The United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company

Why the very name will get the shares up to a premium in ten days.

In fairness, it does sound good.

Dickens tends to come up with a great idea, talk about it for a page or two, then never mention it again. This is perhaps the best example – even if you never read anything else that he’s ever written, read chapter 2 of Nicholas Nickleby.

It’s the first public meeting of The United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company. Yes, technically it’s a satire of trade practices of the time. I have read that muffins (and crumpets) may have been used as a metaphor for opium, but it certainly strongly hints at dodgy deals. They resolve to ask Parliament to set up the company with a monopoly on the trade because:

[T]his meeting views with alarm and apprehension, the existing state of the Muffin Trade in this Metropolis and its neighbourhood; that it considers the Muffin Boys, as at present constituted, wholly underserving the confidence of the public; and that it deems the whole Muffin system alike prejudicial to the health and morals of the people, and subversive of the best interests of a great commercial and mercantile community.

It’s not especially subtle but… imagine if it actually was about muffins (and crumpets).

Fancy reading Nicholas Nickleby? You can get it from Amazon as a cheap paperback, pretty cheap hardcover, audio book or Kindle book. At the time of writing, the Kindle version is 49p so you’ve really got no excuse not to check out that chapter! Go on, it’ll make you smile.

(Unless otherwise stated, I get a small commission if you buy through one of these links)

4 thoughts on “The United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company

    1. I think Dickens is at his best when he’s not advancing the plot. I’m not a great fan of many of his main characters and what they do but I’m a very big fan of the bits he writes in between.

      Liked by 1 person

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