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.'
'The number and rapidity of the arrivals are quite bewildering.
Within the last ten minutes a stage-coach has driven up to the
door, filled inside and out with distinguished characters,
comprising Mr. Muddlebranes, Mr. Drawley, Professor Muff, Mr. X.
Misty, Mr. X. X. Misty, Mr. Purblind, Professor Rummun, The
Honourable and Reverend Mr. Long Eers, Professor John Ketch, Sir
William Joltered, Doctor Buffer, Mr. Smith (of London), Mr. Brown
(of Edinburgh), Sir Hookham Snivey, and Professor Pumpkinskull.
The ten last-named gentlemen were wet through, and looked extremely
'Sunday, two o'clock, p.m.
'The Honourable and Reverend Mr. Long Eers, accompanied by Sir
William Joltered, walked and drove this morning. They accomplished
the former feat in boots, and the latter in a hired fly. This has
naturally given rise to much discussion.
'I have just learnt that an interview has taken place at the Boot-
jack and Countenance between Sowster, the active and intelligent
beadle of this place, and Professor Pumpkinskull, who, as your
readers are doubtless aware, is an influential member of the
council. I forbear to communicate any of the rumours to which this
very extraordinary proceeding has given rise until I have seen
Sowster, and endeavoured to ascertain the truth from him.'
'I engaged a donkey-chaise shortly after writing the above, and
proceeded at a brisk trot in the direction of Sowster's residence,
passing through a beautiful expanse of country, with red brick
buildings on either side, and stopping in the marketplace to
observe the spot where Mr. Kwakley's hat was blown off yesterday.
It is an uneven piece of paving, but has certainly no appearance
which would lead one to suppose that any such event had recently
occurred there. From this point I proceeded--passing the gas-works
and tallow-melter's--to a lane which had been pointed out to me as
the beadle's place of residence; and before I had driven a dozen
yards further, I had the good fortune to meet Sowster himself
advancing towards me.
'Sowster is a fat man, with a more enlarged development of that
peculiar conformation of countenance which is vulgarly termed a
double chin than I remember to have ever seen before. He has also
a very red nose, which he attributes to a habit of early rising--so
red, indeed, that but for this explanation I should have supposed
it to proceed from occasional inebriety. He informed me that he
did not feel himself at liberty to relate what had passed between
himself and Professor Pumpkinskull, but had no objection to state
that it was connected with a matter of police regulation, and added
with peculiar significance "Never wos sitch times!"
'You will easily believe that this intelligence gave me
considerable surprise, not wholly unmixed with anxiety, and that I
lost no time in waiting on Professor Pumpkinskull, and stating the
object of my visit. After a few moments' reflection, the
Professor, who, I am bound to say, behaved with the utmost
politeness, openly avowed (I mark the passage in italics) THAT HE
HAD REQUESTED SOWSTER TO ATTEND ON THE MONDAY MORNING AT THE BOOT-
JACK AND COUNTENANCE, TO KEEP OFF THE BOYS; AND THAT HE HAD FURTHER
DESIRED THAT THE UNDER-BEADLE MIGHT BE STATIONED, WITH THE SAME
OBJECT, AT THE BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE!
'Now I leave this unconstitutional proceeding to your comments and
the consideration of your readers. I have yet to learn that a
beadle, without the precincts of a church, churchyard, or work-
house, and acting otherwise than under the express orders of
churchwardens and overseers in council assembled, to enforce the
law against people who come upon the parish, and other offenders,
has any lawful authority whatever over the rising youth of this
country. I have yet to learn that a beadle can be called out by
any civilian to exercise a domination and despotism over the boys
of Britain. I have yet to learn that a beadle will be permitted by
the commissioners of poor law regulation to wear out the soles and
heels of his boots in illegal interference with the liberties of
people not proved poor or otherwise criminal. I have yet to learn
that a beadle has power to stop up the Queen's highway at his will
and pleasure, or that the whole width of the street is not free and
open to any man, boy, or woman in existence, up to the very walls
of the houses--ay, be they Black Boys and Stomach-aches, or Boot-
jacks and Countenances, I care not.'
'I have procured a local artist to make a faithful sketch of the
tyrant Sowster, which, as he has acquired this infamous celebrity,
you will no doubt wish to have engraved for the purpose of
presenting a copy with every copy of your next number. I enclose
[Picture which cannot be reproduced]
The under-beadle has consented to write his life, but it is to be
'The accompanying likeness is of course from the life, and complete
in every respect. Even if I had been totally ignorant of the man's
real character, and it had been placed before me without remark, I
should have shuddered involuntarily. There is an intense malignity
of expression in the features, and a baleful ferocity of purpose in
the ruffian's eye, which appals and sickens. His whole air is
rampant with cruelty, nor is the stomach less characteristic of his
'The great day has at length arrived. I have neither eyes, nor
ears, nor pens, nor ink, nor paper, for anything but the wonderful
proceedings that have astounded my senses. Let me collect my
energies and proceed to the account.
'SECTION A.--ZOOLOGY AND BOTANY.
FRONT PARLOUR, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.
President--Sir William Joltered. Vice-Presidents--Mr. Muddlebranes
and Mr. Drawley.
'MR. X. X. MISTY communicated some remarks on the disappearance of
dancing-bears from the streets of London, with observations on the
exhibition of monkeys as connected with barrel-organs. The writer
had observed, with feelings of the utmost pain and regret, that
some years ago a sudden and unaccountable change in the public
taste took place with reference to itinerant bears, who, being
discountenanced by the populace, gradually fell off one by one from
the streets of the metropolis, until not one remained to create a
taste for natural history in the breasts of the poor and
uninstructed. One bear, indeed,--a brown and ragged animal,--had
lingered about the haunts of his former triumphs, with a worn and
dejected visage and feeble limbs, and had essayed to wield his
quarter-staff for the amusement of the multitude; but hunger, and
an utter want of any due recompense for his abilities, had at
length driven him from the field, and it was only too probable that
he had fallen a sacrifice to the rising taste for grease. He
regretted to add that a similar, and no less lamentable, change had
taken place with reference to monkeys. These delightful animals
had formerly been almost as plentiful as the organs on the tops of
which they were accustomed to sit; the proportion in the year 1829
(it appeared by the parliamentary return) being as one monkey to
three organs. Owing, however, to an altered taste in musical
instruments, and the substitution, in a great measure, of narrow
boxes of music for organs, which left the monkeys nothing to sit
upon, this source of public amusement was wholly dried up.
Considering it a matter of the deepest importance, in connection
with national education, that the people should not lose such
opportunities of making themselves acquainted with the manners and
customs of two most interesting species of animals, the author
submitted that some measures should be immediately taken for the
restoration of these pleasing and truly intellectual amusements.
'THE PRESIDENT inquired by what means the honourable member
proposed to attain this most desirable end?
'THE AUTHOR submitted that it could be most fully and
satisfactorily accomplished, if Her Majesty's Government would
cause to be brought over to England, and maintained at the public
expense, and for the public amusement, such a number of bears as
would enable every quarter of the town to be visited--say at least
by three bears a week. No difficulty whatever need be experienced
in providing a fitting place for the reception of these animals, as
a commodious bear-garden could be erected in the immediate
neighbourhood of both Houses of Parliament; obviously the most
proper and eligible spot for such an establishment.
'PROFESSOR MULL doubted very much whether any correct ideas of
natural history were propagated by the means to which the
honourable member had so ably adverted. On the contrary, he
believed that they had been the means of diffusing very incorrect
and imperfect notions on the subject. He spoke from personal
observation and personal experience, when he said that many
children of great abilities had been induced to believe, from what
they had observed in the streets, at and before the period to which
the honourable gentleman had referred, that all monkeys were born
in red coats and spangles, and that their hats and feathers also
came by nature. He wished to know distinctly whether the
honourable gentleman attributed the want of encouragement the bears
had met with to the decline of public taste in that respect, or to
a want of ability on the part of the bears themselves?
'MR. X. X. MISTY replied, that he could not bring himself to
believe but that there must be a great deal of floating talent
among the bears and monkeys generally; which, in the absence of any
proper encouragement, was dispersed in other directions.
'PROFESSOR PUMPKINSKULL wished to take that opportunity of calling
the attention of the section to a most important and serious point.
The author of the treatise just read had alluded to the prevalent
taste for bears'-grease as a means of promoting the growth of hair,
which undoubtedly was diffused to a very great and (as it appeared
to him) very alarming extent. No gentleman attending that section
could fail to be aware of the fact that the youth of the present
age evinced, by their behaviour in the streets, and at all places
of public resort, a considerable lack of that gallantry and
gentlemanly feeling which, in more ignorant times, had been thought
becoming. He wished to know whether it were possible that a
constant outward application of bears'-grease by the young
gentlemen about town had imperceptibly infused into those unhappy
persons something of the nature and quality of the bear. He
shuddered as he threw out the remark; but if this theory, on
inquiry, should prove to be well founded, it would at once explain
a great deal of unpleasant eccentricity of behaviour, which,
without some such discovery, was wholly unaccountable.
'THE PRESIDENT highly complimented the learned gentleman on his
most valuable suggestion, which produced the greatest effect upon
the assembly; and remarked that only a week previous he had seen
some young gentlemen at a theatre eyeing a box of ladies with a
fierce intensity, which nothing but the influence of some brutish
appetite could possibly explain. It was dreadful to reflect that
our youth were so rapidly verging into a generation of bears.
'After a scene of scientific enthusiasm it was resolved that this
important question should be immediately submitted to the
consideration of the council.
'THE PRESIDENT wished to know whether any gentleman could inform
the section what had become of the dancing-dogs?
'A MEMBER replied, after some hesitation, that on the day after
three glee-singers had been committed to prison as criminals by a
late most zealous police-magistrate of the metropolis, the dogs had
abandoned their professional duties, and dispersed themselves in
different quarters of the town to gain a livelihood by less
dangerous means. He was given to understand that since that period
they had supported themselves by lying in wait for and robbing
blind men's poodles.
'MR. FLUMMERY exhibited a twig, claiming to be a veritable branch
of that noble tree known to naturalists as the SHAKSPEARE, which
has taken root in every land and climate, and gathered under the
shade of its broad green boughs the great family of mankind. The
learned gentleman remarked that the twig had been undoubtedly
called by other names in its time; but that it had been pointed out
to him by an old lady in Warwickshire, where the great tree had
grown, as a shoot of the genuine SHAKSPEARE, by which name he
begged to introduce it to his countrymen.
'THE PRESIDENT wished to know what botanical definition the
honourable gentleman could afford of the curiosity.
'MR. FLUMMERY expressed his opinion that it was A DECIDED PLANT.
'SECTION B.--DISPLAY OF MODELS AND MECHANICAL SCIENCE.
LARGE ROOM, BOOT-JACK AND COUNTENANCE.
President--Mr. Mallett. Vice-Presidents--Messrs. Leaver and Scroo.
'MR. CRINKLES exhibited a most beautiful and delicate machine, of
little larger size than an ordinary snuff-box, manufactured
entirely by himself, and composed exclusively of steel, by the aid
of which more pockets could be picked in one hour than by the
present slow and tedious process in four-and-twenty. The inventor
remarked that it had been put into active operation in Fleet
Street, the Strand, and other thoroughfares, and had never been
once known to fail.
'After some slight delay, occasioned by the various members of the
section buttoning their pockets,
'THE PRESIDENT narrowly inspected the invention, and declared that
he had never seen a machine of more beautiful or exquisite
construction. Would the inventor be good enough to inform the
section whether he had taken any and what means for bringing it
into general operation?
'MR. CRINKLES stated that, after encountering some preliminary
difficulties, he had succeeded in putting himself in communication
with Mr. Fogle Hunter, and other gentlemen connected with the swell
mob, who had awarded the invention the very highest and most
unqualified approbation. He regretted to say, however, that these
distinguished practitioners, in common with a gentleman of the name
of Gimlet-eyed Tommy, and other members of a secondary grade of the
profession whom he was understood to represent, entertained an
insuperable objection to its being brought into general use, on the
ground that it would have the inevitable effect of almost entirely
superseding manual labour, and throwing a great number of highly-
deserving persons out of employment.
'THE PRESIDENT hoped that no such fanciful objections would be
allowed to stand in the way of such a great public improvement.
'MR. CRINKLES hoped so too; but he feared that if the gentlemen of
the swell mob persevered in their objection, nothing could be done.
'PROFESSOR GRIME suggested, that surely, in that case, Her
Majesty's Government might be prevailed upon to take it up.
'MR. CRINKLES said, that if the objection were found to be
insuperable he should apply to Parliament, which he thought could
not fail to recognise the utility of the invention.
'THE PRESIDENT observed that, up to this time Parliament had
certainly got on very well without it; but, as they did their
business on a very large scale, he had no doubt they would gladly
adopt the improvement. His only fear was that the machine might be
worn out by constant working.
'MR. COPPERNOSE called the attention of the section to a
proposition of great magnitude and interest, illustrated by a vast
number of models, and stated with much clearness and perspicuity in
a treatise entitled "Practical Suggestions on the necessity of
providing some harmless and wholesome relaxation for the young
noblemen of England." His proposition was, that a space of ground
of not less than ten miles in length and four in breadth should be
purchased by a new company, to be incorporated by Act of
Parliament, and inclosed by a brick wall of not less than twelve
feet in height. He proposed that it should be laid out with
highway roads, turnpikes, bridges, miniature villages, and every
object that could conduce to the comfort and glory of Four-in-hand
Clubs, so that they might be fairly presumed to require no drive
beyond it. This delightful retreat would be fitted up with most
commodious and extensive stables, for the convenience of such of
the nobility and gentry as had a taste for ostlering, and with
houses of entertainment furnished in the most expensive and
handsome style. It would be further provided with whole streets of
door-knockers and bell-handles of extra size, so constructed that
they could be easily wrenched off at night, and regularly screwed
on again, by attendants provided for the purpose, every day. There
would also be gas lamps of real glass, which could be broken at a
comparatively small expense per dozen, and a broad and handsome
foot pavement for gentlemen to drive their cabriolets upon when
they were humorously disposed--for the full enjoyment of which feat
live pedestrians would be procured from the workhouse at a very
small charge per head. The place being inclosed, and carefully
screened from the intrusion of the public, there would be no
objection to gentlemen laying aside any article of their costume
that was considered to interfere with a pleasant frolic, or,
indeed, to their walking about without any costume at all, if they
liked that better. In short, every facility of enjoyment would be
afforded that the most gentlemanly person could possibly desire.
But as even these advantages would be incomplete unless there were
some means provided of enabling the nobility and gentry to display
their prowess when they sallied forth after dinner, and as some
inconvenience might be experienced in the event of their being
reduced to the necessity of pummelling each other, the inventor had
turned his attention to the construction of an entirely new police
force, composed exclusively of automaton figures, which, with the
assistance of the ingenious Signor Gagliardi, of Windmill-street,
in the Haymarket, he had succeeded in making with such nicety, that
a policeman, cab-driver, or old woman, made upon the principle of
the models exhibited, would walk about until knocked down like any
real man; nay, more, if set upon and beaten by six or eight
noblemen or gentlemen, after it was down, the figure would utter
divers groans, mingled with entreaties for mercy, thus rendering
the illusion complete, and the enjoyment perfect. But the
invention did not stop even here; for station-houses would be
built, containing good beds for noblemen and gentlemen during the
night, and in the morning they would repair to a commodious police
office, where a pantomimic investigation would take place before
the automaton magistrates,--quite equal to life,--who would fine
them in so many counters, with which they would be previously
provided for the purpose. This office would be furnished with an
inclined plane, for the convenience of any nobleman or gentleman
who might wish to bring in his horse as a witness; and the
prisoners would be at perfect liberty, as they were now, to
interrupt the complainants as much as they pleased, and to make any
remarks that they thought proper. The charge for these amusements
would amount to very little more than they already cost, and the
inventor submitted that the public would be much benefited and
comforted by the proposed arrangement.
'PROFESSOR NOGO wished to be informed what amount of automaton
police force it was proposed to raise in the first instance.
'MR. COPPERNOSE replied, that it was proposed to begin with seven
divisions of police of a score each, lettered from A to G
inclusive. It was proposed that not more than half this number
should be placed on active duty, and that the remainder should be
kept on shelves in the police office ready to be called out at a
'THE PRESIDENT, awarding the utmost merit to the ingenious
gentleman who had originated the idea, doubted whether the
automaton police would quite answer the purpose. He feared that
noblemen and gentlemen would perhaps require the excitement of
thrashing living subjects.
'MR. COPPERNOSE submitted, that as the usual odds in such cases
were ten noblemen or gentlemen to one policeman or cab-driver, it
could make very little difference in point of excitement whether
the policeman or cab-driver were a man or a block. The great
advantage would be, that a policeman's limbs might be all knocked
off, and yet he would be in a condition to do duty next day. He
might even give his evidence next morning with his head in his
hand, and give it equally well.
'PROFESSOR MUFF.--Will you allow me to ask you, sir, of what
materials it is intended that the magistrates' heads shall be
'MR. COPPERNOSE.--The magistrates will have wooden heads of course,
and they will be made of the toughest and thickest materials that
can possibly be obtained.
'PROFESSOR MUFF.--I am quite satisfied. This is a great invention.
'PROFESSOR NOGO.--I see but one objection to it. It appears to me
that the magistrates ought to talk.
'MR. COPPERNOSE no sooner heard this suggestion than he touched a
small spring in each of the two models of magistrates which were
placed upon the table; one of the figures immediately began to
exclaim with great volubility that he was sorry to see gentlemen in
such a situation, and the other to express a fear that the
policeman was intoxicated.
'The section, as with one accord, declared with a shout of applause
that the invention was complete; and the President, much excited,
retired with Mr. Coppernose to lay it before the council. On his
'MR. TICKLE displayed his newly-invented spectacles, which enabled
the wearer to discern, in very bright colours, objects at a great
distance, and rendered him wholly blind to those immediately before
him. It was, he said, a most valuable and useful invention, based
strictly upon the principle of the human eye.
'THE PRESIDENT required some information upon this point. He had
yet to learn that the human eye was remarkable for the
peculiarities of which the honourable gentleman had spoken.
'MR. TICKLE was rather astonished to hear this, when the President
could not fail to be aware that a large number of most excellent
persons and great statesmen could see, with the naked eye, most
marvellous horrors on West India plantations, while they could
discern nothing whatever in the interior of Manchester cotton
mills. He must know, too, with what quickness of perception most
people could discover their neighbour's faults, and how very blind
they were to their own. If the President differed from the great
majority of men in this respect, his eye was a defective one, and
it was to assist his vision that these glasses were made.
'MR. BLANK exhibited a model of a fashionable annual, composed of
copper-plates, gold leaf, and silk boards, and worked entirely by
milk and water.
'MR. PROSEE, after examining the machine, declared it to be so
ingeniously composed, that he was wholly unable to discover how it
went on at all.
'MR. BLANK.--Nobody can, and that is the beauty of it.
'SECTION C.--ANATOMY AND MEDICINE.
BAR ROOM, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.
President--Dr. Soemup. Vice-Presidents--Messrs. Pessell and
'DR. GRUMMIDGE stated to the section a most interesting case of
monomania, and described the course of treatment he had pursued
with perfect success. The patient was a married lady in the middle
rank of life, who, having seen another lady at an evening party in
a full suit of pearls, was suddenly seized with a desire to possess
a similar equipment, although her husband's finances were by no
means equal to the necessary outlay. Finding her wish ungratified,
she fell sick, and the symptoms soon became so alarming, that he
(Dr. Grummidge) was called in. At this period the prominent tokens
of the disorder were sullenness, a total indisposition to perform
domestic duties, great peevishness, and extreme languor, except
when pearls were mentioned, at which times the pulse quickened, the
eyes grew brighter, the pupils dilated, and the patient, after
various incoherent exclamations, burst into a passion of tears, and
exclaimed that nobody cared for her, and that she wished herself
dead. Finding that the patient's appetite was affected in the
presence of company, he began by ordering a total abstinence from
all stimulants, and forbidding any sustenance but weak gruel; he
then took twenty ounces of blood, applied a blister under each ear,
one upon the chest, and another on the back; having done which, and
administered five grains of calomel, he left the patient to her
repose. The next day she was somewhat low, but decidedly better,
and all appearances of irritation were removed. The next day she
improved still further, and on the next again. On the fourth there
was some appearance of a return of the old symptoms, which no
sooner developed themselves, than he administered another dose of
calomel, and left strict orders that, unless a decidedly favourable
change occurred within two hours, the patient's head should be
immediately shaved to the very last curl. From that moment she
began to mend, and, in less than four-and-twenty hours was
perfectly restored. She did not now betray the least emotion at
the sight or mention of pearls or any other ornaments. She was
cheerful and good-humoured, and a most beneficial change had been
effected in her whole temperament and condition.
'MR. PIPKIN (M.R.C.S.) read a short but most interesting
communication in which he sought to prove the complete belief of
Sir William Courtenay, otherwise Thorn, recently shot at
Canterbury, in the Homoeopathic system. The section would bear in
mind that one of the Homoeopathic doctrines was, that infinitesimal
doses of any medicine which would occasion the disease under which
the patient laboured, supposing him to be in a healthy state, would
cure it. Now, it was a remarkable circumstance--proved in the
evidence--that the deceased Thorn employed a woman to follow him
about all day with a pail of water, assuring her that one drop (a
purely homoeopathic remedy, the section would observe), placed upon
his tongue, after death, would restore him. What was the obvious
inference? That Thorn, who was marching and countermarching in
osier beds, and other swampy places, was impressed with a
presentiment that he should be drowned; in which case, had his
instructions been complied with, he could not fail to have been
brought to life again instantly by his own prescription. As it
was, if this woman, or any other person, had administered an
infinitesimal dose of lead and gunpowder immediately after he fell,
he would have recovered forthwith. But unhappily the woman
concerned did not possess the power of reasoning by analogy, or
carrying out a principle, and thus the unfortunate gentleman had
been sacrificed to the ignorance of the peasantry.
OUT-HOUSE, BLACK BOY AND STOMACH-ACHE.
President--Mr. Slug. Vice-Presidents--Messrs. Noakes and Styles.
'MR. KWAKLEY stated the result of some most ingenious statistical
inquiries relative to the difference between the value of the
qualification of several members of Parliament as published to the
world, and its real nature and amount. After reminding the section
that every member of Parliament for a town or borough was supposed
to possess a clear freehold estate of three hundred pounds per
annum, the honourable gentleman excited great amusement and
laughter by stating the exact amount of freehold property possessed
by a column of legislators, in which he had included himself. It
appeared from this table, that the amount of such income possessed
by each was 0 pounds, 0 shillings, and 0 pence, yielding an average
of the same. (Great laughter.) It was pretty well known that there
were accommodating gentlemen in the habit of furnishing new members
with temporary qualifications, to the ownership of which they swore
solemnly--of course as a mere matter of form. He argued from these
data that it was wholly unnecessary for members of Parliament to
possess any property at all, especially as when they had none the
public could get them so much cheaper.
'SUPPLEMENTARY SECTION, E.--UMBUGOLOGY AND DITCHWATERISICS.
President--Mr. Grub. Vice Presidents--Messrs. Dull and Dummy.
'A paper was read by the secretary descriptive of a bay pony with
one eye, which had been seen by the author standing in a butcher's
cart at the corner of Newgate Market. The communication described
the author of the paper as having, in the prosecution of a
mercantile pursuit, betaken himself one Saturday morning last
summer from Somers Town to Cheapside; in the course of which
expedition he had beheld the extraordinary appearance above
described. The pony had one distinct eye, and it had been pointed
out to him by his friend Captain Blunderbore, of the Horse Marines,
who assisted the author in his search, that whenever he winked this
eye he whisked his tail (possibly to drive the flies off), but that
he always winked and whisked at the same time. The animal was
lean, spavined, and tottering; and the author proposed to
constitute it of the family of FITFORDOGSMEATAURIOUS. It certainly
did occur to him that there was no case on record of a pony with
one clearly-defined and distinct organ of vision, winking and
whisking at the same moment.
'MR. Q. J. SNUFFLETOFFLE had heard of a pony winking his eye, and
likewise of a pony whisking his tail, but whether they were two
ponies or the same pony he could not undertake positively to say.
At all events, he was acquainted with no authenticated instance of
a simultaneous winking and whisking, and he really could not but
doubt the existence of such a marvellous pony in opposition to all
those natural laws by which ponies were governed. Referring,
however, to the mere question of his one organ of vision, might he
suggest the possibility of this pony having been literally half
asleep at the time he was seen, and having closed only one eye.
'THE PRESIDENT observed that, whether the pony was half asleep or
fast asleep, there could be no doubt that the association was wide
awake, and therefore that they had better get the business over,
and go to dinner. He had certainly never seen anything analogous
to this pony, but he was not prepared to doubt its existence; for
he had seen many queerer ponies in his time, though he did not
pretend to have seen any more remarkable donkeys than the other
gentlemen around him.
'PROFESSOR JOHN KETCH was then called upon to exhibit the skull of
the late Mr. Greenacre, which he produced from a blue bag,
remarking, on being invited to make any observations that occurred
to him, "that he'd pound it as that 'ere 'spectable section had
never seed a more gamerer cove nor he vos."
'A most animated discussion upon this interesting relic ensued;
and, some difference of opinion arising respecting the real
character of the deceased gentleman, Mr. Blubb delivered a lecture
upon the cranium before him, clearly showing that Mr. Greenacre
possessed the organ of destructiveness to a most unusual extent,
with a most remarkable development of the organ of carveativeness.
Sir Hookham Snivey was proceeding to combat this opinion, when
Professor Ketch suddenly interrupted the proceedings by exclaiming,
with great excitement of manner, "Walker!"
'THE PRESIDENT begged to call the learned gentleman to order.
'PROFESSOR KETCH.--"Order be blowed! you've got the wrong un, I
tell you. It ain't no 'ed at all; it's a coker-nut as my brother-
in-law has been a-carvin', to hornament his new baked tatur-stall
wots a-comin' down 'ere vile the 'sociation's in the town. Hand
over, vill you?"
'With these words, Professor Ketch hastily repossessed himself of
the cocoa-nut, and drew forth the skull, in mistake for which he
had exhibited it. A most interesting conversation ensued; but as
there appeared some doubt ultimately whether the skull was Mr.
Greenacre's, or a hospital patient's, or a pauper's, or a man's, or
a woman's, or a monkey's, no particular result was obtained.'
'I cannot,' says our talented correspondent in conclusion, 'I
cannot close my account of these gigantic researches and sublime
and noble triumphs without repeating a bon mot of Professor
Woodensconce's, which shows how the greatest minds may occasionally
unbend when truth can be presented to listening ears, clothed in an
attractive and playful form. I was standing by, when, after a week
of feasting and feeding, that learned gentleman, accompanied by the
whole body of wonderful men, entered the hall yesterday, where a
sumptuous dinner was prepared; where the richest wines sparkled on
the board, and fat bucks--propitiatory sacrifices to learning--sent
forth their savoury odours. "Ah!" said Professor Woodensconce,
rubbing his hands, "this is what we meet for; this is what inspires
us; this is what keeps us together, and beckons us onward; this is
the SPREAD of science, and a glorious spread it is."'