This is the second in a series of selected quotes from old Punch magazines, chosen by guest blogger and Punch enthusiast Katie Marriott. Katie has an eye for choosing the most interesting and entertaining ‘snippets’!
DEAD WELLS AND DRINKING FOUNTAINS
Put this and that together. This is part of one letter in the Times:
‘Sir, Seeing a recommendation from Sir James Duke to erect a fountain to be supplied from the well at St. Dunstan’s, Fleet Street, I have taken the liberty of stating I saw that said well filled up to the brim with the bones of the dead who had been buried in the old Church; therefore I think it advisable the fountain should be erected at some distance from that sacred spot.’
That – subjoined – is another letter in the Times, printed immediately below the preceding;-
‘Sir, If your correspondent ‘S.J.M.’ refers to the Church at St. Dunstan’s Hill, E.C., I beg to inform him that there is at the present moment a pump, the water from which is deliciously cool, and very extensively used.’
‘I had been happy,’ – the consumer of St. Dunstan’s well-water may say, borrowing, with a slight difference, the words of Othello, – ‘if the general parish, myself, and all, had tasted the contents of that well, so I had nothing known.’ The two letters are quite reconcileable one with the other. If the old well was filled with the materials named in the first letter, the pump mentioned in the second must belong to a new well sunk close by. The delicious coolness of the water, which causes it to be ‘extensively used,’ is just what confirms the statement of both the correspondents of the Times. Water, derived from the sources which St. Dunstan’s fluid must, by their united account, come from, is known to be popular; chemistry explains why; it is a saline draught. But chemistry also shows that it is something more and something worse; and sanitary science says that it is very unwholesome. Drink not that water, the constitution of which suggests that it might be drunk standing and in silence.
This pick of Punch appeared in the 23rd July 1859 edition.