The Bell

In his book Journey into America, the renowned American botanist, naturalist, and author Donald Culross Peattie exposes his interpretation of the United States of America. The book is written under the device of being an introduction of Mr. Peattie’s country to a German friend named Baldor. At the same time, he attempts to express his own ideas about the country, and in doing so, he writes about some of the most famous American shrines and symbols, as well as telling some of our heroic tales. In this chapter from the book, transcribed by me in Anniversary Gregg, he tells the story of the Liberty Bell.

You can also read his description of the Washington Monument here.

Attachment: the-bell.pdf


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  1. Well that was an ordeal to get through.  And now completely read it is not completely understood.  There are many words I could not get — too many to mention.  I think it was the author's rather long sentences, and passing phrases, which made even what he writes difficult to understand.  Also that it took a long time to get to the subject of the bell.  It got easier about two thirds through when the bell was being rung, moved, muffled etc.  I tried to find an online version of the article but could not — I wonder if it is contained in his "A Book of Hours"?

    I'll mention one point though. The first form on page 4 column 1 line 21 (and on page 4 column 2 line 5) I first read as "indeed" but then thought it must be "instead".  Is this so?  And if it is, is it accepted to write "instead" like that?

    The subject was enlightening, for I had it in mind that the bell cracked on first being struck and that was that. And for a British person to hear how we were the enemy was interesting.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I have no idea why I wrote "indeed" in the first place, but it's corrected now.

      This is a challenging selection to transcribe, mostly because of the author's style. That's why I wrote in the introduction a little bit of the background of the book so that one can understand its premise. The subject of the bell comes in the middle; then, the writing is less difficult to follow.

      The selection is from Journey into America. The whole book is available in the Internet Archive.

      1. Thanks Carlos.  I should have read your introduction but I just noted the last line with "anniversary" in it and plunged in.  I've ordered a copy of the book.

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