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3. Write down from memory a list of twenty-five words in contrast, thus:
Cold, hot, cool, excited, calm, storm, quiet, noisy, silent, talkative, reticent, frank, secretive, enlighten, conceal, disclose, mask, indicate, equivocate, straightforward, deception, fidelity, perversion, scrupulous, exaggeration.
4. Select an original subject and write down all the words you can call to mind bearing upon it. Then augment your list from your dictionary and book of synonyms. Write out your composition and compare your effort with the following:
Subject: "Our Honored Dead."
List of words:
Honors, fortitude, patriotic, patience, death, redeemed, garnered, memory, precious, martyred, heroes, love, pride, inspiration, invisible, gladness, tears, country, mourners, liberty, justice, cherish, fresh, inscribed, remembrance.
How bright are the honors which await those who, with sacred fortitude and patriotic patience, have endured all things that they might save their nation from division and from the power of corruption! The honored dead! They that die for a good cause are redeemed from death; their names are gathered and garnered; their memory is precious; each place grows proud for them who were born there. There is in every village, and in every neighborhood, a glowing pride in its martyred heroes; tablets preserve their names; pious love shall renew the inscriptions as time and the unfeeling elements efface them. And the national festivals shall give multitudes of precious names to the orator's lips. Children shall grow up under more sacred inspirations, whose elder brothers, dying nobly for their country, left a name that honored and inspired all who bore it.
Oh, tell me not that they are dead, that generous host, that army of invisible heroes! Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism? Ye that mourn, let gladness mingle with your tears; he was your son, but now he is the nation's; he made your household bright, now his example inspires a thousand households; dear to his brothers and sisters, he is now brother to every generous youth in the land; before, he was narrowed, appropriated, shut up to you; now he is augmented, set free, and given to all; before, he was yours, now he is ours; he has died to the family that he might live to the nation. Not one name shall be forgotten or neglected, and it shall by and by be confest of our modern heroes, as it is of an ancient hero, that he did more for his country by his death than by his whole life.
O mother of lost children! sit not in darkness, nor sorrow when a nation honors. O mourners of the early dead! they shall live again, and live forever; your sorrows are our gladness; the nation lives because you gave it men that loved it better than their lives. And when the nation shall sit in unsullied garments of liberty with justice upon her forehead, love in her eyes, and truth on her lips, she shall not forget those whose blood gave vital currents to her heart, and whose life given to her shall live with her life till time shall be no more. Every mountain and hill shall have its treasured name, every river shall keep some solemn title, every valley and every lake shall cherish its honored register, and, till the mountains are worn out and the rivers forget to flow, till the clouds are weary of replenishing springs and the springs forget to gush and the rills to sing, shall their names be kept fresh with reverent honors which are inscribed upon the book of national remembrance. "Our Honored Dead." HENRY WARD BEECHER.
5. Write a speech on the subject, "The Murderer's Secret," employing the following list of words:
Aged, man, sleep, assassin, window, noiseless, lonely, moon,
room, sleeper, murderer, fatal, blow, death, secret, God, guilty, detection, conscience, torment, evil, entangle, violence, confession, suicide.
Then compare your speech with this:
An aged man without an enemy in the world, in his own house, and in his own bed, is made the victim of butcherly marder for mere pay. A healthful old man to whom sleep was sweet, the first sound slumbers of the night held him in their soft but strong embrace. The assassin enters, through the window already prepared, into an unoccupied apartment. With noiseless foot he paces the lonely hall half-lighted by the moon, he winds up the ascent of the stairs, and reaches the door of the chamber. Of this he moves the lock by soft continued pressure till it turns on its hinges, and he enters and beholds his victim before him. The room is uncommonly open to the admission of light. The face of the innocent sleeper is turned from the murderer, and the beams of the moon, resting on the gray locks of his aged temple, show him where to strike. The fatal blow is given, and the victim passes, without a struggle or a motion, from the repose of sleep to the repose of death. It is accomplished. The deed is done. He retreats, retraces his steps to the window, passes out through it as he came in, and escapes. He has done the murder. No eye has seen him. No ear has heard him. The secret is his own, and it is safe!
Ah! gentlemen, that was a dreadful mistake. Such a secret can be safe nowhere. The whole creation of God has neither nook nor corner where the guilty can bestow it and say it is safe. Not to speak of that Eye which glances through all disguises and beholds everything as in the splendor of noon, such secrets of guilt are never safe from detection even by men. True it is, generally speaking, that "murder will out." True it is that Providence hath so ordained and doth so govern things, that those who break the great law of Heaven by shedding man's blood seldom succeed in avoiding discovery. Especially in a case exciting so much attention as this, discovery must come,
and will come, sooner or later. A thousand eyes turn at once to explore every man, every thing, every circumstance, connected with the time and place; a thousand ears catch every whisper; a thousand excited minds intensely dwell on the scene, shedding all their light, and ready to kindle the slightest circumstance into a blaze of discovery.
Meantime, the guilty soul can not keep its own secret. It is false to itself, or, rather, it feels an irresistible impulse of conscience to be true to itself. It labors under its guilty possession, and knows not what to do with it. The human heart was not made for the residence of such an inhabitant. It finds itself preyed on by a torment which it dares not acknowledge to God nor man. A vulture is devouring it, and it can ask no sympathy or assistance either from heaven or earth. The secret which the murderer possesses soon comes to possess him, and, like the evil spirits of which we read, it overcomes him, and leads him whithersoever it will. He feels it beating at his heart, rising to his throat, and demanding disclosure. He thinks the whole world sees it in his face, reads it in his eyes, and almost hears its workings in the very silence of his thoughts. It has become his master. It betrays his discretion, it breaks down his courage, it conquers his prudence. When suspicions from without begin to embarrass him, and the net of circumstances to entangle him, the fatal secret struggles with still greater violence to burst forth. It must be confest, it will be confest; there is no refuge from confession but suicide, and suicide is confession.
"The Murderer's Secret."
6. Write an essay on the subject "Family Government, using the following list of words:
Command, decision, consistency, firmness, law, enforce, penalties, inevitable, consequences, uniformity, respect, administration, justice, severity, leniency, contemptible, transgression, impunity, coercive, despotism, discipline, governed, slavery, free, selfcontrol.
Compare your composition with this:
Whenever you do command, command with decision and consistency. If the case is one which really can not be otherwise dealt with, then issue your fiat, and, having issued it, never afterward swerve from it. Consider well beforehand what you are going to do, weigh all the consequences, think whether your firmness of purpose will be sufficient; and then, if you finally make the law, enforce it uniformly at whatever cost. Let your penalties be like the penalties inflicted by inanimate nature— inevitable. The hot cinder burns a child the first time he seizes it; it burns him the second time; it burns him the third time; it burns him every time; and he very soon learns not to touch the hot cinder. If you are equally consistent, if the consequences which you tell your child will follow certain acts follow with like uniformity, he will soon come to respect your laws as he does those of nature.
And this respect, once established, will prevent endless domestic evils. Of errors in education one of the worst is that of inconsistency. As in a community crimes multiply when there is no certain administration of justice, so in a family an immense increase of transgressions results from a hesitating or irregular infliction of penalties. A weak mother who perpetually threatens and rarely performs, who makes rules in haste and repents of them at leisure, who treats the same offense now with severity and now with leniency, according as the passing humor dictates, is laying up miseries both for herself and her children. She is making herself contemptible in their eyes; she is setting them an example of uncontrolled feelings; she is encouraging them to transgress by the prospect of probable immunity; she is entailing endless squabbles and accompanying damage to her own temper and the tempers of her little ones; she is reducing their minds to a moral chaos, which after-years of bitter experience will with difficulty bring into order.
Better even a barbarous form of domestic government carried out consistently than a humane one inconsistently carried out. Again we say, avoid coercive measures whenever it is possible to do so; but, when you find despotism really necessary, be despotic in good earnest. Bear constantly in mind the truth that