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The lessons of this book have been arranged with a view to the wants of those schools which have composition as a weekly exercise in their course of study. Most of the high schools and private preparatory schools of the country have such courses, covering usually from three to four years. Any teacher who has attempted to teach composition in these schools has. felt the need of a book containing an orderly succession of topics adapted to the age and development of the pupils, together with such lessons in language and rhetoric as are naturally of daily application in their class exercises.

The book now presented to the public is the outcome of a long experience in teaching composition in the high school of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and its lessons have borne the test of the class-room, not once only, but scores of times.

It is not necessary, nor will it always be desirable, to require each class to write upon the topics in precisely the order indicated here, but in the course of four years

all these lessons will fall into fitting time and place.

Two obstacles lie in the way of successful composition work. The first and greatest is that the pupils are rarely


made to understand how they are to do what is required of them. Subjects are assigned and written exercises are exacted, but how these are to be produced, after what manner and in what style, nobody knows, least of all the youthful writers. As a consequence, reference books are hastily consulted, encyclopædic learning is crudely transferred from the books to the essay, and the completed product is too often absolutely worthless for all the ends for which a composition is written, since it does not teach even orderly and systematic compilation.

The second obstacle is the self-consciousness of the pupil. Originality is a shy flower, and will unfold only in a congenial atmosphere. One may as well expect a sea-anemone to show its beauty when grasped in the hand, as look for originality in a child, hampered by the conviction that every sentence he writes will be dislocated in order to be improved. The sentences need improvement, no doubt, but that improvement will come under the influence of good models and quiet suggestions. The teacher of composition should never forget that "the life is more than meat and the body than raiment"; that the spirit and thought of any exercise are more than the technical dress, and that if the former are developed, the latter will not be wanting.

Too much attention cannot be given to supplying young writers with good models; for by this means they grasp the idea of what is expected of them, and at the same time have before them an ideal towards which they can work. It is hoped that the method and plan of study in this book have been made so clear that teachers who find the work given not ample enough for their needs can easily supplement it both in models and lessons, or that pupils will be able to supplement it for themselves, as they are encouraged to do throughout the book.

The extracts from the Works of Lowell, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whittier, Longfellow, Holmes, Thoreau, Burroughs, Miss Jewett, Miss Miller, Miss Murfree, and Miss Thomas, are used with the permission of, and by special arrangement with, the publishers, Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; that from Wide Awake, with the permission of the publishers, D. Lothrop Co.; that from George William Curtis, by the kind consent of the author; that from Emerson's Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts, by the courtesy of Hon. John Lowell; that from Thomas Wentworth Higginson's Young Folks' History of the United States, by the kind permission of the author.



January, 1892.

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