The Mischievous Physician

Christmas History 26.  It’s that time of year again!  The following quote is taken from An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Royal Hospital, published in 1805, and is an anecdote about one of the physicians of the hospital at Chelsea, Dr Messenger Monsey, who is described in the book as “one of the most eccentric characters of the age”.

One time when the Doctor was coming from his brother’s in Norfolk, to London, in the Norwich coach, during the Christmas holidays, the inside of the coach was crowded with game, as presents from the country gentlemen to their friends in town. As there was just room for only one passenger, the doctor would gladly have deferred his departure, although it was on particular business, as there were no living passengers; but as they refused, at the coach-office, to return his earnest money, or to permit it to stand as part of his coach-hire to town next day, he entered the coach. When day-light appeared, seeing the game had different assignments, he thought it better to be doing mischief than doing nothing at all, therefore, to amuse himself, he altered the directions; the pheasants that were going to my lord or his grace, were sent to some tradesman — in short, every thing had a different destination from what was originally assigned it. Thus, on delivery of the parcels, an universal confusion took place; and those who, by advice in a letter, expected one thing, received another; but the Doctor observed, that he always took care to send a good turkey to the tradesman.

Here are some quick links to the other Christmas History articles on Windows into History so far, if you would like to take a look:


  1. Christmas in an Orphanage
  2. Christmas in the Tropics
  3. Two Christmas Snippets
  4. Plum Pudding and Gambling
  5. Christmas Day in Lapland
  6. Christmas at Sea
  7. Warm Hearts in the Cold Winter
  8. Hawaiian Christmas Gifts
  9. Runaway Sledge!
  10. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  11. Sailing Home for Christmas
  12. Christmas Eve in Rome
  13. Heigh-O! For the Christmas-Tide
  14. A Visit to Bethlehem
  15. A Page of Nonsense
  16. Santa’s Helper and the Queen’s Christmas Gift
  17. Pennies for the Poor
  18. Powerful Plum Pudding
  19. The History of Pantomime
  20. Yule Feasts in Norway
  21. Mince Pies, Plum Pudding and Bustards
  22. The Six Foot Christmas Crackers
  23. Noel in Paris
  24. A Christmas Message
  25. The First Canadian Snows

About Roger Pocock

Author of Co-writer on Administrator of
This entry was posted in 19th Century, Christmas, Christmas History, History, Humor, Humour, Inspiration, London, People, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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