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During the puritan OLIVER CROMWELL'S (1599-1658) reign as Lord Protector of England (1653-1658) a young soldier was sentenced to die. The girl to whom he was engaged pleaded with Cromwell to spare the life of her beloved, but to no avail. The young man was to be executed when the curfew bell sounded, but when the sexton repeatedly pulled the rope the bell made no sound. The girl had climbed into the belfry and wrapped herself around the clapper so that it could not strike the bell. Her body was smashed and torn, but she did not let go until the clapper stopped swinging. She managed to climb down, bruised and bleeding, to meet those awaiting the execution. When she exclaimed what she had done, Cromwell commuted the sentence. A poet beautifully recorded the story as follows:

At his feet she told her story,

Showed her hands all bruised and torn,

and her sweet young face still haggard

With the anguish it had ...

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