Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve with "The Chimes"

Nothing like curling up with the story "The Chimes" by Charles Dickens. One of my favourite Christmas moral ghost stories. What a way to bring in the New Year. Written in 1844, a year after "A Christmas Carol" and "Cricket on the Hearth" . It is one of five Christmas stories. "The Chimes" was written while Dickens lived in Italy for a year. He was struck with the beauty of the Genoese bells that would peal out over the countryside.
 The main character is an elderly porter, named  Trotty, who is not happy about all the ugliness he reads about in the local newspaper. To him, mankind is shot. And the New Year a sham. His daughter Meg and her fiance Richard are to be married New Years Day. Trotty doesn't like THAT much either. Unhappy Trotty goes to the church and ascends the bell tower. . He is given a vision of the future in where everything goes wrong for everyone ( of course). Trotty learns that  mankind strives to right its wrongs and become nobler and wonderful. In the end, Trotty stops Meg from jumping in the river , saves her life and there is  a wedding after all, on New Years Day.Of course there is the imagery provided by Dickens, and  a lot more going on in the story. You'll just have to read it, and make it a new favourite....
 "For the night-wind has a dismal trick of wandering round and round  a building and moaning as it goes, and of trying, with its unseen hand, the windows and the doors; and seeking out some crevices by which to enter....."
 "The Chimes came clashing in upon him as he said the words. Full and loud, and sounding....but with no encouragement...."
 "The Year was not Old, that day. The patient year had lived through the reproaches and misuses of its slanderers, and faithfully performed its work. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. It had laboured through the destined round, and now laid down its head to die."
 "He knew too that the Chimes would ring immediately, ad that they sounded to his fancy, at such a time, like voices in the clouds."
 "Until ascending thru the floor, and pausing with his head just raised above its beams, he came among the Bells. It was barely possible to make out their great shapes in the gloom, but there they were. Shadowy, dark and dumb."
 "He saw the Tower, whither his charmed footsteps had brought him, swarming with dwarf phantoms, spirits, elfin creatures of the Bells. "
 "A blast of air, how cold and shrill, came moaning through the tower. As it died away, the Great Bell, or the Goblin of the Great Bell, spoke...."
 "The voice of Time, cries to man, Advance! Time is for his advancement and improvement; for his greater worth, his greater happiness, his better life." (The Phantom of the Bell)

 "The organ sounded faintly in the church below. Swelling by degrees, the melody ascended to the roof, and filled the choir and Nave. "
 "The Spirit of your child bewails the dead, and mingles with the dead---dead hopes----dead fancies, dead imaginings of youth, but she is living. Learn from the creature dearest to your heart, ho bad tghe bad are born. " (The Bell)
 "And they RUNG! Their time being come again. And once again, vast multitudes of phantoms sprung into existence; once again, faded on the stopping of the Chimes; and dwindled into nothing."
 "What are these? The Spirits of the Bells. Their sound upon the air. They take such shapes and occupations as the hopes and thoughts of mortals, and the recollections they have stored up, give them."

 The Banquet was served up.the people flocked in, with their rustic dresses, the beauty of the spectacle was at its height."
 "As she died, the Spirit of the Child returning , innocent and radiant, touched the old man with its hand, and beckoned him away."
 "Some new remembrance of the ghostly figures of the Bell; some faint impression of the ringing of the Chimes; some giddy consciousness of having seen the swarm of phantoms reproduced until the recollection of them lost itself in the confusion of their numbers."
 "This is the last night of the Old Year, and I won't carry ill-blood and quarrellings and disturbances into a New One, to please you or anybody else." (Tugby)

"I see the spirit of the Chimes among you. I know that we must trust and hope, and neither doubt ourselves, nor doubt the good in one another."

 "The Chimes were ringing  in the New Year. Hear them!They WERE ringing. Bless their sturdy hearts,. Great Bells as they were; melodious, deep-mouthed, noble Bells."
 "Had he dreamed? Or are his joys and sorrow, and the actors in them, but a dream; himself a dream....."
 "In your sphere, endeavour to correct, improve, and soften them."
 "So may the New Year be a happy one to you!"
 "Happy to many more whose happiness depends on you!"
 "May each year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy!"
All quotes from "The Chimes" a New Year story (a fabulous read) by Charles Dickens.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Keeping Christmas....

 "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,  and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." (N. V. Peele)

 "It is Christmas every time you let God love others thru you. Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand." (Mother Teresa)

 "Be humble, be gentle in every way. Be patient with each other, and lovingly accept each other." (Ephesians 4:2)

 "Christmas is Love in action....." ( D. Evans)

 "Mankind is a great, immense family.This is proved by what we feel at Christmas. "
                         (Pope John XXIII)

 "The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens,easing each others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays." (W.C. Jones)

 "Somehow we just don't make the same boisterous fun of a  Holy Week as we do of Christmas. No one plans to have a holly jolly Easter...." (Frederica Matthewes-Green)

 "Live the full life of the mind.Exhilarated by new ideas, Intoxicated by the romance of the unusual. " (Ernest Hemingway)

 "Christmas is the day that holds all time together." ( Alexander Smith)

 "Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing, but for reflecting. ( Winston Churchill)

 "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. " ( Charles Dickens)