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has been sick for the past two months, and of whose returning health we were delighted to hear.
5. “Wait," said the tailor, “I must go out and buy a piece of cloth; when I return, you will hear what I expect you to do; at least you are willing to stay."
6. What He said, after His washing the disciples' feet, (an action wherein there was such an admirable mixture of humility and love, that it is not possible to conceive which excelled, for they were both in the highest perfection) “ I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so do ye,” is applicable to all the kinds of virtues and graces exhibited in His practice.
7. It is a winter's day when we take our peep into the schoolroom, and see the great logs of wood that have been rolled into the fire-place, and the broad, bright blaze that is leaping up the chimney, while every few moments a vast cloud of smoke is puffed into the room, which sails slowly over the heads of the scholars, until it gradually settles upon the walls and ceiling, which are blackened with the smoke of many years already.
8. She dropped her face on my old nurse's breast, and, ceasing this supplication, which in its agony and grief was half a woman's, half a child's, as all her manner was (being, in that, more natural, and better suited to her beauty, as I thought, than any other manner could have been), wept silently, while my old nurse hushed her like an infant.
9. She was looking at an humble stone which told of a young man who had died at twenty-three years of age, fifty-five years ago, when she heard a faltering step approaching, and looking around saw a feeble woman bent with the weight of years, who tottered to the foot of that same grave and asked her to read the writing on the stone.
10. Their patroness then shut the door, and sat herself down by her drum at an open window; and, the steps being struck by George and stowed under the carriage, away they went, with a great noise of flapping and creaking and straining, and the bright brass knocker, which nobody ever knocked at, knocking one perpetual double-knock of its own accord as they jolted heavily along.
11. To whom my lord said, “Father Abbot, I am come hither to leave my bones among you;" whom they brought on his mule to the stairs' foot of his chamber, and there alighted, and Master Kingston then took him by the arm, and led him up the stairs; who told me afterwards that he never carried so heavy a burden in all his life.
12. So you stand alone in a tangled wilderness outside, and in the blackness of doubt inside; and you feel the need of a guide for the one, and a light for the other, if you can find one.
13. Goethe read in a manner which was peculiar to him; and as the incidents of the little story came forth in his serious, simple voice, in one unmoved, unaltering tone (“just as if nothing of it was present before him, but all was only historical; as if the shadows of this poetic creation did not affect him in a life-like manner, but only glided gently by,") a new ideal of letters and of life arose in the mind of his listener.
14. The body of Stephen Girard lies in a sarcophagus in the vestibule of the main college building, which is built after the model of a Grecian temple; its thirty-four Corinthian columns measure six feet in diameter, and are fifty-five feet high, and cost $15,000 each.
Strength.—A sentence may be constructed in accordance with the rules for clearness and unity, and still produce but little effect; something is wanting to fix the attention and sustain the interest. This important quality is strength, variously called “energy," "vivacity," or “animation”; it causes the sentence to produce a forcible and vivid impression. Style is greatly affected by the strength or the feebleness of the thought, but even commonplace thoughts may be expressed in energetic language. The quality of the thought belongs to invention; the term “energy of expression " has reference solely to the fitness of the words to convey the ideas with force. Thoughts must be so presented as to call into vigorous energy the mental powers of the reader.
Among the various means of securing energy of expression we note the following:
RULE I.-Be concise.
Conciseness, or brevity of expression, consists in using the smallest number of words necessary for the complete expression of a thought—it is fullness in little compass. A thought that can be as well presented in a sentence or two, should not be drawn out into ten times the number. “Many words darken counsel”; and this for the reason that surplus words, by absorbing mental force, diminish the strength of the impression.
The most effective writers are concise and terse in style:
Nothing is so fleeting as form; yet never does it quite deny itself. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now.—Emerson.
Speech is but broken light upon the depths of the unspoken.George Eliot.
They make a solitude, and call it peace.— Tacitus.
Conciseness implies the use of no unnecessary words, however many may be employed; it tells the whole thing, but tells it compactly. The following will be found a useful general rule:
Go critically over what you have written, and strike out every word, phrase, and clause, the omission of which neither impairs the clearness nor the force of the sentence.
Conciseness is violated in three ways:
(1) By redundancy, or the use of words that the sense does not require.
Redundancy is most likely to show itself in the use of adjectives. These words are usually descriptive, and hence serve to enrich style, but when used in excess they overburden the sentence. It is well to strike out such words as “very,” “stupendous," "inexpressible, “magnificent,” “unpro
unprecedented,” etc., whenever they are not strictly required.
Another common source of redundancy is the use of a separate word to express an idea which is implied in one of the words already used; as, “The universal opinion of
all men”; “They returned back again to the same place from whence they came forth"; "His very excellent remarks were most intolerable and extremely inconsistent in the eyes of his enemies”; “The boundless plains in the heart of the country furnished inexhaustible supplies of corn, that would have almost sufficed for twice the population”; “The immense revenue of this fertile land is unprecedented among nations; its vastness is beyond conception; it fills a treasury that could scarcely be depleted by a three-years' war."
(2) By tautology, or the repetition of the same idea in different words; thus, “He walked on foot, bareheaded”;
The names of our forefathers who came before us should be held in reverence”; “The prophecy has been fulfilled literally and to the letter."
(3) By circumlocution, or a roundabout, diffuse way of expressing a thought.
A lengthened, roundabout mode of speech is allowable for the sake of variety or emphasis, or when a direct assertion might be offensive; but when none of these ends is accomplished, it is feeble and affected. For example: “That night Richard Penderell and I went to Mr. Pitchcroft's, about six or seven miles off, where I found the gentleman of the house, and an old grandmother of his, and Father Hurlston, who had then the care as governor, of bringing up two young gentlemen, who, I think, were Sir John Preston and his brother, they being boys."
Condensed: “That night Richard Penderell and I went to Mr. Pitchcroft's, a distance of six or seven miles; there we found Mr. Pitchcroft, his grandmother, and Father Hurlston, who then had the care, as governor, of two boys, Probably Sir John Preston and brother."
The remedy for circumlocution consists, not in leaving out parts, but in recasting the whole in terser language. Condensation is sometimes effected by substituting words for phrases, and words or phrases for clauses.
RULE II. — The most important words should occupy the most prominent places. These are the beginning and the end of a sentence; of the two places, however, the end is the more emphatic.
To place a word or phrase or clause out of its wonted position is to indicate that a heavier burden of thought is laid upon it than it ordinarily bears, heavier than is borne by any of its neighbors. The more important words are usually in the predicate—the latter part of the sentence. To bring these to the beginning of the sentence is to remove them farthest from their natural place, and to give them the greatest possible emphasis that position can bestow. The subject, if unusually emphatic, should often be removed from the beginning of the sentence.
As the end of the sentence is the most emphatic place, it is a good general rule not to terminate a sentence with an adverb, preposition, or other particle. Thus: “What a pity it is that even the best should speak to our understandings so seldom." Here the adverb usurps the prominent place. Change thus: “should so seldom speak to our understandings.” •Who had promised, upon the first notice of his arrival, to resort with all their friends and followers to him.” Change thus: “to resort to him with all their friends,” etc. “And so begin his examination in such articles as he could raise the greatest bustle in.” This is both weak and inelegant. An improvement would be: “in those articles in which he could raise the greatest bustle.”
A sentence should not close with an unimportant clause; nor should it end in an abrupt and inharmonious manner,