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Of two or three vowels placed together only the marked vowel is

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The accent-mark (') is put after the accented syllable. learn'ed is pronounced in two syllables.

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Letters in parentheses are mute; mute e at the end of a word or syllable has not been indicated.

The reader is supposed to be acquainted with the principal rules of pronunciation, so that words like name, acre, able, me, noble, mute, bugle, may, they, coin, learn, house, now, fellow, new, dark, glass, her, sir, wall, thin, thank, pith, this, thy, bathe, sin, bus, mossy, rose, noise, exact', ink, uncle, income, knee, nōtion, nătural, religious, treasure, etc. etc. are not, or only partially, indicated.

Nor have the editors marked very common words like of (fv), as (s = z), any (a = ĕ), many (a = ĕ), are (a = a), were (e = û), do (o = ö), who (pron. hö), etc.

MR. MEESON'S WILL.

CHAPTER I.

AUGUSTA AND HER PUBLISHER.

EV'ERYBODY who has any connection with Birmingham will be acquainted with the vast publishing establishment still known by the short title of "Meeson's", which is perhaps' the most remark'able institution of the sort in Eu'rope. There are- or rather there were, at the date of the begin'ning of this history-three partners in Meeson's-Meeson himself', the mănaging partner 1; Mr. Addison, and Mr. Roscoe and people in Birmingham used to say that there were others interested in the affair', for Meeson's was a company.

However this may be, Meeson & Co. were undou(b)t'edly a commer'cial marvel 2. The firm employed' more than two thousand hands; and its works, lit throu(gh)out' with the electric light, cover two acres 3 and a quarter of land. One hundred commer'cial trăvellers, at three pounds a week and a commission, went forth east and west, and north and south, to sell the books of Meeson (which were largely religious in their nature) in all lands; and five-and-twenty tame authors (who were illus'trated by thir'teen' tame artists) sat-at sălaries ranging

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1) Mr. Meeson is the managing partner, because he actually carries on the bus(i)ness' (u 1); he manages it. The two other gentlemen are osten'sible or acting partners, because' their names are disclosed' to the public, and they really act as partners. Those who only furnish căpital, and share in the profits, are called dormant, sleeping or silent partners.

2) The business had been so cleverly conduct'ed, that it had become one of marvellous extent, exciting the wonder of other business men. 3) An English acre is about' 4047 square meters.

Mr. Meeson's Will.

from one to five hundred a year- in vault-like hutches in the basement, and week by week pôured out that hat'-work for which Meeson's was justly famous. Then there were editors and vice' editors, and heads of the vârious depart'ments, and sub'-heads, and financial secretaries, and readers 3, and many mănagers; but what their names were no man knew, because' at Meeson's all the employés' of the great house were knōwn by numbers; personalities and personal responsibility being the abomina'tion of the firm. Nor was it allowed' to any one having dealings with these items 4 ever to see the same number twice, presumably for fear lest the number should remember that he was a man and a brother, and his heart should melt towards the unfortunate, and the financial interests of Meeson's should suffer. In short, Meeson's was an establishment crea'ted for and devōted to money-making, and the fact was kept studiously and even in'solently befôre the eyes of ev'erybody connect'ed with it—which was, of course, as it should be, in this happy land of commerce. After all that has been written, the reader will not be surprised' to learn that the partners in Meeson's were rich beyond' the dreams of avarice 5. Their pălaces would have been a wonder even in ancient Băbylon, and would have excited admirātion in the corrupt'est and mōst luxuʼrious days of Rome. Where could one see such horses, such cărr(i)ages, such galleries of sculpture, or such collections of costly gems as at the palatial halls of Messrs. (pron. mesyurz) Meeson, Addison, and Roscoe?

"And to think," as the mighty Meeson himself' would say, with

1) Hutches are coops in which rabbits, guinea-pigs and such like ǎnimals are kept or bred. Here the wòrd indicates the rooms below the level of the street in which the "tame" authors and artists have to do their work.

2) Hat-work is work with no head in it (Author's note).

3) A reader has to go throü(gh) the man'ūscripts offered to the pŭblisher and to give advice' about' their merits.

4) An item is a separate article or particular in a bill; here contemp'tuously used of the employés (é a) indicated by numbers.

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5) Richer than any miser could ever hope to become. "Beyond' the Dreams of Av'arice" is the title of a novel by Sir W. Besǎnt.

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