Muslin to Mysterious Husband

Muslin, the talkative, impertinent, intriguing suivante of Mrs. Lovemore. Mistress Muslin is sweet upon William the footman; and loves cards.—Murphy: The Way to Keep Him (1760).

Muspelheim, the Scandinavian hell. There is a poem so called, the subject of which is the “Last Judgment.” In this poem Surtur is antichrist, who at the end of the world will set fire to all creation. The poem (which is based on a legend of the fourth century) is in alliterative verse, and shows both imagination and poetic talent.

Mussel, a fountain near the waterless sea, which purges from transgression. So called because it is cont ained in a hollow stone like a mussel-shell. It is mentioned by Prester John in his letter to Manuel Comnenus emperor of Constantinople. Those who test it enter the water, and, if they are true men, it rises till it covers their heads three times.

Mustafa, a poor tailor of China, father of Aladdin, killed by illness brought on by the idle vagabondism of his son.—Arabian Nights (“Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp”).

Mutton, a courtezan, sometimes called a “laced mutton.” “Mutton Lane,” in Clerkenwell, was so called because it was a suburra or quarter for harlots. The courtezan was called a “mutton” even in the reign of Henry III., for Bracton speaks of them as oves.—De Legibus, etc., ii. (1185–1267).

Mutton (Who Stole the) ? This was a common street jeer flung at policemen when the force was first organized, and rose thus: The first case the force had to deal with was the thief of a leg of mutton; but they wholly failed to detect the thief, and the laugh turned against them.

Mutton-Eating King (The), Charles II. of England (1630, 1659–1685).

Here lies our mutton-eating king,
Whose word no man relies on;
He never said a foolish thing,
And never did a wise on’.
   —Earl of Rochester.

Mutual Admiration Society, the nickname popularly given in Paris to the Société Observation Médicale. In England the term is of more general application, and is used with reference to persons who are themselves lavish of compliments from a desire to be repaid in kind.

Mutual Friend (Our), a novel by Charles Dickens (1864). The “mutual friend” is John Harmon, the mutual friend of Mr. Boffin and the Wilfers (see chap. ix.). The tale is this: John Harmon was the son of a hard- hearted, bad old dust contractor, who had made his fortune “in dust.” The old man turned his only daughter out of doors, and when the son, a boy of 14, pleaded for his sister, the unnatural father cursed him and sent him adrift. The Boffins worked under the dust contractor, and had always been kind to the boy; they gave him money to go abroad, and he disappeared for fourteen years. When the story opens, the father has just died, leaving his immense property to his son, on condition of his marrying Bella Wilfer; if the son dies or the conditions are unfulfilled, the money is to go to the Boffins. The son, is erroneously supposed to have been murdered on his homeward journey, and as he much disliked the idea of marrying an unknown person, he allowed the idea to prevail, assumed the name of John Rokesmith, and became the secretary of Mr. Boffin “the golden dustman,” residuary legatee of old John Harmon, by which he became the possessor of £100,000. Boffin knew Rokesmith, but concealed his knowledge for a time. At Boffin’s house, John Harmon (as Rokesmith) met Bella Wilfer, and fell in love with her. Mr. Boffin, in order to test Bella’s love, pretended to be angry with Rokesmith for presuming to love Bella; and as Bella married him, he cast them both off “for a time,” to live on John’s earnings. A babe was born, and then the husband took the young mother to a beautiful house, and told her he was John Harmon, that the house was their house, that he was the possessor of £100,000 through the disinterested conduct of Mr. Boffin; and the young couple live happily with Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, in wealth and luxury.

My-Book (Dr.). Dr. John Abernethy (1765–1830) was so called, because he used to say to his patients, “Read my book” (On Surgical Observations).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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