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pression that will be produced on others by certain words and tones; but to his own satisfaction, at least, he can give his words the expression he intends, and he cannot fail to know what he means to convey by them. In reading, how the case is very different. The reader has first to take in the words before his eyes, and then to consider what meaning they are intended by the author to have, in order, that he may give the proper tone and expression to his utterance of them. A good reader, then, is one who keeps his mind continually engaged in discovering the sense of the words on the page, and so making them his own as to give them the expression which he attaches to them. It is of course bad reading, in the judgment of the hearers, when the reader gives to the words an expression which they think unsuitable ; but the reader himself is striving to perform his task properly, and deserves some credit for the attempt, however unsuccessful. Really bad reading is when the reader's mind is almost passive, employing only energy enough to decipher the printed letters and instruct the voice how to make corresponding sounds. Good reading is, in truth, no slight mental exertionbad reading is as nearly mechanical as any process can be to which the mind must bring a certain amount of knowledge. The latter, some may think, must be far less trouble, and the former not worth the pains that must be bestowed. But it fortunately happens, to counterbalance this, that bad reading, if easier to the mind, is far more tiring to the body, because it does not exercise equally what, for want of a more appropriate word, we must call the muscles of the voice. Some are used too much, some not at all, and the result is speedy fatigue. The voice of a good reader, on the contrary, is worked in obedience to an intelligent and ever-active will, and therefore in the manner calculated to produce and preserve the greatest efficiency. Practical proof of the advantage of good reading may be seen by any one who has a clerical acquaintance. Cæteris paribus, a bad reader will always be more fatigued by a Sunday morning service than a good
I reserve the other for my next letter ; this one having already exceeded the permitted space.
I CLOSED my last letter with an extract from the Saturday Review. I commence the present letter with the promised extract from the Times, both being cited because they teach, in better language and with more powerful argument than I can command, some of the lessons I have endeavoured to convey to you. They would have appeared more appropriately in an earlier portion of these letters ; but, inasmuch as those journals did not treat of the subject until long after attention had been directed to it here, I am obliged to cite them out of place, if I cite them at all. Thus, then, the Times treats of Reading, as a necessary part of education for the Church. It is not less necessary to training for the Law, and every word here applied to the Clergy is equally applicable to the Lawyers.
This strange discrepancy between the means and the end, between the labours of our Bishops and the ridiculus mus we too often hear in our churches, is all the stranger, inasmuch as a measure of success is actually attained when the matter happens to be in voluntary hands. When a congregation has the appointment of its own minister, it generally takes care to choose a man
with a good voice, manner and utterance. Indeed, the congregations that happen to possess this power are invariably the objects of much clerical satire for their bad taste in preferring a man whom they can hear and understand. Again, when a body of trustees have an interest in filling a pulpit well, or when it is a great object to the incumbent himself that the sittings should be taken, the nominee, whether incumbent or curate, is generally found to be a man with power of eloquence or grace of elocution. The incumbent of a good London church or a fashionable chapel is generally beset with stout healthy gentlemen from the country, whose life-ambition it has been to astonish a well-bred audience with the majesty or the sweetness of their tones. His practised ear detects the vulgar or the ridiculous in the provincial Boanerges, and the result is that if the delivery in our West-end churches is often feeble or monotonous, it seldom shocks by the extravagance of its errors. So elocution is made an object here, and downright vulgarity, at least, is excluded. On all occasions, indeed, where there is a power of choice, the voice and tone are among the first things considered. An ordinary congregation will tolerate almost anything in the clergyman; the one thing they cannot bear is a dull droning, stupid, heartless style, indicating that the reader does not himself feel what he reads, or heartily believe what he teaches. A clergyman may have been a toper, a gourmand, a flirt, a liar, a sportsman, a dancer of the most forbidden dances, or intemperate in his language-almost anything that society and public opinion reprobate ; but if he has a good voice and graceful elocution, he will be elected over an utterly respectable grinder of prayers and sermons, and he will fill the church which the other would empty. The rural clergy console themselves for the empty pews by telling terrible stories of their Dissenting rivals, and terrible stories they can tell. We could fill a volume with schismatical biographies of a peculiar character. Certainly it is not pleasant for a learned Oxford divine, a first-class man, an essayist, perhaps a tutor and a professor, to be beaten out of the field by a drunkard, a rogue, a polygamist, or a downright impostor. But, granting the truth of all these scandals on the side of Dissent, they have a fearful recoil on the Establishment. How is it that good Mr. Mumble, the scrupulous Dr. Drone, and even the sanctimonious and
exemplary Mr. Snarl, are vanquished in their own legal domains by such ignominious opponents ? The answer is simple enough. The drunkard, the rogue, the polygamist, and the impostor talk as if, for the time at least, they felt what they said, and talk so well that the hearers forget all they know about them. They rise above themselves when they preach and pray. The rector sinks as much below himself.
Alas for the congregations! Who is there to look after them ? Did the Bishops but know with what anxiety they flock to church to hear for the first time the College Fellow, or the purchaser of the reversion, or my Lord's nephew, under whom they are to sit, perhaps for a generation ! Smile as we will, it really is no joke to poor Hodge, the ploughman, or Giles, his master, to be tied to one reader and preacher every Sunday of his mortal career, when that reader and preacher reads and preaches very ill. It really is a great tyranny. If we read in the life of Nero that he bound his Senate, under pain of death, to assemble in his palace once a month to sit out two hours of execrable fiddling, we should set it down as the last proof of patrician degradation and extinct tyranny. But all England is told that, as they value their immortal souls, they must sit out two hours, if not three, every Sunday of the regulation reading and preaching, be it the worst possible. It is true that bold spirits resent the bondage, and go after strange preachers, but they are laid under the ban for it, and excommunicated. They become Dissenters. Why? Simply because they refuse to come Sunday after Sunday to hear the worship of the Almighty done, as they cannot but feel it, by as mere a machine as the barrel organ in the gallery. Cannot the Bishops do more? It is said, indeed, that some of the Bishops can neither read nor preach themselves; that the examining chaplains don't know what good reading is ; and that, even were it attempted to apply a test, the test would not be uniform throughout dioceses. Such objections, however, apply to all tests and examinations, and, indeed, to all superintendence, for there is no point upon which it is easy to tain a sufficient and uniform rule. All we kn is, that the existing kindness to the candidates is cruelty to the people. Better license a man to poison the bodies of Englishmen with drugs which he does not know how to mix or apply than confer upon him a sacred mission and absolute authority to lead the prayers his heart does not join in, and to win souls which he will really drive away. The priest is for the people, not the people for the priest; and if the priest be either physically or morally unfit for his work, let it be found out in time, and let him take to some trade which will require neither heart nor voice.
I proceed now to illustrate by examples the hints I have been suggesting. But I must preface my remarks by the assurance that very little indeed can be done for you upon paper. It is extremely difficult, more so even than I had anticipated when I commenced the task, to exhibit by any form of words, by any conventional signs, by any ingenuity of type, the manner in which ideas should be expressed, or the voice governed. Only by an intelligent listener freely pointing out your faults, or a practised reader setting you an example, can you hope to learn much more than that in which alone it was my purpose to assist you, namely, in knowledge of what you ought to do, leaving the learning of how to do it to your own sagacity, the judicious aid of a friend, or the lessons of a tutor. The few illustrations which I am enabled so imperfectly to produce are, therefore, not designed so much to instruct you how to read as to make more apparent to you and impress on your memory the suggestions I have thrown out for your guidance in selfeducation in the art of reading. Had I desired more than this, I could not have accomplished it. Words will not express tones. No description will convey the right measure of emphasis, or the delicate inflexions of the voice. Clearly comprehending the narrow limits within which the following lessons can aid you, I will ask you to accompany me, not in thought merely, but with voice, reading aloud the passages cited, in the manner indicated. Observe that italic is used where slight emphasis is required ; SMALL CAPITALS where