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 thoughts on “A Life Dismantled Of Muffins

  1. 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.

  2. 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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