Cock-Lane and Common Sense

The Times (1884)

Sir,–The writer of the article on "Books of the Week," in The Times of yesterday, is mistaken in crediting me with the invention of the epithet "bellettristic trifler"; and still more in imagining that I have been guilty of the impropriety of applying it to Mr. Andrew Lang, about whom, I may add, I have not had occasion to form or express any opinion whatever.

Without the stimulus of personal provocation it seems to me quite natural that the Champion of Cock-lane should do his best to denigrate the champions of common-sense; and inclusion among them is, to my mind, so great a compliment as to outweigh all Mr. Lang's severities.

With respect to the substance of my offending, I am quite impatient. If, after death, I am fated to take part in Cock-lane pranks and Sludge séances, I must put up with the degradation. But I will no more occupy myself with thinking about that unpleasant possibility now, than I will waste my time in considering my future if I should be so unfortunate as to live through a period of senile decay and dotage.

The two contingencies are equally disagreeable and I cannot say I am interested in contemplating either.

The offer of immortality, handicapped with Cock-lanean conditions, is one which I should decline with thanks.


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University