The publisher’s tale

‘I would have liked to know my great-great-great-great-great-uncle Cholmondeley Witherhead,’ the Publisher told me sadly. ‘He used to work as a gatekeeper on London Wall, two or three hundred years ago. Terribly upset he was, when he heard they were going to knock it down; and not just because it put him out of a job. It was a whole way of life that he mourned, and what he feared was nothing less than the end of civilization.

‘ “By my good faith, Sir,” said Uncle Cholmondeley, “I and my Brethren at the Gates are true Servants of the Publick, and London will be the worse without us. How will any one get in or out of the City, if there be no Gatekeepers to let them pass?”

‘And you know,’ the Publisher added in a tone of sad reflection, ‘I have never figured out how those Londoners ever managed without him.’

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