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The great wrong practiced upon our youth is that they are led to imitate an interpretation given to them by some person whom they admire, rather than to ascertain and apply the principles which govern the vocal expression of all sentiments and emotions that are conveyed by words.
The evil results of such a course of training might be averted, in a measure, if every teacher of Reading were an artist; but, unfortunately, few have the time or aptitude for such high attainments. The only safe course is to ascertain the principles of vocal expression by careful observation of nature in its best moods and manifestations, and to apply the rules thus obtained to such portions of our Literature as may be easily classified with reference to the sentiment or passion they chiefly express.
In this book are contained selections from a very wide range of English authorship, such as are thought to be the best suited to the purposes of elocutionary training, and public reading and declamation.
An endeavor has also been made to give such specific directions as will aid the intelligent student to acquire a just conception of their sentiment.
The variety of the selections, added to the fact that each has been chosen with reference to its effectiveness and availability, will furnish material for every possible exercise in the ordinary requirements of school life, as well as in the more formal exercise of Public Reading and Declamation. The elocutionary suggestions will appear as introductions to the various classes of selections in their respective orders:
In each class of selections an endeavor has been made to secure just as pleasing and effective pieces as though the choice were unrestricted, and, at the same time, to choose pieces that would serve as types of the sentiment or passion they are intended to illustrate.
If, in some cases, selections do not sustain, from beginning to end, the sentiment that they are intended to illustrate, they are placed where the leading or most characteristic sentiment of the piece would require; and it is thought that, in most cases, the selections are nearly perfect specimens of the several classes in which they are placed.
The compiler acknowledges, with thanks, the kind permission of Messrs. J. R. Osgood & Co., Hurd & Houghton, and D. Appleton & Co., to use the poems of Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Cary, Bryant, and others, that are in this volume, and of which they hold the copyright.
R. McL. C. EVANSTON, Ill., January, 1878.
PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.
The greatest change in this edition of "Choice Readings" is the introduction of the editor's discussions of the most important topics in Elocution. With this addition the volume can be used as a manual for instruction, as well as a book of selections. The chief difficulties that perplex the student of elocution are treated in language as simple as the technical nature of the subject permits. The main object in the introduction of this new material has been to furnish the student with practical working systems leading up to the certain acquisition of the fundamental excellences of good reading and good speaking. The original order of the chapters is slightly changed; the introductory remarks to each chapter are retained with unimportant modifications.
About one-half of the old selections have been supplanted by new ones which, it is hoped, will prove as stimulating and attractive as their predecessors. The exceptionally strong selections still hold their places in the volume. In the work of preparing this edition the editor received from his associates in the school of oratory valuable assistance, which he here gratefully acknowledges. This revised edition is sent forth with the confident belief that it is a better and more serviceable book than the old one; and it is hoped that, by making the path to success in public speaking more clear and straight, it will meet with public favor and approval.
The editor is greatly indebted to the following publishers for permission to use the selections from works of
PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.
which they hold the copyright, viz: Harper and Brothers, "The Boy Orator of Zepata City,” from The Exiles, and "Her First Appearance," from Van Bibber and Others; American Publishers' Corporation, "An Invalid in Lodgings," from A Tillyloss Scandal, and “Scene from "The Little Minister'"; The Century Company, “The Two Runaways" and “The Trial of Ben Thomas," from Two Runaways and Other Stories; The Bowen-Merrill Company, “The South Wind and the Sun," and "KneeDeep in June," from Afterwhiles, and H. S. Edwards' “Mammy's Li'l' Boy."
R. McL. C. EVANSTON, ILL., June, 1898.
NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE, AND DIDACTIC STYLES 115
NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE, AND DIDACTIC SELEC-
Alice Cary 44
AN ORDER FOR A PICTURE
Alice Cary 52
JOHN BURNS OF GETTYSBURG
Bret Harte 54
D. R. Locke 57
HAMLET'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS William Shakespeare 116
Francis Bacon 117
Charles Dickens 118
GEORGE THE THIRD
William Makepeace Thackeray 120
The BIRTH OF DOMBEY
Charles Dickens 124
SCENE AT DOCTOR BLIMBER's
Charles Dickens 127
DEATH OF PAUL DOMBEY
Charles Dickens 130
THE CHARCOAL MAN
J. T. Trowbridge 132
SCENE AT THE NATURAL BRIDGE
Elihu Burritt 134
Dick SWIVELLER AND THE MARCHIONESS Charles Dickens 137
TULKINGHORN AND MADEMOISELLE HORTENSE Charles Dickens 142
PASSAGE OF THE REFORM BILL
Lord Macaulay 146
SCENE FROM IVANHOE
Sir Walter Scott 148
INTERVIEW BETWEEN AARON BURR AND MARY SCUDDER
Harriet Beecher Stowe 152