LESSON 72 THE CHURCH SCENE FROM EVANGELINE
So passed the morning away. And lo! with a summons sonorous, sounded the bell from its tower, and over the meadows a drumbeat.
Thronged erelong was the church with men.
Without, in the churchyard, awaited the women.
They stood by the graves, and hung on the headstones, garlands of autumn leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest.
Then came the guard from the ships, and marching proudly among them entered the sacred portal.
With loud and dissonant clangor echoed the sound of their brazen drums from ceiling and casement,
echoed a moment only, and slowly the ponderous portal closed, and in silence the crowd awaited the will of the soldiers.
Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar, holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission.
"You have convened this day," he said, "by his Majesty's orders,
clement and kind has he been; but how you have answered his kindness, let your own hearts reply!