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The paragraphs are neither too long nor too many. They are also well joined because the writer follows the natural order. There is always a natural order whether you are narrating something, as here, or whether you are describing a tree or house or horse. Don't jump from one point to another. Choose your direction and keep to it. Determine first how you are going to begin and how you are going to end; then pick out the main points and make paragraph topics of them. Now join them as simply, as naturally, as correctly as you can, and you will have a real and readable composition.
FIVE SCHOOL DAYS IN BOMBARDED RHEIMS School opens to-day after being closed on account of infantile paralysis. A number of mothers with children of all ages from School Opens
four to twelve were on hand early in the morning. in the Cellar
Some of the children were dressed up as they used to be on opening day. All were clean and neat. They seemed glad to be at school again after such a long holiday. We went into the cellar, where the sessions are to be held. The children were examined rapidly, and divided into three classes. There were 174 present.
How strange it was that first day in the cellar less than two miles from the battle front! . From time to time shells passed
whistling over our heads, and in the distance always The First Day
the deep, low rumble of the guns. Supplied with copy books of all sorts, and old books with many pages missing, the children set to work. It was a beautiful day. The soft beams of the sun shone through the ventilator at one side of the cellar. Kerosene lamps lighted the dark corners. I thought sadly of our rooms above, so large and pretty and so healthy with floods of light pouring in.
There were more children present to-day. It has been a terrible day. For an hour and a half, at noon, the city was bombarded. A Noonday
It had been very quiet during the morning. SudBombardment denly there came the whining of a shell, followed by a terrific explosion. Shells seemed to fall on every side; one fell in the school garden. We sat huddled together in the center of the cellar. About half-past one everything was quiet again. We went upstairs and learned that about fifty shells had fallen within a very short distance. Some people were hurt, but no one was killed.
This morning, about a quarter to nine, I had nearly reached the school when a shell whistled and fell not far away. The A Morning
children were playing in the garden. I called all Bombardment who were there and we went quickly down into the cellar. The teachers and more children came running in, all out of breath. The shells kept falling in the square near by. However, we had our lessons. I was thankful when the day was over.
The government has sent gas masks for the children. We spent the greater part of the morning in learning how to put them
on quickly and correctly. The children are deGas Masks
lighted. They have seen masks hanging from the soldiers' belts. Surely these cannot be for them!
We had 255 pupils present to-day. School began at half-past eight. This day will remain as one of the most memorable in all Bombardment
the dreadful time through which we are passing. Close By I was having a lesson in oral arithmetic when one of the teachers who had remained upstairs came rushing down the stairway crying, “The bombardment is close by!”
"See that all the children are in the cellar," I replied. I was not greatly excited because we have had so many bombardments which have not reached the school.
But suddenly a terrific noise deafens us: two shells have fallen
in a house near by! The little ones began to tremble and cry.
Then came a tremendous crash right over our heads, The Schoolhouse Bom- and the noise of shattered glass. A shell has fallen barded
on the building! The little children are terrified and begin to shriek, but the bigger ones comfort them, and try to quiet them. We gather close together. By and by when they see that they are safe they become quiet. A few little girls keep on sobbing. “You must not cry any more,” I say; "you are safe now.” But holding me by the hand, one says, “Mamma will be killed; she has no cellar.” And another sobbed, “Papa is working in the square. He will not have time to run." We try to assure them, and gradually the sobbing ceases. The bombardment lasted two hours. It seemed very long to But the children soon lost their fears. So far as they were
concerned the bombardment had come as a surprise; Bombardment it ended by amusing them. They were soon asking to go upstairs to see what had happened. At last about twenty, minutes past two all is quiet; I decide to dismiss the children. They are to start in groups, five minutes apart, and go as quickly as possible through the streets; if they hear the hissing of a shell they are to lie flat on the ground. The children are quite calm, but they realize the seriousness of the situation. At the door we found a number of parents hurrying to get their children. Sending the older children by themselves, I start off with the little ones.
But they have been brave, the children, very French Children Worthy of brave, following the example of their fathers in the Their Fathers
trenches. With such children France cannot perish. — ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE BY N. FORSANT IN The Atlantic Monthly.
Before attempting to answer the questions on page 99 read the selection once more as a whole; then read it with special attention to the paragraph topics.
1. How many paragraphs are there in this selection?
2. Which little paragraph hardly has a topic but was made necessary because one person stopped talking and another began?
3. What sort of teacher do you think this was? Why? 4. How does she begin the selection? How does she close it?
5. What is the best order to follow in a composition? Show that this order is followed here.
II Write a paragraph on “ The Schoolhouse Bombarded.”
PARAGRAPHS AND POETRY
Paragraphs are usually thought to belong only to prose. But since we think in paragraphs and talk in paragraphs and write in paragraphs, there must be something in poetry corresponding to paragraphs. Of course there is no indention in poetry, but there is usually a division into stanzas, and each of these stanzas often has a separate and distinct subject. When this is the case, each stanza is really a paragraph in disguise.
Whenever you have read a poem through, go over it again by stanzas. See if you can find stanza topics corresponding to paragraph topics in prose.
Try these poems:
Over the sea they go with a smile,
Never a thought of fear!
Blessing, and prayer, and tear.
Into the camp they go with a smile
And a friendly helping hand,
To hearten the waiting band.
Into the trench they go with a smile,
Like the warmth of an unseen light,
The weary watch of the night.
Into the fight they go with the smile
Of a courage half divine,
Or ride at the head of the line.
Always smiling, come good or ill!
In the battle's smoke and noise,
MADELINE BRIDGES: The Yankee Smile.
What is the gift we have given thee, Sister?
What is the trust we have laid in thy hand?
Blood of our blood, we have sown in thy land.