The Bellman Who Died At His Post
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
FOR five hundred years the Catholic Cathedral had stood in Pekin, until the last outbreak of the Boxers, when it, with the other foreign buildings in the city, was destroyed by fire. Just before its destruction two thousand native children were taken from its walls to a place of safety. The Catholic missionaries had an understanding that when the Boxers should approach the building the bell should sound the alarm. Accordingly, at the first appearance of the enemy the bellman began vigorously to ring the alarm. The Boxers used the torch ; fire crept up into the tower ; it broke through the floor beneath his feet, but he kept on ringing the bell until the floor and the bellman and the bell fell into the flames beneath. Here was heroism in the humblest man in the cathedral worthy of the greatest king or conqueror. A life like that is not lost. From its chariot of fire it preaches to the whole world a thousand sermons on fidelity and sacrifice. It will be well if every herald set up on the watch tower of Zion shall be as true and brave in ringing the alarm bell as this heroic sexton of the Cathedral of Pekin.