Letter from Miss Indigo - Dinner party p.333

Here Miss Indigo uses meticulous scientific language to describe a dinner party she has attended: the soup scalds her 'paletic epidermis' (her palate), and the 'piper nigrum' (black pepper) causes 'a very unpleasant degree of titillation in the whole of the oral region.' She then expresses her horror at the 'sad blunders of mamma' whose taste for knitting and gin reflects a worrying lack of enthusiasm for science.

About Letter to Miss Indigo


This article, written in 1824, is a satirical take on female amateur scientists and their enthusiasm for scientific tourism. It consists of a spoof letter written by Miss Indigo to her friend Miss Maria Louisa Mazar. Miss Indigo writes of her trip to Worthing where she has earnestly applied her scientific knowledge to everything she has encountered: from the 'fine specimens of the mammalia class of quadrapeds' (the sheep and cows in the meadows) to the 'piper nigrum' (black pepper) in her soup.

Tourism for amateur scientists was an increasingly popular pastime during the 19th century, and this article sniggers at those travellers who take themselves a bit too seriously.

The New Monthly Magazine was first published in 1821. It was primarily a literary journal, and it contained original prose and poetry, covering a rich variety of subjects.

Taken from: The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal Vol XI
Publisher: Henry Colburn
Date: 1824
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 257.d.6