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Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

. (page 21 of 38)
Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 21 of 38)
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5 Set science, wisdom, glory, in his view,

And bade him be the lord of all below. Thomson,



EXERCISE XXXIV.

The First and the Last Dinner.

Twelve friends, much about the same age, and fixed by
their pursuits, their family connexions, and other local
interests, as permanent inhabitants of the metropolis,

10 agreed, one day, when they were drinking wine at the
Star and Garter at Richmond, to institute an annual din-
ner among themselves, under the following regulations :
That they should dine alternately at each others' houses
on the first and last day of the year ; and the first bottle

15 of wine uncorked at the first dinner should be recorked
and put away, to be drank by him who should be the last
of their number : that they should never admit a new mem-
ber ; that, when one died, eleven should meet, and when
another died ten should meet, and so on ; and when only

20 one remained, he should, on these two days, dine by him-
self, and sit the usual hours at his solitary table ; but
the first time he had so dined, lest it should be the only
one, he should then uncork the first bottle, and in the first
glass drink to the memory of all who were gone.

25 Some thirty years had now glided away, and only ten
remained ; but the stealing hand of time had written sun-
dry changes in most legible characters. Raven locks had
become grizzled ; two or three heads had not as many
locks as may be reckoned in a walk of half a mile along

30 the Regent's Canal; one was actually covered with a
brown wig ; the crow's feet were visible in the corner of the
eye ; good old port and warm Madeira carried it against
hock, claret, red Burgundy, and champaigne ; stews, hash-
es and ragouts, grew into favor ; crusts were rarely called

35 for to relish the cheese after dinner ; conversation was less
boisterous, and it turned chiefly upon politics and the state
of the funds, or the value of landed property ; apologies
were made for coming in thick shoes and warm stockings ;



240 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxiv.

the doors and windows were more carefully provided with
list and sand-bags ; the fire is in more request ; and a quiet
game of whist filled up the hours that were wont to be
devoted to drinking, singing, and riotous merriment.
5 Two rubbers, a cup of coffee, and at home by eleven
o'clock, was the usual cry, when the fifth or sixth glass
had gone round after the removal of the cloth. At parting,
too, there was now a long ceremony in the hall — button-
ing up great coats, tying on woollen comforters, fixing silk

10 handkerchiefs over the mouth and up to the ears, and
grasping sturdy walking-canes to support unsteady feet.

Their fiftieth anniversary came, and death had indeed
been busy. Four little old men, of withered appearance
and decrepit walk, with cracked voices, and dim, rayless

J 5 eyes, sat down, by the mercy of Heaven, (as they tremu-
lously declared,) to celebrate, for the fiftieth time, the first
day of the year — to observe the frolic compact, which,
half a century before, they had entered into at the Star
and Garter at Richmond. Eight were in their graves !

20 The four that remained stood upon its confines.

Yet they chirped cheerily over their glass, though they
could scarcely carry it to their lips, if more than half full ;
and cracked their jokes, though they articulated their
words with difficulty, and heard each other with still

25 greater difficulty. They mumbled, they chattered, they
laughed, (if a sort of strangled wheezing might be called
a laugh,) and as the wine sent their icy blood in warmer
pulses through their veins, they talked of their past as if
it were but a yesterday that had slipped by them ; and of

30 their future as if it were a busy century that lay before
them.

At length came the last dinner ; and the survivor of
the twelve, upon whose head fourscore and ten winters
had showered their snow, ate his solitary meal. It so

35 chanced that it was in his house, and at his table, they

celebrated the first. In his cellar, too, had remained, for

more than fifty years, the bottle they had then uncorked,

recorked, and which he was that day to uncork again.

It stood beside him. With a feeble and reluctant grasp,

40 he took the " frail memorial " of a youthful vow, and for a
moment memory was faithful to her office. She threw
open the long vista of buried years ; and his heart travelled
through them all. Their lusty and blithesome spring, —
their bright and fervid summer, — their ripe and temperate



EX. XXXV.J RHETORICAL READLNG. 241

autumn, — their chill, but not too frozen winter. He saw,
as in a mirror, one by one, the laughing companions of
that merry hour at Richmond had dropped into eternity.
He felt the loneliness of his condition, (for he had eschewed
5 marriage, and in the veins of no living creature ran a drop
of blood whose source was in his own,) and as he drained
the glass which he had filled, " to the memory of those
who were gone," the tears slowly trickled down the deep
furrows of his aged face.

10 He had thus fulfilled one part of his vow; and he pre-
pared himself to discharge the other, by sitting the usual
number of hours at his desolate table. With a heavy
heart he resigned himself to the gloom of his own thoughts;
a lethargic sleep stole over him — his head fell upon his

15 bosom — confused images crowded into his mind — he bab-
bled to himself — was silent — and when his servant en-
tered the room, alarmed by a noise which he heard, he
found his master stretched upon the carpet at the foot of
the easy-chair, out of which he had slipped in an apoplec-

20 tic fit. He never spoke again, nor once opened his eyes,
though the vital spark was not extinct till the following
day. And this was the last dinner. — Aiumymous.



EXERCISE XXXV.
Bay. — A Pastoral, in three parts.

MORNING.

In the barn the tenant cock,
Close to Partlett perched on high,
25 Briskly crows, (the shepherd's clock I)

Jocund that the morn is nigh.

Swiftly from the mountain's brow
Shadows, nursed by night, retire;
And the peeping sunbeam, now,
30 Paints with gold the village spire.

Philomel forsakes the thorn,
Plaintive where she prates at night ;
And the lark, to meet the morn.
Soars beyond the shepherd's sight.
35 From the low-roofed cottage ridge.

See the chattering swallow spring ;
21



242 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxv

Darting through the one arched bridge,
Quick she dips her dappled wing.
Now the pine-tree's waving top
Gently greets the morning gale ;
5 Kidlings now begin to crop

Daisies on the dewy dale.

From the balmy sweets, uncloyed,
(Restless till her task be done,)
Now the busy bee 's employed
10 Sipping dew before the sun.

Trickling through the creviced rock,
Where the limpid stream distils,
Sweet refreshment waits the flock,
When 't is sun-drove from the hills.
15 Colin 's for the promised corn

(Ere the harvest hopes are ripe)
Anxious ; while the huntsman's horn,
Boldly sounding, drowns his pipe.

Sweet ! oh sweet, the warbling throng,
20 On the white emblossomed spray !

Nature's universal song
Echoes to the rising day.

NOON.

Fervid on the glittering flood

Now the noontide radiance glows ;
25 Drooping o'er its infant bud.

Not a dew-drop 's left the rose.
By the brook the shepherd dines,

From the fierce meridian heat

Sheltered by the branching pines,
30 Pendant o'er his grassy seat.

Now the flock forsakes the glade,

Where unchecked the sunbeams fall.

Sure to find a pleasing shade

By the ivied abbey wall.
35 Echo, in her airy round.

O'er the river, rock and hill,

Cannot catch a single sound,

Save the clack of yonder mill.
Cattle court the zephyrs bland,
40 Where the streamlet wanders cool.

Or with languid silence stand

Midway in the marshy pool.



EI. XXXV.J RHETORICAL READING. 243

But from mountain, dell, of stream,
Not a fluttering zephyr springs ;
Fearful lest the noontide beam
Scorch its soft, its silken wings.
5 Not a leaf has leave to stir.

Nature 's lulled, serene and still;
Quiet e'en the shepherd's cur.
Sleeping on the heath-clad hill.
Languid is the landscape round,
10 Till the fresh descending shower,

Grateful to the thirsty ground,
Raises every fainting flower.

Now the hill, the hedge, are green.
Now the warblers' throats in tune ;
16 Blithesome is the verdant scene,

Brightened by the beams of noon '

EVENING.

O'er the heath the heifer strays
Free (the furrowed task is done ;)
Now the village windows blaze,
20 Burnished by the setting sun.

Now he sets behind the hill,
Sinking from a golden sky :
Can the pencil's mimic skill
Copy the refulgent dye ?
25 Trudging as the ploughmen go,

(To the smoking hamlet bound,)
Giant-like their shadows grow,
Lengthened o'er the level ground.

Where the rising forest spreads
30 Shelter for the lordly dome,

To their high-built airy beds.
See the rooks returning home !

As the lark, with varied tune,
Carols to the evening loud,
35 Mark the mild resplendent moon,

Breaking through a parted cloud !

Now the hermit owlet peeps
From the barn or twisted brake,
And the blue mist slowly creeps,
40 Curling on the silver lake.

As the trout, in speckled pride,
Playful from its bosom springs,



244 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxvi*

To the banks a ruffled tide
Verges in successive rings.

Tripping through the silken grass,
O'er the path-divided dale,
6 Mark the rose-complexioned lass

With her well-poised milking-pail !
Linnets with unnumbered notes,
And the cuckoo bird with two,
Tuning sweet their mellow throats,
10 Bid the setting sun adieu. — Cunningham.



EXERCISE XXXVI.

Little Paul Domhey's Introduction into a Select Fashionable
School.

Doctor Blimber's establishment was a great hot-house,
in which there was a forcing apparatus incessantly at work.
All the boys blew before their time. No matter what a
young gentleman was intended to bear, Doctor Blimber

15 made him bear to pattern, somehow or other. This was
all very pleasant and ingenious, but the system of forcing
was attended with its usual disadvantages. There was
not the right taste about the premature productions, and
they did n't keep well.

20 The Doctor *was a portly gentleman in a suit of black,
with strings at his knees, and stockings below them. He
had a bald head, highly polished; a deep voice; and a
chin so very doable, that it was a wonder how he ever
managed to shave into the creases. He had likewise a

25 pair of little eyes that were always half shut up, and a
mouth that was always half expanded into a grin, as if he
had, that moment, posed a boy, and were waiting to convict
him from his own lips.

The Doctor's was a mighty fine house, fronting the sea.

30 Not a joyful style of house within, but quite the contrary.
Sad-colored curtains, whose proportions were spare and
lean, hid themselves despondently behind the windows.
The tables and chairs were put away in rows, like figures
in a sum ; fires were so rarely lighted in the rooms of

35 ceremony, that they felt like wells, and a visitor represented
the bucket ; the dining-room seemed the last place in the
world where any eating or drinking was likely to occur ;



EX. XXXVI.] RHETORICAL READING. 245

there was no sound through all the house hut the tickingf
of a great clock in the hall, which made itself audible in
the very garrets ; and sometimes a dull crying of young
gentlemen at their lessons, like the murmurings of an as-
5 semblage of melancholy pigeons.

Miss Blimber, too, although a slim and graceful maid,
did no soft violence to the gravity of the house. There
was no light nonsense about Miss Blimber. She kept her
hair short and crisp, and wore spectacles. She was dry

10 and sandy with working in the graves of deceased lan-
guages. None of your live languages for Miss Blimber.
They must be dead — stone dead, — and then Miss Blim-
ber dug them up like a Ghoule.

Mrs. Blimber, her mamma, was not learned herself, but

15 she pretended to be, and that did quite as well. She said
at evening parties, that if she could have known Cicero,
she thought she could have died contented. It was the
steady joy of her life to see the Doctor's young gentlemen
go out walking, unlike all other young gentlemen, in the

20 largest possible shirt collars, and the stiffest possible cravats.
It was so classical, she said.

As to Mr. Feeder, B.A., Doctor Blimber's assistant, he
was a kind of human barrel-organ, with a little list of tunes
at which he was continually working, over and over again,

25 without any variation. He might have been fitted up with
a change of barrels, perhaps, in early life, if his destiny
had been favorable ; but it had not been ; and he had only
one, with which, in a monotonous round, it was his occu-
pation to bewilder the young ideas of Doctor Blimber's

30 young gentlemen.

The young gentlemen were prematurely full of carking
anxieties. They knew no rest from the pursuit of stony-
hearted verbs, savage noun-substantives, inflexible syntactic
passages, and ghosts of exercises that appeared to them in

35 their dreams.

Under the forcing system, a young gentleman usually
took leave of his spirits in three weeks. He had all the
cares of the World on his head in three months. He con-
ceived bitter sentiments against his parents or guardians,

40 in four ; he was an old misanthrope, in five ; envied Quin-
tius Curtius that blessed refuge in the earth, in six ; and
at the end of the first twelvemonth had arrived at the con-
clusion, from which he never afterwards departed, that all
the fancies of the poets, and lessons of the sages, were a
21*



246 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxvi,.

mere collection of words and grammar, and had no other
meaning in the world. But he went on, blow, blow, blow-
ing, in the Doctor's hot-house, all the time; and the Doctor's
glory and reputation were great, when he took his wintry
5 growth home to his relations and friends.

Upon the Doctor's door-steps, one day, Paul Dombey
stood with a fluttering heart, and with his small right hand
in his father's. " Now, Paul," said Mr. Dombey, exultingly.
" This is the way indeed to be Dombey and Son, and have

10 money. You are almost a man already." — "Almost,"
returned the child. Even his childish agitation could not
master the sly and quaint yet touching look, with which
he accompanied the reply. It brought a vague expression
of dissatisfaction into Mr. Dombey's face; but the door

15 being opened, it was quickly gone.

" Doctor Blimber is at home, I believe ?" said Mr. Dom-
bey. The man said yes ; and as they passed in, looked
at Paul as if he were a little mouse, and the house were a
trap.

20 The Doctor was sitting in his portentous study, with a
globe at each knee, books all round him, Homer over the
door, and Minerva on the mantel-shelf. " And how do you
do, sir," he said to Mr. Dombey, " and how is my little
friend ? " Grave as an organ was the Doctor's speech ;

25 and when he ceased, the great clock in the hall seemed (to
Paul at least) to take him up, and to go on saying, " how,
is, my, lit, tie, friend, how, is, my, lit, tie, friend," over and
over and over again.

The little friend being something too small to be seen at

80 all from where the Doctor sat, over the books on his table,
the Doctor made several futile attempts to get a view of
him round the legs; which Mr. Dombey perceiving, re-
lieved the Doctor from his embarrassment by taking Paul
up in his arms, and sitting him on another little table over

35 against the Doctor, in the middle of the room.

" Ha ! " said the Doctor, leaning back in his chair, with
his hand in his breast. " Now I see my little friend.
How do you do, my little friend ? " The clock in the hall
would n't subscribe to this alteration in the form of words,

40 but continued to repeat, " how, is, my, lit, tie, friend, how,
is, my, lit, tie, friend I " " Very well, I thank you, sir,"
returned Paul, answering the clock quite as much as the
Doctor.

" Ha ! " said Dr. Blimber. " Shall we make a man of



EX. XXXVI. RHETORICAL RE.VDING. ^47

him ? " — " Do you hear, Paul," added Mr. Dombey ; Paul
being silent. — " Shall we make a man of him ?" repeated
the Doctor. — "I had rather be a child," replied Paul. —
" Indeed ! " said the Doctor. " Why ?"
5 The child sat on the table looking at him, with a curious
expression of suppressed emotion in his face, and beating
one hand proudly on his knee, as if he had the rising tears
beneath it, and crushed them. But his other hand strayed
a little way the while, a little further — further from him

10 yet — until it lighted on the neck of Florence. "This is
why," it seemed to say, and then the steady look was
broken up and gone ; the working lip was loosened ; and
the tears came streaming forth. "Never mind," said the
Doctor, blandly nodding his head. " Ne-ver mind; we

15 shall substitute new cares and new impressions, Mr. Dom-
bey, very shortly. You would still wish my little friend
to acquire — " — "Everything, if you please. Doctor,"
returned Mr. Dombey, firmly.

" Yes," said the Doctor, who, with his half-shut eyes,

20 and his usual smile, seemed to survey Paul with the sort
of interest that might attach to some choice little animal
he was going to stuff. " Yes, exactly. Ha ! We shall
impart a great variety of information to our little friend,
and bring him quickly forward, I dare say. I dare say.

25 Quite a virgin soil, I believe you said, Mr. Dombey ? "

" Except some ordinary preparation at home, and from
this lady," replied Mr. Dombey, introducing Mrs. Pipchin,
who instantly communicated a rigidity to her whole mus-
cular system, and snorted defiance beforehand, in case the

30 Doctor should disparage her ; " except so far, Paul has, as
yet, applied himself to no studies at all."

Dr. Blimber inclined his head, in gentle tolerance of such
insignificant poaching as Mrs. Pipchin's, and said he was
glad to hear it. It was much more satisfactory, he observed,

35 rubbing his hands, to begin at the foundation. And again
he leered at Paul, as if he would have liked to tackle him
with the Greek alphabet on the spot.

" That circumstance, indeed, Doctor Blimber," pursued
Mr. Dombey, glancing at his little son, " and the interview

40 I have already had the pleasure of holding with you, ren-
ders any further explanation, and consequently any further
intrusion on your valuable time, so unnecessary, that — "
" Permit me," said the Doctor, " one moment. Allow me
to present Mrs. Blimber and my daughter, who will be



248 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxvi.

associated with the domestic life of our young pilgrim to
Parnassus."

" Mrs. Blimber," for the lady, who had perhaps been in
waiting, opportunely entered, followed by her daughter,
5 that fair Se-xton in spectacles, " Mr. Dombey. My daugh-
ter Cornelia, Mr. Dombey. Mr. Dombey, my love," pur-
sued the Doctor, turning to his wife, "is so confiding as
to — do you see our little friend ? " Mrs. Blimber, in an
excess of politeness, of which Mr. Dombey was the object,

10 apparently did not, for she was backing against the little
friend, and very much endangering his position on the
table. But, on this hint, she turned to admire his classical
and intellectual lineaments, and turning again to Mr.
Dombey, said, with a sigh, that she envied his dear son.

15 " Like a bee, sir," said Mrs. Blimber, with uplifted eyes,
" about to plunge into a garden of the choicest flowers, and
sip the sweets for the first time. Virgil, Horace, Ovid,
Terence, Plautus, Cicero. What a world of honey have
we here ! It may appear remarkable, Mr. Dombey, in one

20 who is a wife — the wife of such a husband — " — " Hush,
hush ! " said Doctor Blimber. " Fie, for shame ! " — " Mr.
Dombey will forgive the partiality of a wife," said Mrs.
Blimber, with an engaging smile. Mr. Dombey answered
" Not at all : " applying those words, it is to be presumed,

25 to the partiality, and not to the forgiveness.

" And it may seem remarkable in one who is a mother,
also," resumed Mrs. Blimber. — " And such a mother," ob-
served Mr. Dombey, bowing, with some confused idea of
being complimentary to Cornelia. — " But really," pursued

30 Mrs. Blimber, " I think if I could have known Cicero, and
been his friend, and talked with him in his retirement at
Tusculum, (beau-ti-ful Tusculum !) I could have died con-
tented."

A learned enthusiasm is so very contagious, that Mr.

35 Dombey half believed that this was exactly his case ; and
even Mrs. Pipchin, who was not, as we have seen, of an
accommodating disposition generally, gave utterance to a
little sound between a groan and a sigh, as if she would
have said that nobody but Cicero could have proved a last-

40 ing consolation under that failure of the Peruvian mines,
but that he indeed would have been a very Davy-lamp of
refuge.

Cornelia looked at Mr. Dombey through her spectacles,
as if she would have liked to crack a few quotations with



EX. XXXVI.] RHETORICAL READING. 249

him from the authority in question. But this design, if
she entertained it, was frustrated by a knock at the room-
door. "Who is that?" said the Doctor. " Oh ! come in,
Toots ; come in. Mr. Dombey, sir." Toots bowed.
5 " Quite a coincidence !" said Doctor Blimber. " Here we
have the beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega.
Our head boy, Mr. Dombey."

The Doctor might have called him their head and
shoulders boy, for he was at least that much taller than

10 any of the rest. He blushed very much at finding himself
among strangers, and chuckled aloud. *' An addition to
our little Portico, Toots," said the Doctor ; " Mr. Dombey's
son." Young Toots blushed again ; and finding, from a
solemn silence which prevailed, that he was expected to

15 say something, said to Paul, " How are you ? " in a voice
so deep, and a manner so sheepish, that if a lamb had
roared it could n't have been more surprising.

" Ask Mr. Feeder, if you please. Toots," said the Doctor,
"to prepare a few introductory volumes for Mr. Dombey's

20 son, and to allot him a convenient seat for study. My dear,
I believe Mr. Dombey has not seen the dormitories." — " If
Mr. Dombey will walk up stairs," said Mrs. Blimber, " I
shall be more than proud to show him the dominions of
the drowsy god." With that, Mrs. Blimber, who was a

25 lady of great suavity, and a wiry figure, and who wore a
cap composed of sky-blue materials, proceeded up stairs
with Mr. Dombey and Cornelia.

While they were gone, Paul sat upon the table, holding
Florence by the hand, and glancing timidly from the Doc-

30 tor round and round the room, while the Doctor, leaning
back in his chair, with his hand in his breast as usual, held
a book from him at arm's length, and read. There was
something very awful in this manner of reading. It was
such a determined, unimpassioned, inflexible, cold-blooded

35 way of going to work. It left the Doctor's countenance
exposed to view; and when the Doctor smiled auspiciously
at his author, or knit his brows, or shook his head and
made wry faces at him, as much as to say, " Don't tell me,
sir ! I know better," it was terrific.

40 Toots, too, had no business to be outside the door, osten-
tatiously examining the wheels in his watch, and counting
his half-crowns. But that did n't last long ; for Dr. Blim-
ber happening to change the position of his tight plump
legs, as if he were going to get up. Toots swiftly vanished,



250 Parker's exercises in [ex. xxxvt.

and appeared no more. Mr. Dombey and his conductress
were soon heard coming- down stairs again, talking all the
way ; and presently they reentered the Doctor's study.
"I hope, Mr. Dombey," said the Doctor, laying down

5 his book, "that the arrangements meet your approval." —
" They are excellent, sir," said Mr. Dombey. " I think
I have now given all the trouble I need, and may take
my leave. Paul, my child," — he vifent close to him as he
sat upon the table. " Good-bye." — " Good-bye, papa."

10 " I shall see you soon, Paul. You are free on Satur-
days and Sundays, you know." — "Yes, papa," returned
Paul, looking at his sister. " On Saturdays and Sun-
days." — " And you '11 try and learn a great deal here, and
be a clever man," said Mr. Dombey ; " won't you ? " — "I '11

J5 try," returned the child, wearily. — "And you'll soon be
grown up, now ! " said Mr. Dombey. — " Oh ! very soon ! "
replied the child.

After patting him on the head, and pressing his small
hand again, Mr. Dombey took leave of Dr. Blimber, Mrs.

20 Blimber, and Miss Blimber, with his usual polite frigidity,



Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 21 of 38)