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his life, became an earnest devotee and punctual attendant on the church service,-wedging the quarto prayer-book under his left arm, after the fashion of his great-grandfather, and proceeding to his pew with solemn visage, -but never acknowledged the impropriety and illiberality of his former course. The curate would, conscientiously, but gently, touch on this topic sometimes ; and especially when Crinkum Crankum was in a flourish of attachment to the established religion. A reply he gave to one of Crinkum’s most glaring displays of effrontery so deeply chagrined the new churchman that he turned his religious coat once more, and became a “sectarian,” to use his own language.
" The fact is, I have a will of my own, sir,” said Crinkum, " and therefore I am not to be wheedled by these sectarians."
“ And I rejoice that your will has made so profitable a decision as that of returning to the bosom of the church,” observed the quiet curate. I humbly trust you acquit me of some motives shall I say, somewhat ungently attributed to me, a few years ago ?." and the clergyman stopped, and smiled, with an expression of the greatest kindness.
“0! as to all that, sir,” answered Crinkum Crankum, with his customary toss of the head, “I always act independently ; I always tell a man what I think ; I never mince the matter; in short, sir, I have a will of my own, and I always go straight forward."
" Alas ! I fear it is down Crooked Lane, as our good neighbour Soundcap says,” enunciated the curate, almost involuntarily, and through the real welling up of his pity for the man's irreclaimable egotism.
“Good morning, reverend sir!" réturned Crinkum Crankum, with an ironical emphasis on the syllables of courtesy; and turned his back on the clergyman, to whom he never spoke afterwards.
In his youth, Crinkum was a fiery democrat; and though some of his neighbours uncharitably suspected it was to spite his wealthier cousin, who was a tory, Crinkum himself always maintained that it was, simply and purely, because “ he had a will of his own, and always went straight forward." Not at all to the surprise of Master Solomon Soundcap, though it might have surprised some of the shallower students in human nature that inhabited the village, Crinkum, one day in his middle age, set upon the metaphysical apothecary very violently for his very moderate, his mere “ milk and water” sentiments, as a conservative ; sentiments
which Master Solomon had modestly avowed from early manhood; while Crinkum had veered completely round to what he himself termed "genuine” toryism. “I have no patience with such neutral nonsense,
" burst forth the indignant Crinkum, when he had listened to half a sentence of Master Solomon's considerate speech.
" I like to hear a man say what the means, without so much of parenthesis and qualifying of his meaning
“But my good friend," interrupted Master Solomon, though he was by no means commonly guilty of that discourteous practice, “if you like to hear a man say what he means, you would not like a man to play the hypocrite by saying more than he means, would
Why, as to that, sir,” was Crinkum's stereotyped preface to an answer, “I really do not see the necessity of so much werdiness-; if a man's mind be made up, and he won't be long about it, if he possesses-one, he will soon express it. People that ask others what they shall think, for certain reasons, sir !"_and here the speaker gave a significant glance at the apothecary's labelled jars and large-bellied bottles ;—“such people, sir, must take time to say
their say. But, let me tell you, sir, I have a will of my own, and always go straight forward.”
6 Down Crooked Lane ! tittered Master Solomon; whereat Crinkum Crankum turned his heel in high dudgeon, and with the usual resemblance to a turkey-cock about his throat, shunning the apothecary's threshold, as a “stambling-block of offence," for many weeks after.
On many subjects of jurisprudence, as well as in religion and politics, Crinkum Crankum professed" broad and enlightened " views in his youth. For instance, he was enthusiastic in his praise of humane treatment of criminals, and forsook the evening parlour at the Hop-pole, for five nights, because the landlord, most unusually slender of abdomen,--had no “bowels of mercy," as Crinkum said, and had bluntly declared his satisfaction that a notorious thief and burglar was hung. Yet, in advanced manhood, being on his journey home from the neighbouring market, and having entered into conversation with a Quaker who resided in his village, Crinkum's change of sentiment, but fixity of dogmatism and intolerance, displayed themselves in the following brief conversation :
“Is it true that you are opposed to the hanging of murderers, Obadiah Terseverse? No! you can't be, I'm sure !
Yea, but I can, and I am,” replied Obadiah. “ Then you're not a Christian
“ How so, friend Crinkum ? Slander not thy neighbour, who never did thee any harm,” interposed the honest religionist.
“Pshaw! none of your cant, was Crinkum Crankum's terma. gant answer. “How can you be a Christian if you deny the precept, Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed ?'"
“Friend, bethink thee !” answered the Quaker, with great mildness ; “ that was written and spoken before a Christian was heard of
" You infidel hypocrite! burst forth Crinkum ; that's the way you shuffle out of a plain commandment! Why, you know as well as I do that we should none of us be safe in our beds if they did not hang every murderer
“ Is that the way thou terpretest another plain commandment, Thou shalt not kill ?'” quietly interposed the Quaker,
“O as for that, sir," said Crinkum, somewhat hesitatingly, and a little puzzled, “I shall not enter on any round-aboutway to the root of the matter. Without spending five words about it, I tell you, sir, the point is so clear that no man can be sincere who talks as you do: it is but mawkish sentimentalism : mere whining stuff to win a name for humanity. Many people are vastly covetous of a reputation for tenderness of feeling, and ”.
“ And dost thou remember thy five nights' absence from the Hop-pole ?” asked the Quaker, with provoking gravity.
“ Zounds !” exclaimed Crinkum, in a towering passion, you think I shall ask you for a rule of conduct ? I have a will of my own, sir, and I always go straight forward.”
“Verily, so thou dost,” retorted the Quaker, while he restrained his laughter with difficulty; "but, as neighbour Solomon saith, it is down Crooked Lane !
Crinkum Crankum struck his horse with the spurs, after hurling an unutterable glance of ire at the Quaker, and soon got out of sound of the hearty mirth in which the latter indulged.
I will but note another article in the list of Crinkum Crankum's
countless vagaries, and then have done. Because hard drinking was the perverse fashion when he was young, Crinkum restricted himself to “ moderation, as he called it for the word temperance,” as a monopoly of expression for self-denial in only one kind of vianding, was then unusual. His virtuous scorn of the “ animals,” was, at that time of life, very loudly expressed. Yet he lived to become a two-bottle man, often ; and, now and then, vena tured on three-professing, the next morning, in spite of sickness: and tormenting head-ache, the utmost contempt for these new-fangled creatures, the Teetotallers ! Two years before his death, he, nevertheless, fulfilled a prophecy of Master Solomon Soundcap, which astounded the village when they first heard it,--and became a Teetotaller himself.
“I have no faith in any man who takes the total-abstinence pledge and then breaks it, was Crinkum Crankum's charitable observation, at the expiry of one year's water-discipleship ;-and the next evening Crinkum Crankum “ took a little wine for his. stomach's sake!” Indeed, it was on this occasion, only, in the remembrance of Master Solomon Soundcap, that Crinkum vouchsafed to give a reason for his change of practice.
“ And so you have given up the Total Abstinence principles, I learn, friend Crinkum ? " said the apothecary, as he was mixing the quaking veteran of change and positivity a salutary phial of quinine and other tonics.
“Well ? ” retorted Crinkum, with a frown, “and if I have ? Do you think I am such a goose as to stick by a custom when I find it injures my health ? ”
,” exclaimed master Solomon, fairly taken by sur.. prise at hearing Crinkum Crankum condescend to give a common-sense reason for a change of sentiment or conduct.
" Then don't bother me about it,” continued Crinkum ; “I tell. you I have a will of my own, and
But Crinkum Crankum, for very shame, and in dread that he would hear Master Solomon's most unwelcome chorus to the old burthen, once more repeated,—here stopped short, and asked what he had to pay for the phial of medicine.
That was the last time he visited the apothecary, though it was not the last time the apothecary visited him. Master Solomon was wont to say, after Crinkum's death, that the ruling passion was strong within him, even in articulo mortis ; for that he appealed to him, Master Solomon the apothecary, very earnestly, as he
NO. XIX.-VOL. IV.
" ( dear, no,
poured out the last draught of cordial, whether he had not “always had a will of his own, and gone straightforward ? '
“How strange," said I, after some minutes' silence, when the apothecary made this relation ; “how strange—that the most changeable and most inconsistent of mortals should be the most intolerant !”
• All his weaknesses and errors were traceable to one cause, replied my venerable friend ; “ he had never learned to reflect. And, young man,” added the old man, with a significant look, the 6 Crankums are by no means extinct,: they are a numerous family."
RESEARCHES IN BELGRAVIA ;
LETTER V.-To MRS. RUSTLER. DEAREST FRIEND,–
That we have been deluded, authenticates our own simplicity! Unfortunate is the female mind (let the latitudinarian followers of Voltaire, Malthus, and the other votaries of perfidious Apostacy paradoxify truth as they will,) which is incapable of trust. Satisfied of our own security, we can believe in that of others. P- joins me in thinking that to have discovered Lady Highborough as among the covert followers of Rome, constitutes but a slight stab. Explained is now her frivolity,-her heartlessness to her dependants, - the startling licence of her household, -the gratuitous insult to two unoffending followers of
We are both now convinced that the note tran. scribed in my last, was penned under the influence of Mr. Niblett; who has been seen by Mrs. Pecker from the window, walking along the street. His dress, Mrs. Pecker says, was Priestcraft personified : the waistcoat buttoned across, like Mr. Podd's. Does he ever think of his old friends, you ask? No ;-Popish domination, tending to seclude even the English clergy in celibacy, precludes the bare dream of every tender tie. Our angelic P-, I suspect, feels his defection more than she cares to own.
But quit we Babylon for Belgravia, and “vlet Time,” as the poet says, “elucidate what Prophecy is unable to fathom.' We have not loosed our sandals for the last two days : we have devoted
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