The narrator describes an evening spent in Marylebone with a friend and his
mercantile agent from Lisbon, who recounted his experiences of the great
earthquake there. At the end of the evening, on taking his leave, the narrator
experienced similar violent motions of the earth under his feet. A spoof
extract from the police reports of the
HeraldMorning Herald and Daily Advertiser
CloseView the register entry >> reveals that he was drunk.
A blind man has eyes 'like shotten stars,—mere jellies' (62). 'With
botanists he is a species of solanum, or night shade, whereof the berries are
in his eyes'. 'In his religion he is a materialist, putting no faith but in
things palpable'. (63)
The writer has heard 'a deal of talk' about both Vigors's book and his
'Menagerie'Zoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >> (Vigors was
president of the
SocietyZoological Society of London
CloseView the register entry >>), but has never visited it (65). He speculates that this is
a 'gardening volume [...] like
John] 1767. Every Man his Own Gardener: Being a New and Much More
Complete Gardener's Kalendar than any one Hitherto Published [...] By
Mr. Mawe, [...] and other Gardeners, London: W. Griffin; Norwich: W.
Chase; Chelmsford: T. Toft; York: E. Etherington
CloseView the register entry >>! /
Containing rules for cultivating brutes, / Like fruits, / Thro' April, May, or
June' (66). The illustration captioned 'Preparing a Hot-Bed' (facing 67)
depicts a man who has fallen asleep in bed, with a candle in one hand and a
Robert Burns'sBurns, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
poetry in the other. Enquires into Vigors's role in the garden. Speculates that
from his title he might be a 'sort of Secretary Bird', writing letters home for
the animals (67). The illustration captioned 'A Strange Bird' (facing 68)
depicts a short man with a beak-like nose and tail-coat stooping over a flower
pot, watched intently by a man with a gun and dog. Speculates that Vigors's
animals might be but 'garden brutes, indeed'—examples of
topiary—but concludes from the illustrations that they cannot be. Praises
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and the engravers,
BranstonBranston, Robert E
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and
John WrightWright, John
Engen 1985 CloseView the register entry >>. The
illustration captioned 'From the Zoological Gardens' (facing 70) depicts a vase
of flowers in which both the flowers and the vase appear to have animal faces.
Urges Vigors: 'Go on then publishing your Monthly parts, / And let the wealthy
crowd, / The noble and the proud, / Learn of brute beasts to patronise the
Arts'. Hopes that his animals will 'Go on as swimmingly as old Noah's Ark!'.
(71) The illustration captioned 'Nature's School' (71) depicts animals walking
in pairs, followed by a well-dressed gentleman.
Menageries, Animal Behaviour, Political Economy, Instruments
Describes having once seen the feeding of the boa constrictor at
Cross's'Cross's Menagerie, King's Mews, Charing Cross CloseView the register entry >>. The only other witness to the event was a man who 'looked
like a personification of what Political Economists call the Public Consumer;
Crayon'sIrving, Washington ('Geoffrey Crayon')
CBD CloseView the register entry >> Stout Gentleman, seen through
Turner 1989 CloseView the register entry >>
Solar Microscope' (86–87). The illustration captioned 'The Boa after a
Meal' (facing 85) depicts a fat man gazing at a snake which has an enormous
rabbit-shaped engorgement in the middle of its length. The illustration
captioned 'The Great Sea Serpent Discovered From the Mast-Head' (89) depicts a
giant sea serpent attached to, and trailing from, the mast of a ship.
A family is troubled over dinner by the appearance of what purports to be
the ghost of their absent sailor son. The apparition warns them that the cod,
oysters, and shrimps they are about to eat recently consumed his corpse.
Observes of water: 'M. hath written a volume, I am told, in its
commendation, and above all of its nutritive quality; and truly to see it
VictoryHMS Victory CloseView the register entry >> with all her armament and
complement of guns, and men, one must confess there is some support in
it—at least as an outward application; but then, taken internally, look
at the wreck of the
GeorgeHMS Royal George CloseView the register entry >>!' (100).
At the wake of a drowned Scottish ferryman, the sheet over the corpse is
seen to move. This proves to be due to a 'large pound Crab', which had been
secreted in the dead man's clothes 'with some design, perhaps sinister' (140).
To the horror of her neighbours, an old 'sea-roamer' captures the crab and
makes a meal of it. The illustration captioned 'A Scotch Crab' (142) depicts a
crab whose carapace is a Scottish hat.
A disconsolate-looking man sits at a table with a large sheet of paper and
compasses in front of him. A small child at his elbow is playing with a quill,
and has evidently upset the ink-well, which has sent rivers of ink over the
Reflects on the leakage of water into
Marc I Brunel'sBrunel, Sir Marc Isambard
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>Thames TunnelThames Tunnel
CloseView the register entry >>.
'Sad it is, worthy of one's tears, / Just when one seems the most successful, /
To find one's self o'er head and ears / In difficulties most distressful!'
(175). Suggests that Brunel should put up the sign of the 'Bore's Head', and
make the failed tunnel his 'Shades' (176). The illustration captioned 'Fancy
Portrait:—M. Brunel' (facing 174) depicts a man with his mouth wide open
and looking somewhat like a tunnel.