Boy's Own Paper,  2 (1879–80), 502–03.

Boys We Have Known—The Duffer  [8/11]



Essay, Serial


Education, Chemistry, Accidents, Scientific Practitioners, Psychology

    Describes some of the mishaps in the life of Billy Bungle, the 'duffer' at the author's school. These include the occasion when Billy 'nearly succeeded in blowing himself and three or four of us up by mixing certain combustibles together by mistake'. Later proceeds to the moral of his 'discourse' which is that 'Don't despair if you are a duffer, for you may cure yourself of it, if you will only think and take your time'. Counsels his readers by describing how the 'great philosopher' Isaac Newton 'once appeared in the light of a great duffer' because he foolishly made a large and a small hole in his door to allow his cat and kitten pass through. Believes this shows that 'without care any one may belong to that class' of duffers. (503) The illustrations show several boys standing before an exploding chemistry experiment, and Newton's infamous cat and kitten door-holes.

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