Like Charles Dickens and other Victorian novelists, Reynolds includes a hypocritical Evangelical clergyman. The Rev. Drummer’s hypocrisy is particularly egregious because as a Methodist preacher he should not have drunk alcoholic beverages much less become inebriated by them. The following passage takes place in the Servants' Arms, a downmarket pub. — George P. Landow]

Mr. Drummer, your servant, sir. Got a good congregation still, sir?"

"The chapel thriveth well, I thank you--as well as can be expected in these times of heathen abominations," answered a demure-looking middle-aged gentleman, who was clad in deep black and wore a white neck-cloth, which seemed (together with the condition of his shirt and stockings) to denote that although he had gained the confidence of his flock, he had certainly lost that of his washer-woman. After having taken a long draught of a pint of half-and-half which stood before him, he added, "There is a many savoury vessels in my congregation--reputable, pious, and prayer-full people, which pays regular for their sittings and fears the Lord." . . .

"All books is trash, except one," observed Mr. Drummer, winking his eyes in an extraordinary manner. "They teaches naught but swearing, lewd conversation, ungodliness, and that worst of all vices--intemperance." . . . . That's right--stone me to death!" murmured the reverend gentleman. "My name is Stephen--and it is all for righteousness' sake! I know I'm a chosen vessel, and may become a martyr. My name is Stephen, I tell you--Stephen Drum--um--ummer!"

He then began an eulogium upon meekness and resignation under injuries, and reiterated his conviction that he was a chosen vessel; but, becoming suddenly excited by a horse-laugh which fell upon his ear, he forgot all about the chosen vessel, and lifted another very savagely from the table. In a word, he seized a pewter pot in his hand, and would have hurled it at Mr. Snoggles' head, had not Mr. Whittingham stopped the dangerous missile in time, and pacified the reverend gentleman by calling for more punch. . . .

The Reverend Mr. Drummer was also far from being behind-hand in this onslaught upon the luxuries supplied by the Servants' Arms; and while he bolted huge mouthfuls of boiled beef, he favoured the company with an excellent moral dissertation upon abstemiousness and self-mortification. Mr. Drummer was, however, one of those who content themselves with inculcating morality, and do not consider it necessary to set an example in their own persons; for, after having clearly demonstrated that gluttony and drunkenness lead to blasphemy, ungodliness, and profane swearing, he abruptly turned to the landlord, who presided at the supper-table, and, holding his plate to be filled for the fourth time, exclaimed, "D--n your eyes, don't cut it so infernally thick!"

After supper, "glasses round" of hot brandy and water were introduced, and the conversation was carried on with considerable spirit. It was midnight before the party thought of breaking up, although several of the gentlemen present had already begun to see three or four Dutch clocks staring them in the face besides the one which graced the wall. As for the Reverend Mr. Drummer, he declared that he was so affected by the ungodly proceedings of those present that he should forthwith endeavour to wash away their guilt with his tears; and it is distressing to be compelled to observe that all the reward this truly pious and deserving man experienced at the hands of the ungrateful company, was the cruel accusation that he was "crying drunk." This disgraceful behaviour produced such an effect upon his naturally nervous temperament, that he fell flat upon the floor, and was compelled to be taken in a wheelbarrow to his own house close by.

We may also add here that on the following day this proceeding was rumoured abroad, so that the much injured minister was necessitated to justify his conduct from the pulpit on the ensuing sabbath. This he did so effectually, that two old ladies, who carried small flasks of brandy in their pockets, were conveyed out of the chapel in a peculiar state--no doubt overpowered by the minister's eloquence. They however recovered at the expiration of some hours, and immediately opened a subscription to present a piece of plate to the Reverend Stephen Drummer, together with a vote of thanks and confidence on the part of the congregation. The vote was respectfully, but gratefully declined by this holy man; but, after some little entreaty, he was prevailed upon to accept the plate. From that time to the present day his congregation has been rapidly increasing; and, although envy and jealousy have declared that he himself helped to augment its numbers in the shape of three innocent little children by different servant-girls, he very properly disdained to contradict the report, and is considered by his flock to be a chosen and savoury vessel of the Lord.


Reynolds, George W. M. The Mysteries of London. vol 1. Project Gutenberg EBook #47312 produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team from images available at Google Books. Web. 2 August 2016.

Last modified 3 August 2016