- Transcribed by unknown author unknown author
- Edition: December 27th, 1844 December 27th, 1844
SLEEPING IN A CHURCH
There are not, I dare say, many people who would care to sleep in a
church. I don't mean at sermon time in the warm weather, (when the thing has
actually been done once or twice), but in the night, and alone.
A great multitude of persons will be violently astonished, I know, by
this position, in the broad, bold day. But it applies to night. And I will
undertake to maintain it successfully on any gusty winters night appointed for
the purpose, with any opponent chosen from the rest, who will meet me singly in
an old churchyard, before an old church door, and will previously empower me
to lock him in, if needful to his satisfaction, until morning.
For the night wind has a dismal trick of wandering round and round a
building of that sort, and moaning as it goes; and of trying, with its unseen
hand, the windows and the doors; and of seeking out some crevices by which to
enter. And when it has got in - as one not finding what it seeks - whatever
that may be - it wails and howls to issue forth again; and, not content with
stalking through the aisles, and gliding round and round the pillars, and
tempting the deep organ, soars up to the roof, and strives to rend the rafters;
then flings itself despairingly upon the stones below, and passes, muttering,
into the vaults.
Anon, it comes up stealthily, and creeps along the walls; seeming to
read in whispers, the inscriptions to the dead. At some of these it breaks out
shrilly, as with laughter; and at others moans and cries, as if it was a
language. It has a ghostly sound too, lingering within the altar, where it seems
to chaunt, in its wild way, of wrong and murder done, and false gods
worshipped - in defiance of the tables of the law, which looks so fair and smooth, but
are so flawed and broken.
Ugh! Heaven preserve us, sitting snugly round the fire! It has an awful
voice, that wind at midnight, singing in a church!
by Chas DICKENS