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master, and in time for the post, that rapidity was necessary, and that he cculd hardly keep pace with half the speed of the merchant. He therefore abandoned the affairs of commerce, and took to the business of teaching again, straining his mind to the study of the principles, natural and mechanical, of the art of writing. At length he completed a system which has long satisfied himself, and earned for him the most extended celebrity, we understand, that any writing master has yet obtained.
In the volume before us the principles and details of the system, as well as the history of its author's progress towards its completion, are fully described and minutely illustrated. It comprehends a variety of particular directions and rules with regard to sitting, the positions of the body, the movements not only of the fingers, but the free use of the hand and arm. We cite passages bearing upon some of these points.
Observe, first, that the body ought to be in such a position as to correspond with the position of the writing. Writing should generally be slanted from fifty-three to sixty degrees, and the left side of the body should be turned towards the table, or desk, and the legs of the writer should be placed obliquely, to hold the same slope as the writing itself, that is, the legs and feet should be oblique with the edge of the table, or desk, towards the right, and not straight-forward, as is commonly practised; and the body should be kept as upright as possible. In this case the weight of the body cannot possibly be thrown on the right arm, while a convenient rest will be found on the left, and will not only tend to steady the body while writing, but the right arm also, by allowing it a free play and command for writing.
Persons who are taught according to the old system, generally sit with the front of the body facing right-forward to the table or desk: the consequence is, that too much weight must come on the right arm; and, in this case, it is impossible to have a free action of the hand on the paper, and the hand and pen must be compelled to act almost transversely to the position or slanting of the writing. Secondly, if the body is kept with the left side towards the table, as I have recommended, the head itself will verge more to the left, and enable the writer to have a perfect view of every letter which he is writing, be enabled to write without any impediment, and to sit with perfect ease and comfort to himself, and be enabled to write with the greatest possible rapidity when required. Thirdly, by resting or leaning on the left arm, all the movements will become more perfect, always observing to keep the paper perfectly square with the edge of the table, and the right arm perfectly parallel with the paper; and the paper ought to be always facing the right arm, and in a perfectly direct line with it. The left arm, from the elbow to the end of the fingers, ought to lay on the table, or desk, as nearly as possible in a direct line with the edge of the table, or desk, at the disstance of about four or five inches from the edge, while the right arm must lay in a parallel position with the paper, resting gently, or lightly, on the edge of the table, or desk, from within three or four inches fruin the elbow,
with the hand bearing lightly at the same time on the surface of the nails of the third and fourth fingers.
Since I have written my former observations on the position and holding of the pen, I have found it more convenient, as well as more graceful, to keep the wrist laying flat with the table, or desk, and to move on the surface of the nails of the third and fourth fingers : and this will be found to assist the movement more than by leaning entirely on the end of the fingers, from the smoothness of the nạils. This position of the hạnd may be used, or not, according to fancy or inclination. I now, however, always teach it to my pupils, as it gives a wonderful steadiness to the hand and arm.
It certainly must appear very evident that the hand and pen ought, as much as possible, to be kept in one uniform elevation, or position, at the beginning, middle, and end of the same word, and of the same line ; but I am persuaded we shall hardly find one person out of ten (who have learnt from the old mode), when writing running-hand, having one and the same position of the hand and pen in every part of a word ; and if they have not, the writing cannot appear regular, consistent, and good.
For instance, in writing a formal hand, the little finger is generally used as a fixed prop; and sometimes several letters in succession are formed by the motion of the upper fingers only, without moving the little finger. When writing a running-hand, the consequence is, that a line of writing is composed of a number of successive and uncertain curves and shifts of the hand and pen; therefore, the hand, before it makes a move in this way, is gradually drawn over while in the action of writing, so as to show the inside of the hand. The pen being thus continually used at different angles of inclination, gives varying characters to the letters, and the writing is unequal in style and drawn out of the direct line.
To accomplish the object of free writing, great attention is necessary to be paid to the different movements of the arm, hand, and fingers, because the grand principle of improvement, perfection, and quickness, chiefly depends on these, throughout the whole of the learner's practice. The first and greatest movement is that of the whole arm; the next is the free action of a part of the arm and hand, from the elbow, resting on the table or desk, at the elbow; and the least and last movement is that of the fingers. .
Mr. Carstairs has recourse to sundry measures for controlling the movements, and for disciplining the fingers, &c., for the due and felicitous performance of their task.
To produce the command of the arm, so necessary to free writing, the author has found it expedient, in the beginning, to tie up the fingers, in order to prevent the motion of the joints, and ties a piece of tape, about eight inches long, round the first and second fingers and the first joint of the thumb, with the pen held betwixt them: the pupil, in consequence, is compelled to move the arm to form the letters.
In like manner, the third and fourth fingers are tied up, that they may be kept in their proper position. A tape is tied to them also, so as to bring them sufficiently under the hand, that the surface of the nails may run on the paper : this is done by taking a piece of tape and tying the middle of it
just immediately between the nails and the first joints of the third and fourth fingers, then, with the two ends of the tape, bring the fingers under the hand, so as to admit the tape to be fastened round the wrist.
The chief intention of tying the upper fingers and thumb is to hinder the too flexible motion of them when the pupil is endeavouring to learn the larger movements: there being three direct movements, the first, the movement of the whole arm; the second, the fore-arm; the third, the combined movements of the fingers and thumb, and the varied combinations of all the movements of the arm, hand, and fingers. Each movement ought to be acquired distinctly and correctly by itself.
Among Mr. Carstairs' auxiliaries and mechanical resources, he invented an instrument, in 1810, to which he has added, he says, many improvements. This instrument "retains the hand lightly suspended above the paper, leaving it, at the same time, full liberty to perform all the necessary movements employed in copying the exercises in my systems of writing.” He sets great importance on the free and light use of the arm as well as hand, instead of confining the movements almost exclusively to the fingers, as has ordinarily been done.
We shall now copy out a few notices and directions bearing upon the writing exercises suitable for pupils, reference being made to the accompanying illustrative plates as well as foregoing instructions.
Forming the x, without taking off the pen, is always found difficult : the form of the x given in this plate (ix.) will generally answer the purpose in running-hand, and can be made with great ease, without lifting the pen from the paper. Let it be noticed here, that the first part of the x resembles very nearly the first part of a small m, rather turned to the left at the bottom, the second part is like a small i, a little turned at the top towards the right.
The pupil should commence with the first part of the x, as if he intended to form the first part of the m, observing to return upwards on the stroke he came down with; then return down again on the stroke he went up with, forming the second part something like the shape of the i, as mentioned above, without taking off the pen, and so contiuue, keeping on the pen, from a to x, by the help of the loops, until the column is completed. The e js so very simple that it will not be necessary to give a long direction about it, only be particular to make a clear, open loop in the e itself. The o I have already sufficiently explained. Learners often find the s rather difficult when the pen is kept on. It is nearly as easy as any other letter, if we attend properly to bringing the pen back round the turn at the bottom. When the s is formed, return steadily round the bottom, in a retrograde movement, from the dot of the s, so as to keep on the line. A little practice will soon confirm this into a habit. In making the t, the pen must return up the down-stroke, and form a small loop like an o in the middle of it, and continue the fine stroke, which serves as a crossing to the t, and admits of being readily joined with any letter that may follow it. In the U, which is commonly in the form of two i's, the down-stroke returns upon the up-stroke, as in the o, but is not turned at the top. The u and w are made nearly on the same principle.
The words, or syllables, are much the same as those given to children in their commencing to learn reading. The author recommends all teachers to require learners, as soon as they have something like a right conception of all the letters of the alphabet, to let them begin with joining the double letters, commonly denominated ab's, from models of their own writing on the top lines of their copy-books, both in large-hand and round-hand, about the size they are given in this plate (xi.), and let them endeavour to make them with the oval curved line, without lifting the pen in the entire line, by a free movement of the hand and arm, which will be quite easy for them to perform after they hạve been well exercised in the mechanical movements, particularly exercise xi., which they should perform with the lateral horizontal movement of the whole arm, according to the instructions given at page 51, for that exercise. Before doing this, the young learners ought to be frequently exercised with the large and small characters, daily, uutil they are able not only to make every character, as nearly as possible, from models performed by the teacher, but also know each separately, by its number.
I here advise every teacher to make their young pupils not only practise the large characters, which are to be made with the movement of the whole arm, but ever after to allow them frequently to exercise the large characters, and also large words, consisting of easy letters; always rejecting those words which contain the letters a, d, 9, 9, C, s, and x : but all words that commence with those letters may be practised, even with great advantage, but never to make choice of words with any one of those letters coming in any part of the word after the first letter.
The young learner ought to be exercised in large hand, and large as well as small capital letters, frequently, during the time he remains under the instructions of his writing master.
Mr. Carstairs has a considerable number of directions and illustrative figures on the subject of pen-making, and which, like everything connected with his system, exhibit or indicate pliability, fluency, rapid freedom, and graceful sweep. Of course his system of writing requires that it be studied in all its fulness, and particularly as taught in the volume before us, the edition presenting his last, and perhaps his final improvements. We dismiss the work with a confident expression of the opinion that the methods here taught and elucidated, deserve to be adopted in every school and by every teacher of penmanship; and that on account of its simplicity, its beauty, and its cheapness both in regard to the expenditure of time and money, it ought to form a part of whatever system of national education which may happen to be established by authority.
Art. XVII.- Tales of the Colonies ; or, the Adventures of an Emigrant.
Edited by a late Colonial Magistrate. We last month had merely the opportunity of noticing in the briefest fashion these “Tales of the Colonies,” but drew copiously from some of the earlier sketches and adventures of the Emigrant. On further acquaintanceship with the work we are prepared not only to reiterate, but to go beyond our former praise and recommendation of its contents. It is decidedly original ; for it traverses a country that is new, pictures the most striking scenes and objects in nature as met with in untamed or partially cultured regions, and presents contrasts of the boldest character. It is a penetrating guide even in such a luxuriantly wild country, abounding with retrospective as well as prospective glimpses that are clear and strong, drawing forcibly upon one's sympathies, and arousing to healthful flow and action the sentiments. It is an original work in manner of treatment as well as in respect of subject. As narratives, seldom has human writing been more truthful than these tales, more fresh in regard to life and nature, more various yet faithful in respect of character, or more exciting in point of incident; the author having gone on in his strength and glee with perfect self-confiding, and with a perfect knowledge of what he wrote about.
Let no one suppose that because the work passes under the name of Tales, that therefore nothing better than feigned things, merely to amuse the devourer of novels, enter into these volumes ; for the fact is that the reader can no more doubt of the truth of the narratives than were it a book of De Foe's that he had before him, nor rise from the perusal of a single passage, be the subject gay or sad, -of beautiful civilization or of savage features, without being instructed and bettered. It is very remarkable that where there is so much of simplicity and also of particular detail as the late Colonial Magistrate deals in, there should be so many points and so great attraction; the reason partly at least being that the author is full of the subject that may happen to be in hand, as well as having a full view of it: that his contemplation of it is direct; and that his purpose is manly and far-reaching. We do not hesitate to say, that for a settler in a new country, and especially if similarly circumstanced with Van Diemen's land, a truer, a more informing, or a more inspiriting publication does not exist. Everything seems to be shown and taught that is necessary, or can offer itself to the emigrants' observation or necessities. And then there are such healthfulness of principle, such traits of genuine humanity, and so many touches of welltimed humour, good-natured wit, and sly satire, that the book contains large quantities of food for every phase of feeling and order of appetite. But on all occasions when speaking of a work of sterling merit, and large abundance, nothing is more unsatisfactory than the vague eulogy, and the generalities which one must utter if limited to a few sentences. We therefore without further preface introduce a story that is exceedingly well told,