by Matthew Lewis

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----Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; Scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone.
Measure for Measure.

Scarcely had the Abbey Bell tolled for five minutes, and already was
the Church of the Capuchins thronged with Auditors. Do not encourage
the idea that the Crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or
thirst of information. But very few were influenced by those reasons;
and in a city where superstition reigns with such despotic sway as in
Madrid, to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt. The
Audience now assembled in the Capuchin Church was collected by various
causes, but all of them were foreign to the ostensible motive. The
Women came to show themselves, the Men to see the Women: Some were
attracted by curiosity to hear an Orator so celebrated; Some came
because they had no better means of employing their time till the play
began; Some, from being assured that it would be impossible to find
places in the Church; and one half of Madrid was brought thither by
expecting to meet the other half. The only persons truly anxious to
hear the Preacher were a few antiquated devotees, and half a dozen
rival Orators, determined to find fault with and ridicule the
discourse. As to the remainder of the Audience, the Sermon might have
been omitted altogether, certainly without their being disappointed,
and very probably without their perceiving the omission.

Whatever was the occasion, it is at least certain that the Capuchin
Church had never witnessed a more numerous assembly. Every corner was
filled, every seat was occupied. The very Statues which ornamented the
long aisles were pressed into the service. Boys suspended themselves
upon the wings of Cherubims; St. Francis and St. Mark bore each a
spectator on his shoulders; and St. Agatha found herself under the
necessity of carrying double. The consequence was, that in spite of
all their hurry and expedition, our two newcomers, on entering the
Church, looked round in vain for places.

However, the old Woman continued to move forwards. In vain were
exclamations of displeasure vented against her from all sides: In vain
was She addressed with--'I assure you, Segnora, there are no places
here.'--'I beg, Segnora, that you will not crowd me so
intolerably!'--'Segnora, you cannot pass this way. Bless me! How can
people be so troublesome!'--The old Woman was obstinate, and on She
went. By dint of perseverance and two brawny arms She made a passage
through the Crowd, and managed to bustle herself into the very body of
the Church, at no great distance from the Pulpit. Her companion had
followed her with timidity and in silence, profiting by the exertions
of her conductress.

'Holy Virgin!' exclaimed the old Woman in a tone of disappointment,
while She threw a glance of enquiry round her; 'Holy Virgin! What
heat! What a Crowd! I wonder what can be the meaning of all this.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013379060
Publisher: SAP
Publication date: 09/15/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 369 KB

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