A Life Dismantled Of Muffins

The less variety there is at that meal [breakfast], the more is the danger from any single luxury; and there is one, known by the name of ‘muffins,’ which has repeatedly manifested itself to be a plain and direct bounty upon suicide. Darwin, in his Zoonomia, reports a case where an officer, holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel, could not tolerate a breakfast in which this odious article was wanting; but, as a savage retribution invariably supervened within an hour or two upon this act of insane sensuality, he came to a resolution that life was intolerable with muffins, but still more intolerable without muffins. He would stand the nuisance no longer; but yet, being a just man, he would give nature one final chance of reforming her dyspeptic atrocities. Muffins, therefore, being laid at one angle of the breakfast-table, and loaded pistols at another, with rigid equity the Colonel awaited the result. This was naturally pretty much as usual: and then, the poor man, incapable of retreating from his word of honour, committed suicide,–having previously left a line for posterity to the effect (though I forget the expression), “That a muffinless world was no world for him: better no life at all than a life dismantled of muffins”.

Thomas De Quincey, “On the Temperance Movement of Modern Times”, Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine (1845)


2 Responses to “A Life Dismantled Of Muffins”

  • Contemplating the ‘insane sensuality’ of muffins reminds me of that comment Bill Bryson once made about England being the only country in the world where having a bun with currants in it would feel like a luxury.

  • I’ve tried a similar experiment myself. Thank God I lifted one of the remaining bananas to my head by mistake.

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