Oddsfish! eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Oddsfish!.

And now there appeared on the Pillory beside the Queen’s image, one of the six cardinals that had come up a little while before, and began a sort of rhyming dialogue with a choir that was set on another platform over against him.  I could not hear all that was said, although the people kept pretty quiet to hear it too; but I heard enough.  The cardinal was proclaiming the Catholic Religion as the only means of salvation and threatened both temporal and eternal punishment to all that would not have it; and the choir answered, roaring out the glories of England and Protestantism.  The fifes screamed for the cardinal’s words, as if accompanying them; and trumpets answered him for England; and at the end, shaking his fist at the Queen and with another gesture as of despair he came down from the Pillory.

Then came the end.

The devil, behind the throne, slipped altogether behind it and stood tossing his hands with delight; while meantime the effigy, contrived in some way I could not understand, rose stiffly from the seat and stood upright.  First he lifted his hands as if in entreaty towards the Queen’s image; then he shook them as if threatening, meanwhile rolling his head with its tiara from side to side as if seeking supporters.  Two men then sprang upon the platform, as if in answer, dressed like English apprentices, bare-armed and with leather aprons; and these seized each an arm of the effigy; and at that the devil, after one more fit of laughter, holding his sides, and shouting aloud as if in glee, leapt down behind the platform, dragging the chair after him.  The four boys stood an instant as if in terror, and then followed him, with clumsy gestures of horror.

The three figures that remained now began to wrestle together, stamping to and fro, up to the very edge, then reeling back again, and so on—­the two apprentices against the great red dummy.  At that the shouting of the crowd grew louder and louder, and the torches tossed up and down:  it was like hell itself, for noise and terror, there in the red flare of the bonfire:  and, at the last, all roaring together, with the trumpets and drums sounding, and the fifes too, the effigy was got to the edge of the platform, where it yet swayed for an instant or two, and then toppled down into the fire beneath.

* * * * *

It was a great spectacle, I cannot but confess it, and admirably designed; and I took my leave of Mr. Martin and his lady, and went home to supper through the crowded streets, more in tune, perhaps, with my country’s state than I had been when I lolled last night in Mr. Chiffinch’s closet.


With Dangerfield’s demonstration in my mind I was not greatly inclined to embroil myself in other matters; and I kept my intention to ride down to Hare Street three days after, when I had done my business in London and kissed the King’s hand; and this I had done by the evening of the second day.  I saw His Majesty on that second day; but he was much pressed for time, and he did no more than thank me for what I had done:  and so was gone.  On that evening, however, a new little adventure befell me.

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Oddsfish! from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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