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Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Caesar's Column.
with great force, just below my right ear, and sent me reeling over against Max.  As I rose, nothing disconcerted, to renew my discourse, I found the air full of hymn-books, cushions, umbrellas, overshoes, and every other missile they could lay their hands on; and then I perceived that the whole congregation, men, women, children, preacher, clerks and ushers, were all advancing upon me with evil intent.  I would fain have staid to have argued the matter out with them, for I was full of a great many fine points, which I had not yet had time to present, but Max, who never had any interest in theological discussions, and abhorred a battle with Amazons, seized me by the arm and literally dragged me out of the church.  I continued, however, to shout back my anathemas of the preacher, and that worthy answered me with floods of abuse; and the women screamed, and the men howled and swore; and altogether it was a very pretty assemblage that poured forth upon the sidewalk.

“Come along,” said Max; “you will be arrested, and that will spoil everything.”

He hurried me into a carriage and we drove off.  Although still full of the debate, I could not help but laugh when I looked back at the multitude in front of the church.  Every one was wildly ejaculating, except some of the sisters, who were kissing the hands and face of the preacher—­dear, good man—­to console him for the hateful insults I had heaped upon him!  They reminded me of a swarm of hornets whose paper domicile had been rudely kicked by the foot of some wandering country boy.

“Well, well,” said Max, “you are a strange character!  Your impulses will some time cost you your life.  If I did not think so much of you as I do, I should tell you you were a great fool.  Why couldn’t you keep quiet?  You surely didn’t hope to convert that congregation, any more than you could have converted the Council of the Plutocracy.”

“But, my dear fellow,” I replied, “it was a great comfort to me to be able to tell that old rascal just what I thought of him.  And you can’t tell—­it may do some good.”

“No, no,” said Max; “the only preacher that will ever convert that congregation is Caesar Lomellini.  Caesar is a bigger brute than they are—­which is saying a good deal.  The difference is, they are brutes who are in possession of the good things of this world; and Caesar is a brute who wants to get into possession of them.  And there is another difference:  they are polished and cultured brutes, and Caesar is the brute natural,—­’the unaccommodated man’ that Lear spoke of.”

CHAPTER XXII.

ESTELLA AND I

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