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CHARLES KEMBLE has been reading Shakspeare to London audiences; and it would be well if, from among the thousands who listened to him, a few could be induced to carry the practice into private life. We know of no accomplishment so valuable as that of reading “with good emphasis and discretion,"— of catching the meaning and spirit of an author, and conveying them to others with a distinct and intelligible utterance; and yet, strange to say, there is no department of modern education so much neglected. Indeed, so general is this neglect, that scarcely one young lady or gentleman in a dozen, who boast of having “finished” their education, can, on being requested, read aloud to a private company with that ease and graceful modulation, which is necessary to the perfect appreciation of the author.

There is either a forced and unnatural mouthing, a hesitating and imperfect articulation, or a monotony so thoroughly painful, that one listens with impatience, and is glad when some excuse presents itself for his absence. Whatever may be the imperfections of our school tuition, this defect is rather to be attributed to a want of taste, and consequent neglect of practice, on the part of grown-up individuals, than to any defect in their elementary training. There may be a deficiency of good models; but the main evil arises from the unequal value, which seems to be attached to good reading, as compared with music, dancing, painting, and other fashionable acquirements. Why it should be so, we can discover no good cause, but, on the contrary, see many substantial reasons why reading aloud should be cultivated as one of the most useful and attractive of domestic accomplishments.

To young ladies, for example, the habit of reading aloud has much to recommend it. As mere exercise, it is highly beneficial, on account of the strength and vigor which it confers on the chest and lungs ; while the mental pleasure, to be derived therefrom, is one of the most delightful that can adorn the family circle. Gathered round the winter's fire or evening lamp, what could be more cheerful for the aged and infirm, what more instructive to the younger branches, or more exemplary to the careless, than the reading aloud of some entertaining author? and who could do this with greater grace or more impressive effect than a youthful female ? It requires no great effort to attain this art; no neglect of music, painting, or other accomplishment; it is, in fact, more a practice than a study, and one which the interest, excited by new books and periodicals, would always prevent from becoming dull or tiresome.

Were females of all ranks to adopt the practice more than they do at present, they would bind to their homes many who are otherwise disposed to go in search of unworthy enjoyments, and would add another chain of delightful associations, wherewith to attach the young to the family hearth. Another advantage, which it would confer on the fair readers themselves, would be the improved utterance and intonation, which correci ceading would produce, instead of that simpering and lisping, which are so often to be met with even among females of the higher classes.

Nor is it to women in their domestic capacity only, that the practice of reading aloud would be attended with benefit. Many of the middle and lower classes are under the necessity of earning a livelihood by in-door employments, such as millinery, straw-plaiting, pattern-painting, and the like, and, being in general occupied in one apartment of moderate size, the reading aloud of proper books would be to them not only a source of healthful recreation, but of amusement and instruction. In such establishments, reading by turns would present a beautiful picture; and, however limited the amount of in. formation disseminated, it would, at all events, be a thousand times preferable to that system of idle and worthless gossip, which is said now to prevail.

To young men, preparing for professional labors, the art of reading aloud is indispensable; and, though not equally necessary for what are called business-men, still to such it is a becoming and valuable acquirement. Ask your son, who has lately gone to the counting-room, to read you the last debate in parliament, and ten to one he will rattle through it with a jumbling indistinctness of utterance, so that you are glad when his hour calls him away, and leaves you to the quiet enjoyment of self-perusal. And why is this? Simply because the youth has never been taught to regard reading aloud in the light of a graceful accomplishment. At school he learned to know his words, and that was so far useful; but, to read as a gentleman, in the spirit and meaning of the author, this is what he has yet to acquire, by the imitation of good models, and by frequent practice.

That the art of reading aloud is at the low ebb we mention, any one can readily convince himself, by requesting his friend to read for him the last speech of the British premier, or message of the American president. Twenty to one, he will find his friend an apt enough scholar, but a careless and indifferent enunciator one who has all along read for himself, and whose only object has been, merely to acquire the mean

ing of the works he perused. At the period of the Reform Bill, when newspapers were read by the million, it was customary, in the workshops of tailors, flax-dressers and others, for one to read aloud while the others were at work; those who could read fluently taking their turns of this duty, and those who could not, paying others who did, according to the amount of time spent in the exercise. In some instances, indeed, a reader was paid by the workmen, it being his duty to read the public debates and leading articles at so much per hour.

We have occasionally listened to such a reader (one of the workmen), and been astonished at the force and freedom of his utterance, and the manner in which he modulated his intonations, throwing himself exactly into the place of the speaker. Now, this was not the result of any superior tuition, but the effect of listening to the best public speakers, and of his daily exercise as reader to the establishment. Unfortunately, the practice to which we refer died with the excitement of the period; but we see no cause why the attention which was then given to public affairs might not be profitably directed to entertaining and instructive authors. It is true that the inquiring and studious workman will cultivate his own mind at home; but all workmen are not inquiring and studious, and the introduction of reading aloud to each other in turn, would be productive of incalculable benefit. Singing for the million is cried up on all hands;

why not reading aloud ? What Mainzer has accomplished for the one art, might be effected by Charles Kemble for the other. We have, in almost every family and workshop, evidence of what practice in concert has done for vocal music; — why not the same for reading aloud ? The one art is chiefly valued as an amusement and refining accomplishment; the other is equally entertaining, quite as necessary for the adornment of public or private life, and certainly more directly productive of utility and knowledge.

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A CERTAIN Emperor of China, on his accession to the throne of his ancestors, commanded a general release of all those, who were confined in prison for debt. Amongst that number was an old man. who had fallen an early victim to adversity, and whose days of imprisonment, reckoned by the notches which he had cut on the door of his gloomy cell, expressed the annual circuit of more than fifty suns.

With trembling limbs and faltering steps, he departed from his mansion of sorrow : his eyes were dazzled with the splendor of the light, and the face of nature presented to his view a perfect paradise. The jail, in which he had been imprisoned, stood at some distance from Pekin; and to that city he directed his course, impatient to enjoy the caresses of his wife, his children and his friends.

Having with difficulty found his way to the street, in which his decent mansion had formerly stood, his heart became more and more elated at every step he advanced. With joy he pro*ceeded, looking eagerly around; but he observed few of the objects, with which he had been formerly con'versant. A magnificent edifice was erected on the site of the house, which he had inhabited; the dwellings of his neighbors had assumed a new form; and he beheld not a single face, of which he had the least remembrance.

An aged beggar, who, with trembling knees, stood at the gate of a portico, from which he had been thrust by the inso·lent domestic, who guarded it, struck his attention. He stopped, therefore, to give him a small pittance out of the bounty, with which he had been supplied by the emperor, and received, in return, the sad tidings that his wife had fallen a lingering sacrifice to penury and sorrow; that his children were gone to seek their fortunes in distant or unknown climes

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