
state of inebriety, has declared in the open street her intention to “do”
for Mr. Slug.  Some statistical returns compiled by that gentleman,
relative to the consumption of raw spirituous liquors in this place, are
supposed to be the cause of the wretch’s animosity.  It is added that
this declaration was loudly cheered by a crowd of persons who had
assembled on the spot; and that one man had the boldness to designate Mr.
Slug aloud by the opprobrious epithet of “Stick-in-the-mud!”  It is
earnestly to be hoped that now, when the moment has arrived for their
interference, the magistrates will not shrink from the exercise of that
power which is vested in them by the constitution of our common country.’

                                                         ‘_Half-past ten_.

‘THE disturbance, I am happy to inform you, has been completely quelled,
and the ringleader taken into custody.  She had a pail of cold water
thrown over her, previous to being locked up, and expresses great
contrition and uneasiness.  We are all in a fever of anticipation about
to-morrow; but, now that we are within a few hours of the meeting of the
association, and at last enjoy the proud consciousness of having its
illustrious members amongst us, I trust and hope everything may go off
peaceably.  I shall send you a full report of to-morrow’s proceedings by
the night coach.’

                                                        ‘_Eleven o’clock_.

‘I OPEN my letter to say that nothing whatever has occurred since I
folded it up.’

                                                              ‘_Thursday_.

‘THE sun rose this morning at the usual hour.  I did not observe anything
particular in the aspect of the glorious planet, except that he appeared
to me (it might have been a delusion of my heightened fancy) to shine
with more than common brilliancy, and to shed a refulgent lustre upon the
town, such as I had never observed before.  This is the more
extraordinary, as the sky was perfectly cloudless, and the atmosphere
peculiarly fine.  At half-past nine o’clock the general committee
assembled, with the last year’s president in the chair.  The report of
the council was read; and one passage, which stated that the council had
corresponded with no less than three thousand five hundred and
seventy-one persons, (all of whom paid their own postage,) on no fewer
than seven thousand two hundred and forty-three topics, was received with
a degree of enthusiasm which no efforts could suppress.  The various
committees and sections having been appointed, and the more formal
business transacted, the great proceedings of the meeting commenced at
eleven o’clock precisely.  I had the happiness of occupying a most
eligible position at that time, in



‘SECTION A.—ZOOLOGY AND BOTANY.


                     GREAT ROOM, PIG AND TINDER-BOX.

   _President_—Professor Snore.  _Vice-Presidents_—Professors Doze and
                                 Wheezy.

‘The scene at this moment was particularly striking.  The sun streamed
through the windows of the apartments, and tinted the whole scene with
its brilliant rays, bringing out in strong relief the noble visages of
the professors and scientific gentlemen, who, some with bald heads, some
with red heads, some with brown heads, some with grey heads, some with
black heads, some with block heads, presented a _coup d’œil_ which no
eye-witness will readily forget.  In front of these gentlemen were papers
and inkstands; and round the room, on elevated benches extending as far
as the forms could reach, were assembled a brilliant concourse of those
lovely and elegant women for which Mudfog is justly acknowledged to be
without a rival in the whole world.  The contrast between their fair
faces and the dark coats and trousers of the scientific gentlemen I shall
never cease to remember while Memory holds her seat.

‘Time having been allowed for a slight confusion, occasioned by the
falling down of the greater part of the platforms, to subside, the
president called on one of the secretaries to read a communication
entitled, “Some remarks on the industrious fleas, with considerations on
the importance of establishing infant-schools among that numerous class
of society; of directing their industry to useful and practical ends; and
of applying the surplus fruits thereof, towards providing for them a
comfortable and respectable maintenance in their old age.”

‘The author stated, that, having long turned his attention to the moral
and social condition of these interesting animals, he had been induced to
visit an exhibition in Regent-street, London, commonly known by the
designation of “The Industrious Fleas.”  He had there seen many fleas,
occupied certainly in various pursuits and avocations, but occupied, he
was bound to add, in a manner which no man of well-regulated mind could
fail to regard with sorrow and regret.  One flea, reduced to the level of
a beast of burden, was drawing about a miniature gig, containing a
particularly small effigy of His Grace the Duke of Wellington; while
another was staggering beneath the weight of a golden model of his great
adversary Napoleon Bonaparte.  Some, brought up as mountebanks and
ballet-dancers, were performing a figure-dance (he regretted to observe,
that, of the fleas so employed, several were females); others were in
training, in a small card-board box, for pedestrians,—mere sporting
characters—and two were actually engaged in the cold-blooded and
barbarous occupation of duelling; a pursuit from which humanity recoiled
with horror and disgust.  He suggested that measures should be
immediately taken to employ the labour of these fleas as part and parcel
of the productive power of the country, which might easily be done by the
establishment among them of infant schools and houses of industry, in
which a system of virtuous education, based upon sound principles, should
be observed, and moral precepts strictly inculcated.  He proposed that
every flea who presumed to exhibit, for hire, music, or dancing, or any
species of theatrical entertainment, without a licence, should be
considered a vagabond, and treated accordingly; in which respect he only
placed him upon a level with the rest of mankind.  He would further
suggest that their labour should be placed under the control and
regulation of the state, who should set apart from the profits, a fund
for the support of superannuated or disabled fleas, their widows and
orphans.  With this view, he proposed that liberal premiums should be
offered for the three best designs for a general almshouse; from which—as
insect architecture was well known to be in a very advanced and perfect
state—we might possibly derive many valuable hints for the improvement of
our metropolitan universities, national galleries, and other public
edifices.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to be informed how the ingenious gentleman proposed
to open a communication with fleas generally, in the first instance, so
that they might be thoroughly imbued with a sense of the advantages they
must necessarily derive from changing their mode of life, and applying
themselves to honest labour.  This appeared to him, the only difficulty.

‘THE AUTHOR submitted that this difficulty was easily overcome, or rather
that there was no difficulty at all in the case.  Obviously the course to
be pursued, if Her Majesty’s government could be prevailed upon to take
up the plan, would be, to secure at a remunerative salary the individual
to whom he had alluded as presiding over the exhibition in Regent-street
at the period of his visit.  That gentleman would at once be able to put
himself in communication with the mass of the fleas, and to instruct them
in pursuance of some general plan of education, to be sanctioned by
Parliament, until such time as the more intelligent among them were
advanced enough to officiate as teachers to the rest.

‘The President and several members of the section highly complimented the
author of the paper last read, on his most ingenious and important
treatise.  It was determined that the subject should be recommended to
the immediate consideration of the council.

‘MR. WIGSBY produced a cauliflower somewhat larger than a
chaise-umbrella, which had been raised by no other artificial means than
the simple application of highly carbonated soda-water as manure.  He
explained that by scooping out the head, which would afford a new and
delicious species of nourishment for the poor, a parachute, in principle
something similar to that constructed by M. Garnerin, was at once
obtained; the stalk of course being kept downwards.  He added that he was
perfectly willing to make a descent from a height of not less than three
miles and a quarter; and had in fact already proposed the same to the
proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens, who in the handsomest manner at once
consented to his wishes, and appointed an early day next summer for the
undertaking; merely stipulating that the rim of the cauliflower should be
previously broken in three or four places to ensure the safety of the
descent.

‘THE PRESIDENT congratulated the public on the _grand gala_ in store for
them, and warmly eulogised the proprietors of the establishment alluded
to, for their love of science, and regard for the safety of human life,
both of which did them the highest honour.

‘A Member wished to know how many thousand additional lamps the royal
property would be illuminated with, on the night after the descent.

‘MR. WIGSBY replied that the point was not yet finally decided; but he
believed it was proposed, over and above the ordinary illuminations, to
exhibit in various devices eight millions and a-half of additional lamps.

‘The Member expressed himself much gratified with this announcement.

‘MR. BLUNDERUM delighted the section with a most interesting and valuable
paper “on the last moments of the learned pig,” which produced a very
strong impression on the assembly, the account being compiled from the
personal recollections of his favourite attendant.  The account stated in
the most emphatic terms that the animal’s name was not Toby, but Solomon;
and distinctly proved that he could have no near relatives in the
profession, as many designing persons had falsely stated, inasmuch as his
father, mother, brothers and sisters, had all fallen victims to the
butcher at different times.  An uncle of his indeed, had with very great
labour been traced to a sty in Somers Town; but as he was in a very
infirm state at the time, being afflicted with measles, and shortly
afterwards disappeared, there appeared too much reason to conjecture that
he had been converted into sausages.  The disorder of the learned pig was
originally a severe cold, which, being aggravated by excessive trough
indulgence, finally settled upon the lungs, and terminated in a general
decay of the constitution.  A melancholy instance of a presentiment
entertained by the animal of his approaching dissolution, was recorded.
After gratifying a numerous and fashionable company with his
performances, in which no falling off whatever was visible, he fixed his
eyes on the biographer, and, turning to the watch which lay on the floor,
and on which he was accustomed to point out the hour, deliberately passed
his snout twice round the dial.  In precisely four-and-twenty hours from
that time he had ceased to exist!

‘PROFESSOR WHEEZY inquired whether, previous to his demise, the animal
had expressed, by signs or otherwise, any wishes regarding the disposal
of his little property.

‘MR. BLUNDERUM replied, that, when the biographer took up the pack of
cards at the conclusion of the performance, the animal grunted several
times in a significant manner, and nodding his head as he was accustomed
to do, when gratified.  From these gestures it was understood that he
wished the attendant to keep the cards, which he had ever since done.  He
had not expressed any wish relative to his watch, which had accordingly
been pawned by the same individual.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to know whether any Member of the section had ever
seen or conversed with the pig-faced lady, who was reported to have worn
a black velvet mask, and to have taken her meals from a golden trough.

‘After some hesitation a Member replied that the pig-faced lady was his
mother-in-law, and that he trusted the President would not violate the
sanctity of private life.

‘THE PRESIDENT begged pardon.  He had considered the pig-faced lady a
public character.  Would the honourable member object to state, with a
view to the advancement of science, whether she was in any way connected
with the learned pig?

‘The Member replied in the same low tone, that, as the question appeared
to involve a suspicion that the learned pig might be his half-brother, he
must decline answering it.



‘SECTION B.—ANATOMY AND MEDICINE.


                     COACH-HOUSE, PIG AND TINDER-BOX.

  _President_—Dr. Toorell.  _Vice-Presidents_—Professors Muff and Nogo.

‘DR. KUTANKUMAGEN (of Moscow) read to the section a report of a case
which had occurred within his own practice, strikingly illustrative of
the power of medicine, as exemplified in his successful treatment of a
virulent disorder.  He had been called in to visit the patient on the 1st
of April, 1837.  He was then labouring under symptoms peculiarly alarming
to any medical man.  His frame was stout and muscular, his step firm and
elastic, his cheeks plump and red, his voice loud, his appetite good, his
pulse full and round.  He was in the constant habit of eating three meals
_per diem_, and of drinking at least one bottle of wine, and one glass of
spirituous liquors diluted with water, in the course of the
four-and-twenty hours.  He laughed constantly, and in so hearty a manner
that it was terrible to hear him.  By dint of powerful medicine, low
diet, and bleeding, the symptoms in the course of three days perceptibly
decreased.  A rigid perseverance in the same course of treatment for only
one week, accompanied with small doses of water-gruel, weak broth, and
barley-water, led to their entire disappearance.  In the course of a
month he was sufficiently recovered to be carried down-stairs by two
nurses, and to enjoy an airing in a close carriage, supported by soft
pillows.  At the present moment he was restored so far as to walk about,
with the slight assistance of a crutch and a boy.  It would perhaps be
gratifying to the section to learn that he ate little, drank little,
slept little, and was never heard to laugh by any accident whatever.

‘DR. W. R. FEE, in complimenting the honourable member upon the
triumphant cure he had effected, begged to ask whether the patient still
bled freely?

‘DR. KUTANKUMAGEN replied in the affirmative.

‘DR. W. R. FEE.—And you found that he bled freely during the whole course
of the disorder?

‘DR. KUTANKUMAGEN.—Oh dear, yes; most freely.

‘DR. NEESHAWTS supposed, that if the patient had not submitted to be bled
with great readiness and perseverance, so extraordinary a cure could
never, in fact, have been accomplished.  Dr. Kutankumagen rejoined,
certainly not.

‘MR. KNIGHT BELL (M.R.C.S.) exhibited a wax preparation of the interior
of a gentleman who in early life had inadvertently swallowed a door-key.
It was a curious fact that a medical student of dissipated habits, being
present at the _post mortem_ examination, found means to escape
unobserved from the room, with that portion of the coats of the stomach
upon which an exact model of the instrument was distinctly impressed,
with which he hastened to a locksmith of doubtful character, who made a
new key from the pattern so shown to him.  With this key the medical
student entered the house of the deceased gentleman, and committed a
burglary to a large amount, for which he was subsequently tried and
executed.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to know what became of the original key after the
lapse of years.  Mr. Knight Bell replied that the gentleman was always
much accustomed to punch, and it was supposed the acid had gradually
devoured it.

‘DR. NEESHAWTS and several of the members were of opinion that the key
must have lain very cold and heavy upon the gentleman’s stomach.

‘MR. KNIGHT BELL believed it did at first.  It was worthy of remark,
perhaps, that for some years the gentleman was troubled with a
night-mare, under the influence of which he always imagined himself a
wine-cellar door.

‘PROFESSOR MUFF related a very extraordinary and convincing proof of the
wonderful efficacy of the system of infinitesimal doses, which the
section were doubtless aware was based upon the theory that the very
minutest amount of any given drug, properly dispersed through the human
frame, would be productive of precisely the same result as a very large
dose administered in the usual manner.  Thus, the fortieth part of a
grain of calomel was supposed to be equal to a five-grain calomel pill,
and so on in proportion throughout the whole range of medicine.  He had
tried the experiment in a curious manner upon a publican who had been
brought into the hospital with a broken head, and was cured upon the
infinitesimal system in the incredibly short space of three months.  This
man was a hard drinker.  He (Professor Muff) had dispersed three drops of
rum through a bucket of water, and requested the man to drink the whole.
What was the result?  Before he had drunk a quart, he was in a state of
beastly intoxication; and five other men were made dead drunk with the
remainder.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to know whether an infinitesimal dose of soda-water
would have recovered them?  Professor Muff replied that the twenty-fifth
part of a teaspoonful, properly administered to each patient, would have
sobered him immediately.  The President remarked that this was a most
important discovery, and he hoped the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen
would patronize it immediately.

‘A Member begged to be informed whether it would be possible to
administer—say, the twentieth part of a grain of bread and cheese to all
grown-up paupers, and the fortieth part to children, with the same
satisfying effect as their present allowance.

‘PROFESSOR MUFF was willing to stake his professional reputation on the
perfect adequacy of such a quantity of food to the support of human
life—in workhouses; the addition of the fifteenth part of a grain of
pudding twice a week would render it a high diet.

‘PROFESSOR NOGO called the attention of the section to a very
extraordinary case of animal magnetism.  A private watchman, being merely
looked at by the operator from the opposite side of a wide street, was at
once observed to be in a very drowsy and languid state.  He was followed
to his box, and being once slightly rubbed on the palms of the hands,
fell into a sound sleep, in which he continued without intermission for
ten hours.



‘SECTION C.—STATISTICS.


                         HAY-LOFT, ORIGINAL PIG.

  _President_—Mr. Woodensconce.  _Vice-Presidents_—Mr. Ledbrain and Mr.
                                Timbered.

‘MR. SLUG stated to the section the result of some calculations he had
made with great difficulty and labour, regarding the state of infant
education among the middle classes of London.  He found that, within a
circle of three miles from the Elephant and Castle, the following were
the names and numbers of children’s books principally in circulation:—

‘Jack the Giant-killer              7,943
Ditto and Bean-stalk                8,621
Ditto and Eleven Brothers           2,845
Ditto and Jill                      1,998
                        Total      21,407

‘He found that the proportion of Robinson Crusoes to Philip Quarlls was
as four and a half to one; and that the preponderance of Valentine and
Orsons over Goody Two Shoeses was as three and an eighth of the former to
half a one of the latter; a comparison of Seven Champions with Simple
Simons gave the same result.  The ignorance that prevailed, was
lamentable.  One child, on being asked whether he would rather be Saint
George of England or a respectable tallow-chandler, instantly replied,
“Taint George of Ingling.”  Another, a little boy of eight years old, was
found to be firmly impressed with a belief in the existence of dragons,
and openly stated that it was his intention when he grew up, to rush
forth sword in hand for the deliverance of captive princesses, and the
promiscuous slaughter of giants.  Not one child among the number
interrogated had ever heard of Mungo Park,—some inquiring whether he was
at all connected with the black man that swept the crossing; and others
whether he was in any way related to the Regent’s Park.  They had not the
slightest conception of the commonest principles of mathematics, and
considered Sindbad the Sailor the most enterprising voyager that the
world had ever produced.

‘A Member strongly deprecating the use of all the other books mentioned,
suggested that Jack and Jill might perhaps be exempted from the general
censure, inasmuch as the hero and heroine, in the very outset of the
tale, were depicted as going _up_ a hill to fetch a pail of water, which
was a laborious and useful occupation,—supposing the family linen was
being washed, for instance.

‘MR. SLUG feared that the moral effect of this passage was more than
counterbalanced by another in a subsequent part of the poem, in which
very gross allusion was made to the mode in which the heroine was
personally chastised by her mother

                     “‘For laughing at Jack’s disaster;”

besides, the whole work had this one great fault, _it was not true_.

‘THE PRESIDENT complimented the honourable member on the excellent
distinction he had drawn.  Several other Members, too, dwelt upon the
immense and urgent necessity of storing the minds of children with
nothing but facts and figures; which process the President very forcibly
remarked, had made them (the section) the men they were.

‘MR. SLUG then stated some curious calculations respecting the dogs’-meat
barrows of London.  He found that the total number of small carts and
barrows engaged in dispensing provision to the cats and dogs of the
metropolis was, one thousand seven hundred and forty-three.  The average
number of skewers delivered daily with the provender, by each dogs’-meat
cart or barrow, was thirty-six.  Now, multiplying the number of skewers
so delivered by the number of barrows, a total of sixty-two thousand
seven hundred and forty-eight skewers daily would be obtained.  Allowing
that, of these sixty-two thousand seven hundred and forty-eight skewers,
the odd two thousand seven hundred and forty-eight were accidentally
devoured with the meat, by the most voracious of the animals supplied, it
followed that sixty thousand skewers per day, or the enormous number of
twenty-one millions nine hundred thousand skewers annually, were wasted
in the kennels and dustholes of London; which, if collected and
warehoused, would in ten years’ time afford a mass of timber more than
sufficient for the construction of a first-rate vessel of war for the use
of her Majesty’s navy, to be called “The Royal Skewer,” and to become
under that name the terror of all the enemies of this island.

‘MR. X. LEDBRAIN read a very ingenious communication, from which it
appeared that the total number of legs belonging to the manufacturing
population of one great town in Yorkshire was, in round numbers, forty
thousand, while the total number of chair and stool legs in their houses
was only thirty thousand, which, upon the very favourable average of
three legs to a seat, yielded only ten thousand seats in all.  From this
calculation it would appear,—not taking wooden or cork legs into the
account, but allowing two legs to every person,—that ten thousand
individuals (one-half of the whole population) were either destitute of
any rest for their legs at all, or passed the whole of their leisure time
in sitting upon boxes.



‘SECTION D.—MECHANICAL SCIENCE.


                        COACH-HOUSE, ORIGINAL PIG.

  _President_—Mr. Carter.  _Vice-Presidents_—Mr. Truck and Mr. Waghorn.

‘PROFESSOR QUEERSPECK exhibited an elegant model of a portable railway,
neatly mounted in a green case, for the waistcoat pocket.  By attaching
this beautiful instrument to his boots, any Bank or public-office clerk
could transport himself from his place of residence to his place of
business, at the easy rate of sixty-five miles an hour, which, to
gentlemen of sedentary pursuits, would be an incalculable advantage.

‘THE PRESIDENT was desirous of knowing whether it was necessary to have a
level surface on which the gentleman was to run.

‘PROFESSOR QUEERSPECK explained that City gentlemen would run in trains,
being handcuffed together to prevent confusion or unpleasantness.  For
instance, trains would start every morning at eight, nine, and ten
o’clock, from Camden Town, Islington, Camberwell, Hackney, and various
other places in which City gentlemen are accustomed to reside.  It would
be necessary to have a level, but he had provided for this difficulty by
proposing that the best line that the circumstances would admit of,
should be taken through the sewers which undermine the streets of the
metropolis, and which, well lighted by jets from the gas pipes which run
immediately above them, would form a pleasant and commodious arcade,
especially in winter-time, when the inconvenient custom of carrying
umbrellas, now so general, could be wholly dispensed with.  In reply to
another question, Professor Queerspeck stated that no substitute for the
purposes to which these arcades were at present devoted had yet occurred
to him, but that he hoped no fanciful objection on this head would be
allowed to interfere with so great an undertaking.

‘MR. JOBBA produced a forcing-machine on a novel plan, for bringing
joint-stock railway shares prematurely to a premium.  The instrument was
in the form of an elegant gilt weather-glass, of most dazzling
appearance, and was worked behind, by strings, after the manner of a
pantomime trick, the strings being always pulled by the directors of the
company to which the machine belonged.  The quicksilver was so
ingeniously placed, that when the acting directors held shares in their
pockets, figures denoting very small expenses and very large returns
appeared upon the glass; but the moment the directors parted with these
pieces of paper, the estimate of needful expenditure suddenly increased
itself to an immense extent, while the statements of certain profits
became reduced in the same proportion.  Mr. Jobba stated that the machine
had been in constant requisition for some months past, and he had never
once known it to fail.

‘A Member expressed his opinion that it was extremely neat and pretty.
He wished to know whether it was not liable to accidental derangement?
Mr. Jobba said that the whole machine was undoubtedly liable to be blown
up, but that was the only objection to it.

‘PROFESSOR NOGO arrived from the anatomical section to exhibit a model of
a safety fire-escape, which could be fixed at any time, in less than half
an hour, and by means of which, the youngest or most infirm persons
(successfully resisting the progress of the flames until it was quite
ready) could be preserved if they merely balanced themselves for a few
minutes on the sill of their bedroom window, and got into the escape
without falling into the street.  The Professor stated that the number of
boys who had been rescued in the daytime by this machine from houses
which were not on fire, was almost incredible.  Not a conflagration had
occurred in the whole of London for many months past to which the escape
had not been carried on the very next day, and put in action before a
concourse of persons.

‘THE PRESIDENT inquired whether there was not some difficulty in
ascertaining which was the top of the machine, and which the bottom, in
cases of pressing emergency.

‘PROFESSOR NOGO explained that of course it could not be expected to act
quite as well when there was a fire, as when there was not a fire; but in
the former case he thought it would be of equal service whether the top
were up or down.’

                                * * * * *

With the last section our correspondent concludes his most able and
faithful Report, which will never cease to reflect credit upon him for
his scientific attainments, and upon us for our enterprising spirit.  It
is needless to take a review of the subjects which have been discussed;
of the mode in which they have been examined; of the great truths which
they have elicited.  They are now before the world, and we leave them to
read, to consider, and to profit.

The place of meeting for next year has undergone discussion, and has at
length been decided, regard being had to, and evidence being taken upon,
the goodness of its wines, the supply of its markets, the hospitality of
its inhabitants, and the quality of its hotels.  We hope at this next
meeting our correspondent may again be present, and that we may be once
more the means of placing his communications before the world.  Until
that period we have been prevailed upon to allow this number of our
Miscellany to be retailed to the public, or wholesaled to the trade,
without any advance upon our usual price.

We have only to add, that the committees are now broken up, and that
Mudfog is once again restored to its accustomed tranquillity,—that
Professors and Members have had balls, and _soirées_, and suppers, and
great mutual complimentations, and have at length dispersed to their
several homes,—whither all good wishes and joys attend them, until next
year!

                                                               Signed BOZ.



FULL REPORT OF THE
SECOND MEETING OF THE MUDFOG
ASSOCIATION
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EVERYTHING


IN October last, we did ourselves the immortal credit of recording, at an
enormous expense, and by dint of exertions unnpralleled in the history of
periodical publication, the proceedings of the Mudfog Association for the
Advancement of Everything, which in that month held its first great
half-yearly meeting, to the wonder and delight of the whole empire.  We
announced at the conclusion of that extraordinary and most remarkable
Report, that when the Second Meeting of the Society should take place, we
should be found again at our post, renewing our gigantic and spirited
endeavours, and once more making the world ring with the accuracy,
authenticity, immeasurable superiority, and intense remarkability of our
account of its proceedings.  In redemption of this pledge, we caused to
be despatched per steam to Oldcastle (at which place this second meeting
of the Society was held on the 20th instant), the same
superhumanly-endowed gentleman who furnished the former report, and
who,—gifted by nature with transcendent abilities, and furnished by us
with a body of assistants scarcely inferior to himself,—has forwarded a
series of letters, which, for faithfulness of description, power of
language, fervour of thought, happiness of expression, and importance of
subject-matter, have no equal in the epistolary literature of any age or
country.  We give this gentleman’s correspondence entire, and in the
order in which it reached our office.

                ‘_Saloon of Steamer_, _Thursday night_, _half-past eight_.

‘WHEN I left New Burlington Street this evening in the hackney cabriolet,
number four thousand two hundred and eighty-five, I experienced
sensations as novel as they were oppressive.  A sense of the importance
of the task I had undertaken, a consciousness that I was leaving London,
and, stranger still, going somewhere else, a feeling of loneliness and a
sensation of jolting, quite bewildered my thoughts, and for a time
rendered me even insensible to the presence of my carpet-bag and hat-box.
I shall ever feel grateful to the driver of a Blackwall omnibus who, by
thrusting the pole of his vehicle through the small door of the
cabriolet, awakened me from a tumult of imaginings that are wholly
indescribable.  But of such materials is our imperfect nature composed!

‘I am happy to say that I am the first passenger on board, and shall thus
be enabled to give you an account of all that happens in the order of its
occurrence.  The chimney is smoking a good deal, and so are the crew; and
the captain, I am informed, is very drunk in a little house upon deck,
something like a black turnpike.  I should infer from all I hear that he
has got the steam up.

‘You will readily guess with what feelings I have just made the discovery
that my berth is in the same closet with those engaged by Professor
Woodensconce, Mr. Slug, and Professor Grime.  Professor Woodensconce has
taken the shelf above me, and Mr. Slug and Professor Grime the two
shelves opposite.  Their luggage has already arrived.  On Mr. Slug’s bed
is a long tin tube of about three inches in diameter, carefully closed at
both ends.  What can this contain?  Some powerful instrument of a new
construction, doubtless.’

                                                 ‘_Ten minutes past nine_.

‘NOBODY has yet arrived, nor has anything fresh come in my way except
several joints of beef and mutton, from which I conclude that a good
plain dinner has been provided for to-morrow.  There is a singular smell
below, which gave me some uneasiness at first; but as the steward says it
is always there, and never goes away, I am quite comfortable again.  I
learn from this man that the different sections will be distributed at
the Black Boy and Stomach-ache, and the Boot-jack and Countenance.  If
this intelligence be true (and I have no reason to doubt it), your
readers will draw such conclusions as their different opinions may
suggest.

‘I write down these remarks as they occur to me, or as the facts come to
my knowledge, in order that my first impressions may lose nothing of
their original vividness.  I shall despatch them in small packets as
opportunities arise.’

                                                        ‘_Half past nine_.

‘SOME dark object has just appeared upon the wharf.  I think it is a
travelling carriage.’

                                                      ‘_A quarter to ten_.

‘NO, it isn’t.’

                                                         ‘_Half-past ten_.

‘THE passengers are pouring in every instant.  Four omnibuses full have
just arrived upon the wharf, and all is bustle and activity.  The noise
and confusion are very great.  Cloths are laid in the cabins, and the
steward is placing blue plates—full of knobs of cheese at equal distances
down the centre of the tables.  He drops a great many knobs; but, being
used to it, picks them up again with great dexterity, and, after wiping
them on his sleeve, throws them back into the plates.  He is a young man
of exceedingly prepossessing appearance—either dirty or a mulatto, but I
think the former.

‘An interesting old gentleman, who came to the wharf in an omnibus, has
just quarrelled violently with the porters, and is staggering towards the
vessel with a large trunk in his arms.  I trust and hope that he may
reach it in safety; but the board he has to cross is narrow and slippery.
Was that a splash?  Gracious powers!

‘I have just returned from the deck.  The trunk is standing upon the
extreme brink of the wharf, but the old gentleman is nowhere to be seen.
The watchman is not sure whether he went down or not, but promises to
drag for him the first thing to-morrow morning.  May his humane efforts
prove successful!

‘Professor Nogo has this moment arrived with his nightcap on under his
hat.  He has ordered a glass of cold brandy and water, with a hard
biscuit and a basin, and has gone straight to bed.  What can this mean?

‘The three other scientific gentlemen to whom I have already alluded have
come on board, and have all tried their beds, with the exception of
Professor Woodensconce, who sleeps in one of the top ones, and can’t get
into it.  Mr. Slug, who sleeps in the other top one, is unable to get out
of his, and is to have his supper handed up by a boy.  I have had the
honour to introduce myself to these gentlemen, and we have amicably
arranged the order in which we shall retire to rest; which it is
necessary to agree upon, because, although the cabin is very comfortable,
there is not room for more than one gentleman to be out of bed at a time,
and even he must take his boots off in the passage.

‘As I anticipated, the knobs of cheese were provided for the passengers’
supper, and are now in course of consumption.  Your readers will be
surprised to hear that Professor Woodensconce has abstained from cheese
for eight years, although he takes butter in considerable quantities.
Professor Grime having lost several teeth, is unable, I observe, to eat
his crusts without previously soaking them in his bottled porter.  How
interesting are these peculiarities!’

                                                      ‘_Half-past eleven_.

‘PROFESSORS Woodensconce and Grime, with a degree of good humour that
delights us all, have just arranged to toss for a bottle of mulled port.
There has been some discussion whether the payment should be decided by
the first toss or the best out of three.  Eventually the latter course
has been determined on.  Deeply do I wish that both gentlemen could win;
but that being impossible, I own that my personal aspirations (I speak as
an individual, and do not compromise either you or your readers by this
expression of feeling) are with Professor Woodensconce.  I have backed
that gentleman to the amount of eighteenpence.’

                                              ‘_Twenty minutes to twelve_.

‘PROFESSOR Grime has inadvertently tossed his half-crown out of one of
the cabin-windows, and it has been arranged that the steward shall toss
for him.  Bets are offered on any side to any amount, but there are no
takers.

‘Professor Woodensconce has just called “woman;” but the coin having
lodged in a beam, is a long time coming down again.  The interest and
suspense of this one moment are beyond anything that can be imagined.’

                                                        ‘_Twelve o’clock_.

‘THE mulled port is smoking on the table before me, and Professor Grime
has won.  Tossing is a game of chance; but on every ground, whether of
public or private character, intellectual endowments, or scientific
attainments, I cannot help expressing my opinion that Professor
Woodensconce _ought_ to have come off victorious.  There is an exultation
about Professor Grime incompatible, I fear, with true greatness.’

                                                 ‘_A quarter past twelve_.

‘PROFESSOR Grime continues to exult, and to boast of his victory in no
very measured terms, observing that he always does win, and that he knew
it would be a “head” beforehand, with many other remarks of a similar
nature.  Surely this gentleman is not so lost to every feeling of decency
and propriety as not to feel and know the superiority of Professor
Woodensconce?  Is Professor Grime insane? or does he wish to be reminded
in plain language of his true position in society, and the precise level
of his acquirements and abilities?  Professor Grime will do well to look
to this.’

                                                           ‘_One o’clock_.

‘I AM writing in bed.  The small cabin is illuminated by the feeble light
of a flickering lamp suspended from the ceiling; Professor Grime is lying
on the opposite shelf on the broad of his back, with his mouth wide open.
The scene is indescribably solemn.  The rippling of the tide, the noise
of the sailors’ feet overhead, the gruff voices on the river, the dogs on
the shore, the snoring of the passengers, and a constant creaking of
every plank in the vessel, are the only sounds that meet the ear.  With
these exceptions, all is profound silence.

‘My curiosity has been within the last moment very much excited.  Mr.
Slug, who lies above Professor Grime, has cautiously withdrawn the
curtains of his berth, and, after looking anxiously out, as if to satisfy
himself that his companions are asleep, has taken up the tin tube of
which I have before spoken, and is regarding it with great interest.
What rare mechanical combination can be contained in that mysterious
case?  It is evidently a profound secret to all.’

                                                    ‘_A quarter past one_.

‘THE behaviour of Mr. Slug grows more and more mysterious.  He has
unscrewed the top of the tube, and now renews his observations upon his
companions, evidently to make sure that he is wholly unobserved.  He is
clearly on the eve of some great experiment.  Pray heaven that it be not
a dangerous one; but the interests of science must be promoted, and I am
prepared for the worst.’

                                                    ‘_Five minutes later_.

‘HE has produced a large pair of scissors, and drawn a roll of some
substance, not unlike parchment in appearance, from the tin case.  The
experiment is about to begin.  I must strain my eyes to the utmost, in
the attempt to follow its minutest operation.’

                                             ‘_Twenty minutes before two_.

‘I HAVE at length been enabled to ascertain that the tin tube contains a
few yards of some celebrated plaster, recommended—as I discover on
regarding the label attentively through my eye-glass—as a preservative
against sea-sickness.  Mr. Slug has cut it up into small portions, and is
now sticking it over himself in every direction.’

                                                         ‘_Three o’clock_.

‘PRECISELY a quarter of an hour ago we weighed anchor, and the machinery
was suddenly put in motion with a noise so appalling, that Professor
Woodensconce (who had ascended to his berth by means of a platform of
carpet-bags arranged by himself on geometrical principals) darted from
his shelf head foremost, and, gaining his feet with all the rapidity of
extreme terror, ran wildly into the ladies’ cabin, under the impression
that we were sinking, and uttering loud cries for aid.  I am assured that
the scene which ensued baffles all description.  There were one hundred
and forty-seven ladies in their respective berths at the time.

‘Mr. Slug has remarked, as an additional instance of the extreme
ingenuity of the steam-engine as applied to purposes of navigation, that
in whatever part of the vessel a passenger’s berth may be situated, the
machinery always appears to be exactly under his pillow.  He intends
stating this very beautiful, though simple discovery, to the
association.’

                                                         ‘_Half-past ten_.

‘WE are still in smooth water; that is to say, in as smooth water as a
steam-vessel ever can be, for, as Professor Woodensconce (who has just
woke up) learnedly remarks, another great point of ingenuity about a
steamer is, that it always carries a little storm with it.  You can
scarcely conceive how exciting the jerking pulsation of the ship becomes.
It is a matter of positive difficulty to get to sleep.’

                                       ‘_Friday afternoon_, _six o’clock_.

‘I REGRET to inform you that Mr. Slug’s plaster has proved of no avail.
He is in great agony, but has applied several large, additional pieces
notwithstanding.  How affecting is this extreme devotion to science and
pursuit of knowledge under the most trying circumstances!

‘We were extremely happy this morning, and the breakfast was one of the
most animated description.  Nothing unpleasant occurred until noon, with
the exception of Doctor Foxey’s brown silk umbrella and white hat
becoming entangled in the machinery while he was explaining to a knot of
ladies the construction of the steam-engine.  I fear the gravy soup for
lunch was injudicious.  We lost a great many passengers almost
immediately afterwards.’

                                                         ‘_Half-past six_.

‘I AM again in bed.  Anything so heart-rending as Mr. Slug’s sufferings
it has never yet been my lot to witness.’

                                                         ‘_Seven o’clock_.

‘A MESSENGER has just come down for a clean pocket-handkerchief from
Professor Woodensconce’s bag, that unfortunate gentleman being quite
unable to leave the deck, and imploring constantly to be thrown
overboard.  From this man I understand that Professor Nogo, though in a
state of utter exhaustion, clings feebly to the hard biscuit and cold
brandy and water, under the impression that they will yet restore him.
Such is the triumph of mind over matter.

‘Professor Grime is in bed, to all appearance quite well; but he _will_
eat, and it is disagreeable to see him.  Has this gentleman no sympathy
with the sufferings of his fellow-creatures?  If he has, on what
principle can he call for mutton-chops—and smile?’

                                            ‘_Black Boy and Stomach-ache_,
                                             _Oldcastle_, _Saturday noon_.

‘YOU will be happy to learn that I have at length arrived here in safety.
The town is excessively crowded, and all the private lodgings and hotels
are filled with _savans_ of both sexes.  The tremendous assemblage of
intellect that one encounters in every street is in the last degree
overwhelming.

‘Notwithstanding the throng of people here, I have been fortunate enough
to meet with very comfortable accommodation on very reasonable terms,
having secured a sofa in the first-floor passage at one guinea per night,
which includes permission to take my meals in the bar, on condition that
I walk about the streets at all other times, to make room for other
gentlemen similarly situated.  I have been over the outhouses intended to
be devoted to the reception of the various sections, both here and at the
Boot-jack and Countenance, and am much delighted with the arrangements.
Nothing can exceed the fresh appearance of the saw-dust with which the
floors are sprinkled.  The forms are of unplaned deal, and the general
effect, as you can well imagine, is extremely beautiful.’

                                                        ‘_Half-past nine_.

‘THE number and rapidity of the arrivals are quite bewildering.  Within
the last ten minutes a stage-coach has driven up to the door, filled
inside and out with distinguished characters, comprising Mr.
Muddlebranes, Mr. Drawley, Professor Muff, Mr. X. Misty, Mr. X. X. Misty,
Mr. Purblind, Professor Rummun, The Honourable and Reverend Mr. Long
Eers, Professor John Ketch, Sir William Joltered, Doctor Buffer, Mr.
Smith (of London), Mr. Brown (of Edinburgh), Sir Hookham Snivey, and
Professor Pumpkinskull.  The ten last-named gentlemen were wet through,
and looked extremely intelligent.’

                                          ‘_Sunday_, _two o’clock_, _p.m._

‘THE Honourable and Reverend Mr. Long Eers, accompanied by Sir William
Joltered, walked and drove this morning.  They accomplished the former
feat in boots, and the latter in a hired fly.  This has naturally given
rise to much discussion.

‘I have just learnt that an interview has taken place at the Boot-jack
and Countenance between Sowster, the active and intelligent beadle of
this place, and Professor Pumpkinskull, who, as your readers are
doubtless aware, is an influential member of the council.  I forbear to
communicate any of the rumours to which this very extraordinary
proceeding has given rise until I have seen Sowster, and endeavoured to
ascertain the truth from him.’

                                                         ‘_Half-past six_.

‘I ENGAGED a donkey-chaise shortly after writing the above, and proceeded
at a brisk trot in the direction of Sowster’s residence, passing through
a beautiful expanse of country, with red brick buildings on either side,
and stopping in the marketplace to observe the spot where Mr. Kwakley’s
hat was blown off yesterday.  It is an uneven piece of paving, but has
certainly no appearance which would lead one to suppose that any such
event had recently occurred there.  From this point I proceeded—passing
the gas-works and tallow-melter’s—to a lane which had been pointed out to
me as the beadle’s place of residence; and before I had driven a dozen
yards further, I had the good fortune to meet Sowster himself advancing
towards me.

‘Sowster is a fat man, with a more enlarged development of that peculiar
conformation of countenance which is vulgarly termed a double chin than I
remember to have ever seen before.  He has also a very red nose, which he
attributes to a habit of early rising—so red, indeed, that but for this
explanation I should have supposed it to proceed from occasional
inebriety.  He informed me that he did not feel himself at liberty to
relate what had passed between himself and Professor Pumpkinskull, but
had no objection to state that it was connected with a matter of police
regulation, and added with peculiar significance “Never wos sitch times!”

‘You will easily believe that this intelligence gave me considerable
surprise, not wholly unmixed with anxiety, and that I lost no time in
waiting on Professor Pumpkinskull, and stating the object of my visit.
After a few moments’ reflection, the Professor, who, I am bound to say,
behaved with the utmost politeness, openly avowed (I mark the passage in
italics) _that he had requested Sowster to attend on the Monday morning
at the Boot-jack and Countenance_, _to keep off the boys_; _and that he
had further desired that the under-beadle might be stationed_, _with the
same object_, _at the Black Boy and Stomach-ache_!

‘Now I leave this unconstitutional proceeding to your comments and the
consideration of your readers.  I have yet to learn that a beadle,
without the precincts of a church, churchyard, or work-house, and acting
otherwise than under the express orders of churchwardens and overseers in
council assembled, to enforce the law against people who come upon the
parish, and other offenders, has any lawful authority whatever over the
rising youth of this country.  I have yet to learn that a beadle can be
called out by any civilian to exercise a domination and despotism over
the boys of Britain.  I have yet to learn that a beadle will be permitted
by the commissioners of poor law regulation to wear out the soles and
heels of his boots in illegal interference with the liberties of people
not proved poor or otherwise criminal.  I have yet to learn that a beadle
has power to stop up the Queen’s highway at his will and pleasure, or
that the whole width of the street is not free and open to any man, boy,
or woman in existence, up to the very walls of the houses—ay, be they
Black Boys and Stomach-aches, or Boot-jacks and Countenances, I care
not.’

                                                          ‘_Nine o’clock_.

‘I have procured a local artist to make a faithful sketch of the tyrant
Sowster, which, as he has acquired this infamous celebrity, you will no
doubt wish to have engraved for the purpose of presenting a copy with
every copy of your next number.  I enclose it.

                      [Picture: The Tyrant Sowster]

The under-beadle has consented to write his life, but it is to be
strictly anonymous.

‘The accompanying likeness is of course from the life, and complete in
every respect.  Even if I had been totally ignorant of the man’s real
character, and it had been placed before me without remark, I should have
shuddered involuntarily.  There is an intense malignity of expression in
the features, and a baleful ferocity of purpose in the ruffian’s eye,
which appals and sickens.  His whole air is rampant with cruelty, nor is
the stomach less characteristic of his demoniac propensities.’

                                                                ‘_Monday_.

‘THE great day has at length arrived.  I have neither eyes, nor ears, nor
pens, nor ink, nor paper, for anything but the wonderful proceedings that
have astounded my senses.  Let me collect my energies and proceed to the
account.



‘SECTION A.—ZOOLOGY AND BOTANY.


                FRONT PARLOUR, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.

_President_—Sir William Joltered.  _Vice-Presidents_—Mr. Muddlebranes and
                               Mr. Drawley.

‘MR. X. X. MISTY communicated some remarks on the disappearance of
dancing-bears from the streets of London, with observations on the
exhibition of monkeys as connected with barrel-organs.  The writer had
observed, with feelings of the utmost pain and regret, that some years
ago a sudden and unaccountable change in the public taste took place with
reference to itinerant bears, who, being discountenanced by the populace,
gradually fell off one by one from the streets of the metropolis, until
not one remained to create a taste for natural history in the breasts of
the poor and uninstructed.  One bear, indeed,—a brown and ragged
animal,—had lingered about the haunts of his former triumphs, with a worn
and dejected visage and feeble limbs, and had essayed to wield his
quarter-staff for the amusement of the multitude; but hunger, and an
utter want of any due recompense for his abilities, had at length driven
him from the field, and it was only too probable that he had fallen a
sacrifice to the rising taste for grease.  He regretted to add that a
similar, and no less lamentable, change had taken place with reference to
monkeys.  These delightful animals had formerly been almost as plentiful
as the organs on the tops of which they were accustomed to sit; the
proportion in the year 1829 (it appeared by the parliamentary return)
being as one monkey to three organs.  Owing, however, to an altered taste
in musical instruments, and the substitution, in a great measure, of
narrow boxes of music for organs, which left the monkeys nothing to sit
upon, this source of public amusement was wholly dried up.  Considering
it a matter of the deepest importance, in connection with national
education, that the people should not lose such opportunities of making
themselves acquainted with the manners and customs of two most
interesting species of animals, the author submitted that some measures
should be immediately taken for the restoration of these pleasing and
truly intellectual amusements.

‘THE PRESIDENT inquired by what means the honourable member proposed to
attain this most desirable end?

‘THE AUTHOR submitted that it could be most fully and satisfactorily
accomplished, if Her Majesty’s Government would cause to be brought over
to England, and maintained at the public expense, and for the public
amusement, such a number of bears as would enable every quarter of the
town to be visited—say at least by three bears a week.  No difficulty
whatever need be experienced in providing a fitting place for the
reception of these animals, as a commodious bear-garden could be erected
in the immediate neighbourhood of both Houses of Parliament; obviously
the most proper and eligible spot for such an establishment.

‘PROFESSOR MULL doubted very much whether any correct ideas of natural
history were propagated by the means to which the honourable member had
so ably adverted.  On the contrary, he believed that they had been the
means of diffusing very incorrect and imperfect notions on the subject.
He spoke from personal observation and personal experience, when he said
that many children of great abilities had been induced to believe, from
what they had observed in the streets, at and before the period to which
the honourable gentleman had referred, that all monkeys were born in red
coats and spangles, and that their hats and feathers also came by nature.
He wished to know distinctly whether the honourable gentleman attributed
the want of encouragement the bears had met with to the decline of public
taste in that respect, or to a want of ability on the part of the bears
themselves?

‘MR. X. X. MISTY replied, that he could not bring himself to believe but
that there must be a great deal of floating talent among the bears and
monkeys generally; which, in the absence of any proper encouragement, was
dispersed in other directions.

‘PROFESSOR PUMPKINSKULL wished to take that opportunity of calling the
attention of the section to a most important and serious point.  The
author of the treatise just read had alluded to the prevalent taste for
bears’-grease as a means of promoting the growth of hair, which
undoubtedly was diffused to a very great and (as it appeared to him) very
alarming extent.  No gentleman attending that section could fail to be
aware of the fact that the youth of the present age evinced, by their
behaviour in the streets, and at all places of public resort, a
considerable lack of that gallantry and gentlemanly feeling which, in
more ignorant times, had been thought becoming.  He wished to know
whether it were possible that a constant outward application of
bears’-grease by the young gentlemen about town had imperceptibly infused
into those unhappy persons something of the nature and quality of the
bear.  He shuddered as he threw out the remark; but if this theory, on
inquiry, should prove to be well founded, it would at once explain a
great deal of unpleasant eccentricity of behaviour, which, without some
such discovery, was wholly unaccountable.

‘THE PRESIDENT highly complimented the learned gentleman on his most
valuable suggestion, which produced the greatest effect upon the
assembly; and remarked that only a week previous he had seen some young
gentlemen at a theatre eyeing a box of ladies with a fierce intensity,
which nothing but the influence of some brutish appetite could possibly
explain.  It was dreadful to reflect that our youth were so rapidly
verging into a generation of bears.

‘After a scene of scientific enthusiasm it was resolved that this
important question should be immediately submitted to the consideration
of the council.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to know whether any gentleman could inform the
section what had become of the dancing-dogs?

‘A MEMBER replied, after some hesitation, that on the day after three
glee-singers had been committed to prison as criminals by a late most
zealous police-magistrate of the metropolis, the dogs had abandoned their
professional duties, and dispersed themselves in different quarters of
the town to gain a livelihood by less dangerous means.  He was given to
understand that since that period they had supported themselves by lying
in wait for and robbing blind men’s poodles.

‘MR. FLUMMERY exhibited a twig, claiming to be a veritable branch of that
noble tree known to naturalists as the SHAKSPEARE, which has taken root
in every land and climate, and gathered under the shade of its broad
green boughs the great family of mankind.  The learned gentleman remarked
that the twig had been undoubtedly called by other names in its time; but
that it had been pointed out to him by an old lady in Warwickshire, where
the great tree had grown, as a shoot of the genuine SHAKSPEARE, by which
name he begged to introduce it to his countrymen.

‘THE PRESIDENT wished to know what botanical definition the honourable
gentleman could afford of the curiosity.

‘MR. FLUMMERY expressed his opinion that it was A DECIDED PLANT.



‘SECTION B.—DISPLAY OF MODELS AND MECHANICAL SCIENCE.


                  LARGE ROOM, BOOT-JACK AND COUNTENANCE.

  _President_—Mr. Mallett.  _Vice-Presidents_—Messrs. Leaver and Scroo.

‘MR. CRINKLES exhibited a most beautiful and delicate machine, of little
larger size than an ordinary snuff-box, manufactured entirely by himself,
and composed exclusively of steel, by the aid of which more pockets could
be picked in one hour than by the present slow and tedious process in
four-and-twenty.  The inventor remarked that it had been put into active
operation in Fleet Street, the Strand, and other thoroughfares, and had
never been once known to fail.

‘After some slight delay, occasioned by the various members of the
section buttoning their pockets,

‘THE PRESIDENT narrowly inspected the invention, and declared that he had
never seen a machine of more beautiful or exquisite construction.  Would
the inventor be good enough to inform the section whether he had taken
any and what means for bringing it into general operation?

‘MR. CRINKLES stated that, after encountering some preliminary
difficulties, he had succeeded in putting himself in communication with
Mr. Fogle Hunter, and other gentlemen connected with the swell mob, who
had awarded the invention the very highest and most unqualified
approbation.  He regretted to say, however, that these distinguished
practitioners, in common with a gentleman of the name of Gimlet-eyed
Tommy, and other members of a secondary grade of the profession whom he
was understood to represent, entertained an insuperable objection to its
being brought into general use, on the ground that it would have the
inevitable effect of almost entirely superseding manual labour, and
throwing a great number of highly-deserving persons out of employment.

‘THE PRESIDENT hoped that no such fanciful objections would be allowed to
stand in the way of such a great public improvement.

‘MR. CRINKLES hoped so too; but he feared that if the gentlemen of the
swell mob persevered in their objection, nothing could be done.

‘PROFESSOR GRIME suggested, that surely, in that case, Her Majesty’s
Government might be prevailed upon to take it up.

‘MR. CRINKLES said, that if the objection were found to be insuperable he
should apply to Parliament, which he thought could not fail to recognise
the utility of the invention.

‘THE PRESIDENT observed that, up to this time Parliament had certainly
got on very well without it; but, as they did their business on a very
large scale, he had no doubt they would gladly adopt the improvement.
His only fear was that the machine might be worn out by constant working.

‘MR. COPPERNOSE called the attention of the section to a proposition of
great magnitude and interest, illustrated by a vast number of models, and
stated with much clearness and perspicuity in a treatise entitled
“Practical Suggestions on the necessity of providing some harmless and
wholesome relaxation for the young noblemen of England.”  His proposition
was, that a space of ground of not less than ten miles in length and four
in breadth should be purchased by a new company, to be incorporated by
Act of Parliament, and inclosed by a brick wall of not less than twelve
feet in height.  He proposed that it should be laid out with highway
roads, turnpikes, bridges, miniature villages, and every object that
could conduce to the comfort and glory of Four-in-hand Clubs, so that
they might be fairly presumed to require no drive beyond it.  This
delightful retreat would be fitted up with most commodious and extensive
stables, for the convenience of such of the nobility and gentry as had a
taste for ostlering, and with houses of entertainment furnished in the
most expensive and handsome style.  It would be further provided with
whole streets of door-knockers and bell-handles of extra size, so
constructed that they could be easily wrenched off at night, and
regularly screwed on again, by attendants provided for the purpose, every
day.  There would also be gas lamps of real glass, which could be broken
at a comparatively small expense per dozen, and a broad and handsome foot
pavement for gentlemen to drive their cabriolets upon when they were
humorously disposed—for the full enjoyment of which feat live pedestrians
would be procured from the workhouse at a very small charge per head.
The place being inclosed, and carefully screened from the intrusion of
the public, there would be no objection to gentlemen laying aside any
article of their costume that was considered to interfere with a pleasant
frolic, or, indeed, to their walking about without any costume at all, if
they liked that better.  In short, every facility of enjoyment would be
afforded that the most gentlemanly person could possibly desire.  But as
even these advantages would be incomplete unless there were some means
provided of enabling the nobility and gentry to display their prowess
when they sallied forth after dinner, and as some inconvenience might be
experienced in the event of their being reduced to the necessity of
pummelling each other, the inventor had turned his attention to the
construction of an entirely new police force, composed exclusively of
automaton figures, which, with the assistance of the ingenious Signor
Gagliardi, of Windmill-street, in the Haymarket, he had succeeded in
making with such nicety, that a policeman, cab-driver, or old woman, made
upon the principle of the models exhibited, would walk about until
knocked down like any real man; nay, more, if set upon and beaten by six
or eight noblemen or gentlemen, after it was down, the figure would utter
divers groans, mingled with entreaties for mercy, thus rendering the
illusion complete, and the enjoyment perfect.  But the invention did not
stop even here; for station-houses would be built, containing good beds
for noblemen and gentlemen during the night, and in the morning they
would repair to a commodious police office, where a pantomimic
investigation would take place before the automaton magistrates,—quite
equal to life,—who would fine them in so many counters, with which they
would be previously provided for the purpose.  This office would be
furnished with an inclined plane, for the convenience of any nobleman or
gentleman who might wish to bring in his horse as a witness; and the
prisoners would be at perfect liberty, as they were now, to interrupt the
complainants as much as they pleased, and to make any remarks that they
thought proper.  The charge for these amusements would amount to very
little more than they already cost, and the inventor submitted that the
public would be much benefited and comforted by the proposed arrangement.

          [Picture: Automaton Police Office, and Real Offenders]

‘PROFESSOR NOGO wished to be informed what amount of automaton police
force it was proposed to raise in the first instance.

‘MR. COPPERNOSE replied, that it was proposed to begin with seven
divisions of police of a score each, lettered from A to G inclusive.  It
was proposed that not more than half this number should be placed on
active duty, and that the remainder should be kept on shelves in the
police office ready to be called out at a moment’s notice.

‘THE PRESIDENT, awarding the utmost merit to the ingenious gentleman who
had originated the idea, doubted whether the automaton police would quite
answer the purpose.  He feared that noblemen and gentlemen would perhaps
require the excitement of thrashing living subjects.

‘MR. COPPERNOSE submitted, that as the usual odds in such cases were ten
noblemen or gentlemen to one policeman or cab-driver, it could make very
little difference in point of excitement whether the policeman or
cab-driver were a man or a block.  The great advantage would be, that a
policeman’s limbs might be all knocked off, and yet he would be in a
condition to do duty next day.  He might even give his evidence next
morning with his head in his hand, and give it equally well.

‘PROFESSOR MUFF.—Will you allow me to ask you, sir, of what materials it
is intended that the magistrates’ heads shall be composed?

‘MR. COPPERNOSE.—The magistrates will have wooden heads of course, and
they will be made of the toughest and thickest materials that can
possibly be obtained.

‘PROFESSOR MUFF.—I am quite satisfied.  This is a great invention.

‘PROFESSOR NOGO.—I see but one objection to it.  It appears to me that
the magistrates ought to talk.

‘MR. COPPERNOSE no sooner heard this suggestion than he touched a small
spring in each of the two models of magistrates which were placed upon
the table; one of the figures immediately began to exclaim with great
volubility that he was sorry to see gentlemen in such a situation, and
the other to express a fear that the policeman was intoxicated.

‘The section, as with one accord, declared with a shout of applause that
the invention was complete; and the President, much excited, retired with
Mr. Coppernose to lay it before the council.  On his return,

‘MR. TICKLE displayed his newly-invented spectacles, which enabled the
wearer to discern, in very bright colours, objects at a great distance,
and rendered him wholly blind to those immediately before him.  It was,
he said, a most valuable and useful invention, based strictly upon the
principle of the human eye.

‘THE PRESIDENT required some information upon this point.  He had yet to
learn that the human eye was remarkable for the peculiarities of which
the honourable gentleman had spoken.

‘MR. TICKLE was rather astonished to hear this, when the President could
not fail to be aware that a large number of most excellent persons and
great statesmen could see, with the naked eye, most marvellous horrors on
West India plantations, while they could discern nothing whatever in the
interior of Manchester cotton mills.  He must know, too, with what
quickness of perception most people could discover their neighbour’s
faults, and how very blind they were to their own.  If the President
differed from the great majority of men in this respect, his eye was a
defective one, and it was to assist his vision that these glasses were
made.

‘MR. BLANK exhibited a model of a fashionable annual, composed of
copper-plates, gold leaf, and silk boards, and worked entirely by milk
and water.

‘MR. PROSEE, after examining the machine, declared it to be so
ingeniously composed, that he was wholly unable to discover how it went
on at all.

‘MR. BLANK.—Nobody can, and that is the beauty of it.



‘SECTION C.—ANATOMY AND MEDICINE.


                  BAR ROOM, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.

 _President_—Dr. Soemup.  _Vice-Presidents_—Messrs. Pessell and Mortair.

‘DR. GRUMMIDGE stated to the section a most interesting case of
monomania, and described the course of treatment he had pursued with
perfect success.  The patient was a married lady in the middle rank of
life, who, having seen another lady at an evening party in a full suit of
pearls, was suddenly seized with a desire to possess a similar equipment,
although her husband’s finances were by no means equal to the necessary
outlay.  Finding her wish ungratified, she fell sick, and the symptoms
soon became so alarming, that he (Dr. Grummidge) was called in.  At this
period the prominent tokens of the disorder were sullenness, a total
indisposition to perform domestic duties, great peevishness, and extreme
languor, except when pearls were mentioned, at which times the pulse
quickened, the eyes grew brighter, the pupils dilated, and the patient,
after various incoherent exclamations, burst into a passion of tears, and
exclaimed that nobody cared for her, and that she wished herself dead.
Finding that the patient’s appetite was affected in the presence of
company, he began by ordering a total abstinence from all stimulants, and
forbidding any sustenance but weak gruel; he then took twenty ounces of
blood, applied a blister under each ear, one upon the chest, and another
on the back; having done which, and administered five grains of calomel,
he left the patient to her repose.  The next day she was somewhat low,
but decidedly better, and all appearances of irritation were removed.
The next day she improved still further, and on the next again.  On the
fourth there was some appearance of a return of the old symptoms, which
no sooner developed themselves, than he administered another dose of
calomel, and left strict orders that, unless a decidedly favourable
change occurred within two hours, the patient’s head should be
immediately shaved to the very last curl.  From that moment she began to
mend, and, in less than four-and-twenty hours was perfectly restored.
She did not now betray the least emotion at the sight or mention of
pearls or any other ornaments.  She was cheerful and good-humoured, and a
most beneficial change had been effected in her whole temperament and
condition.

‘MR. PIPKIN (M.R.C.S.) read a short but most interesting communication in
which he sought to prove the complete belief of Sir William Courtenay,
otherwise Thorn, recently shot at Canterbury, in the Homoeopathic system.
The section would bear in mind that one of the Homoeopathic doctrines
was, that infinitesimal doses of any medicine which would occasion the
disease under which the patient laboured, supposing him to be in a
healthy state, would cure it.  Now, it was a remarkable
circumstance—proved in the evidence—that the deceased Thorn employed a
woman to follow him about all day with a pail of water, assuring her that
one drop (a purely homoeopathic remedy, the section would observe),
placed upon his tongue, after death, would restore him.  What was the
obvious inference?  That Thorn, who was marching and countermarching in
osier beds, and other swampy places, was impressed with a presentiment
that he should be drowned; in which case, had his instructions been
complied with, he could not fail to have been brought to life again
instantly by his own prescription.  As it was, if this woman, or any
other person, had administered an infinitesimal dose of lead and
gunpowder immediately after he fell, he would have recovered forthwith.
But unhappily the woman concerned did not possess the power of reasoning
by analogy, or carrying out a principle, and thus the unfortunate
gentleman had been sacrificed to the ignorance of the peasantry.



‘SECTION D.—STATISTICS.


                  OUT-HOUSE, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.

   _President_—Mr. Slug.  _Vice-Presidents_—Messrs. Noakes and Styles.

‘MR. KWAKLEY stated the result of some most ingenious statistical
inquiries relative to the difference between the value of the
qualification of several members of Parliament as published to the world,
and its real nature and amount.  After reminding the section that every
member of Parliament for a town or borough was supposed to possess a
clear freehold estate of three hundred pounds per annum, the honourable
gentleman excited great amusement and laughter by stating the exact
amount of freehold property possessed by a column of legislators, in
which he had included himself.  It appeared from this table, that the
amount of such income possessed by each was 0 pounds, 0 shillings, and 0
pence, yielding an average of the same. (Great laughter.)  It was pretty
well known that there were accommodating gentlemen in the habit of
furnishing new members with temporary qualifications, to the ownership of
which they swore solemnly—of course as a mere matter of form.  He argued
from these _data_ that it was wholly unnecessary for members of
Parliament to possess any property at all, especially as when they had
none the public could get them so much cheaper.



‘SUPPLEMENTARY SECTION, E.—UMBUGOLOGY AND DITCHWATERISICS.


     _President_—Mr. Grub.  _Vice Presidents_—Messrs. Dull and Dummy.

‘A paper was read by the secretary descriptive of a bay pony with one
eye, which had been seen by the author standing in a butcher’s cart at
the corner of Newgate Market.  The communication described the author of
the paper as having, in the prosecution of a mercantile pursuit, betaken
himself one Saturday morning last summer from Somers Town to Cheapside;
in the course of which expedition he had beheld the extraordinary
appearance above described.  The pony had one distinct eye, and it had
been pointed out to him by his friend Captain Blunderbore, of the Horse
Marines, who assisted the author in his search, that whenever he winked
this eye he whisked his tail (possibly to drive the flies off), but that
he always winked and whisked at the same time.  The animal was lean,
spavined, and tottering; and the author proposed to constitute it of the
family of _Fitfordogsmeataurious_.  It certainly did occur to him that
there was no case on record of a pony with one clearly-defined and
distinct organ of vision, winking and whisking at the same moment.

‘MR. Q. J. SNUFFLETOFFLE had heard of a pony winking his eye, and
likewise of a pony whisking his tail, but whether they were two ponies or
the same pony he could not undertake positively to say.  At all events,
he was acquainted with no authenticated instance of a simultaneous
winking and whisking, and he really could not but doubt the existence of
such a marvellous pony in opposition to all those natural laws by which
ponies were governed.  Referring, however, to the mere question of his
one organ of vision, might he suggest the possibility of this pony having
been literally half asleep at the time he was seen, and having closed
only one eye.

‘THE PRESIDENT observed that, whether the pony was half asleep or fast
asleep, there could be no doubt that the association was wide awake, and
therefore that they had better get the business over, and go to dinner.
He had certainly never seen anything analogous to this pony, but he was
not prepared to doubt its existence; for he had seen many queerer ponies
in his time, though he did not pretend to have seen any more remarkable
donkeys than the other gentlemen around him.

‘PROFESSOR JOHN KETCH was then called upon to exhibit the skull of the
late Mr. Greenacre, which he produced from a blue bag, remarking, on
being invited to make any observations that occurred to him, “that he’d
pound it as that ’ere ’spectable section had never seed a more gamerer
cove nor he vos.”

‘A most animated discussion upon this interesting relic ensued; and, some
difference of opinion arising respecting the real character of the
deceased gentleman, Mr. Blubb delivered a lecture upon the cranium before
him, clearly showing that Mr. Greenacre possessed the organ of
destructiveness to a most unusual extent, with a most remarkable
development of the organ of carveativeness.  Sir Hookham Snivey was
proceeding to combat this opinion, when Professor Ketch suddenly
interrupted the proceedings by exclaiming, with great excitement of
manner, “Walker!”

‘THE PRESIDENT begged to call the learned gentleman to order.

‘PROFESSOR KETCH.—“Order be blowed! you’ve got the wrong un, I tell you.
It ain’t no ’ed at all; it’s a coker-nut as my brother-in-law has been
a-carvin’, to hornament his new baked tatur-stall wots a-comin’ down ’ere
vile the ’sociation’s in the town.  Hand over, vill you?”

‘With these words, Professor Ketch hastily repossessed himself of the
cocoa-nut, and drew forth the skull, in mistake for which he had
exhibited it.  A most interesting conversation ensued; but as there
appeared some doubt ultimately whether the skull was Mr. Greenacre’s, or
a hospital patient’s, or a pauper’s, or a man’s, or a woman’s, or a
monkey’s, no particular result was obtained.’

                                * * * * *

‘I cannot,’ says our talented correspondent in conclusion, ‘I cannot
close my account of these gigantic researches and sublime and noble
triumphs without repeating a _bon mot_ of Professor Woodensconce’s, which
shows how the greatest minds may occasionally unbend when truth can be
presented to listening ears, clothed in an attractive and playful form.
I was standing by, when, after a week of feasting and feeding, that
learned gentleman, accompanied by the whole body of wonderful men,
entered the hall yesterday, where a sumptuous dinner was prepared; where
the richest wines sparkled on the board, and fat bucks—propitiatory
sacrifices to learning—sent forth their savoury odours.  “Ah!” said
Professor Woodensconce, rubbing his hands, “this is what we meet for;
this is what inspires us; this is what keeps us together, and beckons us
onward; this is the _spread_ of science, and a glorious spread it is.”’



THE PANTOMIME OF LIFE


BEFORE we plunge headlong into this paper, let us at once confess to a
fondness for pantomimes—to a gentle sympathy with clowns and
pantaloons—to an unqualified admiration of harlequins and columbines—to a
chaste delight in every action of their brief existence, varied and
many-coloured as those actions are, and inconsistent though they
occasionally be with those rigid and formal rules of propriety which
regulate the proceedings of meaner and less comprehensive minds.  We
revel in pantomimes—not because they dazzle one’s eyes with tinsel and
gold leaf; not because they present to us, once again, the well-beloved
chalked faces, and goggle eyes of our childhood; not even because, like
Christmas-day, and Twelfth-night, and Shrove-Tuesday, and one’s own
birthday, they come to us but once a year;—our attachment is founded on a
graver and a very different reason.  A pantomime is to us, a mirror of
life; nay, more, we maintain that it is so to audiences generally,
although they are not aware of it, and that this very circumstance is the
secret cause of their amusement and delight.

Let us take a slight example.  The scene is a street: an elderly
gentleman, with a large face and strongly marked features, appears.  His
countenance beams with a sunny smile, and a perpetual dimple is on his
broad, red cheek.  He is evidently an opulent elderly gentleman,
comfortable in circumstances, and well-to-do in the world.  He is not
unmindful of the adornment of his person, for he is richly, not to say
gaudily, dressed; and that he indulges to a reasonable extent in the
pleasures of the table may be inferred from the joyous and oily manner in
which he rubs his stomach, by way of informing the audience that he is
going home to dinner.  In the fulness of his heart, in the fancied
security of wealth, in the possession and enjoyment of all the good
things of life, the elderly gentleman suddenly loses his footing, and
stumbles.  How the audience roar!  He is set upon by a noisy and
officious crowd, who buffet and cuff him unmercifully.  They scream with
delight!  Every time the elderly gentleman struggles to get up, his
relentless persecutors knock him down again.  The spectators are
convulsed with merriment!  And when at last the elderly gentleman does
get up, and staggers away, despoiled of hat, wig, and clothing, himself
battered to pieces, and his watch and money gone, they are exhausted with
laughter, and express their merriment and admiration in rounds of
applause.

Is this like life?  Change the scene to any real street;—to the Stock
Exchange, or the City banker’s; the merchant’s counting-house, or even
the tradesman’s shop.  See any one of these men fall,—the more suddenly,
and the nearer the zenith of his pride and riches, the better.  What a
wild hallo is raised over his prostrate carcase by the shouting mob; how
they whoop and yell as he lies humbled beneath them!  Mark how eagerly
they set upon him when he is down; and how they mock and deride him as he
slinks away.  Why, it is the pantomime to the very letter.

Of all the pantomimic _dramatis personæ_, we consider the pantaloon the
most worthless and debauched.  Independent of the dislike one naturally
feels at seeing a gentleman of his years engaged in pursuits highly
unbecoming his gravity and time of life, we cannot conceal from ourselves
the fact that he is a treacherous, worldly-minded old villain, constantly
enticing his younger companion, the clown, into acts of fraud or petty
larceny, and generally standing aside to watch the result of the
enterprise.  If it be successful, he never forgets to return for his
share of the spoil; but if it turn out a failure, he generally retires
with remarkable caution and expedition, and keeps carefully aloof until
the affair has blown over.  His amorous propensities, too, are eminently
disagreeable; and his mode of addressing ladies in the open street at
noon-day is down-right improper, being usually neither more nor less than
a perceptible tickling of the aforesaid ladies in the waist, after
committing which, he starts back, manifestly ashamed (as well he may be)
of his own indecorum and temerity; continuing, nevertheless, to ogle and
beckon to them from a distance in a very unpleasant and immoral manner.

Is there any man who cannot count a dozen pantaloons in his own social
circle?  Is there any man who has not seen them swarming at the west end
of the town on a sunshiny day or a summer’s evening, going through the
last-named pantomimic feats with as much liquorish energy, and as total
an absence of reserve, as if they were on the very stage itself?  We can
tell upon our fingers a dozen pantaloons of our acquaintance at this
moment—capital pantaloons, who have been performing all kinds of strange
freaks, to the great amusement of their friends and acquaintance, for
years past; and who to this day are making such comical and ineffectual
attempts to be young and dissolute, that all beholders are like to die
with laughter.

Take that old gentleman who has just emerged from the _Café de l’Europe_
in the Haymarket, where he has been dining at the expense of the young
man upon town with whom he shakes hands as they part at the door of the
tavern.  The affected warmth of that shake of the hand, the courteous
nod, the obvious recollection of the dinner, the savoury flavour of which
still hangs upon his lips, are all characteristics of his great
prototype.  He hobbles away humming an opera tune, and twirling his cane
to and fro, with affected carelessness.  Suddenly he stops—’tis at the
milliner’s window.  He peeps through one of the large panes of glass;
and, his view of the ladies within being obstructed by the India shawls,
directs his attentions to the young girl with the band-box in her hand,
who is gazing in at the window also.  See! he draws beside her.  He
coughs; she turns away from him.  He draws near her again; she disregards
him.  He gleefully chucks her under the chin, and, retreating a few
steps, nods and beckons with fantastic grimaces, while the girl bestows a
contemptuous and supercilious look upon his wrinkled visage.  She turns
away with a flounce, and the old gentleman trots after her with a
toothless chuckle. The pantaloon to the life!

But the close resemblance which the clowns of the stage bear to those of
every-day life is perfectly extraordinary.  Some people talk with a sigh
of the decline of pantomime, and murmur in low and dismal tones the name
of Grimaldi.  We mean no disparagement to the worthy and excellent old
man when we say that this is downright nonsense.  Clowns that beat
Grimaldi all to nothing turn up every day, and nobody patronizes
them—more’s the pity!

‘I know who you mean,’ says some dirty-faced patron of Mr.
Osbaldistone’s, laying down the Miscellany when he has got thus far, and
bestowing upon vacancy a most knowing glance; ‘you mean C. J. Smith as
did Guy Fawkes, and George Barnwell at the Garden.’  The dirty-faced
gentleman has hardly uttered the words, when he is interrupted by a young
gentleman in no shirt-collar and a Petersham coat.  ‘No, no,’ says the
young gentleman; ‘he means Brown, King, and Gibson, at the ’Delphi.’
Now, with great deference both to the first-named gentleman with the
dirty face, and the last-named gentleman in the non-existing
shirt-collar, we do _not_ mean either the performer who so grotesquely
burlesqued the Popish conspirator, or the three unchangeables who have
been dancing the same dance under different imposing titles, and doing
the same thing under various high-sounding names for some five or six
years last past.  We have no sooner made this avowal, than the public,
who have hitherto been silent witnesses of the dispute, inquire what on
earth it is we _do_ mean; and, with becoming respect, we proceed to tell
them.

It is very well known to all playgoers and pantomime-seers, that the
scenes in which a theatrical clown is at the very height of his glory are
those which are described in the play-bills as ‘Cheesemonger’s shop and
Crockery warehouse,’ or ‘Tailor’s shop, and Mrs. Queertable’s
boarding-house,’ or places bearing some such title, where the great fun
of the thing consists in the hero’s taking lodgings which he has not the
slightest intention of paying for, or obtaining goods under false
pretences, or abstracting the stock-in-trade of the respectable
shopkeeper next door, or robbing warehouse porters as they pass under his
window, or, to shorten the catalogue, in his swindling everybody he
possibly can, it only remaining to be observed that, the more extensive
the swindling is, and the more barefaced the impudence of the swindler,
the greater the rapture and ecstasy of the audience.  Now it is a most
remarkable fact that precisely this sort of thing occurs in real life day
after day, and nobody sees the humour of it.  Let us illustrate our
position by detailing the plot of this portion of the pantomime—not of
the theatre, but of life.

The Honourable Captain Fitz-Whisker Fiercy, attended by his livery
servant Do’em—a most respectable servant to look at, who has grown grey
in the service of the captain’s family—views, treats for, and ultimately
obtains possession of, the unfurnished house, such a number, such a
street.  All the tradesmen in the neighbourhood are in agonies of
competition for the captain’s custom; the captain is a good-natured,
kind-hearted, easy man, and, to avoid being the cause of disappointment
to any, he most handsomely gives orders to all.  Hampers of wine, baskets
of provisions, cart-loads of furniture, boxes of jewellery, supplies of
luxuries of the costliest description, flock to the house of the
Honourable Captain Fitz-Whisker Fiercy, where they are received with the
utmost readiness by the highly respectable Do’em; while the captain
himself struts and swaggers about with that compound air of conscious
superiority and general blood-thirstiness which a military captain should
always, and does most times, wear, to the admiration and terror of
plebeian men.  But the tradesmen’s backs are no sooner turned, than the
captain, with all the eccentricity of a mighty mind, and assisted by the
faithful Do’em, whose devoted fidelity is not the least touching part of
his character, disposes of everything to great advantage; for, although
the articles fetch small sums, still they are sold considerably above
cost price, the cost to the captain having been nothing at all.  After
various manœuvres, the imposture is discovered, Fitz-Fiercy and Do’em are
recognized as confederates, and the police office to which they are both
taken is thronged with their dupes.

Who can fail to recognize in this, the exact counterpart of the best
portion of a theatrical pantomime—Fitz-Whisker Fiercy by the clown; Do’em
by the pantaloon; and supernumeraries by the tradesmen?  The best of the
joke, too, is, that the very coal-merchant who is loudest in his
complaints against the person who defrauded him, is the identical man who
sat in the centre of the very front row of the pit last night and laughed
the most boisterously at this very same thing,—and not so well done
either.  Talk of Grimaldi, we say again!  Did Grimaldi, in his best days,
ever do anything in this way equal to Da Costa?

The mention of this latter justly celebrated clown reminds us of his last
piece of humour, the fraudulently obtaining certain stamped acceptances
from a young gentleman in the army.  We had scarcely laid down our pen to
contemplate for a few moments this admirable actor’s performance of that
exquisite practical joke, than a new branch of our subject flashed
suddenly upon us.  So we take it up again at once.

All people who have been behind the scenes, and most people who have been
before them, know, that in the representation of a pantomime, a good many
men are sent upon the stage for the express purpose of being cheated, or
knocked down, or both.  Now, down to a moment ago, we had never been able
to understand for what possible purpose a great number of odd, lazy,
large-headed men, whom one is in the habit of meeting here, and there,
and everywhere, could ever have been created.  We see it all, now.  They
are the supernumeraries in the pantomime of life; the men who have been
thrust into it, with no other view than to be constantly tumbling over
each other, and running their heads against all sorts of strange things.
We sat opposite to one of these men at a supper-table, only last week.
Now we think of it, he was exactly like the gentlemen with the pasteboard
heads and faces, who do the corresponding business in the theatrical
pantomimes; there was the same broad stolid simper—the same dull leaden
eye—the same unmeaning, vacant stare; and whatever was said, or whatever
was done, he always came in at precisely the wrong place, or jostled
against something that he had not the slightest business with.  We looked
at the man across the table again and again; and could not satisfy
ourselves what race of beings to class him with.  How very odd that this
never occurred to us before!

We will frankly own that we have been much troubled with the harlequin.
We see harlequins of so many kinds in the real living pantomime, that we
hardly know which to select as the proper fellow of him of the theatres.
At one time we were disposed to think that the harlequin was neither more
nor less than a young man of family and independent property, who had run
away with an opera-dancer, and was fooling his life and his means away in
light and trivial amusements.  On reflection, however, we remembered that
harlequins are occasionally guilty of witty, and even clever acts, and we
are rather disposed to acquit our young men of family and independent
property, generally speaking, of any such misdemeanours.  On a more
mature consideration of the subject, we have arrived at the conclusion
that the harlequins of life are just ordinary men, to be found in no
particular walk or degree, on whom a certain station, or particular
conjunction of circumstances, confers the magic wand.  And this brings us
to a few words on the pantomime of public and political life, which we
shall say at once, and then conclude—merely premising in this place that
we decline any reference whatever to the columbine, being in no wise
satisfied of the nature of her connection with her parti-coloured lover,
and not feeling by any means clear that we should be justified in
introducing her to the virtuous and respectable ladies who peruse our
lucubrations.

We take it that the commencement of a Session of Parliament is neither
more nor less than the drawing up of the curtain for a grand comic
pantomime, and that his Majesty’s most gracious speech on the opening
thereof may be not inaptly compared to the clown’s opening speech of
‘Here we are!’  ‘My lords and gentlemen, here we are!’ appears, to our
mind at least, to be a very good abstract of the point and meaning of the
propitiatory address of the ministry.  When we remember how frequently
this speech is made, immediately after _the change_ too, the parallel is
quite perfect, and still more singular.

Perhaps the cast of our political pantomime never was richer than at this
day.  We are particularly strong in clowns.  At no former time, we should
say, have we had such astonishing tumblers, or performers so ready to go
through the whole of their feats for the amusement of an admiring throng.
Their extreme readiness to exhibit, indeed, has given rise to some
ill-natured reflections; it having been objected that by exhibiting
gratuitously through the country when the theatre is closed, they reduce
themselves to the level of mountebanks, and thereby tend to degrade the
respectability of the profession.  Certainly Grimaldi never did this sort
of thing; and though Brown, King, and Gibson have gone to the Surrey in
vacation time, and Mr. C. J. Smith has ruralised at Sadler’s Wells, we
find no theatrical precedent for a general tumbling through the country,
except in the gentleman, name unknown, who threw summersets on behalf of
the late Mr. Richardson, and who is no authority either, because he had
never been on the regular boards.

But, laying aside this question, which after all is a mere matter of
taste, we may reflect with pride and gratification of heart on the
proficiency of our clowns as exhibited in the season.  Night after night
will they twist and tumble about, till two, three, and four o’clock in
the morning; playing the strangest antics, and giving each other the
funniest slaps on the face that can possibly be imagined, without
evincing the smallest tokens of fatigue.  The strange noises, the
confusion, the shouting and roaring, amid which all this is done, too,
would put to shame the most turbulent sixpenny gallery that ever yelled
through a boxing-night.

It is especially curious to behold one of these clowns compelled to go
through the most surprising contortions by the irresistible influence of
the wand of office, which his leader or harlequin holds above his head.
Acted upon by this wonderful charm he will become perfectly motionless,
moving neither hand, foot, nor finger, and will even lose the faculty of
speech at an instant’s notice; or on the other hand, he will become all
life and animation if required, pouring forth a torrent of words without
sense or meaning, throwing himself into the wildest and most fantastic
contortions, and even grovelling on the earth and licking up the dust.
These exhibitions are more curious than pleasing; indeed, they are rather
disgusting than otherwise, except to the admirers of such things, with
whom we confess we have no fellow-feeling.

Strange tricks—very strange tricks—are also performed by the harlequin
who holds for the time being the magic wand which we have just mentioned.
The mere waving it before a man’s eyes will dispossess his brains of all
the notions previously stored there, and fill it with an entirely new set
of ideas; one gentle tap on the back will alter the colour of a man’s
coat completely; and there are some expert performers, who, having this
wand held first on one side and then on the other, will change from side
to side, turning their coats at every evolution, with so much rapidity
and dexterity, that the quickest eye can scarcely detect their motions.
Occasionally, the genius who confers the wand, wrests it from the hand of
the temporary possessor, and consigns it to some new performer; on which
occasions all the characters change sides, and then the race and the hard
knocks begin anew.

We might have extended this chapter to a much greater length—we might
have carried the comparison into the liberal professions—we might have
shown, as was in fact our original purpose, that each is in itself a
little pantomime with scenes and characters of its own, complete; but, as
we fear we have been quite lengthy enough already, we shall leave this
chapter just where it is.  A gentleman, not altogether unknown as a
dramatic poet, wrote thus a year or two ago—

                   ‘All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:’

and we, tracking out his footsteps at the scarcely-worth-mentioning
little distance of a few millions of leagues behind, venture to add, by
way of new reading, that he meant a Pantomime, and that we are all actors
in The Pantomime of Life.



SOME PARTICULARS CONCERNING A LION


WE have a great respect for lions in the abstract.  In common with most
other people, we have heard and read of many instances of their bravery
and generosity.  We have duly admired that heroic self-denial and
charming philanthropy which prompts them never to eat people except when
they are hungry, and we have been deeply impressed with a becoming sense
of the politeness they are said to display towards unmarried ladies of a
certain state.  All natural histories teem with anecdotes illustrative of
their excellent qualities; and one old spelling-book in particular
recounts a touching instance of an old lion, of high moral dignity and
stern principle, who felt it his imperative duty to devour a young man
who had contracted a habit of swearing, as a striking example to the
rising generation.

All this is extremely pleasant to reflect upon, and, indeed, says a very
great deal in favour of lions as a mass.  We are bound to state, however,
that such individual lions as we have happened to fall in with have not
put forth any very striking characteristics, and have not acted up to the
chivalrous character assigned them by their chroniclers.  We never saw a
lion in what is called his natural state, certainly; that is to say, we
have never met a lion out walking in a forest, or crouching in his lair
under a tropical sun, waiting till his dinner should happen to come by,
hot from the baker’s.  But we have seen some under the influence of
captivity, and the pressure of misfortune; and we must say that they
appeared to us very apathetic, heavy-headed fellows.

The lion at the Zoological Gardens, for instance.  He is all very well;
he has an undeniable mane, and looks very fierce; but, Lord bless us!
what of that?  The lions of the fashionable world look just as ferocious,
and are the most harmless creatures breathing.  A box-lobby lion or a
Regent-street animal will put on a most terrible aspect, and roar,
fearfully, if you affront him; but he will never bite, and, if you offer
to attack him manfully, will fairly turn tail and sneak off.  Doubtless
these creatures roam about sometimes in herds, and, if they meet any
especially meek-looking and peaceably-disposed fellow, will endeavour to
frighten him; but the faintest show of a vigorous resistance is
sufficient to scare them even then.  These are pleasant characteristics,
whereas we make it matter of distinct charge against the Zoological lion
and his brethren at the fairs, that they are sleepy, dreamy, sluggish
quadrupeds.

We do not remember to have ever seen one of them perfectly awake, except
at feeding-time.  In every respect we uphold the biped lions against
their four-footed namesakes, and we boldly challenge controversy upon the
subject.

With these opinions it may be easily imagined that our curiosity and
interest were very much excited the other day, when a lady of our
acquaintance called on us and resolutely declined to accept our refusal
of her invitation to an evening party; ‘for,’ said she, ‘I have got a
lion coming.’  We at once retracted our plea of a prior engagement, and
became as anxious to go, as we had previously been to stay away.

We went early, and posted ourselves in an eligible part of the
drawing-room, from whence we could hope to obtain a full view of the
interesting animal.  Two or three hours passed, the quadrilles began, the
room filled; but no lion appeared.  The lady of the house became
inconsolable,—for it is one of the peculiar privileges of these lions to
make solemn appointments and never keep them,—when all of a sudden there
came a tremendous double rap at the street-door, and the master of the
house, after gliding out (unobserved as he flattered himself) to peep
over the banisters, came into the room, rubbing his hands together with
great glee, and cried out in a very important voice, ‘My dear, Mr. —
(naming the lion) has this moment arrived.’

Upon this, all eyes were turned towards the door, and we observed several
young ladies, who had been laughing and conversing previously with great
gaiety and good humour, grow extremely quiet and sentimental; while some
young gentlemen, who had been cutting great figures in the facetious and
small-talk way, suddenly sank very obviously in the estimation of the
company, and were looked upon with great coldness and indifference.  Even
the young man who had been ordered from the music shop to play the
pianoforte was visibly affected, and struck several false notes in the
excess of his excitement.

All this time there was a great talking outside, more than once
accompanied by a loud laugh, and a cry of ‘Oh! capital! excellent!’ from
which we inferred that the lion was jocose, and that these exclamations
were occasioned by the transports of his keeper and our host.  Nor were
we deceived; for when the lion at last appeared, we overheard his keeper,
who was a little prim man, whisper to several gentlemen of his
acquaintance, with uplifted hands, and every expression of
half-suppressed admiration, that—(naming the lion again) was in _such_
cue to-night!

The lion was a literary one.  Of course, there were a vast number of
people present who had admired his roarings, and were anxious to be
introduced to him; and very pleasant it was to see them brought up for
the purpose, and to observe the patient dignity with which he received
all their patting and caressing.  This brought forcibly to our mind what
we had so often witnessed at country fairs, where the other lions are
compelled to go through as many forms of courtesy as they chance to be
acquainted with, just as often as admiring parties happen to drop in upon
them.

While the lion was exhibiting in this way, his keeper was not idle, for
he mingled among the crowd, and spread his praises most industriously.
To one gentleman he whispered some very choice thing that the noble
animal had said in the very act of coming up-stairs, which, of course,
rendered the mental effort still more astonishing; to another he murmured
a hasty account of a grand dinner that had taken place the day before,
where twenty-seven gentlemen had got up all at once to demand an extra
cheer for the lion; and to the ladies he made sundry promises of
interceding to procure the majestic brute’s sign-manual for their albums.
Then, there were little private consultations in different corners,
relative to the personal appearance and stature of the lion; whether he
was shorter than they had expected to see him, or taller, or thinner, or
fatter, or younger, or older; whether he was like his portrait, or unlike
it; and whether the particular shade of his eyes was black, or blue, or
hazel, or green, or yellow, or mixture.  At all these consultations the
keeper assisted; and, in short, the lion was the sole and single subject
of discussion till they sat him down to whist, and then the people
relapsed into their old topics of conversation—themselves and each other.

We must confess that we looked forward with no slight impatience to the
announcement of supper; for if you wish to see a tame lion under
particularly favourable circumstances, feeding-time is the period of all
others to pitch upon.  We were therefore very much delighted to observe a
sensation among the guests, which we well knew how to interpret, and
immediately afterwards to behold the lion escorting the lady of the house
down-stairs.  We offered our arm to an elderly female of our
acquaintance, who—dear old soul!—is the very best person that ever lived,
to lead down to any meal; for, be the room ever so small, or the party
ever so large, she is sure, by some intuitive perception of the eligible,
to push and pull herself and conductor close to the best dishes on the
table;—we say we offered our arm to this elderly female, and, descending
the stairs shortly after the lion, were fortunate enough to obtain a seat
nearly opposite him.

Of course the keeper was there already.  He had planted himself at
precisely that distance from his charge which afforded him a decent
pretext for raising his voice, when he addressed him, to so loud a key,
as could not fail to attract the attention of the whole company, and
immediately began to apply himself seriously to the task of bringing the
lion out, and putting him through the whole of his manœuvres.  Such
flashes of wit as he elicited from the lion!  First of all, they began to
make puns upon a salt-cellar, and then upon the breast of a fowl, and
then upon the trifle; but the best jokes of all were decidedly on the
lobster salad, upon which latter subject the lion came out most
vigorously, and, in the opinion of the most competent authorities, quite
outshone himself.  This is a very excellent mode of shining in society,
and is founded, we humbly conceive, upon the classic model of the
dialogues between Mr. Punch and his friend the proprietor, wherein the
latter takes all the up-hill work, and is content to pioneer to the jokes
and repartees of Mr. P. himself, who never fails to gain great credit and
excite much laughter thereby.  Whatever it be founded on, however, we
recommend it to all lions, present and to come; for in this instance it
succeeded to admiration, and perfectly dazzled the whole body of hearers.

When the salt-cellar, and the fowl’s breast, and the trifle, and the
lobster salad were all exhausted, and could not afford standing-room for
another solitary witticism, the keeper performed that very dangerous feat
which is still done with some of the caravan lions, although in one
instance it terminated fatally, of putting his head in the animal’s
mouth, and placing himself entirely at its mercy.  Boswell frequently
presents a melancholy instance of the lamentable results of this
achievement, and other keepers and jackals have been terribly lacerated
for their daring.  It is due to our lion to state, that he condescended
to be trifled with, in the most gentle manner, and finally went home with
the showman in a hack cab: perfectly peaceable, but slightly fuddled.

Being in a contemplative mood, we were led to make some reflections upon
the character and conduct of this genus of lions as we walked homewards,
and we were not long in arriving at the conclusion that our former
impression in their favour was very much strengthened and confirmed by
what we had recently seen.  While the other lions receive company and
compliments in a sullen, moody, not to say snarling manner, these appear
flattered by the attentions that are paid them; while those conceal
themselves to the utmost of their power from the vulgar gaze, these court
the popular eye, and, unlike their brethren, whom nothing short of
compulsion will move to exertion, are ever ready to display their
acquirements to the wondering throng.  We have known bears of undoubted
ability who, when the expectations of a large audience have been wound up
to the utmost pitch, have peremptorily refused to dance; well-taught
monkeys, who have unaccountably objected to exhibit on the slack wire;
and elephants of unquestioned genius, who have suddenly declined to turn
the barrel-organ; but we never once knew or heard of a biped lion,
literary or otherwise,—and we state it as a fact which is highly
creditable to the whole species,—who, occasion offering, did not seize
with avidity on any opportunity which was afforded him, of performing to
his heart’s content on the first violin.



MR. ROBERT BOLTON
THE ‘GENTLEMAN CONNECTED WITH THE PRESS’


IN the parlour of the Green Dragon, a public-house in the immediate
neighbourhood of Westminster Bridge, everybody talks politics, every
evening, the great political authority being Mr. Robert Bolton, an
individual who defines himself as ‘a gentleman connected with the press,’
which is a definition of peculiar indefiniteness.  Mr. Robert Bolton’s
regular circle of admirers and listeners are an undertaker, a
greengrocer, a hairdresser, a baker, a large stomach surmounted by a
man’s head, and placed on the top of two particularly short legs, and a
thin man in black, name, profession, and pursuit unknown, who always sits
in the same position, always displays the same long, vacant face, and
never opens his lips, surrounded as he is by most enthusiastic
conversation, except to puff forth a volume of tobacco smoke, or give
vent to a very snappy, loud, and shrill _hem_!  The conversation
sometimes turns upon literature, Mr. Bolton being a literary character,
and always upon such news of the day as is exclusively possessed by that
talented individual.  I found myself (of course, accidentally) in the
Green Dragon the other evening, and, being somewhat amused by the
following conversation, preserved it.

‘Can you lend me a ten-pound note till Christmas?’ inquired the
hairdresser of the stomach.

‘Where’s your security, Mr. Clip?’

‘My stock in trade,—there’s enough of it, I’m thinking, Mr. Thicknesse.
Some fifty wigs, two poles, half-a-dozen head blocks, and a dead Bruin.’

‘No, I won’t, then,’ growled out Thicknesse.  ‘I lends nothing on the
security of the whigs or the Poles either.  As for whigs, they’re cheats;
as for the Poles, they’ve got no cash.  I never have nothing to do with
blockheads, unless I can’t awoid it (ironically), and a dead bear’s about
as much use to me as I could be to a dead bear.’

‘Well, then,’ urged the other, ‘there’s a book as belonged to Pope,
Byron’s Poems, valued at forty pounds, because it’s got Pope’s identical
scratch on the back; what do you think of that for security?’

‘Well, to be sure!’ cried the baker.  ‘But how d’ye mean, Mr. Clip?’

‘Mean! why, that it’s got the _hottergruff_ of Pope.

    “Steal not this book, for fear of hangman’s rope;
    For it belongs to Alexander Pope.”

All that’s written on the inside of the binding of the book; so, as my
son says, we’re _bound_ to believe it.’

‘Well, sir,’ observed the undertaker, deferentially, and in a
half-whisper, leaning over the table, and knocking over the hairdresser’s
grog as he spoke, ‘that argument’s very easy upset.’

‘Perhaps, sir,’ said Clip, a little flurried, ‘you’ll pay for the first
upset afore you thinks of another.’

‘Now,’ said the undertaker, bowing amicably to the hairdresser, ‘I
_think_, I says I _think_—you’ll excuse me, Mr. Clip, I _think_, you see,
that won’t go down with the present company—unfortunately, my master had
the honour of making the coffin of that ere Lord’s housemaid, not no more
nor twenty year ago.  Don’t think I’m proud on it, gentlemen; others
might be; but I hate rank of any sort.  I’ve no more respect for a Lord’s
footman than I have for any respectable tradesman in this room.  I may
say no more nor I have for Mr. Clip! (bowing).  Therefore, that ere Lord
must have been born long after Pope died.  And it’s a logical
interference to defer, that they neither of them lived at the same time.
So what I mean is this here, that Pope never had no book, never seed,
felt, never smelt no book (triumphantly) as belonged to that ere Lord.
And, gentlemen, when I consider how patiently you have ’eared the ideas
what I have expressed, I feel bound, as the best way to reward you for
the kindness you have exhibited, to sit down without saying anything
more—partickler as I perceive a worthier visitor nor myself is just
entered.  I am not in the habit of paying compliments, gentlemen; when I
do, therefore, I hope I strikes with double force.’

‘Ah, Mr. Murgatroyd! what’s all this about striking with double force?’
said the object of the above remark, as he entered.  ‘I never excuse a
man’s getting into a rage during winter, even when he’s seated so close
to the fire as you are.  It is very injudicious to put yourself into such
a perspiration.  What is the cause of this extreme physical and mental
excitement, sir?’

Such was the very philosophical address of Mr. Robert Bolton, a
shorthand-writer, as he termed himself—a bit of equivoque passing current
among his fraternity, which must give the uninitiated a vast idea of the
establishment of the ministerial organ, while to the initiated it
signifies that no one paper can lay claim to the enjoyment of their
services.  Mr. Bolton was a young man, with a somewhat sickly and very
dissipated expression of countenance.  His habiliments were composed of
an exquisite union of gentility, slovenliness, assumption, simplicity,
_newness_, and old age.  Half of him was dressed for the winter, the
other half for the summer.  His hat was of the newest cut, the D’Orsay;
his trousers had been white, but the inroads of mud and ink, etc., had
given them a pie-bald appearance; round his throat he wore a very high
black cravat, of the most tyrannical stiffness; while his _tout ensemble_
was hidden beneath the enormous folds of an old brown poodle-collared
great-coat, which was closely buttoned up to the aforesaid cravat.  His
fingers peeped through the ends of his black kid gloves, and two of the
toes of each foot took a similar view of society through the extremities
of his high-lows.  Sacred to the bare walls of his garret be the
mysteries of his interior dress!  He was a short, spare man, of a
somewhat inferior deportment.  Everybody seemed influenced by his entry
into the room, and his salutation of each member partook of the
patronizing.  The hairdresser made way for him between himself and the
stomach.  A minute afterwards he had taken possession of his pint and
pipe.  A pause in the conversation took place.  Everybody was waiting,
anxious for his first observation.

‘Horrid murder in Westminster this morning,’ observed Mr. Bolton.

Everybody changed their positions.  All eyes were fixed upon the man of
paragraphs.

‘A baker murdered his son by boiling him in a copper,’ said Mr. Bolton.

‘Good heavens!’ exclaimed everybody, in simultaneous horror.

‘Boiled him, gentlemen!’ added Mr. Bolton, with the most effective
emphasis; ‘_boiled_ him!’

‘And the particulars, Mr. B.,’ inquired the hairdresser, ‘the
particulars?’

Mr. Bolton took a very long draught of porter, and some two or three
dozen whiffs of tobacco, doubtless to instil into the commercial
capacities of the company the superiority of a gentlemen connected with
the press, and then said—

‘The man was a baker, gentlemen.’  (Every one looked at the baker
present, who stared at Bolton.)  ‘His victim, being his son, also was
necessarily the son of a baker.  The wretched murderer had a wife, whom
he was frequently in the habit, while in an intoxicated state, of
kicking, pummelling, flinging mugs at, knocking down, and half-killing
while in bed, by inserting in her mouth a considerable portion of a sheet
or blanket.’

The speaker took another draught, everybody looked at everybody else, and
exclaimed, ‘Horrid!’

‘It appears in evidence, gentlemen,’ continued Mr. Bolton, ‘that, on the
evening of yesterday, Sawyer the baker came home in a reprehensible state
of beer.  Mrs. S., connubially considerate, carried him in that condition
up-stairs into his chamber, and consigned him to their mutual couch.  In
a minute or two she lay sleeping beside the man whom the morrow’s dawn
beheld a murderer!’  (Entire silence informed the reporter that his
picture had attained the awful effect he desired.)  ‘The son came home
about an hour afterwards, opened the door, and went up to bed.  Scarcely
(gentlemen, conceive his feelings of alarm), scarcely had he taken off
his indescribables, when shrieks (to his experienced ear _maternal_
shrieks) scared the silence of surrounding night.  He put his
indescribables on again, and ran down-stairs.  He opened the door of the
parental bed-chamber.  His father was dancing upon his mother.  What must
have been his feelings!  In the agony of the minute he rushed at his male
parent as he was about to plunge a knife into the side of his female.
The mother shrieked.  The father caught the son (who had wrested the
knife from the paternal grasp) up in his arms, carried him down-stairs,
shoved him into a copper of boiling water among some linen, closed the
lid, and jumped upon the top of it, in which position he was found with a
ferocious countenance by the mother, who arrived in the melancholy
wash-house just as he had so settled himself.

‘“Where’s my boy?” shrieked the mother.

‘“In that copper, boiling,” coolly replied the benign father.

‘Struck by the awful intelligence, the mother rushed from the house, and
alarmed the neighbourhood.  The police entered a minute afterwards.  The
father, having bolted the wash-house door, had bolted himself.  They
dragged the lifeless body of the boiled baker from the cauldron, and,
with a promptitude commendable in men of their station, they immediately
carried it to the station-house.  Subsequently, the baker was apprehended
while seated on the top of a lamp-post in Parliament Street, lighting his
pipe.’

The whole horrible ideality of the Mysteries of Udolpho, condensed into
the pithy effect of a ten-line paragraph, could not possibly have so
affected the narrator’s auditory.  Silence, the purest and most noble of
all kinds of applause, bore ample testimony to the barbarity of the
baker, as well as to Bolton’s knack of narration; and it was only broken
after some minutes had elapsed by interjectional expressions of the
intense indignation of every man present.  The baker wondered how a
British baker could so disgrace himself and the highly honourable calling
to which he belonged; and the others indulged in a variety of wonderments
connected with the subject; among which not the least wonderment was that
which was awakened by the genius and information of Mr. Robert Bolton,
who, after a glowing eulogium on himself, and his unspeakable influence
with the daily press, was proceeding, with a most solemn countenance, to
hear the pros and cons of the Pope autograph question, when I took up my
hat, and left.



FAMILIAR EPISTLE FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD
AGED TWO YEARS AND TWO MONTHS


MY CHILD,

TO recount with what trouble I have brought you up—with what an anxious
eye I have regarded your progress,—how late and how often I have sat up
at night working for you,—and how many thousand letters I have received
from, and written to your various relations and friends, many of whom
have been of a querulous and irritable turn,—to dwell on the anxiety and
tenderness with which I have (as far as I possessed the power) inspected
and chosen your food; rejecting the indigestible and heavy matter which
some injudicious but well-meaning old ladies would have had you swallow,
and retaining only those light and pleasant articles which I deemed
calculated to keep you free from all gross humours, and to render you an
agreeable child, and one who might be popular with society in general,—to
dilate on the steadiness with which I have prevented your annoying any
company by talking politics—always assuring you that you would thank me
for it yourself some day when you grew older,—to expatiate, in short,
upon my own assiduity as a parent, is beside my present purpose, though I
cannot but contemplate your fair appearance—your robust health, and
unimpeded circulation (which I take to be the great secret of your good
looks) without the liveliest satisfaction and delight.

It is a trite observation, and one which, young as you are, I have no
doubt you have often heard repeated, that we have fallen upon strange
times, and live in days of constant shiftings and changes.  I had a
melancholy instance of this only a week or two since.  I was returning
from Manchester to London by the Mail Train, when I suddenly fell into
another train—a mixed train—of reflection, occasioned by the dejected and
disconsolate demeanour of the Post-Office Guard.  We were stopping at
some station where they take in water, when he dismounted slowly from the
little box in which he sits in ghastly mockery of his old condition with
pistol and blunderbuss beside him, ready to shoot the first highwayman
(or railwayman) who shall attempt to stop the horses, which now travel
(when they travel at all) _inside_ and in a portable stable invented for
the purpose,—he dismounted, I say, slowly and sadly, from his post, and
looking mournfully about him as if in dismal recollection of the old
roadside public-house the blazing fire—the glass of foaming ale—the buxom
handmaid and admiring hangers-on of tap-room and stable, all honoured by
his notice; and, retiring a little apart, stood leaning against a
signal-post, surveying the engine with a look of combined affliction and
disgust which no words can describe.  His scarlet coat and golden lace
were tarnished with ignoble smoke; flakes of soot had fallen on his
bright green shawl—his pride in days of yore—the steam condensed in the
tunnel from which we had just emerged, shone upon his hat like rain.  His
eye betokened that he was thinking of the coachman; and as it wandered to
his own seat and his own fast-fading garb, it was plain to see that he
felt his office and himself had alike no business there, and were nothing
but an elaborate practical joke.

As we whirled away, I was led insensibly into an anticipation of those
days to come, when mail-coach guards shall no longer be judges of
horse-flesh—when a mail-coach guard shall never even have seen a
horse—when stations shall have superseded stables, and corn shall have
given place to coke.  ‘In those dawning times,’ thought I,
‘exhibition-rooms shall teem with portraits of Her Majesty’s favourite
engine, with boilers after Nature by future Landseers.  Some Amburgh, yet
unborn, shall break wild horses by his magic power; and in the dress of a
mail-coach guard exhibit his TRAINED ANIMALS in a mock mail-coach.  Then,
shall wondering crowds observe how that, with the exception of his whip,
it is all his eye; and crowned heads shall see them fed on oats, and
stand alone unmoved and undismayed, while counters flee affrighted when
the coursers neigh!’

Such, my child, were the reflections from which I was only awakened then,
as I am now, by the necessity of attending to matters of present though
minor importance.  I offer no apology to you for the digression, for it
brings me very naturally to the subject of change, which is the very
subject of which I desire to treat.

In fact, my child, you have changed hands.  Henceforth I resign you to
the guardianship and protection of one of my most intimate and valued
friends, Mr. Ainsworth, with whom, and with you, my best wishes and
warmest feelings will ever remain.  I reap no gain or profit by parting
from you, nor will any conveyance of your property be required, for, in
this respect, you have always been literally ‘Bentley’s’ Miscellany, and
never mine.

Unlike the driver of the old Manchester mail, I regard this altered state
of things with feelings of unmingled pleasure and satisfaction.

Unlike the guard of the new Manchester mail, _your_ guard is at home in
his new place, and has roystering highwaymen and gallant desperadoes ever
within call.  And if I might compare you, my child, to an engine; (not a
Tory engine, nor a Whig engine, but a brisk and rapid locomotive;) your
friends and patrons to passengers; and he who now stands towards you _in
loco parentis_ as the skilful engineer and supervisor of the whole, I
would humbly crave leave to postpone the departure of the train on its
new and auspicious course for one brief instant, while, with hat in hand,
I approach side by side with the friend who travelled with me on the old
road, and presume to solicit favour and kindness in behalf of him and his
new charge, both for their sakes and that of the old coachman,

                                                                      BOZ.





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About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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