LITERARY AND CELESTIAL EVENTS
IN 1932 I saw for the first time a total eclipse of the sun. On 3 August I took a night train from Michigan to Montreal; it was ninety-four in the shade, and the weather predictions for the next day were cloudy. Early the next morning, eating breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal on the terrace underneath a gun-metal sky, I pondered whether I should go to Magog, eighty-seven miles away, or to Sorel, about sixty. Both towns were in the centre of the line of totality, and in both the sun was to be eclipsed for the longest period on this occasion, one hundred seconds. I had made up my mind to go to Magog, because the Canadian astronomers had gone thither, accompanied by astronomers from Great Britain and South Africa; whereas apparently no scientific gentry had considered Sorel.
After breakfast I telephoned Mr. J.G. McConnell, an undergraduate of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, whom I had met on the voyage of the Hellenic Society in the spring; as he and I had both seen Troy together, why not the eclipse? His father is the owner of The Montreal Star, and lives on a magnificent estate ten miles out of the city. Young Mr. McConnell came immediately to the hotel and we planned an expedition to the eclipse. As he was not able to leave Montreal until one o'clock, and as the totality began at the mystic moment of 3.22, we reluctantly abandoned the attack on Magog, and decided to advance on Sorel. On the way out, the sky, which had been cloudy all the morning, became even more so; no sign of shine, no
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography, with Letters. Contributors: William Lyon Phelps - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 903.
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