Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

have bestowed the same attention. Though we still acknowledge Walker as the general standard of pronunciation, yet in certain words where a difference seems to be permanently settled, I see no reason-or rather, I see a good reason, why we should not blindly continue to follow him in theory, when our practice is decidedly against him. And if we occasionally meet with one breaking over custom, and trying to follow him throughout, from the impression that it is more polite, by saying care, háir, pårent and prayer, we generally look upon him as affected. To my ear, it sounds very disagreeable to have the words prayer, a petition, and pray-er, a petitioner, pronounced precisely the same; and hair and prayer, with the same vowel sound as player.

Mr. G.-Another word, I am glad to find, has been taken up, and has got again its own aspirate. I mean the word humble. It took me a long time, I remember, to become settled in pronouncing it umble, after Walker's mode; and I think it will take me some time to get back to the old habit.

Dr. A.-I well recollect, when our great Lexicographer, Dr. Webster, had just returned from a visit to England, he said Walker's pronunciation of that word among the higher classes was entirely discarded. It certainly has become the practice of all good writers to usc the article a before humble and hospital, as well as all other words beginning with a consonant sound: it is therefore in bad taste to say an humble man, an hospital. We ought to be exceedingly cautious, while endeavoring to render our language soft and smooth, that we do not rob it of its manliness and strength.

Mrs. G.-Another thing I am glad to see corrected -the obtuse sound of th in the words youths and truths. Many, no doubt, have been led to pronounce them with the obtuse TH, as heard in this, rather than the acute th as heard in thin, because it made them softer, from the mistaken notion that the softening process, in all cases, is an improvement—a sentiment perhaps borrowed from the French, who, in banishing so many consonant sounds from their language have done it an irreparable injury, so far as regards dignity and strength.

Dr. A.-Sheridan, I remember, very justly remarks that, "if the vowels be considered as the blood, the consonants are the nerves and sinews of a language; and the strength of syllables formed of single consonants, like single threads, must be vastly inferior to such as have several, as it were, twisted together."

Mrs. G.-I see also another improvement-in giving more of the short u sound to e before r, as in person, perfect, and all that class, where Walker gives the second sound of e. I took much pains to conform to it; but I never succeeded very well it always seemed to me too precise, or painstaking, and, indeed, affected.

:

Dr. A.-The r is found to have the same influence upon e as it has upon o, in giving fullness to the vowel ; but Walker has considered this in the case of o, and ranged for and nor under the third sound, and not, on and of under the fourth sound; and has improperly left e the same before r, as before any other consonant.

Mr. G.-I looked to see if any thing was said of ke-ind, ge-irl and be-eautiful, as I have heard some pronounce them, carrying out, as they suppose, I presume,

the principles of Walker-mistaken of course-for he, if I mistake not, only intended to soften the first vowels a little, to the words kind, girl and beautiful; and not to give them the mawkish prolongation which makes them nearly two syllables.

Dr. A.-The attempt, at the present day, to pronounce these words with that delicate, softened tone which Walker seems to aim at, is certainly apt to fix upon one the unenviable mark of a mawkish affected sensibility. I presume our author thought that good sense would be a sufficient guide, and to that he seems to have left it.

Mrs. G.-Charles, come give the Doctor your illustration of the circumflexes. It is quite original, and, I think, very clever for a little boy.

Dr. A.-Original! and clever! I shall be gratified to hear it. More credit is due for one such, than a dozen brought from books; though these, when original in application, are, by no means, without credit.

Master C.-When I returned from school that day we had the exercise on the inflections; I met my little sister at the door; and she exclaimed, "Ah, Charley, it was yôu ❘ that filled my stockings with the pretty things! I did not think it was you!"

Dr. A.-A fine illustration, Master Charles, true to nature, and well expressed. And now, Mrs. Gordon, suffer me to make a criticism. Do you know we teach our children to deceive, and tell untruths, when we least suspect it? Pardon me for breathing a suspicion upon a time-honored custom-that most joyous Christmas deception, which has been practised upon the little inno

for

cents for generations past, and will be, no doubt, many yet to come.

Mrs. G.-O Dr. Abbot! You would not deprive our little pets of all the gratifications clustering about the yearly visit of that dear old Santa Claus !

Dr. A.-Yes I would, Madam, so far as the fable is concerned; and every other example of deception and lying!—yes, that is the proper name for it-and would deal towards our children ever in simplicity and truth: half of the nursery tales should go by the board too; all bugbears, and every thing in the least tending to

romance.

Mr. G.-I like your views, Sir, on this subject. They are right and I wonder the same ideas had not occurred to ourselves. [Dr. Abbot rises to go.] Must you go? Sir, this has been to us a very pleasant visit, and I hope it will not be long before we have it repeated.

Mrs. G. And I must reserve my defence of Santa Claus and Mother Goose for another occasion.

Dr. A.-I hope you will not mistake me. I do not make war upon all stories of imagination: for that would be to deny these pets, as you call them, a great source of instruction, and innocent amusement: I object only to such as really deceive them; and they find out afterwards to be impositions, as in the case of Master Charles.

Mrs. A.-I think the Doctor improves upon acquaintance. His visit has certainly been very agreeable, and very instructive. It is no wonder our children are so taken with him.

Master Wm.-He is always agreeable, Mother, just

as you see him; always courteous. I never saw him show anger, nor impatience; nor did I ever see him sneer at a pupil for real dullness, nor call him stupid ;-and this I could not say of ǎll I have been to school tó.

Mr. G.-I feel thankful, my son, we have found a man, at last, in whose faithfulness and ability, we can repose full confidence.

Master Wm.-You cannot feel it more, I think, than we do. It seems like a change from slavery to freedom. All, who have the privilege to be with him, feel themselves at ease; and yet, there is perfect order. He inspires you with confidence in yourself: you are always ready to do your best-and you can do a great deal better when you are not all the time afraid-and if you fail, you are sure, that, under him, your very mistakes will act as means to facilitate your improvement.

Mr. G.-Under such advantages, none can fail, I think, to go on rapidly in their education: if they do not, one thing is certain: it will not be from the want of judicious and faithful instruction; but the want of capacity, or desire to learn.

LESSON XX.

ACTION-I.

ACTION in discourse, comprehends all significant movements addressed to the eye, as the natural and sponta

« AnkstesnisTęsti »