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But C'rinkum (ʻraukum linn-elf had no doubt that his grandmother was right. llo belir deigned to parley with Master Solomon whenever the argumentative apothecary proposed to introluce his theory, but would dish his hand in the air, and, with a haughty toss of his head, carlaim, Pooh! pish! pshaw! crotchets and quavers! leave your roum-ibuut jargon, and come to the point at once! I always go-traight forwaarid !" "sovou do, clown Crooked Lane, "' the subtle compounder of logic and medicine would reply. And then ('rinkum (raukum, with a thirwat "Welling and crimsoning with ill-temper, would ruch out hi-tily from the apothecary's shop, as if he were fearful his pression would esplode into some less civil phrases than liool-night, or, livel-norning.
And why should Solomon Soundcap', or any other of Crinkum Crankum's neighbours, have trouble them. elves to thwart him in his family notio: tliat lie always had it will of his own—what harm evuld it do to him ?-goodl-natureal people may ask. Was it not better that he should entertain -uchil motion, than that he should be perpetually palliatiny a mistake by saying he could not help it, as so many weak people do? Was not this obstinaer in the belief that he had a will of his own intinitely preferable to the vulgar custom of pleading that he was a mere creature of circumstance," and thereby slipping out of the noose of moral«ulpableness at every misdemeanour?
Indeed, these questions seem sensible enough at first sight; for a man who obstinately believes that he has a will of liis own places himself at once, one would think, in a position of responsibility to society, by acknowledging his capacity to keep, is well as to break, its rules.
Unluckily, the other side of this case of casuistry is unfavourable to the lenient view taken liy good-natured people. Crinkum Crankum, like his forefathers, gloried in his belief of having a will of his own, from a self-complacent sense of privilege that it gave him,--and thereby dislodged from his own brain every germ of a thought about responsibility, as quickly as it was sown in that torrid soil. In brief : by virtue of having a will of his own, he not only argued that he could, but that he would do as he liked, and so became excessively termagant in his disposition to subduo the wills of others.
Very strange to say, Master Solomon Soundcap was the only apologist to be found in the parish, whenever his neighbours
uttered their indignant complaints against Crinkum Crankum's displays of despotic humour.
“ You mistake the matter, neighbours,” it was his wont to argue; “I do not care how energetic a man may be in enforcing his views, if they tend to usefulness or edification. If one wise man can succeed in leading fools to their own interest, and to the aid or augmentation of the general good, I have no objection to his taking the lead, and compelling others to follow him. But, when a man to-day is found proclaiming every one an ass who thinks diverse from himself, and, next week, or next year, having espoused that same asinine way of thinking, brays out an anathema on all who have given it up,—what is to be said for his consistency ? Neighbours, I would pound my fingers, instead of this lump of rhubarb, rather than take away my townsman's reputation ; but, though I cannot join you in complaining of any man, simply because he is wilful, I must complain because he is wilfully whimsical."
Thus Master Solomon, who, the reader will have discerned, was only half a conservative,-apologised for his neighbour's faults, in the customary mode of neighbourly apologists,—that is, by furnishing the complainant with new grounds of dislike, in lieu of convincing him that his own alledgements were ungrounded.
Crinkum Crankum, however, heeded neither open complainants nor pscudo-apologists : his life-long habit was to assert every new doctrine which he professed, -and he professed nearly crery doctrine in the course of his life,—with equal vehemence and equal dogmatism. IIe was a great advocate for “Nature," in carly life, and would challenge the clergyman of the parish, whenever he met him, to what he called “ free discussion;" yet it was only free so far as it afforded Crinkum Crankum a renewed opportunity for abusing the clergyman to his face, and telling him that some people might be cozened by fables, while others might be intimidated into a tacit profession of what their understandings rejected, lest they should lose caste ; but there was one man in the parish, the clergyman must know, who was neither to be deluded nor frightened, for he had a will of his own, and went straight forward.”
The mild and inoffensive curate—the vicar being a non-resident -was often hurt by these blustering attacks of Crinkum Crankum, for his meek and sincere nature rendered him incapable of cozening or intimidation. His gratification, therefore, was mingled with considerable alloy when Crinkum Crankum, in the latter part of
his life, became sin el clerotre and punctual attendant on the church services, Worlyint!lquarto prayer-book under his left arm, after the fir-loion of lii-greit grandfather, and proceeding to his pew with solen vi-:194.-. but never acknowledged the impropriety and illiberality of liis former course. The curate would, conscientiou-ly, but onths. tutel on this topic sometimes ; and (pecially when I rinkum irukum was in i flourish of attachment to the establi-bed rolig jul. I reply he gave to one of ('rinkum's most glaring display of irony - deeply chagrined the new churehman that he turned his religimus volt once more, and be
• pritarian," !01- lois own language. “ The fact is, I have it will of my own, sir," said C'rinkum, "sind therefore I am nie? tu loc wheelled by these sectarians."
" And I rejoice that your will ha- maile so profitable a decision as that of returning to the boom of the church," observed the quiet curate. I humbly trust you nequit me of some motives— shall I say, somewhat ugently attributed to me, a few years ago ?" and the clergyman -10|pd, and smiled, with an expression of the greatest kimonense
"()! is to all that, ir, answereld ('rinkum (rankum, with his customary tons of the heard, " I always act indlependently ; I always tell a man what I think : I never mince the matter ; in short, sir, I have it will of my own, and I always go straight forward."
Alas! I fear it is clown ('rookeil Lane, ils our good neighbour Soundcap says,
emrated the curate, almost involuntarily, and through the real welling up of his pity for the man's irreclaimable egotism.
“Good morning, 12.renul sir ! returned (rinkum Crankun, with an ironical emphasis on the sllables of courtesy ; and turned his back on the clergyman, te) whom he never spoke afterwards.
In his youtlı, C'rinkum was a fiery democrat; and though some of his neighbours uncharitably suspected it was to spite his wealthier cousin, who was a tory, ('rinkuni himself always maintained that it was, simply and purely, because he had a will of his own, and always went straight forwardl." Vot 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 to milk and water' sentiments, ils it 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 he 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,
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 wordiness ; 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."
“ 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 "stumbling-block of offence," for
fter. 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? Vo vou can't be, I'm sure ! ”
Year, but I can, and I am. replied Obadiah. · Then you're not a Chri-tian
llow so, friend ('rinkum ? Slander not thy neighbour, who never did thee any harm," interposed the honest religionist.
“ P'show! none of your cant, Wirs ('rinkum C'rankum's terma. gant answer. “How can you be al Christian if you deny the precept, Whosoever sledilith man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed ?'"
" Friend, bethink thee ! ” in-wered the Quaker, with great mildness ; “that was written and spoken before a Christian was heard of
You infidel hypocrite ! ” burst forth (ʻrinkum ; "and so 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 overy murderer"
" Is that the way thou interpretest another plain commandment, • Thou shalt not kill ??" quietly interposed the Quaker, once more.
“() as for that, sir.“ sail ('rinkum, somewhat hesitatingly, and a little puzzleil, “I shall not enter on any round-aboutwar 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 mawkislı 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 IIop-pole ?” asked the Quaker, with provoking gravity.
ir Zounds! exclaimed ('rinkum, in a towering passion, “ do 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 maker, while he restrained his laughter with difficulty; " but, as neighbour Solomon saith, it is down Crooked Lane !
Crinkum Crankum struck his horse with the xpurs, 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 ('rinkum Crankum's