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A Mischievous Middy’s Joke.

Some few days ago we published. la - paragraph referring to what is known as/ ' the “St. Elmo’s Light.” , The follow-v ing, from the 'San Francisco. Chfonide , explains the mystery: — “Dr Ford ( Clark, a young sea-going surgeon' and 1 an enthusiastic savant, arrived* in San : ' Francisco a short time since : as the - surgeon of the British ship John o’, Gaunt. The ship was from Calcutta, , ? The voyage was long, and as it was so" t monotonous as not to furnish to the active intellect of the young surgeon all the phenomena that the savant could crave, one of the midshipmen * t determined to improvise some phenomena for him. At first he contemplated; a sea-serpent, but as sea-serpents ate ' ’ becoming very romtabn,' fmid ! 'die 'JaL^' good deal of trbuble, he finally determined on the electric light occasionally seen by unusually tough shell-backs i • aloft in the rigging of ships at sea, and which is known as St. fire. ; ffd; 1 I got the mate’s bull’s eye lantern, and on a very dark night he dimed aloft, lit it, and made it fast to the mast-head, f Descending he rushed into the cabin v and announced to the doctor a remarkably well developed case of St. Elmo’s light. The doctor bounded on deck, ; examined the light, made a sketch of - it, and finally tire midshipman boldly volunteered to go up and interview it. He went up, blew the light out, and’ descending, told the doctor, he had; ' 1 touched the flame with his, finger,: whereupon he instantly receivedg trerpen-* ( dous electric shock, and St. Elmo’s light disappeared. Dr Clark found the depraved young man’s pulse at s ioi} so he ’ ‘ put the midshipman’s arm in a. sling, / put a whisky sling imp! the. midshipman 1 ,. * knd put the midshipman; 'and '/both'l' slings into bayV’apd. during the rest of the cruise, and as a premium innocently;paid ;to W. /case of ' very atrocious wickedness, he prescribed to the young hero who had

blown St. Elmo, light out ofilu ■ s | bull’s-eye lantertf daily rations of u»- . baccd and grog, i Up on the .mix-fd mi port of the JoHp p’ Gaunt, Dr G. m i wrote a very abs^ ruse account of > t o matter, which waa pu bli s hed in an evening contemporarf an d he also forwarded to the Lotion Graphic a much more detailed amount or the phenomenon, together w |th water-color sketches of it be had made. The doctor having subs.q Uent iy sailed from this port as the st r g eon G f the Zealandia, Thomas Y.p o wles, commander -.of .the John o’ to whose knowi ledge the perpetratic, Q f t he joke had 'cOirie, alsb in a co m Hunication to the eVfcftjhg 3 cpntempor% yj ‘gives the w%lq' . away? not to raise a guffawatthc expense tf a young gentle-man-whose acquireme\ ts as a physician and as a scientist are aj ra itted by both , theJbodieSj bnt that.the Jobe that the tedium of a tong voyage, an( j the excellence of its own inceptior. an( j execution made pairdonable, may m t serve a false beacon fpf other scientist!

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Bibliographic details

A Mischievous Middy’s Joke., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 340, 10 May 1881

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A Mischievous Middy’s Joke. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 340, 10 May 1881

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