Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

once, so that in a certain sense they occupy space as well as time. An officer or soldier down in the lines would be conscious chiefly of a succession of events. After the battle he could narrate his experience, but it would be a very different account from that of the reporter on the height. Thus it comes that narration from an outside point of view is frequently termed description.

Taking this outside point of view write an account of some game you have witnessed — baseball, football, lawn tennis, croquet, anything with which you are familiar. It will be better, if you have an opportunity, to go and watch a game with this object in view. You can then make note of the most interesting points and be sure too of making an accurate report. You will of course need to understand the game well, and to have at your command all the technical terms used in it. The following account of a game of baseball is taken from the San Francisco Examiner, May 19, 1892:

WON IN ONE INNING.

CENTRAL LEAGUE TEAMS PLAY LIVELY BALL AT OAKLAND.

There was a large crowd over at the Oakland grounds yesterday afternoon at the Central California League game between the Morans of Oakland and the Haverlys of San Francisco.

The Oakland team started off with a rush, getting two men around the paths. But here their share of the run-getting stopped.

The Haverlys made one in the first and then drew blanks until the sixth, when they tied up the score. In the seventh they commenced hitting the ball hard, and before they quit five earned runs had been sent over the rubber.

The playing of the old-timers was lively and full of ginger. Pop” Swett was sick and his place was filled by Stevens, who

caught Grant in good shape. The tall sycamore of the Mission pitched like a man driving spikes and had more speed than a thoroughbred colt, retiring eleven men on strikes. His control was almost perfect, not a man going down the path on a walk except “ Josh ” Reilly, who caught one of the big pitcher's inshoots in the side and is sorry for it. Grant also hit hard and fielded his position finely. Jack Smith, old pioneer Jack, hit hard and played first base just as well as he ever did. Fudger, the man who once pitched for Stockton, made his reappearance after having been reported dead in half a dozen different sections of the country, and played a good game in right field.

For the Morans Nolan pitched good ball. Dunn played a superb game at second and Stultz handled some difficult chances at short. All in all the old-timers made it extremely pleasant and interesting for the spectators, and held the large crowd until the finish. The score : Haverlys, 7; Morans, 2.

Since baseball has taken such a firm hold on the affections of the American people, the newspapers daily give elaborate accounts of the most important games. Naturally reporters vie with one another in their endeavors to make these accounts lively and interesting. Where the same kind of subject is treated day after day, variety in style and language must above all be sought for. The result is that, in addition to the regular technical terms of the game, new ones have been invented by the score and will continue to be invented. Fantastic turns of expression, local allusions, ridiculous figures and tropes, and slang, are all employed freely. Popular taste alone —- not always the best by any means is consulted and catered to. But in our work we shall avoid these extravagances, since our chief objects just now are clearness of thought and purity of language, though of course novelty and originality of expression are always to be encouraged.

EXERCISE IX.

PHYSICAL CONTESTS. In the last exercise we dealt with a class of games to write an account of which required a certain intimate and technical knowledge. The written accounts too were intended only for those who possess a similar knowledge. The average newspaper report of a ball game is the merest jargon to an uninitiated reader. To “ write up” these games in a way that shall be interesting to the general reader is indeed a difficult task, for after all details are eliminated and all technicalities suppressed, little remains. There is, however, a class of contests, less complex in their regulations and issues, which admit of being described in general terms and which appeal to the understanding and interest of all alike. Such are almost all simple trials of strength, endurance, speed, or agility. Everyone is interested in the description of the chariot race in Ben Hur, though few have witnessed such a contest. A foot race, horse race, boat race, or any one of the contests of an athletic club's field day, will furnish good material for work of this kind.

MODEL.

Louis Doucet and Captain Cortes met face to face and crossed swords near the middle of the little street. The Spaniard knew his man. Pauline's cry of recognition a while ago had told him who was the swift-footed and handsome young leader of the French detachment. As for Doucet he knew nothing more than that an enemy worthy of his steel was before him. A voice that he had heard a few moments before had seemed to him to utter his name with a sweet tenderness that recalled in some strange way the homesickness of his first year of absence from France. It was no time for gentle reflections now; the voice could not really have called him, he thought, and the mere flash of nostalgie passed as quickly as it came. His sword rang sharp and clear on that of Cortes. The two men glared at each other, the concentrated hatred of years of war burning in their faces. They were well matched in every way.

Cortes was a trifle the taller,'but Doucet appeared rather more compactly built than his adversary. Both were sufficiently heated by their previous exertion to make their blood swift and their muscles ready.

No time was lost; the fight was desperate from the beginning, neither combatant at first thinking of anything but rushing upon and bearing down the other. Both, however, discovered very soon that it was necessary to have a care for self-defence as well as for attack. They fenced furiously and. adroitly, neither giving an inch, utterly forgetful of what was going on around them, their whole souls focused, so to speak, in the one desire to kill, and, by killing, to live.

Cortes was aware that Pauline was near by and probably looking on. The thought in some way nerved him powerfully. She should not see Louis Doucet vanquish him; he would show her that a Spaniard for once was superior to a Frenchman.

Doucet had no such extra stimulus, but his was an iron frame and his courage and coolness needed no aid when a Spaniard dared cross weapons with him. With the dexterity drawn from long practice, and with the fierce fury of young tigers thirsting for each other's blood, they struggled back and forth and round and round, while their companions, fighting quite as madly, swept on down the street leaving them to occupy the already corpsecumbered and blood-stained ground. In those days soldiers of the better class knew the use of the sword and were over-proud of the knowledge. Under the excitement and exhilaration of a hand-tohand combat the accomplished swordsman always feels that his strength is doubled ; but the peculiar circumstances attending the struggle between Cortes and Doucet added immeasurably to this feeling

Each found the other an antagonist whose vigor and swiftness made every moment a crisis and whose steadfast gaze caught in advance every motion of wrist or body.

Both men became aware presently that the cannonading had ceased and that the rattle of musketry was no longer heard. A great calm had fallen after the storm — the battle was over and the Spanish, to the number of eighteen hundred, had surrendered themselves prisoners of war.

One Spaniard, however, was not yet conquered ; one Frenchman was still battling for victory. — From In Love's Hands, by Maurice Thompson.

For additional examples read the following :

The Chariot Race. Ben Hur ; book v, chapter xiv. — Gen. Lew

Wallace. The Tournament of Prince John. Ivanhoe ; chapter vii. — Sir

Walter Scott. The Boat Race. Tom Brown at Oxford ; chapter xiii. Thomas

Ilughes. Christian's Fight with Apollyon. Pilgrim's Progress; Fourth

Stage. — John Bunyan. The Duel. The Two Captains ; chapter xviii. — Baron de la Motte

Fouqué.

The example here given and those referred to, dealing as they do with events so far removed from ordinary experience, will do little more than help one catch the spirit of this kind of work. But if they do that much it will be an ample return for the time spent in reading them. Of course a simple incident attracting only a mild interest will have to be treated with befitting simplicity. Any attempt to attach to it, by an inflated style of writing, an importance it does not possess, is certain to result in failure.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »