Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #1. The Mufty

by Instant Noodle

MR. PUNCH as the Great Public Moralist of the age, has always entertained the highest regard for the clergy. How much they owe him he needs not asseverate. Some of the happiest things in the popular discourses of the day, have been derived from his columns. In the benevolence of spirit that has always influenced him, he now devotes a chapter on Beards to their service. The Country Clergy require this attention; they are behind the age, and have not the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the im-provements of this advancing period. Mr. Punch has, therefore, catalogued and arranged the various methods of disposing of Nature’s noblest adornment to the face of man, for their service. The Barbine Movement is altogether the pro-perty of the Establishment, no Popish priest in this country has entrenched upon this prerogative. The Dissenters shave in gloomy silence, leaving this noble field of ecclesiastical adornment to the Clergy of the Establishment.

The first beard, Mr. Punch recommends to his Clerical friends is Mufty. This consists simply of a
very bold development of the hirsute privileges of manhood.

Mufty is achieved by giving a complete freedom to Nature. No single hair is to be curtailed in its luxurious growth. Truants are indeed to be brought into order by a proper application of the curling tongs, a charming negligence to be made apparent by the frequent application of a well-greased palm with a circular movement to the mass of beard. But no water must approach on any pretence the sacred S-ecinct admired in the “Monks of Old.” Mufty is an excellent device wherewith to encounter MR. SPURGEON’S “roaring Devils.” It answers the same purpose as war-paint on an Indian’s face.

I know a good few academics that support the mufty. It certainly offers credence, though war-paint might be pushing it.

As you might have guessed, this is the first of a few; nine to be precise. Don’t hold your breath for the completion though. It won’t be till October this year.

These are the principal beards that adorn our pulpits ; they admit of many subdivisions which it would be tedious to particularise. No doubt they greatly strengthen the Establishment by increasing the respect in which the clergy are held. Dissent came in with the razor; LATIMER, CRANMER, and RIDLEY, of course had beards, and it was the beard that awed the rebellious Puritan till the days of LAUD. The Roundheads clipped their locks in mockery of a shaven clergy. The beard alone is want-ing to restore unity and piety to the land; it is a sure intimation that the clergy are above the poor vanities of the world allow Nature to assert her privileges and are too much taken up with higher duties to attend to the adornments ol their persons.

Mr. Punch concludes by suggesting that as they permit their hair to grow ” like eagle’s feathers,” they should suffer their ” nails to grow like birds’ claws,” the effect of such a conjunction in the pulpit
would be irresistible.

I’ll bet you just can’t wait to see what beards I’ve got in store for you.

(5th March 1864)