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Types Of Tub-Thumpers
by [?]

But the various types of cranks always provide a psychological interest to the student of intellectual freakishness. There are the “cranks” you laugh at; others who make you wish to murder them outright. Then there are a few pathetic cases–elderly men, who bring their own little wooden box as well as the vast majority of their own audience, including a wife, a sister, and a convert in spectacles–men who, in a mild tone of voice, earnestly strive to paint as a real story the fable of Jonah and the Whale to a few casual passers-by–those same passers-by who, because there is no real “fun” to be got out of such lecturers, pass by with such unsympathetic rapidity. Yet I always love to listen to these speakers. They are such an illustration of “a voice crying in the wilderness,” and they are so dead-in earnest, and they mean so well–two direct invitations, as it were, to the world’s ridicule. You can’t help admiring them, although mingled with your admiration there is a strong streak of pity. The simplicity of their faith is colossal. They believe everything. They believe in the miraculous conversion of drunkards in a single night through one verse of the Gospel; they believe that we shall all rise again and sing on and on eternally; they believe that all men and women are born to evil, and they would feel positively indignant were not the whitest soul among us really steeped in double-dyed sin. And how they believe in God!–Oh, yes, how they do believe in God! I cannot say whether they bring God into their daily lives, but they certainly drag Him to the Marble Arch. And all the while a very sedate, middle-aged woman and a grim bespectacled maiden of forty-five try their utmost–or seem so to do–to look as if they had led lives of the most scarlet sinfulness until they had heard their elderly friend preach The Word. Nothing ever disturbs these meetings. They just go on to their appointed close, when the “stand” is promptly taken by someone who believes in nothing at all, God least of all, and will tell you the reasons of his disbelief for hours and hours, and still leave you unconvinced.