Tennyson pp 122-123 | Cite as

At Dickens’s Funeral

Part of the Interviews and Recollections book series (IR)


I remember, when he went with me to Westminster Abbey to hear Dean Stanley1 preach Dickens’s funeral sermon, we sat within the rails of the Sacrarium so as to be near the pulpit, and when we came away he told me the story of the Oriental traveller who mistook the organ for the church’s god. He was very fond of the story, and often repeated it. As he told it, the traveller was made to say, ‘We went into one of their temples to see their worship. The temple is only opened sometimes, and they keep their god shut up in a great gold box at one end of it. When we passed inside the doors we heard him grumbling and growling as if out of humour at being disturbed in his solitude, and as the worshippers came in they knelt down and seemed to supplicate him and try to propitiate him. He became quieter for a while, only now and then grumbling for a few moments, but then he got louder again and the whole body of the people stood up and cried to him together, and after a while persuaded him to be still. Presently he began once more and then, after praying all together several times, they deputed one of their number to stand up alone and address him earnestly on their behalf, deprecating his anger. He spoke so long without an interruption that it seemed the god had either fallen asleep or been finally persuaded into a better temper; but suddenly at last he broke out into a greater passion than ever, and with such tremendous noise and roarings that all the worshippers rose from their seats in fright and ran out of the temple.’


Stately Figure Good Temper Publisher Limited Great Affection Great Passion 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1983

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