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is focussed sômewherebačkin his brain, where he is carefully remembering one word and sentence after another. The best solution I have found is not to try to memorize (at least for the first few weeks), but to spend enough time and effort to get the incident vividly before your mind, so that you can see the whole scene with all its details, and then give it to your hearers in your own words, not trying to remember any of the author's sentences, but giving it to your hearers, just as you see it, and be sure you are seeing it all the time you are giving it. Following this plan, it will be better to begin with narrative selections; those that tell some story or incident without much description. Of course, it will be easier to begin with prose rather than verse. This is not only a good Substitute for memorizing, but when you wish to memorize, this is a good way to learn selections without falling into unnatural cast-iron tones. As you tell the story again and again, you will begin using bits of the author's language without losing your own vividness; and gradually you will substitute more and more of his language until you give it altogether in his words. But you must never forget that it is not so impor– tant to give it in the author's words, as to give it vividly and enjoyably. You will notice that in the early lessons of the book, the student is never asked to memorize.
The task of the reader is twofold—to get the thought and to give it. He must find out exactly what the Author thinks and feels; when he has fully grasped the meaning and put himself in the Author's place, then he must so arrange it, present it and explain it that his hearers will get the full meaning also. His task then is (1) interpreting the Author's thought, and (2) delivering, or expressing the thought. These two processes are very different and equally important. The Reader gets the thought by means of printed words, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. He gives the thought by means of spoken words, and various tones, expression of face, gestures, etc. May I say here that punctuation is to help you in getting the thought; when giving it, pay no attention what— ever to the punctuation. It is, of course, impossible to give the author's meaning to others, if you have not correctly and fully gotten it yourself. You should, therefore, never begin to read a sentence aloud until you have fully absorbed its thought into your own mind; that is, never begin to give out the author's meaning until you have finished getting it. To master the author's meaning, it is necessary to get. into your mind everything that was in his mind; not only what he thought about the matter, but also what he felt, and the impulses that stirred him, the hopes that beckoned him, the motives that moved him. If the Reader is to give the Author's meaning fully, he must put himself in the Author's place; he must, as 'nearly as possible, become the Author. This process of entering into the life and soul of another man, the process of analyzing the Author's thought and meaning, of vividly realizing his position and his purpose, this process of interpretation calls for a careful obServation, quick intelligence, and sympathetic appreciation. To be a skillful interpreter of the Author's meaning requires every faculty of the mind to be alert and under
perfect control. It is an art that can be mastered, but only by careful and constant effort. After the Reader knows the Author's mind so thoroughly, that he can fully and truly interpret it, he must face the problem of transferring the Author's thought to the hearers. How can he deliver to them the full meaning that he has himself gained? Delivery is the process of communicating the thought to the hearers so that they shall enter into the Author's heart, understand his meaning and See from his point of view. This process of expressing the thought requires thorough control of your instrument of expression. For instance, a man may be able to read a piece of music accurately, and yet be unable to play it on a violin. He understands what he wants to express, but has no mastery of that particular means of expression, no skill in the use of that instrument. The same difficulty may occur in speaking. The instrument of the Reader, (or Speaker) consists of his voice, his face, and his bearing. Body, muscles, nerves, all must be fully and instantly responsive to the mind's bidding. If a Speaker has not Inastered his instrument, he will express his thoughts with difficulty, fail to give the impression that the author intended, weary his hearers, and contract throat ailments. In this course of study, then, you are to learn (1) Interpretation—how to understand the mind of the author, how to get his point of view, how to realize his situation, how to enter heartily into his purpose and appreciate his feelings on the subject. You next task is to learn (2) Delivery—how to give this to others; and that involves (a) the right way to use your voice, so that reading and speaking will be easy and pleasant to you and a pleasure to your hearers. Kidd says, “Ignorance of the right way of using the lungs and the larynx, in speaking, reading, and singing, has caused more cases of bronchitis and pulmonary consumption among students, vocalists, clergymen and other public speakers than all other causes combined.” It is perhaps equally important to learn (b) the right use of your body in gesture, that you may convey with enthusiasm the whole thought and feeling to your hearers, and not merely a skeleton of it. You are now ready to take up the first of these three tasks, namely, to train yourself to interpret exactly and fully the mind of the Author, 1. Read this selection carefully two or three times. 2. Shut your eyes and imagine the incident as it happened.
3. Tell it in your own words, without looking at the book.
(Practice saying your exercises aloud in your own room.)
THE PROVIDENTIAL GUEST A widow at Dort in Holland, who was very industrious, was left with a son and two daughters. She lived on the edge of the village in a large house in which she employed a number of people in the manufacture of sail cloth and was Supposed to be worth four thousand dollars. One night, about nine o'clock, a person dressed in uniform, with a musket and broadsword, came to her house and requested lodging. “I let no lodgings, my friend,” said the widow, “and besides I have no Spare bed, unless you sleep with my son, which I think very improper, on account of your being a perfect stranger to us.” The soldier then showed a passport from the governor of Breda and a discharge from Diesbach's regiment, signed by the major, who gave him an excellent character. The widow, believing the man to be honest, called her son, and asked him if he would accommodate with a part of his bed, a veteran who had served the republic thirty years with reputation. The young man consented; so the soldier was hospitably entertained, and at a seasonable hour withdrew to rest. Some hours afterward, a loud knock was heard at the street door, which aroused the soldier, who moved softly down stairs and listened at the hall-door, when the blows were repeated and the door almost broken through by a sledge or some heavy instrument. By this time the widow and her daughters were much alarmed at this violent attack, and ran frantically through different parts of the house crying, “murder! murder!” The son joined the soldier, with a case of loaded pistols, and the latter Screwed on his bayonet, primed his piece, and told the women to stay in the back room out of the way of danger. Soon the door was burst in and two ruffians entered, but were instantly shot by the son. Two associates of the dead men immediately returned the fire, but without effect: then the veteran stranger, taking immedate advantage of the discharge of their arms, rushed on them like a lion, ran one through the body with his bayonet, and while the other was running away, lodged the contents of his piece between his shoulders, and he dropped dead on the spot. The son and the stranger then closed the door as well as they could, reloaded their arms, made a good fire, and watched till daylight.
When the weavers and spinners of the manufactory came in the morning, they were struck with horror and surprise, at seeing the four dead men near the house. The burgomaster attended, and took the testimony of the family about the affair. The bodies of the ruffians were buried in a cross-road, and a stone erected over the grave with a suitable inscription. The widow presented the soldier, who was seventy years old, with one-hundred guilders, and the city settled a handsome pension on him for the rest of his life.
REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Whom do we mean by the Author? Whom do we mean by the Hearer? Whom do we mean by the Reader? Whom do we mean by the Speaker? 2. Which is more important for us to master, the process of getting the Author's meaning, or the process of telling it to our hearers? 3. Can the Reader give the Author's thought to the Hearers if he has not gotten it fully himself? 4. Can a good Reader give an audience more of the Author's meaning than they could get by reading the printed words themselves? 5. If you get the Author's exact thought in your own mind, will not the communication of it to the hearers take care of itself? 6. When a person speaks to you, do you get his meaning through your ears or through your eyes? 7. Could you understand a man's thought from his ges— tures alone? 8. Could you understand his feelings from his gestures alone? 9. Would it spoil the story of the Providential Guest, if you omitted to tell what the widow and the daughters cried out, or where the soldiers told them to stay? 10. Name three or four things that must not be omitted when you tell the story. 11. When you imagine the scene in Dort, can you see anything that is not mentioned in this story? What color is the widow's hair? Is she a large woman or small? Did the soldier wear a beard? How old is the Son?