Modern Prose And Poetry; For Secondary Schools - Edited With Notes, Study Helps, And Reading Lists
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So I hasten out, wearing only, like the people about me, one of those light wide-sleeved summer robes—yukata—which are furnished to male guests at all Japanese hotels; but the air is so warm that even thus lightly clad, I find myself slightly perspiring. And the night is divine,—still, clear, vaster than the nights of Europe, with a big white moon flinging down queer shadows of tilted eaves and horned gables, and delightful silhouettes of robed Japanese. A little boy, the grandson of our host, leads the way with a crimson paper lantern; and the sonorous echoing of geta, the koro-koro of wooden sandals, fills all the street, for many are going whither we are going, to see the dance.

A little while we proceed along the main street; then, traversing a narrow passage between two houses, we find ourselves in a great open space flooded by moonlight. This is the dancing-place; but the dance has ceased for a time. Looking about me, I perceive that we are in the court of an ancient Buddhist temple. The temple building itself remains intact, a low, long peaked silhouette against the starlight; but it is void and dark and unhallowed now; it has been turned, they tell me, into a schoolhouse. The priests are gone; the great bell is gone; the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas have vanished, all save one,—a broken-handed Jizo of stone, smiling with eyelids closed, under the moon.

In the centre of the court is a framework of bamboo supporting a great drum; and about it benches have been arranged, benches from the schoolhouse, on which the villagers are resting. There is a hum of voices, voices of people speaking very low, as if expecting something solemn; and cries of children betimes, and soft laughter of girls. And far behind the court, beyond a low hedge of sombre evergreen shrubs, I see soft white lights and a host of tall gray shapes throwing long shadows; and I know that the lights are the white lanterns of the dead (those hung in cemeteries only), and that the gray shapes are the shapes of tombs.

Suddenly a girl rises from her seat, and taps the huge drum once. It is the signal for the Dance of Souls.


Out of the shadow of the temple a professional line of dancers files into the moonlight and as suddenly halts,—all young women or girls, clad in their choicest attire; the tallest leads; her comrades follow in order of stature. Little maids of ten or twelve years compose the end of the procession. Figures lightly poised as birds,—figures that somehow recall the dreams of shapes circling about certain antique vases; those charming Japanese robes, close-clinging about the knees, might seem, but for the great fantastic drooping sleeves, and the curious broad girdles confining them, designed after the drawing of some Greek or Etruscan artist. And, at another tap of the drum, there begins a performance impossible to picture in words, something unimaginable, phantasmal,—a dance, an astonishment.

All together glide the right foot forward one pace, without lifting the sandal from the ground, and extend both hands to the right, with a strange floating motion and a smiling, mysterious obeisance. Then the right foot is drawn back, with a repetition of the waving of hands and the mysterious bow. Then all advance the left foot and repeat the previous movements, half-turning to the left. Then all take two gliding paces forward, with a single simultaneous soft clap of the hands, and the first performance is reiterated, alternately to the right and left; all the sandaled feet gliding together, all the supple hands waving together, all the pliant bodies bowing and swaying together. And so slowly, weirdly, the processional movement changes into a great round, circling about the moon-lit court and around the voiceless crowd of spectators.

And always the white hands sinuously wave together, as if weaving spells, alternately without and within the round, now with palms upward, now with palms downward; and all the elfish sleeves hover duskily together, with a shadowing as of wings; and all the feet poise together with such a rhythm of complex motion, that, in watching it, one feels a sensation of hypnotism—as while striving to watch a flowing and shimmering of water.

And this soporous allurement is intensified by a dead hush. No one speaks, not even a spectator. And, in the long intervals between the soft clapping of hands, one hears only the shrilling of the crickets in the trees, and the shu-shu of sandals, lightly stirring the dust. Unto what, I ask myself, may this be likened? Unto nothing; yet it suggests some fancy of somnambulism,—dreamers, who dream themselves flying, dreaming upon their feet.

And there comes to me the thought that I am looking at something immemorially old, something belonging to the unrecorded beginning of this Oriental life, perhaps to the crepuscular Kamiyo itself, to the magical Age of the Gods; a symbolism of motion whereof the meaning has been forgotten for innumerable years. Yet more and more unreal the spectacle appears, with silent smilings, with its silent bowings, as if obeisance to watchers invisible; and I find myself wondering whether, were I to utter but a whisper, all would not vanish forever, save the gray mouldering court and the desolate temple, and the broken statue of Jizo, smiling always the same mysterious smile I see upon the faces of the dancers.

Under the wheeling moon, in the midst of the round, I feel as one within the circle of a charm. And verily, this is enchantment; I am bewitched, by the ghostly weaving of hands, by the rhythmic gliding of feet, above all by the flittering of the marvellous sleeves—apparitional, soundless, velvety as a flitting of great tropical bats. No; nothing I ever dreamed of could be likened to this. And with the consciousness of the ancient hakaba behind me, and the weird invitation of its lanterns, and the ghostly beliefs of the hour and the place, there creeps upon me a nameless, tingling sense of being haunted. But no! these gracious, silent, waving, weaving shapes are not of the Shadowy Folk, for whose coming the white fires were kindled: a strain of song, full of sweet, clear quavering, like the call of a bird, gushes from some girlish mouth, and fifty soft voices join the chant:—

Sorota soroimashita odorikoga sorota, Soroikita, kita hare yukata.

"Uniform to view [as ears of young rice ripening in the field] all clad alike in summer festal robes, the company of dancers have assembled."

Again only the shrilling of the crickets, the shu-shu of feet, the gentle clapping; and the wavering hovering measure proceeds in silence, with mesmeric lentor,—with a strange grace, which by its very naivete, seems as old as the encircling hills.

Those who sleep the sleep of centuries out there, under the gray stones where the white lanterns are, and their fathers, and the fathers of their fathers' fathers, and the unknown generations behind them, buried in cemeteries of which the place has been forgotten for a thousand years, doubtless looked upon a scene like this. Nay! the dust stirred by those young feet was human life, and so smiled and so sang under this self-same moon, "with woven paces and with waving hands."

Suddenly a deep male chant breaks the hush. Two giants have joined the round, and now lead it, two superb young mountain peasants nearly nude, towering head and shoulders above the whole of the assembly. Their kimono are rolled about their waists like girdles, leaving their bronzed limbs and torsos naked to the warm air; they wear nothing else save their immense straw hats, and white tabi, donned expressly for the festival. Never before among these people saw I such men, such thews; but their smiling beardless faces are comely and kindly as those of Japanese boys. They seem brothers, so like in frame, in movement, in the timbre of their voices, as they intone the same song:—

No demo yama demo ko wa umiokeyo, Sen ryo kura yori ko ga takara.

"Whether brought forth upon the mountain or in the field, it matters nothing: more than a treasure of one thousand ryo, a baby precious is."

And Jizo, the lover of children's ghosts, smiles across the silence.

Souls close to nature's Soul are these; artless and touching their thought, like the worship of that Kishibojin to whom wives pray. And after the silence, the sweet thin voices of the women answer:—

Oomu otoko ni sowa sanu oya wa, Oyade gozaranu ko no kataki.

"The parents who will not allow their girl to be united with her lover; they are not the parents, but the enemies of their child."

And song follows song; and the round ever becomes larger; and the hours pass unfelt, unheard, while the moon wheels slowly down the blue steeps of the night.

A deep low boom rolls suddenly across the court, the rich tone of some temple bell telling the twelfth hour. Instantly the witchcraft ends, like the wonder of some dream broken by a sound; the chanting ceases; the round dissolves in an outburst of happy laughter, and chatting, and softly-voweled callings of flower-names which are names of girls, and farewell cries of "Sayonara!" as dancers and spectators alike betake themselves homeward, with a great koro-koro of getas.

And I, moving with the throng, in the bewildered manner of one suddenly roused from sleep, know myself ungrateful. These silvery-laughing folk who now toddle along beside me upon their noisy little clogs, stepping very fast to get a peep at my foreign face, these but a moment ago were visions of archaic grace, illusions of necromancy, delightful phantoms; and I feel a vague resentment against them for thus materializing into simple country-girls.


Lafcadio Hearn, the author of this selection, took a four days' journey in a jinrikisha to the remote country district which he describes. He is almost the only foreigner who has ever entered the village.

Bon-odori:—The dance in honor of the dead.

Hiroshige:—A Japanese landscape painter of an early date.

kuruma:—A jinrikisha; a two-wheeled cart drawn by a man.

hibachi:—(hi bae' chi) A brazier.

Bonku:—The Festival of the Dead.

The memory of tropical dances:—Lafcadio Hearn had previously spent some years in the West Indies.

Akira:—The name of the guide who has drawn the kuruma in which the foreigner has come to the village. (See page 18 of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.)

yukata:—Pronounced yu kae' ta.

geta:—Pronounced gēē' ta, not jēē' ta; high noisy wooden clogs. (See page 10 of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.)

Buddhist:—One who believes in the doctrines of Gautama Siddartha, a religious teacher of the sixth century before Christ.

Buddha:—A statue representing the Buddha Siddartha in a very calm position, usually sitting cross-legged.

Bodhisattvas:—Pronounced bō di saeht' vas; gods who have almost attained the perfection of Buddha (Gautama Siddartha).

Jizo:—A Japanese God. See page 297.

Etruscan:—Relating to Etruria, a division of ancient Italy. Etruscan vases have graceful figures upon them.

soporous:—Drowsy; sleep-producing.

crepuscular:—Relating to twilight.

Kamiyo:—The Age of the Gods in Japan.



"with woven paces," etc. See Tennyson's Idylls of the King: "With woven paces and with waving arms."

tabi:—White stockings with a division for the great toe.

ryo:—About fifty cents.

Kishibojin:—Pronounced ki shi bō' jin. (See page 96 of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.)



Read the selection through rather slowly. Do not be alarmed at the Japanese names: they are usually pronounced as they are spelled. Perhaps your teacher will be able to show you a Japanese print; at least you can see on a Japanese fan quaint villages such as are here described. What sort of face has the host? How does this Japanese inn differ from the American hotel? Does there seem to be much furniture? If the Americans had the same sense of beauty that the Japanese have, what changes would be made in most houses? Why does the foreign influence make the Japanese manufactures "uninteresting" and "detestable"? If you have been in a shop where Japanese wares are sold, tell what seemed most striking about the objects and their decoration. What is meant by "the landscape of a tea-cup"? Why does the author say so much about the remoteness of the village? See how the author uses picture-words and sound-words to make his description vivid. Note his use of contrasts. Why does he preface his account of the dance by the remark that it cannot be described in words? Is this a good method? How does the author make you feel the swing and rhythm of the dance? Do not try to pronounce the Japanese verses: Notice that they are translated. Why are the Japanese lines put in at all? Why does the author say that he is ungrateful at the last? Try to tell in a few sentences what are the good qualities of this selection. Make a little list of the devices that the author has used in order to make his descriptions vivid and his narration lively. Can you apply some of his methods to a short description of your own?


A Flower Festival A Pageant The May Fete Dancing out of Doors A Lawn Social The Old Settlers' Picnic The Russian Dancers A Moonlight Picnic Children's Games in the Yard Some Japanese People that I have Seen Japanese Students in our Schools Japanese Furniture An Oriental Store in our Town My Idea of Japan Japanese Pictures A Street Carnival An Old-fashioned Square Dance The Revival of Folk-Dancing The Girls' Drill A Walk in the Village at Night Why We have Ugly Things in our Houses Do we have too much Furniture in our Houses? What we can Learn from the Japanese


An Evening Walk in the Village:—Imagine yourself taking a walk through the village at nightfall. Tell of the time of day, the season, and the weather. Make your reader feel the approach of darkness, and the heat, or the coolness, or the chill of the air. What signs do you see about you, of the close of day? Can you make the reader feel the contrast of the lights and the surrounding darkness? As you walk along, what sounds do you hear? What activities are going on? Can you catch any glimpses, through the windows, of the family life inside the houses? Do you see people eating or drinking? Do you see any children? Are the scenes about you quiet and restful, or are they confused and irritating? Make use of any incidents that you can to complete your description of the village as you see it in your walk. Perhaps you will wish to close your theme with your entering a house, or your advance into the dark open country beyond the village.

My Idea of Japan:—Suppose that you were suddenly transported to a small town in Japan: What would be your first impression? Tell what you would expect to see. Speak of the houses, the gardens, and the temples. Tell about the shops, and booths, and the wares that are for sale. Describe the dress and appearance of the Japanese men; of the women; the children. Speak of the coolies, or working-people; the foreigners. Perhaps you can imagine yourself taking a ride in a jinrikisha. Tell of the amusing or extraordinary things that you see, and make use of incidents and conversation. Bring out the contrasts between Japan and your own country.

A Dance or Drill:—Think of some drill or dance or complicated game that you have seen, which lends itself to the kind of description in the selection. In your work, try to emphasize the contrast between the background and the moving figures; the effects of light and darkness; the sound of music and voices; the sway and rhythm of the action. Re-read parts of The Dance of the Bon-odori, to see what devices the author has used in order to bring out effects of sound and rhythm.


Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan Lafcadio Hearn Out of the East " " Kokoro " " Kwaidan " " A Japanese Miscellany " " Two Years in the French West Indies " " Japanese Life in Town and Country G.W. Knox Our Neighbors the Japanese J.K. Goodrich When I Was Young Yoshio Markino Miss John Bull " " When I Was a Boy in Japan Sakae Shioya Japanese Girls and Women Alice M. Bacon A Japanese Interior " " Japonica Sir Edwin Arnold Japan W.E. Griffis Human Bullets Tadayoshy Sukurai The Story of Japan R. Van Bergen A Boy in Old Japan " " Letters from Japan Mrs. Hugh Frazer Unbeaten Tracks in Japan Isabella Bird (Bishop) The Lady of the Decoration Frances Little Little Sister Snow " " Japan in Pictures Douglas Sladen Old and New Japan (good illustrations in color) Clive Holland Nogi Stanley Washburn Japan, the Eastern Wonderland D.C. Angus Peeps at Many Lands: Japan John Finnemore Japan Described by Great Writers Esther Singleton The Flower of Old Japan [verse] Alfred Noyes Dancing and Dancers of To-day Caroline and Chas. H. Coffin The Healthful Art of Dancing L.H. Gulick The Festival Book J.E.C. Lincoln Folk Dances Caroline Crawford Lafcadio Hearn Nina H. Kennard Lafcadio Hearn (Portrait) Edward Thomas The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn Elizabeth Bisland The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn " " Lafcadio Hearn in Japan Yone Noguchi Lafcadio Hearn (Portraits) Current Literature 42:50



PONKAPOG, MASS., Dec. 13, 1875.

DEAR HOWELLS,—We had so charming a visit at your house that I have about made up my mind to reside with you permanently. I am tired of writing. I would like to settle down in just such a comfortable home as yours, with a man who can work regularly four or five hours a day, thereby relieving one of all painful apprehensions in respect to clothes and pocket-money. I am easy to get along with. I have few unreasonable wants and never complain when they are constantly supplied. I think I could depend on you.

Ever yours, T.B.A.

P.S.—I should want to bring my two mothers, my two boys (I seem to have everything in twos), my wife, and her sister.



It was very pleasant to me to get a letter from you the other day. Perhaps I should have found it pleasanter if I had been able to decipher it. I don't think that I mastered anything beyond the date (which I knew) and the signature (at which I guessed).

There's a singular and perpetual charm in a letter of yours—it never grows old; it never loses its novelty. One can say to one's self every morning: "There's that letter of Morse's. I haven't read it yet. I think I'll take another shy at it to-day, and maybe I shall be able in the course of a few days to make out what he means by those t's that look like w's, and those i's that haven't any eyebrows."

Other letters are read, and thrown away, and forgotten; but yours are kept forever—unread. One of them will last a reasonable man a lifetime.

Admiringly yours, T.B. ALDRICH.



Your generous praise makes me rather shamefaced: you ought to keep it for something that counts. At least other people ought: you would find a bright ringing word, and the proportion of things would be kept. As for me, I am doing my best to keep the proportion of things, in the midst of no-standards and a dreary dingy fog-expanse of darkened counsel. Bah! here I am whining in my third sentence, and the purpose of this note was not to whine, but to thank you for heart new-taken. I take the friendly words (for I need them cruelly) and forget the inadequate occasion of them. I am looking forward with almost feverish pleasure to the new year, when I shall be among friendships which time and absence and half-estrangements have only made to shine with a more inward light; and when, so accompanied, I can make shift to think and live a little. Do not wait till then to say Welcome.



LAWRENCE, KANSAS, October 24, 1873.


I left Topeka—which sounds like a name Franky might have invented—early yesterday morning, but did not reach Atchison, only sixty miles distant, until seven o'clock at night—an hour before the lecture. The engine as usual had broken down, and left me at four o'clock fifteen miles from Atchison, on the edge of a bleak prairie with only one house in sight. But I got a saddle-horse—there was no vehicle to be had—and strapping my lecture and blanket to my back I gave my valise to a little yellow boy—who looked like a dirty terra-cotta figure—with orders to follow me on another horse, and so tore off towards Atchison. I got there in time; the boy reached there two hours after.

I make no comment; you can imagine the half-sick, utterly disgusted man who glared at that audience over his desk that night.... And yet it was a good audience, thoroughly refined and appreciative, and very glad to see me. I was very anxious about this lecture, for it was a venture of my own, and I had been told that Atchison was a rough place—energetic but coarse. I think I wrote you from St. Louis that I had found there were only three actual engagements in Kansas, and that my list which gave Kansas City twice was a mistake. So I decided to take Atchison. I made a hundred dollars by the lecture, and it is yours, for yourself, Nan, to buy "Minxes" with, if you want, for it is over and above the amount Eliza and I footed up on my lecture list. I shall send it to you as soon as the bulk of the pressing claims are settled.

Everything thus far has gone well; besides my lecture of to-night I have one more to close Kansas, and then I go on to St. Joseph. I've been greatly touched with the very honest and sincere liking which these Western people seem to have for me. They seem to have read everything I have written—and appear to appreciate the best. Think of a rough fellow in a bearskin coat and blue shirt repeating to me Concepcion de Arguello! Their strange good taste and refinement under that rough exterior—even their tact—are wonderful to me. They are "Kentucks" and "Dick Bullens" with twice the refinement and tenderness of their California brethren....

I've seen but one [woman] that interested me—an old negro wench. She was talking and laughing outside my door the other evening, but her laugh was so sweet and unctuous and musical—so full of breadth and goodness that I went outside and talked to her while she was scrubbing the stones. She laughed as a canary bird sings—because she couldn't help it. It did me a world of good, for it was before the lecture, at twilight, when I am very blue and low-toned. She had been a slave.

I expected to have heard from you here. I've nothing from you or Eliza since last Friday, when I got yours of the 12th. I shall direct this to Eliza's care, as I do not even know where you are.

Your affectionate FRANK.


[KUMAMOTO, JAPAN] January 17, 1893.


I'm writing just because I feel lonesome; isn't that selfish? However, if I can amuse you at all, you will forgive me. You have been away a whole year,—so perhaps you would like to hear some impressions of mine during that time. Here goes.

The illusions are forever over; but the memory of many pleasant things remains. I know much more about the Japanese than I did a year ago; and still I am far from understanding them well. Even my own little wife is somewhat mysterious still to me, though always in a lovable way. Of course a man and woman know each other's hearts; but outside of personal knowledge, there are race tendencies difficult to understand. Let me tell one. In Oki we fell in love with a little Samurai boy, who was having a hard time of it, and we took him with us. He is now like an adopted son,—goes to school and all that. Well, I wished at first to pet him a little, but I found that was not in accordance with custom, and that even the boy did not understand it. At home, I therefore scarcely spoke to him at all; he remained under the control of the women of the house. They treated him kindly,—though I thought coldly. The relationship I could not quite understand. He was never praised and rarely scolded. A perfect code of etiquette was established between him and all the other persons in the house, according to degree and rank. He seemed extremely cold-mannered, and perhaps not even grateful, that was, so far as I could see. Nothing seemed to move his young placidity,—whether happy or unhappy his mien was exactly that of a stone Jizo. One day he let fall a little cup and broke it. According to custom, no one noticed the mistake, for fear of giving him pain. Suddenly I saw tears streaming down his face. The muscles of the face remained quite smilingly placid as usual, but even the will could not control tears. They came freely. Then everybody laughed, and said kind things to him, till he began to laugh too. Yet that delicate sensitiveness no one like me could have guessed the existence of.

But what followed surprised me more. As I said, he had been (in my idea) distantly treated. One day he did not return from school for three hours after the usual time. Then to my great surprise, the women began to cry,—to cry passionately. I had never been able to imagine alarm for the boy could have affected them so. And the servants ran over town in real, not pretended, anxiety to find him. He had been taken to a teacher's house for something relating to school matters. As soon as his voice was heard at the door, everything was quiet, cold, and amiably polite again. And I marvelled exceedingly.

Sensitiveness exists in the Japanese to an extent never supposed by the foreigners who treat them harshly at the open ports.... The Japanese master is never brutal or cruel. How Japanese can serve a certain class of foreigners at all, I can't understand....

This Orient knows not our deeper pains, nor can it even rise to our larger joys; but it has its pains. Its life is not so sunny as might be fancied from its happy aspect. Under the smile of its toiling millions there is suffering bravely hidden and unselfishly borne; and a lower intellectual range is counterbalanced by a childish sensitiveness to make the suffering balance evenly in the eternal order of things.

Therefore I love the people very much, more and more, the more I know them....

And with this, I say good-night.

Ever most truly, LAFCADIO HEARN.


SHADY HILL, 2 May, 1902.

"The Kentons" have been a great comfort to me. I have been in my chamber, with a slight attack of illness, for two or three weeks, and I received them one morning. I could not have had kinder or more entertaining visitors, and I was sorry when, after two or three days, I had to say Good-bye to them. They are very "natural" people, "just Western." I am grateful to you for making me acquainted with them.

"Just Western" is the acme of praise. I think I once told you what pleasure it gave me as a compliment. Several years ago at the end of one of our Christmas Eve receptions, a young fellow from the West, taking my hand and bidding me Good-night, said with great cordiality, "Mr. Norton, I've had a delightful time; it's been just Western"!

"The Kentons" is really, my dear Howells, an admirable study of life, and as it was read to me my chief pleasure in listening was in your sympathetic, creative imagination, your insight, your humour, and all your other gifts, which make your stories, I believe, the most faithful representations of actual life that were ever written. Other stories seem unreal after them, and so when we had finished "The Kentons," nothing would do for entertainment but another of your books: so now we are almost at the end of "Silas Lapham," which I find as good as I found it fifteen or sixteen years ago. As Gray's idea of pleasure was to lie on a sofa and have an endless succession of stories by Crebillon,—mine is to have no end of Howells!...


Letter from William Vaughn Moody:—

darkened counsel:—See Job, 38:2. Moody seems to be referring here to the uncertainty of his plans for the future.

Letter from Bret Harte:—

Franky:—Francis King Harte, Bret Harte's second son, who was eight years old at this time.

Concepcion de Arguello:—One of Bret Harte's longer poems.

Kentuck:—A rough but kindly character in Harte's The Luck of Roaring Camp.

Dick Bullen:—The chief character in How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar.

Frank:—Bret Harte's name was Francis Brett Hart(e), and his family usually called him Frank.

Letter from Lafcadio Hearn:.—

Chamberlain:—Professor Chamberlain had lived for some years in Japan, when Hearn, in 1890, wrote to him, asking assistance in securing a position as teacher in the Japanese Government Schools. The friendship between the two men continued until Hearn's death.

Samurai:—Pronounced sae' m[)oo] rī; a member of the lesser nobility of Japan.

Jizo:—A Japanese god, said to be the playmate of the ghosts of children. Stone images of Jizo are common in Japan. (See page 19 of The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn.)


You are planning a camping trip with several of your friends; write to a friend who lives in another town, asking him or her to join the camping party.

Write to a friend asking him, or her, to come to your house for dinner and to go with you afterward to see the moving pictures.

Write a letter to accompany a borrowed book, which you are returning. Speak of the contents of the book, and the parts that you have particularly enjoyed. Express your thanks for the use of the volume.

Write a letter to an intimate friend, telling of the occurrences of the last week. Do not hesitate to recount trifling events; but make your letter as varied and lively and interesting as possible.

Write to a friend about the new house or apartment that your family has lately moved into.

Write to a friend or a relative who is visiting in a large city, asking him or her to purchase some especial article that you cannot get in your home town. Explain exactly what you want and tell how much you are willing to pay. Speak of enclosing the money, and do not fail to express the gratitude that you will feel if your friend will make the purchase for you.

You have been invited to spend the week-end in a town not far from your home. Write explaining why you cannot accept the invitation. Make your letter personal and pleasant.

Write to some member of your family explaining how you have altered your room to make it more to your taste than it has been. If you have not really changed the room, imagine that you have done so, and that it is now exactly as you want it to be.

You have heard of a family that is in great need. Write to one of your friends, telling the circumstances and asking her to help you in providing food and clothing for the children in the family.

You have just heard some startling news about an old friend whom you have not seen for some time. Write to another friend who you know will be interested, and relate the news that you have heard.

Write to one of your teachers explaining why you are late in handing in a piece of work.

Your uncle has made you a present of a sum of money. Thank him for the money and tell him what you think you will do with it.

A schoolmate is kept at home by illness. Write, offering your sympathy and services, and telling the school news.

You have had an argument with a friend on a subject of interest to you both. Since seeing this friend, you have run across an article in a magazine, which supports your view of the question. Write to your friend and tell him about the substance of the article.

Your mother has hurt her hand and cannot write; she has asked you to write to a friend of hers about some business connected with the Woman's Club.

You have arrived at home after a week's visit with a friend. Write your friend's mother, expressing the pleasure that the visit has given you. Speak particularly of the incidents of the visit, and show a lively appreciation of the kindness of your friends.

A friend whom you have invited to visit you has written saying that she (or he) is unable to accept your invitation. Write expressing your regret. You might speak of the plans you had made in anticipation of the visit; you might also make a more or less definite suggestion regarding a later date for the arrival of your friend.

You are trying to secure a position. Write to some one for whom you have worked, or some one who knows you well, asking for a recommendation that you can use in applying for a position.

Write to your brother (or some other near relative), telling about a trip that you have recently taken.

Write to one of your friends who is away at school, telling of the athletic situation in the high school you are attending. Assume that your friend is acquainted with many of the students in the high school.

You are sending some kodak films to be developed by a professional photographer. Explain to him what you are sending and what you want done. Speak of the price that he asks for his work, and the money that you are enclosing.

Write a letter applying for a position. If possible, tell how you have heard of the vacancy. State your qualifications, especially the education and training that you have had; if you have had any experience, tell definitely what it has been. Mention the recommendations that you are enclosing, or give references to several persons who will write concerning your character and ability. Do not urge your qualifications, or make any promises, but tell about yourself as simply and impersonally as possible. Close your letter without any elaborate expressions of "hoping" or "trusting" or "thanking." "Very truly yours," or "Very respectfully yours," will be sufficient.

You have secured the position for which you applied. Write expressing your pleasure in obtaining the situation. Ask for information as to the date on which you are to begin work.

Write to a friend or a relative, telling about your new position: how you secured it; what your work will be; what you hope will come of it.

Write a brief respectful letter asking for money that is owed you.

Write to a friend considerably older than yourself, asking for advice as to the appropriate college or training school for you to enter when you have finished the high school course.


Letters and Letter-writing Charity Dye Success in Letter-writing Sherwin Cody How to do Business by Letter " " Charm and Courtesy in Letter-writing Frances B. Callaway Studies for Letters " " " The Gentlest Art E.V. Lucas The Second Post " " " The Friendly Craft F.D. Hanscom Life and Letters of Miss Alcott E.D. Cheney (Ed.) Vailima Letters R.L. Stevenson Letters of William Vaughn Moody Daniel Mason (Ed.) Letters from Colonial Children Eva March Tappan Woman as Letter-writers A.M. Ingpen. The Etiquette of Correspondence Helen E. Gavit


I. Write a conversation suggested by one of the following situations. Wherever it seems desirable to do so, give, in parentheses, directions for the action, and indicate the gestures and the facial expressions of the speakers.

1. Tom has had trouble at school; he is questioned at home about the matter.

2. Two girls discuss a party that has taken place the night before.

3. A child and his mother are talking about Christmas.

4. Clayton Wells is running for the presidency of the Senior class in the high school; he talks with some of his schoolmates, and is talked about.

5. There has been a fire at the factory; some of the men talk about its origin.

6. A girl borrows her sister's pearl pin and loses it.

7. Unexpected guests have arrived; while they are removing their wraps in the hall, a conversation takes place in the kitchen.

8. Anna wishes to go on a boating expedition, but her father and mother object.

9. The crops in a certain district have failed; two young farmers talk over the situation.

10. Two girls are getting dinner; their mother is away, and they are obliged to plan and do everything themselves.

11. A boy has won a prize, and two or three other boys are talking with him.

12. The prize-winning student has gone, and the other boys are talking about him.

13. The furnace fire has gone out; various members of the family express their annoyance, and the person who is to blame defends himself.

14. Grandfather has lost his spectacles.

15. Laura has seen a beautiful hat in a shop window, and talks with her mother about it.

16. Two men talk of the coming election of city officers.

17. A boy has been removed from the football team on account of his low standings; members of the team discuss the situation.

18. Sylvia asks her younger brother to go on an errand for her; he does not wish to go; the conversation becomes spirited.

19. Grandmother entertains another old lady at afternoon tea.

20. A working man is accused of stealing a dollar bill from the cook in the house where he is temporarily employed.

21. Mary Sturgis talks with her mother about going away to college.

22. A young man talks with his sister about woman's suffrage; they become somewhat excited.

23. A middle-aged couple talk about adopting a child.

24. There is a strike at the mills; some of the employees discuss it; the employers discuss it among themselves.

25. An aunt in the city has written asking Louise to visit her; Louise talks with several members of her family about going.

26. Two boys talk about the ways in which they earn money, and what they do with it.

27. Albert Gleason has had a run-away; his neighbors talk about it.

28. Two brothers quarrel over a horse.

29. Ruth's new dress does not satisfy her.

30. The storekeeper discusses neighborhood news with some of his customers.

31. Will has had a present of a five-dollar gold-piece; his sisters tell him what he ought to do with it; his ideas on the subject are not the same as theirs.

32. An old house, in which a well-to-do family have lived for many years, is to be torn down; a group of neighbors talk about the house and the family.

33. A young man talks with a business man about a position.

34. Harold buys a canoe; he converses with the boy who sells it to him, and also with some of the members of his own family.

35. Two old men talk about the pranks they played when they were boys.

36. Several young men talk about a recent baseball game.

37. Several young men talk about a coming League game.

38. Breakfast is late.

39. A mysterious stranger has appeared in the village; a group of people talk about him.

40. Herbert Elliott takes out his father's automobile without permission, and damages it seriously; he tries to explain.

41. Jerome Connor has just "made" the high school football team.

42. Two boys plan a camping trip.

43. Several boys are camping, and one of the number does not seem willing to do his share of the work.

44. Several young people consider what they are going to do when they have finished school.

45. Two women talk about the spring fashions.

II. Choose some familiar fairy-tale or well known children's story, and put it into the form of a little play for children. Find a story that is rather short, and that has a good deal of dialogue in it. In writing the play, try to make the conversation simple and lively.

III. In a story book for children, find a short story and put it into dialogue form. It will be wise to select a story that already contains a large proportion of conversation.

IV. From a magazine or a book of short stories (not for children), select a very brief piece of narration, and put it into dramatic form. After you have finished, write out directions for the setting of the stage, if you have not already done so, and give your idea of what the costuming ought to be.


Not included in the lists of Collateral Readings


Two Gentlemen of Kentucky James Lane Allen Standish of Standish Jane G. Austin D'ri and I Irving Bacheller Eben Holden " " The Halfback R.H. Barbour For King or Country James Barnes A Loyal Traitor " " A Bow of Orange Ribbon Amelia E. Barr Jan Vedder's Wife " " " Remember the Alamo " " " The Little Minister J.M. Barrie The Little White Bird " " " Sentimental Tommy " " " Wee MacGregor J.J. Bell. Looking Backward Edward Bellamy Master Skylark John Bennett A Princess of Thule William Black Lorne Doone R.D. Blackmore Mary Cary K.L. Bosher Miss Gibbie Gault " " " Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte Villette " " Meadow Grass Alice Brown Tiverton Tales " " The Story of a Ploughboy James Bryce My Robin F.H. Burnett The Secret Garden " " " T. Tembarom " " " The Jackknife Man Ellis Parker Butler The Begum's Daughter E.L. Bynner Bonaventure G.W. Cable Dr. Sevier " " " The Golden Rule Dollivers Margaret Cameron The Lady of Fort St. John Mary Hartwell Catherwood Lazarre " " " Old Kaskaskia " " " The Romance of Dollard " " " The Story of Tonty " " " The White Islander " " " Richard Carvel Winston Churchill A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) Pudd'nhead Wilson " " " The Prince and the Pauper " " " Tom Sawyer " " " John Halifax, Gentleman D.M. Craik (Miss Mulock) The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane Whilomville Stories " " A Roman Singer F.M. Crawford Saracinesca " " " Zoroaster " " " The Lilac Sunbonnet S.R. Crockett The Stickit Minister " " " Smith College Stories J.D. Daskam [Bacon] Gallegher R.H. Davis The Princess Aline " " " Soldiers of Fortune " " " Old Chester Tales Margaret Deland The Story of a Child " " Hugh Gwyeth B.M. Dix Soldier Rigdale " " " Rebecca Mary Annie Hamilton Donnell The Very Small Person " " " The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke " " " The Refugees " " " Uncle Bernac " " " The Black Tulip Alexander Dumas The Three Musketeers " " Doctor Luke of the Labrador Norman Duncan The Story of Sonny Sahib Sara J. Duncan The Hoosier Schoolboy Edward Eggleston The Hoosier Schoolmaster " " The Honorable Peter Stirling P.L. Ford Janice Meredith " " In the Valley Harold Frederic A New England Nun M.E. Wilkins Freeman The Portion of Labor " " " Six Trees " " " Friendship Village Zona Gale Boy Life on the Prairie Hamlin Garland Prairie Folks " " Toby: The Story of a Dog Elizabeth Goldsmith College Girls Abby Carter Goodloe Glengarry School Days Charles W. Gordon (Ralph Connor) The Man from Glengarry " " " The Prospector " " " The Sky Pilot " " " The Man Without a Country E.E. Hale Nights with Uncle Remus J.C. Harris The Log of a Sea Angler C.F. Holder Phroso Anthony Hope [Hawkins] The Prisoner of Zenda " " " Rupert of Hentzau " " " One Summer B.W. Howard The Flight of Pony Baker W.D. Howells Tom Brown at Oxford Thomas Hughes Tom Brown's School Days " " The Lady of the Barge W.W. Jacobs Odd Craft " " Ramona H.H. Jackson Little Citizens Myra Kelly Wards of Liberty " " Horseshoe Robinson J.P. Kennedy The Brushwood Boy Rudyard Kipling Captains Courageous " " The Jungle Book " " Kim " " Puck of Pook's Hill " " Tales of the Fish Patrol Jack London The Slowcoach E.V. Lucas Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush Ian Maclaren (John Watson) A Doctor of the Old School " " " " Peg o' my Heart J.H. Manners Emmy Lou G.M. Martin Tilly: A Mennonite Maid H.R. Martin Jim Davis John Masefield Four Feathers A.E.W. Mason The Adventures of Francois S.W. Mitchell Hugh Wynne " " Anne of Avonlea L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables " " The Chronicles of Avonlea " " Down the Ravine Mary N. Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock) In the Tennessee Mountains Mary N. Murfree The Mystery of Witch-Face Mountain " " " The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains " " " The House of a Thousand Candles Meredith Nicholson Mother Kathleen Norris Peanut A.B. Paine Judgments of the Sea Ralph D. Paine The Man with the Iron Hand John C. Parish Pierre and his People Gilbert Parker Seats of the Mighty " " When Valmond Came to Pontiac " " A Madonna of the Tubs E.S. Phelps [Ward] A Singular Life E.S. Phelps [Ward] Freckles G.S. Porter Ezekiel Lucy Pratt Ezekiel Expands " " November Joe Hesketh Prichard Men of Iron Howard Pyle The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood " " The Splendid Spur A.T. Quiller-Couch Lovey Mary Alice Hegan Rice Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch " " " Sandy " " " The Feet of the Furtive C.G.D. Roberts The Heart of an Ancient Wood C.G.D. Roberts The Wreck of the Grosvenor W.C. Russell Two Girls of Old New Jersey Agnes C. Sage Little Jarvis Molly Elliot Seawell A Virginia Cavalier " " " The Quest of the Fish-Dog Skin J.W. Schultz The Black Arrow Robert Louis Stevenson David Balfour " " " The Master of Ballantrae " " " St. Ives " " " The Fugitive Blacksmith C.D. Stewart The Casting Away of Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine Frank R. Stockton The Dusantes " " " The Lady or the Tiger " " " The Merry Chanter " " " Rudder Grange " " " Napoleon Jackson Ruth McE. Stuart Sonny " " " Monsieur Beaucaire Booth Tarkington Expiation Octave Thanet (Alice French) Stories of a Western Town " " " " The Golden Book of Venice F.L. Turnbull W.A.G.'s Tale Margaret Turnbull Ben Hur Lew Wallace A Fair God " " My Rag Picker Mary E. Waller The Wood Carver of 'Lympus " " " The Story of Ab Stanley Waterloo Daddy Long-Legs Jean Webster A Gentleman of France Stanley J. Weyman Under the Red Robe " " " The Blazed Trail Stewart Edward White The Conjuror's House " " " The Silent Places " " " The Westerners " " " A Certain Rich Man William Allen White The Court of Boyville " " " Stratagems and Spoils " " " The Gayworthys A.D.T. Whitney Mother Carey's Chickens K.D. Wiggin [Riggs] Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm " " The Chronicles of Rebecca " " The Story of Waitstill Baxter " " Princeton Stories J.L. Williams Philosophy Four Owen Wister The Virginian " " Bootles' Baby John Strange Winter (H.E. Stannard) The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger (W.Z. Gladwin)


The Klondike Stampede E.T. Adney The Land of Little Rain Mary Austin Camps in the Rockies W.A. Baillie-Grohman The Boys' Book of Inventions R.S. Baker A Second Book of Inventions " " My Book of Little Dogs F.T. Barton The Lighter Side of Irish Life G.A. Birmingham (J.O. Hannay) Wonderful Escapes by Americans W.S. Booth The Training of Wild Animals Frank Bostock Confederate Portraits Gamaliel Bradford American Fights and Fighters Cyrus T. Brady Commodore Paul Jones " " The Conquest of the Southwest " " The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln F.F. Browne The Boyhood and Youth of Napoleon Oscar Browning The New North Agnes Cameron The Boys' Book of Modern Marvels C.L.J. Clarke The Boys' Book of Airships " " Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Samuel L. Clemens The Wireless Man F.A. Collins Old Boston Days and Ways M.C. Crawford Romantic Days in Old Boston " " Harriet Beecher Stowe M.F. Crowe Wild Animals and the Camera W.P. Dando Football P.H. Davis Stories of Inventors Russell Doubleday Navigating the Air Doubleday Page and Co. Mr. Dooley's Opinions F.P. Dunne Mr. Dooley's Philosophy " " Edison: His Life and Inventions Dyer and Martin Child Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle Colonial Days in Old New York " " " Stage Coach and Tavern Days " " " Two Centuries of Costume in America " " " Old Indian Days Charles Eastman The Life of the Fly J.H. Fabre The Life of the Spider " " The Wonders of the Heavens Camille Flammarion Boys and Girls: A Book of Verse J.W. Foley Following the Sun Flag John Fox, Jr. Four Months Afoot in Spain Harry A. Franck A Vagabond Journey around the World " " " Zone Policeman 88 " " " The Trail of the Gold Seeker Hamlin Garland In Eastern Wonder Lands C.E. Gibson The Hearth of Youth: Poems for Young People Jeannette Gilder (Ed.) Heroes of the Elizabethan Ago Edward Gilliat Camping on Western Trails E.R. Gregor Camping in the Winter Woods " " American Big Game G.B. Grinnell (Ed.) Trail and Camp Fire Grinnell and Roosevelt (Ed.) Life at West Point H.I. Hancock Camp Kits and Camp Life C.S. Hanks The Boys' Parkman L.S. Hasbrouck (Ed.) Historic Adventures R.S. Holland Camp Fires in the Canadian Rockies W.T. Hornaday Our Vanishing Wild Life " " Taxidermy and Zooelogical Collecting " " Two Years in the Jungle " " My Mark Twain W.D. Howells A Woman's Way through Unknown Labrador Mrs. Leonidas Hubbard Animal Competitors Ernest Ingersoll My Lady of the Chimney Corner Alexander Irvine The Indians of the Painted Desert Region G.W. James The Boys' Book of Explorations Tudor Jenks Through the South Sea with Jack London Martin Johnson A Wayfarer in China Elizabeth Kendall The Tragedy of Pelee George Kennan Recollections of a Drummer Boy H.M. Kieffer The Story of the Trapper A.C. Laut Animals of the Past F.A. Lucas Marjorie Fleming L. Macbean (Ed.) From Sail to Steam A.T. Mahan AEegean Days and Other Sojourns J. Irving Manatt The Story of a Piece of Coal E.A. Martin The Friendly Stars Martha E. Martin The Boys' Life of Edison W.H. Meadowcroft Serving the Republic Nelson A. Miles In Beaver World Enos A. Mills Mosquito Life E.G. Mitchell The Childhood of Animals P.C. Mitchell The Youth of Washington S.W. Mitchell Lewis Carroll Belle Moses Charles Dickens " " Louisa M. Alcott " " The Country of Sir Walter Scott C.S. Olcott Storytelling Poems F.J. Olcott (Ed.) Mark Twain: A Biography A.B. Paine The Man with the Iron Hand John C. Parish Nearest the Pole Robert E. Peary A Book of Famous Verse Agnes Repplier (Ed.) Florence Nightingale Laura E. Richards Children of the Tenements Jacob A. Riis The Wilderness Hunter Theodore Roosevelt American Big Game Hunting Roosevelt and Grinnell (Ed.) Hunting in Many Lands " " " " My Air Ships Alberto Santos-Dumont Paul Jones Molly Elliott Seawell With the Indians in the Rockies J.W. Schultz Curiosities of the Sky Garrett P. Serviss Where Rolls the Oregon Dallas Lore Sharp Nature in a City Yard C.M. Skinner The Wild White Woods Russell D. Smith The Story of the New England Whalers J.R. Spears Camping on the Great Lakes R.S. Spears My Life with the Eskimos Vilhjalmar Stefansson With Kitchener to Khartum G.W. Stevens Across the Plains R.L. Stevenson Letters of a Woman Homesteader Elinore P. Stewart Hunting the Elephant in Africa C.H. Stigand The Black Bear W.H. Wright The Grizzly Bear " " George Washington Woodrow Wilson The Workers: The East W.A. Wyckoff The Workers: The West " "


[1] See Bleyer, W.G.: Introduction to Prose Literature for Secondary Schools.

[2] See also American Magazine, 63:339.

[3] See Scribner's Magazine, 40:17.

[4] See Harper's Monthly Magazine, 116:3.

[5] In: The Little Book of Modern Verse, edited by J.B. Rittenhouse.

[6] See page 41 for magazine reference.

[7] See Collier's Magazine, 42:11.

[8] Additional suggestions for dramatic work are given on page 316.

[9] If a copy of The Promised Land is available, some of the students might look up material on this subject.

[10] See references for Moly, on p. 84.

[11] In Alden's English Verse.

[12] In The Little Book of Modern Verse, edited by J.B. Rittenhouse.

[13] If this is thought too difficult, some of the exercises on pages 316-318 may be used.

[14] Note: The teacher might read aloud a part of the Ode in Time of Hesitation, by Moody. In its entirety it is almost too difficult for the pupils to get much out of; but it has some vigorous things to say about the war in the Philippines.

[15] TO THE TEACHER: It will probably be better for the pupils to study this poem in class than to begin it by themselves.


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