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5. Aim at variety of construction; that is, do not form a succession of sentences of any one kind; but make them simple, complex, or compound, as seems best suited to the purpose.
No one kind of sentence is pre-eminently the best; each kind has its own peculiar advantages; but where excellence in composition is aimed at, there should be a proper intermixture of the several kinds.
The following will illustrate the method of combining sentences into a paragraph:
A husbandman set a net in his field.
It declared itself to be a poor, innocent stork, the most pious and dutiful of birds.
It professed to honor and succor its father and mother.
Combined.-A husbandman set a net in his field to catch the cranes that came to pluck up his newly-planted corn. When he went to examine the net, to see what cranes he had taken, a stork was found among the number. “Spare me,” cried the stork, “and let me go. I am no crane; I have not eaten any of your corn; I am a poor innocent stork—the most pious and dutiful of birds. I honor and succor my father and mother." But the husbandman would hear no more, and replied, “All this may be true enough; but this I plainly know, that I have caught you with those that were destroying my crops, and you must suffer with the company in which you were taken."-Æsop.
DIRECTION. — Combine the following statements into well-constructed sentences, forming a single paragraph:
1. THE MISTAKE OF A LIFE.—A piece of money was lying in the road. A young man picked it up. He hoped he should find another. He kept his eyes fixed steadily on the ground. He did this always afterward, as he walked along. He did pick up a good amount of gold and silver. This was in the course of a long life. He was looking for money all this time. The heavens were bright above him. Nature was beautiful around him. He did not see them. He never
from the mud and filth. He sought treasure in them. He died a rich old man. He knew this fair earth, even up to his death, only as a dirty road. He thought it was to pick money from.
2. A MISSIONARY'S EXPERIENCE.—I was riding alone across one of the South Pacific Islands. The night was dark and rainy. I was delighted to see, just ahead, a light. Seemingly, there was a man carrying a lighted torch. I shouted to my supposed companion to wait a little. I wished to get up to him. I received no reply. I spurred my horse. The animal made its way with difficulty. The mire was deep. I was not a little annoyed to see the light dancing on and on. A clump of trees now hid the windings of the road. This mocking companion seemed to dart through its gloomiest recesses. It moved in a most inexplicable manner. A long and weary chase followed. The light forsook the beaten track. It hovered over the deep waters of a little lake in that neighborhood. I reached home that night. I related my adventure. The natives jestingly remarked upon the adventure. An elf had been lighting my path with her torch. I had been chasing a Will-o'-the-wisp.
3. A CURIOUS INSECT.—There is a certain black beetle. It is familiar to all dwellers in the country. It swims on the surface of the summer brook. It loves to hold conventions in some quiet eddy. It loves to spend the hours in whirling around. In all manner of tangled curves. There is one curious thing. It in the construction of this diminutive insect. The insect possesses two pairs of eyes. These eyes are placed in a peculiar way. The insect floats along. It is enabled to have one pair above the surface of the water. The other pair is below the surface of the water. All these eyes are designed to be used. One pair is to view things beneath the water. The other pair is to view things above the water. One pair looks out for food. The other pair looks out for danger and for enjoyment. The two together fit the insect for its life. This life is on the dividing line between air and water.
4. SMALL GARDENS IN DEVONSHIRE.—Nothing can exceed in prettiness these gardens in Devonshire. They are attached to thatched cottages. They are frequently seen on the side of a hill. They are oftener at the bottom of a hill. Down this hill a narrow road leads. A rude, single-arched stone bridge. Here a shallow stream may be seen flowing rapidly. The stream now and then “stickles" over a pavement. Pebbles or rag-stone. "Stickles” is a Devonshire phrase. A little rill descends by the side of the lane. The rill descends close to the hedge. The hedge is approached by a broad stepping-stone over the rill. Beyond the hedge is a gate made of rough sticks. The gate leads to the cottage. At a short distance from the cottage, an excavation has been cut in the bank. It has been paved round with rough stones. Into this the water finds its way.
It makes its way out clear and sparkling. This is the cottager's well. His garden is gay with flowers. His bees are placed on each side of a window. The window is surrounded with honeysuckle, jessamine, or a flourishing vine. The rustic porch is covered with these or other creepers. The gorgeous hollyhock may be seen in perfection. The hollyhock delights in the rich red soil of Devonshire. Giantstocks, carnations, and china-asters flourish from the same cause. These make the gar
like Flora's. It appears to belong to Flora herself. DIRECTION. — Combine each of the following groups of statements into a paragraph, and write on the first line of each paragraph the topic it develops:
1. The deer seem to foresee every change of weather. In this respect they are like many other animals. At the approach of a storm, deer leave the higher hills. They descend to the low grounds. Sometimes even two days in advance of the change. At the approach of a thaw, they leave the low grounds. They go to the mountains. They never perish in snow-drifts. In this, they are not like sheep. Not sheltering themselves in hollows prevents their perishing in snowdrifts. Keeping the bare ground prevents their perishing. Further, they eat the tops of the heather.
2. There was at hand no cotton in the seed. Whitney went to Savannah to procure some. He searched there among warehouses and boats. He found a small parcel. He carried it home. He secluded it with himself in a basement-room. Here he set to work. He worked to devise and construct the implement required. The tools were rude and few. He was constrained to make better ones. He was forced to draw his own wire. No wire could be bought in Savannah. There were but two persons allowed to enter his workshop. These were Mrs. Greene and her next friend, Mr. Miller. They were, in fact, the only ones having a clear knowledge of his efforts and intentions. His mysterious hammering and tinkering in that solitary cell were subjects of infinite curiosity. They were subjects of marvel. They were subjects of ridicule. This was among the younger members of the family. He did not interfere with their merriment. He did not allow them to interfere with his enterprise. Before the close of the winter, his machine was nearly completed. Its success was no longer doubtful.
3. The immediate loss of Constantinople may be ascribed to a bullet. An arrow. This bullet or arrow pierced the gauntlet of John Justiniani. The sight of his blood appalled the courage of the chief. The exquisite pain destroyed his courage. His arms and counsels were the firmest ramparts of the city. He withdrew from his station. He went in quest of a surgeon. His flight was perceived. He was stopped by the emperor. The emperor was indefatigable. “ Your wound is slight.” “The danger is pressing." "Your presence is necessary.” "Whither will you retire?” These words were said by Palæologus. The Genoese trembled. “I will retire by a certain road.” God had opened this road to the Turks. He passed hastily through a breach in the wall. It was one of the breaches of the inner wall. The act was pusillanimous. He stained the honors of a military life. His example was imitated. The greater part of the Latin auxiliaries followed his example. The defense began to slacken. The attack was pressed with redoubled vigor. Constantinople was irretrievably subdued. Mahomet the Second was its conqueror.
EXERCISES IN COMPOSITION.
TO THE TEACHER.-It will be found advantageous to give also prose selections for reproduction. These have been omitted for want of space. They can, however, be given whenever desired by reading the class something suited to the purpose. Selections by Prof. Edward R. Shaw, will furnish excellent material for such reproduction.
ENVY AND AVARICE.
Envy and Avarice, one summer day,
In quest of the abode
With gloating eyes,
For which she's ever on the watch
Some glance to catch
At her green, greedy orbs, no single minute
Of all the shining dollars in it.