n. But it was a more solemn note--a despairing wail. For a short time it went on, then died away.
Again the sacred fire blazed up as if caught by a gust of wind, but the glow did not light the Buddha's face now--it was concentrated on a bronze gong which dropped down sheerly on a silken cord at Buddha's right hand. There were six discs, the largest at the top, silhouetted against the darkness of the golden veil beyond. From one of these bells the sound had come, but now they hung mute and motionless. Only the three priests raised reverential eyes to it, and one, the eldest rose.
"O Voice of Buddha!" he apostrophized in a moving, swinging chant--and the face of the graven-god seemed swallowed up in the shadows-- "we, your unworthy disciples, await! Each year at the eleventh festival we supplicate! But thrice only hast thou spoken in the half-century, and thrice within the eleventh day of your speaking our Emperor has passed into the arms of Death and Nirvana. Shall it again be so, Omnipotent One?