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the first half of your story to the class. They may then write what they consider suitable endings, and these may be compared with yours.
510. Write accounts of an incident from two points of view. These suggestions may be helpful:
1. A man hit by an automobile. His version of the affair and the chauffeur's.
2. A disputed touchdown. Opinions given by the captains, the referee, a spectator, the boy who made the play.
3. The circus parade as it looked to a boy, a girl, an old man, a clown in the circus.
511. Give a brief oral account of the life of the most interesting person you know.
512. Tell briefly the history of your school.
513. Make a plan of one of the four stories suggested by these words:
1. One or two strokes of a spade upturned the blade of a large Spanish knife, and as we dug farther, three or four loose pieces of gold and silver coin came to light.
We now worked in earnest, and never did I pass ten minutes of more intense excitement.
2. It was done. Whether right or wrong, it was done.
3. “I want my happiness!" at last he murmured, hoarsely and indistinctly, hardly shaping out the words. "Many, many years have I waited for it! It is late! It is late! I want my happiness!" 4. What was I to do to pass away the long-lived day?
514. Write the story in full.
515. Write whatever any one of the following extracts suggests:
1. "Do you," she said, "believe in dreams?" "That is a question I can't answer truthfully," I replied, laughing. "I don't really know whether I believe in dreams or not."
2. The voice of Mrs. Peters, her next-door neighbor, came back in response: "It's me. What's the matter, Marthy?"
"I'm kinder used up; don't know how you'll git in; I can't git to the door to unlock it to save my life."
3. On drawing it to the surface, we were much surprised to find it a long pistol of very curious and outlandish fashion, which, from its rusted condition, and its stock being worm-eaten and covered with barnacles, appeared to have lain a long time under water.
4. "Nephew," said he, after several efforts, and in a low, gasping voice, "I am glad you are come. I shall now die with satisfaction. Look,” said he, raising his withered hand and pointing · "look in that box on the table: you will find that I have not forgotten you."
5. To make assurance surer, I got upon my hands and knees, and crawled, without a sound, towards the corner of the house. As I drew nearer, my heart was suddenly and greatly lightened.
6. He had plenty to do the next hour. [Rapid movement.]
7. "I love anything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and, I believe, Dorothy (taking her hand), you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife." [Slow movement.]
516. Get one of the best story-tellers you know to tell you a story, or recall one that you have already heard. Write as well as you can what you learned from the way in which it was told.
Keep in mind such questions as these: Was the narrator hurried? deliberate? Did he make the most of his material? Did he omit unimportant details? Did he keep you guessing about the outcome of the story? If so, how? Was the ending one that is easy to remember?
517. Write an original story (five hundred to one thousand words). It may be based on fact, but you are to furnish the plot and the details. See that it is true to life. The following subjects may prove suggestive:
1. My First Skate.
2. A Real Ghost.
3. My Last Bicycle Trip.
4. An Amusing Object.
5. A Day's Rest, or Amusements on an Idle Day.
7. A Lazy Boy's Adventure.
8. With a Veteran of the Civil War.
9. The Greatest Event in American Naval Annals.
10. A Great Satisfaction.
II. A Curious Coincidence.
12. No Laughing Matter.
13. A Bird's Bravery.
14. The Interrupted Lecture.
15. The Coming of the Stagecoach.
16. A Spelling Match.
17. The Critical Inning.
18. A Hermit.
19. A Faithful Horse.
20. An Observant Dog.
518. Assume that you are to send the story just written to a friend to criticize, and write a letter to accompany it, giving your reasons for your choice of subject. (See that your letter is correct in form.)
160. Material for Pictures. The story-teller often pauses in his narrative of events to give his hearers bits of description, and all of us have frequent occasion to describe as accurately as possible something we wish to bring before a listener. If we could only open our eyes and see the wealth of material all about us, we should find ourselves continually enriching our conversation through descriptions. This is what Ruskin, in "Modern Painters," says:
The fact is, that there is hardly a roadside pond or pool which has not as much landscape in it as above it. It is not the brown, muddy, dull thing we suppose it to be; it has a heart like ourselves, and in the bottom of that there are the boughs of the tall trees, and the blades of the shaking grass, and all manner of hues, of variable, pleasant light out of the sky; nay, the ugly gutter, that stagnates over the drain bars, in the heart of the foul city, is not altogether base; down in that, if you will look deep enough, you may see the dark, serious blue of far-off sky, and the passing of pure clouds. It is at your own will that you see in that despised stream, either the refuse of the street, or the image of the sky - so it is with almost all other things that we unkindly despise.
It is not enough to tell what we have seen. Our object should be to paint a picture that shall affect our listener as the original observation affected us. To do this skillfully requires study and practice.
Many of the pictures we shall wish to paint will be based entirely on the imagination, as some of Jules Verne's are in
"Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea," and Coleridge's in "The Ancient Mariner."
161. A Limited Subject. If we are wise, we shall choose a subject so limited that our description will naturally have unity. The following selection is an excellent illustration of the treatment of a limited subject, and as a character description is well worth careful study.
Though he found such favor in the eyes of the fair, he was no dandy. He was indifferent to the gaudy trappings and ornaments of his companions, and was content to rest his chances of success upon his own warlike merits. He never arrayed himself in gaudy blanket and glittering necklaces, but left his statuelike form, limbed like an Apollo of bronze, to win its way to favor. His voice was singularly deep and strong, and sounded from his chest like the deep notes of an organ. Yet, after all, he was but an Indian. See him as he lies there in the sun before our tent, kicking his heels in the air and cracking jokes with his brother. Does he look like a hero? See him now in the hour of his glory, when at sunset the whole village empties itself to behold him, for to-morrow their favorite young partisan goes out against the enemy. His headdress is adorned with a crest of the war-eagle's feathers, rising in a waving ridge above his brow, and sweeping far behind him. His round white shield hangs at his breast, with feathers radiating from the center like a star. His quiver is at his back; his tall lance in his hand, the iron point flashing against the declining sun, while the long scalp locks of his enemies flutter from the shaft. Thus, gorgeous as a champion in panoply, he rides round and round within the great circle of lodges, balancing with a graceful buoyancy to the free movements of his war horse, while with a sedate brow he sings his song to the Great Spirit. Young rival warriors look askance at him; vermilion-cheeked girls gaze in admiration; boys whoop and scream in a thrill of delight; and old women yell forth his name and proclaim his praises from lodge to lodge.
- PARKMAN, "The Oregon Trail."