A life for a life - by Robert Herrick - PDF novel

A life for a life 

A life for a life

The cracked bells were playing in the little wooden belfry of the old church. In an uncertain, quavering voice they announced some ancient festival that had been brought, with the wood and the brick of the building itself, from a distant land, an older people. In the fresh dawn of this New World morning, they were celebrating the glory of a forgotten saint, one whose halo was no longer radiant with symbolic meaning. 

Their quavering voice roused no tender echoes in this little American town. The early passers-by glanced indifferently at the open church, through whose doors an old woman was entering, and went about their business of the May morning, while others, just waking for the work of the day, heard the familiar voice of the chimes coming through streets and over roofs, but heeded it not. Nevertheless, the cracked bells in the little belfry of the old church did not sound in vain that May morning. A youth asleep in an upper chamber of the adjoining house moved at their touch. 

The plaintive, hesitant chords of the tune penetrated the arena of his dreams, setting in vibration the complex stuff of his being and ordering the confused visions of his sleep in vivid pictures. He turned on his bed, a firm hand clutching an invisible object, a strong white arm curved beneath his head.

Robert Welch Herrick (1868-1938) was a novelist who was part of a new generation of American realists. His novels deal with the turbulence of industrialized society and the turmoil it can create insensitive, isolated people. He was also briefly acting-Governor of the United States Virgin Islands in 1935.

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