Dear Messrs Kneebone and Pyle,
Our daughter Miriam is a gay and frivolous creature – the vices of youth one suspects - who will one day make a fine and deserving wife. To this effect, we are arranging her coming out ball. Now, this child has requested dancing, specifically this new European craze the Waltz. Without wishing to trouble her appropriately empty little head, but for my own peace of mind, I would like to confirm or dispel a most disturbing rumour. Sirs, let me cut to the chase. Does this waltz cause syphilis? It is hardly necessary for me to point out the prospects of marriage for a spoiled maiden.
On this issue we are all fathers. We could never forgive ourselves if all it took was a little enlightenment and a tight rein on adolescent boisterousness to curb the “French Disease” and we let the opportunity pass. For this reason Thadeus and I, bags heavy with the contraptions of science, travelled to Newgate prison. After pressing a thruppence into the gatekeepers palm we slipped into the bowels of that forsaken place. There we rounded up a straight-jacketed handful of syphilis demented felons and demanded of them, in the name of Science! if they had ever occasioned to waltz. At first there was some reluctance or perchance incomprehension in the convicts; but after Jebediah egged on convict A with a crack across the eyes from his cane, the truth, as it always will, tumbled out. Convict B immediately reminisced about an interlude where he and Queen Victoria waltzed upon the moon. This loosened the traps of our other test subjects, who in order, confessed to waltzing with a spoon; a daschund named Colin, and Black Friars Bridge. There you have it sir, of every subject infected with syphilis, so every subject had indeed performed the waltz. Cause and effect has irrefutably been proved. This dance Sir is a dance with delirium and disease. Myth confirmed.
We remain, your humble servants
Thadeus Pyle & Jebediah Kneebone Esq.