Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/31

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out through the raw, damp murk, and in both regret at civilisatlon has not yet established smoking-pews; but the Church is always behind the age. It is pleasant for awhile to note the well-dressed people seated or entering; the men with unctuous hair and somewhat wooden decorum; the women floating more at ease, suavely conscious of their fine inward and outward adornments. It is pleasant to keep a hopeful look-out for some one of more than common beauty or grace, and to watch such a one if discovered. As the service begins, and the old, old words and phrases come floating around me, I am lulled into quaint dream–memories of childhood; the long unthought-of school-mates, the surreptitious sweetstuff, the manifold tricks and smothered laughter, by whose aid (together with total inattention to the service, except to mark and learn the text) one managed to survive the ordeal. The singing also is pleasant, and lulls me into vaguer dreams. Gradually, as the service proceeds, I become more drowsy; my small faculties are drugged into quiet slumber, they feel themselves off duty, there is nothing for which they need keep awake. But, with the commencement of the sermon, new and alarming symptoms arise within me, growing ever worse and worse until the close. Pleasure departs with tranquility, the irritation of revolt and passive helplessness is acute. I cannot find relief in toffy, or in fun with my neighbors, as when I was a happy child. The old stereotyped phrases, the immemorial platitudes, the often-killed sophistries that never die, come buzzing and droning about me like a sluggish swarm of wasps, whose slow deliberate stinging is more hard to bear than the quock keen stinging of anger. Then the wasps, penetrating through my ears, swarm inside me; there is a horrid buzzing in my brain, a portentous humming in my breast; my small faculties are speedily routed, and disperse in blind anguish, the implacable wasps droning out and away after them, and I am left void, void; with hollow skull, empty heart, and a mortal sinking of somach; my