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"Christmas-Eve" is an account of a vision in which the narrator is taken to a Nonconformist church, to St. Peter's in Rome, to a Göttingen lecture theatre where a practitioner of the Higher criticism is discoursing on the Christian myth, and back to the Nonconformist church.
Out of the little chapel I burst
Into the fresh night–air again.
Five minutes full, I waited first
In the doorway, to escape the rain
That drove in gusts down the common's centre
At the edge of which the chapel stands,
Before I plucked up heart to enter.
Heaven knows how many sorts of hands
Reached past me, groping for the latch
Of the inner door that hung on catch
More obstinate the more they fumbled,
Till, giving way at last with a scold
Of the crazy hinge, in squeezed or tumbled
One sheep more to the rest in fold,
And left me irresolute, standing sentry
In the sheepfold's lath–and–plaster entry,
Six feet long by three feet wide,
Partitioned off from the vast inside—
I blocked up half of it at least.
o remedy; the rain kept driving.
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