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Monday, 6 December 2010

“Fighting the Fog”: A Seasonable Hint – December 27th 1890:

As Miss Amateur Casual and I peered out of our windows yesterday evening in surprise after observing a thick, oppressive and yet beautiful fog outside, I felt a hint of coincidence as I had been casting my gaze over 1890’s Punch collection not ten minutes previous to our discovery, and had chortled at this little article.

A sideways glance at some of the letters to editors in other periodicals and newspapers (some of which we looked at a few days ago here, from The Times) this time taking the rise ever-so-slightly out of people’s reactions to fog:

I have read several letters in the papers complaining of the fog, and asking not only how one is to protect the system from its injurious effects, but also soliciting information as to how one is to safeguard oneself against street accident, if obliged to quit the premises during its prevalence.
The first is simple enough. Get a complete diver’s suit, put it on, and let an attendant follow you with pumping apparatus, for the purpose of supplying you with the fumes of hydro-bi-carbon (DAFFY’S solution) in a state of suspension. This will considerably assist the breathing. To avoid street accident, wear an electric (SWANN) light, five hundred candle power, on the top of your hat, round the brim of which, in case of accident, you have arranged a dozen lighted night-lights. Strap a Duplex Reflector on to your back, and fasten a Hansom cab-lamp on to each knee.
Let a couple of boys, bearing flaming links, and beating dinner gongs, clear the way for you, while you yourself shout “Here comes the Bogie Man!” or any other appropriate ditty, though a fog-horn, which you carry in one hand, while you spring a policeman’s ancient rattle vigorously with the other. You will, if thus provided, get along capitally.
Be careful at crossings, for your sudden appearance might possibly frighten an omnibus horse or two, and cause trouble.
  I haven’t tried all this yet myself, but a friend of mine at Colney Hatch assures me he has, and found it a great success. As I think, therefore, it may prove a boon to your numerous readers, I place it at your disposal with much pleasure, and have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
                                     A Cautious Card.”

My fog-horn and dinner gong are on their way by post…

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