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 immortalised 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
"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."
"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!"
"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
"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. Woodensconse 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."
"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
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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 circumstance additionally affecting. I am not yet in a condition
to inform you what circumstances induced the bereaved
lady to direct her steps to the hotel which had witnessed the
last struggles of her protegé. 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."
"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!"
"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
"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-valves,
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."
"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."
"I open my letter to say that nothing whatever has occurred
since I folded it up."
"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 mere 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
"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
"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
"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 upon 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 nodded
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
"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
"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 tea-spoonful, 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 patronise 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.
"HAY-LOFT, ORIGINAL PIG.
"PRESIDENT—MR. WOODENSCONSE. VICE-PRESIDENTS—MR. LEDBRAIN AND
"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|
"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 Sinbad 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,
"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
"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 dust-holes 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.
"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
"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 bed-room 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 day-time 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!