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not much imagination, yet he could well nigh
fancy he was looking upon the veritable
Wynkyn, with his bonnet, beard, furred gown,
and staff, and his great book under his arm.
So vivid was this impression, that it impelled
him to apostrophise the statue.

' Fine old fellow! ' said Mr. Blenkinsop.
' Rare old buck! We shall never look upon
your like, again. Ah! the good old times
the jolly good old times! No times like the
good old timesmy ancient worthy. No such
times as the good old times! '

' And pray, Sir, what times do you call the
good old times? ' in distinct and deliberate
accents, answeredaccording to the positive
affirmation of Mr. Blenkinsop, subsequently
made before divers witnessesthe Statue.

Mr. Blenkinsop is sure that he was in the
perfect possession of his senses. He is certain
that he was not the dupe of ventriloquism, or
any other illusion. The value of these
convictions must be a question between him and
the world, to whose perusal the facts of his
tale, simply as stated by himself, are here

When first he heard the Statue speak, Mr.
Blenkinsop says, he certainly experienced a
kind of sudden shock, a momentary feeling
of consternation. But this soon abated in a
wonderful manner. The Statue's voice was
quite mild and gentlenot in the least grim
had no funereal twang in it, and was quite
different from the tone a statue might be
expected to take by anybody who had derived
his notions on that subject from having
heard the representative of the class in ' Don

' Well; what times do you mean by the
good old times? ' repeated the Statue, quite
familiarly. The churchwarden was able to
reply with some composure, that such a
question coming from such a quarter had taken
him a little by surprise.

'Come, come, Mr. Blenkinsop,' said the
Statue, 'don't be astonished. 'Tis half-past
twelve, and a moonlight night, as your
favourite police, the sleepy and infirm old
watchman, says. Don't you know that we
statues are apt to speak when spoken to, at
these hours? Collect yourself. I will help
you to answer my own question. Let us go
back step by step; and allow me to lead you.
To begin. By the good old times, do you
mean the reign of George the Third? '

' The last of them, Sir ' replied Mr.
Blenkinsop, very respectfully, ' I am inclined to
think, were seen by the people who lived in
those days.'

' I should hope so,' the Statue replied.
' Those the good old times? What! Mr.
Blenkinsop, when men were hanged by dozens,
almost weekly, for paltry thefts. When a
nursing woman was dragged to the gallows
with her child at her breast, for shop-lifting,
to the value of a shilling. When you lost
your American colonies, and plunged into
war with France, which, to say nothing of
the useless bloodshed it cost, has left you
saddled with the national debt. Surely you
will not call these the good old times, will you,
Mr. Blenkinsop?'

' Not exactly, Sir; no: on reflection I don't
know that I can,' answered Mr. Blenkinsop.
He had nowit was such a civil, well-spoken
statuelost all sense of the preternatural
horror of his situation, and scratched his head
just as if he had been posed in argument by
an ordinary mortal.

' Well then,' resumed the Statue, ' my dear
Sir, shall we take the two or three reigns
preceding. What think you of the then existing
state of prisons and prison discipline?
Unfortunate debtors confined indiscriminately
with felons, in the midst of filth, vice, and
misery unspeakable. Criminals under
sentence of death tippling in the condemned cell
with the Ordinary for their pot companion.
Flogging, a common punishment of women
convicted of larceny. What say you of the
times when London streets were absolutely
dangerous, and the passenger ran the risk of
being hustled and robbed even in the day-time?
When not only Hounslow and Bagshot Heath,
but the public roads swarmed with robbers,
and a stage-coach was as frequently plundered
as a hen-roost. When, indeed, " the road " was
esteemed the legitimate resource of a gentleman
in difficulties, and a highwayman was
commonly called " Captain "—if not respected
accordingly. When cock-fighting, bear-baiting,
and bull-baiting were popular, nay,
fashionable amusements. When the bulk of
the landed gentry could barely read and write,
and divided their time between fox-hunting
and guzzling. When a duellist was a hero,
and it was an honour to have " killed your
man." When a gentleman could hardly open
his mouth without uttering a profane or
filthy oath. When the country was continually
in peril of civil war through a disputed
succession; and two murderous insurrections,
followed by more murderous executions,
actually took place. This era of inhumanity,
shamelessness, brigandage, brutality, and
personal and political insecurity, what say you of
it, Mr. Blenkinsop? Do you regard this wig
and pigtail period as constituting the good
old times, respected friend? '

'There was Queen Anne's golden reign, Sir,'
deferentially suggested Mr. Blenkinsop.

' A golden reign! ' exclaimed the Statue.
' A reign of favouritism and court trickery at
home, and profitless war abroad. The time
of Bolingbroke's, and Harley's, and Churchill's
intrigues. The reign of Sarah, Duchess of
Marlborough and of Mrs. Masham. A golden
fiddlestick! I imagine you must go farther back
yet for your good old times, Mr. Blenkinsop.'

' Well,' answered the churchwarden, ' I
suppose I must, Sir, after what you say.'

'Take William the Third's rule,' pursued
the Statue. 'War, war again; nothing but
war. I don't think you'll particularly call
these the good old times. Then what will