Punch,  31 (1856), 162.

A Rod for 'Raphael'





Astrology, Quackery, Charlatanry, Crime, Prognostication, Morality

    Attacks the ways in which astrologers have 'come out in their Almanacs in October', notably the fact that 'They will commit themselves to very little' and that 'they let out their prophecies furtively, and then walk off hastily', like 'thieves in the street'. Explains, however, that the approach of Robert C Smith ('Raphael') has apparently changed greatly since the days when he 'encountered the baton of Mr. Punch': now his 'stars are all in a muddle, they "afflict one another", and "rush to combination"'. Thinks Raphael's predictions are 'very sad' and supports this claim with the flimsy evidence of the alleged 'fulfilment' of prophecies concerning affairs of state and a murder. Takes this opportunity to inveigh against 'an astrologer of no merit', Mr Harrison of Leeds. Objects to Raphael's prophecy that in July 'A distinguished lady suffers severe affliction', but responds with: 'What do our readers think the glorious orbs of Heaven stooped from their majesty' to fulfil 'this augury' of Princess Victoria's sleeve catching fire. Takes even more offence at Raphael's prediction that Queen Victoria's reign is nearly over. Regards this as 'brutal and wanton insolence' from an 'offensive quack'. Believes that the question of how far Raphael has 'committed the offence of "Imagining" the death of the Sovereign, Sir Alexander Cockburn [the Lord Chief Justice of England] must decide', but wishes to see the astrologer whipped and sentenced to 'three months of hard labour' for 'dirty liberties' and selling 'trash by outraging decency and feeling'.

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