The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 713 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2.
as silently for ourselves detecting the genius of it?  In no part of our beloved Abbey now can a person find entrance (out of service time) under the sum of two shillings.  The rich and the great will smile at the anticlimax, presumed to lie in these two short words.  But you can tell them, Sir, how much quiet worth, how much capacity for enlarged feeling, how much taste and genius, may coexist, especially in youth, with a purse incompetent to this demand.—­A respected friend of ours, during his late visit to the metropolis, presented himself for admission to Saint Paul’s.  At the same time a decently clothed man, with as decent a wife, and child, were bargaining for the same indulgence.  The price was only two-pence each person.  The poor but decent man hesitated, desirous to go in; but there were three of them, and he turned away reluctantly.  Perhaps he wished to have seen the tomb of Nelson.  Perhaps the Interior of the Cathedral was his object.  But in the state of his finances, even sixpence might reasonably seem too much.  Tell the Aristocracy of the country (no man can do it more impressively); instruct them of what value these insignificant pieces of money, these minims to their sight, may be to their humbler brethren.  Shame these Sellers out of the Temple.  Stifle not the suggestions of your better nature with the pretext, that an indiscriminate admission would expose the Tombs to violation.  Remember your boy-days.  Did you ever see, or hear, of a mob in the Abbey, while it was free to all?  Do the rabble come there, or trouble their heads about such speculations?  It is all that you can do to drive them into your churches; they do not voluntarily offer themselves.  They have, alas! no passion for antiquities; for tomb of king or prelate, sage or poet.  If they had, they would be no longer the rabble.

For forty years that I have known the Fabric, the only well-attested charge of violation adduced, has been—­a ridiculous dismemberment committed upon the effigy of that amiable spy, Major Andre.  And is it for this—­the wanton mischief of some schoolboy, fired perhaps with raw notions of Transatlantic Freedom—­or the remote possibility of such a mischief occurring again, so easily to be prevented by stationing a constable within the walls, if the vergers are incompetent to the duty—­is it upon such wretched pretences, that the people of England are made to pay a new Peter’s Pence, so long abrogated; or must content themselves with contemplating the ragged Exterior of their Cathedral?  The mischief was done about the time that you were a scholar there.  Do you know any thing about the unfortunate relic?—­


  Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
  Clos’d o’er the head of your loved Lycidas?

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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