Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Group Title: Silver bells : an allegory
Title: The silver bells
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056263/00001
 Material Information
Title: The silver bells an allegory
Physical Description: 49, 2 p., : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Smith, I. Gregory ( Isaac Gregory ), 1826-1920
Hopkins, Arthur ( Illustrator )
James Parker and Co ( Publisher )
Dalziel Brothers
Camden Press ( Printer )
James Burn & Company ( Binder )
Publisher: J. Parker and Co.
Place of Publication: Oxford ;
Manufacturer: Dalziel Brothers ; Camden Press
Publication Date: 1870
Subject: Fantasy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wolves -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Allegories -- 1870   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1870   ( rbgenr )
James Burn & Company -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1870   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre: Allegories   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Oxford
Statement of Responsibility: illustrated by Arthur Hopkins.
General Note: Dedication signed: I.G.S.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Dalziel Brothers.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00056263
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002237669
notis - ALH8161
oclc - 43638733

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
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        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
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        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text
. ..... ..... ....

A 0


Iuo ~tdia

a"F'r and anon he could hear, above the noise of the woaf;flood,
/he silvery tones of Alice's li//le be/l." Page .
















I. G. S.

Tedslone Delamnere,
Lent, 1870.



"I dreamed a dream, and behold--"

Swas one of those bright mornings in
early spring, when all things are quick-

ened by new life. The hills far off stood out
darkly blue against the yellow sky, as if the
brightness would not last. There were clouds,
ominous of storms, in heavy masses on the sky-
line. But near at hand there was a flood of sun-
shine, and a sweet freshness in the air, and that
faint twittering of birds which is the prelude to
their full burst of song in summer.


The Silver Bells.

Two children were standing on the grass in
front of a dwelling-place, a girl and a boy. The
fair flowing hair of the elder glittered like gold
in the sun, and rippled in tiny waves over her
shoulders, as the soft wind lifted it up and let it
fall again. Upright and graceful she was, with
face as bright as the morning, andwhich looked
as if the storms would not disturb it much, if they
should come. Her brother, about a year younger,
looked a clever thoughtful boy, with a wistful
expression in his blue eyes, and delicately-shaped
lips. They were talking and laughing together,
as merry as the birds around them.
The door opened, and there appeared in the
porch the father and mother of these two. I
knew them by their likeness and by their words.

The Silver Bells.

The children hushed their play, and ran back to
meet them, as if surprised, for their father seemed
very sad, and their mother scarcely refrained from
weeping. Very lovingly they looked on their
children as he said, "The time is come; and we
must bid you both farewell. No, not for ever;"
he went on, as the children's countenances became
like an April sky when a cloud darkens it and the
great drops begin to fall, "but we must send you
forth through yonder wicket-gate, trusting that
we all may meet again at last, where those blue
Hills stand waiting to receive us. That will be
the end of your journey, if you give good heed to
what I say. It is a long way, and there are many
dangers. Up the Hundred Steps hewn in the
rock you must go, and across the Great Plain

9 2

The Silver Bells.

before you reach the end. Sometimes it will be
hard to know which is the way. Often you will
be weary, when your tender feet shall be wounded
by the flints, and your eyes shall fail, looking for
rest in vain. But what we fear most for you is
this: lest you should be lured to rest too long in
the Bower of Ease, and lest you should perish as
you walk through the City of Palaces, which is
the City of the Dead. Oh, Arthur, Alice," he
went on, as they gazed up in his face very ruefully,
"fear not, for this is the way which all must go
before reaching yonder hills. Our King Himself
went this way and no other ere He went back to
His Throne. See, His messengers have brought
these gifts for you, to furnish you for the journey."
So lie gave to each child a staff, straight and


The Silver Bells.

tapering to a spike, saying, "This will steady your
footsteps always." And their mother tied a little
silver bell, like a locket, round the neck of each
child, saying, In trouble sound this bell, and
help will come quickly," and they fastened a small
lantern to the belt of each child, saying," This will
be a light to lighten your way. Keep the staff
unbroken," he added, the bell untarnished, the
light in the lantern brightly burning; help one
another, and all shall be well." Also each child
was furnished with a wallet of provisions for the
Their father spoke once again: "Beware, 0
children, dearer to us than our very lives, of the
wolves which are pursuing you. We have often
warned you, and yourselves have heard their

11 2-2

The Silver Bells.

howling at times far behind on your track. Their
long untiring gallop never ceases, never slackens
its speed. Sometimes in the twilight, ere the
darkness descends, we have seen the leader of the
pack, a gaunt old wolf, coming nearer and nearer,
with his tongue hanging from his gory jaws, as if
he would devour us. Praise to our King, we
have as yet escaped him and his horde! But
these raveners will never leave pursuing you till
your journey is done. You cannot elude them
altogether ; for they have a keen scent for their

prey, and their feet are swift to shed blood; their
hunger cannot be sated; their craft and their
malice never sleep. But, behold, He who watches
over you never slumbers nor sleeps. Press on

boldly, children, to the end, with Him for your


The Silver Bells.

helper; and leave the wolves to gnash their teeth
in despair. Farewell, farewell for awhile."
The children clung to their parents, with kisses
and tears, as if they could not bear to part. But
I heard a sound, as of a great clock in a tower nigh
at hand announcing the hour; and I saw the
children go forth, hand in hand, through the
wicket-gate, on their way.


The Silver Bells.

The sky was so bright overhead, the birds were
calling one to another so joyously, and the few
flowers, which peeped out here and there from
under shelter, smiled so hopefully on the little
travellers, that they soon grew cheerful again. At
first the way was down a narrow lane, arched over
by the branches of stately trees. The children
sauntered slowly awhile, hand in hand, with many
a look back to the home which they were never
to revisit. But as the sun climbed higher, the
air began to teem with life. Insects of every hue,
on gauzy wings of transparent lustre, flashed to
and fro before them. Butterflies, each one gayer
in its apparel than another, were flitting hither
and thither in search of new sport. Bees, intent
on their labours for the common good, were

14 -

The Silver Bells.

humming busily over whatever they could find
fragrant and wholesome. There were glimpses
too, ever and anon, of a wide plain afar off. No
wonder the children quickened their pace, and
their hearts beat faster as they saw how gloriously
the plain glowed in the distance under the sun.
The lane ended in a wood; and here Arthur
and Alice paused, as if in doubt which way to
choose. Three ways were before them: one to
the right was level and spacious, and worn with
many footmarks; one to the left was somewhat
narrower and seemingly less frequented ; but it
was soft as velvet to the feet, with its mossy sward,
and sloped gently downwards: creeping plants in
tangled clusters hung over it with their gaudy
petals and heavily-drooping foliage. The other


The Silver Bells.

path, right in front, led up an ascent, and was

steep and rugged.

The children stood and doubted. I heard a

distant howling drawing near, and I longed for

them to choose the right way speedily.

At this moment a youth rose from the sward,

where he was stretched at length, and beckoned

Arthur and Alice to follow him down the path

to the'left, singing to them-

"Down in the dingle,
Happen what may,
Here we go roving,
Roving away.
"Fame is a daydream,
Work is for slaves;
As the wind rocks,
So the tree waves."

He was equipped, as they, with wallet, staff, bell,


The Silver Bells.

and lantern. But as I looked more closely I saw
that his staff was broken, his bell tarnished, the
light in his lantern very dim, and his wallet torn
and empty. So they three went together, and he
led the way.
The path sloped down very gradually, with
many a turn and bend, displaying something new
every moment. But soon it became oozy under
their feet as a morass, so that Arthur arid his
sister could hardly keep themselves from sinking.
They looked reproachfully on each other, and
called aloud on their guide. But there was no
answer; only a sound of mocking laughter far
away. Then all was still. The air was stifling
with the languid perfume of the creepers, through

which the light of heaven could scarcely force its

17 3

1he Silver Bells.

way. In their distress they thought of their bells,
and rang them loudly for assistance. Nor was it
in vain. As they were turning their lanterns every
way in their perplexity, the rays fell on several
large boulders, which had hitherto escaped their
notice, placed at intervals along the path. They
began to retrace their steps with fear and tremb-
ling, for their lanterns disclosed to them a chasm
yawning beside them, precipitous and apparently
bottomless. They recoiled in horror; and again
the peals of derisive laughter smote their ears.
At first every step was pain. For the stones were
far apart, and the creepers trailing across the path
held the children back as they sprang from one
to another. Alice was very weary. Her feet were
bleeding from the stones and briars; and once a


The Silver Bells.

"They began to retrace their steps with fear and trembling."

19 3-2

The Silver Bells.

snake, darting from the bushes, wounded her foot
so that she wept with fear and pain. But her
brother supported her with his hand. In time
the light of the sun dawned on them again, as
they emerged from the pestiferous jungle into the
fresh air which they had forsaken so foolishly.
A great multitude, of all ages and of all condi-
tions, were hurrying along the level path to the
right. Arthur and Alice, almost without a thought,
moved with the crowd, as feathers are swept on-
ward by a stream. There seemed no time for
pausing to think, for every one hasted to be first.
The way was broad enough, even for so many
wayfarers, but it seemed as though none could
advance without thrusting his neighbour aside.
Some few who chanced to be left in the rear, wore


The Silver Bells.

a scowl'of envy and discontent on their faces.
Those who were stronger and swifter than the
rest had the advantage. But they seemed unable
to enjoy it. In their fear of being overtaken, they
never rested to admire the flowers which bordered
the dusty road. Though spent with running and
parched with thirst, they seemed not to hear or
not to heed the refreshing murmur of water gush-
ing from a Rock which they passed with knit
brows and compressed lips as if they saw it not.
Ever and anon one or another fell to the ground,
as if pierced through the heart. But none stopped
to pity. The rest struggled on, leaving those
who were fallen to lie where they fell. The feeble
and friendless were trampled underfoot, and none
cared. For a moment there was a pause. A voice,


The Silver Bells.

borne on the wind, passed over the crowd, crying,
"Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." For a moment
all bowed their heads and were still. Arthur and
his sister seized the chance of freeing themselves
from the confusion. The multitude swept past
them, and they, with much thankfulness of heart,
returned to the place whence they had started.
An aged man was seated on the bank, under a
spreading oak tree, where the three ways parted.
He signed to Arthur and Alice to draw near,
and accosted them kindly. His face was grave
( and marked with many furrows; his long white
beard almost touched the ground; and he spoke
slowly, as if pondering his words well.
My name," he said, "is Experience; and I sit
here by the command of the King, day by day,


The Silver Bells.

and year by year, and century by century, to tell
others the way. You saw me not, because you
looked not for me. Some listen to me; some
reject my counsel, and choose to find the way for
themselves. Come near, O children, and hearken
unto me, and I will show you the way; for I have
seen many and strange things, I have tried every
way, and I have learned that one alone is right.
There," he said, pointing to the left, lies the path
which is called the path of Pleasure, but it is the
path of misery. There," he said, pointing to the
right, "lies the path of Ambition. You were wise
to leave it in time. Here, straight before you, is
the path of Duty, which leads to the hills far away.
Farewell, and may you reach them!" So speaking,
he applied to their wounds cooling leaves. For,"


The Silver Bells.

said he, "I know the leaves which are for the
healing of the nations."
Arthur and Alice set forth again with new
cheerfulness. Their lanterns burned brightly,
their bells tinkled as they went, and they planted
their staves firmly as they began to climb the hill.
The cry of the wolves sounded far away. At first
the ascent was very difficult. Sometimes they
seemed to make no way at all; sometimes they
seemed even to lose ground and to slip backward.
Soon they discovered that the way, though toil-
some, was not so difficult as they had thought.
Steps had been hewn in the rocky path up which
they were climbing. So, by taking heed to their
way, and making each step sure before they tried
to advance, and by holding out a hand to one


The Silver Bells.

another, they gained the summit. They remem-
bered how their father had foretold them of the
Hundred Steps, and this, though it brought tears
into their eyes, gave them new courage to climb

higher and higher. Their voices sounded very
pleasantly to me, as they cheered one another along.
I watched them as they journeyed on through
the wood. At times their path was hidden by
trees and bushes which had overgrown it, and
their lanterns were useful. Presently they came
to an open space, where the sward was smooth as
velvet and green as emerald. Here they espied a
Bower, overhung with woodbine and clematis-a
resting-place provided for travellers by the King.
They entered in, and rested for awhile. As they
were rising to resume their journey, a woman came

25 4

The Silver Bells.

near, bearing a basket of luscious fruits on her
arm. She was of a fair countenance, and her
speech was sweeter than honey. She gave them
of the fruits, bidding them to rest longer before
going on their way. Then a strange drowsiness
crept over them, numbing their limbs with a
delicious languor, and they slept in the Bower.


The Silver Bells.

Before very long they were aroused by a noise
in the distance, like the music of rebecks and dul-
cimers. They ran forth to hear and to see. A
motley band was issuing from a glade on the left,
men and women dancing hand in hand. Their
cheeks were flushed, and their eyes glittering;
they were clad in wavy robes, and had garlands
on their foreheads. The music at first was low
and soothing; and Arthur with his sister stood
spellbound by its charm. Soon they found them-
selves beating time with hand and foot against
their will, and accompanying every movement of
the dancers with corresponding motions. The
music waxed louder, and the dancing wild and
furious, and the dancers clashed their cymbals
together franticly. Arthur and Alice would have

27 4-2

The Silver Bells.

retreated to the Bower, but the revellers closed
round them in a circle, and kept them in on
every side. More and more tumultuous grew
the revel, and the visages of the dancers changed
from smiles to a ferocious glare. Tearing their
garlands from their brows, they clutched the dag-
gers which they wore at their sides, and brandished

them aloft with savage cries and threatening ges-
tures. Arthur and Alice looked round in despair
for help. Panic-stricken, they sank to the ground;
but as they fell, their bells gave forth a faintly
audible sound. Then they remembered the pro-
mise, which in their alarm they had forgotten,
and sounded their bells loudly for deliverance.
At the first sound, the revellers loosed hands, and

stood as if rooted to the earth, haggard and voice-


The Silver Bells.

less. When they heard the sound again, they
turned and fled. Arthur and Alice rose from the
ground. They were alone, and all was still.
As they went on their way, they were attracted
by the rippling of water. Turning aside, they
soon came upon a little stream, sparkling over
sand and pebbles. They followed its course
eagerly. I saw with sorrow that they had for-
gotten the warnings of Experience; and as they
loitered along the bank, I heard the howling of
the wolves nearer. Alice sought to persuade her
brother to return. But something bright drifting
on the stream had caught his eye, and he was
intent on seizing it. His sister followed sadly,

beseeching him in vain to desist. He sprang

lightly across the brook, and ran eagerly along


The Silver Bells.

the other side, intent on the glittering toy which
he was after. On and on it danced before him,
now swirling round in the sportive eddies, now
close to land and almost within his grasp. But it
mocked his quest, dancing light as foam over the
rushing waters. Arthur began to think of return-
to his sister, but there were difficulties in the
In his eagerness he had followed the stream for
some distance, and he saw with dismay that to
spring back across the swollen stream, now far
wider and deeper than it had been, was out of the
question. It was rushing past him like a moun-
tain torrent, and the roar, as it bounded over the
rocks, was deafening. He looked upwards. The

bank under which he stood was sheer as a wall;


"His sister followed sadly."


The Silver Bells.

but there was no other escape. He now remem-
bered with shame that he had left his staff behind
in the Bower of Ease. Again and again he tried
in vain; at last, after many efforts, he had well-
nigh scrambled to the top, when the loose earth
crumbled under his feet, and he began to descend
with fearful velocity. In despair he caught hold
of a bush, which projected from the bank, and
clung to it convulsively. This checked his fall.
He was too giddy with his exertions to look down-
wards, where the stream was roaring far below his
feet through the ravine. He thought of his sister,
left to finish her journey alone, and he cried, Oh,
Alice, why did I leave you ?" Was it fancy? or
did he really catch his sister's voice across the
chasm ? "The bell, brother, the bell!" was all


The Silver Bells.

that he could hear. But it was impossible for
him to sound his own bell while he was clinging
with all his might to the bush. Ever and anon
he could hear, above the noise of the waterflood,
the silvery tones of Alice's little bell calling loudly
for help. Nor did she call in vain. He heard a
step advancing along the brink of the precipice
which beetled over him. He heard a voice, saying,
"Be of good cheer; help is nigh!" He felt a
hand stretched forth over the edge of the cliff;
he grasped it firmly, and was drawn upwards. In
another moment the bush to which he had been
trusting fell with a crash, but he was safely landed
on the cliff, with an aged man kindly but gravely
regarding him.
At first Arthur thought that this was he who

33 5

The Silver Bells.

had been sitting at the entrance of the wood. But
this old man's cheek was ruddy and unwrinkled
as of a boy; and his step was elastic and full of
vigour as in the prime of youth. "No," he said,
as if reading Arthur's thoughts, I am brother to
Experience. He has suffered much, and has
passed through many trials. I enjoy perpetual
youth. My name is Self-control. I will guide
you back safely, for I also serve the King." He
raised Arthur from the ground, and led him to a
long and 'i-row bridge which spanned the chasm.
It was only a pine tree cloven in twain, and Arthur
drew back in misgiving, for the turbid waters
were chafing and foaming below, like a wild beast
springing on its prey. Fear not," the old man
said, "take this staff in place of that which you


The Silver Bells.

left in the Bower, when Self-deceit, with her false
smiles and poisonous fruits, sent you into a dan-
gerous slumber, and the Passions revelled around
you." Arthur saw his sister stretching forth her
arms to him from the other side. Remembering
her advice, he sounded the bell which had never
failed to bring strength in need. Thanking the
aged man, and grasping his staff manfully, he
crossed the bridge without shrinking. There was
great rejoicing, mingled with tears, as he and his
sister walked on again hand in hand, giving thanks
for his deliverance.
Now this path through the forest came to an
end. I hardly knew whether they were glad or
sorry to quit the shades of the trees, and to set
forward over the apparently boundless Plain which

35 5-2

The Silver Bells.

lay before them. One thing seemed very curious.
The Hills, which I had seen so clearly at first,
now seemed far away. A mist hung over them.
I feared lest Arthur and Alice should lose heart;
and I longed for them to be guided safely. The
path was not so clearly marked as before. Paths
without end led over the plain. Some, indeed
many of these, though pointing at first towards
the Hills, led back, after many windings, to the
place whence they started. A confused hum of
many voices rose from the plain. Some travellers
were crossing it by twos and threes; some in
larger companies; and some, wrapt in their own
thoughts, quite alone.
Several groups were standing near the forest, as
if about to set off across the Plain. They were


The Silver Bells.

disputing noisily together and calling aloud to
Arthur and his sister. I marked especially a large
company, in gorgeous costume, with pennons
flying, and with fifes and drums. They stood
marshalled in long columns at some distance from
the others, eyeing them disdainfully. "Come
with us," they shouted, "none else knows the way.
See our banners, how they glisten, and hark to
our trumpets, how they peal. We are a great
army. With us you shall march safely, and you
shall rest at your pleasure under the shade of
yonder palm-trees."
"Nay! interposed another, a sour and gloomy-
looking man, who was setting off with a few com-
panions in the opposite direction, "follow not the
multitude. We are few, because we are too good

The Silver Bells.

to walk with our fellows. We have discovered a

new way for ourselves. The Plain is a barren,

dreary wilderness. Let others perish as they

deserve. We have a special promise. We shall

go safely, do what we will."

As the children doubted, turning in bewilder-

ment from one to another, they heard the strains

of a lyre nigh at hand. They saw a group re-

clining on a grassy mound, as if with no thought

of making for the Hills. And they heard a voice

singing to the lyre sweetly and sadly, thus:

We see not your mountains,
We know not your way;
The darkness steals o'er us
And quenches the day.
We lie, and we watch you
With smiles and a sigh-
What boots it? Oh! leave us
To doubt and to die!"


The Silver Bells.

As the children paused, I heard a voice, as of the
parents whom they had left long ago, saying,
"This is the way; walk ye in it." And again it
came on the wind, "Meddle not with them that
are given to change." Then Arthur and Alice
joined themselves to a party of travellers, attired
as themselves, and equipped as themselves, with
bells, staves, lanterns, and wallets, and set off with
them along a beaten track which seemed to lead
straight across the Plain.
Now I lost sight of Arthur and Alice for a
time, as they were in the crowd. I gazed after
them anxiously; for though the Plain wore a
cheerful aspect, with its ever-shifting multitudes,
I saw in many places sights which filled me with
dread. Along every track were skeletons of those


The Silver Bells.

who had fallen never to rise again. And though
many of the travellers, especially the young, looked
full of confidence, not a few dragged themselves
along wearily, or lagged far behind the rest, as if
forgotten by their friends, or sat down by the way,
as if they had no heart for the journey. Many,
also, turned back, and forsook their comrades.
Straining my eyes, I recognized at last Arthur
and Alice; and I was greatly afraid for them.
Somehow they had been separated from their
company, and had been attacked by the robbers
who infested the Plain. I heard the clash of
swords around' them, for the robbers were con-
tending over their booty. Alice and Arthur were
on their knees in the midst; and his arm was
round his sister, as though he would defend her.


The Silver Bells.

I heard the music of their bells in the air, and I
knew that help would come. As I gazed, two
horsemen of princely bearing rode swiftly to the
rescue. Brightly flashed the armour which they
wore, and the swords which they waved, but
brighter far was the flash of their eyes, as they
came near without a word. The robbers fled in
terror; and Arthur raised his sister to follow their
companions. Perhaps they saw not, as I saw,
their deliverers; perhaps they feared to ask their
names. But I heard them, as they walked on,
saying one to another in a low voice, "He shall
give His angels charge concerning thee, to keep
thee in all thy ways." And I heard them giving
thanks to the King, who had sent His warriors to
their rescue.

41 6

The Silver Bells.

I observed, that while Arthur and Alice were
severed from their comrades by this delay, the
stealthy tramp of the wolves seemed nearer. But
it died away again at the approach of the warriors.
As I watched the onward journey of the brother
and sister, I rejoiced to see that they marched in
their places with the rest. And if any one in
their company was weak or weary, they put forth
a helping hand, and spoke a cheering word, and
often bore the burdens of those who seemed over-
burdened. Alice, thus employed, looked fairer
and brighter than ever, and her brother had lost
his look of wistfulness.
And now they were all approaching a great City
which rose in the midst of the Plain, its towers
and domes flushed by he setting sun. The City


The Silver Bells.

was glorious, seen from afar, and a noise of music
and revelry came floating on the breeze like the
roar of the distant sea. But as we came nearer,
the purple glow died away from its towers, and I
heard a low moaning sound which never ceased,
and swelled at times into a wail of agony. Grimly
rose the walls of the City before the travellers, and
the massive gates of iron swung slowly back
without a sound to let them in. The spacious
thoroughfares were thronged with a restless crowd,
drifting to and fro, as if without a purpose. The
hum of many voices was blended in one sound,
the shouts of revellers, and the hoarse cries of
strife, and the wail of agony. Every face wore
an uneasy and troubled expression, as if all were
seeking something which they could not find.

43 6-2

The Silver Bells.

Huge and stately palaces blazed with lights in
every window; and, side by side with these, were
wretched hovels wherein all was darkness, or from
which a thin streak of light glimmered here and
there through some chink in the walls. One large
dismal building caught my gaze irresistibly.
Every door and window was rigidly closed with
bolts and bars, as if to shun all intercourse with
those without. Within, all was silence. But ever
and anon I heard a creaking sound, as of bolts
drawn back, and a casement was flung open, and
a face, pale and spectral, peered out into the
turmoil; and then all was closed fast again, and
silent as the grave.
Arthur and Alice, with th rest, were threading
their way with difficulty through the crowd, when


"' Back. back, back."' Ie cried.'


The Silver Bells.

they were confronted by a weird-looking figure.
He was barefooted, and his long coarse robe was
fastened round his waist by a cord. He tossed
his arms madly in the air, as if forbidding the
travellers to advance. "Back, back, back!" he
cried, "from the accursed place. Back from the
City of the Plague "
As he spoke, I observed that ever and anon
dark-looking tumbrils passed noiselessly and swiftly
up and down the streets. At their approach, the
crowd was still for a moment, and all faces gathered
blackness. As they passed, the wail of agony rose
louder than before. Again the stranger shrieked
his warning, and stood as though to stop the way.
But I could hear those who walked in front saying,
as they took counsel together, "The King has


The Silver Bells.

said that we are to be in the world, though not of
the world," and "we must follow the Lamb whither,
soever He goeth." So they walked on with stead-
fast pace, Arthur and his sister following. But
the stranger, with one or two more, rushed to that
dismal pile, and battered wildly at the door till
they were admitted. The door closed heavily
upon them, and I saw them no more.
The others came, as they wended their way
through the City, to a vast square, girt with
magnificent edifices, whose gigantic pillars and
porticoes loomed through the lurid light of many
torches. A colossal figure of bronze sat in the
centre on a throne which towered high above the
heads of the people. His face was stern and im-
placable, with a scornful smile on his lips, and the


The Silver Bells.

people bowed and worshipped him. Round the
crown which encircled his lowering brow was
written in letters of fire, DESTINY. Arthur and
Alice, with the rest, forced their way through the
crowd, and as they passed, I marked that every
bell in that little company raised its gentle voice
above the uproar of the surging multitude. At
a signal, those who were loudest and wildest in
their adoration of the colossal statue rushed for-
ward to arrest the travellers and compel them to
worship. But lo! a thick darkness fell upon that
vast assemblage. In vain they called aloud, one
to another, for assistance. The travellers passed
unharmed through the midst, their lanterns throw-
ing a ray of light before the feet of each one,
while all around was utter darkness.


The Silver Bells.

I saw no more: I only heard sweet music wel-
coming the travellers as they went through the
farther gates of that great City. Methought I
heard the voices of those who had parted with

Arthur and Alice long ago, greeting them again
fondly. Louder and louder the music swelled
upon mine ears, as of a great multitude welcoming
the new comers. All with one accord were pour-

ing forth heart and voice in one great hymn of
praise: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to re-
ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength,
and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing,
and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him
that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for
ever and ever. Amen."

49 7

, f r ,
. ---1-_

Rector of Tedstone Delamerr, and late Felliow f Brasenose ( O)rfd.


s ,2 orj 5?oui 'rIibT'dl riL'" of tO e 311 i.
7s. 6d. LONGMANS AND Co.


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