No sooner was my father committed to the tender mercies of Surgeons’ Hall,83 than a number of old women – neighbours and friends of the family – entered the apartments, and commenced a discourse touching the future prospects of my surviving parent and myself, most clamorously. Each had an unformed cub of a plan which she began to lick into shape84 with a tongue of desperate perseverance; until at length they all pitted their pet monsters one against the other, and made hideous discord, to which the howling of a millenary of wolves, whether baying the moon, or short of supper, might be considered so music. From their incoherent ravings, however, nothing could be gathered so certain as the circumstance that the gin, of which there was a plentiful supply, was nding its way into their ancient and ruined brain-pans, with no common alacrity; – and now the particular appositeness of what they uttered, to the matter in hand, became a secondary consideration, or, more truly to speak, became a question of no moment at all.