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IV. NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE AND

DIDACTIC STYLES.

This class of selections includes all that is generally designated as common reading, viz.: conversations, essays, newspaper composition, or any selection which is intended simply to convey information to the mind. So frequent is the use of this style of address that more than two-thirds of everything the professional man has to utter falls under this head, and in non-professional life nearly everything that is spoken. The excellences of common reading may be compassed by observing the following suggestions:

First--Purity of tone.
Second—Variety of tone.
Third-Distinctness of enunciation.

A great mistake is made if we allow ourselves to think that any

less care should be taken in securing pure tone in this class of selections, than in those of which we have already spoken.

Purity of tone is of as much importance in common reading as in the rendering of sentiment. Every tone should fall from the lips like the tinkle of a coin upon the table. A clear, musical and crystalline articulation is the highest charm of common reading.

Variety of tone is an element not to be overlooked. An essay can be written out in musical forms as well as an oratorio, and he who makes the best music is, other things being equal, the best reader. A well modulated voice traversing the musical scale with happy intonations renders

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common reading, not only interesting, but highly artistic and charming. The only caution necessary is that over much variety may render the reading fantastic and flippant.

Distinctness of enunciation must always be strictly demanded. As a rule' we enunciate the first parts of our words distinctly, but the last parts are frequently blurred, or left untouched. Another source of indistinctness arises from precipitating one syllable on the top of the other and melting the whole word into a mass of confused sound. The only relief in such cases is a thorough drill in the consonantal elements, until firmness, accuracy and force are developed in enunciation. The last syllable in a word should be brought out as distinctly as the first, and the middle syllables as distinctly as the last, in order that the articulative energy may be equally distributed in the enunciation.

The question may be raised, are Narrative, Descriptive and Didactic styles all read in the same manner? Narrative and Descriptive Readings, appealing in many instances to feeling and imagination for their chief effects, abound in vivid and varied tones associated with the different moods of sympathy and emotion; while Didactic subjects, being usually directed to the reason and judgment through the understanding, hold a more steady, uniform and regulated course of utterance, adapted to a clear, distinct and pointed conveyance of thought to the intellect.

NARRATIVE SELECTIONS.

A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR. THERE was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought of a number of things. He had a sister who was a child too, and his constant companion. They wondered at the beauty of flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the water; they wondered at the goodness and power of God, who made them lovely.

They used to say to one another sometimes: Supposing all the children upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky be sorry? They believed they would be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol down the hillsides are the children of the water, and the smallest bright specks playing at hide and seek in the sky all night must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved to see their playmates, the children of men, no

more.

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There was one clear shining star that used to come out in the sky before the rest, near the church spire, above the graves. It was larger and more beautiful, they thought, than all the others, and every night they watched for it, standing hand-in-hand at a window. Whoever saw it first, cried out, “I see the star.” And after that, they cried out both together, knowing so well when it would rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends with it that, before lying down in their bed, they always looked out once again to bid it good night; and when they were turning round to sleep, they used to say, “God bless the star!”

But while she was still very young, oh, very young, the sister drooped, and came to be so weak that she could no longer stand in the window at night, and then the child looked sadly out by himself, and when he saw the star, turned round and said to the patient pale face on the bed, “I see the star!” and then a smile would come

upon

the face, and a little weak voice used to say, “God bless my

brother and the star!”

And so the time came, all too soon, when the child looked out all alone, and when there was no face on the bed, and when there was a grave among the graves, not there before, and when the star made long rays down toward him as he saw it through his tears.

Now these rays were so bright, and they seemed to make such a shining way from earth to heaven, that when the child went to his solitary bed, he dreamed about the star; and dreamed that, lying where he was, he saw a train of people taken up that sparkling road by angels; and the star, opening, showing him a great world of light, where many more such angels waited to receive them.

All these angels, who were waiting, turned their beaming eyes upon the people who were carried up into the star; and some came out from the long rows in which they stood, and fell

upon the people's necks, and kissed them tenderly, and went away with them down avenues of light, and were so happy in their company, that lying in his bed, he wept for joy.

But there were many angels who did not go with them, and among them one he knew. The patient face that once had lain upon the bed was glorified and radiant, but his heart found out his sister among all the host.

His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of the star, and said to the leader among those who had brought the people thither:

“ Is my brother come?" And he said, “No!”

She was turning hopefully away, when the child stretched out his arms, and cried, “Oh! sister, I am here! Take me!" And then she turned her beaming eyes upon him,-and it was night; and the star was shining into the room, making long rays down toward him as he saw it through his tears.

From that hour forth, the child looked out upon the star as the home he was to go to when his time should come; and he thought that he did not belong to the earth alone, but to the star too, because of his sister's angel gone before.

There was a baby born to be a brother to the child, and while he was so little that he never yet had spoken a word, he stretched out his tiny form on his bed, and died.

Again the child dreamed of the opened star, and of the company of angels, and the train of people, and the rows of angels, with their beaming eyes all turned upon those people's faces.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:
“ Is my brother come?”
And he said, “ Not that one, but another!”

As the child beheld his brother's angel in her arms, he cried, “Oh, my sister, I am here! Take me!" And she turned and smiled upon him,—and the star was shining. He

grew to be a young man, and was busy at his books, when an old servant came to him and said:

“ Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing on her darling son."

Again at night he saw the star, and all that former com

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