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required was 7i>a/er and not waiter. The second attempt resulted in
. . . , and when I said that this also was wrong, my poor pupil looked
the very picture of despair, but took heart again as soon as he thoroughly
saw that . . . was the proper representative of this word. I next tried
him with anger, which I well knew would prove a snare. The first effort
produced ..." Now, sir, what do you say to that ? " said he. as, with
a self-satisfied air, he submitted the word to my inspection. " Why. that
it spells ang-er, and not anger." After pronouncing the word slowly he
convinced himself that the letter fc was required in the last syllable. "I
have it," said he, nearly lumping from his seat as he made the discovery;
and then squaring his arms, he stooped over his book, and wrote . .
" Try once more," I said, " and you will probably succeed ; but remember
the word is not ang-er, nor an-ger, as you have written it, but ang-ger."

How I Taught Simon Phonography,
an-ger V^ | I ang-ger x"

6 7

> Southampton /


/U \ > x L ^'"tLx > r *^' ^* zw 5 r *>'*^ x (rV^

Simon is not the only person who has experienced a difficulty in perceiving
that tho.^in this word really plays a double part, being required alike for
the end of the first syllable and the beginning of the second. The case is
analogous to the // in Southampton, which really belongs both to the first
and u'rond syllables. Pupils may generally be assisted in their apprehen-
sion of this peculiarity by contrasting such words as singer anAfinger, the
former of which only requires the letter ... to represent the rig, while
the latter needs the addition of the . . ., being pronounced fing-ger.
In some parts of England these words are pronounced alike, the g being
retained in both : and it is not uncommon to hear ring, thing, bring, and
similar words pronounced riyg, fhiyg, briyg. Simon had not acquired
this provincialism, and with a little labor came to see that the proper
method of writing anger was . . . To test his appreciation of the sound
T asked him next to write danger. It would not have surprised me to see
him write it . . . , and I was not a little pleased when, after a few min-

68 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

unknown, unnecessary, innate

utes' consideration, he wrote the word . . . "Words of this class, with
similar longhand spellings, but different pronunciations, usually form
excellent tests of the pupil's apprehension of the sounds to be expressed.
Probably three persons out of four, in writing the words tinker, anchor,
for the first time express them . , never suspecting for a moment that

the n in such words has the sound of ng. t

A frequent source of error with Simon was the unnecessary doubling of
consonants, which led him to write buffer . . . , caff If . . . , coffee
. . . , and so on, following the longhand spelling When he had over-
come this tendency, he took a start in the opposite direction, and one day
he pointed out to me an error which he thought he had discovered in one
of the phonographic publications where the word unknown was written
. . . , he contending that, upon the principle I had laid down as to the
duplication of consonants, it should be ... I pointed out that in such
words as unkn<rwn, unnecessary, innate, the two n's are distinctly
sounded, and should therefore be expressed, while in penny, baffle, etc.,
I only one of the two consonants is heard.

How I Taught Simon Phonography,



It was a long- time before Simon acquired the habit of omitting the
silent e at the end of words, and in one instance its insertion led to a very
ludicrous error. He was writing the sentence, " The soul went to heaven
and the body to the grave," which he rendered, " The soul went to heaven
and .the body to the gravy .'" Simon had not a ready perception of the
ludicrous, but when I asked him why he had made the body go to the
gravy, I thought he would have rolled off his seat in his convulsions of
laughter. He never wrote a silent e afterwards. Now and then, however,
silent consonants would creep into his writing in spite of many warnings ;
thus calf would be written . .' . , and psalm .

But these and many other similar difficulties were overcome by perseve-
rance, and at the end of six months he had really made a fair amount of
progress. He could write the Corresponding Style with tolerable ease
and accuracy. I directed him to read a great deal, so that he might

yo Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.



Y-^_* 1_ ^ N J


7F// yo? Jtacc

the goodness to say " N ^~ X \_^J" 1 am of opinion ; "b'Tx
understood. / _l ^V^" j 5 ^ i </

become familiar with the usual forms of words, and to copvthe best speci-
mens he could obtain ; this constant practice was the only mode of sup-
plying his natural defect in regard to the perception of the sounds of which
the words were composed. He was very anxious to commence the Re-
porting Style. I restrained his impatience as long as I was able ; but one
day he informed me that he had been learning the reporting grammalogues
and contractions, and knew them nearly all, and that he had been trying
his hand at phraseography. I asked him to show me some of his writing,
and he handed me a copy of a letter containing some such charming com-
binations as these : . . . , which he informed me was intended for will
you have the goodness fo say ; . . . , I am of opinion ; . . . , this must
be understood. He had apparently proceeded upon the plan of joining
every word that was physically capable of uniting with another, and the
result of course was a series of totally incomprehensible symbols. I
utterly forbade the use of phraseography except in the very simplest forms,
as in the phrases I have, you will, and restricted the use of the reporting

How I Taught Simon Phonography.

* 9


grammalogues and contractions to a few of the most common and useful.
Phraseography is a most valuable aid to the advanced phonographer, but
it is terribly abused by many beginners who generally take much longer
time in jerking out inconvenient and illegible joinings than would be
occupied in writing the words separately. Simon was deeply aggrieved to
find his wings clipped, but admitted the justice of my prohibition as soon
as he found that after the interval of a. day or two he was unable to deci-
pher some of the phrases on which he had specialty prided himself. He
came afterwards to understand that aphraseogram, to be worth anything,
must, as a rule, consist of easy and fluent joinings, and not be liable to be
read for a single word, or another phrase, and that the words should have
a close relation to each other.

After about a twelvemonth's hard practice Simon had overcome all the
theoretical difficulties of the system, and had acquired a practical famili-
arity with it far exceeding my expectations. Not that he was by any
means a swift writer. Ho could take a note of a very slow speaker, and
transcribe it with tolerable accuracy, always supposing that there was

Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

N '


" f '

nothing unusual in the stj'le of composition ; a moderate speaker would
leave him far behind, while a rapid one would bewilder his faculties, and
give him a headache for a week. He has never regretted the many pa-
tient hours which he devoted to the practice of Phonograph}- ; the disci-

Eline certainly had the effect of stimulating his intellectual powers, and
is stenographic acquirements, though limited, have been, to my own
knowledge, the means of his obtaining a situation which he fills with
credit, and which brings him a larger income than he could have hoped to
receive under other circumstances.

" Can 3'ou recommend me a good reporter ? " said an editor of a coun-
try paper to me a few weeks ago ; " I have had no fewer than six during
the last twelvemonth, and not one of them suits me."

" I am afraid," I said, "that you are not easily satisfied, or you are not
sufficiently liberal in your remuneration. Do you want an Admirable
Crichton at thirty shillings a week?"

"Not at all," replied my friend; "I am neither unreasonable in my
requirements, nor mean in my scale of payment. I offer 120 a year to
begin with, with the prospect" of a gradual advance say up to 200 for a
really good hand."

"May I ask'what your difficulty has been ? What have been the special
shortcomings of the reporters whom you have tried ? "

-. " They have been various. My first reporter came to me with fair re-
commendations, and I expected great things from him. He was a fairly
skilful shorthand %vriter, and a pattern of industry. I have known him sit
up all night writing out his notes when there was not the slightest occasion
for it. I believe he would have filled the paper with his reports evervweek
without grumbling. Hut he could never summarize. He prided himself
upon his literal exactness, and it was a positive grief to him to omit a
single sentence. As to fusing three or four sentences into one he was
simply incapable of the task; and you might as well have asked him to
review a Sanscrit grammar as to give a neat resume of a long speech.

74 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

}* /d

Remonstrances were in vain. One day, just as we were going to press,
he brought me two columns of matter which were utterly useless, though
I should have been really glad of a quarter of the quantity an hour or two
earlier. This led to a rupture, and our connection ceased. 1 was so dis-
gusted with these long and dreary reports that it was almost a relief to me
to find that the next reporter I engaged could not write shorthand at all,
but managed to do his work with an abbreviated longhand ; he was a good
paragraph writer, and was in many other respects a useful hand in a news-
paper office. Knowing nothing of shorthand, he affected to despise it (a
common occurrence I have noticed among reporters), and his reports were
generally sent in in a very summary form. In most cases they suited me
well ; but now and then when some celebrity came among us whom it was
desirable to report very fully, I had the mortification of seeing a rival


aper come out with reports twice as long as my own. This led to m
rumblings, and I was obliged, I confess reluctantly, to give the repo

How I Taught Simon Phonography.


< A ^

\ L ; ) v x

his conge. His successor was a good shorthand writer, and knew how tc
summarize when necessary; he was also a good descriptive writer, anc
was great at a boat race or an agricultural show, and if ne had only been
a teetotaler he would have been a decided acquisition. At the first public
dinner he attended for the paper he became so "over-stimulated" that he
scarcely wrote a line that was intelligible, and the result was that I had to
apply to another reporter to supply me with a report. On another occa-
sion, when returning from a meeting which he had attended" in the country
he had the misfortune so he called it to lose his notebook. I was wait-
ing anxiously for his arrival as we were on the eve of going to press ; bu
when he walked into the office he told me very confidentiallv of his misad-
venture with his notes, then staggered into my chair and fell fast asleep
He signed the pledge three or four times, but only to break it within a
week. 1 could never depend upon him ; the uncertainty of his movement
made me positively ill. I resolved to make strict sobriety a sine gud not
in any future engagement I might make. My wishes in this respect wen


Leaves from ike Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

a paper just gtiinjf to press, a. couiu iiuve uornc wiiii tnis u no naa not SrT'i
his mind on converting me to some of his pet notions. Never a week

In Search of a Reporter.


there, and if I was not careful there would be a report next week of a
couple of columns of dreary talk that nobody cared to read. Happily for
me this worthy young man was promoted to the editorial chair of a maga-
zine which feebly flickered for a few months and then went out. He was
succeeded by the best reporter I ever had; but, poor fellow, he was con-
sumptive, and was obliged to leave through illness before he had been with
me throe months.

" And now," continued my friend, " you know something of the difficul-
ties with which I have had to contend. During the last fortnight I have
had to do most of the reporting myself, and I am getting tired of the work.
Besides which (to be candid), I am not cut out for it. You know now the
sort of man I want. He must be steady, sober, and trustworthy ; he must
be intelligent and well-informed; he must be a good shorthand writer; he
must be able to condense well and, if need be, rapidly; he must be a good
descriptive writer ; he must not be a pronounced social or psychological
reformer (I will be bored with no more pamphlets) ; and he must have a
good physique."

78 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

u> \v-

" If there are any other little qualifications that you would like to throw
in," I said, " say as to age, height, complexion, or manners, you had better
name them at once, so that I may know your requirements exactly."

"True," said my friend, laughing ; "and now that you mention man-
ners that reminds me of one thoroughly indispensable requisite a gentle-
manly bearing and appearance. I cannot have my paper represented by a
man who is out-at-elbows, and keeps his nails in deep mourning. I seldom
see a reporters' table now-a-days that has not one or two men around it
whose seedy appearance is a disgrace to a respectable profession. I
abominate a swell or a dandy ; you must find me a quiet dressing, gentle-
manly fellow who has moved in good society, and won't compromise the
respectability of the paper."

" Is there anything else ?" I said.

" No, I think not. What I want is a good all-round man. Getmeone,
and I shall be eternally grateful."

In Search of a Reporter.

V .

And what about the "all-round man? " I am sorry to say I have not
yet found him. The few persons whom I know at all answering to the des-
cription which my friend gave me are comfortably located, and not likely
to change : they are men who are accomplished shorthand writers, can
condense well, and write a descriptive article with facility; men who are
thoroughly trustworthy, of temperate habits, and gentlemanly bearing.

I have given a somewhat detailed report of our conversation with the
view mainly of bringing before my younger readers the qualifications
which are specially prized by newspaper conductors, and the particular
weaknesses or disqualifications which render reporters unfit for the ful-
filment of their duties. Nothing is more common than to hear a newspaper
proprietor or editor say, " Smith is a capital hand, a thoroughly competent
reporter, but we cannot depend upon him ; we are never sure that he is at
his post ; " or, " Brown is a very steady and trustworthy fellow, but he is
terribly slow, and it he has anything to report out of the ordinary' course,
he makes a complete hash of it." If a reporter desires to advance in his
profession he should endeavor to familiarise himself with all its varied

8o Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.



' V-

_~ -*-\Sfl

duties, and not be content with running in one groove all the days of his
life. I have known reporters who are never at home except when reporting
inquests ; others are only happy in the police court ; some make a special-
ity of fires ; others of sermons or religious meetings.

Of course it may well be, as in the case of every profession, that partic-
ular departments will be best filled by particular men ; but the most valued
hands will always be those w ho can take a wide range of duty. A narrow
limit is never desirable. I have known very excellent professional short-
hand writers whose ordinary practice has been in the Taw courts, not by
any means the easiest kind of reporting, and who have shrunk with a feel-
ing of something like dismay from work of a different and far easier kind.
One of this class told me that nothing distressed him so much as taking
notes at a public meeting: and I believe that he would not undertake to
report a sermon for any consideration : and this not owing to any want of
capacity, but simply because he had rarely employed his pen for such
purposes. A moderate amount of practice would have given him a rea-
sonable facility in these and other departments ; but he scarcely ever

wielded his pen outside Lincolns Inn, or Westminster Hall. Another
excellent reporter told me that he shrank from nothing so much as a sci-
entific lecture ; and perhaps to one unaccustomed to this kind of reporting
there is no department of the profession more uninviting: indeed, on some
subjects it is next to impossible to report a speaker satisfactorily without
some special knowledge of the technical terms employed. I do not mean
that it is necessary to make a study of these subjects; but the reporter
should have just sufficient acquaintance with them to be able to follow a
speaker in his mind as well as with his pen, and to be familiar at any rate
with most of the words he is likely to employ. I know a case in which a
reporter attended a clinical lecture delivered at one of the metropolitan
hospitals for the purpose of taking it down in shorthand. He wrote as far

as the words : " Gentlemen, the subject of our lecture to-day is " anc

there he stopped ! I do not remember the subject : perhaps it was " hy-
perinosis," or "hepatitis," or "emphysema;" but whatever it was, the
word rather rapidly pronounced staggered him so completely that he closec
his book and did not write another sentence.

82 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.

I never !elt more thankful for having made myself tolerably familiar with
medical and anatomical terms than when some years ago I was required to
report a dozen very technical lectures by Professor Huxley for the Lancet.
Here are a few lines from one of the lectures which may serve as a fair
specimen of the style, and which will show how difficult the task would
have been without a little preparation : " It is an utterly erroneous state-
ment to speak of the anchylosis of the primitive vertibrx in the skull.
Such things do not exist. There is a differentiation of primarily homoge-
neous cartilage into separate parts in consequence of the process of
ossification ; that is as different from anchylosis of separate parts as can
well be imagined. Then, at length, upon the under surface of the vomer
there is developed an osseous centre, not from cartilage, but from the
perichondrium surrounding the cartilage which forms the vomer : so that
you will observe there is a very important difference between the basi-oc-
cipital and the basi-sphenoid, and the presphenoid and the lamina per-
pendicularis and the vomer." " A centre of ossification appears above
the occipital foramen and constitutes the lower part of the supra occipital,

In Search of a Reporter. 8;

. r^ v<\-^~ * x ) v v / _ v
N 1 -^ V S"^ ^-' 4 - - L

> -V N- x

that is to say, all that part which lies -here beneath the torcular Herophili,
and beneath the occipital tubercle on the outer side of the occipital bone."

Matter of this very technical description of course presents unusual
difficulties to the reporter, who can hardly be expected to be au courant
with all the arts and sciences ; but if he is an expert shorthand writer, a
moderate amount of reading will render him sufficiently familiar with
them to enable him, as I have said, to follow the speaker both mentally
and verbally. A few strange words here and there will be sure to occur,
however extensive his reading may have been ; but these will not trouble
him much if he is able to write them approximately in his shorthand, since
he can then probably supply thorn by having recourse to books of refer-
ence : it is when they crowd on him thickly, so that they are more than a
match for his shorthand that they become a source of serious perplexity.

Apropos of scientific reporting let me recommend the young reporter

a i-

84 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.


<k v &

-4- : " ' L N '

who desires to test himself in this branch of his profession, or to acquire
practice therein, to attend some sectional meetings of the British Associa-
tion, and endeavor to take a full note of the proceedings. Let him select
say the anthropological, or the chemical, or the physiological section,
where polysyllables abound, and all sorts of strange theories are pro-
pounded. The programmes of some of the meetings are before me ; and
among the topics set down for discussion I find these : " On dentine of
macranchenia ; " "On Terato-embryological researches;" "Report on
the Guassian constants of terrestrial magnetism ; " ' On a function stand-
ing to Bernoulli's numbers in the relation that the Gamma function bears
to factorials." These are enough to make a reporter's hair stand on end ;
but they are thrown into the shade by some of the subjects discussed in
the chemical section. These are rarely, for obvious reasons, reported in
the papers ; and if they are noticed at all it is in some such way as in the
Following paragraph, which I extract from a local paper that gave specially
: ull reports of all that was reportable at the different meetings.

In Search of a Reporter,


" Dintrobrombenzene. Mr J. Walker, M.A., contributed a technical
paper on this subject, but since the communication was full of such words
as mononitromonobrombenzene and metamontiromouobrombenzene, we
do not imagine that a full report would be interesting to our general
readers ! ! "

Probably not ; but if a " full report " were required, say for a chemical
journal, imagine the position of the reporter who attempted to supply it
without having had some previous practice in that particular kind of re-
porting, or some special knowledge of the subject. I do not wish it to be
understood that it should'be considered a disgrace to any reporter if he
failed to report satisfactorily papers and discussions on subjects such as
I have mentioned : it would be nothing of the kind. Probably there are
but few who could accomplish the task with satisfaction to themselves and
those who employed them ; but the reporter who desires to attain distinc-
tion in his profession will endeavor to be one of these few, and so to come
under my friend's category as an all-round man.

86 Leaves from the Note-Book of T. A. Reed.


; V

Tbat depends. There is reporting and reporting ; there are reporters
and reporters, and the differences are very wide indeed. There is the
reporter who sits all day in a police court, and is occupied in recording
cases of assault, petty larceny, and the like ; and there is the reporter who
sits aloft in what somebody has called his " airy supremacy" in the Gal-
lery (there is but one place of that name among reporters,) chronicling
the legislative proceedings of his country, and it may be, taking liberties
with the utterances of a prime minister or a lord chancellor. There is the
descriptive reporter, who is sent out on special occasions where his ready
flow of words will enable him to fill his two or three columns of readable
matter; and there is the junior hand in a small provincial town, whose
most exciting employment is reporting an inquest or a tea meeting. And
between these there are innumerable gradations, presenting every variety
of occupation that can be brought under the generic term, reporting.

Is it possible, then, to give a simple answer to the question we have

Is Reporting a Desirable Profession f 87

-^ \ <^\ V^/j x

( - I v^ '

i r \

placed at the head of this article? In a profession embracing such a
variety of aspects it is inevitable that some of them should be agreeable,
and others the reverse ; and it is more than likely as to others that they
will be regarded differently in point of attractiveness, according to the
proclivities and abilities of the reporters themselves. I have heard it said
of a member of the "lining" fraternity that he was never so supremely
happy as when riding on a fire-engine to the scene of a fire 1 mean a
" conflagration " a position that would present but little attraction to
the quiet-going young man who has well worked up his shorthand, and
who is never better pleased than when engaged on a good stiff job of note-
taking. So that it is not so easy to answer the question in a few words.

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