Two Sticks and Apple,
Ring y Bells at Whitechapple,
Old Father Bald Pate,
Ring y Bells Aldgate,
Maids in White Aprons,
Ring y Bells a St. Catherines,
Oranges and Lemmons,
Ring y bells at St. Clemens,
When will you pay me,
Ring y Bells at ye Old Bailey,
When I am Rich,
Ring y Bells at Fleetditch,
When will that be,
Ring y Bells at Stepney,
When I am Old,
Ring y Bells at Pauls.
Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Written for the Hogwarts Online Forum.
The Bells of St. Clemons
Neville sat sideways in the back of the taxi with his forehead and hands pressed against the side window. London always fascinated him with its smells and noises so foreign to what he knew the rest of the week. He especially liked Sunday mornings when the bells would start, first one, then the second answering the first, then a third…pausing just before St. Clemons chimed in.
He liked St. Clemons the best. The round tones, in what Gran said was the note of D. Strong, full throated and brave is how it sounded to him, not the weak nasal tone of Whitechapel, nor the low reverberation that was St. Stephen. Oranges and lemons, he thought that fitting to the way the bells started sweet, whole and full, fading away to blend with Old Bailey's sharp note in E, turning sour until they chimed again. Gran said it got the oranges and lemons from the nearby docks, but he knew it was the sweet- turn -sour peel and the blending of notes.
He closed his eyes and still heard her bells over the colophony that was London on a Sunday morning. He wondered if his parents could hear the tones, and if they could, did his mother's fingers dance in memory, the way Gran said they once did on the white and black keys of the old piano that still sat in the corner.
"Sit back, you look like an urchin." Augusta chided.
"Which one was for the urchins?"
"Whitechapel, the further up the better the class."
"What class was Dad in?"
Augusta grinned at him and pulled him back against the seat. "That was a long time ago. We have the bells to remind us is all."
"Did he get outstandings?" He asked innocently.
"Not that kind of…" Augusta stopped, not ready to explain the kind of prejudices she knew he would learn soon enough. "Of course he did. He and your mum always got outstandings."
"Why don't we ever go to church? My teacher said …"
"We don't have time," she said crisply, wiping a smudge of dirt from his chin with the pad of her thumb. "It is the only day I can take off work long enough to make the trip down here. Look, we are almost to Westminster."
"We don't come this way." Neville looked over his shoulder at her anxiously.
"Road work," she muttered.
"Why isn't it in the song?" Neville returned to the window, peeking up to the round stained glass windows and frowned. "It isn't so special."
"The song is older, at least the way you sing it now," Augusta sighed, pushing up her sleeve and scowling to see her watch had stopped. "Your dad is going to think to something happened. You know how he worries if we are late."
Neville nodded, not turning around, feeling the cool glass against his forehead. "Will he worry when I don't come?"
"Of course not, I explained that your letter will come any day now. He and your mum are excited that you are going."
He stared out the window and saw Parliament, wondering if it looked like the Ministry of Magic on the inside. His dad had worked there once, a long time ago, before IT happened. Before IT happened, a lot of things had been different. Gran told him that someday it would be the way it was; someday they would come home again.
"I could stay home."
"No, you have to go to school, to make them proud of you."
"What if they get better while I am gone?" Neville turned back to see Gran's look of sadness before she put on her smile that he knew she hid behind.
"Harry will be there," she said softly. "You remember what I told you about him?"
"That I still have my parents but his were taken." Neville sighed and flopped back against the seat of the taxi.
"And not to bother him."
"Gran," he whined. "What if we are put in the same house?"
"What? Do you want to join your parents? Do you want to pull us into this again?"
"No," he pouted. "But you said it was over."
"Then what did I say? That if it could happen once it could happen again. Finish, what did I tell you?"
"Not to go sticking my nose in things that are none of my business."
"Good," she said and patted him on the knee.
He turned back to the window as the last toll of St. Pauls filled the air, echoed in the key of D, and wondered if his parents heard and if they did, if they cared.