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you say to those of James the Second? Were
they the good old times when Judge Jefferies
sat on the bench? When Monmouth's
rebellion was followed by the Bloody Assize
When the King tried to set himself above
the law, and lost his crown in consequence
Does your worship fancy that these were the
good old times? '

Mr. Blenkinsop admitted that he could not
very well imagine that they were.

' Were Charles the Second's the good old
times? ' demanded the Statue. ' With a court
full of riot and debaucherya palace much
less decent than any modern casinowhilst
Scotch Covenanters were having their legs
crushed in the " Boots," under the auspices and
personal superintendence of His Royal
Highness the Duke of York. The time of Titus
Oates, Bedloe, and Dangerfield, and their
sham-plots, with the hangings, drawings, and
quarterings, on perjured evidence, that
followed them. When Russell and Sidney were
judicially murdered. The time of the Great
Plague and Fire of London. The public
money wasted by roguery and embezzlement,
while sailors lay starving in the streets for
want of their just pay; the Dutch about the
same time burning our ships in the Medway.
My friend, I think you will hardly call the
scandalous monarchy of the "Merry Monarch"
the good old times.'

' I feel the difficulty which you suggest, Sir,
owned Mr. Blenkinsop.

' Now, that a man of your loyalty,' pursued
the Statue, ' should identify the good old times
with Cromwell's Protectorate, is of course out
of the question.'

' Decidedly, Sir! ' exclaimed Mr. Blenkinsop.
' He shall not have a statue, though you enjoy
that honour,' bowing .

' And yet,' said the Statue, ' with all its
faults, this era was perhaps no worse than any
we have discussed yet. Never mind! It was
a dreary, cant-ridden one, and if you don't
think those England's palmy days, neither do
I. There's the previous reign then. During
the first part of it, there was the king
endeavouring to assert arbitrary power. During
the latter, the Parliament were fighting
against him in the open field. What
ultimately became of him I need not say. At
what stage of King Charles the First's career
did the good old times exist, Mr. Alderman?
I need barely mention the Star Chamber and
poor Prynne; and I merely allude to the fate
of Strafford and of Laud. On consideration,
should you fix the good old times anywhere
thereabouts? '

' I am afraid not, indeed, Sir,' Mr.
Blenkinsop responded, tapping his forehead.

' What is your opinion of James the First's
reign? Are you enamoured of the good old
times of the Gunpowder Plot? or when Sir
Walter Raleigh was beheaded? or when
hundreds of poor miserable old women were burnt
alive for witchcraft, and the royal wiseacre on
the throne wrote as wise a book, in defence of
the execrable superstition through which they
suffered? '

Mr. Blenkinsop confessed himself obliged
to give up the times of James the First.

' Now, then,' continued the Statue, 'we
come to Elizabeth.'

' There I've got you! ' interrupted Mr.
Blenkinsop, exultingly. ' I beg your pardon,
Sir,' he added, with a sense of the freedom he
had taken; 'but everybody talks of the times
of Good Queen Bess, you know! '

' Ha, ha! ' laughed the Statue, not at all
like Zamiel, or Don Guzman, or a paviour's
rammer, but really with unaffected gaiety.
' Everybody sometimes says very foolish
things. Suppose Everybody's lot had been
cast under Elizabeth! How would Everybody
have relished being subject to the
jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Commission,
with its power of imprisonment,
rack, and torture? How would Everybody
have liked to see his Roman Catholic and
Dissenting fellow-subjects, butchered, fined,
and imprisoned for their opinions; and
charitable ladies butchered, too, for giving them
shelter in the sweet compassion of their hearts?
What would Everybody have thought of the
murder of Mary Queen of Scots? Would
Everybody, would Anybody, would you,
wish to have lived in these days, whose
emblems are cropped ears, pillory, stocks,
thumb-screws, gibbet, axe, chopping-block,
and Scavenger's daughter? Will you take
your stand upon this stage of History for
the good old times, Mr. Blenkinsop? '

' I should rather prefer firmer and safer
ground, to be sure, upon the whole,' answered
the worshipper of antiquity, dubiously.

' Well, now,' said the Statue, ' 'tis getting
late, and, unaccustomed as I am to conversational
speaking, I must be brief. Were those
the good old times when Sanguinary Mary
roasted bishops, and lighted the fires of Smithfield?
When Henry the Eighth, the British
Bluebeard, cut his wives' heads off, and
burnt Catholic and Protestant at the same
stake? When Richard the Third smothered
his nephews in the Tower? When the Wars
of the Roses deluged the land with blood?
When Jack Cade marched upon London?
When we were disgracefully driven out of
France under Henry the Sixth, or, as
disgracefully, went marauding there, under
Henry the Fifth? Were the good old times
those of Northumberland's rebellion? Of
Richard the Second's assassination? Of the
battles, burnings, massacres, cruel tormentings,
and atrocities, which form the sum of
the Plantagenet reigns? Of John's declaring
himself the Pope's vassal, and performing
dental operations on the Jews? Of the Forest
Laws and Curfew under the Norman kings?
At what point of this series of bloody and
cruel annals will you place the times which
you praise? Or do your good old times
extend over all that period when somebody
or other was constantly committing high