October 30, 2012

Mitt Romney is the Best Prepared to Lead America Today

Photo used with permission from Microsoft
A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Alisa and her miracle.  This coming Sunday, a lot of Christians will be praying and fasting for another miracle.  The miracle we all want involves the upcoming United States Presidential election.  We want Mitt Romney to win!

Mitt Romney is a miracle already, by just being born!  His mother was told after the birth of her 3rd child that she would never conceive or bear another child.  This was devastating news for the family, but proved to highlight the miracle when Willard Mitt Romney was born.  The doctors couldn’t figure out how he was conceived, carried or delivered under the extreme medical circumstances.  His parents prized and loved him all through his childhood. 

His father, George Romney, was active in politics after a successful career in Detroit, Michigan in the auto industry.  Facing stiff competition, he successfully kept American Motor Company alive when other auto manufacturers were folding.  When he ran for Governor of Michigan, the Democratic controlled state seemed impossible for him to win over.  But win he did, and Michigan citizens respected him so much that they elected him twice.   George ran for President of the United States after that, but pulled out of the contest when it became clear that Richard Nixon would win the Republican nomination.  He served in Nixon’s cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

That’s a lot of information about George Romney, but it’s important because as a child Mitt was watching his father this whole time.  He saw how his dad helped American Motors stay afloat, then helped his state to success.  He worked on his father’s campaign, and later as an unpaid intern in the Governor’s office.  This must have been good preparation for Mitt, the future Presidential candidate.

More importantly, Mitt learned the lessons of living discipleship that he saw in his family and in his church.  Mitt was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His life was centered on living the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Like most Mormon youth, Mitt was baptized, received the Priesthood and attended Seminary.  He served a 30 month mission to France in a low baptizing, difficult mission.  Marrying Anne and raising 5 boys, he served in many positions including service as a Bishop and later as a Stake President.  As one looks at Mitt’s life, it’s clear that he has a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and lives it.  

I met Mitt Romney when my husband Scott and I were living in Boston from 1986-1991.  Scott was a student at MIT.  We attended church in the Cambridge congregation when Mitt was our Stake President.  I remember him as kind and warm, genuinely interested in our welfare.  His family modeled goodness; his marriage modeled fidelity and love.  Now that Scott is a Stake President, I understand better the rigors that the calling requires.  Mitt met regularly with the members of the church belonging to the many congregations in the area.  Plus, administering the needs of the Stake requires many hours a week of meetings simply involving the logistics like calendaring and budgets.  Ward and Stake Conferences, Firesides, and Training sessions would have kept Mitt busy with a long list of talks to prepare and deliver.  

A few months ago I heard my husband recount the story of how Mitt helped find Robert Gay’s 14 year old lost daughter.  If there is any doubt of Mitt’s dedication to helping others, this is the story to ‘Google.’  To summarize, Mitt closed down the company and sent all of his employees out into the underworld of New York City to find the girl. Mitt and his employees went into nasty places looking for her.  It took several days, but they did find her and brought her back to her parents.  The cost in money must have been pretty substantial—he diverted so many employees from their normal money-making operations, flew them to New York, and they spent days looking for her.  But it wasn’t about the money, it was about a lost child of a co-worker.  No expense was too high to find her.  

I have highlighted Mitt’s moral goodness in this letter, and not really touched on his fiscal preparation.  After earning a Bachelors from BYU, Mitt earned a law degree and a business degree simultaneously from Harvard.  He passed the Michigan Bar exam, but chose not to practice as a lawyer.  Instead he co-founded Bain Capital, which invested in businesses to perform ‘miracles.’  Bain did this by supporting struggling businesses in which they saw potential, with money and expertise to help them become successful.   This was great preparation for Mitt to take over the bankrupt Salt Lake Olympics right before the games.  He turned it around and helped them make a profit, taking no fee for his service.  Bain also must have helped him in his term as Governor of Massachusetts, where he turned a huge deficit into a profit for the state.  Again Mitt took no salary from the state for his service as Governor.  His business acumen is strong and his motives are good.

Mitt truly may be the best candidate for President of the United States to emerge in the last 100 years!  He has the moral commitment to do what is right in the sight of God, he loves America with a passion needed to defend her and it’s Constitution properly, and he knows how to heal broken finances to tame our budget deficit and get our economy going again.  And yet, surprisingly, the election is close and feelings are strongly partisan.  It really may take a miracle for America to elect him.  

One of Mitts’ favorite quotes is, “The pursuit of the difficult makes men strong.”  Serving in a hard mission in France, doing unpopular things to make businesses and governments fiscally responsible and attempting to run for President in 2008 made him strong enough for this fight.  Becoming President of the United States may be the most difficult of all of his pursuits.  With just a week left before the election, many Americans are still not convinced Mitt will be a better President than Mr. Obama.  I am praying for this miracle now.  America needs this miracle!

Mitt Romney at Wikipedia

October 24, 2012

Bridget Bishop, a Martyr for Truth in the Salem Witch Trials

To celebrate Halloween, I thought I’d tell the story about one of my favorite ancestors.  She was thought to be a witch!  Isn’t that a fitting story to tell for the holiday?  Her name was Bridget Bishop and she was the first 'witch' executed during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  If you visit Salem, you’ll see that her memory is alive and well there within the tourist industry.  
She had come to Salem about 1664, presumably with her husband Samuel Wasselby. But he died before 1665.  Now she was a young widow in a strange land among uptight Puritans.  To boot, her children died sometime before 1666.  That’s a lot of sadness and difficulty in a short amount of time.  
There was no good way for a single woman to earn money in Puritan New England.  To survive, Bridget married an older man named Thomas Oliver in Salem in the summer of 1666.  Thomas was abusive and often beat Bridget bloody, black and blue.  They fought often and publicly, which resulted in their punishment and censure more than once.  One time they were forced to stand back to back in the public square for an hour, with writing pinned to their foreheads describing their offenses.  In Puritan times, no sympathy was given to the abused in this situation, in fact, the abused were believed to deserve whatever punishment they got.  In spite of their fighting, they had a daughter Christian together in 1667.  Most women would cower and submit, but laudably, Bridget stood up for herself.
After Oliver died in 1679, Bridget inherited his property and land.  Shortly thereafter she was accused as a witch.  The charges were dropped.  Scholars have confirmed that accusations that a widow was a witch often followed the situation in which Bridget found herself—widowed without a will but sizeable property to inherit.  Belief in witches came to Salem from superstitious England, so this was not unusual.  Bridget married again to a man named Edward Bishop several years later, about 1685.  
What distinguished Bridget was her well-known manner of dress-- a red paragon bodice on her dress.  ‘Paragon’ refers to everyday clothing; it was usually made out of dark bland colors, not red.  Not only was her bodice red but she had embroidered it with multicolored patterns.  It was showy for a Puritan society and caused her to stand out and be associated with anti-Puritan behavior.  Bernard Rosenthal, noted historian, said,  "The notoriety Bridget gained because of her feisty temperament, brushes with the law, reputation of being a witch, and her three marriages made her a ready target as the witch hysteria began brewing in January 1692."  
Although Tituba was the first accused in January 1692, accusations against Bridget followed on April 16.  Bridgett was arrested two days later and hauled to Boston, a one day journey.  The Boston jail was infested with lice, freezing cold and stank of excrement and tobacco.  She was shackled at her ankles to a wall and imprisoned with pirates, prisoners of war and thieves in the same room.  The jailer billed her for her stay, transportation back and forth to Salem and even blankets.  
After 3 days in jail, she was hauled back to Salem to be examined in court.  The accusing girls fell into fits as she entered the courtroom, although she had never seen them before.  The girls could have only known Bridget by her reputation, perhaps overhearing pious parents gossiping about her.  
On June 2nd, the first witch trial was held, for Bridget Bishop.  The courthouse was directly across the street from Bridget's home with Edward Bishop.  That morning, she and the other accused women underwent physical examinations, including their private parts.  This degrading invasion of privacy was especially upsetting in those Puritan times.  An examiner saw a supposed ‘witches mark’ on Bridget, then when she was examined again later, it was gone.  This only added to the evidence against her.
This, along with the fits the girls exhibited, and testimony given of 'spectral evidence' added to the mounting evidence.  ‘Spectral evidence’ was testimony of people who said they had seen her in spirit hurting animals or people.  Her tell-tale red bodice was mentioned to strengthen their testimonials.  This was the first time spectral evidence was accepted in a court of law.  Others testified of finding Voodoo dolls in her walls or making their money disappear.  The worst testimonial was from her brother in law, who said she stayed up all night talking to the devil.  That must have hurt Bridget terribly.  She must have wondered if the whole town was against her. 
Bridget denied the accusations, saying, "I am innocent to a witch.  I know not what a witch is.  I am as innocent as a baby."  Later as she began to sense the gravity of the accusations, she became irritated, "I am clear; if I were any such person you should know it."  What we consider laughable evidence today was enough to convict her then.  She was the first to be convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to die.  
On June 10, 1692, Bridget was forced-marched down Essex Street to the gallows at the top of Gallows hill.  There she was hung alone from a tall oak tree.  Nineteen more were executed for witchcraft before the end of the hysteria.  And sadly, over a hundred of the 400 accused died in prison.  
Historian Barbara Morrell wrote, "One thing that is crystal clear about our feisty and colorful Grandma Bridget:  She was a survivor.  She had lost her husband Samuel and possibly her first two babies immigrating to America.  She survived spousal abuse, the death of Thomas and her first arrest for witchcraft and then remarried again before she died as an innocent victim of the Salem Witch hunt.  Bridget Bishop may be an unlikely heroine, but her descendants can be proud to have her as an ancestor-- one who died for the truth.  It is possible that her strong and feisty spirit came down the generations… giving them the courage to leave their ancestral home to gather with the [Latter-day] Saints."  
I honor Bridget similarly.  She had a rough life and yet lived her life well.  She didn’t care what people thought of her, daring to be a little different from everyone else as seen in her colorful clothing.  Her defining moment came when she stood up to her accusers and boldly defended her innocence.  She could have lied and confessed to save her life, but she chose the truth.  That is heroine status for me, in a way, like Abinadi of the Book of Mormon.  
So there’s a witch story for Halloween, a sober story for what should be a fun holiday.  Ummm, sorry about that…  
I couldn’t quit before I added some additional fun stuff.  I’ve got a correction for historians, tourist recommendations and another literary work to mention.  
If you visit Salem, you’ll note that Bridget is used as a ‘tourist attraction’ as the ‘ultimate scarlet woman’ in the taverns, wax museum and several ghost tours.  There are extremely incorrect portrayals of Bridget.  She is confused with another ‘Goody’ Bishop who owned a tavern and played illegal games late at night at that tavern.  That tavern is still standing and they claim that Bridget haunts it.  That just goes to show you that historians sometimes get things wrong.  
Careful research revealed this error showing that the two were confused, even during the witch trials.  In fact, the ones who did own it (Edward and Sarah Bishop) were arrested and jailed for witchcraft too.  Both 'Goody' Bishops were married to Edward Bishops, and knowing Bridget wore pretentious clothing, some must have made the connection that she would be the one to own the tavern.  
So if you go to Salem and want to look her up, don’t bother with the Bishop Tavern.  If you go to the wax museum, she’s shown as a provocatively dressed woman of ill repute.  Ignore that, as it’s the other Bishop woman again.
What you might want to see is an interactive play performed by the Gordon College drama department called, “Cry Innocent.”  They reenact Bridget’s trial with more accuracy of her character.  The audience gets to participate in it… that’s so cool!  And you can go to her grave, where her now famous denial is inscribed on the top.  
This error crept into even a famous play written in the 1800’s.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote about her in his play ‘Giles Corey of the Salem Farm’ of 1868.  Note the reference to the tavern and the illegal game of ‘shovel board.’  Character Giles Corey comments on Bridget’s accusation of witchcraft early in the play: 
Poor soul!  I've known her forty year or more.
She was the widow Wasselby, and then
She married Oliver, and Bishop next.
She's had three husbands… I remember well
My games of shovel-board at Bishop's tavern
In the old merry days and she so gay
With her red paragon bodice and her ribbons!
Ah, Bridget Bishop always was a witch!
Then later, Giles comments on her sentence to death: 
A melancholy end!  Who would have thought
That Bridget Bishop e'er would come to this?
Accused, convicted, and condemned to death
For Witchcraft!  And so good a woman too!
You’ll note this error in almost all of the things written about her.  Even school textbooks may have this wrong.  As her descendant, somehow it matters to me.  So I had to write this additional stuff down for clarity.  And in case you ever make it to Salem…
Barbara Morrell adds, "The real Bridget Bishop was a colorful and controversial enough character without the illegal tavern and shuffleboard.  She apparently drew attention for her trademark red paragon bodice and for being married three times.  She had been punished by the strict Puritan courts for public fights . . . She was arrested. . . for witchcraft 12 years before the witch hysteria.  But that doesn't tell the whole story of Bridget.  She was also a mother and grandmother.  She had property and financial means at a time most women had no independence.  Both Thomas and her third husband Edward were men of status in Salem. . . She stands shoulder to shoulder with the more reputable victims of the witch trials. . . Despite immense and ongoing pressure to confess, [she] proclaimed [her] innocence to the end. . . Bridget stands with those who died for the truth."
Morrell, Barbara.  The True History of Bridget Bishop.  14 pages.  This is an excellent, well-researched paper.  Found at http://www.josephtoronto.org/?page_id=411
Sutcliffe, Katherine.  Salem Trials Homepage: Biography of Bridget Bishop.  Found at http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_BBIS.HTM
Photo courtesy of  Wikipedia Commons.  The copyright has expired.

October 17, 2012

Rose Kingsley Tries to Save Her Family

For several years I have been digging into my genealogy and found some really interesting stories, some inspiring ones and some really sad stories.  With the sad, I always look for the heroes who tried to make things better.  Today I’m going to tell you about a young girl who tried to save her family.

Remember that I don’t have any written history of this person; this is all put together from connecting dots of dates and facts.  I wish I had a good history on her; it would probably be even better than what I see in the dots.

Rose Adell Kingsley was the first girl born to Elihu and Mary Kingsley and the second child overall.  Rose’s mom Mary was only 15 when she married and only 17 when Rose was born in 1852.  I know that kind of thing happened back in the middle 1800s but it still seems strange.  Mary delivered 9 children by the time she turned 29 in 1866.  Rose would have been a big help to her mother as they took care of all of these children.

They lived in a rough wilderness area in Sheffield, Pennsylvania.  Dirt roads, log cabins, woods for hunting and rivers for logging were their surroundings.  It would have been hard work to keep all those kids clean and their clothes washed and their tummies fed.  Plus there would be the cabin with dirt tracked in all day.  Without our modern medicines, homes needed to be scrubbed clean or one disease could wipe out a whole family.

In 1864, Elihu sold the family land to some oil prospectors.  They were drilling wells in the area since the logging industry had moved on westward.  Flush with cash, the family must have celebrated for a while.  One doesn’t know how this fits with our story, but it must have had some bearing to the events that would follow.

When the youngest child Archie was about 2, Mary took him and went to Michigan.  Rose would have been about 16, so she would have taken over and managed all of the work to keep the kids clean and fed, and the house tidy while her mom was away.  

The sad part of the story is that Mary never came home.  She went to Michigan and married another man, as if she had never had a family in Pennsylvania.  Rose, her siblings and her father in Pennsylvania may have watched out the window for a carriage bringing Mary home.  But it never came.  

As time dragged on, it became clear that Mary wasn’t coming home.  The family may have searched for her in Michigan, but didn’t find her.  The stress on Rose and her family must have been considerable, trying to live so long without their mother.  They must have worried about them and wondered if they had died.  

Rose’s older brother married at age 17 in 1866.  Rose’s little 6 year old sister Emma died in 1871.  Perhaps that was when Elihu gave Rose’s other little sister Katheryn Emily to the Barnes family to be raised.  Rose also married a nice young man named Richard Bloss and started her own family in 1871 as well.  That left Rose’s three brothers Fremont 15, George 12 and Charles age 10 with their father.  Surely she looked in on them and helped them take care of the farm.  Even better, perhaps Rose and Richard made their home with her family to help care for the children and the farm until the kids got a little older.

Rose and Richard began having their own children soon after their marriage.  They named them typical names from that era.  But in 1886, Rose named her 8th child ‘Archie.’  It was about this time that her brother Archie started using his actual last name, not the last names of his Mother Mary’s husbands.  (She had married another time after her second husband died.)  One might conclude that this is when Mary reconnected with the family she left behind.  And it is a nice thought that Rose would honor her newly rediscovered brother Archie in this way.

One can imagine the intense emotions felt on the day they reconnected.  Rose’s dad thought that Mary was dead.  Perhaps they all thought that, as it had been almost 20 years since Mary and Archie had left.  One can understand that the children would feel anger at being abandoned, joy at learning they were still alive, and sadness at the years lost and the pain endured over those years.  

Mary would have been sad to hear that Emma had died, but happy to learn of her children who had married and begun families of their own.  One wonders how Mary would have reacted when she learned that her daughter Katheryn had been given away.  And how would she feel when she learned that George wasn’t mentally well?  Leaving her family without a mother to love and nurture her children proved to be devastating to them.  

No record describes how this reunion went or if the family ever stayed connected afterward.  But one thing is clear:  Rose forgave her mother.  When Mary’s third husband died, Rose brought her aged mother into her own home and cared for her until she died about a year later.  

Of all the children, Rose had every reason to be especially angry with her mother.  She saw daily the tears and anguish her younger siblings experienced over the many years Mary was gone.  Rose kissed their booboos and wiped their faces; Rose cleaned the cabin and washed their clothes.  Rose may have even had to drop out of school to tend to these duties.  She had every right to turn her back on her mother forever.  Instead, Rose nurtured her mother in her last years, a sign of true forgiveness.  

One more note—the only oral history passed down on this family is missing this abandonment completely.  Where Katheryn Emily is given away, it is explained that the Barnes family wanted a girl and Elihu had more than one, so he let them take her and raise her.  Rose gathered and kept the family bible and records and passed them on to Katheryn’s daughter.  While maintaining these records, Rose could have easily told this awful tale in glorious detail for posterity.  

Rose did the best a teenage girl could do to save her family in her mother’s absence.  And she loved and forgave her mother, as seen in her ignoring this abandonment in her history and caring for her aged mother.  Rose made a huge difference in her family!

We can all do the hard things that will make a big difference in our families' lives.  

The Kingsley's Fed Imprisoned Joseph Smith in Epic Poetry

I found a delicious story!  It shows us that good little things can make hard things easier.  

From LDS (Mormon) Church History, we know that Joseph Smith was persecuted pretty severely in the years following the First Vision.  Often he was jailed unfairly, and subjected to abuses there.  For one thing, the food was terrible, and there were fears that it was poisoned.  While many of the saints were at a loss as to how to help Joseph, one family had an answer—they would sneak him food.  When Joseph Smith was suffering in the Liberty Jail in December 1838, the Kingsley’s helped him.  

“Just across the street, directly opposite the jail lived a family of Latter-day Saints, who were full of sympathy for their imprisoned brethren. This family befriended them in the only way within their power. Having heard it whispered that their food was not, at all times, of a very good quality, they, as often as convenient, and when safe to do so, found means to pass to them through the prison grates, (which could be reached by a person standing upon the ground from the outside) various articles of food, such as cakes, pies, etc., which they themselves prepared. This had to be done very cautiously, under the cover of night. The names of those who performed these good Samaritan-like deeds, were Samuel Kingsley and his wife Olive Martha, also his sisters Rachel, Eleanor and Flora. The doubtful character of the food sometimes placed before the prisoners, by those to whom that duty had been assigned (it is said that human flesh had actually been given them to eat) doubtless caused them to duly appreciate and relish these wholesome repasts, knowing, as they did, that they had been carefully prepared by the hands of sympathizing friends.”  Lyman Omer Littlefield Autobiography 1888

Making and delivering food is a really small thing.  Samuel, Olive, Rachel, Eleanor and Flora Kingsley didn’t have the ability to free Joseph Smith and his friends, or prevent the jailers and mobbers from abusng them.  But they could make them foodstuff and sneak it to them.  

What makes this account even more delicious is the fun epic poem made of the event.  Lee Allred, a Mormon author, wrote this poem about the incident, using the name of ‘Eliza’ to represent one of the women sneaking food into the jail.  

“Sexton,” Eliza’s white lips whispered, pointing to the prison grate,
With its crossed bars iron rusted, bars crossed tight like darkened fate,
“I’ve a prophet in the prison, doomed to eat most dreadful chow
At the ringing of the chow bell, so I ask you break your vow.
Old Guv Boggs comes not til sunset,” and she held preserve jar tight
As she spoke in husky whispers, “Chow bell must not right tonight!”
“‘Liza,” calmly spoke the Sexton (every word like succotash
Fed to her with small anchovies, smelling like five day old trash).
“Long, long years I’ve rung the chow bell in that dank and dreary jail
Every breakfast, every lunchtime, served them slops from my pig pail.
I have done my duty ever, tried to do it just and right:
Now I’must, I must not miss it. Chow Bell must be rung tonight!”
Wild her eyes and pale her features, Liz must win him. How, oh how?
Change his mind and stop that chow bell, make him break his solemn vow.
Then remembeed with advantage what old Ma Mack Smith once said.
Quickest way to menfolk’s heartstrings, tempt their tummies not their head.
So she opened wicker basket, plums preserves and cold ham bright;
Sexton speaking through a mouthful: “Chow bell mufth nnnnth ring tonightfh!”
Then with quick step ‘Liz bound forward, sprang against the cold jail wall,
Left the Sexton chowing downing on the string beans canned last fall.
Not one moment paused the maiden, second basket held in tow,
Hefted up the sweet peach cobbler, cold cuts swinging to and fro.
Hefted up the Boston baked beans, Angel Food’s cake moist and light,
Upward held her wicker basket. “Chow bell shall not right tonight!”

The funny part of this story is that Lee used a really sappy epic love poem as his inspiration for this poem.  As a student of English, he must have remembered it for its’ almost ridiculous level of drama.  I attached a copy of that poem.  Note how silly it sounds after reading Lee’s poem above.  (Read them aloud, these are even more delicious that way!)

Sometimes all we can do to help those who need it is something seemingly small and trivial.  But to the one we serve, it might make a big difference.   Camilla Kimball, wife of Prophet Spencer W. Kimball taught that we should never suppress the desire to do something kind for another.  Even if it may seem like such a small thing that it would be trivial or even bothersome.  That’s a good thing to keep in mind.   

 (The original poem)
by Rose Hartwick Thorpe (1850-1939)
Slowly England's sun was setting oe'r the hilltops far away,
Filling all the land with beauty at the close of one sad day;
And its last rays kissed the forehead of a man and maiden fair,--
He with steps so slow and weary; she with sunny, floating hair;
He with bowed head, sad and thoughtful, she, with lips all cold and white,
Struggling to keep back the murmur, "Curfew must not ring to-night!"

"Sexton," Bessie's white lips faltered, pointing to the prison old,
With its walls tall and gloomy, moss-grown walls dark, damp and cold,--
"I've a lover in the prison, doomed this very night to die
At the ringing of the curfew, and no earthly help is nigh.
Cromwell will not come till sunset;" and her lips grew strangely white,
As she spoke in husky whispers, "Curfew must not ring to-night!"

"Bessie," calmly spoke the sexton (every word pierced her young heart
Like a gleaming death-winged arrow, like a deadly poisoned dart),
"Long, long years I've rung the curfew from that gloomy, shadowed tower;
Every evening, just at sunset, it has tolled the twilight hour.
I have done my duty ever, tried to do it just and right:
Now I'm old, I will not miss it. Curfew bell must ring to-night!"

Wild her eyes and pale her features, stern and white her thoughtful brow,
As within her secret bosom, Bessie made a solemn vow.
She had listened while the judges read, without a tear or sigh,
"At the ringing of the curfew, Basil Underwood must "die.
And her breath came fast and faster, and her eyes grew large and bright;
One low murmur, faintly spoken. "Curfew must not ring to-night!"

She with quick step bounded forward, sprang within the old church-door,
Left the old man coming slowly, paths he'd trod so oft before.
Not one moment paused the maiden, But with eye and cheek aglow,
Staggered up the gloomy tower, Where the bell swung to and fro;
As she climbed the slimy ladder, On which fell no ray of light,
Upward still, her pale lips saying, "Curfew shall not ring to-night!"

She has reached the topmost ladder, o'er her hangs the great dark bell;
Awful is the gloom beneath her, like the pathway down to hell.
See! the ponderous tongue is swinging; 'tis the hour of curfew now,
And the sight has chilled her bosom, stopped her breath, and paled her brow.
Shall she let it ring? No, never! Her eyes flash with sudden light,
As she springs, and grasps it firmly: "Curfew shall not ring to-night!"

Out she swung,-- far out. The city Seemed a speck of light below,--
There twixt heaven and earth suspended, As the bell swung to and fro.
And the sexton at the bell-rope, old and deaf, heard not the bell,
Sadly thought that twilight curfew rang young Basil's funeral knell.
"Still the maiden, clinging firmly, quivering lip and fair face white,
Stilled her frightened heart's wild throbbing: "Curfew shall not ring tonight!"

It was o'er, the bell ceased swaying; and the maiden stepped once more
Firmly on the damp old ladder, where, for hundred years before,
Human foot had not been planted. The brave deed that she had done
Should be told long ages after. As the rays of setting sun
Light the sky with golden beauty, aged sires, with heads of white,
Tell the children why the curfew did not ring that one sad night.

O'er the distant hills comes Cromwell. Bessie sees him; and her brow,
Lately white with sickening horror, has no anxious traces now.
At his feet she tells her story, shows her hands, all bruised and torn;
And her sweet young face, still hagggard, with the anguish it had worn,
Touched his heart with sudden pity, lit his eyes with misty light.
"Go! your lover lives," said Cromwell. "Curfew shall not ring to-night!"

Wide they flung the massive portals, led the prisoner forth to die,
All his bright young life before him. Neath the darkening English sky,
Bessie came, with flying footsteps, eyes aglow with lovelight sweet;
Kneeling on the turf beside him, laid his pardon at his feet.
In his brave, strong arms he clasped her, kissed the face upturned and white,
Whispered, "Darling, you have saved me, curfew will not ring to-night."

*From Ringing ballads, including Curfew must not ring tonight, Rose Hartwick Thorpe, 1887