Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,359 pages of information about Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete.
and slippers, seated at a table, and surrounded by every book that was ever written upon every medical subject that was ever discussed, all of which he appears to be reading at once—­with little pieces of paper strewn all over the room, covered with strange hieroglyphics and extraordinary diagrams of chemical decompositions.  His brain is just as full of temporary information as a bad egg is of sulphuretted hydrogen; and it is a fortunate provision of nature that the dura mater is of a tough fibrous texture—­were it not for this safeguard, the whole mass would undoubtedly go off at once like a too tightly-rammed rocket.  He is conscious of this himself, from the grinding information wherein he has been taught that the brain has three coverings, in the following order:—­the dura mater, or Chesterfield overall; the tunica arachnoidea, or “dress coat of fine Saxony cloth;” and, in immediate contact, the pia mater, or five-and-sixpenny long cloth shirt with linen wristbands and fronts.  This is a brilliant specimen of the helps to memory which the grinder affords, as splendid in its arrangement as the topographical methods of calling to mind the course of the large arteries, which define the abdominal aorta as Cheapside, its two common iliac branches, as Newgate-street and St. Paul’s Churchyard, and the medio sacralis given off between them, as Paternoster-row.

Time goes on, bringing the fated hour nearer and nearer; and the student’s assiduity knows no bounds.  He reads his subjects over and over again, to keep them fresh in his memory, like little boys at school, who try to catch a last bird’s-eye glance of their book before they give it into the usher’s hands to say by heart.  He now feels a deep interest in the statistics of the Hall, and is horrified at hearing that “nine men out of thirteen were sent back last Thursday!” The subjects, too, that they were rejected upon frighten him just as much.  One was plucked upon his anatomy; another, because he could not tell the difference between a daisy and a chamomile; and a third, after “being in” three hours and a quarter, was sent back, for his inability to explain the process of making malt from barley,—­an operation, whose final use he so well understands, although the preparation somewhat bothered him.  And thus, funking at the rejection of a clever man, or marvelling at the success of an acknowledged fool—­determining to take prussic acid in the event of being refused—­reading fourteen hours a day—­and keeping awake by the combined influence of snuff and coffee—­the student finds his first ordeal approach.

* * * * *


Peter Borthwick experienced a sad disappointment lately.  Having applied to the City Chamberlain for the situation of Lord Mayor’s fool, he was told that the Corporation, in a true spirit of economy, had decided upon dividing the duties amongst themselves.  Peter was—­but we were not—­surprised that between the Aldermen and tom-foolery there should exist

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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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