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the place of emphasis is made by lines under the words on which a stress is designed to be laid, the number of dashes indicating the writer's notions of the degree of emphasis he would have used had he been speaking. This is one step in advance of the italic of the printers, which admits of no variations, and both fall far short of the infinite flexibility of the voice. But the “dashes of the writer and the italics of the printer remind me of a danger to which all who use emphasis are extremely liable. If you are given to “dashing" your words, doubtless you will have found it to be a growing habit. Having emphasised so many, you are compelled to emphasise so many more to preserve their proportionate importance in relation to the rest, until your letters are ruled over like a music-book, and, trying to be very forcible, you have become very feeble. So it is with authors who indulge in italics ; the appetite grows with gratification, until the number of them destroys their effect. The same fault is not uncommon with readers who emphasise over much. Here, too, the power of the stress is lost if it is overlaid, for much emphasis is even more disagreeable than none. You will be required to keep constant watch and ward over yourself, or ask indulgent friends to notify your fault to you, if you would avoid a habit whose growth is imperceptible, and which, once acquired, is extremely difficult to be thrown aside.

The best practice for the mastery of emphasis is to read a sentence, ponder upon its meaning, see that you understand it, or think you do ; then with a pencil score the words on which the greatest stress should be laid. Read it aloud, emphasising the words 'so marked, and those only. Then score in like manner, but with a shorter“ dash,” such words as require a lesser degree of emphasis. Read again, observing the two degrees of emphasis. Repeat the process a third and even a fourth time, until you have exhausted all the words that appear to you to require any stress to be laid

upon them.

This is the first lesson. After a while you may spare yourself the tediousness of repeated readings of the same sentence, by thus scoring with lines of different lengths the words to be emphasised in whole paragraphs, pages and sections. But score them thus while reading silently, and afterwards read the whole aloud, pencil in hand; the necessity for expression and the judgment of your ear will combine to test to a considerable extent the accuracy of your previous mental exercise; and as you read, you should improve the score by additions and corrections, according to the discoveries you make of errors and omissions, and this do until you are satisfied with the reading, and the whole is marked as you would utter it.

But not for a final closing. As you advance in the study and practice of the art of reading, you should from time to time revert to the pages that preserve your earlier impressions of the emphasis to be bestowed upon them, and read them aloud again, for the purpose of learning, not only what progress you have made, but how your better knowledge has changed your first views. At each of such readings, alter the scoring according to your new conceptions ; you will thus measure your advancement, which mere memory will not enable you to do.

All this will appear very easy, and perhaps of very little interest or utility. In truth, it is by no means an easy

task, and certainly you will find it both interesting and useful. Before you make trial of it, you will think that any schoolboy might mark the words to which emphasis should be given in reading. At the first trial such will probably be your own reflection, and you will use your pencil with a rapidity extremely flattering to your selfcomplacency. But on the second or third repetition you will begin to discover that you had been moving too fast ; you will doubt the correctness of some of your readings ; other meanings will present themselves ; you will be obliged to question closely the author's intent, that you may solve

your doubts ; this more minute inspection will reveal new difficulties, not merely of meaning, but as to the proper manner of expressing the meaning, and you will find yourself engaged, perhaps, in a task of elaborate criticism. Not until you have reached this stage in the study of the art of reading, will you fully comprehend its extent and value. You may have been accustomed to look upon

it as merely a graceful mechanical accomplishment; you will now discover that it is a high mental attainment, demanding the cultivation and exercise of the loftiest intellectual powers.

96

LETTER XVI.

PAUSE-PUNCTUATION-MANAGEMENT OF THE

BREATH_INFLECTION.

THOROUGH understanding of what you read is essential to the right use of emphasis in reading. You must know perfectly what you are going to express, or it will be impossible to give to it the true expression. But not only is it necessary for you to understand—you must seize the meaning with such rapidity that the conception of the author must be apprehended in the momentary interval between the entrance of the words at the eye and their exit through the lips. Remember that this is all the time allowed to

you
when you

read aloud something you had not previously studied. Yet, immeasurably brief as is this interval, it suffices for ordinary purposes, and for compositions not pregnant with thought. But, to accomplish it, you must learn to keep your eye always in advance of your lips ; you must actually read one line while uttering another. If you did not so, how possibly could you give the right expression to the beginning of the sentence, knowing not the purport of the entirety of it? In practice, the art is

not so difficult as it appears in description. The worst readers exercise it to some extent, and experienced readers do it so unconsciously, that they are probably not aware what a wonderful process it is. I can suggest to you no rules for its study or acquisition. I can recommend only persevering practice. At first you will doubtless find yourself grievously in fault in your reading. You will commence sentences, especially if long, with expression utterly unsuited to the meaning as developed at their close. When you find this, try back and read the same sentence rightly, with the aid of your better knowledge of its purport. By degrees you will discover that eye and mind will learn to travel onward in advance of the lips so far and fast that, when one sentence is concluded, the next will be given to your tongue fully prepared for utterance.

It will not do to pause while your eye thus travels onward, unless the matter you read admits of it. A long pause is extremely unpleasing to hearers, for it conveys an impression of incapacity to pronounce a word, or indicates a suppressed stammer. But, with cautious exercise of judgment, you might avail yourself of the proper pauses to lengthen the period allowed for the forecasting of the eye, where a sentence is before you of unusual length or complication. The judicious use of this contrivance I must leave to your own good taste and correct ear; there is no fixed measure of it-nothing that can be reduced to rule.

I come now to those pauses, or rests in the flow of speech, which in printing and writing are clumsily represented by stops. The signs are eight, viz. the comma, the semicolon, the colon, the full stop, the note of interrogation, the note of admiration, the hyphen, and

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