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EXERCISES IN READING.
%* Small figure a placed at the terminations of words in the following Exercises refer to Paragraphs in Part I., numbered with corresponding figures; the letter i n similarly placed indicate that the words thus distinguished may be fonnd in the Explanatory Index at the end of the volume.
Pupils shonld be required to attend to these marks of reference, and to answer questions from the teacher upon the information thus pointed out. To enable ikem to do this, they should have an opportunity of reading to themselves every Exercise before reading any part of it alond.
The names of the authors of pieces, althongh not designated by any mark of reference, will be found in the Explanatory Index.
I. — THE SILENT ACADEMY.
1. In Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt, there was a celebrated academy, one of the rules of which was as follows: "Members will meditate much, write little, and talk the least possible." The institution95 was known as "The Silent Academy ;" and there was not a person of any literary distinction in Egypt who was not ambitious of belonging to it.
2. Akmed, a young Egyptian of great erudition and exquisite judgment, was the author of an admirable treatise, entitled "The Art of Brevity." It was a masterpiece of condensation and precision, and he was laboring to compress it still more, when he learned, in his provincial30 seclusion, that there was a place vacant in the Silent Academy.
3. Although he had not yet completed his twenty-third year, and although a great number of competitors were intriguing for the vacant place, he went and presented himself as a candidate at the door of the celebrated academy. A crowd of gossiping loungers in the portico" speedily gathered around the taciturn stranger, and plied him, all at once, with a multitude of questions, — a species of inquisition to which new comers were generally subjected.
4. Without proffering a word in reply, Akmed proceeded directly to the object he had in view, and, approaching one of the ushers, placed in his hands a letter, addressed to the President of the august78 institution, and containing these words: "Akmed humbly54 solicits the vacant place." The usher delivered the letter at once; but Akmed and his application had arrived too late. The place was already filled.
5. By a system of intrigue and management,91 which even academies sometimes find irresistible, the favorite candidate of a certain rich man had been elected. The members of the Silent Academy were much chagrined when they learned what they had lost in consequence. The new33 member was a glib and garrulous pretender, whose verbose j-t»gon was as unprofitable as ii was wearisome; whereas Akmed, the scourge of all babblers never gave utterance to a word wnich was not sententious and suggestive.
6. How should they communi^te to the author of." The Art of Brevity" the unpleasant intelligence of the failure of his application? They were at a loss for the best mode of proceeding, when the President hit upon this expedient: he filled a goblet with water, but so full that a single drop more would have caused it to overflow. Then he mado a sign that the candidate should be introduced.
7. Akmed entered the hall, where the academicians" were all assembled. With slow and measured steps, and that genuine modesty of demeanor which ever accompanies true merit, he advanced. At his approach, the President politely rose, and, without uttering00 a word, pointed out to him, with a gesture93 of regret, the fatal token of his es*rasion.
8. Smiling at the emblem, the significance of which he at once comprehended, the young Egyptian was not in the least disconcerted. Persuaded that the admission of a supernumerary member would be productive of no harm to the academy, and would violate no essential law, he picked up a rose-leaf which he saw lying at his feet, and placed it on the surface of the water so gently that it floated without causing the slightest drop to overflow.
9. At this ingenious and readily intelligible response, a general clapping of hands spoke the applauding admiration of the assembled members of the academy. By unanimous consent they suspended their rules so as to make an exception in favor of Akmed's admission. They handed him their registry of names, and he inscribed his own name at the end
10. It now only remained for him to pronounce, according to custom, an address of thanks; but he was resolved to act consistently with that principle of the academy which enjoined the utmost parsimony of words. On the margin of the column5" where he had written his name, he traced the number 100, representing his brethren of the academy and the number to which they had been limited. Then placing a cipher before the figure 1 (thus, 0100), he wrote underneath: "Their number has been neither diminished nor increased."
11. Delighted at the laconic" ingenuity and becoming modesty of Akmed, the President shook him affectionately by the hand; and then, substituting the figure 1 for the cipher which preceded the number 100 (thus, 1100), he appended these words: "Their number has been increased ten-fold."
ORIGINAL PARAPHRASE" FROM THE FRENCH.
n.—MISCHIEFS OF FALSE PRIDE.
1. Mr. James Bcrforn, a Bristol merchant, becoming bankrupt through unforeseen misfortunes, retired into Wales while his affairs were in the way of being arranged, and there lived for some time on the small income arising from his wife's fortune, practising the greatest economy, and hopeful that as soon as he could obtain a discharge" from his creditors he would be taken into partnership by Sir James Amberry, a London merchant. Mr. Burford had a daughter, named Amelia, who was sixteen years of age, and who, having been brought up indulgently by her grandmother, could not bear to think that her father and other relations were now poor people.
2. Travelling in a stage-coach to her father's cottage, in company with three gentlemen, Amelia spoke of herself as one who still lived in affluence; talked of her maid, her little carriage, and the fine house in which her father dwelt. It chanced that two of the gentlemen were creditors of her father, and had all along suspected him of retaining much of his former means, so that they had hitherto refused to sign his discharge. Hearing his daughter talk thus, they were confirmed in their suspicions; but, to make sure, they inquired if her father was Mr. Burford, the bankrupt merchant, and if he really lived in the fine style she spoke of.
3. She would now have denied what she formerly said, if she could have done it without confessing herself to be a boasting and lying girl: not having the candor to make this confession, she repeated all she had said, and thus so completely convinced the two gentlemen of her father's dishonesty, that they not only refused to accede to his discharge, but told what they had heard to Sir James Amberry, who, in consequence, wrote to Mr. Burford, declining to take him into partnership, and stating that he had preferred another, whom he believed to be an honester man.
4. Thus had this conceited girl blighted all her father's prospects by her vanity and falsehood. Mr. Burford, though unwell, immediately proceeded to London, to clear his character; and, being unable to afford a seat in the coach, he was obliged to walk. The fatigue increased his illness, and he was laid up at an inn on the wayside in a raging fever. Meanwhile, Sir James Amberry and his lady, travelling to Wales, put up at the same inn for a night, and learning that a poor traveller was lying very ill there, they charitably went to see him.
5. Sir James was surprised to find that it was the unfortunate Burford, and still more to hear the sick man raving about the mischiefs which his daughter had brought upon him by her talk in the stage-coach. In short, an explanation was thus brought about. Sir James Amberry, convinced of his innocence,94 spared no expense to secure his recovery; and Mr. Burford was soon restored quite well to his family. But the opportunity for beginning business again as a merchant had been lost through his wicked daughter, and he afterwards was obliged to content himself with a less lucrative employment. We may thus see what dangers lurk around us when we venture on the least der arturea from truth. Mrs Opus
1 O! Timely happy, timely wise,
Hearts that with rising morn arise, —
2. New33 every morning is the love
3 New mercies, each returning day,
4. If, in our daily course, our mind
New treasures still, of countless price,
5. Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
6. The trivial round, the common task,
IV.—THE PRISONER AND THE RATS.
1. In Paris there was once a large fortress called the Bastile,1' which was used as a prison. The king, when offended with any one, caused him to be taken to the Bastile, and confined there. In this way many prisoners were kept in confinement for several years, and sometimes till the end of their lives. They were loaded with heavy chains; they were never allowed to go into the open air; and they were not permitted to see any of their relations.
2. There was once in the Bastile a prisoner named La Tude.* He was put in when twenty-three years of age, and kept there and in other prisons for thirty-five years, so. that he was quite an old man when he got free. This poor man was confined for many years in a little room where he had no company. He saw no one but the jailer who brought him his food. This was the greatest of all his afflictions, for there are few things'more necessary to happiness than the society of our fellow-creatures.
3. In La Tude's room there was no light, except what came through a horizontal slit in the wall; and, as the wall was thick, this slit was very deep. One day, as he was looking through the slit, he saw a rat come to the further end of it. Rats are creatures which human beings do not in general like to have near them; but La Tude was so solitary that he was glad of the approach of any living thing. He threw the rat a small piece of bread, taking care not to frighten it by any violent movement.9'
4. The little visitor came forward and took the bread, and
* The a as in father, the u as in uae