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THE MAN IN THE BELL.
In my younger days, bell-ringing was the bottom of the bell coming within a much more in fashion among the young couple of feet of the floor of lath. At that men of
, than it is now. Now time I certainly was not so bulky as I body, I believe, practises it there at pre- am now, but as I lay it was within an sent except the servants of the church, inch of my face. I had not laid myand the melody has been much inju- self down a second, when the ringing red in consequence. Some fifty years began.-It was a dreadful situation. ago, about twenty of us who dwelt in Over me swung an immense mass of the vicinity of the Cathedral, formed metal, one touch of which would have a club, which used to ring every peal crushed me to pieces; the floor under that was called for ; and, from conti- me was principally composed of crazy nual practice and a rivalry which arose laths, and if they gave way, I was prebetween us and a club attached to an- cipitated to the distance of about fifty other steeple, and which tended con- feet upon a loft, which would, in all siderably to sharpen our zeal, we be- probability, have sunk under the imcame very Mozarts on our favourite in- pulse of my fall, and sent me to be struments. But my bell-ringing prac- dashed to atoms upon the marble floor tice was shortened by a singular acci- of the chancel, an hundred feet ben dent, which not only stopt my per- low. I remembered—for fear is quick formance, but made even the sound of in recollection-how a common clocka bell terrible to my ears.
wright, about a month before, had One Sunday, I went with another fallen, and bursting through the floors into the belfry to ring for noon pray- of the steeple, driven in the cielings of ers, but the second stroke we had pull- the porch, and even broken into the ed shewed us that the clapper of the marble tombstone of a bishop who bell we were at was muffled. Some slept beneath. This was my first terone had been buried that morning, rør, but the ringing had not continued and it had been prepared, of course, a minute, before a more awful and to ring a mournful note. We did not immediate dread came on me. know of this, but the remedy was easy. deafening sound of the bell smote into “ Jack," said my companion, “ step, my ears with a thunder which made up to the loft, and cut off the hat;' me fear their drums would crack. for the way we had of muffling was by There was not a fibre of my body it tying a piece of an old hat, or of cloth did not thrill through: It entered my (the former was preferred) to one side very soul; thought and reflection were of the clapper, which deadened every almost utterly banished; I only resecond toll. I complied, and mount- tained the sensation of agonizing tering into the belfry, crept as usual into ror. Every moment I saw the bell the bell, where I began to cut away. The sweep within an inch of my face; and hat had been tiedon in some more com my eyes I could not close them, plicated manner than usual, and I was though to look at the object was bitperhaps three or four minutes in get- ter as death-followed it instinctively ting it off ; during which time mycom in its oscillating progress until it came panion below was hastily called away, back again. It was in vaiņ I said to by a message from his sweetheart I be myself that it could come no nearer lieve, but that is not material to my at any future swing than it did at first; story. The person who called him was
every time it descended, I endeavoura brother of the club, who, knowing ed to shrink into the very floor to avoid that the time had come for ringing for being buried under the down-sweepservice, and not thinking that any one ing mass; and then reflecting on the was above, began to pull. At this mo- danger of pressing too weightily on ment I was just getting out, when I my frail support, would cower up felt the bell moving; I guessed the again as far as I dared. reason at once it was a moment of At first my fears were mere matter terror; but by a hasty, and almost of fact. I was afraid the pullies above convulsive effort, I succeeded in jump- would give way, and let the bell ing down, and throwing myself on the plunge on me. At another time, the flat of my back under the bell.
possibility of the clapper being shot out The room in which it was, was lit- in some sweep, and dashing through tle more than sufficient to contain it, my body, as I had seen a ramrod glide
through a door, fitted across my mind. resumed her sway, but it was only to The dread also, as I have already men- fill me with fresh terror, just as the tioned, of the crazy floor, tormented lightning dispels the gloom that surme, but these soon gave way to fears rounds the benighted mariner, but to not more unfounded, but more vision- shew him that his vessel is driving on ary, and of course more tremendous. a rock, where she must inevitably be The roaring of the bell confused my dashed to pieces. I found I was beintellect, and my fancy soon began to coming delirious, and trembled lest teem with all sort of strange and ter reason should utterly desert me. This rifying ideas. The bell pealing above, is at all times an agonizing thought, and opening its jaws with a hideous but it smote me then with tenfold clamour, seemed to me at one time a agony. I feared lest, when utterly deravening monster, raging to devour prived of my senses, I should rise, to do me; at another, a whirlpool ready to which I was every moment tempted suck me into its bellowing abyss. As by that strange feeling which calls on I gazed on it, it assumed all shapes; a man, whose head is dizzy from standit was a flying eagle, or rather a roc ing on the battlement of a lofty castle, of the Arabian story-tellers, clapping to precipitate himself from it, and then its wings and screaming over me. As death would be instant and tremenI looked upward into it, it would ap- dous. When I thought of this, I bepear sometimes to lengthen into inde came desperate. I caught the floor finite extent, or to be twisted at the with a grasp which drove the blood end into the spiral folds of the tail of from my nails; and I yelled with the cry a flying-dragon. Nor was the flaming of despair. I called for help, I prayed, breath, or fiery glance of that fabled I shouted, but all the efforts of my animal, wanting to complete the pic voice were, of course, drowned in the ture. My eyes inflamed, blodshot, and 'bell. As it passed over my mouth, it glaring, invested the supposed monster occasionally echoed my cries, which with a full proportion of unholy light. mixed not with its own sound, but
It would be endless were I to mere- preserved their distinct character. PerIy hint at all the fancies that possess- haps this was but fancy. To me, I ed my mind. Every object that was know, they then sounded as if they hideous and roaring presented itself to were the shouting, howling, or laughmy imagination. I often thought that ing of the fiends with which my imaI was in a hurricane at sea, and that gination had peopled the gloomy cave the vessel in which I was embarked which swung over me. tossed under me with the most furious You may accuse me of exaggerating vehemence. The air, set in motion by my feelings; but I am not. Many a the swinging of the bell, blew over me, scene of dread have I since passed nearly with the violence, and more through, but they are nothing to the than the thunder of a tempest; and self-inflicted terrors of this half hour. the floor seemed to reel under me, as The ancients have doomed one of the under a drunken man. But the most damned, in their Tartarus, to lie unawful of all the ideas that seized on der a rock, which every moment seems me were drawn from the supernatural. to be descending to annihilate him,In the vast cavern of the bell hideous and an awful punishment it would be. faces appeared, and glared down on me But if to this you add a clamour as with terrifying frowns, or with grin- loud as if ten thousand furies were ning mockery, still more appalling. howling?about you-adeafening uproar At last, the devil himself, accoutred, banishing reason, and driving you to as in the common description of the madness, you must allow that the bitevil spirit, with hoof, horn, and tail, terness of the pang was rendered more and eyes of infernal lustre, made his terrible. There is no man, firm as his appearance, and called on me to curse nerves may be, who couki retain his God and worship him, who was power- courage in this situation. ful to save me. This dread suggestion In twenty minutes the ringing was he uttered with the full-toned clangour done. Half of that time passed over of the bell. I had him within an inch me without power of computation,of me, and I thought on the fate of the other half appeared an age. Wher the Santon Barsisa. Strenuously and it ceased, I became gradually more desperately I defied him, and bade him quiet, but a new fear retained me. I be gone. Řeason, then, for a moment, knew that five minutes would clapse
without ringing, but, at the end of that locity of lightning, and arrived in the short time, the bell would be rung a bell-ringer's room. This was the last second time, for five minutes more. I act I had power to accomplish. I could not calculate time. A minute leant against the wall, motionless and and an hour were of equal duration. deprived of thought, in which posture I feared to rise, lest the five minutes my companions found me, when, in should have elapsed, and the ringing the course of a couple of hours, they be again commenced, in which case returned to their occupation. I should be crushed, before I could · They were shocked, as well they escape, against the walls or frame- might, at the figure before them. The work of the bell. I therefore still con- wind of the be had excoriated my tinued to lie down, cautiously shifting face, and my dim and stupified eyes myself, however, with a careful glids were fixed with a lack-lustre gaze in ing, so that my eye no longer looked my raw eye-lids. My bands were torn into the hollow. This was of itself a and bleeding : my hair dishevelled ; considerable relief. The cessation of and my clothes tattered. They spoke the noise had, in a great measure, the to me, but I gave no answer. They effect of stupifying me, for my atten- shook me, but I remained insensible. tion, being no longer occupied by the They then became alarmed, and haschimeras i had conjured up, began to tened to remove me. He who had first flag. All that now distressed me was gone up with me in the forenoon, met the constant expectation of the second them as they carried me through the ringing, for which, however, I settled church-yard, and through him, who myself with a kind of stupid resolu- was shocked at having, in some meation. I closed my eyes, and clenched sure, occasioned the accident, the cause my teeth as firmly as if they were of my misfortune was discovered. I screwed in a vice. "At last the dread- was put to bed at home, and remained ed moment came, and the first swing for three days delirious, but gradually of the bell extorted a groan from me, recovered my senses. You may be as they say the most resolute victim sure the bell formed a prominent topic screams at the sight of the rack, to of my ravings, and if I heard a peal, which he is for a second time destined. they were instantly increased to the After this, however, I lay silent and utmost violence. Even when the delethargic, without a thought. Wrapt lirium abated, my sleep was continuin the defensive armour of stupidity, ally disturbed by imagined ringings, I defied the bell and its intonations. and my dreams were haunted by the When it ceased, I was roused a little fancies which almost maddened me by the hope of escape. I did not, how- while in the steeple. My friends reever, decide on this step hastily, but, moved me to a house in the country, putting up my hand with the utmost which was sufficiently distant from any caution, I touched the rim. Though place of worship, to save me from the the ringing had ceased, it still was apprehensions of hearing the churchtremulous from the sound, and shook going bell ; for what Alexander Selunder my hand, which instantly re- kirk, in Cowper's poem, complained of coiled as from an electric jar. A quar- as a misfortune, was then to me as a ter of an hour probably elapsed before blessing. Here I recovered ; but, even I again dared to make the experiment, long after recovery, it a gale wafted and then I found it at rest. I deter- the notes of a peal towards me, I startmined to lose no time, fearing that I ed with nervous apprehension. I felt might have lain then already too long, a Mahometan hatred to all the bell and that the bell for evening service tribe, and envied the subjects of the would catch me. This dread stimula- Commander of the Faithful the sonoted me, and I slipped out with the ut rous voice of their Muezzin. Time most rapidity, and arose. I stood, I cured this, as it does the most of our suppose, for a minute, looking with follies; but, even at the present day, if, silly wonder on the place of my im- by chance, my nerves be unstrung, prisonment, penetrated with joy at some particular tones of the cathedral escaping, but then rushed down the bell have power to surprise me into a stony and irregular stair with the ve- momentary start.
ON COPLESTONE'INQUIRY INTO THE DOCTRINES OF NECESSITY AND
To CHRISTOPHER NORTH, Esq. DEAR SIR, -Having endeavoured to tions are not restrained by the moshew that philosophical necessity is in- tives which commonly act as restraints consistent with activity, the next step upon the evil propensities of mankind. of the Rev. Inquirer is to try to prove Now, how do we estimate the moral it to be destructive of morality. “It value of a good action, or the fitness cannot be denied (he goes on to ob- for punishment of an apparently bad serve,) that in the habitual judgment one. We inqulre whether or not it was of all mankind, the moral quality of performed under a state of absolutely actions depends upon the freedom of forcible compulsion, fear, or ignorance. the agent. Praise and blame, reward We first make this inquiry, merely and punishment, uniformly imply that because, if the causes of compulsion, we think the party who is the object fear, or ignorance can be otherwise reof them might have acted otherwise; moved, punishment becomes unnecesand as soon as it is discovered that he sary. For as pain, and the appreacted under compulsion, we no longer hension of pain are applied medicinal, measure the action by the standard of ly to controll that will which is found duty. It is in fact the first excuse to be permanently uncontrollable by which a culprit makes, if he can, that other motives, so it is, of course, rehis will had no share in the deed. quisite to ascertain that the will has The deed may, it is true, though pro- become inveterately diseased before the ceeding from ignorance, or from an stimulus of punishment is applied ; extraneous power, still lie culpable to and this is done precisely upon the à certain degree--if that ignorance principles which lead a surgeon to apwere not inevitable, or if the person ply a plaister to a green wound, or elecplaced himself voluntarily in that state tricity to a contracted sinew: nor does of subjection which deprived him of the judge who pronounces sentence, choice. But still our judgments in think of inquiring whether the dethese matters, all have respect to one pravity of the will of the culprit, is a prilaviple that man is not accountable necessary depravity, and could not have for what was not in his own power.” been otherwise, any more than the
This statement, I must take the surgeon would of inquiring whether liberty of saying, is extremely loosely the disease he cures could have been, worded. The emphatic terms are em or could not have been avoided. The ployed without
any prior definition of same reasoning equally applies to vothe precise meaning intended to be luntary ignorance, or to wilfully subconveyed by them, and the whole pas- jecting oneself to extraneous power. sage is consequently so completely The depraved will, which chuses ignoequivocal, that neither Libertarian nor rance or subjection to improper power, Necessitarian need hesitate to assent to must be cured or neutralized by the it, as it stands.
he question is, what counteracting motives of fear and sort of freedom is requisite to deter- shame. mine the quality of actions? What It is in obedience to this rule that sort of compulsion is destructive of those crimes which confessedly spring responsibility? What is the rational from ignorance and ill education, and meaning of the word blame, and which are as inevitable, and as much what the philosophy of punishment ? the creatures of necessity as a life of Punishment is the application of the ill example and wicked instruction can fear of pain, naturally inherent in make them, are for the good of society men, as a motive to controul the will punished equally with those commitof those, whose tendencies to bad ac ted by men of more enlarged minds
* Soldiers are punished for cowardice on strict necessitarian principles. The certainty of ignominious death is a stronger motive to stand, than the risk of honourable death is to run away.
and liberal education. If we pity the dom of his will. The infliction of ignorant malefactor more, it is because punishment must render the chusing the unavoidable tendency to crime is, of this evil exertion of Freewill more in him, brought more directly and difficult-or it must not. If it does, certainly into view, and because we this is to admit that the motive in also see that in him punishment must question has some power to neutralise
probably be less efficacious, and be re- according to its strength, that perfect bi
quired again and again, and with in- freedom of will which is contended creasing severity. The mind of a cri- for. If this be so, it is utterly inconminal who possesses knowledge, and ceiveable how the mind which is newho, of course, has a larger store of cessarily biased to one side of an almotives, good and bad, is generally ternative, can by possibility chuse the curable by punishment. Whilst his other side, unless some opposite moa evil propensities are held in abeyance tive of equal force exert a similar inby fear, his mind reposes upon its fluence towards the other side, and
better tendencies, which consequent- thus restore that balance which is nea ly gain strength as the others fade. cessary to the display of Freewill. If
The ignorant reprobate may be kept it does not render the chusing more * by fear from mischief for a time, un difficult if it be said, that the mind
til the impression wears off. But he yields to the motive only of Freewill, has no better knowledge-no more and may from the same Freewill with enlightened affections to cultivate, and undiminished ease, set it at defiance punishment is to him merely what and act in opposition to it—then this the heated wires of the cage are to is saying, that there is always inherthe ravenous cat. It is also to be ob- ent in the mind an unvarying and served, that the crimes of an intel- complete power to act, not only withlectual man, are for the most part, out, but against motives. If this be caused only by complicated and singué so, I ask, where then can be the utililarly unfortunate combinations of cir- ty either of punishment, or any kind cumstances, which, when once inter- of discipline? For according to this suprupted, are less likely to be renewed. position, the object is as likely to act
It has been always, and, as it seems wrong if it is applied, as he is likely to me, most strangely, a favourite idea to act right if it is omitted, and he is of the advocates of Freewill, that their as likely to do either of these things theory is necessary for the explanation as the contrary, having an absolute, of punishment, and for the hypothesis unalterable, and complete power to do of this life being a state of trial. Yet either or any of them. Nor is it adit is difficult, if not impossible, to con- missible to say that—although he has ceive what sort of freedom other than the power, he is not so likely to exert the freedom to do what we will, can be it, as to refrain from exerting it-for requisite to justify punishment, or to wherein does the likelihood lie? If afford room for moral discipline. In motives have not a certain, and necesfact, Philosophical Freewill is perfecta sary influence on the ultimate decily incompatible with both. The de- sions of the mind, then they have an nial of the necessary influence of mo- uncertain and contingent influence, tives on conduct, is essential to the (if influence it can be called,) which libertarian system. But the system may be either submitted to or not; of punishment is an attempt to influ- and it is impossible to predict when ence the conduct by means of the mo- it shall, and when it shall not be tives of a fear of pain and of shame, submitted to, the powers of chusing and it is only upon the supposition, either side of an alternative being althat these motives have a certain and ways equal, according to the doctrine necessary tendency to bring about a of Freewill. If an appeal be made given line of conduct, that pain can be to experience, that where no evireasonably inflicted. Nor does it help dent, powerful, contradictory motives the advocates of liberty out of their intervene, punishment is, in fact, gedifficulty, to say, as some of them nerally followed by reformation ; this have done, that though punishment is only putting one of the strongest certainly produces a tendency to a arguments, for the probability of a better line of conduct, yet the object necessary influence being exerted over still has the power to overcome that the will, inasmuch as constant setendency, by an exertion of the free- quence is all we have to prove even