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clected: hings of
would destroy their weapons of cruelty, and dwell together in affection!
The card model of the Thames Tunnel, the shirt made in the Philippine islands from the abacas palm-tree, the granite idol from St. Domingo, the agricultural implements, Crosley's pneumatic telegraph, the photogenic drawing, the hydrostatic bed, the flying windmill, specimens of cloth four thousand years old, a Guiana wasps' nest, and the geological specimens, must not be neglected : but these are but a very few of the very many things of a curious kind that are here collected together. “The powers of galvanism, the properties of electricity, the mysteries of chemistry, the laws of mechanics, the theory of light, the developments of the microscope, and the wonders of optics, are made palpable by exhibition,” and deeply impress the mind and memory.
The great hall abounds with articles of interest, to which additions are continually being made ; fire alarums; fire escapes ; stomach pumps; diving bell; diving dress and helmet ; skulls of the elephant, hippopotamus, tiger, alligator, walrus, and wild boar ; acoustic chair ; water elevator ; with specimens, maps, and models of all kinds :—but I might go on for an hour, and still have enough to describe. When you have leisure, go to the Royal Adelaide Gallery and the Royal Polytechnic Institution : keep your
eyes and your ears open, and afterwards reflect on what has been submitted to your attention, and you will have reason to be grateful for the knowledge and ingenuity which the Father of mercies has delegated to mankind.
Well would it be if we were more ready than we are to remember and acknowledge that every faculty of our bodies and souls is the gift of God, instead of extolling our own acquirements and boasting of our own attainments! What are we, and what are our doings, compared with the High and Lofty One, and the mighty works he has performed! Our riches, on such a comparison, are but poverty ; our knowledge, ignorance; and our wisdom, folly. Let us offer to God thanksgiving; “for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things : to whom be glory for ever,” Rom. xi. 36.
It is said, that “a man may be known by the company he keeps,” and it might be added, by the places he frequents, also ; but though this latter observation may be generally correct, it is scarcely applicable to the frequenters of Westminster Abbey.
The portals of this far-famed cathedral are entered by persons of opposite characters; the rich and the poor go there, the gay and the grave, the learned and the ignorant, the infidel and the lowly believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here, on the sunshiny days of summer, come people from the country, who, having visited London to see what is wonderful, naturally enough come to Westminster Abbey. It is near the parliament houses ; it is a grand building ; everybody goes there ; and they must give an account, when they return, to those who have never wandered so far from home as London's “ faire citie.”
These are all valid and substantial reasons why the Abbey should be visited. They gaze around with holiday feelings ; listen with good-humoured wonderment to the marvellous description of the attendant who describes the place, and quit the venerable pile in quest of another London “lion.”
Ir blithesome mood they visit every spot,
Now and then drops in the country manufacturer, to pass away the half-hour he has to spare, before he keeps his appointment with some tradesman in the neighbourhood. He enters with an impatient air ; he regards with a hasty glance the monuments of the dead; his watch is frequently consulted ; time flies apace, and “ business must be attended to.” He cuts a visit short that is a mere parenthesis in the page of his daily pursuits, and hurries off to receive the readydrawn bill, and take the expected order.
Then comes the soldier, who has long been taught to think that bravery is the highest virtue, and that the effigied warriors, famous for the destruction wrought by them, have the fairest claim to an earthly immortality of renown : his bosom rises high at the sculptured implements of contention, the neighing war-horse, and the wreath of victory on the brow of the dying chieftain. Such would he be, and such the hatchment that he would desire to be erected over his mouldering bones. Oh that the sons of violence were seekers after peace, even that peace that passeth all understanding!
The learned student, deciphering the time-worn inscriptions; the antiquary, honouring the very dust that covers the mouldering memorials of departed greatness ; the man of taste, enthusiastically attached to all that is excellent in human effort; and the poet, with a mind rich in the knowledge of the impressive past, and the highwrought creations of his imagination — these wander from one marble group to another, ardently gazing on them all ; and Roubiliac, and Bacon, and Flaxman, and Nollekens, and Chantrey, and Westmacott, by turns, call forth their admiration.
Men from distant parts, and of varied languages; females in fashionable attire; and London parties, of both sexes, are frequently seen walking amid the long-drawn aisles, while one amongst the rest, gifted with speech, runs over a few celebrated names ; praises the "pure gothic” of the place ; and repeats a verse of Gray's elegy, which, though written in a country churchyard, is equally applicable to the ornamented abbey of a crowded city :
“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
Think not that I speak in derision, or censure,