“There! didn’t I tell you we should see the world?” said their leader, after they were packed and on their way.
“I don’t think we are seeing much of it now, in this dark box,” answered one of the bells.
“Wait till we are at our journey’s end. We are in a transition state now. Haven’t I listened to the old pastor many a time, and heard him say those very words? I could not comprehend them then, but I can now. Oh, how delightful it is to have the prospect of some change before us!” Thus the old bell chatted to the journey’s end, while the other bells had but little to say.
Three days later they were at the end of their long ride, and placed, one by one, in a fiery furnace. Instead of murmurs now, their groans filled the air.
“Oh, for one moment’s rest from the heat and the hammer! Oh, that we were all at the sweet vale of St. Auburn!” said the leader of all their sorrow.
“How sweetly would we sing!” echoed all.
“It’s a terrible thing to be recast!” sighed the deepest-toned bell; and he quivered with fear as they placed him in the furnace.
At last, after much suffering, they were pronounced perfect, and repacked for their return.
The same tone was given to each, but the quality was finer, softer, and richer than before. The workmen knew not why—none but the suffering bells, and the master hand who put them into the furnace of affliction.
They were all hung once more in the tower—wiser and better bells. Never again was heard a murmur of discontent from either because but one tone was its mission. In the moonlight they talk among themselves, of their sad but needful experience, and of the lesson which it taught them,—as we hope it has our reader,—that each must be faithful to the quality or tone which the Master has given us, and which is needful to the rich and full harmonies of life.
There was once an aged man who lived upon an exceeding high mountain for many years; but, as his strength began to decline, he found the ascent so tedious for his feeble steps that he went into the valley to live.
It was very hard for him to give up the view from its lofty height of the sun which sank so peacefully to rest. Long before the sleepers in the valley awoke, he was watching the golden orb as it broke through the mists and flung its beauties over the hills.
“This must be my last day upon the mountain top,” he said. “The little strength which is left me I must devote to the culture of fruit and flowers in the valley, and no longer spend it in climbing up and down these hills, whose tops rest their peaks in the fleecy clouds. I have enjoyed many years of repose and grandeur, and must devote the remainder of my life to helping the people in the valley.”