Finding the Lost Symbol: By and until
By the time you've finished The Lost Symbol, you'll know Washington, DC, inside out. Dan Brown's latest thriller plays in my hometown; I can actually see the Capitol from the roof of my house. That's where the action starts, when Brown's hero, Professor Langdon, finds the bloody hand of his mentor beneath the Capitol Rotunda and goes off on an all-night mission to find him, following signs and symbols pointing to a secret Masonic conspiracy.
Why did Brown choose Washington and the Capitol for his thriller? It all goes back to George Washington, the first president of the United States. He was a prominent Mason. Masons had first appeared in Britain in the early 1400s as members of craft guilds. Their "secrets" included how to square a corner and build a cathedral. By the 1600s, non-stoneworking gentlemen had begun joining, and Masonry became fashionable. The Masons encouraged free thought and religious tolerance. George Washington, Ben Franklin, nine signers of the Declaration of Independence and 13 signers of the Constitution were Masons. So in September 1793, Washington put on a Masonic apron and helped lay the cornerstone of the Capitol, both as the president of the country, and as a Mason.
This week let's practise organizing a day of sightseeing in Washington, DC, in the footsteps of Professor Langdon. Take a virtual tour first, if you like. And then make arrangements using those very helpful, yet often confused, prepositions of time, by and until. Next page, please.
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