Doubtless the printer could find no author better qualified. This book is a relic of a curious fact of history: on those rare occasions when the Thames froze over, Londoners would make a holiday of it and set up booths on the ice to sell each other things, such as souvenir books about famous frosts of history.

But what happened if the ice broke and some unfortunate soul fell through? As we learn from this book, Londoners reacted the way they have always reacted in an emergency: they laughed themselves silly at the expense of the victim.

We note in passing that this is part of the collection called “The Eighteenth Century,” which we have mentioned before. It is still rapidly expanding, with 119,222 items as of this writing, almost every one of which is labeled as being in “Middle English.” This means that, of the items in the Internet Archive labeled as Middle English, the number that are not from the 1700s is so tiny as to be insignificant. Of that tiny number, a significant percentage, possibly a majority, are modern sound recordings that will probably be taken down soon for copyright reasons. It is likely that we shall soon have to find an alternative term to describe the language we used to call Middle English, and Dr. Boli is accepting suggestions.