A Visit to Kew Gardens
The Old Lady
R D, pseud. [Richard Doyle] *
Botanical Gardens, Botany, Zoology, Religion, Gender
Paley 1794 , Paley 1802
The 'Old Lady' thanks Mr Punch for giving her instruction on 'the great Oolite' and 'the mysteries of Zoology'. Expresses shame at being suspicious of the 'Palae–something–graphical' Society, an institution whose name she now believes derives from William Paley. In response to her son's 'talk out of Mr. Paley about the wonders of the vegetable world', she visits the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, where she sees 'hot-houses upon hot-houses' and ugly-looking plants in a conservatory under the care of 'William Hookey' (i.e. William Hooker). Describes the awful heat and strange plants in the 'Palm-house' and goes on to describe how she got stuck on the spikes of a 'Hugh Forbeses', and her encounter with 'Cereus Senilis', a plant resembling a old man. Emphasizes that she would rather be 'among Christians' than in Kew. The illustration depicts an old woman and her family standing back in horror from 'Cereus Senilis'.
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