By-Ends Of Fair-Speech

After Faithful is put to death at Vanity Fair, Christian meets up with Hopeful. Bunyan narrates:

Now I saw in my dream, that Christian went not forth alone, for there was one whose name was Hopeful (being made so by the beholding of Christian and Faithful in their words and behaviour, in their sufferings at the Fair), who joined himself unto him, and, entering into a brotherly covenant, told him that he would be his companion. Thus, one died to bear testimony to the truth, and another rises out of his ashes, to be a companion with Christian in his pilgrimage. This Hopeful also told Christian, that there were many more of the men in the Fair, that would take their time and follow after.

So I saw that quickly after they were got out of the fair, they overtook one that was going before them, whose name was By-ends. So they said to him, What countryman, Sir? And how far go you this way? He told them that he came from the town of Fair-speech, and he was going to the Celestial City (but told them not his name).

From Fair-speech, said Christian. Is there any good that lives there? [Prov. 26:25] [Scripture reference Bunyan’s–CD]

BY-ENDS. Yes, said By-ends, I hope.

CHR. Pray, Sir, what may I call you? said Christian.

BY-ENDS. I am a stranger to you, and you to me. If you be going this way, I shall be glad of your company. If not, I must be content.

CHR. This town of Fair-speech, said Christian, I have heard of. And, as I remember, they say it is a wealthy place.

BY-ENDS. Yes, I will assure you that it is; and I have very many rich kindred there.

CHR. Pray, who are your kindred there? If a man may be so bold.

BY-ENDS. Almost the whole town; and in particular, my Lord Turn-about, my Lord Time-server, my Lord Fair-speech, (from whose ancestors that town first took its name), also Mr. Smooth-man, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Any-thing; and the parson of our parish, Mr. Two-tongues, was my mother’s own brother by father’s side. And to tell you the truth, I am become a gentleman of good quality, yet my great-grandfather was but a waterman, looking one way and rowing another, and I got most of my estate by the same occupation.

Bunyan cited Proverbs 26:25 to describe the general character of Mr. By-ends:

“He who hates, dissembles with his lips, for he lays up deceit in his inner being; when his voice is gracious, do not believe him, for he has seven hateful things in his heart. Though his hatred is covered by guile, his evil shall be revealed in the assembly” (Proverbs 26:24-26).

Mr. By-ends said that most of his estate was gained by the occupation of “waterman” (one who looks one way while rowing another). As his name might indicate, Mr. By-ends is basically a zeitgeist sniffer who “jumps in his judgment with the present way of the times, whatever it was”:

Then Christian stepped a little aside to his fellow, Hopeful, saying, It runs in my mind that this is one By-ends of Fair-speech; and if it be he, we have as very a knave in our company as dwelleth in all these parts. Then said Hopeful, Ask him; methinks he should not be ashamed of his name. So Christian came up with him again, and said, Sir, you talk as if you knew something more than all the world doth; and if I take not my mark amiss, I deem I have half a guess of you: Is not your name Mr. By-ends, of Fair-speech?

BY-ENDS. This is not my name, but indeed it is a nick-name that is given me by some that cannot abide me. And I must be content to bear it as a reproach, as other good men have borne theirs before me.

CHR. But did you never give an occasion to men to call you by this name?

BY-ENDS. Never! never! The worst that ever I did to give them an occasion to give me this name was, that I had always the luck to jump in my judgment with the present way of the times, whatever it was, and my chance was to get thereby; but if things are thus cast upon me, let me count them, a blessing; but let not the malicious load me therefore with reproach.

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