The City of Fire (Chapter 7, page 2 of 8)


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Chapter 7

He glanced around the pleasant room. Yes, there on the desk was a
telephone! Could he get to it? He sat up and painfully edged his way
over to the desk.

"Safely through another week,
God has brought us on our way--"

chimed the bells, "Let us now a blessing seek,
Waiting in His courts to-day--"

But Laurie Shafton had never sung those words in his life and had no
idea what the bells were seeking to get across to him. He took down the
receiver and called for Long Distance.

"Oh day of rest and gladness!"

pealed out the bells joyously, "Oh day of joy and light!
Oh balm for care and sadness,
Most beautiful, most bright--"

But it meant nothing to Laurie Shafton seeking a hotel in a fashionable
resort. And when he finally got his number it was only Opal's maid who
answered.

"Yes, Mrs. Verrons was up. She was out walking on the beach with a
gentleman. No, it was not Mr. Emerson, nor yet Mr. McMarter. Neither of
those gentlemen had arrived. No, it was not Mr. Verrons. He had just
telegraphed that he would not be at the hotel until tomorrow night.
Yes, she would tell Mrs. Verrons that he had met with an accident. Mrs.
Verrons would be very sorry. Number one-W Sabbath Valley. Yes, she
would write it down. What? Oh! The gentleman Mrs. Verrons was walking
with? No, it was not anybody that had been stopping at the hotel for
long, it was a new gentleman who had just come the night before. She
hadn't heard his name yet. Yes, she would be sure to tell Mrs. Verrons
at once when she came in, and Mrs. Verrons would be likely to call him
up!"

He hung up the receiver and looked around the room discontentedly. A
stinging twinge of his ankle added to his discomfort. He gave an angry
snarl and pushed the wavering curtain aside, wishing those everlasting
bells would stop their banging.

Across the velvet stretch of lawn the stone church nestled among the
trees, with a background of mountains, and a studding of white
gravestones beyond its wide front steps. It was astonishingly
beautiful, and startlingly close for a church. He had not been so near
to a church except for a wedding in all his young life. Dandy place for
a wedding that would be, canopy over the broad walk from the street,
charming architecture, he liked the line of the arched belfry and the
slender spire above. The rough stone fitted well into the scenery. The
church seemed to be a thing of the ages placed there by Nature. His
mind trained to detect a sense of beauty in garments, rugs, pictures,
and women, appreciated the picture on which he was gazing. Where was
this anyway? Surely not the place with the absurd name that he
remembered now on the mountain Detour. Sabbath Valley! How ridiculous!
It must be the home of some wealthy estate, and yet there seemed a
rustic loveliness about it that scarcely established that theory.

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