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THE CHIMES - SOMX BELLS THAT RANG AN OLD YEAR OUT AND A NEW YEAR IN. CHARLES DICKENS. - 1858. - FIRST QUARTER. THERE are not many people-and as it is desirable that a story-teller and a story-reader should esta blish a mutual understanding as soon as possible, I beg it to be noticed that I confine this observation neither to young people nor to little people, but extend it to all conditions of people little and big, young and old yet growing up, or already growing down again-there are not, I say, many people who would care to sleep in a church. I dont mean at sermon-time in warm weather when the thing has actually been done, once r twice, but in the night, and alone. A great multitude of persons will be violently astonished, I know, by this position, in the broad bold Day. But it applies to Night. It must be argued by night. And 1 will undertake to maintain it successfully on any gusty winters night appointed for the purpose, with any one opponent chosen from the rest, who will meet me singly in an old churchyard, before an old church door and will previously empower me to lock him in, if needful to his satisfaction, until morning. For the night-wind has a dismal trick of wandering I round and round a building of that sort, and moaning m it goes and of trying, with its unseen hand, the B - windows and the doors and seeking out some crevices P, by which to enter. Afid when it has got in as one . not finding what it seeks, whatever that may be, it wails and howls to issue forth again . and not content -, witb, stalking, hr ugh, the aisles, and gliding round -, p 7pund hp, and tempti the deep organ, 4 to the roof, and strives to rend the rafters gs itself despairingly upon the stonesbelow, sses, muttering, into the vaults. Anon, it tealthily, and creeps along the walls, seemin w ispers, the Inscripiions sacre. 8 to the some of these, it breaks out shrilly, as ter in at others, moans and cries as if it - we lamenting. It has a. ghostly sound too, lingering within the altar where it s e w to chaunt, in its wild way, of Wrong and Murder done, hnd false Gods worshipped, in defianoe of the Tables of the Law, which Gk-m fair md smooth, but are so flawed and broken. c Ugh Heavm preserve U, sitting snugly round the fire It has an awful voice, that wind at Midnight, singing in a church But, high up in the steeple There the foul bldt roars and whistles High up in the steeple, where it is free to come and go through many an airy arch and loophole, and to twi t and twine itself about the gii3d. y stair, and twirl tZle groaning weathercock, and make the very tower shake and shiver High up in Che steeple, where the belfry is, and iron rails are ragged with rust, and sheets of lead and copper, I shrivelled by the changing weather, crackle andheave . beneaCh the unaccustomed tread and birds stuff shabby nests into corners of old oaken joists and Wami3 and d u tg rows old and grey and speckled 6 lgddm, indolent and fat with long ngecurity, ewing j . J to and fro in the vibration of the bell4 and nevet, and Godmothers, tW Bells, r my ovtn way, I would rather responsibil Goather to a Bell than a Boy, and ha silver mugs no doubt, besideca But Time had mow d, , down their sponsors, and Hemy the Eighth W melt down their mugs atad they now hung, - less and mugless, in tb churoh tower., - S Not speechless, though. Far from it. Zlh olear, loud, Insty, sounding3 vo-i es, hid hess . r ia-A, 5 J 4 parliament he having been as lawfully christened in his day as the Bells had been in theirs, though with not quite so much of solemnity or public rejoicing. For my part, I confess myself of Toby Vecks belief, for I am sure he had opportunities enough of forming a correct one. And whatever Toby Veck said, I say...
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- Christmas stories
- Classic Literature
- Holidays -- Fiction
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