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1. Problem

WRITE a description of a friend. Let it be goodnatured and complimentary. If you cannot say anything good of a man or a woman, say nothing.

II. Model

Mr. Squeers' appearance was not prepossessing. He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two. The eye he had was unquestionably useful, but decidedly not ornamental, being of a greenish gray and in shape resembling the fanlight of a street door. The blank side of his face was much wrinkled and puckered up, which gave him a very sinister appearance, especially when he smiled, at which times. his expression bordered closely on the villainous. His hair was very flat and shiny, save at the ends, where it was brushed stiffly up from a low protruding forehead, which assorted well with his harsh voice and coarse manner. He was about two or three and fifty and a trifle below the middle size; he wore a white neckerchief with long ends and a suit of scholastic black; but his coat sleeves being a great deal too long and his trousers a great deal too short, he appeared ill at ease in his clothes and as if he were in a perpetual state of astonishment at finding himself so respectable. - CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby.

III. Topics for Oral Composition

1. Charles Dickens.

2. Nicholas Nickleby.

3. Unity in the Model.

4. Antithesis in the Model.

5. Color in the Model.

6. The Order of the Items in the Model: Can it be improved ?

7. Hard Words in the Model.

IV. Written Composition

1. Write a description of one of the following:

Julius Cæsar.

Napoleon Bonaparte.
George Washington.
Abraham Lincoln.

Horatio Nelson.
Andrew Jackson.
Daniel Webster.
Benjamin Franklin.

Any other famous man or woman whose picture is familiar to all of the class will be an equally good subject. Do not name him, but let the class guess from your description who is meant.

2. Write a description of one of your teachers. 3. Write a description of one of your classmates.

Before writing observe (1) that Dickens's description of Mr. Squeers has a topic sentence, which strikes the keynote of the paragraph; (2) that every item is in harmony with this keynote; and (3) that the following items are used in the following order:

1. Eye.

2. Face.

3. Smile.

4. Hair.

5. Forehead.
6. Voice.

7. Manner.

8. Age.

9. Height.

10. Neckerchief.
11. Clothes.

Examination shows that the first sentence strikes the keynote of the paragraph; sentences 2-5 inclusive describe Mr. Squeers' face; and the last sentence is devoted to the rest of him. Note the words that hook the sentences together. Note also the words that

keep constantly before the reader the idea that Squeers

is unprepossessing.


Your description must be constructed according to the following specifications:

1. First sentence



2. At least ten items.

3. Transition words in each sentence.


4. Repetition of keynote several times. In the model it is struck first by the phrase "not prepossessing." It is repeated by (1) but one eye"; (2) not ornamental "; (3) "sinister"; (4) “villainous "; (5) "low"; (6) “harsh"; (7) coarse "; (8) " ill at ease ”; (9) "in a perpetual state of astonishment at finding himself so respectable."

V. Memorize



From some sweet home, the morning train
Brings to the city,

Five days a week, in sun or rain,
Returning like a song's refrain,
A school girl pretty.

A wild flower's unaffected grace
Is dainty miss's;

Yet in her shy expressive face
The touch of urban arts I trace,
And artifices.

No one but she and Heaven knows
Of what she's thinking:
It may be either books or beaux,
Fine scholarship or stylish clothes,
Per cents or prinking.

Is she familiar with the wars
Of Julius Cæsar?

Do crucibles and Leyden jars,

And Browning, and the moons of Mars,

And Euclid, please her?

A charm attends her everywhere –
A sense of beauty;

Care smiles to see her free of care;
The hard heart loves her unaware;
Age pays her duty.

Her innocence is panoply,
Her weakness, power;
The earth her guardian, and the sky;
God's every star is her ally,
And every flower.


1 Reprinted by permission of Dodd, Mead & Co.



"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."

I. Problem

TELL in about one hundred and fifty words a good story.

II. Model

When Prince Alexander of Battenberg, one of the youngest of Queen Victoria's many grandsons, was at Eton, he found, as often happens with boys, whether royal or not, that he had spent his allowance of pocket money long before the next allowance was due. He thereupon wrote to his illustrious grandmother, asking her to relieve his financial straits. The expected remittance did not come; but the prince received instead a letter from the queen, in which she very sensibly reminded her extravagant little grandson that it was the duty of little boys to keep within their allowance. The answer to this grandmotherly piece of advice was: “My dear Grandmama: I am sure you will be glad to know that I need not trouble you for any money just now, for I sold your last letter to another boy for thirty shillings."

III. Notes

1. Eton. A famous English school.

2. Thirty Shillings. A shilling is worth about twenty-four cents.

IV. Queries

1. What do you know about Queen Victoria?

2. About how old do you think Prince Alexander was at the time this incident occurred?

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