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the horizon. But how large the sun appears, just as it sets! I think it seems twice as big as when it is over head.
Tutor. It does so; and you may probably have observed the same apparent enlargement of the moon at its rising.
William. I have; but pray what is the reason of this?
Tutor. It is an optical deception, depending upon principles which I cannot well explain to you, till you know more of that branch of science. But what a number of new ideas this afternoon's walk has afforded you ! I do not wonder that you found it amusing; it has been very instructive too. Did you see nothing of all these sights, Robert ?
Robert. I saw some of them, but I did not take particular notice of them.
Tutor. Why not?
Robert. I do not know. I did not care about them; and I made thu best of my way home.
Tutor. That would have been right, if you had been sent on a message; but, as you only walked for amusement, it would have been wiser to have sought out as many sources of it as possible. But so it is; one man walks through the world with his eyes open, and another with them shut; and upon this difference depends all the superiority of knowledge the one acquires above the other. I have known sailors who had been in all the quarters of the world, and could tell you nothing but the signs of the tippling-houses they frequented in the different ports, and the price and quality of the liquor. On the other hand, a Franklin could not cross the Channel without making some observations useful to mankind. While many a vacant, thoughtless youth, is whirled throughout Europe, without gaining a single idea worth crossing a street for; the observing eye and inquiring mind find matter of improvement and delight, in every ramble in town and country. Do you, then, William, continue to make use of your eyes; and you, Robert, learn that eyes were given you to use.
The preceding dialogue, if it has been attentively read, will probably enable the young student to write simple dialogues or conversations, similar to that presented in the following
DIALOGUE BETWEEN CHARLES AND HENRY, ABOUT DOGS.
Charles. Whose dog is that, Henry, which I saw in your yard yesterday?
Henry. He belongs to my uncle, who bought him, when he was very young, of a poor boy in the street. The boy appeared very destitute, and uncle bought him rather out of compassion for the boy, than because he wanted the dog.
Charles. Is he good for any thing, - has he been trained?
Henry. O yes; he is a very valuable animal. Uncle would not sell him at any price. He is an excellent water
dog, and knows more than many boys of his own age. The other morning he was sitting in a chair at the window, from which he had been accustomed to look at the boys, as they were playing in the street, and, finding that he could not see through the window, on account of the frost on the glass, he applied his warm tongue to one of the panes, and, licking the frost from the glass, attempted to look out; but, the spot which he had cleared being only large enough to admit one eye, he immediately made another, in the same manner, for the other eye, by which he was enabled to enjoy the sight as usual.
Charles. That was very remarkable. But your uncle did not teach him to do that.
Henry. No; that was rather an operation of instinct than of training. But he will carry bundles, stand on two legs, find articles that are hidden, fetch things from the water, and is also well trained for hunting.
Charles. He is a water-dog, then, is he not?
Henry. O yes. He is very fond of the water himself, but will not allow others to go into it. Uncle has a fine situation at Nahant, on the water's edge, and many of his friends go there to bathe. But uncle is obliged to tie up Guido, the dog, when any one wishes to bathe; for the animal will not allow any one to go into the water, if he can prevent it.
Charles. That is very selfish in him. What do you suppose is the reason that he is unwilling that others should enjoy a thing, of which, you say, he is himself so very fond ?
Henry. O, he has a good reason for that, as well as for every thing else he does. The reason is, that, one day, my little brother, George, was standing on a kind of wharf, built of stones, near the bathing place, and, happening to stoop over too far to look at some eels, that were gliding through the water below, he lost his balance and fell in. Nobody was near but Guido, and he immediatety jumped into the water, and held George up by the collar till some one came to his assistance. When the servant man, John, came to help George out of the water, Guido had nearly dragged him to the shore; but he found it rather hard work, for George is very fleshy, and, of course, quite heavy; and, although Guido has a good opinion of himself, and doubts not his ability to drag any one else out of the water, yet he reasons very
soundly, and thinks it much less trouble to prevent people from going into the water, than to drag them out when they have got in.
Charles. No wonder that your uncle values him ; he is certainly a very valuable dog.
Henry. O, I could tell you a hundred stories about him, which would surprise you. The other day, George brought home a bundle from Miss Farrar's, for my sister Caroline, which he threw down on a chair in the entry, and then ran off to play. Caroline was in her chamber, and, hearing George come in, spoke to him from her room, not knowing that he had gone out, and requested him to bring it up stairs. Guido was lying on the rug by the fire in the parlor, and, hearing Caroline call for the bundle, immediately jumped up, and, taking the bundle in his mouth, carried it up stairs and dropped it at Caroline's feet.
Charles. I should be very happy to have such a dog, but mother is so afraid of a dog's running mad and biting us children, that she will not allow us to keep one.
Henry. Father says, that there is no fear of a dog's running mad, if he has plenty of water. He says, that the reason that we so seldom hear of a dog's running mad here in Boston is, because water is plenty here, and dogs can always get at it, if they have once found their way to the Frog Pond on the Common.
Charles. What is the name of that disease which people have who are bitten by mad dogs ?
Henry. It is called hydrophobia, which is a Greek word, and means “fear of water.” Dogs, when they are mad, cannot bear the sight of water; they will not drink ; and therefore, whenever a dog will drink, you may be sure that he is not mad. When a person is bitten by a mad, or rabid animal, he expresses the same dread of water, and hence the disease is called, as I said, hydrophobia.
Charles. I thank you, Henry, for giving me all this information. I shall tell it all to mother, and as I have often heard her say, that your father is a very sensible man, perhaps she may overcome her fear of hydryphobia, and allow brother James and me to keep a dog.
In the same manner the learner may write a simple dialogue about the Following sabjects: A cat. A walk.
A Sunday School exA fox. A pair of skates.
A holiday visit.
An evening party.
The celebration of an A sled.
A new year's present.. : anniversary. An evening party. A walk about the city. A visit to a printing A sleigh-ride. An excursion into the woods. office.
Sentences consist of words, and words are used to express thoughts or ideas. The ideas which they express depend on their connexion with other words. Sometimes the same word will signify an action, an object, a quality, or an attribute. Thus, in the sentence “I shall present the book to Charles," the word "present” signifies an action. If I say “the book will then be a present,” the word “present” will signify an object, and is a noun or .name. But, if the sentence be, “ Charles must be present when the book is given,” the word “present” will signify an attribute, and is an adjective.
The proper use of words, and the correct understanding of them, constitutes one of the greatest difficulties in written language. It is therefore highly important that every writer be careful to use the proper word to express the idea which he wishes to communicate; and when he is required to use a word, that he endeavor thereby to express no other idea than that, which the word is intended to convey.
The Dictionary is however a very unsafe guide to the proper signification of words, because their meaning is so maerially affected by the connexion in which they stand.
There are many words, the sound of which is exactly similar to the sound of other words that are spelt very differently. In using such words there is little danger of their being mistaken the one for the other, because, as has just been said, we are guided by the connexion in which they stand. But in writing them, many mistakes are frequently made, on account of the want of early attention to the subject of orthography. The object of this lesson is to afford an exercise in the use of such words as are both sounded and spelt alike, and of those which have the same sound and are spelt differently.
The remark may here be made that the change of a single letter, or the removal of the accent, frequently alters the entire character of a word. Thus the words advise and practise, which are verbs, expressing an action, by the change of the letter s to c, become practice, and advice, which are nouns. Again, the words comment', increase', are verbs; while com'ment, in'crease, &c. are nouns. In the use of such words, the student should be accustomed to note the word, in his early exercises, by the proper accent.
“I saw with some surprise that the Muses, whose business was to cheer and encourage those who were toiling up the ascent, would often sing in the bowers of pleasure, and accompany those who were enticed away at the call of the passions. They accompanied them, however, but a little way, and always forsook them when they lost sight of the hill. The tyrants then doubled their chains upon the unhappy captives, and led them away without resistance, and almost with their own assent, to the cells of Ignorance or the mansions of misery."
Johnson, slightly altered.
“ The bold design
Milton, Paradise Lost, B. 2d.