08/02/2023

Dickens /Minor /Pearl Fishing

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Pearl Fishing – 1854 – a short story collection



Dickens published this in 1854 selecting ten different tales from Household Words, each told in a characteristic Dickensian fashion.

CHARACTERS:
Barber, James (Jemmy)
Blenkinsop
Bowyer, Hannah
Cheshire, James
Connell
Cushion, Captain
de Vokes, Wynkyn
Dufour, Madamemoiselle
Dunster, Betty
Dunster, David
Dunster, David (Jnr)
Dunster, Jane
Dunster. Nancy
Essig, Professor
Fid, Lt Ferdinand
Fid, Philip
Gahan, Billy (William)
Gahan, Tim
Herbert, Edward
Hewson, Charlotte
Hewson, James
Higginbotham, Tom
Houston, Frank
John
Justiniani, Signor
Leigh, James
Leigh, Lizzie
Leigh, Nanny
Leigh, Tom
Leigh, Will
Lomax, Mrs
Lovell
Lovell, Charles
Lovell, Emily
Markham, Mrs
Orme, Samuel
Palmer, Susan
Pelazia, Prince
Pelican, Lady
Pelican, Lord
Roszynski, Count
Roszynski, Countess
Roszynski, Constantia
Roszynski, Leon
Sava
Sava, Anielka (Signora Giovanna)
Selka, Count
Seton, Doctor
Smedley, Mary
Spoonbill, Hon George (Spooney)
Teresina, Signora
Terrero, Baron
Tulip, Colonel
Turton, Tobias
Wadding, Lieutenant
Wilson, Tetty



THE STORY:
Loaded Dice
John is on his travels with a woman friend, Mrs Markham, around the southern counties in an open carriage. They are taking breakfast at roadside inns. His companion announces she wants to inquire at the next village about a family called Lovell.

She asks a server at the Inn where they are breakfasting about Lovell, a clergyman. They are given directions to the vicarage where he is currently the vicar of the parish. They are advised that the more pleasant route is across the fields.

It’s a nice day and they find the church is in picturesque decay, and the vicarage is a charming cottage. Pausing in the churchyard, Markham decribes the Lovells as handsome.

They hear a miltary band approaching, they had passed a barracks earlier. They realise that it is a funeral for a soldier, observing that these are much more meaningful, ordinary funerals seemed to be more a mockery of the dead.

A man arrived and uncovered a freshly dug grave, The procession was sombre. The procession arrived, the coffin bearing the deceased’s shako, sword, side-belt and gloves.

Mrs Markham drew her companion’s attention to a man she identified as Lovell, though much changed. He performed the service, the mud hit the coffin, and three volleys were fired.

They were concealed behind the ruined chancel and watched the ceremony. John looked up at the tower, and through a narrow slit saw a young man with an anguished face. Pointing it out to Mrs Markham, she turned quite pale, She commented that Mr Lovell’s voice had shaken during the ceremony.

They see a tall thin man return to the vicarage, and were convinced his was the face they had seen. They return to the inn, but it is in the town that they uncover the story.

The Lovells were exceedingly poor and had two children, Charles and Emily. Charles went off to Oxford, while Emily became a governess in London. Charles slipped into debt and when he returned home he began to gamble with the soldiers. Emily wrote from London where she had met up with Edward Herbert. Herbert was posted to the barracks and became engaged in the same card games as Charles.

Charles cheated at cards and so had a run of ‘good luck’ with regular winnings. Eventually the soldiers suspected him of his cheating, though they kept this from Herbert as they knew of his relationship with Emily. They confronted Charles who ran off and remained in his bedroom.

Herbert had been a big loser. He had told Emily that he would ask for her hand when he purchased his captaincy, but of course his losses meant he now could not complete the purchase. He then learned of Charles cheating, His colleagues found his body, he had shot himself in despair.

The Lovells told Charles that Herbert was dead and he confessed to them of his gambling. While they were talking, Emily arrived home assuming that Herbert was about to ask for her hand. They gave her the news.

Some years later they heard that Charles and Emily had gone to Australia, into a self-condemned exile.
___

The Serf of Pobereze
This is a story of Polish and Russian serfdom. Anielka is the daughter of Sava, who had been thrown into the dungeons of the palace of Olgogrod.

A lowly old beekeeper and his wife raise her in idyllic rural surroundings. But the owners of the palace Count and Countess Roszynski chose her to be companion to their daughter, Constantia. She is treated unfairly at first but becomes friendly with Constantia, she is still cleearly a serf.

She leaves the palace and heads back to the spot where she was raised, she sings sweetly but then cries for her loss. Son to the Count and Countess, Leon Roszynski finds her, raises her up, gives her a rouble, and steals her heart.

Leon departs for two years and on his return finds Anielka grown and while he doesn’t recognise her, he is drawn to her. His sister Constantia listens to him bemoan the marriage he has agreed, to Prince Pelazia’s daughter. They insist that Anielka sing, and Leon pleads with his sister to give him Anielka to allow him to present her to his wife.

Anielka is better treated by the Prince, she took singing lessons from Signor Justiniani and the Prince sent her in a coach to see the old beekeper and his wife. But on arrival she learns the wife is dead, the beekeeper dies while she is there.

She settles into her new life as serf to the wife of Leon in Florence. Leon finds her sad and sends her to hear a famous singer. Signora Teresina takes her in and trains her formally, they agree she will be renamed as Signora Giovanna.

As the Signora’s skills fade, Giovanna takes over. Teresina dies and Count Selka reintroduces her to, now the Count, Leon Roszynski, who again does not recognise her.

Leon declares hi slove for Giovanna and she tells him she does not love him. She relates her story and that she was his serf. They eventually decide to ignore the past and marry,

Leon decides to release the prisoners in his dungeons and Sava is freed, but he does not recognise Anielka. He burns down the castle as an act of revenge and sees the new count and countess die in the fire.

The next day some peasants discover his body in the snow, He never learned that the countess was his Anielka.

___


My Wonderful Adventures in Skitzland
The narrator liked to dig holes, and started one behind the kitchen wall, He was so committed that he kept digging, until he bagan to be aware of noises below him. Then suddenly he broke through and fell into Skitzland.

He landed on the box seat of a four-horse coach. The place was strange, the coach driver not very forthcoming with an explanation. They stopped at an inn and he was asked if he would dine, when he said yes the waiter asked him for his stomach. The coachman reached inside his coat and handed the waiter a stomach,

He learns he has landed on Baron Terroro’s pair of eyes, though one of them ecaped, He finds his fellow passengers are mostly skeletons, and he is reminded of Professor Essig’s Lectures on Anatomy.

He espied nineteen or twenty scalps and learned they were travelling to Skitzon from Culmsey to have their hair properly cut and curled for a ball.

He learns that Skitzlanders lose their limbs on their twenty-first birthday, most becoming skeletons without limbs, and that they were able to detach parts of themselves. But they all kept their stomachs, because filling them drove their industry.

His informant says that those with all their limbs, forty-two of them, sit in the Assembly of the Perfect, and he assumes that it is the narrator’s objective, to become the forty-third.

He looks around and is surprised that the sky appears blue, he knows it is the underside of the earth. It also appears to have stars, and he learns that murderers are shot by mortars and the whiteness he sees is their skeletons.

He realises that he has been arrested and faces trial for landing on Baron Terroro’s eyes, He had sent his eyes to see a friend in Culmsey and they were sitting on the box seat of the coach when he landed on them, destroying one of the eyes.

He was tried and sentenced to death, sentence to be executed in three hours. He is afforded a stroll under guard. He visits churches with congregations of hearts and of ears. He visits the opera performed by lungs and mouths. He visits the Workhouse to find them all yellow, because the penalty of pauperdom was to fill their stomach with cement, the yellowness was caused by the resultant excess of bile.

The three hours have passed and he is taken to the spot where he landed and crammed by the Baron into a mortar, It is fired. They had aligned it perfectly and he popped up through the hole that he had fallen through.

Back in his vegetable garden he cannot resist throwing marrows and pumpkins down his hole at Skitzland, His hope was to knock out the vindictive Baron’s other eye. He goes to his kitchen and grabs a basket full of eggs and rained these down too.

It was after breakfast when he went down the hole and he arrived back to hear the dinner bell.

____

Lizzie Leigh
James Leigh died on Christmas morning 1836, but just before he did he said to his wife, ‘I forgive her, Anne! May God forgive me’. They had been married twenty-two years, nineteen of them had been exemplary, but the last three she had rebelled against him. His last words made her forgive him.

Her sons, Tom and Will, prepare tea and offer to read from the Bible, she chose the Tale of the Prodigal Son. It appeared to depress Will, reminded him of the family’s disgrace, but it cheered her.

After the funeral the will was read by Samuel Orme. James had left the farm to his wife for the rest of her life, and thereafter to Will. The hundred and odd-pounds in his savings bank account was left to Tom.

Anne talks to Samuel and says she wants to let the farm and move into Manchester. He is worried that she is still affected by the death so talks to her sons. Who are shocked by the idea.

Will confronts his mother who tells him she must go to Manchester and find his sister Lizzie. James had received a note more than two years before, it had been from Lizzie’s employer and advised him of the reason Lizzie had been fired. He had concluded that his wife should not try to find her, that the family no longer had a daughter.

Will is of the opinion that she is dead but agrees to her proposal provided she gives the search only one year and then concludes that Lizzie is dead. She says she will not tell Tom of her reasoning.

The Leighs duly move to Manchester. Anne would perform all her household duties, some being strange to her now living in a city. Then she would leave for her search, offten returning well after midnight. Will thought it folly but didn’t comment.

Will assisted a drunken man home and met a young woman of around twenty who kept the drunk’s house immaculate. He is invited to return, and can’t shake his memory of the girl. He returned and glimpsed her again. He learned the old man had once been genteel, but now depended on his daughter, Susan. But she consistently rejects his glances and endearments.

Will accepted this and withdrew into himself, Tom suggested they move back to Upclose Farm. Will waits until alone with his mother and questions her search. She explains she had gone to her employer, Mrs Lomax, and had a lead to the workhouse. Where else could she find work with her baby.

Will confesses to her that he loves Susan Palmer, and this is why he should go home, the family had sinned and she was a lady. Annie decides to visit Susan and plead for Will.

She sets off and speaks to a lady who knows Susan, learning of her schoolteaching and other virtues. She calls at the school and explains that Will is in love with her. She breaks down and talks of her daughter Lizzie.

Susan tells a story of a woman following her and depositing the baby on her, the baby she now called her niece. She went on to say that she worked nearby to Mrs Lomax, and she had heard that they had sent away a girl they called Bessy, and she had often fancied that he baby was hers. In amongst a bundle of shabby clothes, the baby had been wrapped in, was a note saying ‘Call her Annie.’ Mrs Leigh recognised one of the frocks, made from a gown of Lizzie’s.

Mrs Leigh successfully calms the baby, called Nanny, who smiles at her. She mentions that she supposes the mother to be dead. Susan insists not, she keeps receiving cash and little parcels for the baby. Anne returns home and tells Will she has been to see Susan. She tells him about Nanny.

Susan is woken by her drunken father and Nanny follows her, but slips and falls down the stairs. Susan runs for a doctor, and a shadowy character asks if it was her baby that had fallen, The two run back to the house, the doctor followed.

Lizzie looks at the baby, bending her ear to its lips. She declares it is dead and blames Susan. Susan protests that she would rather lose her own life. Lizzie confesses thatit is her own fault, The doctor gives her a sleeping draft and she takes the corpse and sleeps.

Susan goes to the Leigh’s house and tells of the baby’s death and Lizzie’s arrival. Mrs Leigh hastens to the Palmers, where she finds a Lizzie, old before her time, but that only made her mother love her more.

Will arrived in the evening and Susan told him his sister was upstairs being watched by his mother. They argue because Will is reproachful, but they eventually calm down.

Upsatirs Lizzie wakes from the sleeping draught the doctor had given her. She asks her mother not to look at her, for she is wicked, her mother insists that she forgives her all and mentions she had held the baby before it died. They laid the child to rest on the moors, as the quakers once did.

Will and Susan moved back to Upclose Farm and raised a family, one they called Nanny. Annie and Lizzie moved into a secluded cottage. Tom became a schoolmaster. Lizzie prays to be forgiven and to see her child again, she visits the grave regularly and makes daisy chains.

____

The Old Churchyard Tree – a Prose Poem

A child plays beneath the yew tree in a graveyard, he is gathering flowers to make a garland, A young girl watches him without being noticed. When he does see her, she runs off but he overhauls her and asks that she help him make more garlands. She does and they become great friends.

Twenty years pass and they are to marry and pledge to spend the wedding evening at the yew tree, because it was where they had met.

Years later, a young man shouts and throws stones at the yew tree. There is now a small stone dedicated to his mother, and the father asks the son to repent. But he will not and leaves the father beside the grave.

More years pass and there are two graves near the yew tree and a third is freshly dug. The son has lost his ambition and strength and joined his parents beneath the yew tree.

____

The Modern ‘Officer’s’ Progress

This tale charts an officer from joining the regiment, through being a subaltern and ends with the ‘catastrophe’.

The officer is the Hon George Spoonbill, his parents Irish estates have fallen into disrepair and George has to join the Infantry, hence the italics in the title.

The Catastrophe is no military challenge but debts he incurred by gambling,

The tale is revealing of the real character of a soldier and a gentleman,

____
Father and Son
It is 1798 in Ireland, Mr and Mrs Hewson have finished dinner, bothered by the recent unrest she draws attention to a noise from outside.

Their steward knocks and is called in, he advises them of a planned uprising the next day, They plan to sack all the houses in the area. But James is loath to leave the house. Gahan is eager to leave with his son Billy, but Charlotte wants to pet and spoil him. Gahan leaves and they discuss his mood, since his wife ahs died, Billy confirms Old Peggy didn’t wash or dress him as well as his mother.

They discuss adopting the boy and he confirms he woulld like that. They hear the noise again and James sees people moving in the trees, and Gahan running to the back of the house.

He uses the bell and summons Connell to shutter the windows and put up the bars and to fetch Gahan. Gahan is asked why he ran to the back of the house and he says that the pigs were heading for the flower beds and he dealt with them. He was asked who were the people in the grove, and he said there were none. But James insisted there were. Gahan gathers up Billy and leaves.

In the morning the magistrates found a hat in the grove, signs of trampling feet in the gravel. Gahan’s intelligence however proved worthless. He was under suspicion but nothing of substance could be proven.

After some months the rebellion was quellled, its supporters hung, transported or acquited. Suspicion of Gahan subsided and Billy (William) was taken in and educated.

Twenty years later, Gahan, now an old man, hears from the other servants that Billy has been accused of theft.

Gahan goes to Hewson and explains that Billy saved his life. Twenty years before Gahan was part of the gang that intended to sack the Hewson house, but when they took aim at James he had picked up Billy and sat him on his knee. They waited a while but he kept him on this knee until they were scared away by sounds of militia,

Gahan says many of the rebels had been hung, but one had blackmailed him, Though he had passed away that morning, It was for this reason that he made his boy a thief.

The Hewsons forgave them and Billy swore he would never sin again.

____

The Miner’s Daughter.—A Tale of the Peak

The tale commences at the Bulls Head Inn in Derbyshire on the road from Ashford-in-the-water to Tideswell, It moves on to Wardlow Cop, and on to Raven Dale, where a miner, David Dunster, lived. His wife Betty home taught the children and seamed stockings for a framework-knitter in Ashford.

David was tall, yet still seemed to work effectively in the lead mines. He often drank and arrived at home drunk. Though he could stay away for days drinking in Tideswell, at the Bulls Head or in Ashton. He was quick to lose his temper.

Betty bore all of this stoically and took her children to the Methodist Chapel at Tidser, their name for Tideswell. She had no choice but to leave the children on their own when she ‘carried in her hose’ to Ashford.

On one of these occasions the children wandered and followed a trail of flowers getting higher and higher. The girls encouraged them back down when they heard an echo, Nancy thought it a man in the hill and was frightened. David kept calling and they scampered down further.

They found a sort of amphitheatre with rocks offering seats, David play-acted the teacher until they realised a storm was brewing. They decided to run home but the storm hit and blocked their view of the track.

It cleared above them and they saw a man plodding up the hill with two bags, he sat on a crag to rest and they shouted to him, he showed no signs of hearing them. The girls feared he was the man from the hill, but David said an echo was not a man.

The weather cleared a little and he was able to see it was Tobias Turton, the deaf man who lived at the top of Edale. David shook him and said help us, where’s the track. But Turton thought he was talking of weights on his back,

When he realised who the lad was and what he wanted he showed them the track and told them to go home, they shouldn’t be out here in a storm.

David called to his sisters to join him, but it got darker, He heard them cry and left the track to reach them. Bushes and rocks conspired so that they could not find the track.

Their mother had returned home and was frantic trying to find them, but David, at first, would do nothing, he was angry with them for going away from the house. She went up the hill and stopped at houses asking if anyone had seen them. Several young men assisted Mrs Dunster and they called out, hearing the children respond, but from far off.

David did now join them. He called out and heard a scream. They sought further and found the two girls very distraught, There was no sign of David, the girls eventually indicating that he was over a precipice.

David was like a madman and shook one of the girls as if it were her fault, the young men pulled him off. They went down and found David’s body. Apparently he had heard the shout of his father and said all would be fine to his sisters and rushed to where he had heard the calls, and out over the precipice.

__

Dunster blamed the girls. Worse, Nancy, the younger girl, grew dull and defective in her intellect, it was as if she had suffered a paralysis. The doctor was consulted and he said the terrors of the night had affected her brain. He urged soothing attentions, and perhaps a move away from where the disaster had struck.

David was not moved by this opinion, he drank more regularly, stayed away for a week at a time. Drunk he had an accident in the mine and died.

His wife and children had no choice now but to move, he had left them in poverty. Nancy had been nursed back to health and was intellectually alright, but not growing and became withdrawn. The locals said ‘Right she was not, poor thing, but it was not want of sense; she had more of that than most.’

They became of an age to work in the mill. The proprietor, was aware of their story, and let the two sisters work closely together. Nancy was at first awkward but she developed dexterity thanks to the patience of the proprietor.

Jane grew into a tall and striking woman. The young men showed her attention, but she insisted small and unattractive Nancy must come everywhere with her.

Mrs Dunster added the post-woman role to her seaming, she went every day to the Bull Inn, despite developing rheumatism. When Jane was twenty-two her mother died.

The two girls could not afford the cottage and moved. A grocer was attracted to Jane and promised he would respect her need to have Nancy with her, but Nancy was unsure. Jane severed the connection with the grocer. Nancy was remorseful for the harm she had done her sister,

____

One morning the girls were walking to the mill, and a farmer, James Cheshire, stopped to give them a lift on his cart. The other mill workers called out as they passed. He went past his farm and took them up to the town, but they insisted on getting out before reaching the mill, to minimise comment.

They had spoken freely along the way and Nancy confided in Jane that she thought he was the one for Jane, a good man. When they visited chapel they saw him again, and Nancy said to Jane that he had confirmed her view, but Jane insisted that no farmer would take a mill girl,

Later James caught up with Nancy and declared he wanted to pursue Jane, but asked Nancy’s opinion first. She cautioned him about the gulf between farmer and mill girl, but he scoffed about that. She gave him her approval.

He asked her to talk with her sister and make a chalk mark inside his gate as they passed in the morning, if it was alright with Jane. In the morning he espyed the chalk mark and that evening arrived at the cottage with all manner of produce, and had tea with them.

They courted and he insisted both should quit the mill-work and avoid those cold morning journeys. He suggested they both went to Manchester for three months to be educated in housekeeping. James travelled to Manchester with a licence and returned home with a wife.

Mrs Cheshire settled to her task assisted by an old servant, Mary Spendlove, and showed an excitement to participate in all of the farm activity. Nancy tended toward the housekeeping.

However well it was evidently going, James still received coldness from friends and family, just as Nancy had predicted. He railed at the nasty comments about Nancy’s small stature.

James came home and stated that all was ‘peace and luv’ at home but whenever they left it there was comment and spite. He decided they should go to America, The three of them discussed this and agreed.

So he, Jane, Nancy and Mary embarked at Liverpool and moved to the State of Illinois. It was not without problems but twenty-five years later James created an ample estate now managed by his sons, he was now a Colonel and Magistrate for his neighbourhood.

Nancy, now known as Mrs Dunster, promoted schools and was a councillor for the old and young. All suggestion of a dwarf or witch had been replaced, she was now considered as a venerable matron.

____

The Ghost of the late Mr James Barber
Two young brothers were both in the Royal Navy. The younger, Ferdinand Fid, had attained his lieutenancy, but his older brother was still a midshipman, having recently failed his examinations.

They talked of a mutual acquaintance, James Barber known as Jemmy or Jovial James. He was the life and soul of every party, mixed at all levels of Society, was among the first to learn new dances and so on.

Ferdinand tells of a drinking bout on his return from the Slaving Coasts, renowned for developing a thirst. He had done the rounds with Jemmy, he was well the worse for wear. He swore to himself he would take the pledge.

On a trip to Kingston Jamaica he was told by the Doctor, Seton, that Jemmy had died. He returned to Portsmouth was examined and passed as lieutenant. His elder brother looked blank at this remimder of his younger brother’s advancement.

Celebrating his promotion he found himself relenting and doing the round despite his pledge. At some point he crossed the Thames in a wherry and met with the ghost of Jemmy.

The ghost bemoaned the fact that he was condemned to continue his round of bars and clubs while dead. He stresses that fools like Fid had thought him a jolly fellow, he wasn’t.

He explains that he can be released from his penance if he got six solemn pledges, and asks Ferdinand to be one of these. The lieutenant eventually agrees.

The narrator tells that at a later date he sailed with Phlilip Fid and Seton. Philip was first mate and Seton the surgeon. By then the story of Jovial Jemmy’s ghost was the best-authenticated ghost story in Her Majesty’s Naval service.

Seton explained the appearance of Jemmy was ‘a spectrum, produced by that morbid condition of the brain, which is brought on by the immoderate use of stimulants, and by dissipation; we call it Transient Monomania’.

Ghost or not the tale had changed Philip Fid from intemperate to sobriety, the narrator wished his promotions be steady!

____

A Tale of the Good Old Times
Blenkinsop was an alderman and churchwarden at St Wulfstan’s church. He worshipped the past and successively opposed all change. He was currently fighting plans for a pretty cemetery outside Beetlebury. He frustrated every scheme advanced.

He believed his objections to be economical and this pleased the rate-payers, in fact they were desperately costly.

He was a jovial person, a boon companion, and a great fan of old ale and old port wine. He took a lot of these at a dinner to celebrate the retirement of the bishop, and was the last to leave the Crown and Mitre.

On his way home he came to the Market Cross and the statue of Wynkyn de Vokes, once Mayor of Beetlebury. In the dim light he fancied that this was the man himself. He acclaimed de Vokes as a fine old fellow of the good old times.

The statue appeared to respond, asking of what good times he referred. It asked him a second time, and reassured him that statues were apt to reply on such a night.

The statue offered to assist him, did he mean the reign of George III? Blenkinsop replied that these were the last of the good times.

The statue agreed, citing the many people hanged for paltry thefts, a nursing woman with a child at her breast hanged for shop-lifting, commenting on that king’s loss of the American colonies and his war with France.

What about the two or thee reigns before that? Debtors imprisoned with felons, regular floggings, the streets unsafe from robbers in day-time. Stagecoaches never safe from highwaymen. He cited cock-fighting, bear-baiting and bull-baiting. The country never safe from civil war. Did he see this wig and pigtail period as the good old times?

Blenkinsop said Queen Anne’s reign was indeed a golden period. The statue dimissed the peiod as a golden fiddlestick, a reign of favourtism and profitless wars.

The statue called William II’s reign as war, war and more war. James II delivered the Monmouth Rebellion and Judge Jefferies. Kings setting themselves above the law, were these the good times that he referred to?

What about Charles II? A court full of debauchery and riot. The hangings, drewings and quarterings on perjured evidence. The time of the Great Plage and the Fire of London. Was the Merry Monarch steward of his good times?

Of course he didn’t mean Cromwell’s time! Charles I tried to assert arbitrary power, there was the Star Chamber, Stafford and laud. Could his good times be around then?

James I brought us the Gunpowder Plot, Sir Walter Raleigh’s beheading, countless women burnt alive for witchcraft.

The statue cited Elizabeth, and Blenkinsop felt these were good times, everybody talks of the times of good Queen Bess. The statue scoffed that everybody sometimes said foolish things. What of the Ecclesiastical Commission, with its power of imprisonment, rack, and torture? Roman Catholics butchered, Mary Queen of Scots mudered, cropped ears, pillory, stocks, thumb-screws, gibbet, axe, chopping-block.

Were the good old times when Bloody Mary roasted bishops, or Henry VIII beheaded wives, butchering Catholics and Protestants alike. Richard II smothering his nephews in the Tower. The War of the Roses, Jack Cade’s march upon London, Richard II’s assassination, or John becoming vassal to the Pope and persecuting Jews. Or was it the Norman’s Curfew and Forest Laws. When among these sanguinary periods were the good times?

Was it when Harold fell at Hastings. or the Danish ravage, the Saxon Heptarchy, or of subjugation by Rome? Or was it Druidism and human sacrifice? Or when we painted ourselves blue?

Blenkinsop admitted that none of this seemed appropriate and the statue offered to tell him when they were. He said it was the oldest times, as the world grew older it became more experienced, the good old times were the present That was up until now, of the future he could not speak.

Mr Blenkinsop was a changed man and espoused new causes, his colleagues thought him mad. Blenkinsop had found an altogether new pair of spectacles, which enabled him to see in the right direction.

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