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Vanity Fair


Now, by this time, they were come within sight of the town of Vanity, where Vanity Fair is kept. So, when they saw that they were so near the town, they consulted with one another, how they should pass through the town; and some said one thing, and some another. At last Mr. Great-heart said, I have, as you may understand, often been a conductor of pilgrims through this town; now I am acquainted with one Mr. Mnason, a Cyprusian by nation, an old disciple, at whose house we may lodge (Acts 21:16). If you think good, said he, we will turn in there.‌255

Content, said old Honest; Content, said Christiana; Content, said Mr. Feeble-mind; and so they said all. Now, you must think, it was even-tide by that they got to the outside of the town; but Mr. Great-heart knew the way to the old man’s house. So thither they came; and he called at the door, and the old man within knew his tongue so soon as ever he heard it; so he opened, and they all came in. Then said Mnason their host, How far have ye come today? So they said, From the house of Gaius our friend. I promise you, said he, you have gone a good stitch, you may well be a weary; sit down. So they sat down.

GREAT-HEART. Then said their guide, Come, what cheer, Sirs? I dare say you are welcome to my friend.

MNASON. I also, said Mr. Mnason, do bid you welcome, and, whatever you want, do but say, and we will do what we can to get it for you.

HON. Our great want, a while since, was harbour and good company, and now I hope we have both.

MNASON. For harbour, you see what it is; but for good company, that will appear in the trial.

GREAT-HEART. Well, said Mr. Great-heart, will you have the Pilgrims up into their lodging?

MNASON. I will, said Mr. Mnason. So he had them to their respective places; and also showed them a very fair dining-room, where they might be, and sup together, until time was come to go to rest.

Now, when they were set in their places, and were a little cheery after their journey, Mr. Honest asked his landlord, if there were any store of good people in the town?

MNASON. We have a few, for indeed they are but a few, when compared with them on the other side.

HON. But how shall we do to see some of them? for the sight of good men to them that are going on pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the moon and the stars to them that are sailing upon the seas.‌256

Then Mr. Mnason stamped with his foot, and his daughter Grace came up; so he said unto her, Grace, go you, tell my friends, Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-man, Mr. Love-saint, Mr. Dare-not-lie, and Mr. Penitent; that I have a friend or two at my house that have a mind this evening to see them.

So Grace went to call them, and they came; and, after salutation made, they sat down together at the table.

Then said Mr. Mnason, their landlord, My neighbours, I have, as you see, a company of strangers come to my house; they are Pilgrims; they come from afar, and are going to mount Zion. But who, quoth he, do you think this is? pointing with his finger to Christiana; it is Christiana, the wife of Christian, that famous Pilgrim, who, with Faithful his brother, were so shamefully handled in our town. At that they stood amazed, saying, We little thought to see Christiana, when Grace came to call us; wherefore this is a very comfortable surprise. Then they asked her of her welfare, and if these young men were her husband’s sons? And when she had told them they were, they said, The King whom you love and serve, make you as your father, and bring you where he is in peace!

HON. Then Mr. Honest (when they were all sat down) asked Mr. Contrite, and the rest, in what posture their town was at present?

CONTRITE. You may be sure we are full of hurry in fair-time. It is hard keeping our hearts and spirits in any good order, when we are in a cumbered condition. He that lives in such a place as this is, and that has to do with such as we have, has need of an item, to caution him to take heed, every moment of the day.

HON. But how are your neighbours for quietness?

CONTRITE. They are much more moderate now than formerly. You know how Christian and Faithful were used at our town; but of late, I say, they have been far more moderate. I think the blood of Faithful lieth with load upon them till now; for since they burned him, they have been ashamed to burn any more. In those days we were afraid to walk the streets, but now we can show our heads. Then the name of a professor was odious; now, especially in some parts of our town (for you know our town is large), religion is counted honourable.‌257

Then said Mr. Contrite to them, Pray how fareth it with you in your pilgrimage? How stands the country affected towards you?

HON. It happens to us as it happeneth to wayfaring men; sometimes our way is clean, sometimes foul, sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill; we are seldom at a certainty; the wind is not always on our backs, nor is everyone a friend that we meet with in the way. We have met with some notable rubs already; and what are yet behind, we know not; but for the most part, we find it true, that has been talked of, of old, A good man must suffer trouble.

CONTRITE. You talk of rubs; what rubs have you met withal?

HON. Nay, ask Mr. Great-heart, our guide, for he can give the best account of that.

GREAT-HEART. We have been beset three or four times already. First, Christiana and her children were beset with two ruffians, that they feared would a took away their lives. We were beset with Giant Bloody-man, Giant Maul, and Giant Slay-good. Indeed we did rather beset the last, than were beset of him. And thus it was: After we had been some time at the house of “Gaius, mine host, and of the whole church” (Rom. 16:23), we were minded upon a time to take our weapons with us, and so go see if we could light upon any of those that were enemies to pilgrims (for we heard that there was a notable one thereabouts). Now Gaius knew his haunt better than I, because he dwelt thereabout; so we looked, and looked, till at last we discerned the mouth of his cave; then we were glad, and plucked up our spirits. So we approached up to his den, and lo, when we came there, he had dragged, by mere force, into his net, this poor man, Mr. Feeble-mind, and was about to bring him to his end. But when he saw us, supposing, as we thought, he had had another prey, he left the poor man in his hole, and came out. So we fell to it full sore, and he lustily laid about him; but in conclusion, he was brought down to the ground, and his head cut off, and set up by the way-side, for a terror to such as should after practise such ungodliness. That I tell you the truth, here is the man himself to affirm it, who was as a lamb taken out of the mouth of the lion.

FEEBLE-MIND. Then said Mr. Feeble-mind, I found this true, to my cost, and comfort; to my cost, when he threatened to pick my bones every moment; and to my comfort, when I saw Mr. Great-heart and his friends with their weapons, approach so near for my deliverance.

HOLY-MAN. Then said Mr. Holy-man, There are two things that they have need to be possessed with, that go on pilgrimage; courage, and an unspotted life. If they have not courage, they can never hold on their way; and if their lives be loose, they will make the very name of a Pilgrim stink.

LOVE-SAINT. Then said Mr. Love-saint, I hope this caution is not needful amongst you. But truly, there are many that go upon the road, that rather declare themselves strangers to pilgrimage, than strangers and pilgrims in the earth.

DARE-NOT-LIE. Then said Mr. Dare-not-lie, It is true, they neither have the pilgrim’s need, nor the pilgrim’s courage; they go not uprightly, but all awry with their feet; one shoe goes inward, another outward, and their hosen out behind; there a rag, and there a rent, to the disparagement of their Lord.

PENITENT. These things, said Mr. Penitent, they ought to be troubled for; nor are the pilgrims like to have that grace put upon them and their pilgrim’s progress, as they desire, until the way is cleared of such spots and blemishes.

Thus they sat talking and spending the time, until supper was set upon the table; unto which they went and refreshed their weary bodies; so they went to rest. Now they stayed in this fair a great while, at the house of this Mr. Mnason, who, in process of time, gave his daughter Grace unto Samuel, Christiana’s son, to wife, and his daughter Martha to Joseph.

The time, as I said, that they lay here, was long (for it was not now as in former times). Wherefore the Pilgrims grew acquainted with many of the good people of the town, and did them what service they could. Mercy, as she was wont, laboured much for the poor; wherefore their bellies and backs blessed her, and she was there an ornament to her profession.‌258‌ And, to say the truth for Grace, Phoebe, and Martha, they were all of a very good nature, and did much good in their place. They were also all of them very fruitful; so that Christian’s name, as was said before, was like to live in the world.

While they lay here, there came a monster out of the woods, and slew many of the people of the town. It would also carry away their children, and teach them to suck its whelps.‌259‌ Now, no man in the town durst so much as face this monster; but all men fled when they heard of the noise of his coming.

The monster was like unto no one beast upon the earth; its body was like a dragon, and it had seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:3). It made great havoc of children, and yet it was governed by a woman.‌260‌ This monster propounded conditions to men, and such men as loved their lives more than their souls, accepted of those conditions. So they came under.‌261

Now this Mr. Great-heart, together with these that came to visit the pilgrims at Mr. Mnason’s house, entered into a covenant to go and engage this beast, if perhaps they might deliver the people of this town from the paws and mouth of this so devouring a serpent.

Then did Mr. Great-heart, Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-man, Mr. Dare-not-lie, and Mr. Penitent, with their weapons go forth to meet him. Now the monster, at first, was very rampant, and looked upon these enemies with great disdain; but they so belaboured him, being sturdy men at arms, that they made him make a retreat; so they came home to Mr. Mnason’s house again.

The monster, you must know, had his certain seasons to come out in, and to make his attempts upon the children of the people of the town; also these seasons did these valiant worthies watch him in, and did still continually assault him; insomuch, that in process of time he became not only wounded, but lame; also he has not made that havoc of the townsmen’s children, as formerly he has done. And it is verily believed by some, that this beast will die of his wounds.‌262

This, therefore, made Mr. Great-heart and his fellows of great fame in this town; so that many of the people that wanted their taste of things, yet had a reverend esteem and respect for them.‌263‌ Upon this account therefore it was, that these pilgrims got not much hurt here. True, there were some of the baser sort, that could see no more than a mole, nor understand more than a beast; these had no reverence for these men, nor took they notice of their valour or adventures.‌264

Well, the time grew on that the Pilgrims must go on their way, wherefore they prepared for their journey. They sent for their friends; they conferred with them; they had some time set apart, therein to commit each other to the protection of their Prince. There were again, that brought them of such things as they had, that were fit for the weak and the strong, for the women and the men, and so laded them with such things as were necessary (Acts 28:10).

Then they set forward on their way; and their friends accompanying them so far as was convenient, they again committed each other to the protection of their King, and parted.

They, therefore, that were of the Pilgrims’ company went on, and Mr. Great-heart went before them. Now the women and children being weakly, they were forced to go as they could bear; by this means Mr. Ready-to-halt and Mr. Feeble-mind had more to sympathize with their condition.

When they were gone from the townsmen, and when their friends had bid them farewell; they quickly came to the place where Faithful was put to death; there therefore they made a stand, and thanked Him that had enabled him to bear his cross so well; and the rather because they now found that they had a benefit by such a manly suffering as his was.‌265

They went on, therefore, after this, a good way further, talking of Christian and Faithful; and how Hopeful joined himself to Christian after that Faithful was dead.

Now they were come up with the Hill Lucre, where the silver mine was, which took Demas off from his pilgrimage, and into which, as some think, By-ends fell and perished; wherefore they considered that. But when they were come to the old monument that stood over against the Hill Lucre, to wit, to the pillar of salt that stood also within view of Sodom and its stinking lake; they marveled, as did Christian before, that men of that knowledge and ripeness of wit, as they were, should be so blinded as to turn aside here. Only they considered again, that nature is not affected with the harms that others have met with, especially if that thing upon which they look, has an attracting virtue upon the foolish eye.