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230. Grateful Old Age :-Soliloquy of Palæmon
THE PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION.
THE first step to be taken by one who desires to become a good reader or speaker, is to acquire a habit of distinct articulation. Without this, the finest voice, the utmost propriety of inflection, and all the graces of articulation, fail to please.
The habit of defective articulation is generally contracted in the first stages of the learner's progress, and arises either from indolence, which produces an indistinct and drawling utterance, or from too great haste, which leads to running words together, and to clipping them by dropping unaccented words and final
Habits of this kind, frequently, indeed, generally, become so inveterate by the time the pupil is sufficiently advanced to use a work on rhetorical reading, or any treatise on elocution, that the most constant and unremitting attention is necessary on the part of both teacher and pupil, in order to correct them. Nothing but a resolute determination to succeed, and faithful practice upon exercises selected with especial reference to the end in view, can accomplish this object. There must be added to this, a constant watchfulness against relapse, when the learner comes to lessons of a more general character.
A monotonous style of reading and speaking, is often formed at the same early age. The little reader is apt to prolong the sound of the word he has just deciphered, until he can 66 spell out" the one which follows; and if he is hurried from one lesson to another, without having time given him to practice upon that with which he is already familiar, his progress may seem rapid: but he is not learning to read, in the proper sense of the word, that is, to give utterance to words with that modification of voice which their relation to each other demands: he is only becoming familiar with the appearance of words, so as to call their names readily.