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hope that those who have the taste and the ability will resort to them with profit.

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Reading up beforehand is by no means advised in every case. And yet there seems to be little warrant for the objections to this practice sometimes advanced of late. The early work of nearly every great writer shows clearly that he began by conscious, if not deliberate, imitation. Still, it will be apparent from even a hasty glance into this book that style is not considered the all-important thing; it is the subject-matter of models and references that has in most cases led to their selection, even translations being admitted.

After all else is done, one thing remains for the teacher the criticism of the pupil's work. Therefore, mechanical faults and minor individual vices of style are not discussed herein. They are as numerous and as diverse as are the individual writers. Often, too, they are not matters of absolute right or wrong. Many adventitious considerations, which cannot be foreseen here, must go to settle the question.

The exercises, seventy-three in number, will furnish material for from one to four years' work, according to circumstances. They contemplate productions ranging from the simplest narration to the loftiest description, from clear, straightforward exposition to ingenious argument and eloquent persuasion. It is readily seen that exercises of this kind are not necessarily limited to pupils of any particular age or grade. In fact, the same subject which you set a ten-year old boy or girl at work upon may not be unworthy of the best effort of a literary master. Each must deal with it according to his ability.

The author's thanks are due to his collaborators in the English department of the Leland Stanford Junior University, some of whose suggestions have been used with profit in the lecture-room, and have naturally been incorporated here. Professor Genung's Rhetoric has furnished a partial basis for the arrangement and terminology, and not improbably some of the matter, of Part II.

The work owes its inception to the kindly encouragement of Mr. E. H. Woodruff, librarian of the above-named university, and formerly a very successful instructor in English at Cornell. Unfortunately, however, some of the best portions of his method could not be embodied in a work which, while aiming at a certain completeness, is after all confessedly elementary.

PALO ALTO, CAL., April 18, 1893.

PART I.

Composition Based on Experience and Observation.

Introductory: How to Find Material.

"WHAT shall I write about?" is the immediate exclamation of every one who is required to write a composition. It is an important question and cannot be answered briefly.

But first let us give a few cautions. In selecting subjects for compositions avoid in general those which are too broad and comprehensive for concise treatment; those which are difficult and abstruse, requiring the knowledge and accuracy of one long trained in methods. of scientific investigation, or the authority of a matured and logical thinker; those which have been worn out by the use and abuse of successive generations of essaywriters; those which can have no living interest for your readers or hearers; those which draw upon no personal experience, or appeal to no knowledge or taste of your own.

Thus, avoid abstract subjects, such as Patience, Perseverance, Idleness, Duty, Character, True Manhood and Womanhood, and the old triad, Faith, Hope, and Charity. You can scarcely expect to say anything new upon these topics, or even to say anything old in a new way; all the changes have been rung upon them long ago. Life and the world offer too much that is new and attractive, for us to be wasting our time on these outworn themes. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged

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