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Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It beareth the name of Vanity Fair because the town where it is kept is lighter than Vanity, and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh there, is Vanity.
The fair has been founded of old time, and was set up by Beelzebub and his companions. They, seeing that the way of the pilgrims to the celestial country lay through the town of Vanity, contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long. Therefore at the fair are all such merchandise sold as houses, land, trades, places, honours, titles, countries, kingdoms, pleasures and delights of all sorts, as harlots, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.
And, moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen juggling, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.
Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false swearers, and that of a blood-red colour.
Now, as I said, the way to the celestial country lies just through this town, where this lively fair is kept; and he that will go to the city and yet not through this town must needs go "out of the world.” The Prince of princes himself (Jesus · Christ) when here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon a fair day, too. Yea, and as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief lord of this fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities; yea, would have made him lord of the fair-would he but have done him reverence as he went through the town. Yea, because he was such a person of honour, Beelzebub had him from street to street, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a little time, that he might, if possible, allure the blessed One to buy some of his vanities. But he had no mind to the merchandize, and therefore left the town without laying out so much as one farthing upon these vanities. This fair, therefore, is an ancient thing of long standing, and a very great fair. Now these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this fair. Well, so they did; but, behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people in the fair were moved, and the town itself, as it were, in a hubbub, about them, and that for several reasons.
First, the pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was different from the raiment of any that traded in the fair. The people, therefore, of the fair, made a great gazing upon them; some said they were fools, some they were bedlams, and some they were outlandish men.
Secondly, they wondered at their speech, for few could understand what they said. They
naturally spoke the language of Canaan, but they that kept the fair were men of the world, so that from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other.
Thirdly, the men of the fair were much amused because these pilgrims set very light by all their wares. They cared not so much as to look upon them, and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears and cry, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,” and look upwards, signifying that their trade and traffic was in heaven.
One of the tradesmen in Vanity Fair mockingly asked the pilgrims, “What will ye buy?” But they looking gravely on him, answered, “We buy the truth." At that there was an occasion taken to despise the men the more; some mocking, some taunting, and some calling upon others to smite them. At last things came to a hubbub, and there was a great stir in the fair. Now was word quickly brought to the great one of the fair, who at once came down, and directed some of his trusty friends to take these men into custody, and examine them strictly.
So the men were brought to be examined, and they that sat upon them, asked them from whence they came, whither they went, and what they did there in such an unusual garb? The men told them they were pilgrims and strangers in the world, and that they were going to their own country, which was the heavenly Jerusalem, and that they had given no occasion to the men
in the town, nor yet to the tradesmen, thus to abuse them, and to hinder them in their journey, except it was that when one asked them what they would buy, they said they would buy the truth. But they that were appointed to examine them, did not believe them to be any other but bedlams and mad, or else such as came to put all things to confusion in the fair. Therefore they took them and beat them, and covered them with dirt, and then put them into a cage, so that they might be made a spectacle to all the men of the fair.
There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the objects of any man's sport, or malice, or revenge, the great one of the fair laughing still at all that befel them. But the men being patient, and not rendering railing for railing, and giving good words for bad, and kindness for injuries done, some
in the fair that were more observing, began to check and blame the baser sort for their continual abuses done to the men. These, therefore, in angry manner let fly at them again, and counting them as bad as the men in the cage, telling them that they seemed in league with them, and should be made partakers of their misfortunes. The others replied, that for aught they could see the men were quiet and sober and intended nobody any harm, and that there were many that traded in their fair that were more worthy to be put into the cage than the men they had abused.
Thus after divers words had passed on both sides, the men behaving themselves all the while
very wisely and soberly before them, they fell to some blows among themselves, and did harm to one another.
Then were these two poor men brought before their examiners again, and there charged as being guilty of the late hubbub there had been in the fair. So they beat them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the fair, for an example and a terror to others, lest any man should speak in their behalf, or join himself unto them.
But Christian and Faithful behaved themselves yet more wisely, and received the insults and the shame that was cast upon them so meekly and patiently, that it won to their side several of the men in the fair. This put the other party into yet greater rage, insomuch that they determined the death of these men. Wherefore they threatened that neither the cage nor the irons should serve their turn, but that they should die for the abuse they had done, and for deluding the men of the fair.
Then a convenient time being appointed, they brought Christian and Faithful to their trial in order that they might be condemned. The judge's name was Lord Hate-good. They were accused of being enemies to the people of the town of Vanity, and disturbers of their trade; and that they had also made disturbances in the