Page images

Every student should make a list of his own mispronounced words, putting down such, from time to time, as he finds that (through ignorance or habit) he mispronounces or fails to articulate with sufficient distinctness. The teacher, too, should note such words as the pupil may fail to give correctly in his readings and recitations, not only criticising the pupil at the time, but giving him a list of the words, with the vowels and accentuations carefully marked.

The student should practice his list of words daily, giving each word aloud three times with great distinctness, and increasing the rapidity at each pronunciation. A thorough analysis of the hardest words, according to the directions already given, would be an excellent and a profitable practice.

That no student may lay claim to infallibility, and that all may fully appreciate the difficulties in pronunciation, and the necessity of frequent appeals to the dictionary, the following literary curiosity is inserted for study and practice :


One enervating morning, just after the rise of the sun, a youth, bearing the cognomen of Galileo, glided in his gondola over the legendary waters of the lethean Thames. He was accompanied by his allies and coadjutors, the dolorous Pepys and the erudite Cholmondeley, the most combative aristocrat extant, and an epicurean who, for learned vagaries and revolting discrepancies of character, would take precedence of the most erudite of Areopagiæ literati.

These sacrilegious dramatis persone were discussing

in detail a suggestive address, delivered from the proscenium box of the Calisthenic Lyceum by a notable financier, on obligatory hydropathy as accessory to the irrevocable and irreparable doctrine of evolution, which has been vehemently panegyrized by a splenetic professor of acoustics, and simultaneously denounced by a complaisant opponent as an undemonstrated romance of the last decade, amenable to no reasoning, however allopathic, outside of its own lamentable environs.

These peremptory tripartite brethren arrived at Greenwich, to aggrandize themselves by indulging in exemplary relaxation, indicatory of implacable detestation of integral tergiversation and exoteric intrigue. They fraternized with a phrenological harlequin who was a connoisseur in mezzotint and falconry. This piquant person was heaping contumely and scathing raillery on an amateur in jugular recitative, who held that the Pharaohs of Asia were conversant with his theory that morphine and quinine were exorcists of bronchitis.


Meanwhile, the leisurely Augustine of Cockburn drank from a tortoise shell wassail cup to the health of an apotheosized recusant, who was his supererogatory patron, and an assistant recognizance in the immobile nomenclature of interstitial molecular phonics. contents of the vase proving soporific, a stolid plebeian took from its cerements an heraldic violoncello, and assisted by a plethoric diocesan from Pall Mall, who performed on a sonorous piano-forte, proceeded to wake the clangorous echoes of the Empyrean. They bade the prolix Caucasian gentleman not to misconstrue their inexorable demands, whilst they dined on

acclimated anchovies and apricot truffles, and had for desert a wiseacre's pharmacopoeia.

Thus the truculent Pythagoreans had a novel repast fit for the gods. On the subsidence of the feast they alternated between soft languor and isolated scenes of squalor, which followed a mechanic's reconnoissance of the imagery of Uranus, the legend of whose incognito related to a poniard wound in the abdomen, received while cutting a swath in the interests of telegraphy and posthumous photography. Meantime, an unctuous orthoepist applied an homeopathic restorative to the retina of an objurgatory spaniel (named Daniel), and tried to perfect the construction of a behemoth, which had got mired in a pygmean slough while listening to the elegiac soughing of the prehistoric wind.



'Tis not enough the voice be sound and clear--
'Tis MODULATION that must charm the ear.


Give me, of every language, first my vigorous English,
Stored with imported wealth, rich in its natural mines.

[blocks in formation]

Grandly the thought rides the words, as a good horseman his steed. -W. W. Story.

THE principal elements of Modulation are pitch, force, and stress; while Expression is an inclusive term, comprehending all physical and vocal means for the communication of thought and feeling.

Pitch has already been defined as the elevation and depression of the voice on the musical scale.

Force relates to the loudness of sound, or more properly to the degree of energy; and Stress to the different ways in which the energy is applied.

It is a common fault to confound Pitch with Force. High and low imply change of key, having no reference to degree of force. Loud and soft refer to the latter, and denote different degrees of energy, volume, or power of voice on the same key, and correspond to forte and piano in music. The actor may give his "asides" in low pitch and in aspirated quality to indicate secrecy, yet the words are given with sufficient loudness to be heard by all. The roar of heavy artillery is very low pitch, and the sound of the Æolian harp very high; but the former, though low, is loud, and the latter, though high, is soft. Yet, as a general rule, an elevation in pitch calls for a corresponding increase in force.

In the preceding pages, the "mechanics" of Elocution have been given special prominence. The development and culture of Action, Voice, and Articulation have been made the chief work of the student.

In the following pages, this elementary or foundation work should not be neglected, but should be carried into practical and, as soon as possible, unconscious application.

In this higher department, to which the attention of the pupil is now called, the intellectual and emotional natures should be more particularly enlisted. Each example should be rendered with the required expression—which must be determined largely by the student himself.

The authority references, in connection with the illustrative paragraphs in Modulation and Expression, will enable the student to study the "context," which is generally necessary in order to understand the thought and feeling which the words of the passage are intended to convey.

In addition to the examples given in the text-book, the teacher should require advanced pupils to make selections of their own under each rule.

« PreviousContinue »