Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The First Meeting of Mudfog


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.'

'Half-past seven.

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

'Tuesday, noon.

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

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

'Five o'clock.

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

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

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

'Twenty minutes past six.

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

'Three-quarters part seven.

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

'Half-past eight.

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

'Ten minutes to nine.

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

'Nine o'clock.

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

'Half after ten.

'My feelings are so overpowered by what has taken place in the
course of the last hour and a half, that I have scarcely strength
to detail the rapid succession of events which have quite
bewildered all those who are cognizant of their occurrence. It
appears that the pug-dog mentioned in my last was surreptitiously
obtained,--stolen, in fact,--by some person attached to the stable
department, from an unmarried lady resident in this town. Frantic
on discovering the loss of her favourite, the lady rushed
distractedly into the street, calling in the most heart-rending and
pathetic manner upon the passengers to restore her, her Augustus,--
for so the deceased was named, in affectionate remembrance of a
former lover of his mistress, to whom he bore a striking personal
resemblance, which renders the circumstances additionally
affecting. I am not yet in a condition to inform you what
circumstance induced the bereaved lady to direct her steps to the
hotel which had witnessed the last struggles of her 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.'

'Twelve o'clock.

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

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

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

'Wednesday afternoon.

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

'Four o'clock.

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

'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.'

'Half-past ten.

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

'Eleven o'clock.

'I open my letter to say that nothing whatever has occurred since I
folded it up.'


'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


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
golden trough.

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

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

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


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.


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
Total 21,407

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

'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
upon boxes.


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!

Signed BOZ.

Charles Dickens

Sorry, no summary available yet.