The Robe of Peace (Henry)

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The Robe of Peace
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two friends discovered their missing friend in a monastery, where he had found happiness and contentment in a simple robe that never wrinkled or bagged at the knees.

Johnny Bellchambers, a well-known and wealthy man, suddenly disappeared without a trace. His friends were unable to find any motive or reason for his disappearance, and all efforts to locate him were unsuccessful. Nearly a year later, two of Johnny's old friends, Tom Eyres and Lancelot Gilliam, went on a trip to Europe.

Johnny Bellchambers (Brother Ambrose) — former fashionable man; well-groomed; found happiness in a monastery wearing a simple robe.
Tom Eyres — one of Johnny's old friends; concerned about Johnny's new life.
Lancelot Gilliam — another of Johnny's old friends; also concerned about Johnny's new life.

While exploring Italy and Switzerland, they heard of a monastery in the Swiss Alps that was said to be home to a divine cordial, a huge brass bell, and no Englishman had ever set foot within its walls.

Curious, Tom and Lancelot decided to visit the monastery of St. Gondrau. They were hospitably received by the monks and enjoyed the cordial and the sound of the great bell. While watching the monks march past, Tom suddenly recognized Johnny among them. Shocked, the two friends asked for permission to speak with him.

It’s Bell, without a doubt,” said Eyres, firmly, “or I’m pretty badly in need of an oculist.

When Johnny, now known as Brother Ambrose, entered the room, his friends were astonished by the change in his appearance. He wore a simple brown robe and had an expression of complete happiness and contentment on his face. Despite their pleas for him to return to his old life, Johnny explained that he had found true happiness in the monastery.

You fellows don’t understand,” he said, soothingly. “It’s nice of you to want me to go back, but the old life will never know me again.

The simple robe he wore would not bag at the knees, which had been his greatest ambition in life. As the great brass bell rang, Johnny left his friends without another word, and they departed the monastery without seeing him again.