By the English campanologist, the playing of tunes is considered to be a childish game, only fit for foreigners; the proper use of bells is to work out mathematical permutations and combinations. When he speaks of the music of his bells, he does not mean musician's music - still less what the ordinary man calls music. To the ordinary man, in fact, the pealing of bells is a monotonous jangle and a nuisance, tolerable only when mitigated by remote distance and sentimental association. The change-ringer does, indeed, distinguish musical differences between one method of producing his permutations and another; he avers, for instance, that where the hinder bells run 7, 5, 6, or 5, 6, 7, or 5, 7, 6, the music is always prettier, and can detect and approve, where they occur, the consecutive fifths of Tittums and the cascading thirds of the Queen's change. But what he really means is, that by the English method of ringing with rope and wheel, each several bell gives forth her fullest and her noblest note. His passion - and it is a passion - finds its satisfaction in mathematical completeness and mechanical perfection, and as his bell weaves her way rhythmically up from lead to hinder place and down again, he is filled with the solemn intoxication that comes of intricate ritual faultlessly performed.
[start of notes]
I have in my possession a paper copy of The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers.
The excerpt above appears on pages 21-22.
Some details from the first few pages:
- New English Library, Hodder and Stoughton
- First published in Great Britain by Victor Gollancz Ltd, in January 1934
- First published as a Four Square edition 1959
- Fourteenth impression 1987
The word "By", in the phrase "By the English campanologist", means "According to".
"several", when used as an adjective, as in the phrase "each several bell", means "separate".
Changes from the original text:
- I have removed word-breaking hyphens.
- I have not preserved the original line breaks. I treat each paragraph as a single line.
- I have not preserved page divisions or page numbers.
- I have substituted a hyphen (-) for the em dash used in the original text.
- I have replaced the original indentation at the start of each paragraph with an empty line after each paragraph.
- I have replaced curled apostrophes with straight single quotation marks.
[end of notes]