Comic Annual, 9 (1838), 76–92.
Introduction, Drollery; Letter, Spoof
Patronage, Industrial Chemistry, Accidents, Mental Illness, Narcotics, Medical Treatment
Hood introduces a spoof letter from Lucy Emily Dexter to 'the Right Honourable Lord Viscount ****, &c. &c. &c. Whitehall', with the observation that the letter's authenticity will probably be disputed on account of its description of 'the superannuation of sucklings' (76). Hood observes that he can, in any case, vouch that 'the measures taken by Patrons' have not led invariably, 'like Stultz's [a reference to a Bond Street firm of tailors], to admirable fits' (77). The letter details Dexter's husband's history, from the promise of a sinecure made to him as an infant by a noble relative, to his appointment as 'Superintendant of Powder-Mills, with the condition of a living attached to the works' (80). The letter details the nervous affliction from which he has suffered since the day after taking possession, when there was a 'blow' at the works. He was prescribed laudanum and brandy. 'The mad Doctors do say, that we are all, every one of us, crazy on a certain subject; and if such is the case, there can be no doubt that my husband's weak point is explosions' (83). He is worried about the 'Young Gentlemen' at the neighbouring school sending up 'fire-balloons' (87). Thunder-storms make him particularly uneasy: 'it is the misfortune of Mr. D. not to put faith in conductors, or, to use his own words, "in Franklin, philosophy, and fiddle-sticks,—and a birch rod as likely to frighten away lightening as an iron one"' (88–89).
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