The opinions of Charles Dickens on church bells, quoted in the Cyclopaedia under the head of Sunday from "Little Dorrit," may be aptly recalled to the minds of the worthy folks who have been going into ecstasies over "Great Paul" just as, some months ago, they went into ecstasies over Jumbo. Here is the "Bells" passage:—
It was Sunday evening in London, gloomy, close, and stale. Maddening church bells of all degrees of dissonance, sharp and flat, cracked and clear, fast and slow, made the brick and mortar echoes hideous. In every thoroughfare, up almost every alley, and down almost every turning, some doleful bell was throbbing, jerking, rolling, as if the Plague were in the city and the dead-carts, were going round.
There is another fierce denunciation of church bells in the "Uncommercial Traveller," and yet another in "Hard Times"; but in the earlier writings of Charles Dickens, notably in "The Chimes," there are some very beautiful passages on bells.
Touching indices, the "Cyclopaedia of the Best Thoughts of Charles Dickens," of which I lately spoke in this column, which is published by Messrs. Hale, of New York, and seems to have found considerable acceptance in the States, since the copy before me bears the impress of a seventh edition, processes an Index, which is a mine of information—and the merriest entertainment. Under the letter A, the Dickensian utterances relative to America are gravely and impartially tabulated, not omitting the "Salivatory phenomena" (sic).
Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2254—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 15, 1882, p.55