Comic Annual, 2nd ser. 1 (1842), 1–107.

Miss Kilmansegg and her Precious Leg. A Golden Legend

[Thomas Hood]


Poetry, Drollery


Exploration, Disability, Instruments, Scientific Practitioners, Wonder, Palaeontology, Chemistry, Phrenology

    Miss Kilmansegg is born into a family possessing vast wealth in gold. At her Christening 'the Book of Pray'r was so overrun / With gilt devices, it shone in the sun / Like a copy—a presentation one— / Of Humboldt's "El Dorado" (17). As a young woman her horse runs away with her, and she is dazzled by 'A Kaleidoscope jumble of shapes and tints' (33). Badly injured, she has a leg amputated and replaced by one in solid gold. It was considered 'the great event, / Through every circle in life it went, / Like the leg in a pair of compasses' (40). '[W]ith men of scientific rank, / It made as much stir as the fossil shank / Of a Lizard coeval with Adam!' (41). Of all evil spirits, there is none so much as that of 'Party' which requires a 'cooling, antiphlogistic speech' (44). Miss Kilmansegg has a dream in which men of all spheres, including 'The Man of Science', worship her (62); she becomes transmuted into a golden idol—'gold, all gold, from her gold little toe / To her organ of Veneration!' (63). At her wedding, the page 'look'd, so splendidly clad, / Like a Page of the "Wealth of Nations"' (72).

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