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ment of ideas, and when I am satisfied you fully comprehend what I have said, I shall proceed to speak of the manner of passing from one series of ideas to another.
I am, my dear boy, &c.
Coal. Its abundance - used as fuel for houses colour of-used for furnaces in smelting metals —different kinds of-where found-used for foundries-means of obtaining it-used for forges-coal mines. Source of Britain's prosperity. Depth of coal mines extentused in producing steam for locomotion by land and sea - used in the production of gas--for driving machinery -tar, lampblack, rock oil, paraffin oil, &c.
Mountain. What?—variations of temperature on it isolated or one of a group—foot or base---side summit --conical—pointed or dome shaped-usual form, when isolated, arising from the materials that compose it, source of rivers—retreat for animals, hare, roe, deer, grouse, ptarmigan, curlew, plover-rugged or smoothbare or heath-clad, or verdant, or woody-crag, precipice, cataract-breaks the clouds, causing rain-shelters countries from the winds.
QUESTIONS ON LETTER VIII. 1. What is the subject of this letter? 2. Why should a proper order be observed in presenting
several ideas ? 8. What is the effect of attending to the natural
sequence of ideas ? 4. What is the proper place in the paragraph for the
5. What advantage results from keeping till last the
strongest idea ? 6. What plan must be followed in arranging the dif
ferent series of ideas ?
ON THE METHOD OF PASSING EASILY FROM ONE SERIES OF IDEAS
My dear Boy,
We now come to speak of the Method of Passing in a Natural and Easy manner from One Series of Ideas to Another, which, although of not such vital importance as the subjects we have been considering, is nevertheless one that requires considerable attention, as for want of it the compositions of the young are often harsh and incoherent.
The definite order of ideas having once been fixed on, the several series are united by means of what are called transitions. By transition is meant the link that unites one idea with another. There are two kinds of transi. tions—transitions of ideas and transitions of words. Transitions of ideas consist of intermediate ideas, which regard as much the train of reasoning just finished, as that about to be commenced; these are, in fact, the most happy and natural transitions. Transitions of words consist merely of verbal formulas whose only value is to warn the reader that a new development is to be entered apon. The following are examples of transitions of words : *I have just shown how very wicked is your resolution, I am now going to prove to you that it is contrary to your interests ;' or, * Your resolution is not
only wicked, it is moreover contrary to your interests ;' or again, “Plainly then your resolution is a wicked one, and being so, it must also be contrary to your interests.' It may easily be seen that these formulas are capable of an indefinite variation, and are in fact nothing more than artifices of style.
The worth of these transitions depends on their shortness, as you may readily conceive, by remembering that in general, as I have just remarked, they add nothing to the idea ; and clearly we should be as brief as possible in saying that nothing. Too long transitions moreover take away from the lightness and simplicity of the style; their use is to preserve clearness in a composition, and they perform that office none the less for being brief. There is but one kind of composition where transitions may be dispensed with, and that is the epistolary; and even here a distinction is to be observed. Ordinary letters to relations are scarcely more than a familiar chat on all sorts of subjects; in this case it may happen that the transitions themselves take up half the letters. On the other hand, the subjects touched upon are sometimes so various as to require a very practised eye to detect a link between them. In conversation you know we ordinarily turn from one subject to another without the aid of transitions ; and very properly so, as it is thereby rendered more life-like, sprightly, and interesting ; it is. the same with a letter, which pleases in proportion as it contains nothing studied or artificial. As regards business letters, however, wherein are treated subjects or great moment, they conform to the common law, like a narrative, a treatise, or a discourse. These letters require exactness, method, and clearness.
Before closing my letter, I ought to tell you that in composition one rule is especially necessary to be observed, viz., to make known at the outset the subject to be treated of; to enunciate it very clearly before enlarging upon it. For want of conformity to this precept,
the reader is often left in uncertainty as to the end proposed; and no reading is more wearisome than that of a letter or work whose object is not from the beginning perceived.
I am, &c.
QUESTIONS ON LETTER IX.
1. State the subject of this letter ? 2. What fault does want of attention to this subjeet
occasion ? 3. What are the expressions termed that serve to unite
one series of ideas with another ? 4. How many kinds are there? 5. Give examples of what is meant by transitions of
words. 6. On what quality does the worth of these transitions
depend ? 7. Why is this? 8. In what kind of composition may these transitions be
dispensed with ? and why? 9. What have you to say concerning business letters ? 10. What rule especially should be observed at the
outset of a composition ? 11. Why is this necessary?
For an Exercise to this letter take No. 48 from the Subjects for Letters, commencing on page 168.
ON CLEARNESS: ITS THREE REQUISITES.Grammatical Correctness, Propriety of Terms, and
Construction of Sentences.
My dear Boy,
We come now to the second part of a writer's duty, viz., the compilation. The precepts I have hitherto been giving you, as I daresay you will have already observed, have for their aim the production of a sensible and well arranged plan, and refer almost entirely to the reflection that I said was absolutely necessary to ensure success in composition. Now the formation of this plan rests entirely on good sense ; a reasoning and judicious mind may, even without instruction, trace in a tolerably satisfactory manner the framework of a subject. The compilation of it, on the contrary, requires solid and varied attainments; and composition is not really good till after long and exact preparatory studies, which will appear evident now that I am about to give you an exposition of the precepts of style.