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The Cell Nest
by [?]

To the Members of the Academy of Science, at Wrin Prairie, Wisconsin:

Gentlemen: –I beg leave to submit herewith my microscopic report on the several sealed specimens of proud flesh and other mementoes taken from the roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth. As Mr. Flannery is the mayor of Erin Prairie, and therefore has a world-wide reputation, I deemed it sufficiently important to the world at large, and pleasing to Mr. Flannery’s family, to publish this report in the medical journals of the country, and have it telegraphed to the leading newspapers at their expense. Knowing that the world at large is hungry to learn how the laudable pus of an eminent man appears under the microscope, and what a pleasure it must be to his family to read the description after his death, I have just opened a new box of difficult words and herewith transmit a report which will be an ornament not only to the scrap-book of Mr. Flannery’s immediate family after his death, but a priceless boon to the reading public at large.

Removing the seals from the jars as soon as I had returned from the express office, I poured off the alcohol and recklessly threw it away. A true scientist does not care for expense.

The first specimen was in a good state of preservation on its arrival. I never saw a more beautiful or robust proliferation epitherial cell nest in my life. It must have been secured immediately after the old epitherial had left the nest, and it was in good order on its arrival. The whole lobule was looking first-rate. You might ride for a week and not run across a prettier lobule or a more artistic aggregation of cell nests outside a penitentiary.

Only one cell nest had been allowed to dry up on the way, and this looked a good deal fatigued. In one specimen I noticed a carneous degeneration, but this is really no reflection on Mr. Flannery personally. While he has been ill it is not surprising that he should allow his cell nests to carneously degenerate. Such a thing might happen to almost any of us.

One of the scrapings from the sore on the right posterior fauces, I found on its arrival, had been seriously injured, and therefore not available. I return it herewith.

From an examination, which has been conducted with great care, I am led to believe that the right posterior rafter of Mr. Flannery’s mouth is slightly indurated, and it is barely possible that the northeast duplex and parotid gable end of the roof of his mouth may become involved.

I wish you would ask Mr. Flannery’s immediate relatives, if you can do so without arousing alarm in the breast of the patient, if there has ever been a marked predisposition on the part of his ancestors to tubercular gumboil. I do not wish to be understood as giving this diagnosis as final at all, but from what I have already stated, taken together with other clinical and pathological data within my reach, and the fact that minute, tabulated gumboil bactinae were found floating through some of the cell nests, I have every reason to fear the worst. I would be glad to receive from you for microscopic examination a fragment of Mr. Flannery’s malpighian layer, showing evidences of cell proliferation. I only suggest this, of course, as practicable in case there should be a malpighian layer which Mr. Flannery is not using. Do not ask him to take a malpighian layer off her cell nest just to please me.

From one microscopic examination I hardly feel justified in giving a diagnosis, nor care to venture any suggestion as to treatment, but it might be well to kalsomine the roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth with gum-arabic, white lime and glue in equal parts.

There has already been some extravatations and a marked multiformity. I also noticed an inflamed and angry color to the stroma with trimmings of the same. This might only indicate that Mr. Flannery had kept his mouth open too much during the summer, and sunburned the roof of his mouth, were it not that I also discovered traces of gumboil microbes of the squamous variety. This leads me to fear the worst for Mr. Flannery. However, if the gentlemanly, courteous and urbane members of the Academy of Science, of Erin Prairie, to whom I am already largely indebted for past favors, will kindly forward to me, prepaid, another scraping from the mansard roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth next week, I will open another keg of hard words and trace this gumboil theory to a successful termination, if I have to use up the whole ceiling of the patient’s mouth.

Yours, with great sincerity, profundity and verbosity,

Bill Nye,
Microscopist, Lobulist and Microbist.

Hudson, Wis., May 3.