So Mrs. Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey. But when Timorous was got home to her house, she sent for some of her neighbors: to wit, Mrs. Bat’s-Eyes, Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Light-mind, and Mrs. Know-Nothing. So when they were come to her house, she fell to telling the story of Christiana and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:
Timorous: Neighbors, having had little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and when I came at the door I knocked, as you know ‘tis our custom. And she answered, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” So in I went, thinking all was well; but when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that; and she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.
Mrs. Know-Nothing: Then said Mrs. Know-Nothing, “And what, do you think she will go?”
Timorous: “Aye, go she will, whatever come on’t; and methinks I know it by this, for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way), is one great argument with her to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, the bitter goes before the sweet. Yea, and for as much as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.”
Mrs. Bat’s-eyes: “Oh, this blind and foolish woman,” said she; “will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.”
Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, “Away with such fantastical fools from the town—a good riddance, for my part, I say, of her. Should she stay where she dwells, and retain this her mind, who could live quietly by her? For she will either be dumpish or unneighborly, or talk of such matters as no wise body can abide. Wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure. Let her go, and let better come in her room: ’twas never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.”
Then Mrs. Light-mind added as follows: “Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton’s, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I, and Mrs. Love-the-Flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others. So there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say, my lady herself is an admirably well bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.”
Notes and Commentary
Thus far in the story we have seen the first stirrings of grace in Christiana as well as in Mercy. Now, as Christiana and Mercy make preparations to leave the City of Destruction, Bunyan draws our attention to one who is determined to stay.
Mrs. Timorous, as her name implies, is one who is driven by her own fears and apprehensions. Thoughts of taking a journey, such as Christiana and Mercy are planning, cause her trepidation. Think of the friends and family they will leave behind! Think of the unknowns and uncertainties! Think of the dangers they will face (dangers confirmed by the stories she has heard about Christian)! A journey to search for a Celestial City—Mrs. Timorous will have nothing to do with it. The thoughts of leaving her present comforts and familiar surroundings are too much to bear.
Christiana once thought this way. And so Mrs. Timorous was aghast when she stopped by to visit and discovered Christiana preparing to embark on such a journey. How could Christiana so suddenly change her mind? Has she lost all reason? How could she now be willing to risk all (even the well-being of her children) to set out on the Way? It makes no sense! Mrs. Timorous tried her best to discourage Christiana from going, yet Christiana could not be dissuaded. And now, even Mercy is persuaded to join her.
The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.
Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2022 Ken Puls
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.