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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 1.



FOR THE WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 18, 1841.

* * * * *


THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE LONDON MEDICAL STUDENT.

12. - OF THE COLLEGE, AND THE CONCLUSION.

[Illustration: O]Our hero once more undergoes the process of grinding
before he presents himself in Lincoln's-inn Fields for examination at the
College of Surgeons. Almost the last affair which our hero troubles
himself about is the Examination at the College of Surgeons; and as his
anatomical knowledge requires a little polishing before he presents
himself in Lincoln's-inn Fields, he once more undergoes the process of
grinding.

The grinder for the College conducts his tuition in the same style as the
grinder for the Hall - often they are united in the same individual, who
perpetually has a vacancy for a resident pupil, although his house is
already quite full; somewhat resembling a carpet-bag, which was never yet
known to be so crammed with articles, but you might put something in
besides. The class is carried on similar to the one we have already
quoted; but the knowledge required does not embrace the same multiformity
of subjects; anatomy and surgery being the principal points.

Our old friends are assembled to prepare for their last examination, in a
room fragrant with the amalgamated odours of stale tobacco-smoke,
varnished bones, leaky preparations, and gin-and-water. Large anatomical
prints depend from the walls, and a few vertebræ, a lower jaw, and a
sphenoid bone, are scattered upon the table.

"To return to the eye, gentlemen," says the grinder; "recollect the
Petitian Canal surrounds the Cornea. Mr. Rapp, what am I talking about?"

Mr. Rapp, who is drawing a little man out of dots and lines upon the
margin of his "Quain's Anatomy," starts up, and observes - "Something about
the Paddington Canal running round a corner, sir."

"Now, Mr. Rapp, you must pay me a little more attention," expostulates the
teacher. "What does the operation for cataract resemble in a familiar
point of view?"

"Pushing a boat-hook through the wall of a house to pull back the
drawing-room blinds," answers Mr. Rapp.

"You are incorrigible," says the teacher, smiling at the simile, which
altogether is an apt one. "Did you ever see a case of bad cataract?"

"Yes, sir, ever-so-long ago - the Cataract of the Ganges at Astley's. I
went to the gallery, and had a mill with - "

"There, we don't want particulars," interrupts the grinder; "but I would
recommend you to mind your eyes, especially if you get under Guthrie. Mr.
Muff, how do you define an ulcer?"

"The establishment of a raw," replies Mr. Muff.

"Tit! tit! tit!" continues the teacher, with an expression of pity. "Mr.
Simpson, perhaps you can tell Mr. Muff what an ulcer is?"

"An abrasion of the cuticle produced by its own absorption," answers Mr.
Simpson, all in a breath.

"Well. I maintain it's easier to say a _raw_ than all that," observes Mr.
Muff.

"Pray, silence. Mr. Manhug, have you ever been sent for to a bad incised
wound?"

"Yes, sir, when I was an apprentice: a man using a chopper cut off his
hand."

"And what did you do?"

"Cut off myself for the governor, like a two-year old."

"But now you have no governor, what plan would you pursue in a similar
case?"

"Send for the nearest doctor - call him in."

"Yes, yes, but suppose he wouldn't come?"

"Call him out, sir."

"Pshaw! you are all quite children," exclaims the teacher. "Mr. Simpson,
of what is bone chemically composed?"

"Of earthy matter, or _phosphate of lime_, and animal matter, or
_gelatine_."

"Very good, Mr. Simpson. I suppose you don't know a great deal a bout
bones, Mr. Rapp?"

"Not much, sir. I haven't been a great deal in that line. They give a
penny for three pounds in Clare Market. That's what I call popular
osteology."

"Gelatine enters largely into the animal fibres," says the leader,
gravely. "Parchment, or skin, contains an important quantity, and is used
by cheap pastry-cooks to make jellies."

"Well, I've heard of eating your _words_," says Mr. Rapp, "but never your
_deeds_."

"Oh! oh! oh!" groan the pupils at this gross appropriation, and the class
getting very unruly is broken up.

The examination at the College is altogether a more respectable ordeal
than the jalap and rhubarb botheration at Apothecaries' Hall, and _par
conséquence_, Mr. Muff goes up one evening with little misgivings as to
his success. After undergoing four different sets of examiners, he is told
he may retire, and is conducted by Mr Belfour into "Paradise," the room
appropriated to the fortunate ones, which the curious stranger may see
lighted up every Friday evening as he passes through Lincoln's-inn Fields.
The inquisitors are altogether a gentlemanly set of men, who are willing
to help a student out of a scrape, rather than "catch question" him into
one: nay, more than once the candidate has attributed his success to a
whisper prompted by the kind heart of the venerable and highly-gifted
individual - now, alas! no more - who until last year assisted at the
examinations.

Of course, the same kind of scene takes place that was enacted after going
up to the Hall, and with the same results, except the police-office, which
they manage to avoid. The next day, as usual, they are again at the
school, standing innumerable pots, telling incalculable lies, and singing
uncounted choruses, until the Scotch pupil who is still grinding in the
museum, is forced to give over study, after having been squirted at
through the keyhole five distinct times, with a reversed stomach-pump full
of beer, and finally unkennelled. The lecturer upon chemistry, who has a
private pupil in his laboratory learning how to discover arsenic in
poisoned people's stomachs, where there is none, and make red, blue, and
green fires, finds himself locked in, and is obliged to get out at the
window; whilst the professor of medicine, who is holding forth, as usual,
to a select very few, has his lecture upon intermittent fever so strangely
interrupted by distant harmony and convivial hullaballoo, that he finishes
abruptly in a pet, to the great joy of his class. But Mr. Muff and his
friends care not. They have passed all their troubles - they are regular
medical men, and for aught they care the whole establishment may blow up,
tumble down, go to blazes, or anything else in a small way that may
completely obliterate it. In another twelve hours they have departed to
their homes, and are only spoken of in the reverence with which we regard
the ruins of a by-gone edifice, as bricks who were.

* * * * *

Our task is finished. We have traced Mr. Muff from the new man through the
almost entomological stages of his being to his perfect state; and we take
our farewell of him as the "general practitioner." In our Physiology we
have endeavoured to show the medical student as he actually exists - his
reckless gaiety, his wild frolics, his open disposition. That he is
careless and dissipated we admit, but these attributes end with his
pupilage; did they not do so spontaneously, the up-hill struggles and
hardly-earned income of his laborious future career would, to use his own
terms, "soon knock it all out of him;" although, in the after-waste of
years, he looks back upon his student's revelries with an occasional
return of old feelings, not unmixed, however, with a passing reflection
upon the lamentable inefficacy of the present course of medical education
pursued at our schools and hospitals, to fit a man for future practice.

We have endeavoured in our sketches so to frame them, that the general
reader might not be perplexed by technical or local allusions, whilst the
students of London saw they were the work of one who had lived amongst
them. And if in some places we have strayed from the strict boundaries of
perfect refinement, yet we trust the delicacy of our most sensitive reader
has received no wound. We have discarded our joke rather than lose our
propriety; and we have been pleased at knowing that in more than one
family circle our Physiology has, now and then, raised a smile on the lips
of the fair girls, whose brothers were following the same path we have
travelled over at the hospitals.

We hope with the new year to have once more the gratification of meeting
our friends. Until then, with a hand offered in warm fellowship, - not only
to those composing the class he once belonged to, but to all who have been
pleased to bestow a few minutes weekly upon his chapters, - the Medical
Student takes his leave.

* * * * *


A CON. THAT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN THE COLONEL'S.

When does a school-boy's writing-book resemble the Hero of Waterloo? - When
it's a _Well ink'd'un_ (Wellington).

* * * * *


THE "PUFF PAPERS."

CHAPTER III.

On my next visit I found Mr. Bayles in full force, and loud in praise of
some eleemosynary entertainment to which he had been invited. Having
exhausted his subject and a tumbler of toddy at the same time, Mr. Arden
"availed himself of the opportunity to call attention to the next tale,"
which was found to be


A FATAL REMEMBRANCE.

I was subaltern of the cantonment main-guard at Bangalore one day in the
month of June, 182-. Tattoo had just beaten; and I was sitting in the
guard-room with my friend Frederick Gahagan, the senior Lieutenant in the
regiment to which I belonged, and manager of the amateur theatre of the
station.

Gahagan was a rattling, care-for-nothing Irishman, whose chief
characteristic was a strong propensity for theatricals and practical
jokes, but withal a generous, warm-hearted fellow, and as gallant a
soldier as ever buckled sword-belt. In his capacity of manager, he was at
present in a state of considerable perplexity, the occasion whereof was
this.

There chanced then to be on a visit at Bangalore a particular ally of
Fred's, who was leading tragedian of the Chowringhee theatre in Calcutta;
and it was in contemplation to get up Macbeth, in order that the aforesaid
star might exhibit in his crack part as the hero of that great tragedy.
Fred was to play Macduff; and the "blood-boltered Banquo" was consigned to
my charge. The other parts were tolerably well cast, with the exception of
that of Lady Macbeth, which indeed was not cast at all, seeing that no
representative could be found for it. It must be stated that, as we had no
actresses amongst us, all our female characters, as in the times of the
primitive drama, were necessarily performed by gentlemen. Now in general
it was not difficult to command a supply of smooth-faced young ensigns to
personate the heroines, waiting-maids, and old women, of the comedies and
farces to which our performances had been hitherto restricted. But Lady
Macbeth was a very different sort of person to Caroline Dormer and Mrs.
Hardcastle; and our _ladies_ accordingly, one and all, struck work,
refusing point blank to have anything to say to her.

The unfortunate manager, who had set his heart upon getting up the piece,
was at his wits' end, and had bent his footsteps towards the main guard,
to advise with me as to what should be done in this untoward emergency. I
endeavoured to console him as well as I could, and suggested, that if the
worst came to the worst, the part might be read. But, lugubriously shaking
his caput, Fred declared that would never do; so, after discussing
half-a-dozen Trichinopoly cheroots, with a proportionate quantum of brandy
_pani_, he departed for his quarters. "disgusted," as he said, "with the
ingratitude of mankind," whilst I set forth to go my grand rounds.

Next morning, having been relieved from guard, I had returned home, and
was taking my ease in my camp chair, luxuriously whiffing away at my
after-breakfast cheroot, when who should step gingerly into the room but
Manager Fred Gahagan. The clouds of the previous evening had entirely
disappeared from his ingenuous countenance, which was puckered up in the
most insinuating manner, with what I was wont to call his 'borrowing
smile;' for Fred was oftentimes afflicted with impecuniosity - a complaint
common enough amongst us subs; - and when the fit was on him, in the spirit
of true friendship, he generally contrived to disburthen me of the few
remaining rupees that constituted the balance of my last month's pay.

Fred brought himself to an anchor upon a bullock trunk, and, after my boy
had handed him a cheroot, and he had disgorged a few puffs of smoke, thus
delivered himself -

"This is a capital weed, Wilmot. I don't know how it is, but you always
manage to have the best tobacco in the cantonment."

"Hem," said I, drily. "Glad you like it."

"I say, Peter, my dear fellow," quoth he, "Fitzgerald, Grimes, and I, have
just been talking over what we were discussing last night, about Lady
Macbeth you know."

"Yes," said I, somewhat relieved to find the conversation was not taking
the turn I dreaded.

"Well, sir," continued Fred, plunging at once "in medias res,"and speaking
very fast, "and we have come to the conclusion that you are the only
person to relieve us from all difficulty on the subject; Fitzgerald will
take your part of Banquo; and you shall have Lady Macbeth, a character for
which every one agrees you are admirably fitted."

"I play Lady Macbeth!" cried I, "with my scrubbing-brush of a beard, and
whiskers like a prickly-pear hedge; why, you mast be all mad to think of
such a thing."

"My dear friend," remarked Gahagan mildly, "you know I have always said
that you had the Kemble eye and nose, and I'm sure you won't hesitate
about cutting off your whiskers when so much depends upon it; they'll soon
grow again you know, Peter; as for your dark chin that don't matter a
rush, as Lady Macbeth is a dark woman."

The reader will agree with me in thinking that friendship can sometimes be
as blind as love, when I say with respect to my "Kemble eye and nose,"
that the former has been from childhood affected with a decided tendency
to strabismus, and the latter bears a considerably stronger resemblance to
a pump-handle than it does to the classic profile of John Kemble or any of
his family.

"Lieutenant Gahagan," said I, solemnly, "do you remember how, some six
years ago at Hydrabad, when yet beardless and whiskerless, the only hair
upon my face being eyebrows and eyelashes, at your instigation and
'suadente diabolo,' I attempted to perform Lydia Languish in 'The Rivals?'
and hast thou yet forgotten, O son of an unsainted father, how my
grenadier stride, the fixed tea-pot position of my arms, to say nothing of
the numerous other solecisms in the code of female manners which I
perpetrated on that occasion, made me a laughing-stock and a by-word for
many a long day afterwards! All this, I say, must be fresh in your
recollection, and yet you have the audacity to ask me to expose myself
again in a similar manner."

"Pooh, pooh!" laughed Gahagan, "you were only a boy then, now you have
more experience in these matters; besides, Lydia Languish was a part quite
unworthy of your powers; Lady Macbeth is a horse of another colour."

"Why, man, with what face could I aver that

'I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me.'

That would certainly draw tears from the audience, but they would be tears
of laughter, not sympathy, I warrant you. No, no, good master Fred, it
won't do, I tell you; and in the words of Lady Macbeth herself, I say -

'What beast was't, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?'

And now oblige me by walking your body off, for I have got my yesterday's
guard report to fill up and send in, in default of which I shall be sure
to catch an 'official' from the Brigade-Major."

But Fred not only did not walk his body off, but harping on the same
string, pertinaciously continued to ply me with alternate arguments and
intreaties, until at last fairly wearied out, and more, I believe, with
the hope of getting rid of the "importunate chink" of the fellow's
discourse, than anything else, in an evil moment I consented! hear it not,
shade of Mrs. Siddons! to denude myself of the bushy honours of my cheeks,
and tread the boards of the Bangalore stage as the wife of that atrocious
usurper "King Cawdor Glamis!"

Fred marched himself away, elated at having carried his point; and I,
after sundry dubious misgivings anent the rash promise I had made, ended
by casting all compunctious visitings to the winds, and doughtily
resolved, as I was in for the business, to "screw my courage to the
sticking-place,' and go through with it as boldly as I might.

By dint of continually studying my rôle, my dislike to it gradually
diminished, nay, at length was converted into positive enthusiasm. I
became convinced that I should make a decided hit, and cover my temples
with unfading laurel. I rehearsed at all times, seasons, and places, until
I was a perfect nuisance to everybody, and my acquaintance, I am sure, to
a man, wished both me and her bloodthirsty ladyship, deeper than plummet
ever sounded, at the bottom of the sea. Even the brute creation did not
escape the annoyance. One morning my English pointer "Spot" ran yelping
out of the room, panic-stricken by the vehement manner with which I
exclaimed, "Out damned _spot_, out, I say!" and with the full conviction,
which the animal probably entertained to the day of his death, that the
said anathema had personal reference to himself.

The evening big with my fate at last arrived. The house was crammed,
expectation on tiptoe, and the play commenced. The first four acts went
off swimmingly, my performance especially was applauded to the echo, and
there only wanted the celebrated sleeping scene, in which I flattered
myself to be particularly strong, to complete my triumph. Triumph, did I
say!

I must here explain, for the benefit of those who have never rounded the
Cape, that the extreme heat of an Indian climate is so favourable to the
growth of hair as to put those wights who are afflicted with dark
_chevelures_, which was my case, to the inconvenient necessity of
chin-scraping twice on the game day, when they wish to appear particularly
spruce of an evening. Now I intended to have shaved before the play began,
but in the hurry of dressing had forgotten all about it; and upon
inspecting my visage in a glass, after I had donned Lady Macbeth's
night-gear, the lower part of it appeared so swart in contrast with the
white dress, that I found it would be absolutely necessary to pass a razor
over it before going on with my part.

The night was excessively warm, even for India; and as the place allotted
to us for dressing was very small and confined, the bright thought struck
me that I should have more air and room on the stage, whither I
accordingly directed my servant to follow me with the shaving apparatus.

I ensconced myself behind the drop-scene, which was down, and was in the
act of commencing the tonsorial operation, when, _horresco referens_, the
prompter's bell rang sharply, whether by accident or design I was never
able to ascertain, but have grievous suspicions that Fred Gahagan knew
something about it - up flew the drop-scene like a shot, and discovered the
following _tableau vivant_ to the astounded audience: -

Myself Lady Macbeth, with legs nearly a yard asunder - face and throat
outstretched, and covered with a plentiful white lather - right arm
brandishing aloft one of Paget's best razors, and left thumb and
forefinger grasping my nose. In front of me stood my faithful Hindoo
valet, Verasawmy by name, with a soap-box in one hand, while his other
held up to his master's gaze a small looking-glass, over the top of which
his black face, surmounted by a red turban, was peering at me with grave
and earnest attention.

A wondering pause of a few seconds prevailed, and then one loud, rending,
and continuous peal of laughter and screams shook the universal house.

As if smitten with sudden catalepsy, I was without power to move a single
muscle of my body, and for the space of two minutes remained in a stupor
in the same attitude - immovable, rooted, frozen to the spot where I stood.
At length recovering at once my senses and power of motion, I bounded like
a maniac from the stage, pursued by the convulsive roars of the
spectators, and upsetting in my retreat the unlucky Verasawmy, who rolled
down to the footlights, doubled up, and in a paroxysm of terror and
dismay.

Lieutenant Frederick Gahagan had good reason to bless his stars that in
that moment of frenzy I did not encounter him, the detestable origin of
the abomination that had just been heaped upon my head. I am no two-legged
creature if I should not have sacrificed him on the spot with my razor,
and so merited the gratitude of his regimental juniors by giving them a
step.

I have never since, either in public or private life, appeared in
petticoats again.

* * * * *


SONGS FOR THE SENTIMENTAL. - No. 14.

Oft have I fondly heard thee pour
Love's incense in mine ear!
Oft bade thy lips repeat once more
The words I deemed sincere!
But - though the truth this heart may break -
I know thee false "_and no mistake!_"

My fancy pictured to my heart
Thy boasted passion, pure;
Dreamed thy affection, void of art,
For ever would endure.
Alas! in vain my woe I smother!
I find thee very much "more t'other!"

'Twas sweet to hear you sing of _love_,
But, when you talk of _gold_,
Your sordid, base design you prove,
And - for it _must_ be told -
Since from my soul the truth you drag -
"You let the cat out of the bag!"

* * * * *


STARVATION STATISTICS FOR SIR ROBERT PEEL

That the people of this country are grossly pampered there can be no
doubt, for the following facts have been ascertained from which it will be
seen that there have been instances of persons living on much coarser fare
than the working classes in England.

In 1804, a shipwrecked mariner, who was thrown on to the celebrated
mud-island of Coromandel, lived for three weeks upon his own wearing
apparel. He first sucked all the goodness out of his jacket, and the
following day dashed his buttons violently against the rock in order to
soften them. He next cut pieces from his trousers, as tailors do when they
want cabbage, and found them an excellent substitute for that salubrious
vegetable. He was in the act of munching his boots for breakfast one
morning, when he was fortunately picked up by his Majesty's schooner
_Cutaway_.

In the year '95, the crew of the brig _Terrible_ lost all their
provisions, except a quantity of candles. After these were gone, they took
a plank out of the side of the vessel and sliced it, which was their board
for a whole fortnight.

After these startling and particularly well-authenticated facts, it would
be absurd to deny that there is no reason for taking into consideration
the comparatively trifling distress that is now prevalent.

* * * * *


THE FASTEST MAN.

"A person named Meara," says the _Galway Advertiser_, "confined for debt
some time since in our town jail, fasted sixteen days!"

Sibthorp says this is an excellent illustration of hard and fast, and
entitles the gentleman to be placed at

[Illustration: THE SUMMIT OF HIS PROFESSION.]

* * * * *


SIBTHORPS CON. CORNER.

Dear PUNCH, - Have you seen the con. I made the other day? I transcribe it
for you: -

"Though Wealth's neglect and Folly's taunt
Conspire to distress the poor,
Pray can you tell me why _sharp_ want
Can ne'er approach the pauper's door"

D'Orsay has rhymed the following answer: -

"The merest child might wonder how
The pauper e'er _sharp_ wants can know,
When, spite of cruel Fortune's taunts,
_Blunt_ is the _sharpest_ of his wants."

Yours sincerely and comically,

SIBTHORP.

P.S. - Let BRYANT call for his Christmas-box.

* * * * *


THE COPPER CAPTAIN.

At the public meeting at Hammersmith for the purpose of taking into
consideration the propriety of lighting the roads, in the midst of a most
animated discussion, Captain Atcherly proposed an adjournment of the said
meeting; which proposition being strongly negatived by a small individual,
Captain Atcherly quietly pointed to an open window, made a slight allusion
to the hardness of the pavement, and finally achieved the exit of the


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, December 18, 1841 → online text (page 1 of 4)