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PREFACE.


MY FRIENDS—of whom, as all the world knows, I have many, and jolly good friends, too—wish me to re-issue these Stories, written, chiefly, thirty years ago.  The greater number of them were composed in Stafford Gaol, during my imprisonment for Chartism; but they are none the worse for that—nor their author either, I am happy to say.  They were there written as a relief from the intenser thought and feeling exercised in the building-up of my prison-rhyme, "The Purgatory of Suicides"; and were published a few weeks after the poem appeared, in November, 1845, under the title of "Wise Saws and Modern Instances": a title which I did not choose, and did not like.

    The title now given to them is, I humbly think, more in accordance with their character—consisting, as they do, of simple sketches pourtraying homely personages, often real in their very names; while the few adventures allotted to these lowly actors are devoid of romance and intricacy, because they seldom exceed fact.  "The History of Cockle Tom" is a life-sketch of my mother's eldest brother, only slightly idealised.

    The "Old Lincolnshire," frequently and fondly mentioned in some of these unpretending pieces, and endeared to the writer of them by the associations of thirty years of his life, has almost disappeared before the social changes of that New Lincolnshire which railway "civilisation" has summoned into existence.  While, I rejoice to say, the misery outlined in two or three painfully-veritable pictures of the lives of Leicestershire stockingers, has evanished: prosperity of trade and a more equitable state of wages having banished it—let us hope—for ever!

    By the generous permission of Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew & Co., I have added to the other stories "Crinkum Crankum; or, the Man who went straightforward down Crooked Lane," formerly contributed to Douglas Jerrold's Shilling Magazine.  By the indulgent permission of the gifted poetess, ELIZA COOK—a name so popular and so much beloved, in our earlier days!—I have added "Peter Postlethwaite; or, the Man who had a way of His Own,—originally written for her "Journal."  And by the kind permission of my friend, Joseph Cowen, Esq., M.P. for Newcastle-on-Tyne, I have added, "Miss Dinah and her Lovers" and "The History of Timothy Twinkle"—written some years ago for "The Northern Tribune."

    I have already indicated, in my Autobiography, that the two fragments preceding the four new stories were once intended to form parts of a novel, in some degree autobiographical,—but the completion of which was relinquished for a toilful engagement with the sterner business of life.

THOMAS COOPER.

LINCOLN,
    April, 1874.

________________________________


CONTENTS.
________

 

PAGE

KUCKY SARSON, THE BARBER; OR, THE DISCIPLE OF EQUALITY.

1.

RAVEN DICK, THE POACHER; OR, "WHO SCRATCHED THE BULL?"

14.

TIM SWALLOW-WHISTLE, THE TAILOR; OR, "EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY."

26.

DAVY LIDGITT, THE CARRIER; OR, THE MAN WHO BROUGHT HIS NINE-PENCE TO NOUGHT.

39.

THE FISHERMAN AND THE FIDDLER, OR, "DON'T SAY SO TILL YOU ARE SURE."

50.

MASTER ZERUBBABEL, THE ANTIQUARY; AND HOW HE FOUND OUT THE "NOOSE LARNING."

72.

THE BEGGARED GENTLEMAN, AND HIS CROOKED STICK.

88.

THE NURTURE OF A YOUNG SAILOR; OR, THE HISTORY OF COCKLE TOM.

99.

THE LAST DAYS OF AN OLD SAILOR; OR, "BUTTER YOUR SHIRT! SING TANTARA-BOBUS, MAKE SHIFT!"

111.

DOROTHY PYECROFT'S PREACHING; OR, "CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME."

124.

THE MINISTER OF MERCY.

133.

"MERRIE ENGLAND"—NO MORE!

141.

SETH THOMPSON, THE STOCKINGER; OR, "WHEN THINGS ARE AT THE WORST, THEY BEGIN TO MEND."

153.

SAM SIMKINS, THE RUN-AWAY; OR, VILLAINY AS A REFUGE FROM THE TORTURES OF SOUR-GODLINESS.

165.

THE OLD CORPORATION.

181.

NED WILCOM; A STORY OF A FATHER'S SACRIFICE OF HIS CHILD AT THE SHRINE OF MAMMON.

193.

LONDON VENTURE; OR, THE OLD STORY OVER AGAIN.

204.

THE LAD WHO FELT LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER.

216.

THE INTELLECTUAL LEVER THAT LACKED A FULCRUM.

232.

NICHOLAS NIXON, "GENTLEMAN," WHO COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHY, BUT WHO KNEW "IT WAS SO."

251.

DAME DEBORAH THRUMPKINSON, AND HER ORPHAN APPRENTICE, JOE.

259.

TOBY LACKPENNY THE PHILOSOPHICAL: A DEVOTEE OF THE MARVELLOUS.

296.

CRINKUM CRANKUM, THE MAN WHO WENT STRAIGHT FORWARD DOWN CROOKED LANE.

317.

PETER POSTLETHWAITE: THE MAN WHO HAD "A WAY OF HIS OWN."

326.

MISS DINAH AND HER LOVERS: A STORY OF OLD-FASHIONED COURTSHIP.

337.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF TIMOTHY TWINKLE.

354.

 



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