Punch,  39 (1860), 113.

Music and Mathematics



News-Commentary, Drollery


Music, Crime, Mental Illness, Mathematics

    After discussing the problem of street musicians, especially on people with 'fine minds' who also have 'fine nerves', discusses the deleterious effect of such musicians on the progress of writers, and then turns to Charles Babbage, who has wasted much of his life suffering from these 'miscreants'. Discusses the recent legal case concerning Babbage and street musicians, which centred on the claim that Babbage's neighbours had been encouraging them to play under his windows. Imagines the pain which this must have caused Babbage, the 'Enraged Mathematician', but notes that what is 'play' to his tormentors is 'death to his desk labours'. Believing that for men like Babbage, 'time [...] is money', then those who steal his time should be punished for theft. Adds that his tormentors should be condemned to solitary confinement where they will suffer the sounds of their own instruments.

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