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treason, and there was a perpetual exhibition
of heads on London Bridge and Temple Bar? '

It was allowed by Mr. Blenkinsop that
either alternative presented considerable
difficulty.

' Was it in the good old times that Harold
fell at Hastings, and William the Conqueror
enslaved England? Were those blissful years
the ages of monkery; of Odo and Dunstan,
bearding monarchs and branding queens? Of
Danish ravage and slaughter? Or were they
those of the Saxon Heptarchy, and the
worship of Thor and Odin? Of the advent
of Hengist and Horsa? Of British subjugation
by the Romans? Or, lastly, must we go
back to the Ancient Britons, Druidism, and
human sacrifices; and say that those were
the real, unadulterated, genuine, good old
times when the true-blue natives of this
island went naked, painted with woad? '

' Upon my word, Sir,' said Mr. Blenkinsop,
' after the observations that I have heard from
you this night, I acknowledge that I do feel
myself rather at a loss to assign a precise
period to the times in question.'

' Shall I do it for you? ' asked the Statue.

' If you please, Sir. I should be very much
obliged if you would,' replied the bewildered
Blenkinsop, greatly relieved.

' The best times,' Mr. Blenkinsop,' said the
Statue, ' are the oldest. They are the wisest;
for the older the world grows the more
experience it acquires. It is older now than ever
it was. The oldest and best times the world
has yet seen are the present. These, so far as
we have yet gone, are the genuine good old
times, Sir.'

'Indeed, Sir?' ejaculated the astonished
Alderman.

' Yes, my good friend. These are the best
times that we know ofbad as the best may
be. But in proportion to their defects, they
afford room for amendment. Mind that, Sir,
in the future exercise of your municipal and
political wisdom. Don't continue to stand in
the light which is gradually illuminating
human darkness. The Future is the date of
that happy period which your imagination
has fixed in the Past. It will arrive when all
shall do what is right; hence none shall suffer
what is wrong. The true good old times are
yet to come.'

' Have you any idea when, Sir? ' Mr.
Blenkinsop inquired, modestly.

' That is a little beyond me, the Statue
answered. ' I cannot say how long it will
take to convert the Blenkinsops. I devoutly
wish you may live to see them. And
with that, I wish you good night, Mr.
Blenkinsop.'

' Sir,' returned Mr. Blenkinsop with a
profound bow, ' I have the honour to wish you
the same.'

Mr. Blenkinsop returned home an altered
man. This was soon manifest. In a few days
he astonished the Corporation by proposing
the appointment of an Officer of Health to
preside over the sanitary affairs of Beetlebury.
It had already transpired that he had
consented to the introduction of lucifer-matches
into his domestic establishment, in which,
previously, he had insisted on sticking to the
old tinder-box. Next, to the wonder of all
Beetlebury, he was the first to propose a great
new school, and to sign a requisition that a
county penitentiary might be established for
the reformation of juvenile offenders. The
last account of him is that he has not only
become a subscriber to the mechanics' institute,
but that he actually presided thereat, lately,
on the occasion of a lecture on Geology.

The remarkable change which has occurred
in Mr. Blenkinsop's views and principles, he
himself refers to his conversation with the
Statue, as above related. That narrative,
however, his fellow townsmen receive with
incredulous expressions, accompanied by
gestures and grimaces of like import. They hint,
that Mr. Blenkinsop had been thinking for
himself a little, and only wanted a plausible
excuse for recanting his errors. Most of his
fellow aldermen believe him mad; not less on
account of his new moral and political
sentiments, so very different from their own, than
of his Statue story. When it has been
suggested to them that he has only had his
spectacles cleaned, and has been looking about him,
they shake their heads, and say that he had
better have left his spectacles alone, and that
a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and
a good deal of dirt quite the contrary. Their
spectacles have never been cleaned, they say,
and any one may see they don't want cleaning.

The truth seems to be, that Mr. Blenkinsop
has found an altogether new pair of spectacles,
which enable him to see in the right direction.
Formerly, he could only look backwards;
he now looks forwards to the grand
object that all human eyes should have in
viewprogressive improvement.

BAPTISMAL RITUALS.

THE subject of baptism having recently
been pressed prominently upon public
attention, it has been thought that a few curious
particulars relating exclusively to the rite as
anciently performed would be interesting.

In the earliest days of the Christian Church
those who were admitted into it by baptism
were necessarily not infants but adolescent or
adult converts. These previously underwent
a course of religious instruction, generally for
two years. They were called during their
pupilage, 'catechumens,' * a name afterwards
transferred to all infants before baptism.
When such candidates were judged worthy
to be received within the pale of the Church,
their names were inscribed at the beginning
of Lent, on a list of the competent or
' illuminated.' On Easter or Pentecost eve they
were baptised, by three solemn immersions,

*From the participle of a Greek verb, expressing the act
of receiving rudimentary instruction.

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