The Mystery of Edwin Drood HTML version
Philanthropy, Professional and Unprofessional
FULL half a year had come and gone, and Mr. Crisparkle sat in a waiting-room in the
London chief offices of the Haven of Philanthropy, until he could have audience of Mr.
In his college days of athletic exercises, Mr. Crisparkle had known professors of the
Noble Art of fisticuffs, and had attended two or three of their gloved gatherings. He had
now an opportunity of observing that as to the phrenological formation of the backs of
their heads, the Professing Philanthropists were uncommonly like the Pugilists. In the
development of all those organs which constitute, or attend, a propensity to 'pitch into'
your fellow- creatures, the Philanthropists were remarkably favoured. There were several
Professors passing in and out, with exactly the aggressive air upon them of being ready
for a turn-up with any Novice who might happen to be on hand, that Mr. Crisparkle well
remembered in the circles of the Fancy. Preparations were in progress for a moral little
Mill somewhere on the rural circuit, and other Professors were backing this or that
Heavy-Weight as good for such or such speech-making hits, so very much after the
manner of the sporting publicans, that the intended Resolutions might have been Rounds.
In an official manager of these displays much celebrated for his platform tactics, Mr.
Crisparkle recognised (in a suit of black) the counterpart of a deceased benefactor of his
species, an eminent public character, once known to fame as Frosty- faced Fogo, who in
days of yore superintended the formation of the magic circle with the ropes and stakes.
There were only three conditions of resemblance wanting between these Professors and
those. Firstly, the Philanthropists were in very bad training: much too fleshy, and
presenting, both in face and figure, a superabundance of what is known to Pugilistic
Experts as Suet Pudding. Secondly, the Philanthropists had not the good temper of the
Pugilists, and used worse language. Thirdly, their fighting code stood in great need of
revision, as empowering them not only to bore their man to the ropes, but to bore him to
the confines of distraction; also to hit him when he was down, hit him anywhere and
anyhow, kick him, stamp upon him, gouge him, and maul him behind his back without
mercy. In these last particulars the Professors of the Noble Art were much nobler than the
Professors of Philanthropy.
Mr. Crisparkle was so completely lost in musing on these similarities and dissimilarities,
at the same time watching the crowd which came and went by, always, as it seemed, on
errands of antagonistically snatching something from somebody, and never giving
anything to anybody, that his name was called before he heard it. On his at length
responding, he was shown by a miserably shabby and underpaid stipendiary
Philanthropist (who could hardly have done worse if he had taken service with a declared
enemy of the human race) to Mr. Honeythunder's room.
'Sir,' said Mr. Honeythunder, in his tremendous voice, like a schoolmaster issuing orders
to a boy of whom he had a bad opinion, 'sit down.'
Mr. Crisparkle seated himself.