The Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge is, as the name implies, a natural limestone arch within a gorge formed by Cedar Creek, a 12-mile tributary of the James River in Virginia. While it was once owned by Thomas Jefferson, it is now a state park located approximately 140 west of Richmond and about 200 miles southwest of Washington, DC. In this chapter from his book Sparks from the Anvil, the American diplomat, philanthropist, activist, and writer Elihu Burritt tells the story of a risky bridge climbing adventure. (The book’s title refers to one of Mr. Burritt’s occupations: blacksmith.) I transcribed it in Anniversary Gregg for the blog.

Attachment: the-natural-bridge.pdf

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  1. I could hardly put this one down when I’d got into it (though I had to check what I’d printed out and found you had sneaked in the correct page 4). But I need quite a few clarifications.

    p2c1 l22 4th outline “example ? perfectly”
    p2c2 l17 1st outline. (and others) I know what it means from its context but what the word IS I cannot find.
    p2c2 l19 presumably the end of this line is “FOR HIS hands”?
    p3c1 l18,19 “wax ? and ? till”
    p4c1 l12 presumably “just DISTINGUISH the”
    p5c1 l1 “vital ?”
    p5c1 l12 1st outline ” “? ropes”
    p5c2 l2 is the first outline “nerveless”
    p5c2 l9 1st outline “? boy”
    p6c1 l1 is the last outline “darkness”
    p6c2 l1 2nd outline “sturdy ? reaches”
    p6c2 l4 is the second outline “terrified”

    1. I agree, it’s one of the best stories I’ve read. The best thing about it is that you don’t know what’s going to happen until the very end. has the book online that was digitized by Google. As for your questions:

      p2c1 l22 4th outline: “illustrates”
      p2c2 l17 1st outline: “gain”
      p2c2 l19: correct
      p3c1 l18,19: “weaker and weaker”
      p4c1 l12: correct
      p5c1 l1: “heat”
      p5c1 l12 1st outline: “spliced”
      p5c2 l2: correct
      p5c2 l9 1st outline: “devoted”
      p6c1 l1: correct
      p6c2 l1 2nd outline: “Virginian”
      p6c2 l4: “tearful”

      1. Thanks Carlos. To me a peculiar use of some words: “gain” and “heat” particularly. I should have seen “weaker” and “spliced” though.

  2. What a spell binder!   Thankfully I had my Anniversary Gregg Dictionary to assist in transcription, but it was a real cliff hanger!  : )   Thanks a million.   Susan Johnston

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