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N adding another “Reader and Speaker" to the
long list of books on “Elocution,” “Expression,” or what not, I have not been animated by the spirit of any of Dickens's "gen'lmen," who went "down Tomall-Alone's, a-prayin',” only to say “as the t'other wuns prayed wrong.
I have had in view, especially in the Orations, the union of that which seems modern in the works of the old, well-tried authors, with the literature of to-day. I think that all the selections are adapted to the modern natural method of speaking, by which the speaker seeks to directly move and persuade his hearers, in man-to-man fashion and without manner formally assumed for effect.
I believe that a teacher of reading and speaking, to be completely effective, should be present in the flesh, and, therefore, I have not attempted to give any instructions as to interpretation. Moreover, this country is fortunate in possessing able and competent teachers, who employ different methods, perhaps, but who all lead their pupils through various means to one great end: truth and naturalness of expression.
While my primary object has been to choose pieces adapted to reading aloud, I have not, I trust, lost sight of another vital point-the choice of interesting pieces of every description.
I have been greatly assisted by the generous permission of authors and publishers to use copious extracts from copyrighted books. Such unusual courtesy as has been extended to me will, I am confident, make the perusers of the contents of this book exclaim with Trinculo: “If these be true spies which I wear in my head, here's a goodly sight."
* Revolve what tales I have told you."-SHAKSPERE