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Yet - if I name my guilt 'tis not to boast

None can deem harsher of me than I deem
I trace this scrawl-because I cannot rest
I've nothing to reproach or to request
Man's love is of Man's life a thing apart-
'Tis WOMAN'S WHOLE EXISTENCE

-Man may range The court-camp-church the vessel and the mart

Sword gown -gain- -glory- -offer in exchange Pride-fame-AMBITION — to fill up his heart

And few there are whom these cannot estrange-
Men have all these resources

-WE- but ONE
To love AGAIN and be againUNDONE.
You will proceed in pleasure and in pride
Beloved and loving many -

-all is o'er
For ME—on earth- -except some years to hide

My shame and sorrow -DEEP in my HEART's core-These I could bear- -but cannot cast aside

The passion which still RAGES as beforeAnd so FAREWELL- - forgive me-LOVE me-no--That word is idle now—but let it go. My breast has been all weakness- IS 80-yet

But still I think I can collect my mindMy blood still rushes where my spirit's SET —

As roll the waves before the settled wind.
My heart is feminine- nor CAN forget-

To allexcept one image-madly blind-
So shakes the needle--and so stands the pole-
As vibrates my fond heart to my fixed soul.
I have no more to say, -but linger—-still-

And dare not set my seal upon this sheet-
And yetI may as well the task fulfil-

My misery can scarce be more complete-
I had not lived till now- -could sorrow KILL--

Death SHUNS the wretch who fain the blow would MEET-
And I must e'en survive this last adieu--
And bear with life- to LOVE and PRAY for you.

152

LETTER XXIII.

READING OF NARRATIVE, ARGUMENT AND

SENTIMENT.

Few special instructions are needed for the reading of narrative. Your chiefest care will be to avoid monotony. For the most part, there is an even flow of ideas, and a smooth stream of words, tending unconsciously to produce in you an uniformity of expression and tone that is apt to lull the listener to sleep. A continual effort will consequently be required on your part to counteract that tendency, by throwing into your reading as much liveliness of manner and variety of expression as the matter will permit; and it is better to hazard the charge of over-acting, than to find your hearers nodding, starting, and staring, with that extravagant endeavour not to look sleepy by which drowsiness always betrays itself.

First, think what a narrative is. You are telling a story from a book instead of from memory—that is all. But when you tell a story, you do not drawl it, or gabble it, or sing it, or run right through it without a pause, or in the same tone, or without a change of expression. On the contrary, you vary your voice with every variation in the theme : sometimes you speak quickly, sometimes slowly; your voice is now loud, now soft ; you express cheerfulness at some parts, and seriousness or sadness at others ; sometimes your voice swells with the rising inflection, sometimes it sinks with the falling one; and thus, prompted by nature alone, without teaching, and instinctively, you not only rightly embody the ideas in your mind, but you give to them the right expression, and so excite the minds of your audience to attention, and write upon them that which it was your

desire to convey. But when you take a book and read the same narrative, you will probably assume an artificial voice, tone, and manner-tedious, monotonous and sleep-provokingand fail to keep attention awake for ten minutes. How may you avoid this?

By going back to nature. Think how you would tell it all out of book, and try so to read it from the book. Let it be ever present to your thoughts, when reading narrative, that you are but telling a story in choicer language, and utter it accordingly. I do not mean by this, that all narratives should be read in the same manner, for each must be expressed according to its special character : a tone of gaiety should be infused into a light and lively story ; a tone of gravity or of sadness into a grave or pathetic tale. But this applies only to the general characteristics of your manner of reading. If any grave passages occur in the lively narrative, or any lively passages in the grave narrative, they must be rendered according to their own characteristics, not following the general strain of the composition, which they are designed to relieve by variety. So, when dialogue is

, introduced, do not fail to seize the opportunity for entire

change and relief by giving to it that full dramatic expression which will be described in a subsequent chapter. Another means for breaking the monotony of narrative is to raise your voice slightly at the end of each sentence, instead of dropping it, as is the too frequent habit of English speakers and readers.

You will find great differences in prose narratives as respects facility for reading. The composition of some authors is so musical—their language has so much rhythm in it—that it is extremely difficult to avoid the lapse into monotony; these are very pleasant to the tongue of the reader, and, at first, very agreeable to the audience ; but they soon weary those who have nothing to do but to open their ears. It is necessary that you should conquer this difficulty in the reading of such writers, and therefore you must practise yourself with them assiduously—but not at the beginning of your lessons. Commence with the most abrupt and rugged of prose writers, whose aim is power rather than sweetness, and who will not permit you to be monotonous. Advance from these to the writers whose periods are rounded and words musically arranged. Portions , of ** Tristram Shandy” and “ Carlyle's History of the French Revolution” afford good practice for a beginning, if you carefully observe all the eccentricities of the composition. Macaulay's short sentences will assist your next step; De Foe, and Dryden, and Swift will serve for further progress ; while the rounded periods, alliterations, and artfully balanced words of such writers as Gibbon and Johnson should be reserved for

your

latest efforts, when you have altogether, or almost, subdued your impulses to metre and monotony.

But if the reading of narrative is difficult, that of didactic writing is still more difficult. The liveliest reading of this class of composition is laborious for the listener to follow, for an argument is not so rapidly received by the mind as a picture. Mark the difference. When you narrate a story, by your words you simply suggest a picture to the minds of your audience. They are not required to think about it, or to employ any other faculties than merely to give their attention. Your words, by association, instantly, without an effort on their parts, call up in their minds the images of the things which those words signify. The process is wholly without labour, and the product pleasant. So it is with sentimental writing. The minds of the audience are moved by sympathy, without any exertion of thought. The suggestive words fall on the ear and the emotion follows. But otherwise it is with whatever is in the nature of argument. The mind of the listener is not a mere recipient; it must not only perceive the ideas conveyed, but exercise itself in comparing them, and pass through the whole process of reasoning by which the conclusion is attained. It is necessary to remember this in the reading of didactic writing, so that you may adapt your manner to the requirement of your audience. You must read very much more slowly than is requisite for narrative, because the listener's mind has to pass through a process of work before he can fully receive what you design to convey, and if you read fast he cannot keep pace

with
you. Therefore, too, you

should make long pauses, especially at the close of each proposition or step in the argument; you should emphasise the commencement of each proposition, in order to direct attention to it, and the conclusion should be read with still greater emphasis, and still more slowly, that

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