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The cold air of these wintry days has closed all windows and kept from the ears of passers-by in the Yard a quaint and curious resonance. For now is the season of the stampers; and 11.15 A. M. to 12.15 P. M. is their holy hour.
Momentarily during this siesta the guarded grottos tremble with low thunder, and dying tones strike, now and then, out into the halls, like firecrackers on the morning of the Fourth. as the first mystic departs. It is a votive offering to the God of Chance, done with an artful restraint. In it there is not the exuberance of Bacchic indulgence, nor the incessant drumming and tapping of a dance. There is one vigorous thunder-clap, worked by unseen soles upon the floor; and that is all. It ascends to the ceiling; worn faces twist half-concernedly about; the sacred door-keepers smile in placid obeisance to a higher will; the sound is crushed, and then gone.
Though loud, it is essentially passionless. To explain it is as impossible as to plumb the soul. Such words as a psychologist might apply,--envy, anticipation, diversion,--are utterly profane.
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