Mudfog and Other Sketches
Part 1 out of 2
Transcribed from the 1903 edition by David Price,
MUDFOG AND OTHER SKETCHES
I. PUBLIC LIFE OF MR. TULRUMBLE--ONCE MAYOR OF MUDFOG
II. FULL REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE MUDFOG ASSOCIATION
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EVERYTHING
III. FULL REPORT OF THE SECOND MEETING OF THE MUDFOG ASSOCIATION
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EVERYTHING
IV. THE PANTOMIME OF LIFE
V. SOME PARTICULARS CONCERNING A LION
VI. MR. ROBERT BOLTON: THE 'GENTLEMAN CONNECTED WITH THE PRESS'
VII. FAMILIAR EPISTLE FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD AGED TWO YEARS AND
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
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
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
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
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
'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
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
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
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
'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
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.
'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
'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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
'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.'
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 so.'
'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
'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
'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
'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.'
'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 protege. 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
'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 now.'
'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
'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
'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 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
'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'oeil 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
'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
'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 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
'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
'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.
HAY-LOFT, ORIGINAL PIG.
President--Mr. Woodensconce. Vice-Presidents--Mr. Ledbrain and Mr.
'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 Sindbad the
Sailor the most enterprising voyager that the world had ever
'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
'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
'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 soirees, 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!
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
'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,
'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.'
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
'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
'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
'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.'
'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
'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.'
'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
'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
'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.'
'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
'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.'
'I am again in bed. Anything so heart-rending as Mr. Slug's
sufferings it has never yet been my lot to witness.'
'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.'
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