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CHAPTER XXXI. P. I.

MORE CONCERNING BELLS.

Lord, ringing changes all our bells hath marr'd;

Jangled they have and jarr'd
So long, they're out of tune, and out of frame;

They seem not now the same.
Put them in frame anew, and once begin
To tune them so, that they may chime all in.

HERBERT.

There are more mysteries in a peal of bells than were touched upon by the Bishop of Chalons in his serinon. There are plain bob-triples, bob-majors, bob-majors reversed, double bobmajors, and grandsire-bob-cators, and there is a Bob-maximus. Who Bob was, and whether he were Bob Major, or Major Bob, that is whether Major were his name or his rank, and if his rank, to what service he belonged, are questions which inexorable Oblivion will not answer, however earnestly adjured. And there is no Witch of Endor who will call up Bob from the grave to answer them himself. But there are facts in the history of bell-ringing which Oblivion has not yet made her own, and one of them is that the greatest performance ever completed by one person in the world, was that of Mr. Samuel Thurston at the New Theatre Public House in the City of Norwich, on Saturday evening, July 1, 1809, when he struck all these intricate short peals, the first four upon a set of eight musical hand bells, the last on a peal of ten.

But a performance upon hand-bells when compared to bell-ringing is even less than a review in comparison with a battle. Strength of arm as well as skill is required for managing a bell-rupe. Samuel Thurston's peal of plain bob-triples was “ nobly brought round" in two minutes and three quarters, and his grandsirebob-cators were as nobly finished in five minutes and fourteen seconds. The reader shall now see what real bell-ringing is.

The year 1796 was remarkable for the performance of great exploits in this manly and English art,-for to England the art is said to be peculiar, the cheerful carrillons of the continent being played by keys. In that year, and in the month of August the Westmoreland youths rang a complete peal of 5040 grandsire triples, in St. Mary's Church Kendal, being the whole number of changes on seven bells. The peal was divided into ten parts, or courses of 504 each; the bobs were called by the sixth, a lead single was made in the middle of the peal, and another at the conclusion which brought the bells home. Distinct leads and exact divisions were observed throughout the whole, and the performance was completed in three hours and twenty minutes. A like performance took place in the same month at Kidderminster in three hours and fourteen minutes. Stephen Hill composed and called the peal, it was conducted through with one single, which was brought to the 4984th change, viz. 1267453. This was allowed by those who were conversant in the art to exceed any peal ever yet rung in this kingdom by that method.

Paulo majora canamus. The Society of Cambridge youths that same year rang in the Church of St. Mary the Great, a true and com

plete peal of Bob maximus, in five hours and five minutes. This consisted of 6600 changes, and for regularity of striking and harmony throughout the peal was allowed by competent judges to be a very masterly performance. In point of time the striking was to such a nicety that in each thousand changes the time did not vary one sixteenth of a minute, and the compass of the last thousand was exactly equal to the first.

Eight Birmingham youths (some of them were under twenty years of age) attempted a greater exploit, they ventured upon a complete peal of 15120 bob major. They failed indeed, magnis tamen ausis. For after they had rang upwards of eight hours and a half, they found themselves so much fatigued that they desired the caller would take the first opportunity to bring the bells home. This he soon did by omitting a bob and so brought them round thus making a peal of 14224 changes in eight hours and forty-five minutes, the longest which was ever rung in that part of the country, or perhaps any where else.

In that same year died Mr. Patrick the celebrated composer of church-bell music, and senior of the Society of Cumberland Youths,an Hibernian sort of distinction for one in middle or later life. He is the same person whose name was well known in the scientific world as a maker of barometers; and he it was who composed the whole peal of Stedman's triples, 5040 changes, (which his obituarist says had till then been deemed impracticable, and for the discovery of which he received a premium of 501. offered for that purpose by the Norwich amateurs of the art) “ his productions of real double and treble bob royal being a standing monument of his unparalleled and superlative merits." This Mr. Patrick was interred on the afternoon of Sunday, June 26, in the church-yard of St. Leonard, Shoreditch; the corpse was followed to the grave by all the Ringing Societies in London and its environs, each sounding hand bells with muffled clappers, the church bells at the same time ringing a dead peal;

Ως οίγ' αμφίεπον τάφον Πατρίκος βοσβοδάμοιο.

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