The City of Fire (Chapter 5, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 5

He lifted his hand and from the stone belfry near-by came the solemn
tone of the chime, pealing out a full round of melody, and then tolling
solemnly twelve slow strokes. There was something almost uncanny about
it that held the stranger still, as if an unseen presence with a
convincing voice had been invoked. The young man sat under the spell
till the full complement of the ringing was finished, the workman with
his hand up holding attention, and Jim Rafferty quietly enjoying it all
from the curb stone.

When the last sweet resonance had died out, the Scotchman's hand went
slowly down, and the stranger burst forth with an oath: "Well, can you tell me where I can go to get fixed up? I've wasted
enough time already."

"I should say from whut I've seen of ye, mon, that yer roight in thot
statement, and if I was to advoise I'd say go right up to the parson,
His loight's still burnin' in the windo next beyant the tchurtch, so
ye'll not be disturbin' him. Not that he'd moind. He'll fix ye up ef
anybody cun; though I'm doubtin' yer in a bad wy, only wy ye tak it.
Good-night to ye, the winda wi' the leight, mon, roight next beyant the

The car began its coughing and spluttering, and slowly jerked itself
into motion, its driver going angrily on his unthankful way. The two
workmen watching him with amused expressions, waited in the shadow of a
tree till the car came to a stop again in front of the parsonage, and a
tall young fellow got out and looked toward the lighted window.

"Oh, boy! He's going in!" gasped Jim, slapping his companion silently
on the back. "Whatt'll Mr. Severn think, Tommy?"

"It'll do the fresh laddie gude," quoth Tom, a trifle abashed but ready
to stand by his guns, "I'm thenkin' he's one of them what feels they
owns the airth, an' is bound to step on all worms of the dust whut
comes in thur wy. But Jim, mon, we better be steppin' on, fer tomorra's
the Sawbeth ya ken, an' it wuddent be gude for our souls if the parson
shud cum out to investigate." Chuckling away into the silent street
they disappeared, while Laurence Shafton stalked angrily up the little
path and pounded loudly on the quaint knocker of the parsonage.

* * * * * The minister was on his knees beside his desk, praying for the soul of
the wandering lad who had been dear to him for years. He had finished
his preparation for the coming day, and his heart was full of a great
longing. As he poured out his desire he forgot the hour and his need
for rest. It was often in such companionship he forgot all else. He was
that kind of a man.

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