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ANCED ENGLISH 
COMPOSITION 



BY 



MICHAEL WEST, I.E.S. 



,ONGMAXS. GREEN AxND CO. 

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON 

FOURTH AVENUE AND 30TH STRKET. NEW YORK 



THE LIBRARY 

The Ontario Institute 
for Studies in Education 

Toronto, Canada 




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THE 0NTAm(»#?T«&«8;?-,#'|;^0"':'^"0N LIBRARY 



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ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 
EDUCATION AND PSYCHOLOGY. 

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LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS. 



ADVANCED ENGLISH 
COMPOSITION 



MICHAEL WEST, I.E S., 

AUTHOR OF "EOnCATIOH AND PSYCHOLOGY, " " CLAIROBLCNB' 



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LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. 
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INTRODUCTION 

Hints on the Teaching of English Composition 

The teacher's main duty is to set work, to appraise it, and 
criticise it. The actual amount of oral teaching to be 
done is very small. The chief work is the correction of 
essays. 

1. Setting the Essay. — (1) State the subject, or 
subjects. It is not necessary that all should write on the 
same subject. In the case of Technical essays it is im- 
possible, for the number of reference books is small. 
There should be a fixed list of technical essay subjects. 
All should write on each subject ; but not all in the same 
week. It is a good thing to draw up a programme. 

First TTeek. Second "Week. 

Boy 1 — Subject 1. Boy 1— Subject 2. 

„ I. „ J. „ z „ o, etc. 

Copying is so easily detected here that it is not worth 
attempting. 

When the whole of a subject cannot be worked out in 
one period, plus its evening's preparation, two periods may 
be given. But it is better to divide up the subject into 
sections, e.g. 1st period, drawing up of notes ; 2nd, \vriting 
first scene; 3rd, writing second scene (in the case of a 
story) ; first part, etc. (in the case of an essay). A single 
essay subject may take a fortnight for the boys to write. 

2. Explaining the Treatment. — This should be 
very brief and very practical. If the essay is a new one 
to the teacher, it is good if he write it himself beforehand 

Y a2 



vi INTEODUCTION 

so as to discover the difficulties. The explanation should 
state how to divide up the subject, the sections of an essay, 
the scenes of a story, the main heads of a precis, the chief 
letters of a correspondence, how to prepare the work, the 
collection of material in an essay, the drawing up out of 
the scenes in a story. There should not be a lot of talk, 
but a little questioning, then notes on the board. As 
soon as this is done, let the boys get to work. 

Tlie students then prepare their notes. This takes 
one full evening's preparation. 

The notes are then given in, and are corrected and 
amended by the teacher out of school. Bad notes must be 
returned to be done again. Note that this correction 
must be done out of school. 

The notes should be on loose sheets of full-size foolscap 
paper. They should be very neat. 

3. As soon as the notes have been approved, the 
students start to write their essay. It should be written 
in a large exercise book kept for this purpose only. It 
should be written in ink. Eough copies should not be 
allowed. There is not time if the essay is to be of 
reasonable length. 

4. When the first section set is finished, the books are 
collected and corrected out of school. If the students are 
new to the work, and their results are bad, the scene 
should be re-written according to the advice given by tlie 
teacher in the corrections. If they are fairly good, and 
the piece is not a very long one, the re-writing may be 
deferred till the wliole has been completed. Weak 
students will need to re-write each part and the wliole. 

5. When the essay is complete it should be marked. 
The mark should be awarded on the final product. The 
marks should be entered in a register, and a monthly order 
should be posted. A special prize should be given on 
these marks alone, not counting the examination marks. 

The maximum should always be fairly high, varying 
from 25 for a short two-day essay to 100 for an eight or 
ten period essay. 

Essays and stories should be at least six pages in 
length, separate sections at least four pages. The good 



INTRODUCTION vii 

essay or story is seldom under ten pages in all, usually 
nearer fifteen. 

An essay of less than six pages should be returned to 
be done again. This does not of course apply to Home 
Letters and Miniature Essays. A minimum length 
should, however, always be fixed. 

Correction of Essays. — Essays should be corrected 
out of school. During most of the composition periods 
the boys are writing, and the teacher merely supervising. 
During these periods the teacher should call up each boy 
and " go through " with him the last essay (or part of an 
essay) corrected. This is not the time for correcting. 
The essay should have been already corrected. The 
teacher merely talks to the boy about it. Probably the 
teacher has little more to say than he has already written 
in the boy's book. There is no harm in repeating this. 
The object of this " going through " is to give the boy a 
sense of personal interest. Moreover, praise or blame 
given personally, or repeated personally, has additional 
weight. After going through the last essay the teacher 
should glance at the essay now being done, question the 
student as to how he means to develop the theme, give a 
little advice. Here it is a gi'eat thing to let the student 
talk and explain. It gives him confidence and increases 
his own interest. 

Correction of Spelling and Grammar. — The 
marks should always be given on the literary quality of 
the essay. For bad spelling or grammar deductions 

should be made, e.q. — — . The deductions 

sp. gr. 

should not be calculated at so much per error. They 
should be an estimate of the student's carelessness. A 
naturally good speller may be penalised far more heavily 
for a few mistakes than a bad speller for many. 

All spelling mistakes should be written out correctly 
five times on a separate sheet. All ungrammatical sentences 
should be written out twice correctly on a separate sheet. 
These sheets should be collected at the beginning of the 
period following that in which the essays were returned. 



viii INTRODUCTION 

Note that the use of dictionaries should be allowed 
both in and out of school. Boys may ask the teacher as 
to spelling or grammar as often as they like — if they first 
hold up their hands for permission. Every means should 
be taken to prevent and avoid such errors. There should 
be no excuse for them. The writing out of errors 
should be done in playtime. 

Methods of Increasing Interest. — Every third 
essay subject should be an " optional." If technical 
essays are being done, the student may write on any 
subject he pleases. (His notes, of course, will first have 
to be approved.) If it is a story he may write on any 
plot he pleases. 

This may occasionally be organised. A " Magazine 
day" will be appointed. The teacher states that the 
magazine will be read on such and such a date (about 
fourteen days a-head). An editor is appointed, also an 
assistant editor. Each boy is required to inform the 
editor within two days what sort of contribution he will 
make. The editor arranges (in consultation with the 
teacher) that there shall be reasonable variety, i.e. not all 
essays, or all stories. 

On the magazine day the editor writes up the contents 
on the black-board. He calls on each student in turn to 
read his contribution. 

Where the class is large the teacher previously selects 
the best contribution only for reading, taking as many as 
can be read in one period. 

In ordinary essay work on compulsory subjects, any 
boy who does a specially good essay should be called on 
to read it to the class at the beginning of the period in 
which the essays are given back. This is a mark of 
special honour. It should not be given too often to any- 
one, and not often to the same student. 

The reading aloud of all the essays on one com- 
pulsory subject is a perfectly useless procedure, and 
should never be done. Mistakes should never be dis- 
cussed orally with the whole class. One boy makes one 
error and another another, and no one is interested in 
other people's errors. Essay writing is a development 



INTRODUCTION ix 

of individual talent. The work should be almost entirely 
individual. 

The teacher may occasionally demonstrate a point by 
reading a model essay of his own. This should be done 
before the class attempts the work, not after. It should 
be on a different subject, so that there may be no ser\ile 
imitation. 

Letter Writing. — In letter writing it is an excellent 
device to make one half of the class represent one party 
of the correspondence, and the other the other party. Each 
student on completing his letter will hand it over to the 
corresponding student on the other side for reply. Two 
cases should be carried on simultaneously to avoid waits. 
A is writing to B about purchase of a house. B is writing 
to A about investing some money. While B replies to A 
about the house, A is writing to B about the investment. 
For this lesson, of course, plenty of separate sheets of half 
foolscap paper are required. 

Conclusion. — Allow individuality. Do not dis- 
courage artistic ability by continuous reproof for weak- 
ness of execution. Give praise willingly when it is 
deserved. Be interested and they will be interested. 
Keep up your own literary work. Only a working artist 
can teach art. 

Do the corrections out of school. In this one subject 
it is absolutely essential. 



CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION 
HINTS TO THE TEACHER 

PART I 
GENERAL 

CBAPTKR riam 

I. Words and Phkases 1 

II. Sentence Building 17 

m. The Pakagraph 25 

IV. Spelling and Punctuation 36 

PART II 
THE SUBSTANCE ESSAY 

V. The Life and the Developbcent 43 

VI. The Aegument, or the "Pro and Con" Essay . . 62 

Vn. The Abstract Essay 72 

Vni. The Technicai. Description 79 

PART m 
THE EXAMINATION— ANSWER 

IX. The Examination Answer 85 

zi 



xii CONTENTS 

PAET IV 
THE ARTISTIC ESSAY 

CHAPTER PAO^ 

X. The Description 108 

XI. The Conversation 121 

XII. The Character Sketch 137 

XIII, The Short Story 1^ 

PAET V 
LETTERS 

XIV. Private Letters 164 

XV. The Business Letter 171 

XVI. The Precis 193 

XVII. The Official Letter 212 



ERRATA. 

Page 36 Last line for " diet" read " dirt." 

37 From bottom 4th line, delete "i. e." 

,, 65 From top 10th line, for "as " read " and." 

,, 71 From top 17th line, for " Nordeau" read " Xordau." 

,, 133 From top 11th line, for " it's right" read " it's gone 
right." 

„ 142 From top 13th line, for "apace" read " space." 

143 From top 17th-19th for "Chattergie" read "Cbatterji." 
143 for "Sarneleta" read "Sarnalata." 

,, 143 for "Naudia" read " Nandini." 

,, 143 From bottom 2nd, read " World'-. Classics, Clarendon 
Prey's. " 

,, 149 From bottom .ith, "means just . ." read "means 
the actual incident :" and in the next line, read 
" means just after the fire." 

., 150 From top i5th, "To hunt . . . '" read "In hunting 

round . . take anything ..." etc. 

218 From top 21st, for " H. S. P. " read " S. P." 



PART I— PRELIMINARIES 
CHAPTER II 

WORDS AND PHRASES 

In this chapter I assume that the studcut possesses a 
fairly good knowledge of the English language ; that he 
has stored in his mind a useful set of sentence forms, 
phrases and words, so that he can give the English expres- 
sion of any ordinary thought. We are now going to dis- 
cuss the problem of choosing those words and phrases and 
arranging them in the right order, so as to form sentences, 
and of grouping the sentences so as to produce clauses. All 
this must be done in such a way that the result may be a 
"Good Style." 

^\^lat is a " good style " ? It is first of all a matter of 
the choice of words. 

1- Choice of Words. — Certainly it does not consist in 
the number of words one knows. I suppose Subal Ch. 
Mitra, the author of the large Bengali dictionary, knows 
many more Bengali words than most people do. Yet — 
though no doubt he writes excellent Bengali — ^his style is 
not as famous as that of Bankim Babu, or of Rabindra 
Nath Tagore. Nor yet is Webster the most famous English 
author. 

Style does not consist in using difl&cult words. It 
would be very easy to write a passage containing more 

1 The author has disposed of all rights in this book for Bengal, and 
receives no prolit from its sales. 

1 n 



2 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

out-of-the-way words even than the Bankim's description 
of the maid-servant's beauty in " The Poison Tree " or 
any such similar passage. But it would not be better. 
Rabi Babu uses simpler words than most authors — yet he 
writes a better style. One of the simplest writers in 
English is Charles Lamb — and one of the most famous for 
his style. 

SimpUcity is one of the most important elements in 
good style. Language is a means of expressing thought. 
A man's object in speaking to another is to convey his 
thoughts. A man speaks to a shopkeeper ; he speaks to 
make known his thought, viz. that he is ready to pay Re. 1 
for the thing and not an anna more. So he says so. He 



" 1 am ready to pay one rupee for the thing, and not au 
anna more." 

He does not consider how he shall say this ; he says it in 
the clearest and shortest possible way. He uses the words 
most likely to be understood by the shopkeeper. 

In modern English, more than in any other tongue 
perhaps, the spoken language and the written resemble 
each other. A sentence might be taken out of any of the 
most modern authors and spoken in conversation : no 
one would think it " booky " ; no one would guess that it 
was not the speaker's own words. Modern wiitten English 
is exactly the same as the careful speech of an ordinary 
educated man. 

This does not mean that slang words should be written 
in an essay. There is no reason why they should not be 
so written if all spoke the same slang. Many words which 
are now commonly used were once " slang," e.g. a " dandy." 
These words are now understood by everybody. In speak- 
ing, the words are addressed to one person, and at one 
moment. The word understood by that person is the right 
word to use. In writing it is assumed that the words arc 
addressed to many people. Some might understand your 
local slang ; some might not. For this reason a man who 



WORDS AND PHRASES 3 

is addressing a large meeting does not use slang expressions, 
for many would not understand. It is assumed that the 
written record is meant to be fairly permanent, that some 
persons will read it to-morrow, some next year, and some 
many years hence. Slang words come and go. This year's 
vulgarisms are forgotten in a very short space of time. 
Hence the writer who uses them will soon become difl&cult 
to understand. For this reason ephemeral slang expres- 
sions, though a part of the spoken language, should be 
avoided in writing. 

So, too, should the difl&cult, lofty words be avoided. 
Such words are not used in ordinary speech. They mean 
no more than the easy word. No possible purpose is 
served in using them. " Begin " means just as much as 
" inaugurate " and " commence " ; but if it takes one 
second to understand " begin," it takes at least three to 
identify the other uncommon long word. 

Why, then, did the early writers, both in English and in 
Bengali, use so many long and lofty words ? Why is there 
so much Latin in Sir Philip Sidney, and (much later) in 
Dr. Johnson ? ^\Tiy is there so much Sanskrit in Banldm ? 
The reason is that in the time of these authors the language 
was still being formed. The people of the Hill Tracts, in 
Chittagong Di\ision, speak many different dialects. If 
one man were to set down to write a book in the Chakma 
language, he would have great difl&culty in selecting words 
which would be understood in every village. So the 
tendency is to go back to the root from which all the 
dialects are derived and form a word thence in the nope 
that, being taken from the base of the tree, it will be or 
become familiar to all the branch dialects. At one time 
Bengali — and English too — was a collection of dialects. 
The old writers were very much afraid of any ordinary 
colloquial word ; they feared it might be local. Hence 
they felt safer with something Sanskritic. So too the 
early writers of English used Latin words for fear of the 
local vulgarism. There is another reason : a young 
language lacks words. If words have to be coined thev 



4 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

must be coined from the original metal, the parent- 
language. In the developed language this is no longer 
necessary. Conversation has become more uniform ; 
dialects are disappearing ; there are plenty of ordinary 
words which every one can understand. There are plenty 
of native words for any ordinary idea without coining new 
foreign ones. Indeed, to use the out-of-the-way word is to 
hinder the growth of the language, for it hinders the process 
of making the simple spoken word universal. 

In short, when once people begin to talk alike, there is no 
longer any need of a special written language. This is the 
case in English. Speak in order to say your thoughts as 
clearly and briefly as possible. Write as you speak. Speak 
as you write. 

Exercises. 

Example. — " The other day Smith stalked ^ up to ine in the 
street, banged 2 me on the back and said, ' Cheery oh ! ^ How's 
biz?'^ I was lather fed up^ with him. I answered, 'Biz is 
so-so. But I have had a lot of dik ^ at home. The wife is 
not up to the iriark.' ' 

" ' What's up with her ? ' 

" ' Don't know. But she's not been very perky * for several 
days past. I'm afraid she's in for ^ a bad go ^" of something.' " 

1. AValkcd. 2. Hit or slapped. 3. " Hallo ! " 4. Business. 
H. Annoyed. 6. Trouble. 7. As well as usual. 8. In good health. 
U. Likely to have. 10. Attack. 

Some of these slang words are metaphors of a kind : 
5. " fed up " — as if the man's company were a too frequent 
dish of food ; 7. " not up to the mark " — a metaphor of 
measuring or weighing, the mark being the normal measure ; 
8. " perky " — is used of a bird ; 9. " in for " — properly " in 
for a race " or " in for an examination" meaning a candi- 
date for. 

" Dik " is a perfectly proper Hindustani woid, but its 
use in English is slang, because it is not generally under- 
stood. No ordinary person living in England would be 
familiar with the word. Some Hindustani words have 
been fully adapted into the language, and therefore are not 



WORDS AND PHRASES 5 

considered slang ; for example : " Coolie," " Hookah," 
" Raja," " Nabob." No. 4, " biz," is a mere contraction. 

Exercise I. — AVrite a piece of colloquial Bengali (or 
Hindustani) containing vulgarisms of this sort. Analyse 
their meanings, and show how they are derived. Show 
that the words are only local, e.g. they have a different 
meaning elsewhere, or would not be understood elsewhere. 
Rewrite it in simple, ordinary Bengali which any one could 
understand. Then write it in simple, clear English. 

Exercise II. — If you are working in a hostel or in a cla.s.s, 
get together several friends, and try this exercise. See how 
many words of your friends' slang compositions you cannot 
understand. 

The theme of the piece may be as follows : — 

(1) A cultivator tells how he met a friend on the road. 
The friend looked proud and refused to notice him. He said, 
" ^^^lat has happened ? Have you gone up in the world, so 
that you do not notice old friends ? "' etc., etc. The friend 
rephed that his daughter was going to be married to a person 
of high status. The cultivator asked who it might be. The 
friend replied X. The cultivator laughs at X. " I do not 
think he is very much to boast about." 

(2) A schoolboy describes how all the boys were playing 
and making a great noise La the classroom before school. In 
came the master. He spoke sharply to them, saying, " Silence ! 
Why this noise ? " The boys answered, the bell had not yet 
sounded. The teacher showed by his watch that it was long 
past the hour, so they cannot have heard the bell. Seeing 
that they had really made an unintentional mistake he does 
not punish them. The boys say they think this very kind of 
the master. 

(3) A boy describes a race at the annual sports (or a foot- 
ball match). 

(4) A village poUceman describes how two tikka gharris 
(hackney carriages) raced each other along the road. They 
collided at the end, and also knocked over a sweetmeat stall. 
The old sweetmeat-seller screamed and abused them. 

2. Cutting out Useless Words.— Good style ex- 
presses the writer's meaning not only in the simplest, 



6 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

clearest words, but also in as few words as possible. Brief- 
ness is really a part of clearness. For it is impossible to 
be clear if excessive words are used. The extra words 
merely cloud the meaning. 

For example, the sentence — 

" I shall eat my dinner at twelve o'clock " 

is perfectly plain and simple. No word can be omitted 
from it. No additional words are needed. This sentence 
says just the same, nothing more : — 

" At midday, when the sun is at the height and top of the 
sky, and the shadows are shortest and briefest, and the clock 
is pointing to the figure of twelve with both its hands, I have 
every hope and anticipation of consuming, eating, disposing 
of, and subsequently digesting the meal, collation, or repast 
of which, by the mercy of Heaven, I daily throughout the 
year, and indeed throughout my whole life, partake and have 
partaken." 

Not only does this sentence take much longer to read, 
but also it is more difficult to understand. The mind is 
confused by the repetition of the same idea in different 
words ; it looks for differences to account for the use of 
extra words, finds none, and feels puzzled. 

Exercise. — Copy out the above sentence, and group 
together all the words which are repetitions of the one 
idea contained in the first sentence. Thus — 

First sentence. Second sentence. 

Dinner. Meal. 

Collation. 

Repast. 

Causes of Useless Words. — Useless words are most 
often due to one of the following causes : — 

(1) The writer does not make up his mind what he 
wants to say, so instead of deciding for himself, be leaves 
the choice to the reader. 

" She was flustered — or frightened — or upset, when she 
heard the news of the railway accident." 



WORDS AND PHRASES 7 

The three words do not mean the same thing, so it is 
nonsense to write "or." She might have been " fright- 
ened " or she might have been " flustered." The author 
has not made up his mind which she was. 

(2) The author writes a complicated word and then 
explains it by a simpler one — 

" The aureate or golden hues of morning." 

It would be much better to miss out the complicated 
word. The simple one is just as good. 

(3) A very frequent cause of excessive words is the 
attempt to attain picturesqueness by " heaping on the 
adjectives." Adjectives are very dangerous things. Never 
use an adjective unless you are quite certain it is absolutely 
necessary, and quite certain that its meaning is not already 
contained or implied in the noun or the verb. 

Exercise. — " Bright, shining, golden shafts of glistening 
sunhght poured from the face of the burning, blazing, tropic 
sun. The parched and dried-up earth seemed to quiver in the 
scorching, desiccating heat. All quick and living things were 
numbed and stupefied by the glare. But the weary and worn 
traveller, dust-stained, earthy, soiled, pursued his companion- 
less and lonely path." 

This should be — 

" Bright golden shafts of sunlight poured from the face of 
the tropic sun. The parched earth " (Finish it.) 

(4) Adverbs are nearly as dangerous as adjectives. 
Always, in revising your writings, look carefully at the 
adverbs and cut out every one which does not seem to you 
really necessary. Wherever there is a flowery passage, a 
piece of what you consider to be " fine writing," be specially 
on your guard for useless adverbs. 

Exercise. — Ponderously, solemnly, slowly he mounted the 
stair. Sadly, hesitatingly, dubiously he opened the door. 
He entered the room fearfully, and timidly. His wife lay 
desperately, fiercely, frantically strugghng wildly for breath. 
Agony remorselessly clutched his heart with cruel hand. He 



8 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSTTtON 

knelt at her side, and wept hopelessly and bitterly. — {Cut out 
the useless adverbs.) 

(5) The most useless of all words are conjunctions — 
" But," " And," " On the other hand," " So," Hence," 
" Whereas," and all the rest of them. If two sentences 
are contrasted, they are contrasted and there is no need 
to indicate it by a " But." 

" She is good. He is bad " 

is just as effective — in fact, rather more so than 

" She is good. But he is bad." 

What is the use of " But " ? 

" He went to the town. He bought several things, some 
cloth, a book, some ink, a hat, paid for them, returned home. 
When he got there he found his wife very seriously ill." 

This is a perfectly good sentence. It has rather a crisp 
sound. Certainly the following is no improvement ; it is 
the opposite ; it loses all the crispness : — 

" He went to the town and bought several things — some 
cloth, a book, some ink, and a hat — and paid for them. He 
returned home and when he got there he found his wife very 
seriously ill." 

What is the benefit of these four ands ? They add 
nothing. If you are merciless in cutting out adjectives 
and adverbs, be ten times more merciless with conjunc- 
tions. They are the insects of the language world, small 
parasitic, useless things, for whose existence no good reason 
can be found. 

(6) The root cause of useless words is always the same, 
whether the useless word be adverb, adjective, conjunction, 
or any other. It is not knowing what to say next, and 

KEEPING on talking WHILE YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND. 

If you do not know what to say next, stop, put your pen 
down, and think. In every speech, every lecture, there is 
always a lot of padding, a lot of talk merely intended to 
keep the ball rolling while the speaker gets his thoughts 



WORDS AND PHRASES 9 

together. This may be pennissible in speaking. It is one 
of the worst faults in writing. If meaning is a chemical 
and words are water, a speech may be a fifty per cent, 
solution, but writing should be per 100 cent, solution. 
Example. — 

A man makes a speech (50 per cent. The same, written 
solution). (100 per cent, solu- 

tion). 

Gentlemen — I see there are also Ladies and gentle- 
some ladies present — Ladies and men (12 words : 3 
gentlemen, you, all of you, to-day (a words), you have to- 
most auspicious day for me) have con- day conferred on me 
ferred, bestowed on me a very great and a great honour (23 : 
unprecedented honour. 10). 

Your choice and election of this Yourselectionof me 

your humble servant, to act as repre- to represent your in- 

sentative of your interests and to voice terests is a mark of 

your wishes is, if I may say so, in itself confidence (4.j : 13). 
a mark of esteem, a sign of trust, and 
an evidence of your confidence. 

Notice how it is done — 

(1) By parentheses of meaningless explanations, e.g. — 

" A most auspicious day for me." He might have said, 
" A very happy day for all of us." " This bright summer 
day." " A da\^ I shall remember all my life ; " and so on ad 
infinitum. 

(2) By paraphrase. While thinking of the next phrase 
he keeps his mouth moving by paraphrasing the last 
thought — " conferred, bestowed ; " " choice and election ; " 
'" mark of esteem, sign of trust." 

(3) By stop-gap phrases. I could give you a list of 
phrases which can be introduced into any sentence and 
into any part of the sentence, which will fit it perfectly yet 
not affect the meaning in the least, e.g. " if I may say so ; " 
" to use the phrase ; " " to speak frankly ; " "I wish to 
make myself clear ; " " you will understand me if I say ; " 
" I would draw your attention to this." For example, we 
may " pad out "the lines " To be or not to be."—" To be 



10 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

or not to be — if I may use the phrase, — this — I would 
draw your special attention to it — is the problem, the 
question. I hope I make myself clear. Whether it is 
better, really and in the truest sense better, better for me 
and better for you, to suffer and endure, aye, endure, the — 
what shall I say ? — the slings and arrows, the manifold 
afflictions and trials of unkind, merciless, outrageous 
fortune, or , etc. 

Exercises. 

Cut out the useless ivords from the following ^passages, 
giving special attention to conjunctions, adjectives, and 
adverbs, and ''make time" phrases. Also simplify ivhere 
necessary. 

There lived — I may inform you — at a certain epoch, at a 
certain time, an extremely and excessively opulent, I may say 
rich man. His beloved wife— in other words, his spouse — fell 
ill. She was very seriously indisposed, quite laid up. Well, 
then, she felt that she was going to die. So of course, as you 
may suppose, she called her dear, tiny little daughter to her 
bedside where she was lying ; and then she took her dear, 
white little hand in her own wan, cold, pale, thin, emaciated 
palm, and she said this : " My dearest child, be good, and do 
good, right things, but don't do wicked things. Hate wrong, 
but do not be cruel to the wrong-doers. But pity them and 
try to make them good and right and true and honest. If 
you try to do that, if you really and in very sooth strive 
earnestly and endeavour, make a real strong attempt, even if 
you fail sometimes, now and again, yet you will be doing your 
duty, doing your best, the best you can do. If you do that 
you will live happy. You will pass your days in joy. I shall 
be watching you." 

Now listen to what I am going to tell you : after a little time, 
not so very long either, the rich man — he married another wife, 
and the second wife had two daughters, and she was not a 
good woman, and she hated the first wife's child, and she 
made her sit in the cinders, she did, so that they called her by 
the funniest name, they called her Cinderella. 

Verbs and Nouns. — It may be judged that I have a 
prejudice against adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions. 



WORDS AND PHRASES 11 

This is true. So should every writer have a prejudice 
against them. For thev are his worst foes. ^Vhat is there 
left ? Verbs and nouns. To a large extent these are 
alternative. Every sentence must be made up of verbs 
and nouns. They are the " dal bhat," the bread and 
butter of speech. All other parts of speech are mere extras. 
It is impossible to write in conjunctions, adjectives, and 
adverbs only. 

" But beautiful slowly." This means nothing. 
WTiereas almost any combination of noun and verb is 
likely to have at least an appearance of meaning. I shut 
my eyes and put my pencil on a word in a Reader which 
lies beside me. The first word was " Field." Turning 
over a few pages, I hit on the verb '" is obtained." " A 
field is obtained." This has a meaning. Make the experi- 
ment yourself. 

Now an important point — the idea " I possess a field " 
may be expressed in two ways — 

(1) I possess a field. 

(2) I have possession of a field. 

In the one case the chief meaning of the sentence is in the 
nouns " possession," " field," and the verb is a mere link, 
a colourless auxiliary. In the other case, the verb is of 
importance and individuality. 

Take the sentence : " The pressure of an object on the 
hand is proportionate to the weight." We might express 
this : " Any object presses upon the hand with a force 
equal to what it weighs." In the one case the verb is 
" IS," and the meaning is in the nouns " pressure," 
" weight." In the other case the verb is " presses," 
" weighs." 

The characteristic of simple English is the number of 
verbs used. The characteristic of terse but difficult English 
is the number of rumns used. 

Exactly the same applies to Bengali. If, therefore, you 
wish to write simple forcible English use verbs wherever 
possible. If the aim be terseness, irrespective of difficulty. 



12 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSTTTON 

use nouns. There are occasions for terseness, e.g. technical 
descriptions or discussions, official correspondence. In the 
main, simplicity and force should be the aim. Always use 
verbs in preference to nouns and in preference to every 
other part of speech. Verbs rather than adjectives, verbs 
rather than adverbs, verbs rather than nouns. Avoid 
nouns at all costs. Use adjectives rather than nouns, 
adverbs rather than nouns. Always try to use the active 
voice in simple writing ; the passive should be preferred 
in a difficult and terse style. Avoid participles in simple 
writing, seek them in difficult. 

Example. — Simple : When the king saw these strange \ 

things he was delighted. I 

Difficult : Observing these strange sights, the king ( 

WAS FILLED WITH DELIGHT. J 

The more he thought on them, the more he was pleased \ 
with them. I 

Contemplation op them only added to his pleasure [ 
IN them. J 

So, discontented with his lot, he went to live in a large ) 
temple which was near the garden. f 

Filled with discontent at his lot, he took up his I 

RESIDENCE IN A LARGE TEMPLE ADJOINING THE GARDEN. / 

As he strolled in the garden he found Nature beautiful ^ 
all around him. j 

Strolling in the garden, he found himself sur- | 
rounded by the beauty of nature. ) 

The trees were green and leafy. Flowers jewelled the 
garden. The birds and the insects were singing ; they 
soothed and calmed him. 

The leafy greenness of the trees, the garden 
jewelled with flowers, the music of the birds and 
insects brought him solace and calm. 

Exercise. — Rewrite the jollowing passage in simple 
language, substituting verbs and adjectives J or nouns 
wherever possible, and following the directions given above. 

1. The man then gave his pledge to perform all her requests. 
The Raven expressed his dissatisfaction. " I have a convic- 
tion," he said, " that you will fail to effect my deliverance. 



WORDS AND PHRASES 13 

The acceptance of any gift from the old woman will be fatal 
to the attempt." The man made renewal of his promise that 
he would consume no \-ictuals ofiered to him by the woman. 
His journey was then resumed. On his arrival at the house, 
the old woman met him. Her speech of welcome to him was : 
" The weariness of your appearance grieves me. Some food 
and refreshment should be taken by you." His refusal was 
couched in the following terms : " A resolution has been 
taken by me neither to eat nor drink here." Her importunity 
was continued. " Presuming the necessity of your refusal to 
eat is absolute, the acceptance of a glass of wine may yet be 
permitted." Oblivion of his pledges supervening, a glass of 
wine was accepted. 

At midnight a visit was paid by the man to the garden. 
During his period of waiting for the arrival of the Raven, a 
desire for sleep came upon him. Avoidance of compliance 
with his impulse became an impossibility. Adopting a supine 
attitude he formed a resolution, while partaking of rest, to 
make no indulgence in sleep. The unconscious closure of his 
eyes was an immediate consequence, and a deep stupor the 
final result. 

2. Take a passage from Grimm's " Fairy Tales," writ^ it 
out into difficult language, following the rules given above. 
Then xoithout reference to the book, put it into the simplest 
language possible, simpler even than the original. 

Additional Exercises on Chapter I. 

Rewrite the following in simple English : — 

(Where several words are in italics together, only one 
word is needed in their place.) 

1. " Of yore there existed a certain man of mean circum- 
stances. By his first wife he had one offspring, a female child. 
Ill-advisedly he married again. His second wife was an iras- 
cible and merciless woman. She conceived a great aversion for 
the daughter of the first wife. She employed every opportunity 
of vilifying and torturing her. She gave her menial offices to 
perform. The daughter used her utmost endeavour to satisfy 
her stepmother. However nauseaiing or Herculean the task, 
she performed it complacently and without raising objection. 
Frequently the stepmother devised futile or insurmountable 



14 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

tasks. On one occasion she dismissed the child at the noosl 
frigid -period of the year to gather aestival blossojns. Again at 
the zenith of summer she commanded her to procure ice from 
the adjacent river." 

2. The com7nencemeni of the year approached. The 
nocturnal period reached its cessation ; dawn came. Tempes- 
tuous weather prevailed. Celestial nimbus caused the day to 
be frigid. Portions of water congealed by cold were hurtled 
along by the vigorous blast. The knight was prone upon, his 
couch ; he gave ear to the sound of the inclement weather 
without. He was undesirous q/" rising. 

(The teacher may obtain other passages for pra<;tice by paraphrasing 
Cirimm's "Fairy Tales" with the aid of Roget's "Thesaurus of English 
Words and Phrases.") 

Cut out any vulgar or slarfg phrases which are 
unworthy of the passage. Substitute more suitable 
words. 

(a) Glorious as the spectacle was, it passed unheeded. 
Ever}' blessed person was looking for another object which 
now drew near. In an open space behind the constable came 
wobbling along a white chariot drawn by two nags draped 
with white damask which swept the ground. A golden 
canopy was borne above it which went tinkle, tinkle, tinkle 
all the time with its silver bells. 

(b) Their horsemen turned and fled. The day was won. 
Though the storm and the sun and the archers each did their 
bit, we must not forget the prince. He was only a youngster 
of sixteen, yet he commanded the whole army. The king, his 
dad, took no part in this engagement. Maybe he was afraid 
to run the risk of leaving England wathout a king of mature 
years. More creditable authority maintains that his motive 
in this abstinence was desire to see what the young fellow 
could do and let him make his name. 

Write the following passage in the simplest 
English you can use consistently with forcible ex- 
pression. Omit useless words and repetitions: — 

The terror of the aged agriculturist was unbounded. He 
was profoundly ignorant of Jsanis' present location, nor yet 
could he observe vestigial traces in the dust whereby he might 
be guided in his pursuit of her. The recovery and restoration 



WORDS AND PHRASES 15 

of her to the prince appeared to be a task illimitably set beyond 
the bounds of human possibility. Such being the situation, 
it became evident that the period of his existence was bounded, 
his days numbered, death at hand. Declining in the western 
hemisphere was the last sun upon which his eyes would e'er 
repose. He returned home. The profoundest depression 
made him its prey. He remained confined to liis chamber 
re/using creature-comforts A When asked the cause of his 
despondency he expounded the circumstances of his despair, 
and revealed the Herculean task which had been laid upon 
him. 

My Lord, I crave your most gracious indulgence and 
pardon if I occupy your time and attract your attention for a 
few moments while expounding and makmg clear to you the 
facts, circumstances, rights, and wrongs, justices and injus- 
tices of my client's case. This man, this miserable man who 
stands before you, is accused by that shameless villain con- 
fronting me, facing me yonder, of the theft of thirty rupees 
from the office desk. The complainant maintains, he has the 
audacity to state that when leaving the office on Saturday 
last, Surendra Chandra Basu, my client, his helpless clerk, 
remained in the building; in fact he stayed behind. Why 
Surendra should have stayed behind, the reason for it, the 
reason for it I say, the motive, he has not the courage to 
explain, he does not venture to suggest. I will tell you. 
Surendra stayed behind because he had extra work to finish. 
Business in this house had not been going well. The master 
goes off early : the hard-working clerk remains to bring the 
ship into harbour and pull the fat out of the fire.^ 

But see now the wicked villainy of the prosecutor. His 
business has not been prospering. His investments are bad. 
His stocks are of no value. He is pressed for money. He is 
hard put to it to find even ten rupees, even five rupees. For 
his household expenses he has had to use his office monev. 
His business funds he has had to divert to meet his domestic 
necessities. The discrepancy must be explained. The deficit 3 
must be covered by a pretext. VTh&t then does he do ? 

* Correct this expression. 

* What about these metaphors ? Are they good ? 

* Can this sentence be better expressed, asing practically the same 
words ? " He must find a ." 



16 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

He removes the petty cash from his desk, and abstracts the 
office-contingency fund from his bureau. He spends these 
ill-gotten gains on fooditig and clothing.^ The blame of his 
dishonesty he casts upon his hard-working drudge, his clerical 
slave. 

Cut out the unnecessary adjectives from the 
following passage. Correct other faults due to 
an unskilful attempt to obtain effect. 

The big, bright, beautiful moon was gleaming over the wide 
wavy waste of restless rolling waters. A long ladder of light 
lies on the surface of the storm-tossed lake. But an hour 
ago, in the first silver of twilight, all was calm and still as an 
infant's dreamless, placid slumber. Then a fierce, wild gust 
of wind, dark-gathered clouds, hoarse hiss of rain, rising waves, 
and the storm had burst. Flicker of blinding lightning, 
bellow of deafening thunder. It seemed as if nature wearied 
of the past stillness of her beauty with fierce gestures and wild 
ragings now fain would show what hidden, fierce, relentless 
fires sleep beneath her daily sunlight calm. Then at the 
wildest moment of flashing and thundering rage came a pause 
of silence. A few more streaks of fiery light, mutterings of 
thunder-clouds disappointed of destruction. The wild wind 
dies down to peaceful slumber. The drear, dark clouds 
vanish over the uttermost limit of a golden moonlit sky. 
Silence and evening after the rain has passed ; sweet- 
scented, silent evening ; no sound save dripping of the trees 
and lingering, lapping of the running ripples on the wide lake. 

^ Is this the correct phrase ? 



CHAPTER II 

SENTENCE BUILDING 

The Structure of a Sentence — A sentence is made up of 
a subject, the name of a person or thing, and an idea which 
is attributed to it. A sentence is a conjunction of two or 
more ideas, e.g. " the dog," " a kick." The sentence con- 
nects these ideas — 

" The dog was kicked." 
" The dog kicked." 

" I kicked the dog " contains three ideas. What are 
they ? How many ideas does " The man gave the dog 
a kick " contain ? ^ 

Any sentence consists of two chief parts — 

1. The first idea to which other ideas are joined. 

2. The ideas which are joined. 

In the sentence " The dog was kicked " the first idea 
is " dog," and to it is joined the second idea of kicking. 
The subject of which you are speaking is the dog. The 
dog is the Suhject of the sentence. The rest is what you 
say about the dog. Dico is the Latin for / say. Predico is 
a compound verb : — pre+dico. It means the same. The 
predicate means " what is said about it." So a sentence 
consists of two parts — ^ 

1. The subject. 

2. The predicate (what is said about it). 

Adjectival Clauses. — I may wish to add extra informa- 
tion beyond the bare fact. I may wish to say who the 
man is, and what dog it is. AVhat part of speech adds to 
and qualifies or defines a noim ? An adjective. If we add 
" the pariah " to " dog," " the pariah dog," we limit the 
wide meaning of dog ; we cut out a large class of dogs (all 

^ Ans. — ^No more than '"The man kicked the dog" — viz. three, 
" Man," " dog." " kick." 

17 n 



18 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

the pet dogs and well-bred dogs) and limit the meaning to 
only the jungle dog. Instead of adding the word " pariah " 
we may add the words " which was a pariah." It means 
just the same. 

" The man kicked the pariah dog." 

" The man kicked the dog which was a pariah." 

" Which was a pariah " = Pariah = an adjective : 
therefore " Which was a pariah " is an adjective. It is 
also a sentence or clause. It is an adjectival sentence or 
adjectival clause. 

Exercise 1. — The man was passing along the street, he 
had a brown coat, a white dhoti with a red edge. He was 
carr}'ing three books in his hand.^ — Add an adjectival claitse to 
" the man." 

Exercise 2. — Add adjectival clauses to the subject and object 
in the following sentences : — 

(Subject) (Object) 

The boy — received — a beating. 
The elephant— ate — grass. 
The cat — killed —a bird. 
The girl — found — the money. 
The baker — made — the bread. 

An adjectival clause may be as long as you like. It 
may consist of many connected clauses. For example — 

" The man about whom I spoke to you yesterday saying 
that he was not a desirable person to know as he had been put 
in prison for cheating his employer and running away with 
a lot of the firm's money, and who met me the day before 
yesterday and asked me to help him to find some employment 
because no one would have anything to do with him, and bis 
wife and children were starving, has gone to Burdwan." 

An adjectival clause need not begin with " who " or 
which. It may be made up of participles. " The singing 
bird." Singing is an adjective. " The bird singing a 
song flew up into the sky." " Singing a song " is an 
adjectival clause. 



SENTENCE BUILDING 19 

Exercise 3. — Add participles with objects as adjectival 
clauses to the subject or object of the foUowinq sentences : — 

The soldiers charged the enemy. 

I killed the mosquito 

The policeman handcuffed him. 

The judge dismissed the case. 

The student went to sleep. 

Adverbial Clauses — An adverb adds something to the 
verb. It says why or how or when the matter took place. 
Answer the following questions by repeating the sentence 
with an adverb, thus — 

How did you kick the dog ? Hard ; I kicked the dog hard. 
How did the football team play ? 
When did you do your home work ? 



How does your friend speak English ? 
Have you often seen a crow flying ? — 
Have you ever seen an elephant flying ? 



An adverbial clause is a sentence which adds to the 
idea of the verb in just the same way as the single word 
adverb. 

" When did you see Jyotish last ? " Ans. " Yesterday. 

Now, yesterday you were walking by the side of the 
river, and that was when you met him. So it is just the 
same if you say " I saw Jyotish when I was walking bv 
the side of the river." Yesterda}' is an adverb, so is " when 
I was walking by the side of the river." " I did it perforce " 
and *' I did it because he forced me " — • because he forced 
me " is an adverbial clause exactly equivalent to " perforce." 

Exercise. — Add an adverbial clause to each of the following 
sentences : — 

1. Saying when the event occurred. 

2. Saying how. 

3. Saying why. 
Thus— 

Q. I sold my bicycle. 

An.s. 1. I sold my bicycle soon after I saw you last. 

2. I sold ray bicycle so cheaply that I made very 

little profit out of it. 

3. I sold ray bicycle because I was hard up for money. 



20 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Q. 1. I have built a house 

2. I went to Calcutta 



3. I wish to go to school — — 

4. I shall go and live in the College hostel 

5. It will be necessary for me to borrow some money 

How to construct Sentences. — Should sentences be 

short or long ? Should they be simple or complicated ? 

First, let us ask what determines the length of a sentence. 
In ordinary speech one puts as much into a sentence as 
can readily be carried in the mind at one time. Some of 
the sentences in Gibbon's " Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire " are very long and complicated. But he never 
spoke in that way. Sitting down with a pen to write we 
may at leisure compose sentences as long as we please. 
A little erasing and correction may occasionally be necessary. 
This cannot be done in speech. In writing we may fill 
and empty our minds several times, and tack each mind- 
full on to the sentence. In speech each " mind-full " 
must be a separate sentence. Hence in speech apparently 
short sentences are necessary, but in writing they may be 
as long as we like. Is this so ? 

Another consideration affects the length of a sentence, 
namely the amount which the receiver's mind can contain 
at one time. This is the real determinant. If we give 
on each occasion just as much as his mind can comfortably 
contain, he can go on reading without once having to look 
back, or think back. Consequently he grasps the meaning 
with the minimum of effort and the least possible chance 
of becoming confused. 

The best test of the length of a sentence is whether the 
author, immediately after writing it, can look up from his 
book and repeat it. If it is too long he will not be able to 
do this. In speech we do not use long sentences. As I 
have said before, " Write as you speak and speak as you 
write." Therefore let the sentences be short. It is very 
seldom that a sentence can be too short. One of the 
greatest sentences in the Holy Bible consists of only two 
words, " Jesus wept." It is very easy for a sentence to be 
too long. 



SENTENCE BUILDING 21 

Another iLsefnl rule is this — if ever you feel that a sen- 
tence is becoming muddled and you do not quite icnow 
where you are in it, break it up. If ever there is a hesita- 
tion as to how the sentence should go on, break it up. For 
the reader would probably hesitate at that point also. 

Here is a complicated sentence : — 

" The king who was a master of diplomacy and who had 
never known one unselfish motive in his whole life, conscious 
of the present disaffection of his subjects, and thinking that 
the minds of his people would be distracted from their just 
grievances at home by the diversion of a foreign war, just at 
the moment when the discontent of the nation had reached 
its climax, declared war on France who was ill prepared to 
meet his aggression and had been for that very reason made 
the prey of his ambition, because he hoped to purchase by the 
blood of his subjects continuance of his own tyranny." 

The King Declared War on France. 

1. Who was a master 1. just at the mo- who — aggressiou. 

of diplomacy ment — climax 

2. Who had never 2. because — and (who) — am- 

known — ^life tyranny bition. 

3. Conscioos of the — 

subjects. 

4. Thinlong that — ^foreign wiu'. 

The main fact stated by the sentence is " The King 
declared war on France." The rest (1) informs us about 
the king — ^adjectival clauses, (2) informs us about France — 
adjectival clauses, (3) says why and when the war was 
declared — adverbial clauses. Let us split this up. 

" The king was a master of diplomacy. He had never 
known one unselfish motive in his hfe. He was conscious of 
the present disaffection of his people, and thought that the 
diversion of a foreign war would distract their minds from 
their just grievances at home. The discontent of the nation 
reached a climax. France was ill-prepared to meet any 
aggression, and for this very reason was a suitable prey for his 
ambition. Just at this moment the Iring declared war ; and 
thereby hoped to purchase by the blood of his subjects con- 
tinuance of his own tyranny." 



22 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

This is just as short, just as effective — in some parts 
much more so, much quicker to read and much easier to 
understand. The first version needed frequent looking- 
back, and thinking-back to understand. It was impossible 
to carry it all in the mind at once, yet it is necessary to do 
so, for all is tied up together in one tangle. In the second 
version the information is given bit by bit. Each bit can 
be grasped before the next is taken. There is no need to 
look back, no strain on the attention and a clearer impression 
at the end. 

The difference is between trying to eat one's dinner all 
in one gulp with choking and indigestion as a result, and 
taking it mouthful by mouthful. 

Bad grammar, muddled thought, wrong punctuation, 
lack of lucidity — all these, are due simply and solely to 
long sentences. Write short sentences, and you need never 
fear losing a single mark over Syntax. A full stop every 
two lines is about the right average. 

Exercise 1. — Simplify the words and break up the following 
sentences : — 

Of these ten Negro children the first having perished of a 
sunstroke, and the second in the jaws of a crocodile, when the 
third had succumbed as the result of a broken leg while run- 
ning to fetch a doctor to give succour to the crocodile who was 
suffering from indigestion as a result of the repast aforesaid, 
and when the fourth had expired as a result of nervous shock 
at the terrible sight, the fifth perished of the ovcr-cating in 
which he indulged to solace himself. Though in spite of these 
tragic examples the sixth child went to cut wood, and in so 
doing cut off his own head and died, yet the seventh unde- 
tciTcd went to catch fish and while thus occupied fell into 
the stream and was drowned. If the eighth child had not, 
while lighting a fire for cooking the dinner of the survivors set 
himself alight and thus departed this life, the ninth would 
not have died of grief, and the tenth as the only remaining 
consolation got married and produced a family of yet ten 
other nigger boys who suffered exactly the same sad scries of 
accidents. 

2. Having accomplished the defeat of the northern tribe, 



SENTENCE BUILDING 23 

and seeing that winter was now approaching in which period 
further hostilities would be impossible, and perceiving that 
the locality in which he was at that time situated was unsuit- 
able for the construction of winter quarters, Caesar, calling his 
officers together gave orders for a march to the south. There 
were many casualties, for, the country being wild and unin- 
habited, it was necessar}- to send out men in small parties so 
that they might give warning of any attempt at ambush or 
surprise attack, and that they might collect forage, and the 
enemy fell upon these parties sometimes driving them back 
to the main body after loss of several men, sometimes cutting 
them ofiP so that they were unable to return and give warning, 
but had either to submit to death or become wanderers in 
a countr}' already made desert by the approach of winter. 
Caesar knowing these things and perceiving that the loss of 
men was very great, and that sufficient forage was not being 
collected for the horses, and that by these continual affrays 
the march was being greatly delayed so that there was danger 
that they might not be in safety before the first heavy fall of 
snow, gave orders that foraging parties were not to proceed 
in strength of less than one cohort, nor were they to proceed 
more than one thousand paces from the main body, and that 
they should retreat whenever threatened even by a small 
party of the enemy, and that all were to see to it that the 
march should proceed as rapidly as possible. When these 
measures had been taken the army advanced more rapidly 
so that after ten days coming to a place named Quadrivium, 
and having chosen a place for winter quarters, it fortified 
itself for the winter. 

3. The prince, who had been thrown by his brothers into the 
well, but had b}' good fortune fallen safely on to a bed of leaves 
and sand since the well was dry, and had been rescued from this 
predicament by his friend the fox, after changing clothes with 
the beggar who sat at the palace gate, and keeping his place 
there for several days, saw the daughter of the king pass under 
the archway. AVhen he saw the daughter of the king the charm 
which lay over the palace and which had rendered every one 
until then sad and mournful so that the musicians could not 
play for grief, nor the servants speak for tears, nor even the 
birds in the trees sing, was immediately broken. Because 
of this sudden magic change and because every one suddenly 
began to laugh and smile and because the princess herself felt 



24 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

happy and gay once again, she suspected that the beggar, who 
had now risen from his seat and was standing before her, must 
be other than he appeared. As she gazed at him and wondered 
at the familiarity of the eyes and the expression, though the 
long flowing hair and the unkempt beard were strange, and as 
she wondered why some vague haunting memory of happiness 
was connected with those half familiar features, the prince, 
who could no longer restrain his impatience, casting off his 
disguise said to her " Princess, do you know me now ? " The 
fox seeing that the schemes of the wicked fairy who had 
endeavoured to kill the prince were finally frustrated, and 
knowing that the good work which he had been set to do as a 
penalty for his past misdeeds was now accomplished, after 
crawling to the feet of the prince and asking him to strike oft" 
his head, with which request the prince very unwillingly 
complied, suddenly was released from the spell which had lain 
on him and became a man. 



CHAPTER III 

THE PARAGRAPH 

A PARAGRAPH is a group of sentences ; it is a section of 
the subject. For example the subject of the essay is the 
life of King Edward VII. 

Part 1 is introduction. It may be one paragraph. If 
there are several separate thoughts in the intro- 
duction, e.g. 

1. The state of Europe at the time ; 

2. The task lying before King Edward ; 

3. His special qualifications for it ; 

then each of these will be a separate paragraph. 
Part 2. — The birth of King Edward. Here again there 
may be several separate thoughts to be dealt with. 

1. His mother — a brief account. 

2. His father — a brief account. 

3. The place where he was born. 

4. The events of the year in which he was born. 
The arrangement of matter in Parts and Sections will 

be dealt with in a later chapter. In paragraphing there 
are not many rules to give. 

Two rules. 

1. Always " indent " a paragraph. 

Do not write in this way 
so that the first word of the 
first line of the paragraph 
comes over the first word 
of the second line. 

*' Write in this way so 

that the first word of the 
paragraph is set back a 
little — about half an inch 
is enough. But there is 
no harm in indenting 
more deeply. 
26 



26 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

2. Never start a paragraph with a conjunction ; e.g. 

But the people were unwilling to accept the promises 
of the nobility. 

Paragraph headings.— A paragraph should deal with 
one small and separate portion of the subject only. Do 
not mix together two separate matters in one paragraph, 
e.g. the parentage of King Edward and the place of his 
birth. Decide what subject you will treat in the para- 
graph ; keep to that subject. When it is finished with, 
start another paragraph and deal with something else. 
Care in paragraphing results in clearness of thought. It 
is a very useful practice to put at the top of each paragraph 
a short " heading " stating the subject. This prevents 
digression ; e.g. 

TEA. 

Conditions necessary. 

The main condition necessary is a dry soil. Tea 
does not require richness of soil. Sand where little else 
will grow is very suitable. But the earth must be free 
from water. The rain should run through it and flow 
away rapidly. Hence tea is usually grown on the hill side. 

Pests. 

The greatest difficulty of the planter lies in the pro- 
tection of his plants from their numerous enemies, etc., etc. 

When the subject is being treated very briefly, as in 
notes of a lecture, synopsis of a book, plan of an essay, 
precis, Paragraph headings should be given. In ordinary 
writing where the matter is not so concisely dealt with, 
Section headings are more usual. Thus in the life of King 
Edward if paragraph headings were given they would be — 

The state of Europe. ^ 

The King's task. 
His gualijicaiions. 
The King's father. 
The King's motlier. 
His birthplace. 
Etc. 



THE PARAGRAPH 27 

Such headings would be used in notes or in a very 
brief account. But in an essay for leisurely reading these 
headings would break up the substance too much and 
interrupt the reader. It will be better to use Section 
headings : — 

Introduction. — Several paragraphs will come under this 
heading — about the condition of Europe, about the King's 
task, etc. The paragraphs would not be given headings. 

The Birth of King Edward. — If it is desired to make the 
arrangement of the matter specially clear Paragraph 
headings may be given as well as Section headings. In 
this case the Section headings should be set further to the 
left and should be printed in capital letters. The para- 
graph headings will be further to the right and will be 
underlined. Thus — 



Introduction. 

The Condition of Europe. 

At the time of the birth of King Edward VII. the 
position of England so far as foreign affairs were con- 
cerned was comparatively secure. The main difficulties 
which faced the statesmen of the day were social problems 
etc., etc. 

The King's Task. 



These new threats from abroad had to be met. The 
alliances of England were based upon an obsolete idea 
of bur foreign relations, a fresh and closer understanding 
with France, etc. 

His Qualifications. 

King Edward had all the qualities which would endear 
him not only to his own people but also to foreign nations. 
He was a typical English gentleman, etc., etc. 

The Birth of King Edward. 
His Father. 

Etc., etc. 



28 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Number of Paragraphs. — Is it better to have many 
paragraphs, or few ? 

In certain cases paragraphing is very difficult ; for 
example in a story, or in a description. The argument is 
naturally not clearly divided into separate sections. Indeed 
any attempt to make such divisions would quite spoil the 
effect of the piece. In such cases should the paragraphs 
be many or few ? 

The answer is Many. A solid mass of print is always 
discouraging to the reader. It suggests a long way to go 
without any chance of a rest. In a piece which is intended 
to please and relax such a suggestion would be most un- 
fortunate. Hence when in doubt give an extra paragraph. 

There is, of course, a moderation in all things. If the 
page is broken up into nothing but single sentence para- 
graphs, the whole utility of the process is lost. A rest is 
pleasant ; too frequent rests are merely annoying. We 
all know what it is to walk with a person who stops and 
pants after every few steps. 

Grammatical Paragraphs. — There are certain occa- 
sions where, by the rules of grammar, a paragraph must be 
given. 

1. Wherever, in writing a conversation in Direct Speech, 
there is a change of speaker. 

Example.—" I insist upon going," said Brown. 

" It would be useless," replied his friend. " You are safe 
where you are. Once outside the shelter of this building your 
life is not worth a moment's purchase." 

" Aye — that may be. But dying here I die a trapped rat. 
Out there " 

" Out there, a rat running for cover and more certain of its 
fate than if it possessed the courage of patience and quietness." 

(Not " I insist upon going," said Brown. " It would be 
useless," replied his friend. " You are safe where you are. Out 
there your Hfe is not worth a moment's purchase." " Aye — 

that may be. But dying here I die a trapped rat. Out there 

" Out there, a rat running for cover and more certain of its fate 
than if it possessed the courage of patience and quietness." 

Notice how difficult it is in this second version to discover 



THE PARAGRAPH 29 

which sentences are said by Smith and which by his friend. 
A\Tiereas in the first version it was quite clear. This is the 
reason of the rule.) 

2. Wherever a quotation is made. This, of course, is 
practically the same as the first rule, for a quotation is a 
change of speaker. Instead of the author of this book, 
some other author speaks. 

Example. — The Examination is chiefly undesirable for this 
reason, that it causes superficiality of knowledge. A mere 
smattering of a subject is sufficient to satisfy the setter of the 
test ; but, as says the poet Pope — 

" A little learning is a dangerous thing." 

It leads so easily to the assumption that this " little leamixig " 
when in the Matriculation, the Intermediate and the B.A. it is 

" Thrice tested now and thrice confirmed," 
is after all no smattering, no sip but a " deep draught of the 
Pierian Spring." The successful examination candidate is 
encouraged to think himself omniscient. 

Notice that in the last line but two there is a quotation, 
but it has not been given a separate paragraph. The reason 
is that it has been embodied in the sentence. Since it is 
only a few words it is not worth making a great fuss of it, 
hence it is assimilated into the construction of the sentence. 
In doing this it has been necessary to alter the quota- 
tion itself. The original is " Drink deep ... of the 
Pierian Spring." This method of quotation is by far the 
neatest and most efEective. A long verse quotation totally 
breaks the rhythm of the author's prose and at the same 
time breaks the reader's chain of thought. Either the 
reader misses it out, or else, if he reads it, he reads it for 
its own merits and quite forgets about the author who 
quotas it. Avoid the formal quotation ; never use it 
unless you require the support of the author as a witness 
for some statement. As for example : — 

There appears to be some future for the manufacture of 
articles made of aluminium. Mr. Chatterton, an acknowledged 
expert, says — 

" The prospect for the aluminium industry in Madras is 



30 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

very bright. All that is needed is a little courage and initiative 
on the part of the local capitalists." 

The history of the enterprise — — etc., etc. 

Poetry does not as a rule state facts, nor is it a mine 
for statistics ; poets are not usually " aclaiowledged 
experts." Hence the formal poetical quotation is ruled 
out almost altogether. I can think only of two possible 
occasions where it would not be misplaced. 

(1) In writing a criticism of a poet it is necessary 
occasionally to quote from his works in support of 
some statement regarding his peculiarities of style, etc. 
This practice can be much overdone and too many so- 
called criticisms are merely bad curries of a dismembered 
author. 

(2) In writing an examination paper it is sometimes 
desirable to impress upon an examiner one's verbal acquaint- 
ance with an author, or with many authors. This again 
may be overdone, for examiners are fairly intelligent 
persons ; cases have been known of persons cramming 
up excerpts from Bohn's " Dictionary of Quotations " with 
a view to proving in the examination hall their acquaint- 
ance with the breadth and length of English literature. 
Probably the examiners have heard of these cases. 

The " running " or " assimilated " quotation is much 
better. Instead of insulting the reader by suggesting that 
his ignorance requires a full excerpt, it flatters him by 
merely referring to the passage as if he were sure to know 
it. Instead of reproducing verbatim and probably spoiling 
by giving out of its setting a passage which the reader will, 
if he has any interest in it, search out for himself, it merely 
gives a taste of the passage and thereby makes more 
certain of setting the reader in the quest of the remainder 
of it, — the true function of a quotation. 

Two rules are to be observed in making such quotations. 

(1) Do not quote more than a few words at a time and 
these not a grammatical whole. String these broken 
morsels together in a grammatical frame of your own. 

(2) Always make a few insignificant alterations in the 



THE P.VKAGRAPH 31 

minor words of the quotation so as to blend it into your 

sentence. 

Example. — The passage to be quoted is the speech which 

Mr. Gladstone spoke into the phonograph. 

'" Your great country is leading the way in the im- 
portant work of invention. Heartily do I wish it well : 
and to you as one of its greatest celebrities allow me to 
offer my sincerest good wishes and earnest prayers that 
you may live long to witness its triumph in all that 
appertains to the well-being of mankind." 

We refer to it thus in an essay on the " Phonograph." 

The invention aroused much interest. Mr. Gladstone 
was shown a machine and asked to make a record of hi.*! 
voice. He did so. America, he said, is " leading the 
way in the important work of invention." He gave his 
hearty good wishes to it, and for Mr. Edison as one of its 
greatest pioneers, he prayed that he might live long to 
witness the triumph of his land " in all that appertains to 
the well-being of mankind." 

Verse may be treated in the same way, but particular 
care should be taken to break up the metre. 

Example. — In an essay on Chaucer. 

" Chaucer like most poets wrote most of his best work 
under the inspiration of romance. Often the ladies to whom 
he addresses his poems are of high degree. But the fervour 
of the poet suggests that the high name may conceal some 
other personages of lower estate and nearer to the poet's 
heart. ' My word, my work,' he says, are so closely 
knit with his lady that ' as harp obeyeth to the hand ' and 
sounds all that the musician's fingers wish to express, so might 
she bring * out of his herte such voice right as she list to 
laugh or pleyne.' One cannot but doubt whether the ' lady 
sovereign ' was entirely the high lady whom the poet flatters. 
Might not the poet have combined with the necessities of court 
etiquette some satisfaction of his own personal longings ? 
No doubt she — the other — smiled and understood." 

The original quoted is (modernized). 

" My word, my work is so knit in your bond 
That as an harp obeyeth to the hand 



32 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSTTTON 

And maketh it sound after his fingering, 
Right so may you out of my heart bring 
Such voice right as you list to laugh or pleyne. 
Be you my guide, my lady sovereign." 

In conclusion, when you make quotations, let them be 
inconspicuous, unless there is a very real and definite 
necessity for drawing attention to them. Do not quote 
too often. Walls are given echoes but men are given 
tongues of their own. 

Exercise 1. — Divide into paragraphs the following. Also 
supply headings. 

(a) The report of the Calcutta Meteorologist, dated the 27th 
instant, at 8 a.m., is as follows : — In Assam Cherrapunji had 
2 inches of rain, Dibrugarh f, Gauhati, Shillong ^. The 
sky is moderately clouded. Mean temperature was about 
normal. Humidity is about normal. Rampur Boalia in 
North Bengal had IJ inches of rain, Cooch Behar i. The sky 
is moderately clouded. Mean temperature was about normal, 
Humidity is about normal. In South-East Bengal Barisal, 
Noakhali, Cox's Bazar had 1 inch of rain, Narayanganj f, 
Mymensingh, Faridpur, Chittagong ^, Comilla J. The sky is 
moderately clouded. Mean temperature was about normal, 
Humidity is about normal. Of cities in S.W. Bengal Calcutta 
had 4 J inches of rain, Burdwan 4, Bankura 2 J, Midnapore H, 
Asansol 1, Krishnagar ^, Berhampore J. The sky is heavily 
clouded. Mean temperature was in slight defect. Humidity 
is high. Chapra in Bihar had 2f inches of rain, Patna 1, 
Arrah |, Gaya, Purnea ^, Motihari, Darbhanga J. The sky 
is moderately clouded. Mean temperature was in slight 
defect. Humidity is high. In Chota Nagpur humidity is 
high. Purulia had 1^ inches of rain, Daltonganj IJ, Hazari- 
bagh J. The sky is moderately clouded. Mean temperature 
was about normal. Rainfall in Orissa was scanty. The sky 
is heavily clouded. Mean temperature was about normal. 
Humidity is about normal. Rainfall was fairly general over 
North-east India yesterday, except in Orissa. It was fairly 
heavy near Calcutta where a fall of 4^ inches was reported, but 
light to moderate elsewhere. Rainfall is likely again to be 
widespread during the next 24 hours. Moderately strong 



THE PARAGRAPH 33 

winds are blowing in the north-west angle and along the 
Orissa coast, the Sandheads reporting a moderate south-west 
wind with a moderate sea. 

{b) A general meeting of the Anjuman-I-Urdoo, the chief aim 
of which is the advancement of Urdu Uterature in Bengal, was 
held in the Hall of the Moslem Association, Baniapuker, on 
Saturday. Prince Golam Mohammad Shah, of the Mysore 
family, presided. There was a fair gathering. The President 
in his inaugural speech dwelt upon the utility and necessity 
of diffusing the Urdu language in this province. He spoke 
as follows : " Calcutta is still the premier town of India and 
an important port of Bengal. It is a cosmopolitan city of 
numerous castes and creeds and presents a wide field for the 
cultivation of various languages. A foreigner or an Indian 
sojourner alighting at Howrah station is first accosted in this 
language, and as he passes through the busy part of the town 
he cannot fail to realize the utility of the language which supplies 
the chief vehicle through which he can express his ideas and 
exchange his views with the congress of races which inhabit 
the town. It is in this city where such popular Urdu books 
as the Bagh-o-Bahar and Mahfil-i-Arayesh were written. It is 
this city which gave birth to a race of distinguished Urdu 
scholars, the survivors of whom are still to be found in the 
genial personaUty of such cultured men as the Hon. Nawab 
Sir Syed Shamsul Huda and Nawab Sayed Mohammad." 
After the presidential speech an executive committee was 
fonned to carry out the aims and objects of the Anjuman. 

(c) The other day I had a rather important conversation 
with a well-known' author. We were discussing his next contri- 
bution to the No\'EL, and he had got as far as saying that the 
hero would be a rising young barrister, when I pulled him up. 
" Why isn't he in the Army ? "" I demanded. " If you had 

>;aid you wanted a war story " he began. " I don't," 

I retorted. " But I want a realistic story. And if you are 
giving me an English setting and you ignore war conditions, 
you will be describing an England that does not exist — ^you 
will strike a note of unreality at the start." This is how the 
discussion started. It ended with the main question still 
unanswered, which is — do you like best stories that are written 
on the assumption that we are not at war, or those that reflect 

D 



34 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

actual, present-day conditions ? Personally, I am all in 
favour of the realistic, up-to-the-minute story. But it has 
certain difficulties. Of course, there is still a lot to be done 
with men of all ranks on leave. Even so, in order to sustain 
the Novel's reputation for variety, I think I shall have to give 
you a few pre-war stories now and again. Anyhow, do please 
give me your views on the subject. When you have read the 
opening chapters of Miss Beatrice Grimshaw's splendid new 
story, " Nobody's Island," let me recommend you to turn to 
" The Conversion," by Mr. F. E. Baily. If you are a regular 
reader of the Novel you will remember Mr. William Le Queux's 
" The Sign of Silence." I am sure that you will be delighted 
to hear that a splendid series by this gifted writer is now running 
in the Royal Magazine. 

Exercise 2. — Write sections with 'paragraphs, and headlines 
both to sections and paragraphs, according to the following 
notes : — 

Preservation of health in India. Chief diseases may be 
classified as due to food, to the mosquito, to heat. With 
regard to food, water should be boiled, also filtered. Milk 
should be clean. Clean cooking arrangements necessarj'. 
Meat is very dangerous if not fresh. Flies are very dangerous. 
Wire gauze covers should be used. In hot weather food should 
be moderate, light, simple. A heavy meal during the heat of 
the day is to be avoided. Fever — the mosquito net. the use of 
quinine, cleanliness in the surroundings of the house. Heat — 
the use of the solar topi. The neck should be protected. Sun 
glasses. The dangers of the punkah. 

Exerciae 3. — Write sections and paragraphs, the sections only 
with headings. 

In town planning main objects are health, beauty, con- 
venience. For health wide streets, destruction of slums, 
squares for recreation. For beauty well laid out streets, 
control of design of buildings fronting on the I'oad, squares. 
For convenience, specialization of certain areas for certain 
purposes, e.g. shopping quarter, amusement quarter, business 
quarter, well designed main thoroughfares with systematio 
branch roads. 



THE PARAGR.\PH 35 

Exercise 4. — Work the following quotations into prose par a- 
qraphs, as if they were portions of an essay on the subject 
named. 

Subject. — Joint Family System. 

Let the household hold together 

Though the house be ne'er so small. 
Strip the rice husk from the rice grain 
And it groweth not at all." 

Subject. — The Medical Profession. 

Death that must come, comes nobly when we give 
Our wealth and life and all to make men live." 

Subject. — Neglect of Hygiene in the early growth of 
modem cities. 

Sickness and anguish, bonds and woe 
Spring from wrongs wrought long ago. 

Subject. — Poverty, Poor Laws and charity organbtation. 

As Hari's name or Hara's, 
Spoken, charm sin away ; 
' So poverty can surely 

A hundred virtues slay. 

Subject. — A biography (any suitable personage from the 
list in Chapter V). 

He who does and thinks no wrong. 
He who suffers and \s strong. 
He whose mercy all men know, 
Into heaven such do go. 

Subject. — Improvement of Agriculture. 

Ha, Ha, soil-tiller, how goes the world with you ? Doth the 

earth do you its due ? 
Day follows night for you. Sunshine is bright for you. God 

made the world but for you. 



CHAPTER IV 

SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION 

Before passing on to treat of the design and writing of 
essays, descriptions and stories here, I wish to make a few 
remarks on the above rather elementary subjects. 

Spelling. — By the time a student reaches the stage of 
essay writing as treated in a book of this kind it is usually 
assumed that he is able to spell. It is assumed but in many 
cases it is assumed wrongly. There are many educated 
persons much older than College students who do not spell 
correctly. This to a large extent can be avoided. 

The first thing to remember in improving spelling is 
NEVER SPELL a word wrongly. If in doubt look it up, but 
never leave the smallest chance of writing a word incorrectl3\ 
As you are aware the mind learns by repeated impressions. 
Say a sentence several times and it is remembered. Draw 
a map several times, and it is remembered. Write a word 
correctly several times, and it is remembered. And write 
a word iNcorrectly several times, and it is remembered. 
Memories are very easy to make, very difficult to efface. 
We all know to our cost how hard it is to forget. It is a 
well-established fact that it takes far more time and trouble 
to get rid of a wrong idea once thought of than to get the 
original right idea. If it takes 100 seconds to learn how to 
spell Beautiful when the word is met for the first time, 
then it takes at least 250 to make certain of the correct 
spelling after once writing it incorrectly. Hence, old as 
you are, and learned, if you ever hesitate about the spelling 
of a woi'd DO NOT write it in several ways to see which looks 
best, DO NOT make a guess and hope it will be right, but 
look it up and write it correctly. To make certain of fixing 
it you may write it two or three times on a scrap of paper 
before finally setting it down. 

One more word about spelling. The chief cause of 
disease is diet : the chief cause of bad spelling is bad writing. 

30 



SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION 37 

An untidy sum in Arithmetic is usually wrong, an untidy 
page in an essay nearly always contains spelling mistakes. 
Bad handwriting and bad spelling are sisters. Always 
write carefully and clearly. It does not come slower in 
the end. For a day or two the good handwriting causes 
delay. But very soon it becomes as easy and as quick to 
write well as to write badly. 

Use good paper. The little required makes hardly any 
difference in price, whereas a good clear hand is worth many 
rupees per month in subsequent life. Use ink whenever 
possible. If pencil must be used, use a well-pointed one. 
Leave plenty of space between the lines. Keep a straight 
margin. Indent the paragraphs. Avoid heavy and blotted 
corrections which disfigure the page. 

Commas. — Certain stops are to be encouraged, certain 
are to be avoided. If the grammar books were strictly 
followed the printers would rim short of commas. Commas 
are a useless nuisance. Always avoid them as much as 
possible. In giving a list of words they must be used. 

" He brought rice, dal, fruit, some cloth and a few sweets." 

Notice there is no need of a Comma before the final " and." 
The " and " takes the place of a Comma. 

In marking off clauses of any length or complexity 
a Comma is necessary. 

" Because he had failed, because he felt himself disgraced 
he did not return home."' 

The best test of whether a Comma is needed is to try the 
sentence without one. 

" Because he had failed because he felt himself disgraced 
he did not return home." 

Here it looks as if he failed because he felt himself 
disgraced, i.e. hence a Comma is needed. But I doubt the 
necessity of one after " disgraced." If in doubt miss out 
the Comma ; when you come to revise you will notice if 
the sentence is not clear through its absence. 



38 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

(Stops a crutch.) 

Stops should never be made into crutches for helping a 
bad sentence out of obscurity. They should be as few as 
possible and those quite indispensable. 

The Semicolon. — The Semicolon is almost as dangerous 
as the Comma, though its temptation is more insidious. 
A full stop marks a period. Inside that period nothing 
but commas can be used. Now we said that the chief fault 
of style is involution of sentences. Sentences become 
involved owing to the use of subordinate clauses. The 
Semicolon marks ofE the subordinate clause. The wherefores 
and whereases are always preceded by Semicolons. When 
a writer has not the courage to use a full stop he com- 
promises with a Semicolon. Avoid them : if the sentences 
are parallel and independent but closely joined in sense, use 
a colon, otherwise let it be a full stop. 

The Dash — This is another stop to be used with 
discretion. There is no harm in its deliberate use — no 
harm at all. It is used for marking off parts of the sentence 
which are not a part of the regular construction, e.g. in 
the previous sentence " no harm at all " is a repetition of 
the subject, a quite irregular excrescence in the sentence. 
It marks also a break of construction. 

" There might be No, I refuse, I shall not permit it." 

These two occasions are most common in informal con- 
versational speech, or in the actual record of a conversation. 
Hence it is in such forms of writing that the dash may 
most legitimately be used. Excessive use is undesirable, 
for excessive breaks in construction are not to be sought 
after. They tend to be annoying to the reader. The 
chief danger of the stop lies in the fact that it offers an easy 
way out of a hopelessly involved sentence. It is used also 
by the shifty where they are not quite certain which of the 
ordinary stops to write : they put a dash as if it might 
stand for anything. The dash should never be used where 
any other stop can posaibly be employed. 



SPELLING AM) PUNCTUATION 39 

There are two special uses of the dash. 

(1) Instead of a bracket where the enclosed portion is 
very brief, e.g. instead of 

He (Mr. Smith) said that he would not consent, 

it is better to write — 

He — !Mr. Smith — said that he would not consent. 

" Mr. Smith " is a break in the construction. 

(2) Before making a quotation or giving a list the 
sentence must sometimes be broken off. Here a colon and 
dash are written, thus : — 

As the great poet says : — 

" We are but shadows, and our life is rounded in a sleep." 

He bought the following articles : — 

One bicycle, two light waggons, one lorrj'. 

The following candidates have passed the examination in 
Physics : — 

Satis Ch. Ghosh. 
Surendra Xath Dutta. 
Be joy Nath Haldar. 

The last stop against which I wish to warn you is the 

Exclamation mark. — This should never be used in 
order to add force to a sentence. If a sentence is already 
forcible it may demand an exclamation mark. Thus — 

" You said that ! you told him my inmost secret, which 
I have concealed for years and revealed to you only on your 
most solemn oath. You told him ! " 

Here an exclamation mark is really essential. Note 
however that none is used in the second sentence. It 
might be used but is not really needed. 

The following shows how the exclamation mark should 
not be used — as an explosive attached to the tail of a quite 
ordinary and harmless phrase. 

The country was beautiful I A bright sun was shining 
in the bluest of blue skies ! You cannot imagine how bright 
everything looked ! 



40 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Such a use of the stop suggests the excitemen-t of a 
neurotic, hysterical person. That is just- what should be 
avoided. Do not shout when there is no need to, then 
when you do shout you will be more likely to be listened to. 

Neglect of Stops. — Certain stops are habitually 
neglected. These are — 

(1) The second half of a bracket. One is very apt to 
forget it. 

(2) The mark of interrogation (?). 

(3) Inverted commas in direct speech. Even if the 
writer remembers to begin them, he often omits to close 
them again. 

(4) When making a foot-note be certain that the asterisk 
is filled in in the text as well as in the note. 

In conclusion — 

(1) Look over a piece once written solely with a view to 
the punctuation, and more with a view to cutting out 
useless stops than putting in new ones. 

(2) Keep a clean well-written page and serious omissions 
m punctuation are almost impossible. 

Exercises.— I. Cut out the unnecessary stops iu the fol- 
lowing passages : — 

HUMOURS OF THE ZOO 

Big Birds 

[For " The Statesman.''] 

The Ostrich, has wasted more of my time, than any other 
of the two thousand birds in the Zoo ! I- want to see him 
waltz. I have read, on high authority, that he loves waltzing, 
especially, when he is young ; but, whether he is too old a bird, 
when he reaches India, whether the climate of Calcutta de- 
presses him, as it well may, or whether I have simply been 
unfortunate, I do not know : but, I cannot claim to have seen 
him waltz. 

I have seen him stalk up, and down, up, and down his 
enclosure with spruce, military swagger ; and I have wondered, 
why the Germans didn't cultivate the ostrich-step instead of 
their senseless goose-step. I have seen that trot of his, which. 



SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION 41 

in the desert licks up the miles like fire : and makes him the 
fastest goer, in the animal kingdom. I have seen him do 
some graceful, curvetting and high stepping. I have seen him 
and a fellow male wreathing necks again, and again, with what 
significance I could not tell ; I have seen him raising, and 
fluttering plumes, and wings in fine style, before his adiniring 
mate. I have heard his usual hiss, change into a deep-throated 
boom in the mating season ; but to see him waltz, has been 
denied me — perhaps some of my readers have been more 
fortunate. 

His Aunt and Cousin. 

In the next enclosure, to him, lives his little maiden aunt, 
the emu, so soberly, yet tastefully, dressed, so prim, precise, 
proper, and dignified, in all her ways, so fond of bridling. The 
only thing about her, that is not quite maiden-auntly, is her 
stride, but, perhaps, in a young, booming countr}', like Australia, 
even a maiden aunt may be forgiven for having a stride, 
especially in these days of hockey and cricket for girls. 

2. Punctuate the following passages as economically as 
possible : — 

SPIDERS' WAYS 

For three days from Gauhati to Groalundo I was the only 
passenger so I made a further study of my interesting little 
friends the spiders Some were nocturnal and some diurnal 
so I was kept busy all the time and the monotony of solitary 
confinement was mitigated. 

On Easter Sunday soon after sunrise when all the gentle 
snarers had gone home to rest from their labours I was amused 
and interested in watching a male Attid jumping spider which 
I name " Nimrod" The Attidce are hunters and depend not 
on any snare but on their clever stalfcng and their fierce rush 

" Nimrod " had chosen for the scene of his operations a 
very likely spot for game namely the rounded comer of the 
deck-house where the sun shone full on one side leaving the 
other in the shade He had the advantage of either sun or 
shade so that he could lie in wait for his prey and by a short 
patrol command a view of either front and watch for insects 
coming to bask in the sun He was very alert and presently 
he " spotted " a small insect in the shade half a yard away 
He ran low and swiftly to within two inches and waited a bit 



42 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

then with a sudden rush seized his little victim and gobbled 
it instantly Coming back on to his sunny beat he waited and 
presently a little brown ant came blundering on right into his 
presence " Nimrod " made a feint at him stopped then 
another and stopped again evidently in disgust The ant then 
ran off at a great rate evidently glad to get away 

THE BIRD 

An Out-door Lesson 

Harish Do you see that tall tree Ganga Yes I see it H 
There is a bird sitting on one of the branches G Yes I see it 
It is a very small bird H What is it doing G It has got a 
piece of grass in its beak I think it is building a nest in the 
tree H See it is flying away G Yes and now it is coming 
back with another piece of grass in its beak H How hard it 
works G Yes it works very hard And when the nest is finished 
it will lay three or four eggs in it And after some weeks little 
birds will come out of the eggs H That will be very nice I 
shall go to look at them G Hark how sweetly it sings H Yes 
I think it is very happy G Yes but do not go now H Why G 
Because you will frighten the little bird and it will leave its 
nest H Very well I will wait till the little birds come out of 
the eggs 



PART II-THE SUBSTANCE ESSAY 
CHAPTER V 

THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 

Planning an Essay. — Before starting an essay, whetiicr it 
be an impromptu production (as in the examination hail) 
or a formal task for which preparation is allowed, it is 
necessary to set out the subject-matter in order. 

Setting the matter in order is not merely a matter of 
arranging the facts in chronological sequence, or of linking 
the ideas in an order of consequence. The ideas must be 
arranged and grouped. The essay must be divided into 
definite compartments, or sections, just as a house has 
entrance hall, central court, back entrance, etc. 

The great thing to remember in this connection is to 
draw out these main sections before ever thinking of the 
matter to be put into them. Do not collect the facts and 
then group them ; get the grouping and then collect the 
facts to fit into it. This seems very curious advice. There 
is a reason for it. If the materials are collected first it is 
very likely that many facts will be noted down of which 
no use will be made, whereas many facts and ideas which 
will be necessary may not be collected. If the broad 
outlines are first decided upon the facts can be collected 
so as to fit into them. Moreover in the process of collection 
the work of more detailed arrangement will also be taking 
place almost automatically. 

Fixed Types of Scheme. — Essays may be divided into 
certain definite types. For example — 

1. The Life (or Development). 

2. The Pro and Con. 

3. The Abstract Subject. 

4. The Technical Description. 

13 



U ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Those types which are grouped together {e.g. the Life or 
Development) can be conveniently fitted into the same 
form. Four forms only will be required. Into one of 
these forms most if not all of the ordinary subjects can be 
fitted. 

It is not intended that the forms should be absolutely 
rigid. Variation may always be made if there is a definite 
reason for it. But it is better as a rule to stick to a fixed 
form, for practice in one form gives ease and perfection and 
relieves the mind of thinking out a special arrangement on 
each occasion. 

The Form of the "Life." 
The form is: — I. Antecedents. 

II. 1. Preparation. 
^. Achievement. 
3. Success. 
III. 1. Cause. 
2. Result. 

We write the lives of important people. They arc of 
interest for their influence on events of the time and after- 
wards. The first thing to be done in writing a life is to 
give a brief sketch of the state of afiairs before the subject 
came on to the scenes. 

Hence the first section in the essay — whether it be a life 
of Napoleon or of Arnold of Rugby or of Vidyssagar must 
be " Introduction. — The state of affairs previous to the 
advent of X." 

For example — We are writing a life of the poet Gray. 
His dates are 1716-177L This is the height of the classical 
period of English literature. Previous to it we have the 
Restoration period, after it the Romantic revival. We 
have to explain then that Gray lived — 

after the energy of the Shakespeare period had passed away, 
after even the false energy, the license and spurious sparkle 

of the Restoration, had vanished, 
before the revival of energy seen in the Romantic poets 

had come. 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 45 

He lived in an age when classic models were rigidly followed, 
when more thought was given to form than to substance, 
when the noblest study of mankind was man, and a poet 
found in nature no inspiration. 

This is Introdudion. It tells the reader whereabouts 
the subject of the essay stands in history and hints at the 
keynote of the essay — viz. what the man had to perform 
and how he performed it. 

The Life. — The centre of the essay, the actual narration 
of events falls into these parts. 

(1) Preparation. How far the man's birth and up-bringing 

affected him and his power of doing the future work. 

(2) The work itself. The period of main activity. 

(3) The period of success (or failure). 
The actual result of the work. 

In section (1) we take the following notes for our 
reading : — 

Birth 1716. 

(o) His mother's connection with Eton College. 
(Her two brothers were teachers there.) 

(6) His mother's sister was married to a lawyer hving at 
Stoke Pogis — where is the churchyard which forms the subject 
of Gray's famous Eleg}'. 

Gray's father was a somewhat useless man. Gray owed 
everything to his mother. 

1727-1734. 

(c) At Eton College he was " prepared " for his Ufe-work 
by the friends he made, viz. Walpole and West. West a 
minor poet, but a \ery sympathetic and encouraging friend. 
Walpole the chief patron of the new school of poets who 
made the first beginnings of the revolt against formalism. Wal- 
pole in his novel " The Castle of Otranto" started the " Wonder 
School " of novelists who were the literary ancestors of Scott. 

{d) 1734-1738. Cambridge. Few congenial friends. Formal 
atmosphere. 

(e) 1738-1741. Gray toured the world with Walpole. 
There was a quarrel between him and Walpole — largely 
Walpole's faixlt. The quarrel was subsequently made up. 



40 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

2. The period of achievement. 

1742. Gray returned to England after the quarrel and 
spent the winter at Stoke Pogis. There he wrote — 
Ode on the Spring. 

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. 
Sonnet on the Death of West. 
Hymn to Adversity. 

He began the Elegy in the autumn of that year. 

West died in that year. 

These poems are "the first note of protest against the 
hard versification of the Augustine period of English poetry." 

Winter 1742. Gray went into residence at Cambridge ; 
graduated 1744. 

1745. Gray and Walpole made up their quarrel, Walpole 
published Gray's poems at his private press in 1748. 

1749. Gray's aunt, Mary, died at Stoke Pogis. Hence 
Gray finishes the Elegv. Published by Walpole 1750. Quoted 
by Wolfe 1759. 

1753. Journey to Durham to see Wharton. There Ode 
to " Pleasures arising from Vicissitude." 

1745. The "Progress of Poetry" finished and sent to 
Warburton. 

1755. " Bard" begun, not finished till 1757, when inspired 
by Parry the blind musician. 

1757. Pindaric odes. 

Period of Success. 

1757. Offered Poet Laureateship. Refused. 
1762-66. Travelling in north of England, 
1768. First complete edition by Dodsley. 

Made professor of Modern History at Cambridge. 

Tour in Lake District. 

"A soft and purling sound is heard of si reams 
inaudible by day." 
1771. Tour in west of England. 

Death. 

Conclusion. 

Causes of Sterility. 

(1) Unfavourable atmosphere. 

(2) Lack of really sympathetic friends. 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 47 

(3) No compulsion to work. 

(4) Lack of will. This also prevented him founding a 
school of imitators. 

Results. 

Writing it out. — " Writing it out " does not consist 
in expressing at inordinate length what has been expressed 
with reasonable shortness in the notes. It consists merely 
in filling in the extra details which were not worth entering 
in the notes because they are already very familiar. It 
consists also in making sentences grammatical, and welding 
the various parts of the essay together into a whole. 

I will \sTite out the essay to illustrate this point. 

The Poet Gray 

Gray was born in 1716 and died in 1771. His dates 
fall therefore in the centre of the age of prose, if anything 
rather to the close of it. Pope was near his death when 
Gray, then a man of only twenty-nine, met him. The life 
of Gray fell in the latter period of the classic age, the period 
dominated by " The Great Bear " — Samuel Johnson. 
Johnson was seven years the senior of Gray. 

Thus it is seen that Gray's life falls just at the " darkest 
hour which comes before the dawn." Had he been born 
half a century later he would have met Scott, Words- 
worth, Byron. 

The age in which he lived was under the influence, in 
verse, of Pope ; in prose, of Johnson. Of its production in 
verse hardly a tithe has survived. The famous poets of 
that day are not even names in this. Of its prose much 
has lived — Johnson, Smollett, Fielding, Goldsmith, Burney 
survive. Gray was not a prose writer. He [was a poet ; 
and he was born in an age of prose. 

The Early Life of Gray. 

Few men owed more to their mothers than Gray. 
Philip Gray, a scrivener, lived on his wife's income. Mrs. 
Gray was a Miss Dorothy Antrobus. She kept a milliner's 
shop in Cornhill, London. It is said that the courage of 



48 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Mrs. Gray in opening a vein in her own hand to relieve the 
blood pressure at the moment of birth, saved the poet's 
life. It was Mrs. Gray's association with Eton, through 
her two brothers who were serving as teachers there, which 
led to the poet's connection with that school, to which his 
most famous ode is addressed. It was Mrs. Gray's sister 
with whom the poet stayed at Stoke Pogis, where he wrote 
the even more famous elegy. 

Gray was born at the house in Cornhill in December 
1716. 

School and College. 

Most poets have been unhappy at school, but have 
found the years spent at the university the happiest of 
their lives. Gray's case was the opposite. At Eton he met 
the two greatest friends of his life — West and Walpole. 
West was his most sympathetic critic ; Walpole his most 
generous friend, and publisher at his own private press 
of the first printed edition of his poems. At Cambridge 
Gray did not find the atmosphere congenial. He writes 
to West in December, 1736, saying that he fijids the lectures 
uninteresting, and mere hindrances which keep him from 
his favourite classics. Cambridge is the great seat of mathe- 
matical learning ; Gray had little taste for this science. 
"It is very possible," he says, " that two and two make 
four, but I would not give four farthings to demonstrate 
this ever so clearly." He found no very congenial friends, 
no great model to influence him. There was none who 
inspired him with any ambition of being like him. 

At this critical period of life Gray learned one thing. 
His letter from Burnham, written in his college period, 
shows his realisation of the beauty of nature. It is the first 
herald of that re-discovery of nature which is the main 
mark of the Romantic Period. 

Tour. 

In 1738 Gray went on tour of the world with Walpole. 
They visited France and Italy. In 1741 a quarrel occurred 
between the two friends at Reggio, and Gray returned home. 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 49 

Perhaps this tour of the world, following closely the 
tracks which Milton had trod just one hundred years ago, 
completed in the poet the development of his feeling for 
natural beauty. During the tour Gray wrote practically 
nothing, but the year which followed his return (1741) was 
the most productive of his life. 

The Period of Production. 

In the summer of 1742 Gray stayed at Stoke Pogis. 
There he wrote his " Ode to Spring," and the " Ode on a 
Distant Prospect of Eton College/' He sent the Ode to 
Spring to West for criticism. It was returned to him 
unopened, for West was dead. Gray's sonnet on the death 
of his friend teUs the depth and intensity of his sense of 
loss : — 

" I fruitless mourn to him who camiot hear, 
And weep the more because I weep in vain." 

Perhaps the same loss was partial inspiration of his 
" Hymn to Adversity " written in the same year. These 
poems were the " first note of protest against the hard 
versification of the Augustan period of English poetr}-." 

In the wint€r of 1742 Gray went into residence at 
Cambridge, and graduated in 1744. In the following year 
the quarrel with Walpole was ended, and three years after- 
wards Walpole published a small edition of Gray's poems 
(1748). 

The death of Gray's aunt, Mar}% inspired him to com- 
plete the Eleg\-, which was published — again by Walpole 

to save it from introduction to the world in the " Magazine 
of Magazines." The poem immediately became popular. 
General Wolfe quoted it on his way to the capture of 
Quebec. 

In 1753 while on a visit to Dr. Wharton the " Ode to 
Pleasures arising from Vicissitude " was written. Next 
year " The Bard " was begun, but not finished until the 

B 



50 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

genius of the blind musician Parry gave to the poet fresh 
inspiration. 

The Period of Success. 

Few poets have achieved fame and recognition on so 
small an output. In 1757 the Poet Laureateship was offered 
to Gray, but he refused it. In 1768, shortly after the first 
edition of his works was published by Dodsley, Gray was 
made Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, a purely 
honorary post. He spent most of the remainder of his 
life travelling in the North and West of England in many 
of the scenes subsequently so dear to the poet Wordsworth. 

Conclusion (Causes). 

Gray was undoubtedly a poet. This is more than can 
be said of many of the then famous versifiers of his age. 
It is doubtful whether even Pope was really a poet. In 
Gray we find the two chief distinguishing marks of genuine 
inspiration — a deep and emotional appreciation of natural 
beauty, a desire to express too powerful to be restrained 
into over-nicety of form. Gray insisted on freedom of 
form. He refused to be tied down to the heroic couplet 
" dragging its slow length along." His Pindaric ode is 
sometimes formless in its versification, but it always shows 
an attempt to make the form follow the idea, not the idea 
the form. 

And yet he produced so little. As Matthew Arnold 
quotes of him — " He never spoke out." The cause is not 
to be found in his weak health. Other poets — Pope for 
instance — have been far weaker yet have been voluminous. 
The cause is to be found in the lack of an appreciative 
audience. 

Result. 

Gray might have achieved much, but he was too early. 
He led the way. He was not understood til! much later. 
Had he spoken out then, no one would have imderstood. 
West would not have, nor Dr. Wharton. Walpole's idea 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 51 

of Romance is contained in the " Castle of Otranto/' He 
could grasp that there was in Gray something new and 
strange, but he never realized what it was. Gray had not 
the personality or the will to demand a hearing, to found 
a new school. Had he lived after the first breach had been 
made in the wall of classicism, his would have been a great 
name. But he had not the power to make the breach. 
So, a prisoner conscious of his chains, he never spoke out. 
Yet he led the way. 

The Development. — The " Development " essay- 
question nearly always starts with the word Trace : — 

e.g. Trace the development of printing from the earliest times. 
Trace the development of the EngUsh novel. 

A development is practically the same as a life, except 
that, as a rule, there is no " Death " at the end. 

L There are certain problems demanding a solution. 

II. (a) The solution comes. 

(6) It develops snd solves the problem, 
(c) Its success and general recognition. 

III. Summary. Causes of its success. 

A development consists in a series of inventions, or a 
series of achievements. Hence this form (which is exactly 
the same as that of the " Life ") must be repeated over and 
over again. 

Thus in the development of printing — 

I. General Introductwn. 

The rise of a wealthy and numerous middle class in 
European countries during the fifteenth century. This 
class demands plenty of reading matter at a reasonable 
rate. In this it is imlike the Nobility or the Church, which 
purchased a book as a treasure and paid a very high sum 
for a very few books. Thus a small and wealthy demand 
becomes a larger and cheaper demand. The old missal 
writers could not keep pace with the demand, nor yet 
produce cheaply enough. 

The importance of the invention of paper. 



52 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

II. Introduction to section. The wealthy middle class 
in Germany. 

Guttemburg. 

(a) Work previous to Guttemburg. Rough blocks 
had been cut. Guttemburg's early experiments. 
(6) Guttemburg's period of achievement, 
(c) His period of success. 

The same form will be repeated for Caxton : — 

Ititroduction. 

The existence of a wealthy middle class in England. 

Caxton. 

(a) Caxton's early life and achievements. 

(6) His press. His period of greatest production. 

(c) His success and recognition. 

We pass on in exactly the same way to the eighteenth- 
century printers, and the increase of cheap books. 

With popular education and the rise of democracy 
comes a demand for very cheap literature. Hence the 
improvement of the press. With the advent of steam 
comes the steam press. The rise of the modern newspaper, 
and the necessity of giving the very latest news brings the 
large rotary presses {e.g. the Hoe), and improvement in 
type-setting. 

The increase of education makes the public more 
critical. It demands better production. The develop- 
ment of picture printing. 

General Summary. — The General Summary will attempt 
to foretell the future demand and development. Some 
improvement in the picture newspaper, e.g. the telegraphing 
of pictures by the selenium process, which needs improve- 
ment. In the ordinary newspaper more pictures and better, 
but chiefly better matter. The main development likely 
to be in the production of books. Books at present too 
expensive. Growth of the " cheap edition " likely to be 
extended very soon to newer books. The " beautiful 
book " (very luxurious productions in colour) — this likely 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 53 

to become more perfect, while remaiuing constant in price. 
Better colour reproduction an urgent need : great advance 
made of late. Increased use of the " ofbet " process to 
be expected. 

Each of these sections should, if possible, be associated 
with a name. The easiest method of writing a development 
essay is as a series of small biographies, taking care not to 
include any irrelevant personal history of the inventors or 
discoverers. 

Hence in reading up the subject — 

(1) Take a general survey of the field. 

(2) Pick out certain illustrative names, and read up 
about those persons. 

Plan your Essay — 

I. General Introduction. 

II. (o) A.B. Introduction. (A.B. equals name of a 

person.) 

1. Early work. 

2. Achievement.^ 

3. Success. i 
Conclusion — The Result. 

Link 
(6) CD. Introduction. 

1. Early work. 

2. Achievement. I 

3. Success. / 
Conclusion — The Result. 

Link 
(c) E.F. Introduction. 

1. Early work. 

2. Achievement.^ 

3. Success. f 
Conclusion — The Result. 

III. Greneral Conclusion (including a forecast). 

The separate sections A.B., C.D., E.F. need not 
necassarily be persons. They may be countries. For 
example, in writing a history of the growth of freedom the 
separate heads would probably be Judea, Greece, Rome, 



54 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Spain, England, France, America. But if it were a history 
of the growth of freedom in any one particular country 
the biographical method would be more convenient. 

The Link skims over several unimportant persons or 
events resulting from (a) and leading to (b), or from (6) to (c). 

The general introduction very frequently is a definition 
of the subject to be discussed. In the case of printing, 
above, this is not necessary, for there can be little possible 
doubt as to what printing is and is not. In most other 
cases there is likely to be doubt, and unless the subject be 
clearly demarcated at the start there will be no standard 
whereby to decide when to begin the history and what to 
include. 

What is freedom ? Should a benevolent monarchy 
such as that of Marcus Aurelius be counted as a step forward 
of equal importance with the English Civil War ? What is 
a newspaper ? Shall we include in our history the official 
newsletters sent by British Embassies abroad ? What is 
general education ? Shall we include medical schools ? 
Shall we include the religious instruction given by gurus ? 
What is medicine ? Should the practices of witch-doctors 
be discussed ? 

The definition should be followed by an explanation 
showing just what it includes and what it excludes. 

The English Novel. 

General Introduction. 

1. Definition. — A novel is, in the modern acceptance 
of the term, a prose narrative of fictitious events. Its 
main purpose is amusement rather than instruction. 

A narrative poem, therefore, is not a novel ; nor yet is 
a prose history or biography. It has been said that history 
should be " as interesting as the latest novel." So it may 
be, but it is not a novel, because in a history, if the dilemma 
occurred whether interest must be sacrificed to fact, or 
fact to interest, the historian could not but choose the former 
alternative. The novelist would always choose the latter. 
A historical novel may be largely true ; but it is always just 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOP.AIENT 55 

as untrue as is thought necessary by the author to add 
personal interest to it. A hero must be introduced, and 
also a heroine. Both may be historic characters, but much 
fictitious addition to the actual record of their lives will be 
inevitably necessary if they are to be made the personages 
of a novel. For one thing they must be made to talk ; 
but there is no historic record of all that the most historic 
person said even on the most historic occasion. 

First Beginnings (still a part of the General Intro- 
duction) — 

(a) The Romances. 

The earliest form of novel found in English is the 
medieval verse romance. These are by our definition 
excluded from the term. In their day they served the 
same purpose as did the novel at a later period. These 
romances, which are in ballad verse, were recited by 
wandering singers in the evening at noblemen's houses, 
also at country fairs, and in the village market place, 
wherever the singer could get an audience. Many of the 
romances are of a semi-historical nature. Richard Cceur 
de Lion was very popular. There is a history of Charle- 
magne, also of several of his Knights, for example Renaud 
of Montaubon. Others are humorous ; — one tells of a 
great dog fight. Others are sentimental. Amis and 
Amile tells a very beautiful story of a friendship. King 
Florus and the fair Jehane is a love story, the main incident 
of which was used by Shakespeare in Cymbdine. 

The most beautiful of all these romances is Aucassin 
and Xicolette. This romance is partly in prose and partly 
in verse. As the romance grew older it showed a tendency 
to prose. " Renaud of Montaubon," printed by Caxton, 
is wholly in prose. These stories, taking their origin in 
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and flourishing more 
in France than in England, developed in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries into romances of vast length, of 
which Sydney's " Arcadia " and Scudery's " Clelie " 
(translated about 1620) are examples. 



56 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

(b) TU Novello. 

The Novello of Boccaccio was rather the antecedent of 
the short story than of the novel. The tales are brief, 
mostly of a licentious nature. They were used by Chaucer 
and by Shakespe£|,re as a mine for plots. The form did not 
take root in England, except perhaps in the popular chap 
book. 

(c) The Chap Book. 

The chap book is found in the time of Shakespeare. 
It is a cheap pamphlet containing sometimes a garbled 
version of the latest news, sometimes a story. The plot 
of Shakespeare's As You Like It appeared in a chap book. 
Defoe's " Robinson Crusoe " and " Fire of London " were 
chap books. 

Here then we have the chief materials of the novel. 

(The First Section, viz. IT. {a), A.B.) 

Richardson. 1689-176L 

(Introduction.) 

Richardson is generally called the founder of the English 
novel. He fell at a time favourable for this art. There 
was a large female audience of the wealthy middle class 
wanting entertainment. In the age of Elizabeth there 
were too few literate persons for the novel to flourish. 
Those who were literate demanded a higher form of enter- 
tainment. The spread of literacy always lowers the 
general standard of the material required to satisfy its 
cravings. In 1740 there were many to whom Shakespeare's 
sonnets would have been Greek, yet to whom Richardson's 
novels were literature. Richardson followed in the tradition 
of Scudery. He wrote long love stories for women. He 
improved on Scudery in that his novels were modern, and 
that unlike those of his predecessor they endeavoured 
to portray character, the chief distinguishing mark of the 
novel as contrasted with the mere Romance. 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT oT 

(Early work. — Achievement.) 

" Pamela " (1740) was Richardson's first production. 
It met with an immediate reception. Richardson had no 
period of struggle. He started late — at the age of 52, but 
once he started, at one bound he leapt into fame. He 
became the idol of drawing-rooms. His novel consists of 
a series of letters, which tell the plot of the story from 
various points of view, and at the same time reveal the 
characters of the writers. 

" Clarissa Harlowe " (1748) is as long as its predecessor, 
and is told in the same method. 

" Sir Charles Grandison " (1754) is the history of an 
impossibly and most uninterestingly virtuous man. 

(Conclusion. — The Result.) 

Richardson introduced character into the novel, but 
he did not find the secret of incident. 

(Second Section, viz. II. (6), CD.) 

Fielding. 1707-1757. 

(Introduction.) 

Though contemporaneous with Richardson he is much 
his successor in point of development. His novels are not 
written in the epistolary form of Richardson, hence there 
is room for the author's own criticisms of the characters. 

(Early Life.) 

Fielding was an ordinary boisterous joyful man. As 
a result of a love affair too vigorously prosecuted when he 
was at school, he was sent to Leyden to study Law. At 
Leyden he spent his time writing plays of so vigorous and 
outspoken a type that one of them — or rather a later 
example of the same kind — ^was used to convince the House 
of Commons of the need of dramatic censorship. The 
passing of this Act of Parliament somewhat limited his 
opportunity of earning a livelihood for at that time he was 
in London supporting himself by his dramatic work. 



58 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

(Period of Achievement.) 

The publication of " Pamela " gave Fielding the idea 
of writing a satire on the book. He did so. The title of 
the book is " The History of the Adventures of Joseph 
Andrews." Joseph Andrews is portrayed as the brother 
of Pamela. The satiric purpose was soon forgotten, and 
the book developed for its own sake. His later works — 
"Jonathan Wild," "Tom Jones," "Amelia," are all of 
the same kind as his first. The greatest is generally con- 
sidered to be " Tom Jones." In his later years Fielding 
became a Justice of the Peace, and did much to suppress 
gang-robbery in London. 
(Conclusion. — Kesult.) 

If Richardson's novels are descendants of " Clelie " — 
the sentimental romance, Fielding's find their parentage 
in Defoe, and earlier in the licentious novellos of Boccaccio. 
He writes for the crowd, and is of the crowd. He is over- 
flowing with vitality ; so much so that he occasionally 
lapses into vulgarity. He put the breath of life into the 
English novel. 
Link, 
Sterne and Smollett carried on the same tradition. 
Sterne does more to remedy the defect of Richardson, 
viz. the absence of the author's own criticisms. Smollett 
is vigorous, full of plot, but ill-arranged. 

Richardson also had his successors. Fanny Burney in 
" Evelina " outdid her master. If the novel lacks the 
depth of Richardson, its technique, and finish are better. 
She describes what she knows ; her characters live. The book 
was read by Jane Austen, and prompted her to produce 
the novels which, for delicacy of handling and perfection 
of construction, are the masterpieces of English literature. 
There are no great emotioiLs in Jane Austen. Her characters 
are miracles of vitalized ordinariness. 
Radcliffe — SaM . 

The romantic tradition passes through Richardson to 
Mrs. Radcliffe, but with great change. Mrs. Radcliffe 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 59 

wrote for the daughters of Richardson's audience. There 
was a reversion against coldness and formalism. Emotions 
and terrors were in demand. Mrs. Radcliffe supplied them. 
One great innovation was made by her : she gave great 
attention to the description of natural scenery. She tried 
to localize her tales. 

The same revival of wonder which produced Mrs. 
Radcliffe directed attention to Grerman ballads as a mine 
of the fantastic and the fearful. This gave Scott the 
impetus for the production of his " Border Minstrelsy." 
Byron eclipsed him in narrative poetry, hence Scott turned 
to prose. 

Exercise.~(Fiil in the hfe of Scott here as H. (c), E.F. 
Then pass to Dickens as the descendant of the Novello-Chap 
book-Fielding tradition. Thackeray, more akin to the romantic 
tradition, but only so when placed in contrast to Dickens. 
Conclusion : The tendency of the modern novel still the dis- 
tinction between Romance and Realism. But the Romantic 
school tends to briefness, cheapness, with no purpose save 
to amuse. The Realistic is becoming more and more serious 
in the exactly opposite position to that of Richardson's and 
Fielding's time. The serious novel is tending towards length 
again. Immense increase in novel production due to increase 
in size of reading public owing to education. Improvement 
of education is showing itself in a general demand for a 
better standard of novel at cheap rates — hence cheap reprints, 
and even new publications in cheap form.) 

Exercise. — Write a Life of : — 
A. 1. Rani Bhabhani. 

2. Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. 

3. Gautama Buddha. 

4. Akbar. 

5. Clive. 

6. Warren Hastings. 

7. David Hare. 

8. Ram Mohan Rov. 

9. Amir Ali Khan." 

10. Nawab Abdul Latif. 

11. Kesub Ch. Sen. 

12. Sir Jatindra Mohan Tagore. 



60 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

13. Durga Ch. Law. 

14. Sir Syed Hossein Ali Mirza. 

15. Maharaj-adhiraja Mahtab Chand Rai Bahadur of 
Burdwan. 

(Nos. 8 to 15— See Bradley Birt, " Great Men of Bengal.") 
B. Trace the Development of : — 

1. The British Empire. (Democracy and Empire. Veitch. 
People's Books.) 

2. The Steam Engine. 

3. Printing. 

4. Modern Anaesthetic Surgery. 

5. Education in India. (Stark. Vernacular Education in 
Bengal.) 

6. Local Self Government in India. 

7. Modern Means of Transportation. (Romance of Modern 
Locomotion. Williams.) 

8. Enghsh Power in India. 

9. Law in Bengal. 

10. The British Constitution. (History of England. Home 
University Library.) , 

11. The Application of Electricity to human needs. (Our 
good slave, Electricity. Gibson.) 

12. Modern Hinduisni. (Wilkins.) 

13. Trace the rise of Muhammedanism in t'lPmome Uni- 

East. versity 

14. Trace the rise and decay of Buddhism in | j;]^^^/^, 

India, ) 

15. The Brahma Samaj. 

16. The rise of the Novel in Bengal. 

17. The Development of the Bengali Language. 

18. The Sonnet. 

19. The Drama in England. 

20. The Drama in Bengal. 

On A. The Dictionary of Indian Biography. 
Seven Great Men of Bengal. 
Any good History of India. 
The National Dictionary of Biography. 
Rulers of India series. 

On B. The Encyclopaedia Britannica. 
The Encyclopaedia in Bengali. 



Library. 



THE LIFE AND THE DEVELOPMENT 61 

Also special books on the particular subject such as may be 
available — e.g. Cambridge Manuals, Home University Library, 
People's Books. 

In each case — 

First get a general idea of the development. 

Then read up the separate names in a Dictionary of 
Biography, or other reference work. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE ARGUMENT, OR THE " PRO AMD CON " ESSAY 

When an essay question begins with the words — 

" State your views." 
" What is your opinion on — ■ — ■ " 
Discuss the question of- 



" Discuss the following statement " 

" Do you believe in " 

then know that it is a " Pro and Con " essay. 

Pro means for, and Con (or Contra) means against. 
Pro and Con means for and against ; e.g. 

" For and against Protection." 

" For and against Free Trade." 

" For and against the existence of ghosts." 

" For and against Vivisection." 

This type of essay is a very dangerous one for the 
amateur. There is a story told that once in a certain 
examination — we will say the Matriculation — the essay 
question set was — 

" Do you believe in ghosts ? " 
The essay submitted was — 



University of Calcutta Matriculation. 

Examination in Essay-Writing. 
Question 2. "Do you believe in ghosts ? " 

Question 3. " Write an essay on the " 



This is just what one is very apt to do. On most 
queBtions most people have an opinion, and the natural 

U2 



THE ARGUMENT-" PRO AM) CON" ESSAY 63 

tendency, when asked to state an opinion, m to state it. 
But it is forgotten that if I have an opinion, so also have 
you, and if you have, so also has he, and so also have a very 
large number of persons many of them wiser than you, 
I or he. The " Pro and Con " essay must include both 
sides. Your opinion may be pro ; state also the con. 

A second danger, of a similar kind, is partisanship. 
A student writes an essay on the subject of ghosts. He is 
a stem disbeliever. He states the arguments of the 
believers, but he states them very briefly and in such a way 
that they are very easily disposed of. In fact he builds up 
a little mud house just so as to let his readers see him 
knock it down. Readers are intelligent people ; so also 
are teachers and examiners ; and they are not so easily 
amused as by watching a man knocking down mud-pies. 
State the other side fairly. Try for the moment to adopt 
tJieir point of view even if you do not believe in it, and try 
to make out why it is that they believe in it : what un- 
conscious assumption, unconscious prejudice, or uncon- 
scious motive or interest lies behind their belief : what 
lies behind your own. 

State the other case fairly, and try to make out why 
they believe in it. State your own case no better than 
you state theirs. Let both statements be as fair and 
impartial as if you were summing up in a Court of law. 
Then quietly examine each argument. 

Then try to examine tchy they hold their view, why 
your side holds its view. Then, summing up, state the 
reasons of your adherence to the particular view. 

Avoid emotion in this tj'pe of essay. Do not for one 
moment depart from the calm judicial attitude. Use no 
phrase which may suggest approbation or disapprobation. 
Overdo impartiality and coldness — if this be possible, and 
I doubt it. Even in stating your own view acknowledge 
the perfect right of the other side to their \iew. It is enough 
if their view has been explained to be wrong and their 
methods in holding it dishonest or illogical. There is 
uo need to waste further words in vilifvinii them. It 



64 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

only injures the argument which the essay supports. Only 
bad arguments require bad language. 

The plan of the essay is — 

A. 1. State the problem. 

2. Explain the above statement. 

One view. 

B. 1. Statement of view. 

2. Reasons in support of the view. 

Other view. 

C. 1. Statement of view. 

2. Reasons in support of it. 

Examination of the reasons B 2, C 2. 
Own opinion. 

D. 1. Declaration in favour of C — refutation of the argu- 

ments of B. 
2. Motives for which B is held, explaining the reason 
of the error — whereas the holder of C is not 
deluded by these unconscious motives. 

E. Proposed action. 

Notice : It is usual to state the oilier view first. 

Notice : Most of these controversial essays involve the 
question of taking or not taking certain action, or 
taking one action or other after settling upon an 
opinion. It is therefore incumbent upon the writer 
to indicate how he proposes to carry his opinion 
into action. 

Eooample. — Is Press Censorship desirable ? 

A. 1. Statement of the Problem. 

Has a (jfovernment the right to control what may be 
expressed by private individuals in print for general 
circulation ? 

Is it desirable thul a CoverumcnL should exercise 
such a right 'i 



THE ARGUMENT—PRO AND CON" ESSAY 65 

2. Explanation. 

Right. Note two questions : one of right and the 
other of advantage. 

Control. This does not involve positive control. 

No question of power to make a person say such and 
such things. Merely negative — the power to prevent 
them saying objectionable or dangerous t h ings. 

B. Contra. Statement of view. 

It is held by some that the State has no such right 
as the practice is not beneficial. 

Reasons in support. 

The right of free discussion is the most elementary 
basis of freedom. Censorship is an interference with 
the rights of the citizen. 

It is also disadvantageous. If discussion is sup- 
pressed, undesirable institutions may be permitted to 
continue which would otherwise be done away with. 

Even if such licence does occasionally permit the 
propagation of wrong ideas, the public have discrimina- 
tion and can reject them. 

C. Pbo. Statement. 

On the other hand it is held that the State has the 
right of such censorship, and that it is advantageous. 

Reasons in support. 

Since the publications are intended for general 
consumption, Government in no way interferes with 
individual right. Government does not forbid the man 
to hold the opinion — the right of individual conscience ; 
it forbids him to propagate the opinion. This is a right 
of other peoples conscience. The security of the general 
conscience is a legitimate charge of the State. Hence the 
State does not exceed its rights in exercising censorship. 

It is advantageous that such a right should be ex- 
ercised because there is always a large section of the 
community which, by ignorance or lack of discrimina- 
tion, is liable to be misled — e.g. children, women, semi- 
educated persons. 

There is no disadvantage, for such negative censorship 
does not prevent free discussion of legitimate matters. 
It only prevents interference with those fundamental 

g 



66 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

bases of society and morality which are quite beyond 
discussion. 

D. Own View. Statement. 

I consider that there is no case for total prohibition 
of censorship. There are, however, reasons for its 
moderate exercise. 
Refutation of other arguments. 

The case against censorship is weak at several points. 
It is obviously impossible to hold that the State should 
permit the promiscuous advertisement of dangerous 
drugs or advocacy of immorality. Yet under the above 
argument it has no power to prevent it. 

The argument Pro is much better, for though the 
State does not interfere in such matters with individual 
conscience it does rightly prevent attempt to inter- 
ference with other people's conscience. 

It is obviously not true that the whole of the general 
public are able to discriminate. The average writer is 
far more intelligent than his audience. Moreover, 
human weakness is such that it is very ready to seize 
upon a specious argument for committing an act which 
it knows to be wrong. 

Nor is the public or even a writer able to estimate 
the damage which a statement may cause, e.g. an in- 
discreet revelation in war time. 

Everything depends on the manner in which the 
censorship is exercised. Harsh censorship may prevent 
legitimate discussion. But this is no argument for total 
abolition of it. It is an argument only for less severity. 
Motives. The arguments of the anti-censor party are apt 
to be influenced by the fact that those who oppose 
censorship arc usually those who wish to lay before the 
public matters which they know will be censored even by 
the most mild regime. If they are really genuine and 
do not wish to be called enemies of society, they will 
merely advocate a little reasonable relaxation of the 
control. 

E. Proposed Action. 

The existing laws on this subject seem to be very mild 
and reasonable in regard to public newspapers. It 
would, however, be desirable to institute some machinery 



THE ARGUMENT— " PRO AND CON" ES8AY 67 

for controlling advertisements. Much harm is done by 
the promiscuous advocacy of useless or pernicious 
medicines, also by veiled inducements to vicious prac- 
tices, or promises of immunity from their inevitable 
consequences. 

There may be more than two sides to a case. For 
example, there are two further possible views on the above 
argument : it might be held : — 

(3) That the state has the right, but its exercise is not 

beneficial. 

(4) That the state has not the technical right, but that 

it is beneficial that it should use censorship all 
the same. (The tendency of modem states is 
to extend their action very much beyond what 
was originally considered the proper sphere of 
state-interference, e.g. the Old Age Pensions 
Act, Feeding of School Children, Municipal 
Enterprise, etc.) 
This makes no difference to the plan of the essay. 

A. 1. Statement. 
2. Explanation. 

B. First view. 

1. Statement. 

2. Arguments. 

<-. Second view. 

1. Statement. 

2. Arguments. 

D. Third view. 

1. Statement. 

2. Arguments. 

E. Fourth view. 

1. Statement. 

2. i\j:guments. 

(And so on ad libitum, F, G, H.) 



68 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

I. Own view. 

1. Statement. 

2. Refutation of previous arguments. 

3. Motives of previous arguments. 
J. Proposed Action. 

Exercise. — 1. Write out the above essay including the two 
extra views and discussing them. Omit paragraph headings. 
Generally amplify the above notes especially by increase of 
examples and supposititious cases. 

2. Write an essay on the following notes : — 

" State your views on the subject of vivisection." 

A. 1. The dissection of living animals for scientific work. 
2. Living — means dissecting the animals while alive, not 
after death. 

CONTBA. 

Cruelty — as such we cannot countenance on moral 
grounds. 

Brutalizing effect on the noblest profession. 

Useless. Nothing has been discovered which could 
not have been found by ordinary dissection. 

Many non-scientific persons practice it for mere 
motives of brutality. 

Pro. 

Essential for certain researches, e.g. action of internal 
ductless glands where grafting is needed for investiga- 
tion. 

Many valuable discoveries made, e.g. inoculation of 
animals with various diseases. Transfusion of blood. 

Not brutalizing if done in the interests of science and 
from the right motive, cf. killing by a soldier. 

No pain, as anaesthetics always used. 

D. Own View. 

That it should be allowed, but only by qualified 
persons. 

The Contras make false statement in denying use. 

Whatever bad effects, its value counter-balances 
them. 

If skilfully done animals often recover. In any case 
no pain. 



THE ARGUMENT— " PRO AND CON" ESSAY 69 

Motives. 

The Contras are over-sentimental. 

E. Proposed Action. 

Would make rule a little stricter to prevent un- 
qualified persoas practising it. 



EXERCISES. 

Discuss the following questions, where possible giving more 
than two possible alternative views : — 

1. Is it right to encourage women to take part in industry 

and the professions ? 

(Mitra and Baroda, " Women and Industry.'") 

2. The growth of cheap literature has merely encouraged 

wasting of time. It has done more harm than good. 
Discuss this. 

3. Do you agree with the statement " Modern methods of 

agriculture are not applicable to India. Indian 
agriculture is not capable of improvement " ? 

4. The advantages and disadvantages of the joint family 

system. 

5. Should athletics be compulsory at school ? 

6. Are spiritualism and astrology frauds ? 

(Barret, " Psychic Research," Home University 
Library.) 

7. Should alcoholic liquor be totally prohibited ? 

8. Should the practise of medicine by unqualified prac- 

titioners be prevented ? 

9. Is war a curse ? 

(Norman Angell, " The Great Illusion," with the 
reply " Economics of War and Conquest,'" Jones.) 

10. Is aristocracy or democracy the best form of govern- 

ment ? 

1 1 . Would a development of factory industry be of advantage 

or disadvantage to India ? 

(See Chatterton, " Industrial Development in 
India.") 

12. Do you believe in Eugenics ? 

(See Schuster, "Eugenic^." The Nation's Library.) 



70 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

13. " The study of ancient languages at schools is a waste of 

time. The boys do not learn enough for it to be of use 
to them, and they are prevented from studying 
naodern subjects of greater utiUty, e.g. science." 
Discuss this. 

(Spencer's " Education.") 

14. " The existence of an organized legal profession is an 

unmitigated evil. Its result is that the truth is 
obscured by skilled argument, that the man who pays 
most, wins his case irrespective of justice or truth. 
Moreover justice, which should be as " free as air," 
becomes the monopoly of a limited profession. This 
monopoly gives to that limited profession an im- 
portance which the not very noble nature of its work 
does not deserve. As a result the administration of 
local affairs and the general conduct of policy falls 
into the hands of the lawyer, who is more occupied 
with fine distinctions and perfections of legal machinery 
than with the initiation of great reforms requiring 
practical knowledge and business ability." Discuss 
this. 

15. " So far from being opposed to capital punishment, I am 

strongly in favour of its extension. Most men who 
for a second or third time come into the hands of the 
law are incurable criminals, a perpetual charge to the 
State. We should reduce our prisons by two-thirds 
and our police by three-quarters if such men were 
given the cheapest and the only permanent cure of 
their wrong-doing. The money thus saved could be 
used for a far better purpose than the support of the 
inherently bestial and vile : it could be used for the 
elevation of the indigent and deserving. Moreover, 
the increase of severity would act as a strong incentive 
to the path of right amongst those who now waver." 
Discuss this. 
IG. *' Every man should be liable to conscription. This 
does not mean military conscription only. In some 
countries there is no need for every man to be a soldier. 
Nor have all peoples any inborn military capacity. 
But every man should be called to spend two or three 
years out of his three score and ten in the service of the 
state both in peace and war. Some may be teachers ; 



THE AEGmiEXT— " PRO AND CON" ESSAY 71 

some may act as policemen ; some may serve on 
State farms, or in State industries ; doctors may 
sen'e as panel doctors or in public dispensaries ; 
lawyers may serve the crown ; clerks may do public 
business. I believe that with a little thought women 
also could be included in this scheme." Discuss this. 

17. "All great poets, all great artists have been abnormal ; 

many of them actually insane. Poetr.- and neuro- 
ticism are synonymous. We should therefore be less 
impulsive in encouraging art. Art encourages the 
weaker elements of our mental constitution. How 
little art has really done good in the world ; how much 
has but pandered to lasciviousness, effeminacy or 
brutality and egoism. Art should be more strictly 
censored. At present because a man is a poet, he is 
allowed to say what he likes." 

(See Max Nordeau, " Degeneration," published by 
Heinemann.) 

18. " The main need of the people of Bengal is better food, 

at more reasonable intervals. Half of the sickness 
and phvsical defects in this country are due to wrong 
diet." 

(See McCay, Scientific Memoirs, published by the 

Government of Bengal, " Prison Dietary." 

Also No. 34 of the same series.) 

19. Machinery {e.g. the camera, the phonograph) have taken 

the place of art. 

20. Is it better for a boy to go to a boarding school, or to 

be educated at home ? 



CHAPTER VII 

THE ABSTRACT ESSAY 

This type of essay should never be set to boys below the 
top class of a High School, and even for boys of this class 
it is of doubtful value. For some unknown reason it is 
rather a favourite type with examiners. It is not as a rule 
a very useful exercise. It leads merely to hair-splitting 
and preaching. Few, save grown men of experience, are 
really competent to speak on " Truth," " Justice," and say 
anything worth hearing. 

Sometimes this essay question appears naked and 
undisguised — 

" Write an essay on Truth." 

" Write an essay on Ambition." 

" Write an essay on Zeal." 

" Write an essay on Sympathy." 

" Write an essay on Friendship." 

" Write an essay on Hope." 

Sometimes it appears in the form of a quotation — 

" Man never is but always to be blessed." 

(=" Write an essay on Hope.") 

" What is Truth ? " said jesting Pilate and did not stay 
for an answer. (=Tnith.) 

" By associating with the bad thou thyself shalt become 
bad." (=Effects of Companionship.) 

" But let there be a friend in my retreat 
To whisper gently ' Solitude is sweet.' " 

(=Solitude.) 

In this latter case the first thing is always to convert the 
quotation into an abstract word — or into more than one. 
A quotation may contain two abstract subjects in relation 
to each other. For example, one might take an extract 
from Gray which would involve an essay on " Pleasure 
arising from Vicissitude." But as a rule if the quotation 

72 



THE ABSTRACT ESSAY 73 

really embeds an abstract essay, and is not really a round- 
about way of getting at a Life, a Development, a Pro and 
CJon, or a Description, it is capable of resolution into one 
word. 

Collecting Thoughts — Having got the one word, 
we do two rather curious things. 

A. 1. We put down all the synonyms that can be 
thought of. The synonym need not be one word. 
Ambition — " Desire to get on." The sjTionyms 
should not be all exact synonyms. Any word that 
has roughly the same meaning will do. 

2. Put down all the opposites in the same way. 

B. Having got these, think of a concrete example of 
the word itself, of each synonym and of each 
opposite. Let the examples be people or events 
you know personally, or in history, or in fiction. 
Try now to discover why the actual word under 
discussion will not apply to the persons or events, 
illustrating each of the opposites, each of the partial 
synonyms. 

C. Now try to evolve a definition of the abstract word 
under discussion. If this is diflicult, leave it alone. 
It can be done after the rest of essay has been written. 

Writing the Essay. 

1. Introduction. (a) The literal meaning of the word. 

(b) " WTiat is X " : brief enumera- 
tion of its effects good and bad. 

2. It is not Brief enumeration of the opposites 

with concrete examples and 
criticism showing the difference. 
(This criticism is arrived at by 
the help of the concrete ex- 
amples. But the examples need 
not necessarily be mentioned in 
writing out.) 

3. Is it ? Brief enumeration of the synonyms 

and examination showing the 
difference. 



74 



ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



4. Definition finally arrived at. 

5. Practical conclusion. (Good advice if you have 
any ; but avoid preaching.) 

This method will enable the student to reach such real 
material as he possesses on the subject. The great thing 
is to write the essay always with reference to actual ex- 
perience, preferably of life, otherwise of reading. Think 
of particular case^ ; your pen may write general statements, 
but your mind is thinking of the particular. If this method 
is followed, the essay has a reasonable chance of containing 
an infusion of actual experience instead of being mere 
juggling with words. It may lead to some useful classifica- 
tion of things seen and heard, some endeavour to group 
under general terms the particular incidents which make up 
one's practical knowledge of the world, but which, just 
because they are particular and incidental, are too often 
neglected as material for wisdom. 

Therefore think in People and Events, not in words. 



Examples. 



Notes : — 




Ambition. 




Opposites, 1. (Mr. A.) 
Lethargy. 


3. (Dr. Barnardo.) 
Disinterestedness. 


2. (Uriah Heep.) 
Humbleness. 


4. (Mr. D.) 

Unobtrusiveneaa. 


Synonyms. 1. (Hon'ble E.) 
Energy, 


4. (My friend G.) 
Desire to get on. 


2. (Kaiser.) 

Unscrupulousnesa. 


5. (H.) 
Conceit. 


3. (K, the great shopkeeper.) 
Self-advertisement . 


6. (St. Peter.) 
Zeal. 


Definition . . ? 

Practical conclnsion. Untrustworthiness of ambitious 


people. 





THE ABSTRACT ESSAY 75 

AMBITION 

Literal meaning.^ 

Ambition literally means " going round," going round to 
compass an object, seeking devious paths for a distant end. 

Results. — What is ambition ? It is responsible for some of 
the greatest and some of the vilest deeds of life. It urges the 
great general and the great statesman to new efforts which 
benefit his country. It makes him, on another occasion, ruth- 
lessly condemn the innocent, vilify the name of the honourable, 
keep back the man of promise. 

(Opposites.) 

With Lethargy it has no part, and yet how many lethargic 
men have hidden in their souls some secret ambition ? They 
have not the energy to realise it, but it is there, and if some 
possible obstacle appeared in the course of their secret dreams 
they might show all the cruelty of the energetic in removing it. 

Has it anything to do with Disinterestedness ? It would 
not seem so. Dr. Barnardo was disinterested ; he had nothing 
to gain by gi'ving his life to the cause of the homeless and 
orphan, yet for his own life-work he was ambitious, — if that 
can be called ambition which has in it no element of self. This 
is what we have to discover ; can ambition be unselfish ? 

Humbleness is a form of unselfishness. Uriah Heep was 
" very 'umble," but this was a mask to hide the selfish ambition 
which was his real character. Perhaps that mask was specially 
suitable in that it was the extreme opposite of that which it 
concealed. Uriah Heep was humble so that his plans might 
not be disturbed. He wished not to attract attention to him- 
self. The ambitious man may be unobtrusive. He is this 
only because it suits him. He will obtrude when the time 
comes. 

(Synonyms.) 

Does Advertisement constitute ambition ? Self-advert Lse- 
ment nearly always accompanies ambition. The unambitious 
man is content to do good whether it is known or not, for he is 
seeking no place. Not so the ambitious ; good deeds are of 
little account unless they lead to good returns. If they are 
to lead to good returns, they must be well known to those in 
whose, hands are the rewards. 

1 These paragraph headings are put in to aid the student. In 
ordinary writing of an essay they would be omitted. 



76 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Is it a reward that the ambitious are seeking 1 Not a 
material reward. They are not essentially avaricious. They 
want not gold but recognition. They want to " get on," to 
get position, not for the wealth it gives, but for the power and 
the praise. 

They have a good conceit of themselves. A conceit seeks 
always to externalize itself. It is lonely work thinking well 
of oneself. They wish to make others share their appreciation. 

They may be scrupulous or they may not be. This is 
merely a matter of the means. The essential of ambition is 
the selfishness of the end ; selfishness of ends usually leads 
to selfishness of methods also ; but it need not. It may pay 
l)etter to be honest. 

Energy is a necessity for ambitious achievement, but not 
for ambitious thought. Zeal is the energy of saints ; it is 
devotion to a cause. Of this the ambitious have nothing. 

{Definition.) 

Ambition is a desire for achievement for the sake of the 
sense of power, and increased possibilities of gratifying that 
sense. It is desire for success from selfish motives. 

{Practical Conclusion.) 

The man who does evil from evil motives has no pretences. 
He is bad, and he associates with the bad. The ambitious man 
does good from evil motives. He is bad and associates with 
the good. He corrupts the disinterested with the canker of 
self ; he asks for the trust of the noble and betrays it ; he blocks 
the path of the altruist because it crosses his own egoism. He 
defiles noble actions so that men learn to distrust those who do 
them from pure motives. He is a self seeker and a hypocrite, 
all the more dangerous because he has the energy to achieve, 
and the impudence to advertise. 

Trust an out and out bad man ; he makes no disguises ; 
but trust not the ambitious ; they will pray aloud for your 
welfare and vilify you to your dearest friend. 



Write an essay on the following subjects : — 

1. " A most amiable fellow." (This might also be treated 

as a " characterism." See Chapter XTT.) 

2. " What is truth ? " said jesting Pilate. 

3. " The quality of Mercy is not strained." 



THE ABSTRACT ESSAY 77 

i. "I will depart and give 

All back to fate and her ; 1 will submit 
To thy stern wiU and bow myself to it. 
Enduring still, though desolate, to live." 

(Resignation : Discuss in what does virtuous resig- 
nation consist. When is resignation to be con- 
demned ? The evil effects of Fatalism.) 

5. " Pitiful who fearing failure therefore no beginning 

makes." (Diffidence.) 

6. " Give thy dog the merest mouthful and he crouches at 

thy feet, 

Wags his tail and fawns and grovels in his eagerness 
to eat. 

Bid the elephant be feeding and the choicest fodder 
bring; 

Gravely, after much entreaty, condescends the Mighty 
King." 
(This may be one essay — " Sycophancy con- 
trasted with Independence " ; or the first 
couplet may be one essay, " Sycophancy," 
and the second couplet another essay, " Inde- 
pendence." The two separate essays are 
easier than the combined.) 

7. " Who speaks unasked or comes unbid, 

Or counts on service, will be chid." — (Impudence — or 
Self -Confidence.) 

8. " Courtesy may cover malice ; on their heads the 

woodmen bring, 
Meaning all the while to burn them, logs and faggots, 
oh, my King." 

9. " Thunder for nothing, like December's cloud, 

Passes unmarked ; strike hard, but speak not loud." 

(Boastfulness.) 

10. " A modest manner fits a maid. 

And patience is a man's adorning ; 
But brides may kiss nor do amiss. 
And men may draw at scathe or scorning." 

(Patience — Its use and abuse.) 

11. " Strength serves Reason, saith the Mahout, when he 

beats the brazen drum. 
' Ho ! ye Elephants, to this work must your Mightinesses 
come.' " 



78 ADVANCKD ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Further essay subjects of this type may be had from 
Edwin Arnold's " Indian Poetry," page 224, " Proverbial 
Wisdom," or the Slokas may be used in original. 

The Book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible will also yield 
material ; also any dictionary of quotations. 

Certain Angio-Indianisms make very good essays in 
skilful hands, e.g. — 

1. "Zabardast." 

2. " Chalaki." 

3. "Pucca." 

4. " Bhalo Chele." 

5. " Tik." 

Arrival at their exact meaning is not easy. Numbers 
1, 2, and 4 can also be well treated as " Characterisms." 



CHAPTER Vlll 

THE TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION 

" Describe the construction and uses of a bicycle." 

" Describe the structure and working of a prismatic 

compass." 

This type of composition is occasionally set as an 

ordinary essay subject. It is perhaps more frequently 

met as a question in an examination paper. In either case 

the treatment will be the same. 

The plan of the essay should be — 

(1) Definition. 

(2) A diagram. 

(3) Parts and their function. 

(4) How it works. 

(5) How to use it. 

(6) Criticism of the utility of the machine : (a) its use ; 
(6) its limitations. 

The plan is very simple, and the essay is very simple. 

TJie Diagram. — The main difficulty and the only one 
is the diagram. Let this be neat and clear. Draw it once 
or twice on a scrap of paper before making the final version. 
Do it in pencil first, and then ink it in, if your power of 
drawing is not very great. Do not forget to rub out the 
pencil marks when the ink is dry. Do not crowd too much 
into the general diagram. Let that merely indicate where 
the various parts are to be foimd. For the structure of the 
separate parts separate diagrams of those parts may be 
drawn to illustrate sections of the essay. 

The other danger and the chief one consists in the 
connection of the diagram with the text. The danger is 
twofold. 

(1) Of relying too much on the diagram, and not ex- 
plaining enough in the text ; 

(2) Of forgetting that there is a diagram, and trying to 
explain everjiihing in words. 

7U 



80 ADVANCilD ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Suppose the subject to be described is a fountain pen. 
Example of the first danger. 

The Fountain Pen. 

Defi^nilion. — ^An instrument for wiiting which con- 
tains its own ink. 



■^^ I" •^^ 



B C / 



A Feed bar. C Nib holder. E Cap. 

B Nib. D Ink reservoir. 

1. Screw of nib-holder. 

2. iScrew of container. 

3. Projection on to which the cap (E) fits. 

Parts. — The parts are^ — A, B, C, D, E above. 
They fit together at 1, 2 and 3, or E may be fitted on 
toC. 

Use of farts. — 

Etc., etc. 

Example oj the second danger. 

(Diagram as above.) 

The fountain pen has five parts — the nib, the feed, the 
nib-holder, the reservoir" and the cap. The nib fits into 
the holder above the feed. The holder has a screw at 
one end, the opposite end to where the nib is. This screw 
fits into the reservoir at the end opposite to where the 
cap fits on. The cap fits on to a plain projection at the 
end opposite to the nib. The cap may be fitted on to 
the other end — the nib end. 

The nib is like an ordinary nib. The feed is round at 
one end and smaller at the other tapering to a point ; 
it has a narrow cut along the top. 
Etc., etc. 

The writer here quite neglects the fact that he has 
«(iven a diagram. He repeats quite uselessly a good many 
things which are perfectly clear from the diagram and do 
not need mention. He gets very confused and confusing 



THE TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION ^1 

in trying to describe where the cap fits on. A reference to 
the diagram would make this clear at once. 

On the other hand, the first writer does not bother to 
explain at all. He gives the diagram, and leaves the reader 
to study it. 

By a simple comparison we may make clear the proper 
relation of text and diagram. A teacher brings a map of 
Europe into the class-room ; he hangs it on the wall ; then 
without making any further reference to it, he goes on with 
his lesson. Will the boys thereby learn the map of Europe ? 
Of course not. Nor yet would they learn if the teacher 
did nothing but point silently at various places on the 
map ; in this case they would merely become confused. 
The teacher should explain, and draw attention to the map. 

So in writing the text for a diagram, the text should 
draw the reader's attention to the diagram in a regular 
order. It should show him how to study the diagram. 

Hence the above paragraph should be written as below : — 

(Diagram as above.) 

" In the above diagram it will be seen that the pen consists 
of three chief parts : A, B and C, making up the nib section ; 
D the ink reservoir, and E the cap. The cap may fit either on 
to the end of D when the pen is open for writing, or on to C 
when the pen is closed ; in this position it protects the nib. 
The nib carrier (C) screws into the reservoir D by the male 
thread (1) ; a female thread (2) is cut on the inside of the 
reservoir. 

" The point section A, B, C consists of three parts — A the 
nib ; B the feed bar, which carries the ink to the nib in a steady 
flow ; and C the holder, which contains A and B, the nib and 
feed bar, and fixes into the reservoir as described above." 

One last point : In making out your not^s alwavs draw 
your diagram on a loose bit of paper, the first thing of all, 
before writing a single word. 

It is convenient to the reader if, when you turn over 
the page in a description with reference to the diagram 
you repeat the diagram on the second page. 

G 



82 



ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



Example. 

Essay on a Primus Stove. 
Definition. 

A Primus oil stove is one which produces heat by 
means of a fine jet of paraflin vapour mixed with air under 
pressure, which produces on ignition a Bunsen flame. 
Explanation. 

The Bunsen flame is named after that famous scientist 
Dr. Bunsen. A flame may give light or heat. A candle 
flame gives much light and little heat ; a red-hot coal gives 
much heat and little light ; a Bunsen flame is of blue colour. 
It gives practically no light, hence the whole of the available 
energy goes in heat. The result is obtained by mixing air 
with the vapour before ignition. This process has the 
further advantage of ensuring complete combustion of the 
vapour. 



Diagram :— 
kB K A' K 




Vf 



Parts : — 

A is the flame plate, which 
spreads the flame. B is the cup on 
which the flame plate rests. The 
cup screws on to D, the gas pipe 
leading the gas from the oil container 
H to the jet C. The jet consists in 
a minute hole in the top of the gas 
pipe. Thus : — 



J\-1 1. The jet. 



■2 



The gas pipe. 



rf-'O 3. Screw whereby the pipe (2) is fixed into the 
oil container H (above). 

F is the pump by which air is forced into the oil con- 
tainer H. I is a valve for releasing the air from the con- 
tainer when it is desired to lessen the flame or to put out 
the lamp. G is a nut closing a hole through which the 
container is filled with oil. E is a small brass cup fitted 
on to the gas pipe D. Into this cup spirit is put. When the 
spirit is lighted it warms A the flame plate and B the cup 
directly below it. 

K K K are three supports for the kettle or pan. 



THE TECH^nCAL DESCRIPTION 83 

How it works. 

The air pressure in the container forces a stream of oil 
up the pipe D. This oil comes out in a thin thread- 
like stream through the jet hole C. The heat of the cup B 
converts this stream of liquid into vapour. The vapour 
mixes with air and burns as a blue flame. The flame plate 
spreads the flame. 

Method of using. 

First unscrew the valve I, then pour some spirit into 
the cup E, and light it with a match. As soon as it begins 
to burn low, close the valve I, and give one stroke of the 
pump F. The oil from the container will now ignite in 
the form of gas in the cup B. As soon as it does this, give 
a few more strokes to make it burn more fiercely. 

To extinguish the lamp open the valve I. 

The jet should occasionally be cleaned by means of 
the cleaner provided with the lamp. 

Critidsm. 
(a) Use. 
The lamp is extremely economical. It uses very little 
oil and gives a great heat. It is fairly simple, and not 
liable to get out of order. It is perfectly safe. 
(6) Limitation. 
Its only disadvantage is that if it is not kept clean it is 
liable to be rather difficult to start up. It is also rather 
difficult to start if there is any wind. 

Exercises. — Describe the structure and working of the 
following objects : — 

1. A bicycle. 

2. A pneumatic tyre and how to repair it. 

3. A typewriter. 

4. A steam engine. 

5. The human eye. 

(The section " How to use it " will here consist of 
advice on the care of the eyes. 

The section " Criticism " will consist of a brief descrip- 
tion of the chief maladies to which the eye is subject. 

So also with the other physiological subjects.) 

6. A box of geometrical instruments. 

7. A plane-table. 

8. A telescope. 



84 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

9. A photographic camera. 

10. The human digestive organs. 

11. The lungs. 

12. The ear. 

13. A Dietz Lantern. 

14. A cyclostyle. 

15. An Icmic Cooker. 

16. An alarum clock (or a watch). 

17. A gramophone (or phonograph). 

18. A printing press. 

19. The teeth. 

20. A water-pump. 



PART 111 
CHAPTER IX 

THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 

There is a saying at Oxford in regard to examinations : 

" The nightingale sat with the barn door fowl in the Second 
Class and bemoaned." 

This means that a brilliant scholar failed to justify in 
examination the expectation of him and got a place no 
higher than that of the ordinary dullard. Why was 
this ? 

A man went in for an examination in historj'. He was 
deeply interested in " Akbar." He had made a special 
study of him. He had even done some very useful original 
research. " Aurungzeb " did not particularly interest 
him. He got a question on Akbar in the examination. 
It had to be answered in twenty minutes. He started 
oft" with Akbar's early life. He discussed the veracity of 
the evidence for each point, gave references. Then 
he found that fifteen minutes had passed. He hurried 
over the rest, and found considerable difficulty in sifting 
out and arranging what was really of importance. If he 
could have written for twenty days instead of for twenty 
minutes he would have done very well. But as it was, 
it was rather a muddle. Aurungzeb was a good deal easier. 
He did not know much about Aurungzeb, but he knew just 
the main things. These, being few, were easily arranged 
and set down. He got a question on the Maharatta Empire. 
He only knew bits of that, just where it touched his main 

86 



86 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

interests. He got 4 marks out of 10 for Akbar, 8 out of 10 
for Aurungzeb, and 2 out of 10 for the Maharattas. He 
got a Second in company with the dullard of the class. 
His own less clever friend got a First Class. His friend 
knew in all about one-tenth of what he did. 

Examinations are an art, and a very little very simple 
advice will make all the difference between success and 
failure. It is only common sense that I offer. 

In the examination room you are called upon to set 
down in a limited time all the chief information about many 
large subjects. There are two great dangers — 

(1) Of not knowing all the chief points ; 

(2) Of knowing too much. 

The first thing in preparing for an examination is to 
apportion the time : to learn as much as is required about 
each subject, but not to allow interest to lead you into 
learning more than is required. For 

(1) if more than is required is learned about one thing 
the probability is that too much time is spent on it. And 
if too much time is spent on one thing it is probable that too 
little time will be spent on another. 

(2) A man who knows little has little to select from, 
and can arrange his materials quickly and easily. A man 
who knows a lot has to select from a lot and it takes more 
time. 

Is it reasonably possible for any person to arrange the 
points of an essay in twenty minutes, even if he knows all the 
facts, and produce the most perfect arrangement of his 
material possible ? Of course not. How much more 
unreasonable to expect him to arrange and write the essay 
in twenty minutes. The fact is that the twenty minutes for 
each question (or whatever the time is) is just enough only 
for writing the essay and looking through it. Examiners 
do not allow time for arrangement. 

It Jollo^vs therefore that the arrangement must be done 
before/iatid. That is the second great point. 

Before going into an examination room the answer 
to every question must be as completely arranged, 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 87 

paragraphed and numbered ready for writing as if you knew 
the paper beforehand. By no other means is it possible 
to be certain of omitting nothing you know, and presenting 
all in its proper order. 

How is it possible to arrange the matter contained in 
the course in ready-made examination answers when one 
does not know in what form the question will be asked ? 

For example, suppose the question to be the " Life of 
Napoleon." The examiner may ask — 

" Give a Life of Napoleon," 
or 

" Estimate the military genius of Napoleon," 
or 

" What was the effect of Napoleon on the subsequent 
histories of the European nations," 
or 

" Give an account of Napoleons achievements in civil 
affairs." 

The answer is : It does not matter in what form the 
question is set, the answer is practically the same. 

Examiners have a desire for variety. They like to set 
the same question in different ways, so that they make it 
look different although it is really the same. For example : 

(1) Trace the growth of the British Empire. 

(2) What important acquisitions to her Colonial Empire 
did England make d\u:ing the eighteenth and early nine- 
teenth centuries ? 

(3) " This great Empire over which the sun never set« was 
built up as it were by accident, and Britain awoke to find 
herself without intention the mistress of vast colonies." 
Explain this statement. 

(4) " The British Empiie was founded solely owing to 
Britain's mastery of the sea." How far is this true 1 

(5) Give some idea of the present extent of the British 
Empire, and state how the chief elements of it were acquired. 

All these five questions are exactly the same. In the 
answer to each one of them it will be necessary to give a 



88 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

brief history of the acquisition of India, America, Canada, 
Africa, Egypt, etc., with a little foreword showing the 
circumstances favouring the development, and a little 
afterword estimating the present and probable future 
consequences (see the plan of the " Development " essay). 

In the foreword of No. 3, obviously great stress will be 
laid on the favouring circumstances, and in the afterword 
on the diversity of organization, and the indefinite and yet 
powerful bond of colony and mother country, framed not 
by man's intention but by destiny. In No. 4 the foreword 
will lay special stress on mastery of the sea as one of the 
favouring circumstances. 

Nos. 1, 2 and 5 are exactly the same question, and the 
fore and after- word may be made just as you please. 

The foreword and afterword are just the things which 
can easily be improvised in the examination room. They 
are apt to vary, but the central part, the core of fact, is 
just the same in each of the five questions. That is just 
the thing which cannot be improvised in the examination 
room, and there is no need to do so, for if the question is 
asked at all, the same answer will serve in whatever form 
it may be asked. 

There are only certain subjects on which questions can 
be asked in an examination paper. The subjects are 
limited in number. In the longest syllabus in the world 
they do not exceed 150. In the ordinary University 
Honours course the actual possible subjects on which a 
question can be asked in any one section of the course very 
rarely exceed 25. 

To prepare an answer for every possible form of question 
is impossible, for questions may be set in a limitless number 
of forms. But the questions have to cover the course. 
They can only be set on a limited number of subjects, and 
if there is an answer ready on each possible subject the 
examiner cannot get outside your preparation. 

Do not cram and trust to chance, but prepare yourself 
in such a business-like manner that chance can be no 
clement in your examination. Do not chance covering 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 89 

the subject. Plot out your studies so as to cover it. Do 
not trust to chance for arranging the matter at the last 
moment. At the last moment something may get missed 
out. Arrange it beforehand. 

Method of Plotting out Work — After the first 
survey of the course has been made take each section 
of the subject in turn and set examination questions 
of as wide a scope as possible so as to cover every 
large and important matter, without overlapping at all. 
Do not set these questions in any fanciful form, but in 
the most direct form possible, and so constructed as to 
embrace as much of the groimd as possible without over- 
lapping. Having done this consult old examination papers, 
and see if any subjects have by any chance been omitted. 
In doing this do not be misled by examiners' wiles. For 
example — 

" Discuss the home policy of Napoleon " 

is merely one section in the Napoleon answer, and all that 
would have to be done would be to reproduce that one 
section with a fore and after-word, omitting or very much 
shortening the rest of the answer. Such simple devices 
as — 

" The greatest genius the world has ever known, who, had 
he but turned his gifts to the betterment instead of the 
destruction of mankind, would also have been the most bene- 
ficent." 

Discuss and exemplify this. 

should not deceive anybody. 

Reading up the Work.— Having got the complete 
list of some thirty questions or so covering the whole 
course, you have now to fill in the information. 

It is extremely desirable to have a stock form, or rather 
a series of stock forms into which to cast the information. 
I recommend the adoption of those already given. 

Take one question at a time. Read up in as many books 
as you have available each section of the form, taking 



90 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

them one by one. Napoleon : first the state of affairs 
before his advent ; the early life (preparation) ; the period 
of achievement, and so on. In this way a fairly large body 
of notes will be collected. 

Condensing the Notes. — These notes have now to 
be condensed into such a compact form that it can easily 
be memorized. The great secret here is Perpendicular 
Memorization. Do not arrange the notes for memorizing 
line by line from right to left, but from top to bottom in 
perpendicular lines. 

If it is a biography the first two lines of " perpendicular 
lines " are fixed and stereotyped. They are : — 



I. Foreword. 




Previous state of affairs, 


II. Life. 


1. 


Preparation. 




2. 


Achievement. 




3. 


Success. 


III. Afterword. 




Causes. 
Result. 



The subsequent lines are to be filled in. 
In the case of Gray they were — 




as « 



OP'-pS OPi 



(O o o 

o s c 

Z d 

« o -S 

•2 "=- ^-S 



J4 



• IS 






c c* 6 S ; 
i-2.2 2| 

C "3 r^ I 



.s X = c 

-3 O O 6< 



iWl 



ja' 









— &I ^ 



^ ^ «'-5 



<s c C 






^ J5 .t: « 



S5 



^^ 



O 5 



o ^2-5 



ego 



E X 3? ? 

-^ X CJ •-' 

-- .2 &0 as 



•c S > o 



c 2 



2-0 



^i3 



^ 






»^ 



8-; 



^J: 



o o^ 

- C< n. 




92 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Notice that quotations and dates are set all by them- 
selves in the extreme right-hand column. The reason for 
this is that dates and quotations are not easy to remember ; 
hence they need frequent revision. All the rest of the 
essay may be known, but the dates are still a little un- 
certain. You may run your eye down this column and 
revise them without bothering about the rest. Moreover, 
they may be glanced through at the golden last moment 
just before the exam. 

Suppose that the question were — 

" Give a brief account of the chief theories as to tLe nature 
of electricity." 

This would be a " Pro and Con " form, but with several 
alternative " views." The heads will be as on opposite 
page. 

In the previous notes I have merely " set back " the 
subsidiary heads in the fourth column — 

The Fluid Theory :— 

1. Apphed to Attraction. 

2. „ Repulsion. 

3. „ „ Conduction. 

4. „ „ Induction. 

If your hand-writing is not neat, it is better to be more 
lavish of space, and use the sixth column. 

Remember in making notes not to cram in too much. 
Do not over-load columns 4 and 5. Put no more than is 
really needed. Every extra fact adds to the difficulty of 
memorising and the danger of forgetting. Is the extra 
fact worth the extra risk ? Ask this each time. 



B 
O 

1 



c 
•o .2 



3 C.2 c 

■s « § =? 

.. * a --3 c 

•*> 5 - - 



o C .2 o 5 c 



5 3^ ^ H o, 

t. S ^ r? 3 c 



i e ' ♦* % O 2 



m a 9 



g.S G 



2 -? .2 '3 — : r 









. * . . . 



I u is a ® b 

* >ir2 "3 ,►< -" !s 



O > ft 

js o i; 

i!r 

& © 

U V c ^ 



c . c . 
o g.2 « 

•? 2^ 3 

o 

«S > • a. 



a 



S5 

is 



*i5 



S -s 



M a 



o 



SIS 






« 

I 



A4 



^ 



94 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Reproduction of Notes. — It is in the reproduction 
of these notes from memory that the perpendicular system 
comes in. We wish to make absolutely certain that no 
single point may be omitted by a lapse of memory. There- 
fore start not from the beginning, but from the whole, 
beginning, middle and end, and expand it thus — 



Fixed ^ 
Head 7 N. 
> 



Fixed - ^ 
Head/^^ 



Head / ^ : 

> 



The fixed heads are (in the case of a Discussion) — 

Introduction. 
Discussion. 
Accepted view. 

In the case of a Life they are — 

Introduction. 

Life. 

Conclusion. 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 



95 



Write these down, leaving plenty of space, thus — 
Introduction, 



Life. 



Conclusion. 



What are the second column heads of Introduction ? 
Of Life 1 Of Conclusion ? 



Introduction, 



Life. 



Conclusion. 



Antecedent 

Circumstances. 
Preparation. 
Achievement. 
Success. 
Causes. 
Results. 



It has not mattered up to the present whose life we are 
reproducing. Now supposing we are reproducing the life 
of Gray, What are the third column heads ? 

They are — 



Antecedent events. 



After. 
After. 
Before. 
In. 



96 



ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



Preparation. 


Mother. 




Father. 




School. 




College. 




Tour. 


Achievement. 


Poges. 




Durham. 




Cambridge. 


Success. 


Poet Laureate. 




Travel. 




Professor of History. 




Travel. 




Death. 


Causes. 


Health. 




Lack of Audience. 


Result. 


Forerunner. 



Can you now fill in from memory (or after one glance 
at the notes given a few pages back) the remaining two 
columns ? 

See how little chance of error there is. The first column 
is fixed and known. The second column is also fixed. 
The third column varies for the particular essay, but it 
consists only of 25 words, and grows very easily out of 
column 2. It gives the lead to all the details in column 4, 
so that it is impossible to omit a whole section. The most 
that can happen is the loss of one particular detail, for 
example, one poem, the death of his aunt or such like. 

The real danger in examinations is in the haste of the 
moment the loss of a whole section, e.g. the whole of 
the Durham part, the two poems connected with it, and the 
connection of the poet with Dr. Wharton. How easy it is 
to do this in reproducing the essay in a string from start to 
finish, instead of in parallel perpendicular columns working 
out from the whole. 

Practice in Reproduction. — Some students imagine 
that if they know all the substance of the course they are 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 97 

ready for examination. They are not. Practice is needed 
simply for the sake of speed. The quicker the examinee 
can reproduce the more he can get down. Time is not 
saved by scribbling. Time is saved by an unhesitating 
memory. Reproduce from memory the Life of Gray now, 
and it would take, say, 10 minutes to get the notes down. 
Reproduce it 10 times, and each time the minutes would be 
reduced until no more time could be saved ; it comes to mind 
quicker than you can write. 

Secondly, an examination is written. Therefore learn 
by writing. The human brain is such that though it may 
remember a thing for speech, it does not remember for 
writing. This is the reason why some people mutter when 
they write. Their writing brain has no memory, and they 
have to dictate it from the speaking brain. This wastes time. 
Moreover, the memory for speech is far less accurate than 
the memory for writing. Therefore never leam up notes 
by " reading them over." Learn by " writitig them over." 

In " writing over the notes," do not copy them out ; 
do not try to reproduce from memory alone and then see 
if it is right ; for if an error is made it is always apt to be 
repeated. Try to reproduce from memory, and whenever 
you are the least bit doubtful look at the original and make 
certain before writing. Never make an error. Never 
allow even a chance of error. Remember what was said 
about spelling mistakes. 

Gro on reproducing the notes, writing in columns from 
left to right, working always from the whole, again and again 
until all hesitation and doubt have vanished and it can be 
done almost automatically. 

Diagrams. — The same rules as apply to the learning of 
notes apply also more forcibly to the learning of diagrams. 

It is impossible to leam a diagram by simply looking 
at it. You wish to be able to draw that diagram. Then 
learn by drawing it. First copy it carefully. Copy it 
again. Gradually in copying try to remove your eyes 
from the book, and do more and more from memor\'. 
Eventually the whole diagram can be drawn from memory. 



98 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

But the task is not ended yet. It is necessary to be able to 
draw it quickly. Study how the movements of the hand 
in drawing the diagram can be simplified. In this way 
draw faster and faster, but never less carefully. Never 
scribble the diagram. Lessen the time while keeping the 
diagram just as perfect. 

The chief thing in learning a diagram from a book is 
to make a good Drawing version of it. This consists mainly 
in — 

1. Getting rid of shading ; 

2. Getting rid of short lines, or running them together 
into long ones ; 

3. Getting rid altogether of unnecessary details. 

This process is best carried out not by care and thought, 
but by continuous copying. Copy the picture once. Then 
copy it again from the copy. Copy it again from the 
second copy. Make a fourth copy from the third copy. 
In this way it will be found that the diagram will auto- 
matically simplify itself and become suitable for drawing. 

After each drawing be careful to refer back to the original 
diagram to make certain that in the simplifying nothing of 
importance has been omitted. 

In drawing be very careful to notice in what order it is 
most convenient to draw the various parts, and always 
draw it in the same order once the most convenient method 
has been found. 

The example below is a picture of a motor bicycle 
engine, and the simplified diagram for rapid drawing made 
after five practices. The only difficult parts of it are 8, 9, 
10. No. 8 is supposed to be round, but it must touch 9. 
If I draw 9 first I may have to make 8 a queer shape to reach 
it. Moreover 9 cuts it. I might have to rub out a bit. 
No. 10 is a big black pipe passing into 4, just behind 7. I 
shall almost certainly have to rub out a bit to make room 
for 7 if I draw it first. For the same reason I draw 1 before 
2, because 1 is in front of 2. If the diagram is always 
drawn in the same order it is much less likely that omissions 
will occur. 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 



99 



The numbers in the diagram show the order ih which it 
is most convenient to draw it. 



UNSIMPLIFIED 



SIMPLIFIED 




The above system applies also to maps. Practise so 
as to get ease and speed. Always draw the parts in the 
same order, so as to prevent accidental omissions or 
erasures. 

Dates. — A word about them. Most people find them 
difficult to remember. A line of time is very useful in order 
to get a relative idea. Take a long strip of squared paper. 
Let one inch represent 10 (or 50 or 100 years) according to 
the length of the period being dealt with : it is, however, 
better to have several lines of time, one for each century, 
and let each be ten inches long. For the century 1500 to 
1600, let 1500 be at the top and 1600 at the bottom of the 
tenth square. Fill in the various events according to their 
date. It is then possible to visualize whereabouts one event 
occurs in relation to another. 



100 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



But this does not give the exact date. Moreover, with 
the line of time alone one is apt to remember that Gray was 
about 25 when Pope died, but we do not remember the exact 
year when Pope did die. We know the century, but not 
the exact date. It is very useful to have the dates of a few 
leading people fixed and certain to a year. For this the 
" Memoria Technica " is a very useful " dodge." 

Each of the numbers is represented by a vowel and also 
by a consonant, thus : — 





a 


1 


k 


eK 




6 


2 


d 


Do 


The vowels ■ 


i 


3 


t 


Tin 







4 


r 


ioiiR 


k. 


u 


5 


P 


Panch 


o=4+e=2 1 
o=4 + i=3 \ 


06 


6 


s 


Six 


oi 


7 


V 


SB Fen 


eight 


ei 


8 


g 


eiG^ht 


o=4+u=5 


ou 


9 


n 


iVine 




y 





z 


Zero. 



By the use of vowels and consonants alternately dates 
can be made into syllables. The actual century is not 
needed for common sense tells that, hence as a rule only 
two letters are required. However, if the century is really 
not known for certain, it may be added, thus : — 



1815 becomes 


1 
k 


8 1 

ei k 

1 


5 
u 


keiku. 


or 


a 


i 
g a 


P 


agap. 



But this does not fix in the mind what 1815 was the 
date of. Cut off the last syllable of the word, and add 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 101 

the date syllable (of two letters leaving the century to sense) 
thus : — 

(Waterloo) Waterlaj? (18) 15 or Watagap (giving the cen- 
tury alsoj. 
(Trafalgar) Trafalgad (18) 12 
(Shakespear) Shakespoer (15) 64 
(De Foe) De Foek (16) 61 

(Addison) Addisoid (16) 72. 

The vowel or the consonant may come first, whichever 
way makes the more pronounceable word. For example : — 

Addisoid might be Addisive. 

It is well to exaggerate the pronunciation of the diph- 
thongs especially " ce " to prevent confusion with " e." For 
example, form the habit of saying " o " (as in " go ")+ 
" e," " o-e," the two sounds being practically separate. 

In the Examination Hall. — Always put a good answer 
first and a good answer last in the paper, with the weak ones 
in the middle ; for a bad answer on starting tends to form 
in the examiner's mind the idea that he has a generally 
weak paper in his hand. A bad answer at the end is apt 
to leave him with a bad impression which makes him 
forget the previous good work ; and he has this bad im- 
pression given him just at the moment when he is forming 
his final judgment. 

Put a watch in front of you, and follow it very strictly, 
otherwise there will not be time to write the good answer 
at the end. 

The last answer should be the one you know the best 
of all. The first answer that which you know second 
best. For at the end you will be tired ; hence if the answer 
is to be good it must be a thing you know particularly 
well. 

Number the answers in the question paper in the order 
in which you will write them. 

It is a good thing to make out the notes of the weak 
answers right at the beginning while you are fresh. Then 



102 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

go^on to make out notes of the first and last answers ; 
then do the first and the weak questions from the notes 
ah'eady made. Then write the last question, the good one, 
from the notes already made. 

Do not leave too much time for revision. It is very 
difficult to find mistakes in a thing already written. 

When an examination paper is marked numerically (as 
most are in India), do as many questions as possible. Even 
a poor answer generally gets some mark. When it is marked 
by letters. Alpha, Beta, etc. (as is very rare, in India), be 
especially careful to get a good question at the end, and 
do not do any questions which are not well-known. 

Neatness and Handwriting. — Many terrible stories 
are told of first-class candidates who have been plucked 
in examinations simply because none of the examiners 
could read a word of what they had written. These stories 
are used as an argument for copper-plate handwriting in 
examination papers. This is perfect nonsense. Bad 
handwriting undoubtedly does detract from a candidate's 
marks, for — 

(1) The examiner is apt to omit or fail to notice certain 

points. 

(2) The difficulty of deciphering makes it hard for him 

to retain all the points of the essay in his 
mind when marking. 

(3) Bad handwriting is annoying, and it is apt to give 

the examiner an unconscious prejudice. 

But " copper-plate " writing is no less of a disadvantage, 
for it takes so long that the candidate has no time to get 
any reasonable amount written, and writing never earns 
any marks directly. The best handwriting does not gain 
any more marks than merely legible handwriting ; whereas 
merely legible handwi-iting can be produced fairly quickly. 
My advice, therefore, is write legibly, but do not write 
copybook. 

Far more important than handwriting (so long as it is 
legible) is Appearance. This means the general look of 
the page. The page should look neat. It should yield up 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 103 

readily the substance it contains ; even urge its possession 
upon the reader. A filthy tangle of bad writing does not 
do this. Nor yet, it may be added, does a solid and un- 
relieved mass of minute legal script. 

The main factors which go to give appearance are — 

(1) Margin. 

(2) Paragraphing and Paragraph Heading. 

(3) Diagrams and indented Quotations. 

(4) Footnote References. 

(1) Margin. — Nothing contributes more to give a look 
of neatness to a page and to making it easy to read than a 
good width of perfectly straight margin. I note that owing 
to the prevalent idea that examiners are pleased if a large 
surface of paper is covered (as if examination papers were 
marked according to the weight or area), one very often 
finds pages in examination papers done for the Calcutta 
University in which there are only some four or five lines of 
handwriting. But this writing is so sprawling, so sticking 
its elbows out to take up as much room as possible, like the 
selfish occupant-s of a railway carriage, that it straggles all 
over the page. Instead of suggesting volume of knowledge, 
it suggests paucity, for the Imowledge must be very small 
which is spread so thin. This spreading is utterly to be 
avoided. Keep the lines rather close together. The closer 
the lines are together the better the margin looks. Do 
not rule a margin if you can do without. Above all do not 
fold the paper. This looks horrible. If a guide is absolutely 
necessary draw a very thin dotted line such as will not be 
noticed when the page is written over. A natural margin 
looks much better than a ruled one. 

(2) Paragraphing. — Paragraphing rests the reader. 
A weary examiner is very apt to let his attention flag 
towards the middle of a very long paragraph. Therefore 
do not have very long paragraphs. Let them be of medium 
length. 

Paragraph headings are very valuable. They draw 
attention to the points, and the arrangement. They help 
the examiner to follow the answer closely, and fix the 



104 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

substance in his mind. They add greatly to the appear- 
ance of the page. Lastly and not least they are extremely 
useful to the writer. They are the best of ail safeguards 
against wandering from the point. 

(3) Diagrams and Quotations. — Good maps or dia- 
grams and quotations are things to be proud of. Do not 
let them pass unnoticed. When giving a date in the text 
it looks well to repeat it in the margin thus : — 

1815. In the year 1815 the Battle of Waterloo 
was fought. This great victory finally 
put an end to the power of the French 
Emperor, Napoleon. The Emperor was 
imprisoned in the Island of St. Helena. . . . 

Maps and diagrams should always be enclosed within 
lines. An unenclosed diagram or map looks very un- 
tidy. An enclosed one looks very well. If the diagram is 
of small size it looks very well to write down the side of it. 
The lines should be ruled. For this purpose it is useful to 
bring a set square into the examination room. 




Quotations in an examination paper, if they are of any 
length, should be paragraphed — especially poetry : — 

" Prose quotations if any length may be set well 
back both on right and left margin. Care should be 
laken to keep the right margin straight." 

(4) Footnote References.i — When an exact reference 

* See " Encyulopsedia Britannioa," p. 1023. 



THE EXAMINATION ANSWER 105 

is remembered it looks very weU to put it as a foofc-not€ 
with an asterisk. Repeat the asterisk in the margin. 

Things to bring into the Examination Room — It 
is no trouble to bring in a few extra articles to the examina- 
tion hall. It takes no time, and it may save a lot of time. 

1. Bring several of the particular sort of pen-nib you 
prefer. Very thick nibs should be avoided, because the 
paper provided by the University is rather thin, and the 
nib goes through and that looks very bad. Very thin nibs 
should be avoided, even by small and fine writers, for rapid 
writing with a very fine nib is apt to become sprawling. 

2. A pencil (" B " or " BB " is best, for it is very easily 
rubbed out). 

3. A pen-knife (for the pencil). 

4. If it is Greography or Science or any subject requiring 
complicated diagrams, a red and blue pencil may be useful, 
so long as it does not lead to waste of time. 

5. A set square (for lines round diagrams), 

6. A ruler (for margins ; equally efEective is a page of 
loose paper folded longitudinally several times. Note : 
if the Examining Authorities do not provide loose paper it 
may always be obtained from the centre of the book). 

7. Pencil eraser. (Let this be the very best Drawing 
Rubber, or Artist's Rubber, for it erases cleanly and quickly. 
A cheap eraser makes a mess and takes a long time, A 
piece of type- writer eraser is also useful for removing ink 
where removal instead of mere cancelling is necessary — 
as in a diagram.) 

But do not take geometrical instruments, such as a 
compass, parallels, etc., for an examination where the 
diagrams need only to be freehand. This will only result 
in endless waste of time. Never draw a diagram with 
instruments unless instruments are really necessary as in 
Practical Greometry. It wastes time to no purpose. 

Conclusion. — The above remarks give several hints 
which I hope may prove useful. But they will not save 
an idle student from failure, or a crammer who relies on 
chance from the possibility of mischance. All they can do, 



106 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

and all they are intended to do, is to economize the time 
of a hard worker, so that he may get the maximum value 
for the time he spends. 

Perhaps they may have one other useful result — in 
helping the successful student to realize just how little 
examinations signify. All that success in examination 
shows is that the candidate has general knowledge of the 
fundamentals of his subject, and that he is able to reproduce 
it fairly readily at call. It does not prove a man a scholar 
or a scientist. It merely proves that he has some founda- 
tion upon which he may — or may not — subsequently build a 
deeper knowledge and a genuine scholarship. If he does 
not, his foundation is of as little use to him as a kaccha 
plinth which is never bricked in and never built upon. 
Time and weather soon wash it away. 



PART IV-THE ARTISTIC ESSAY 

By " Artistic Essay " is meant a type of composition 
whose main purpose is not to give information, but to give 
pleasure, not to lead to thought but to feeling. An artistic 
essay may evoke thought, may give information, but if it 
does so, it does it accidentally. 

In construction the main difference of the artistic essay 
is its absence of iSLxed form. A good stout skeleton is of 
great advantage in the " information essay " ; it totally 
mars an " artistic essay." The form of an artistic essay 
should be simple, and well concealed. The main difficulty 
in the artistic essay is the Technique of the composition, — 
the art of composing a telling description, a forcible con- 
versation, an interesting story. 



CHAPTER X 

THE DESCRIPTION 

The descriptive essay is usually called for by some sucli 
request as the following : — 

1. " Describe a waterfall." 

2. " Write a description of a railway station." 

3. " Make a word picture of a sunset." 

4. " Write a letter to a friend describing the most 

beautiful scene you have ever witnessed." 
With regard to the last question, the questioner here 
reveals his ignorance. We do not as a rule, if we are good 
letter writers, send to our friends lengthy and well finished 
descriptions of beautiful scenes. We might in describing 
a particular trip allude to one and dismiss it in a few de- 
scriptive phrases ; but an elaborate, well thought out, well 
constructed description of a scene, such as the examiner 
appears to require, is not a letter to a friend. I have 
noticed that examiners have always very vague ideas as to 
what we write to our friends. One examiner asked for 
a description of a steam engine in a letter to a friend. 
Possibly examiners have peculiar friends ; or possibly they 
have no friends. ... 

Such requests should merely be tactfully dealt with — 

" Dear Susil, 

" The other day I saw what I think was the most 
beautiful sight I have ever set eyes on. It was a sunset at 
Cox's Bazaar. When I got back to the Bungalow I wrote a 
little description of it. I have enclosed it in case it may interest 
you. You must not criticize it too severely. This is it : — " 

and then you give a proper essay in the proper form with 
no more nonsense. 

Fiction versus Fact. — It will be found more con- 
venient never to make a description entirely true to fact. 

108 



THE DESCRIPTION 109 

Sometimes when a definite subject is mentioned it is 
necessary to keep fairly closely to the fact, though even 
here some additions are possible. It will always be found 
that a basis of fact with a superstructure of fiction makes 
the best and easiest description. That superstructure 
may consist in a combination of fact, convenient details 
being borrowed from elsewhere. 

The reason for this strange advice is twofold : — 

(1) Strict adherence to fact gives very b'ttle scope. 
If there is a particular part of the picture on which the 
memory is somewhat vague, one cannot fill it in to taste ; 
one has to leave it blank. Many little " improvements " 
have to be omitted because as a matt€r of fact they were 
not there. For example, it is always desirable to have 
a little life and movement in a description. As a matter 
of fact there was nobody on the shore at Cox's Bazaar that 
particular evening. If I stick severely to fact, my lonely 
fisherman returning with the red glow behind him has to be 
cut out. And yet he improves the picture immensely, 
and there is no reason why there should not have been one. 
In fact there were on other nights but not on that particular 
night. 

(2) Rigid adherence to fact is apt to introduce an atmo- 
sphere of fact. The artistic impression is spoilt. The 
" word picture " reads like a guide book or a geography 
lesson. For this reason alone I would always wilfully 
make certain intentional departures from the actual. 

Distance — WTien a certain width of choice is given 
(as it always should be), e.g. " Describe a sunset," " Describe 
a river scene ; " not " The scene on the River Hooghly," or 
" The sunset on August 7th, 1916, seen over the Calcutta 
maidan " — always give preference to your more distant 
memory. Describe a simset seen in childhood rather than 
one seen last week. Or rather, to make the law a little less 
likely to mislead, never describe a scene which is absolutely 
fresh in the memory. It is not accuracy of detail that is 
needed here, but " atmosphere," emotional background. 
That is not obtained in memories that are too fresh. 



110 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

The Refrain — A description when it stands alone as 
a composition or essay in itself, should always have a 
" Motif." It should illustrate a general statement, other- 
wise it seems purposeless. Also it is very diflS.cult to 
select the material for the picture if there is no central 
idea. The " statement " may be of the lightest, vaguest 
kind, e.g. — 

Essay on Statement. 

A Sunset. " Nature's wonders are vast and silent. 

Man makes a tumult in weaving one 
garment : She changes the whole 
canopy of the sky without a whisper." 

Railway Station. " Where are they all going to ? To 
a marriage, a funeral, the birthday 
of a son, the sickness of a wife, 
money getting, money spending — 
where ? " 

A Forest. " So old — if they could only speak." 

The Sea. God made first sky, then sea, then 

land, and so are they wonderful, — 
sk}^ more than sea, and sea than land. 

The description should to a certain extent be made to 
exemplify the statement, though this should not be over- 
done. The " motif " should always be brought in at the 
beginning, and at the end, so as to give unity to the com- 
position. Great care is needed here, so as to bring it in 
neatly and naturally. It may, if it fits in well, be brought 
in several times throughout the essay, especially if it is 
short ; e.g. " Where are they all going to ? " in the Railway 
Station essay. Here again do not overdo it. 

Change of Space or Time. — A description should 
always view its objects from two or more aspects. 

I. The time may be changed. In an essay on a village 
street, we may describe it in the morning, the afternoon, 
the. evening ; on the sea — on a sunny, a dull, a rough day ; 
on a railway station just before, just at, just after the 
starting of the train ; a sunset,— twilight, the beginning, 
the zenith, the fading, night. 



THE DESCRIPTION 111 

II. The space may be changed. A village street, in 
England, in America, in Bengal ; the sea, the English 
Channel, the Bay of Bengal, the Pacific ; a River, its 
source, its mouth ; a railway station, Calcutta, a small 
mafussil station ; a court of law, the High Court, a Munsiff's 
court in a very out of the way place. 



So far as the essay has any form, its form is this : — 

I. Introduction (bringing in the " Motif "). 

II. (a) The most familiar view (if space) ; the first in 
time (if time). 

(6) The less familiar view (or the second view in Time), 
(c) The still less familiar view (or the third view in 
Time). 

III. Conclusion (bringing in the " Motif " again). 

Warning. — Because we have now come to the Ar- 
tistic Essay do not imagine this is the time for " fine 
writing " and lofty words. As has been said before, 
lorite simply. In the Substance Essay you said simply 
what you knew and what you thought. Say now simply 
what you have seen and heard, not what you have felt. 
The feelings are to be implied. 

Feelings are expressed not by emotional writing but by 
describing the cause of the feeling so well that it evokes 
the same emotion in the reader. Never refer to emotions 
directly — " I was charmed," " It filled the soul with 
peace." Describe it charmingly or peacefully, and let 
the reader gather his own feelings. 

And beware of exclamation marks. 

Collecting the Material. — Before writing it is necessary 
to get the main material objects of the scene clearlv in 
position and in mind. We must decide what there is, and 
where it is. This is best done by means of a picture. 
Draw a picture of the scene. It may be as rough as you 
please. Do not let it be a work of art, or take any time to 
do. It should be drawn quickly, helped with plenty of 
pointers and notes for convenience. It is not intended to 



112 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

represent the scene, but merely to act as a shorthand note. 
It is quicker to draw than to make a list and describe 
positions. There is no other way of avoiding muddle. 

Suppose for example that without a picture we start 
describing a street : " There is a carriage on the right, a 
man on the left, a flock of sheep in front, a herd of cows 
just behind the sheep." Now is the man near the herd of 




FiQ. I. — Railway station. 

cows ? It is impossible not to get muddled unless one has 
some sort of a picture as a guide. 

The picture should not be as Example I. ' above. What 
are all these blanks ? Is there no sky ? Is there nothing 
behind the station ? No road ? No carriages ? Are there 
only two people on the platform ? Only two boxes ? Has 

* In Fig. II. my own actual note is reproduced. Tlie very artistic 
drawing in Fig. III. may make the scene clearer, but the student's notes 
should be as Fig. II. Any attempt at careful drawing should be 
avoided. All detail should be put in marginal notes. Even Fig. II. is 
too carefully drawn. And, of course, it is too small, hence the marginal 
notes are meagre for want of space. 



THE DESCRIPTION 



113 



the houiie no side walls ? Is there no one inside under the 
arches ? Arc there no railings to separate the line from the 
road 1 There are no blanks in nature. Lay a finger on 
any part of the picture, there must be something there, 
if it be only a brick wall, or the sky, or dust. Therefore 
draw in the main outline, then go over it piece by piece, 
and ask each time, " WTiat would be there ? " 

See the second picture. A good deal has been filled in 
here. But there is one very noticeable blank. There is a 
small area of blank wall just behind the station-master. 
A\'hat would be there ? What has been omitted ? 

There is no waiting-room. 

No clock. 

No newspaper seller. 




Tick© 
collects 



Clerk 



Coolie 
ringing 
gong 
Wife a 
thre< 
ehildn 



Two studtntd Hiiabaud re- Statiou-master 

arguing turning with 

tickets People buying ticketei — uoiae 

Fig. 11. — Railway statiuo. 



Sahib's chaprassi 



lU ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Look at the side of the building. What is missing ? 
iVre there no windows ? No cakes of fuel stuck on to the 
wall ? Are there no goats or cows, or chickens in the little 
garden outside the door ? Is there no tree in the country 
where this station is ? 

Suppose these things filled in ; the picture still lacks 
detail. Every person in this picture must be wearing some 
clothes — except the children. The people also have faces, 
some happy, some beautiful, some wrinkled, some worried, 
some sad. 

It is not necessary to think out the details of every 
person in the picture, but certain leading figures should 
be given individuality. 

The details should be filled in in the margin underneath 
the pointing lines. Some may, however, be suggested by 
little touches in the picture, e.g. I have put a " picture note " 
that the station-master is fat, and that he has a hat on. 
The ticket collector has a hat on, and is thin. The woman 
has one arm round one of the children. 

The marginal notes on details should especially mention 
colour, otherwise it is apt to be forgotten. 

They should also mention what the people are doing, 
where it is of any special interest, e.g. " Chaprassi shouting 
to coolies " ; " two students arguing." 

The Point of Vision. — When we view a scene wc are 
standing in one place and facing one way. Everything is 
on the right, or the left, in front or behind. In describing 
a scene we must similarly fix our position, otherwise it is 
impossible to have any fixed point in relation to which we 
may describe all the other objects. Put a cross and arrow 
(for direction of author's face) anywhere in the picture. 
Let that be the point of vision. From there see that the 
station-master is just in front, the woman is on the right, 
and the husband on the left. , 

Number of Pictures necessary. — One picture is 
necessary for each scene in the essay. This means a lot 
of work ? It docs. That work is all practice in detail. 
When greater skill comes, you may afiford to make the 



THE DESCRIPTION 



115 




116 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

pictures simpler, and leave much to the memory. The 
picture is still made before a word is written, but the 
increased visualising power makes it unnecessary to note 
so much. A picture of some sort is always necessary how- 
ever great the skill. There must be a scaffold for every 
building. 

The Art of Description. — First give the general im- 
pression. This is always of Sound, Smell, or Touch, not 
Sight. 

Then give the objects, and their positions and details. 

Impressions — sound, smell, touch, are more important 
than sight in description. 

Try for telling detail — the smaller the detail, the more 
effective. Try to suggest the whole by mentioning the 
details. 

Do not feel bound to drag in everything that is in the 
picture. Take what seems striking at the moment of 
writing. The picture is only a preparatory catalogue for 
the purpose of selection. 

A Railway Station 

(1) The "Motif." 

Where are they all going to ? The anxious wife 
with her two little children, the sahib with his great 
heap of boxes, the college students, the chattering 
crowd round the booking office, those yet unseen 
arriving in carriages, those hurrying on foot at the 
last minute, each with his own little luggage, his own 
little business, his own little care, his own little some 
one expecting him at the other end — where are they all 
going to ? 

(2) Scene 1. 
(a) General idea. 

There is a furious, feverish bustle. The air is 
laden with dust and perspiration. The jjlatform 
radiates a hot invisible steam. One's ears split with the 
clamour. Everyone is talking, no one is listening ; 



THE DESCRIPTION 117 

every one gives orders, no one fulfills them. People 
hurry to and fro ordering ; those whom they order are 
also ordering. Every one is giving orders to every one 
else, and the result is disorder. " Mai laou," " Pan 
mitai," " Ruti, ruti," " Boroff lemolade," and above 
all the word " Peisa " as the recurrent air of all the 
more strident conversation. Peisa, peisa, peisa — 
mal, mitai, peisa, lemonade, lao, peisa, peisa, nitii, 
juldi, peisa, peisa — Dust, Perspiration, peisa. Hubbub. 
(6) Positions. 

Just in front of us and right in the middle of the 
platform is the station-master. He is of vast bulk, 
and he looks round with an air as if he not merely 
owned the railway station, but actually contained it 
within the vastness of his protruding presence. On 
the right, just under the fat left hand of the station- 
master as he extends it in haughty command to some 
menial who is also giving commands to some one else, 
and does not listen, sits a weary anxious-looking 
woman. Her arm is round one of her children ; she 
shivers, clutches her cloth ready to draw it round her 
as a barrier against the world. The other child, 
slightly larger, stands a little apart. She claims 
proprietorship of the little sister by holding her hand. 
Two daughters ! — what an expense in the years to 
come. The husband, who will have to bear all these 
worries, comes hastening across to the ticket office 
already looking as worried over four tickets (two of 
which are halves) as if he were already charged with 
the duties of matrimonial negotiation. Behind the 
husband, and on our left, two college students in very 
bright socks and very nicely pressed dhoties discussing 
we know not what abstruse matters, show thereby 
their indifference to the petty worries and anxieties 
which trouble other men. They are philosophers. 
But not half so philosophic as the little wizened old 
man surrounded by rice grains, relics of his morning 
and last night's meal : his water-pot, his bundle and 



118 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

his tin box. The big Time Table on the wall, just 
behind the station-master and half eclipsed by his 
bulk, troubles this little old man not at all. He came 
here last night. Here he will sit till his train comes 
for him. It may be hours, or it may be days ; when 
it does come, no doubt some one will tell him. And till 
then why bother ? — bubble, bubble, bubble, he smokes 
his hookah. No less aloof is the tall chaprassi standing 
as guard over the heap of luggage still awaiting its 
official owner. He looks down from his six feet of 
height on the coolies as if uncertain of their existence. 
His voice comes distant as out of a cavern, when he 
deigns to use it. As a rule he merely points. 
Scene II. 

The tumult reaches its climax. A distant crescendo 
rumble — nearer. The station-master takes two steps 
forward. The station coolie makes a fresh attack 
upon the gong, fiercer than before. The train draws 
up. In every window heads appear. Then pan- 
wallah, the cigarette- wallah, the mitai-wallah, the 
lemonade-wallah, all start with fresh life. They 
redouble their cries. The heads from the windows 
answer. Little women with veiled faces are dragged 
along by conducting husbands. The women drag 
infants in a row of three or four each of decreasing 
size. These miniature trains rush past each other on 
the platform, break into units before carriage doors, 
and the units are again coagulated by a process of 
thrusting them in pairs through a narrow doorway into 
a compartment which already appears to be more than 
full. 

A guard who has hitherto seemed the only inactive 
person on the platform, waves a flag. This animates 
the station-master into gesticulations towards the 
engine. But it does not animate the train. After an 
interval sufficient to show his complete independence 
of the flag or opinion of the guard, the train moves 
forward. 



THE DESCRIPTION 119 

Scene III. 

It is out of sight. 

The station-master goes back to his office, takes 
o£E his official hat and coat, and sits in semi-naked ease. 
His clerk goes on working as before. He would go on 
just the same making out parcel bills if the trains ceased 
to run and all parcels vanished from the earth. 

The pan, mitai, lemonade wallahs have all vanished 
into the earth. 

Grone too the little wizened man. A crow hops 
down and begins to tidy up the relics of the breakfast. 

Everybody has gone. The platform is empty. 
Gone — where are they all going to ? Each with his 
little luggage, and his little care, each with his little 
some one waiting — at what " other end " ? 



Exercises. — Describe — 

1. A sunset. (Var\' place or time.) 

2. The start of a Pic-nic. (Time.) 

3. A ride in a tramcar. (Time, waiting for it, catching it, 

various passengers, alighting.) 

4. A theatre. (Var}* time or space ; two essays.) 

5. A village school. (Vary time or space ; two essays.) 

6. The " Interval " at a large High school. (Vary time or 

space ; two essays.) 

7. The crowd at a football match. (Vary time or space ; 

two essays.) 

8. A " Hat " or market. (Vary time or space ; two 

essays.) 

9. A marriage reception. (Vary time or space ; two 

essays.) 

10. A rehgious procession. (Vary time or space ; two essays, 

but Time is easier.) 

11. A railway station. (Varying the place.) 

12. A storm. (Its different effects in different places, e.g. 

city, fields, village. Or vary the time.) 

13. The rising of the moon. (Varying the place : a child 

sees it ; a rich man ; lovers ; philosopher, etc.) 



120 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



14. A gust of wind, (Its effect in various places, and on 

various people.) 

15. The first day of Summer, (Time — dawn, midday, even- 

ing. 
Also vary place — 

First day of hot weather 
in India. 

First day of Summer in 
England, 

First signs of thaw to 
icebound explorers. 
This essay will be planned : 
Place 1. Time (a). 
Time (6). 
Time (c). 
Place 2. Time (a), 
etc. 
Three pictures needed, one 
for each place,) 

16. The first day of Winter, (Same design.) 

17. A river. 

18. The sea. 

19. The house of a village doctor. 

20. A Law Court. 

21. A forest (or jungle). 

22. Daybreak. 

23. A ship (or boat) coming in to the quay. 

24. A street. 

25. A bathing ghat. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE CONVERSATION 

Punctuation. — Before we begin let us be quite certain of 
the elementary matters. Remember plea?o that — 

(1) ^Vheneve^ the speaker's actual words are used in- 
verted commas are needed. 

(2) That in writing a conversation or reporting speech 
of any kind, the Direct Form should always be used, when 
possible. 

(3) Never mix direct and indirect speech. 

(4) The word " that " is used only in indirect speech. 
In this way English differs from Bengali. It is passible 
I believe to say — 

She j bolilo \je I ami I jaibo. 1 
He I said i that , I | will go. J 

This is not possible in English. In English there are 
two forms only — 

He said : " I will go." (Inverted commas.) 
or 

He said that he would go. (No commas because it is not 

the words he said. He said 
/, not he.) 

Of these the first form should always be preferred. It is 
much more effective, and much safer. Even for an English- 
man indirect speech holds many snares. 

(5) A new paragraph i? required for every speaker. 
Just to make quit* certain that these points are grasped 

do the following exercises before going further. It is no 
use reading about the art of composing an effective Con- 
versation if you do not know the elements of English and 
of grammar. 

121 



122 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

1. Whenever the speaker's actual words are used, use inverted 
commas. 

Put in inverted commas where necessar}'-, being ven' 
careful not to include in the commas things which the 
man did not say, e.g. — 

Wrong. " Very well ; He rose from his seat. I 
shall go." 

He did not say, " He rose from his seat." The author 
telling the story writes that. 

" Very well." He rose from his seat. " I shall go." 
(a) Is it really true ? She began to cry softly. I would 
never have believed it of him. A little wisp of 
handkerchief appeared, and she dabbed her eyes 
with it. I could not have dreamed he was so 
wicked. 
[h) So he told us that he agreed to the proposal. I agree 
he said, though I cannot say I do so very willingl3\ 
He said he was rather disappointed we had not 
offered better terms. I should have thought that 
a big firm like you would be a little more liberal. 
After saying that he went away, 
(c) I — he hesitated. I — Certainly it was no easy thing 
for him to say. He stood on one leg, then on the 
other. He went red in the face. He mopped his 
brow with a rather dirty handkerchief. I — for the 
third time. Then he broke down altogether, and we 
could not get anything more out of him. 
{d) (This next piece is a trap for the unwary.) 
I will tell you ^ just what was said : — 
She said that of course she had known all along 
that his debts were fairly large. She had no idea 
that he was absolutely bankrupt. If she had 
known that, she would never have married him. He 
ought to have told her. 

He replied that he did tell her. He told her 
exactly the sum he owed to the very last penny, and 
exactly how much chance he had of paying it. 

I do not think she had fully realized it, but she 
was informed. 

(For answer see below.) 

* None of it is direct speech. Neither " she said that/' nor " I will 
tell you " make what follows a direct report of speech. 



THE CON^^ERSATION 123 

2. Alivays use Direct Speech if possible. 

(a) Put " b " above all into direct speech. At present 
part is indirect. 

(6) Put " d " above, from " she said " down to " paying it " 
into direct speech. 

(c) Put the following into direct speech : — 

He said he would have to deal severely with the 
matter. Dishonesty could not be overlooked. He 
was sorry for the boy's mother, but discipline must 
be maintained. To leave the fault unpunished 
would merely be encouraging the others to commit 
similar offences. 

I urged that there were exceptional circumstances 
in this case. 

He replied that he could not see any. So far as 
he could see there was no excuse whatsoever. 

3. Never mix Direct and Indirect Speech. 

Put the whole of the following into direct 
speech. (Remember to put a new paragraph for each 
change of speaker) : — 

He said that he had failed. It was not my fault 
that I failed. He rose from the table. It was just 
my bad luck. Then he asked me to give him another 
chance. I said that I could not do so. There are 
others waiting to have their first chance. WTiy 
should I give you a second chance before they have 
tried at all. He said that was true, but that we were 
old friends : we had been at school together. Poor 
fellow he looked very broken, very difEerent from the 
cheery ruddy-faced boy I had played with long ago. 
For the sake of old times can't you give me another 
chance ? In old times friendship or no friendship 
we acted square. I have promised the next chance 
to another. I cant give it you, old man. I am sorry, 
but I can't. 

If any mistake was made in punctuating the above 
passages, do them again and re-pimctuate until they are 
correct. 

Indicating the Speaker. — In a play the speaker's 
name is written against his words. In writing a conversation 
this is not permissible. It is done by certain novelists, 



124 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

e.g. the great Bonkim, but it is not desirable. The single 
word in the margin acts as an interruption. The conversa- 
tion does not flow on smoothly as it should. One feels as if 
the piece ought to be acted, not read. 

There is another reason also. If the names of the 
speakers are indicated in this way it is impossible to give 
stage directions. The directions would have to be in 
brackets, thus : — 

Jagendra : (rising from the table and drawing his shawl round 
him) Sir, you insult me. 

This is terrible. The stage direction is a complete break 
in the sequence and flow of the passage. Moreover, all 
the actions are done before the words are said : He gets up ; 
draws his shawl round him, all in silence, and then speaks. 
In a play it is necessary to give all the directions first, for the 
actor carries the movements in his mind and does them at 
the appropriate place. In a story the actions must be put 
in at the appropriate places. 

Half of the difficulty in writing a Conversation is not in 
making the people speak, but in linking together the 
speeches, in making the whole into a well-joined unity 
instead of a series of disjointed remarks. 

" He said." — First the speaker must be indicated : — 

John said, " How much do I owe you ? " 

James said, " About one rupee." 

John said, " I want to know exactly how much it is." 

John said, " It is one rupee two annas, to be exact." 

It is quite clear who said what, but it is very ugly. As 
every one knows, repetition of the same word is to be 
avoided: here we have " said " four times. 
There are synonyms for " said," e.g. — 
Remarked. Cried. 

Asked. Shouted. 

Replied. Screamed. 

Enquired. Sobbed. 

Answered. Ventured. 



THE CONVERSATION 125 

Spoke. Stammered. 

Exclaimed. Lisped. 

\VTiispered. Muttered. 

Etc. 
All these are diflEerent ways of "sajdng," and are 
appropriate on various occasions. 

Exercise.— FiU. in the blank in the following sentences with 
a synonvm of " said " : — 

Walter , " Where did you get that key ? " 

William , " That is no business of yours." 

Walter . " Hah ! You won't tell me ! " 

William , " No, I won't." 

May , " Oh, they are going to quarrel. I know they are 

going to quarrel." 
William , " Y — you here ! I didn — didn't know you 

had come." 
Walter . " The interfering woman. She is always 

coming in where she is not wanted." 
William , " Walter, can't you get rid of her somehow ? 

Tell her to go away." 

The Position of " He said." — The above conversa- 
tion even when the blanks have been filled in is obviously 
not as it should be. 

James said, " I suggest we go and see the football match." 
John replied, " I would rather go for a walk ; I need 

exercise." 
James muttered, " He never agrees to anything I suggest." 
Alice ventured, " Suppose we go for a drive." 
James whispered. " Do not suggest that. There is not 

room for three in the car." 

The position of the " He said " or " He whispered " must 
be varied in order to make the conversation hold together. 
Note that the verb usually comes first when it follows the 
remark — 

James said. " No." 
*' No," said James. 

'• I suggest," said James, " that we go and see the football 
match." 



126 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

" I," said James, " suggest we go and see the football 
rnatcli." 

(Here the emphasis is thrown on to " I." The 
words just before the " He said " are usually 
emphasized by their position. In the sentence 
above James implies that Alice and John may 
suggest what they like, but his idea is to go to the 
football match.) 

" I suggest that we," said James, " go and see the football 
match." 

(The others can do what they like, but we will go 
to the football match.) 
" I suggest that we go to see the football match," said 
James. 

(Here the emphasis is on the football match, i.e. 
not a walk or a drive.) 

Exercise. — Put " he said " into the following sentences 
in such a position as to emphasise the right word according to 
the sense of the passage. Also give inverted commas. 

C John : I shall buy a horse. 

(^ James : Horses are expensive : a bicycle would be cheaper. 

( John : My cook and my bearer are very useful. 

) James : My bearer is good, but my cook is troublesome. 

John : Can you do it ? 

James : Can I ? The question is will I ? 

John : If I go home, I shall recover my health. 

James : You may go home, but you won't be any better. 

John : If I go home I shall recover my health. 
James : You may go home, but you won't be any better 
until you give up smoking. 

John : Very well, we shall have to pay for it. 
James : Very well ! It isn't very well. It is a very big 
sum of money, and a very bad bargain. 

Movements. — Read the following conversation and try 
to find out what is wrong with it. In what way does it 
fail to convey a real impression ? 

" He is very late," said Mary. " He usually comes home 
by six." 



THE CONVERSATION 127 

" See how fast it is raining," replied her mother. '" The 
trains must be very crowded. Perhaps he could not tind a 
place in the railway carriage, or perhaps " 

" Perhaps, mother, he would have sent me a telegram if 
he was delayed. It is long past the time of the second train, 
and it is not raining now." 

" Dear, dear, we must have the carpenter in to mend this 
blind. It has gone up and it won't come down again. Idle 
hands are the cause of half the worry in life. Get a book or 
some sewing and you'll find he'll be here before you notice 
the time." 

Observe that there is no " he said " in the second two 
paragraphs. This is intentional. It is not that which is 
missing. The whole conversation has a wooden sound 
about it. It is as if it were spoken out of a gramophone, 
or by two clay images sitting stiff in a couple of chairs. Do 
people speak thus ? Do they sit with their hands folded, 
and move nothing but their mouths ? Of course not. 
Watch any two people in a room together. They are 
always doing something. They stand up, they sit down, 
they light cigarettes, they look out of the window. Their 
expression changes ; sometimes they are worried, or sad, 
or happy ; they smile, they scowl, they compress their lips, 
their eyes sparkle or are dull. All these things must be 
mentioned, if the conversation is to live. 

Moreover, people think. Many of their thoughts are 
never spoken ; yet they are of great importance for follow- 
ing the train of the story. Indeed words are the least part 
of a conversation. Words say only what the speaker wants 
us to think. Far more important is what the speaker 
really thinks. For example, in the above conversation the 
mother is trying to soothe her anxious daughter, who is 
awaiting the husband's return. How different is the con- 
versation if the mother really believes that something has 
happened to the husband from what it will be if she merely 
thinks Mary is over-anxious and the husband will arrive 
any minute ! How different will be the mother's actions, 
expressions, unspoken thoughts in the former case, although 



128 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

the words are just the same ! All this must be conveyed to 
the reader. It is useless merely to give him the spoken 
words. If we were actors we could put into the tone of our 
voices, the expression of our faces, our every movement, 
the hidden meaning. But a writer has no face, no voice, 
no movement. He has only a pen. Hence all these things, 
which an actor would silently convey, an author must 
describe in full. 

Note in this connection that the " he said " may often 
be omitted — wherever it is clear who the speaker is. A 
description of movement may often take its place, for this 
makes the speaker clear : — ^Mary frowned " I do not think 
so " ; or the indication may in places be entirely omitted, 
especially where there are only two speakers. 

I will write the above conversation in full as it should 
be, and to make the point just mentioned especially clear, 
first the conversation shall be as if Mary was foolishly 
anxious, and second as if something had really happened 
to the husband. 



Mary fidgetted in her seat. She went to the window, 
then sat down again, then again rose. " He's very late," 
she said fretfully ; "he usually comes home by six." 

Her mother did not look up from her work. " See how 
fast it is raining," she replied in a soothing voice ; " the 
trains must be very crowded." She counted her stitches. 
Mary was still standing and looking towards the window. 
" Perhaps he couldn't find a place in the railway carriage, 
or perhaps " A stitch had been dropped somewhere. 

Mary disliked being soothed. Mother always said 
" perhaps " when she was trying to be soothing. 

" Perhaps," said Mary crossly, " he would have sent me 
a telegram if he was delayed." She looked at the clock, 
which she knew perfectly well to be an erratic article, 
relying more upon an eccentric Swiss imagination than 
on its works for the time. "It is long past the time of 
the second train, and it is not raining now." 



THE CONVERSATION 129 

The mother thought that possibly confutation of fact 
would silence Mary's anxieties. She laid down her knitting 
and crossed to the window, and let up the spring bhnd. 
But unfortunately the rain had actually stopped. " Dear, 
dear," she said, " we must have the carpenter in to mend this 
blind. It has gone up, and it won't come down again," 

Mary was still standing there with a silly pout on her 
face. It made her mother angry to see her. " My dear," 
she said sharply, " idle hands are the cause of half the worry 
of life. Get a book or some sewing, and you'll find that 
he'll be here before you notice the time." 

U 

" He's very late," said Mary anxiously. " He's usually 
home by six." 

Six — and now it was past eight o'clock. The mother 
glanced at the clock — twenty five minutes past. Poor 
child — it was the old trouble ; friends in the city, just one 
more drink ; " you may as well stay to dinner as it's so 
late " — ^and all the rest of it. Poor Mary with her nicely 
cooked birthday-dinner spoiling. 

" See how fast it's raining," said the mother cheerfully, 
trying to keep her daughter's spirits up. " The trains must 
be ver>- crowded. Perhaps he coiddn't find a place in the 
railway carriage, or perhaps " 

Perhaps what ? She went on knitting furiously, trying 
to click out from her busy needles some other plausible 
excuse for man's selfishness. 

" Perhaps, mother, he would have sent me a telegram 
if he was delayed," said Mary sadly. She too glanced at 
the tell-tale clock. " It is long past the time of the second 
train." A sound of wheels — but the carriage passed the 
door. " It is not raining now." 

Her mother crossed to the window and pulled up the 
blind. No, it wasn't raining ; the last excuse had vanished. 
Hurriedly she tried to pull down the bhnd lest Mary should 
see the bleak moonlit street. The blind was stuck. She 
wanted to distract attention. " Dear, dear, we must have 

K 



130 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

the carpenter in to mend this blind. It has gone up, and 
it won't come down again." She must keep Mary from 
worrying. Perhaps he would come yet. " Idle hands, 
dearest," she said, " are the cause of half the worry of life. 
Get a book or some sewing and he'll be here before you have 
noticed the time." 

The "Conversation" Question. — Teachers and ex- 
aminers do not, as a rule, think of The Conversation as 
a subject for an essay. The proper way in which to call 
for this type of essay would be : — 

1. Write a little dialogue between two brothers. They 

are discussing how they can mend the family 
fortunes. They debate which shall go abroad. 

2. Three men in a railway carriage are discussing the 

war, (or any other topical subject). 

3. A father talks to his son about money matters, and 

asks him to be careful with his money at college. 

4. Two cultivators discuss the jute prospects. 

5. A poet and a scientist debate about the usefulness 

of art. 
G. A doctor tells a mother that her child will not recover 
from his illness. 

7. Two children talk about their relatives. 

8. A teacher has summoned a boy before him to punish 

him for making a noise in the class-room. 

9. A husband and wife debate how to " make both ends 

meet " financially. 

10. A young lad pleads with his employer to forgive him 

his first act of petty dishonesty. 

11. A mean old man bargains with a shop-keeper for a 

piece of cloth. 

12. Two friends miss the last train at a distant railway 

station. They question various people as to what 
they can do. 

13. A barrister and his client discuss a case. The client 

is accused of theft. 

14. Two servants discuss their masters' merits and de- 

merits. 



THE CONVERSATION 131 

15. Two learned men, formerly fast friends, quarrel about 
the meaning of a word. 

Such essays demanding real observation of human nature 
and a genuine power of literary imagination are, alas, very 
seldom asked for by teachers. They may, however, be 
given by the pupil all the same. Teachers very often set 
the most impossible subjects for essays, such as — 

" A railway journey." 

" Economy." 

" The weather." 

" The wickedness of theft." 

" Philology." 

and such like. These impossible subjects may often be 
treated in a light manner by turning them into a con- 
versation. iVnd I think that most teachers who have 
literary appreciation and a modicum of breadth of mind 
will appreciate the courage of the writer, if the attempt is 
successful. In these cases it will be necessary to give a 
special foreword and after-word to link the essay on to the 
exact form of the essay question. 

The Form of a Conversation. — 1. First in a very few 
words indicate the place, time, and the people present. 

(This involves a brief description. See the 
previous chapter, and remember that the 
shorter the description the more small details 
and the less whole objects are mentioned. 
What is needed is a few telling details which 
give the clue to all the rest. The scene should 
be drawn out as described in the previous 
chapter, before it is written. This is very 
important as the figures have to move. a lot, 
and any indistinctness will lead to inconsis- 
tency. The characters will begin falling over 
the furnitmle, and turning on the electric 
light in a room lit by oil lamps.) 
2. The Conversation. 



132 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

.3. The Climax. 

(Either a definite conclusion or no conclusion is 
reached.) 
1. An Event. 

(Then something happens. It need not be 
anything very striking, but it must be an 
event, not talk, e.g. the train stops and they 
get out. The husband arrives, and Mary and 
her mother go in to dinner. The learned men 
separate in anger. The employer refuses to 
be merciful, and the boy leaves the room 
sadly.) 
5. The Conclusion. 

(This should be very short and sum up the mean- 
ing of the piece. If the piece is entirely self- 
explanatory, it may be omitted.) 
As a rule try to finish on a quiet note. The greatest 
noise or excitement should come just hejore the end. 
Then have a sudden quiet ending. Hence as a rule the 
climax of the conversation should be rather forcible and 
dramatic. The Event should be something quiet and small. 
This rule may be departed from when there is a really 
striking and forcible ending, so surprising and powerful 
that it leaves the reader gasping. If this is the effect 
desired, the end should be sudden, short ; indeed not an end 
at all, but a mere curtailment. The reader supplies the quiet 
anti-climax himself by holding the essay in his hand for a 
moment, thinking, before he puts it down. 

Needless to say the climax in Section 3, and the quiet 
Section 4 is much easier to achieve. 

Example. — 

1. Anticipation. 

2. The pleasure of Imagination. 

3. The optimism of childhood. 

4. " Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise." 

The following conversation might be written in response to 
any of the above subjects, as a way of evading a perfectly 
hopeless essay subject. We will take it that the subject 
actually set is the fourth. 



THE COX\^ERSATION 133 

Essay. 
" Where ignorance is bliss." 

A long whitish-brown stretch of river ; thin wisps of mist 
lying on its surface. A long brownish-white stretch of shore 
littered with flotsam of the stream. Two small brown figures, 
as it were points on a "straight line of infinite length '" — brown 
figures but dusted with white where the mud of their play has 
dried on their dark sun-burned skin. 

" I shall send this one," said Laksmi, " to Calcutta." She 
thrust a Uttle piece of stick into a withered fragment of palm 
leaf. " They are putting the cargo on board " ; she scattered 
a little dust on to the leaf — " now go." She clapped her hands 
and danced about the shore. " Look, look, look, it's right into 
the middle ; see how fast it's going." 

" My ship is bigger." Jatindra's face was heavy with 
attention. He had got hold of a large piece of wet news- 
paper, and was trying to persuade his mast, a very rotted piece 
of jute stick, to remain upright in it. For a moment the jute 
stick gave a grudging consent. Laksmi watched him with her 
deep grave eyes. 

" There," he said, " that's going to Calcutta, and Dacca, 
and — everywhere else." His geographical knowledge would 
not allow for detail. 

Laksmi looked out at her little craft. Still it floated gaily 
upright. " Mine's going so fast." 

" Mine will go fast too. Much faster, and it will carry more 
than vours." 

" No, it won't." 

" Yes, it will." 

" It will fall right over, and then it won't carry anything." 

He pushed it out into the water. It did loll to one side, 
and the mast flopped back feebly. He was angry as men are 
when their boasts come to nothing — and she was tactful as 
women are when men are foolish. 

" How deep it floats," she said. " Like the big cargo 
boats ; it carries much more than mine could in two journeys." 

It is a wonderful thing, woman's tact. 

" Of course it does," said Jatindra. " That is just what 
I was saying." — And wonderful, the vanity of man's wisdom. 

" My boat will bring back cloths — Dacca saris, belati 
saris, silk " 



134 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

" What is the use of all that ? Silly finery." 

There was some justification for this for his clothes were nil, 
and hers a piece of string. 

" My boat," he said, " will bring sweets, and honey and 
ghee, and curry." 

" Then you're greedy. Besides it will all go bad." She 
was indignant. She did not like to see him like that. All the 
other boys were greedy, but Jatindra ought to be different. 
Her rebuke awoke some shame in him. 

" It's going to bring other things. I was just going to say 
that. There are going to be toys, and a stick with a silver 
top like the pleader babu's. It will cost six hundred rupees." 

" We shall have need of furniture — a stool, and a bed, and 
a chest, and pots and pans." 

" It will bring all that as well. They shall all be of silver." 

" And we'll need some money." 

" What is the use of money ? The boat shall bring all the 
things I want." 

" But we must have a big house built." 

" It shall bring me bricks and tin, and everything." 

She looked at him wistfully. 

" And then ? " 

" And then I shall build a big house, fill it with furniture, 
all silver " — the next was said with a little diffidence for fear 
of a second rebuff — " and — have plenty of food and sweet- 
meats in the kitchen, and I shall sit in the verandah, or walk 
up and down outside with a silver-topped stick like the pleader 
babu's." 

" And I will be your Marahani with a Dacca sari. There 
will be a big lovely garden walled in " 

He took no interest in this addition. He was thinking 
about the sweetmeats. 

A little brown arm stole round his neck. 

" You will let me, won't you ? " 

" Possibly." 

" You will, Jatindra." 

" Perhaps." 

" You will." 

No answer. 

" Yon will, Jatin You will, won't you ? " 

" Oh, yes, yes." How could he know wlial would happen ? 

" Ohe,— He— Ohe, Jatin, aio ! " 



THE CONVERSATION 135 

From the other side fainter — " Ohe — He — Laksmi — He 
khuki ! " 

The sun was sinking. They were being called home. 

They stood up. The red of the sunset glistened on his 
brown shoulders, and tangled itself in her hair. It shone on 
her face as she turned it up to him. 

" You promised, you Imow." 

But he was scampering away home. 
n^ * * * * * 

A lonely pathetic little %ure climbed the river bank, and 
the mist drew it in. 

The river flowed on. Not half a mile away the little boats 
were lying, stranded and capsized. But in the mist and 
sunset there was a vision of a little distant fireside, built not 
of bricks but of mud, and the pans of brass and clay, a weary 
poverty stricken Jatindra smoking his hookah and Laksmi 
with firelight in her hair. 

How little we know of the future, yet, " after all," as 
Jatindra said, " what's the use of money ? " What is the use, 
if 

If she is wise ? 



Exercises. — Write conversations on the subjects given on 
pages 130, 131. 

Add the following : — 

1. A fool and a wise man discuss the subject of business 

and money-making. The fool says much unconscious 
wisdom. 

2. A man who pretends to be a very learned doctor, sees 

various patients and exposes his ignorance. 

3. A very erudite man is left to look after a small child. 

He tries to engage the child in conversation. 

4. Two monkeys discuss the habits and ciistoms of mankind. 

5. A printer and a tailor have hired the same room. One 

is out all day, and the other all night. Neither knows 
the existence of the other, for of course they never 
meet. One day the printer gets a holiday, and coming 
into his room finds the other man's things lying about. 
They meet and quarrel. Eventually they decide that 
the arrangement is a very good one ; they become 
friends and resolve to continue it. 



136 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

6. Write a conversation introducing various characters 

and incidents to illustrate the following quotation : — 
" Hard is old man's lot to bear, 
Hard it is on earth to stay 
When old friends have gone away, 
And new faces everywhere 
Stare and look, and look and stare : — 
' What, the old man still is there ! 
Surely he has passed his day.' 
Hard it is on earth to stay ; 
Hard is old man's lot to bear." 

7. Diogenes the Philosopher lived in a tub. One day the 

Emperor of the land passed, and spoke with him on 
various matters. Eventually the Emperor, pleased 
with his wisdom, asked whether the Philosopher was 
in need of anything. Diogenes replied : " Of the 
sunlight — you are standing in the way of it." 

8. A man tries to explain to a deaf old man that he wishes 

to borrow some money from him. At last he gives up 
in despair. Possibly the old man was not quite so 
deaf as he appeared. 

9. Two children play at " pretending they are mama and 

papa." In so doing they unconsciously illustrate the 
father's bad temper and the mother's peevishness. 
. The parents overhear and observe the lesson. 

(The last part, " The Event and Conclusion," 

will have to be very short and very lightly 

touched, otherwise it will develop into heavy 

moralizing.) 

10. A very wealthy man has many artistic and antiquarian 

objects in his house. A friend calls to collect money 

for a charitable object. The wealthy man keeps on 

displaying his valuable collection, and the friend 

cannot get in a word. At last he succeeds in framing 

his request. The wealthy man says that he cannot 

afford to give anything. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE CHARACTER SKETCH 

The character sketch is a description of a person ; e.g. 
" Describe an old fanner " ; " Write an Essay on a Post- 
man." It should be designed on the same lines as a de- 
scription of a place. In scientific experiment we vary the 
attendant circimistances of a phenomenon in order to 
discover exactly what is essential to the phenomenon 
and what is not. It is the same in art. 

Varying the Circumstances. — We must vary the 
attendant circumstances of a place or scene in order to 
understand what the scene reaUy is : how much is scene, 
and how much is merely sunset. It is the same with men 
and women. A man in his glory on the football field fills 
us with admiration. See him next day a dunce in the 
class-room, or a coarse evil liver in his home, and we 
realize that much of our first impression was not the real 
man at all : it was merely jersey, mud, and a crowd. In 
order to describe a person we must view him in different 
settings, in different places and at different times. 

Describe Movement. — A man is not a tree, nor a river. 
We cannot cast on to him moonlight effects, and then sit 
down to paint them. A man is a living thing. We must 
let him move and talk, and expose his thoughts. I once 
read in the Statesman about a " Scientist who is 
studying spiders." So far as I recollect he had a lot of 
little boxes, each containing a different species. Whenever 
he got a new one he put it into one box after another 
(starting, I suppose, with the smallest), and saw how many 
spiders it ate, and which one ate it. A character study 
follows this method. We take a man, and put him (in 
imagination) with various other men, in various boxes, 
and we see what happens. Sometimes he eats, sometimes 
he is eaten, sometimes both merely sulk in opposite comers, 
and sometimes thev are great friends. 

137 



138 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Remember in all writing of descriptions, both of scenery 
and of men, that not only is the subject living — ^for who 
says that moving clouds, flowing rivers, birds, insects, 
flowers, are not alive — but also words are live things. 
They are expressive of thoughts which follow one another. 
The immobility of a picture is impossible in words ; more- 
over a picture describes still life better than words do. 
Always describe movement, and successive sensations. 
Never try to draw a word-picture of still life save as a 
background for activity. 

The Plan. — The plan therefore of the character essay 
is — 

(1) Introduction (the background for activity). A 
brief description of the person's appearance. 

(2) a. First situation. 

6. Second situation, etc. 

(3) Summary (may be omitted if convenient). 

In this essay, as in the description, a recurring 
" Motif " or catch phrase is very effective if well used. 
The essay should always have one central idea ; one 
characteristic should be specially emphasized. The sum- 
mary should, if it be convenient, draw some general con- 
clusion of practical value. But care should be taken to 
avoid moralizing. It is better to omit this step if not 
quite certain of its success. 

Necessity of Study. — Anybody cannot sit down and 
write a character sketch. They may have pens, they may 
have words ; they have not experience. A character 
sketch demands a mind stored with impressions. It de- 
mands previous careful and sympathetic observation of 
people. Sit in a public place — a school common-room, a 
bench in the square, a seat in the tramcar. Pick out a single 
person, and unobtrusively watch him. Why did he do 
that ? Wliy did that catch his attention ? What is he 
thinking of ? What are his friends like ? I wonder what 
his work is, and what his home is like. 

Watch the same people under different circumstances. 
There are students and friends whom you meet every day. 



THE CHARACTER SKETCH 139 

Is it not unfair to spy on one's friends ? It depends on 
how it is done. If you are a ravening journalist out for 
copy, it is imfair ; or a captious critic waiting for faults ; 
or a cruel humorist, seeking only the laughable. This 
observation of character is not recommended simply as a 
means of gathering materials for essays. Out of a man's 
heart is his writing. An unsympathetic egoist cannot write 
a character study. If you wish to be a good writer, make 
first of yourself a good man. 

This observation of other people is recommended so 
that you may be sympathetic. Observe your friends so 
that you may understand them. For the best friendship 
can be based only on understanding, and the deeper the 
understanding and interest, the deeper and truer the friend- 
ship will be. 

Merely for certainty I repeat my former oft repeated 
warning " Do not be sentimental." If there is sentiment 
in a thing express the thing and leave it to evoke the 
sentiment. 

This sort of thing always evokes the exactly opposite 
feeling in the reader : — 

" Oh, what a lovely life ! What exquisite sweetness 
of disposition, purity of soul, clearness of mind. How 
gentle the voice, how kindly the eye." 

" How detestable, mean spirited, empty-headed, colour- 
less, efieminate a prig to have such balderdash written 
about him. That is my sentiment," says the reader. 

Unhappy men whose biographies have been written by 
their wives ! Always leave sentiment to the reader, for he 
may always be relied on to supply it, if it is really needed. 

Ejiximple. 

My Old Head-master 

Introduction. — A man once tall, but now with drooping 
shoulders, a long thin grey beard. Eyes, blue I think, but 
when they looked at one, one did not notice the colour. It 
was only the expression : that was always changing. Some- 
times it was lightning that scorched the brain : sometimes it 



140 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

was the kindness of a father. He was a shabby old man, 
with black clothes, and much stained, and a tattered black 
gown. When he wore his University hood it was always awry. 
But there again it was only when he was not looking at one 
that these details were noticed. When he turned, one saw 
nothing but his face. His voice was deep. His favourite 
phrases well-known — " Hoo — hoo — hoo." Three deep grunts 
as he thought " Hoo — hoo — hoo. You're young Smith, aren't 
you ? " His sight was a little defective. Towards the end of 
a winter's afternoon he would peer at last unavailingly at the 
book. " Hoo — you can go, boys. It's getting dark." 

{First Situation.) 

" You are young Smith, aren't you ? " 

A new boy stood in front of the office table, and— the 
Holiest of Holies itself. Had the innocent realized the full 
terror of his position no doubt he would have been even more 
paralysed with fear than he was. The head-master looked 
up from his papers. His eyes travelled all over him. The 
new boy could feel them through his clothes. All his past 
life was written in black letters behind the glass-like trans- 
parency of his chest. His brain had turned to water, and was 
trickling down the hollow of his spine. 

The boy's father made some remark. Wondrous temerity ! 
His son had always known him a brave man, but this was 
sheer rashness. The rays were removed. No doubt they were 
now directed on the unhappy parent. The innocent took deep 
interest in the paper-knife on the table — a thing shaped out 
of a single bone. Whose ? 

So the next four years of life were to be here, in proximity 
to this awe-inspiring presence. Black clouds came over the 
sun, and into his soul that despair of a bad dream that sees no 
escape from the all-surrounding darkness and the terrors 
unknown which it contains. 

The dull murmur of conversation ended. The head-master 
stood up. The head-master was shaking hands with the boy's 
father. Then he came forward, and put his hands on the 
young man's shoulders. 

He said something. His eyes met those of the boy. The 
black darkness vanished into fierce and impatient resolution 
to achieve. 



THE CHARACTER SKETCH 141 

{Second Situation.) 

" My boy,*' he said, *' you have been reported to me for 
cheating." His voice was full of sadness, plain sadness, no 
rebuke. " Is it so ? " 

" No, sir." 

" Mr. Weston told me that he actually saw you in the act." 

Silence. 

" Have you anything to say ? " 

" I did not do it, sir." 

The culprit, an ordinary chubby-faced school boy, but of 
an expression so guileless that innocence would have blushed 
at his gaze. That angelic look was well-known. The head- 
master had seen it once directed towards the teacher's face in 
attentive docility ; the head-master had seen at the same time 
an inky right hand insert a pen nib into the anatomy of a friend 
in front. But cheating — surely that was not the sort of thing 
for the angel to do. 

" Tell me the truth, boy. Did you do it ? " 

" No, sir." 

Cheating and lying — was his opinion of the boy to fall as 
low as this ? 

" Mr. Weston saw you look at the next boy's paper." 

" Yes, sir." 

" Then you admit it." He stood up. It was a bitter 
disappointment. He had believed in the boy. No — he would 
have one more try first. He faced him. 

" Tell me, did you do it ? " 

" Please, sir — no, sir — I was just going to, and I didn't 
have time." 

There was the faintest suggestion of a twinkle in the head- 
master's eye. Then gravely — 

" I see. Well, don't try to do it next time. You may go, 
boy." 

***** 

{Third Situation.) 

W^hite hands upon the bed clothes. Silence and soft 
movements and muttered words. The old face white and 
shrunken, and the eyes, once kind and terrible, closed in 
wandering sleep. 

The lips moved, and the fingers twitched as if pointing — 
" You, you, you, next — cannot any one answer ? " The 



142 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

sunlight on the floor was fading, from white to gold. " Can 
no one answer : what came next ? " From gold to rose, and 
from rose to grey. " You — you — what comes next ; can no 
one answer ? " 

The old eyes opened and gazed at his phantom class. He 
sighed " Hoo — you can go, boys. It's getting dark." 

{Summary — omitted.) 



EXERCISES 

Write character sketches of the following types of person, 
choosing always, for preference, an original known personality, 
or combining traits from people known personally. Always 
separate the scenes widely in time so as to show different stages 
of development, or in apace to show widely different responses 
under different situations. 

(1) An old cultivator or farmer. 

(2) A village schoolmaster. 

(3) A village policeman, or chowkidar. 

(4) A village doctor. 

(5) A town shop-keeper {e.g. sweetmeat seller). 

(6) A khitmagar or servant. 

(7) An old Brahmin. 

(8) A postman (or post-peon). 

(9) A dirty boy. 

(10) The man of confidence (who insists on discussing all 
his private affairs with strangers). 

(11) The man who means well, but always manages to say 
the wrong thing. 

(12) The fop or dressy man. 

(13) The man of facts and figures (who can quote rules and 
regulations even on the most unappropriate occasions). 

(14) The"Anti-" anti-tobacco, anti-meat, anti-motorcar, 
anti-music, in fact opposed to everything. " He makes up for 
sins that he's inclined to by damning those that he's no mind 
to." 

(15) The niggard who always counts the cost and appraises 
the value of his friends' clothes. 

(16) The quarrelsome fellow. 

(17) The pseudo-sportsman who talks much of games and 
athletics, but is really a fraud for he is no use at any of them. 



THE CHARACTER SKETCH li3 

(18) " Her religion in life was to make herself comfortable. 
Her thought was all taken up with new devices for her comfort. 
Her house was a mtiseum of comforts. She kept her servants 
because it was so uncomfortable to change. Her religion was 
comfortable, and she loved her spiritual guide, for his text in 
life was ' Be happy, look happy.' She tried to make others 
comfortable because it made her uncomfortable to see them 
otherwise." (E. F. Benson.) 

(19) " He was the unluckiest fellow that ever I knew. As 
a school boy, as a student, as a man, if ever there was any 
misfortune going he got it. But he always laughed." 

(20) Ginni could never stop talking. If there was no one 
else to talk to she talked to the pots and pans : " Now you 
black-fac^d pot, sit down," " Ladle come here," and so on. 
She was always feverishly active. But her mouth and her 
hands worked together. If she stopped talking, she stopped 
working." (Jagendranath Chattergie.) 

Ideas for further subjects may be obtained from any novels 
in which there is clear character drawing : 

E.g., Hanuman in " Sarneleta." 

The servant Hira in " Bisabriksha." 
Diggaja in " Durgesa Naudia." 

No. 20 is taken from " Kone Bou," where several other 
useful characters will be found. 

In thus stealing from a novel it is necessary to steal with 
originaUty. The character should be transported to your 
own world, own experiences, own circumstances and surround- 
ings. Needless to say the incidents should be fresh. The 
teacher in selecting subjects from novels should merely out- 
line the character leaving all the development to the students. 
They should not be given the novel to read till afterwards. 

In English " Dickens " of course is the best mine for 
character sketches. Try E. F. Benson for modern ideas. 
Not nearly as subtle, but ver}' amusing, Keble Howard. Pro- 
bably difficult for Indian students to understand, Ian Ha v. 

Peacock's selection of the Best English Essays in the world's 
classics will be found useful. Pay special attention to Lamb, 
and study the Essays of Elia as models. 



CHAPTER XllI 

THE SHORT STORY 

Definition — In the last three chapters we have dis- 
cussed the Description, the Conversation, the Character 
and Sketch. A short story is a combination of all three. 
The character sketch also embodies all three, but the short 
story differs from it in one thing — the short story relates 
an incident, or a group of connected incidents. In fact it 
has a plot. A plot consists in an entanglement and a dis- 
entanglement. Its main object is to awake in the reader 
a feeling of suspense, which it then satisfies. 

This is the first thing to remember in writing a story — 
that it is not the incidents themselves which are interesting 
but the suspense which precedes them, and the suspense 
caused by their impending results. Hence in writing a 
story describe fully just before the incident and just after. 
Do not waste words on the incident itself, merely suggest 
it, except in the case of the main incident on which the whole 
tale hinges. Here the suspense is at its maxiumm, and 
therefore you pause, and by dwelling on the crucial scene 
delay the relaxation of the tension. 

The Plot — The plot of a short story consists of two 
elements : 

1. A human instinct or desire. 

2. Its embodiment — the characters, the scenery, all the 

" stage properties " of the tale. 

A plot is interesting just in so far as it satisfies some 
human craving. It is a fictitious satisfaction of some 
impulse. A tale of battle stirs and satisfies the pugna- 
cious impulse latent in most boys. A tale of money-making 
satisfies one's avaricious feelings. Hence it may be gathered 

144 



THE SHORT STORY 145 

that the tale of a tree falling down when there was no one 
about might be a very beautiful description, and appeal to 
one's sense of the picturesque, but it would not well be 
classified as a short story. 

The main thing in getting hold of a plot for a story is 
to be quite clear what main impulse is being embodied. 
The setting can be arranged afterwards. The real plot is 
the impulse and its development. The setting is merely 
what makes it into a story. The same plot might be em- 
bodied in a himdred different settings ; indeed it is. 

The Arrangement — A story mast be divided into 
parts. These divisions should not be noticeable. They 
should be welded together, but they should exist. 

The parts of a story are : — 

1. (a) Start. 

(6) Introduction. 

2. (a) Start of Entanglement and Suspense. 
(6) Progress of Entanglement. 

(c) Climax of entanglement. 

3. Disentanglement. 

Start — ^A short story cannot afford to waste space or 
time. A novelist may have a preface, may waste his first 
few pages merely warming himself up, and the careless 
reader misses it out. A short story cannot spend any time 
warming up. It must start warm. The start is an incident, 
or the suggestion of an incident. It is really a little bit 
stolen out of 2 (a), and put at the beginning so as to assure 
the reader that 2 (a) is coming, and keep his attention while 
he gets through 1 (6). 

Introduction. — This tells as briefly as possible who is 
who, and where we are. 

Entanglement.— This picks up the thread from 1 («), 
and goes on with it until the maximum of suspense is 
reached in 2 (c). 

Disentanglement — This shows how everything comes 

L 



146 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

out in the end — or does not come out, though I think most 
people do not care for the tragic ending unless there is a 
very good reason for it. This part of the story should 
always be somewhat of a surprise. The reader thinks the 
ending will be so and so, instead of that it is something quite 
different and really much more satisfying. It should not, 
however, be too clever. There are some authors who Idll 
their heroes just so as to spite their readers. 

All the points above are necessary in every story except 
" Start." If the Introduction will not be very long, one 
may miss out the " Start." 

The Writing of the Story — Let descriptions be very 
clearly designed. Draw out the scenes in picture. The 
actual written description should be short. Conversation 
should be plentiful, but well supplied with action. It 
should contain a certain amount of explanation of unspoken 
thoughts and motive. Never let the characters talk for 
the sake of talking. Their conversation should always do 
one of two things — ^help forward the action or intensify the 
suspense. 

Where to Begin. — Mr. A. was born in 1776. He was 
brought up, went to school, to University, to business, 
fell in love with an unknown lady, rescued her from a 
burning house, came to know her, wooed her, married her, 
educated a large family, died at a good old age, and she 
died the next year. 

In relating this simple and not very novel plot where 
do we start ? Where do we end ? 

The rule is, always start as late as possible, namely 
after the first important incident. End as soon as possible, 
viz. just before the last important incident. Now " A'a " 
life is as follows : — 

177G Born. 



THE SHORT STORY 



147 



1780 



1790 School. 



1800 College. 

Business. 



Saw Miss B. 
Fire. 



Marriage. 



1810 



Child goes to school. 



148 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

1820 

Some money losses. 



Some money gains. 

Changes his house. 

1830 

A friend dies. 



1840 Boy goes to University. 

Boy gets a prize. 

— Boy goes into business. 



1850 



1860 Dies. 

Wife dies. 



THE SHORT STORY 



149 



The yEABs 1805-6 
1805— 
Jan. 
Feb. 
March 
April 
May 
June 



— Saw Miss B. at a party. 



— Met Miss B. but failed to find her name. 
— Saw Miss B. at a distance. 
— Saw where Miss B. lived* 



— The fire* 
♦ 
— Sees Miss B.. now recovering at the hospital.* 
— Meets Miss B. at her new home.* 
— ) Makes progress though with frequent rebuff.* 

— Is accepted by Miss B.* 



— A slight quarrel. 



-Marries Miss B. 



July 

Aug. 
Sept. 
Oct. 
Nov. 
Dec. 
1806— 
Jan. 
Feb. 
March 
April 
May 
June 
July 
Aug. — 
Sept. — 
Oct. — 
Nov. — 
Dec. — 

The sign 3* shows what period the story covers. 

But it does not tell all that period. It would take 
pages and pages to describe everything that is done in a 
single day. We take only select momenta. The stars * * 

show what incidents would be described. 
* 
The fire me^ns just before. 
The fire ♦ means just after the fire. 

The fire would mean the actual incident. 
♦ 
A\e take, therefore, sample scenes, and for preference 
just before or just after the events, except in the case of 
the central incident on which the whole stress of the tale 



150 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

falls. Here we may (though even here we need not) dwell 
on the incident itself. 

Working out a Plot, — I wish you now to accompany 
me in building up the plot of a story. The idea for the plot 
of a story may come in two ways. An incident may suggest 
it ; or a feeling may seek for embodiment and one hunts 
round for incidents to give it shape. 

The original impulse was a pathetic looking mad boy, 
who came and begged at the railway carriage windows near 
Basirhat. I want to write a story about that boy. He 
remains in mind. The story will turn up in time. 

The other day I saw a very horrible old money-lender 
in Bow Bazaar. In hunting for the materials for the mad- 
boy story this occurs to mind. 

The best way of hunting for a plot is to decide on the 
impulse (that is settled here — it is a mixture of pity and 
fondness for children). 

To hunt round for miscellaneous materials anything 
and everything whether it seems likely to fit in or not. 
Consider the collection, and in considering it somehow some 
of the things jump together and make a plot of their own 
accord, and the others go away. 

Here we have the mad boy, the money-lender. The 
mad boy shall meet the money-lender, and influence him, 
make him less grasping. Less grasping towards whom ? 
Obviously we need another character — a poor clerk. Add 
his wife. 

A poor clerk owes the money-lender money ; he can't 
pay. The money-lender threatens to seize his house and 
land. The boy persuades him to be gentle. 

Where do we start ? With the borrowing of the money ? 
What is the last possible moment ? The money-lender's 
final threat. Where do we end ? We must tell the reader 
that the money-lender is merciful to the clerk. Therefore 
the money-lender's words of mercy arc the finish. 

A story is not a narrative. It is not a long string of 
connected facts. It is a set of separate scenes. What 
comes in between is left to imagination. Wo take one 



THE SHORT STORY 161 

moment and describe it in detail, leaving the rest to be 
imagined. AVe do not take a time-exposure photograph of 
a race so as to get in the whole course : it would be blurred. 
We take a few snap-shots, and leave the rest to be imagined. 
So here, what then shall the snap-shots be ? 

1. Just aft€r the final interview with the money-lender. 

2. Just before the entry of the boy to money-lender's 
house, 

3. Just after the entry of the boy. 

4. The scene between the boy and the money-lender. 

(This is the central incident. Therefore we dwell 
on the scene and keep the reader in doubt as 
long as possible as to whether the money-lender 
will relent or not.) 

5. After the exit of the boy. 

6. Just after the money-lender's act of mercy. 

Let us look back over this plan — where is the suspense 
likely to flag. In (1) it is strong enough, for we describe 
the anxieties of the clerk. In (2) we dwell on the hardness 
of the money-lender, merely suggesting the worst. But we 
have got away from the clerk : we had better just remind 
the reader of him again before wc begin to imwind in (4). 
Therefore we make a note — 

2. Just before entry of boy — Hardness of money-lender. 

(Bring back picture of clerk.) 

3. Just after entry of boy. 

The Scenes. — AMiere do the scenes take place ? 

1. Just after final scene with money-lender. (This will 
be at the clerk's house.) 

2. Just before entry of boy. (Money-lender's house.) 

3. Just after entry. (Ditto.) 

4. The scene between boy and money-lender. (Ditto.) 

5. After exit of boy. 

(1) Money-lender's house. 

(2) Qerk's house. 

6. Just after the money -lender's act of mercy. (Clerk's 
house.) 



152 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

These two scenes must be drawn out as Picture-notes — 
the clerk's room, the money-lender's room. 

The Start. — What is to open the story ? It must be 
something stolen from the main incident, to arrest attention 
at once, and give the key to the story. We will steal the 
mad boy himself from (5), and bring him in out of place 
right at the beginning. 

(Title of story not decided yet. That will be done after 
it has been written.) 

Example. — 

" Baba, doya kore, ok khana poyosha den." — Father be 
merciful, and give me a penny. 

The mad boy walked singing along the street. There was 
no " Baba " in sight. It was raining, a steadily pitiless drizzle. 
It was evening, a dull leaden evening, damp, oppressive. He 
sang from habit. He sang because his mind absorbed within 
was unaffected by dull evenings. 

A solitary figure came out of a low doorway. It was 
Santosh Babu, the clerk. He was wearing a chador, and the 
rain was heavy ; but he did not wrap it round him. He carried 
an umbrella, unopened. His eyes were fixed in front of him 
in a blank look of despair. 

" Till to-morrow," he muttered, " till to-morrow, and not 
a pice." 

" Baba, doya kore, ek khana poyosha den." 

Santosh stood stock still, and looked at the boy as he stood 
there in his one wrapping of coarse gunny-bag. Then he gave 
a hysterical laugh. 

** A pice ! Give me a pice, boy : you have something, 
and I have less than nothing." 

" Here — take it," said Pagol the mad boy, holding out 
a small handful of copper coins, his day's earnings. 

" Eh ? " 

" You said * give it me,' " replied the mad boy looking 
worried, and clasping his coins again. 

" No, no, go and tell him to give. Tell old Dhirendra to 
give ; a thousand rupees to him would not be so much as one 
pice to you out of your gathering, no nor two thousand. Don't 
ask him to give, only ask him to wait." 

Santosh was going blindly across the road, his haggard 



THE SHORT STORY 153 

uiishaveu face spattered with water. " Only to wait." At his 
door he turned and raised his fist, then dropped it. Dhirendra 
might see and charge even more, and tell the process-serv-ers 
to insult him. He went through into his httle room. 

Through the window on his left the faint light of the evening 
stole into the room. Opposite him was his table dimly out- 
lined, covered with unfinished papers left over from his day's 
work. A little water-pot in the comer near it. Behind him a 
few more papers scattered on a three-legged bench. A dhoti 
stretched across the room near the window to air — a bed. It 
was a general living room ; there was no other habitable. The 
house was falling down, the roof dripped, there was water on 
his table, and the legs of the chair sunk into the mud plinth. 

The door opened. His wife came in. Food ought to be 
ready at this time. He could see that her clothes were wet. 
He beckoned to her. She came and knelt beside him, and 
looked up into his face. 

" He says till to-morrow. I must go to him to-morrow, 
early morning before I go to office." 

" And what then ? " 

" Then, little one," he said, stroking her hair, " then you 
will go back to your father's house, and this and everything 
will be sold. I shall live as a beggar, or as a mad man, and go 
weeping and cursing up and down the streets, while Pagol the 
mad boy walks at my side, laughing and singing. Oh, we shall 
be a happy pair — and Dhiren, Dhiren, will be the richer by the 
value of these mud walls and this dripping thatch, and this 
little patch of land by the road-side, which he could cover all 
over with gold mohurs and never feel the loss of them. It is 
the end, dearest one. Our stars were not matched. I have 
only brought you sorrow." 

" Can not I be mad, too ? " 

He clasped her to him. 

The light from the window was quite gone. Darkness — 

no oil for the lamp, and no food. 

****** 

Over the way old Dhiren looked at his candle regretftdly. 
It seemed a pity to light it so soon — not till the last vestige 
of day had departed. Well, perhaps it had. He supposed it 
must be done. He looked at the window again. Santosh's 
house was aU dark over the way. Usuallj* it was lit up at sun- 
set. Those who waste come to want. He smiled and gave a 



154 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

low chuckle to himself — soon that little patch would be his. 
If he could only get Kunda Babu's house too what a nice little 
plot that would be. 

He lit the candle, then glanced over towards his bed. He 
closed the wooden doors of the window and laid the bolt across. 
Then quickly he stepped over to his bed, brushed away a little 
dust from the floor, lifted up a board so skilfully plastered ^vith 
mud that it seemed part of the surface of the floor. There 
came up a small iron box. From a well-concealed hole in 
another corner of the room came the key. He opened the box, 
and thrust in some money. He did not close it so swiftly as 
he had opened it. His eyes dwelt on the mingled heap of gold, 
silver, paper, women's ornaments, tiny gauds taken from 
children's wrists, stiff documents containing foolish promises 
lying there to ripen into wealth. He plunged his hand, and 
drew up a shining bangle. Then he started with a cry. 

" Baba," said a queer singing voice at his elbow, " doya 
kore, ek khana poyosha dao." 

:ic * 4: * 4: 9|« 

" There's no food, is there ? " asked Santosh, sitting in the 
dark over the way. 

" Only a Uttle — we'll save that till to-morrow. The little 
son may need it, or perhaps you before you go to the money- 
lender's " 

" I could not swallow a grain. Come close to me, sit on 

my knee. We will wait thus. Perhaps I may not touch you 

again." 

* « * * * * 

" Baba, doya kore." The money and jewels spilled on the 
floor, Dhirendra reached up from where he knelt, and seized 
the warm wet hand. 

" A pice, ha ? a pice ? It was the whole lot that you came 
to take. How did I come to leave the door open ? Thousands 
and thousands, and lakhs and crores of pice. Ha? How did 
I leave the door open ? How did you come in ? " 

" The door was open." 

" No, no," this to Pagol, who was quietly walking away to 
go out into the wet again, " you don't go so easily. You know 
where I keep it now. Come and kneel down there — there with 
your back to me, within reach, while I put it back again. Now 
I will settle this business." He went and sat in his chair 
facing the window. " Why did you come in ? " 



THE SHORT STORY 155 

'■ I came in because I saw a light, Baba. ' 

" A moth to the candle — or a thief to the light of a jewel ? 
Ha ? " 

No answer. 

" ANTiy do you want my money ? What use is it to you ? " 

" No use, Baba." 

" No use, ha ? It would make you the rajah of this village. 
Do you know Susil Babu's house ? It's mine. Do you know 
old Kamalesh — his land, and his house ? That's mine. 
Girindra — his wife's ornaments — ^there they are. Jagadesh — 
even his children's toe rings, all mine." 

No answer 

" You could buy big palaces, and carriages, and — any- 
thing." 

" I don't want your money." 

" You don't want a palace either, ha — with dirwans and 
malis, and hundreds of servants ? " 

" I don't want a palace — I want to go away. Baba, let 
me go away." He came near to him. 

Old Dhirendra looked at his firm round shoulders. The 
pleading eyes caught his. 

" Well, perhaps you meant no harm. You will keep silence, 
will vou ? You won't tell any one where I keep it ? " 

" Why should I ? " 

" Why ! A mad boy with one scrap of rag for a dress, no 
house save the roof of a tree. Why ? Money can give you 
all things." 

" It buys me food. But sometimes I get food without. I 
like food." 

" You would have ten times as much." 

" I could not eat it. I couldn't eat ten times as much. 
Sometimes I could eat more, but not ten times as much. Baba, 
let me " 

" And a house — where will you sleep to-night ? " 

" I do not know. Some tree. But when it rains I don't 
sleep. I walk about — cool, quiet rain." 

Yes, it was strange. After all why should he want the 

money. Why should any ? That was nonsense. Santosh 

— he wanted money. Yet some things it couldn't buy. There 
was a wife once, that died — long, long ago ; a money-lender's 
wife. Money never bought her love. Ornaments never bought 
him her smile. He began to strip them ofE her body when she 



156 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

was dead, and then — all except one bangle he threw them into 
the Ganges in a fit of remorse ; sometimes he'd coveted those 
jewels lying in the Ganges mud. 

Pagol put his hand on the money-lender's arm. It was 
a warm and caressing hand — " Baba, let me go." 

Jewels didn't buy him a child either, a little hand warm 
and smooth as this. He would have been this age now, clever 
too, beginning to help his father — some one to talk to in the 
long evenings. 

No light in Santosh's house. He had no money, but he 
had some one to talk to, and a little son. She'd be crying 
to-morrow. Perhaps she was crying in the dark there now — 
and all about a few hundred rupees. He'd never cried about 
money, though he didn't like losing it ; yet one could always 
get it back out of some one else. He cried when she went. He 
could not get her back. 

" Baba." 

No answer. 

"Baba." 

Dhirendra pointed. " Whose house is that ? " he said. 

" Santosh Babu's. He hasn't got a pice. I tried to give 
him one." 

" Not a pice, ha ? Would you like to give him one ? " 

" If you wish." 

" Come nearer." 

He took a step forward, and stood looking down. 

" Nearer still." 

He was almost touching. 

" Kneel down — put your hands together. Say this ' Baba, 
I pray you be merciful, and give Santosh Babu a pice.' " 

" Baba, I pray you give Santosh Babu — give Santosh 

Babu — doya kore, ek khana poyosha den." 

^i * * * * * 

" Dawn's coming," she said. 

" Yes." 

" You'll let me stay with you 1 " 

The grey light shone in his haggard face. 

" You will let me stay with you ? " 

" You must be looking after the little son. He may wake." 

" Don't go until you have promised. All night I have 
stayed with you. I'd rather stay with you like this than sleep. 
When the house is gone we will sit like this under a tree." 



THE SHORT STORY 157 

The light grew brighter. Mists came, a gentle wind rippled 
the puddles outside. Santosh rose. He made some pretence 
of a toilet. His wife came in with a little food for him. He 
pretended to eat it. 

The wooden shutters of the money-lender's house opened 
with a clatter. It sent a cold thrill through the waiting victim. 

She heard his footsteps as he crossed the street. She knelt 
with her hands pressed to her face. The boy woke and was 
screaming. She did not move. Tired, he ceased his cries. 
Silence — the crunch of returning footsteps and the opening of 
the door. 

A wave of anger swept over her. " Evil fall on him. May 
he be " 

Her husband's hands lifted her up. " He is childless. 
Say ' good fall on him, and God reward him.' He has for- 
given the debt." 

A clear voice through the morning air " Baba, doya kore, 
ek khana poyosha din." 

The title is obviously " Baba Ekkhana Poyosha Den." 
Or else " Baba, Doya Kore " 

EXERCISES 1 

A. (If these are found difficult, try (B) first.) Write 
stories on the following plots, first carefully selecting and 
planning out the scenes. 

(1) Old couple on verge of destitution. Bad son who ran 
away as a boy returns rich and honoured. 

(2) Four school friends agree to meet every five years. 
After the first few meetings one of them does not come. They 
discuss him. Suddenly they hear his voice outside. There is 
no one. It turns out that he has been present everv year — as 
the servant. 

(3) A boy, father dead, mother dies. No one left. 
Stranded in Calcutta. Falls in with gang of thieves. Is set 

^ Note that most of the stories will be much longer than one ordinarj* 
" Essay length." In a school one story may be spread out over the 
essay periods of a week or a fortnight. The longest subject here would 
be 20-2.5 pages in the hands of a clever boy. The shortest, e.g. No. 1, 
about six. 

Before starting on the following exercises the commonplace story of 
Mr. A. and Miss B. {supra) may be written out for practice. 



158 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

to commit a theft, caught, adopted by the man whose house 
he tried to rob. 

(4) Two men quarrel. One thinks he has killed the other. 
Flees from justice for a long while. (Several very effective 
scenes of his fears and wanderings, but do not overdo the 
emotional side.) Eventually meets the man he thought he had 
killed. 

(5) A man in great financial difficulties gets possession by 
accident of plans showing the position of a great treasure 
hidden in a ruined palace. After many adventures he succeeds 
in locating the treasure. He finds that it was all embroideries, 
pictures, etc. All have perished with time. A few jewels 
which he finds just suffice to free him from debt. (Several 
characters will be needed. The man, his friend, his creditors, 
the guardian of the old palace. The local people make it a 
savage place. The man's wife.) 

(6) A man sets out in a boat on a very stormy river to 
fetch the doctor to the wife of a rich man, who is seriously ill. 
The hero of the story is indebted to the rich man. The rich 
man not only remits his debts, but rewards him with a valuable 
office. 

(7) A boy scout has learned Morse signalling (with a lamp). 
His friends laugh at him. One night he sees that the river has 
carried away part of the railroad. He flashes signals to the 
distant signal box which he cannot reach because of the flood. 

(8) A villager thinks he is a great musician. He goes to 
Calcutta. He makes the people laugh so much with his con- 
tortions when playing that he gets employment simply for this. 
But the boys in the street torment him so much that he gives 
it up, and goes back to the plough. 

(9) A man sets out on a journey of exploration. It will 
take several years. He tells his wife to keep all ready against 
his return. His heirs promise to be very faithful. If he does 
not return within five years they may assume that he is dead. 
He returns suddenly and unknown, finds his house full of guests 
and merry-making, his wife sitting sadly apart. Only his dog 
recognizes him. Gradually he reveals himself, and casts out 
the wicked heirs. 

(10) A young barrister gets his first brief. It is to defend 
B. who is accused of forging a will. The chief witness is C. 
The case goes all against B. Then A. asks B. to write the 
answer to one of his questions ; again he makes the same 



THE SHORT STORY 159 

request of C. A, rises and accuses C. of being the forger. 
There are some spelling mistakes in the forgery. C. has made 
exactly the same errors. B. has not. 

B. If the above stories are found difficult to begirt with, try 
some of the follmmng fairy tales and wonder stories first. 

(1) A fisherman and his wife live in a hovel. The fisherman 
catches a fish. It says " I am an enchanted prince. Put me 
back, and I will give you three wishes." The fisherman wishes 
for a cottage. Then his wife becomes discontented. He goes 
again to the fish and wishes for a big house. Then for a 
palace. Then he goes a fourth time and asks to be made a 
king. The fish puts him back in his hovel. 

(2) A princess promised to marry any one who could beat 
her in a race. All failed. At last a man came. He started 
very slowly. The princess ran far ahead. Having reached 
the mark and seeing him far behind, she sat down and rested. 
She fell asleep. The man ran and reached the goal soon after 
she awoke — too late to catch him up. 

(3) (This is a very beautiful plot.) The rays of the sun 
are ladders down which come little boy sun-fairies. The rays 
of the moon are ladders, down which come little girl moon- 
fairies. If they stay on earth too long, and do not pull up their 
ladders in time, the ladders are broken as the sun sinks. Once 
a Sun and a Moon fair}* fell in love with each other. Several 
evenings they met. At last one evening they stayed too long. 
His ladder broke. She stayed and let hers break so as to be 
with him. It came on to rain. They crept into an old hollow 
stone and sat together there. Gradually their brightness faded 
as they died. In the morning there was only a little drop of 
mingled white and yellow light in the heart of the old stone. 
That is the origin of the opal. 

Scenes : 1. Forest trees, etc., talking and despising the old 
stone. Also visits of the Sun and Moon 
fairies mentioned. 

2. Arrival of Sun fairy. Arrival of Moon fairy. 

Scene between them. 

3. Sun fairy's ladder breaks. Moon fairy stays. 

Ladder breaks, 

4. Rain. In the stone. 

5. Dawn. The opal, 

6. Forest trees talk as^ain with the stone. 



160 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

(4) Two knights of old time X. and Y. are great friends. 
X. has a sister Z. Y. begins to live an evil life. X. quarrels 
with Y. Y. goes away. X. misses him. After some years X. 
decides to marry his sister to Q., a man of high estate. Z., 
the sister, refuses to be forced in this way. She says she would 
rather marry the beggar at the gate. This beggar came to 
the gate some two years ago, and has stayed there ever since. 
She does so. The beggar is Y., who has been doing penance all 
this time for his evil ways. 

(5) A glass seller quarrels with a rival on his way to market. 
He reaches his stall, and sets down his basket of wares. He 
sells two pieces at a good price. This pleases him so much 
that he begins to day-dream of future prosperity. He will 
build a house, then a palace, have servants, etc. His old rival 
will come to see him, and he will kick him down the steps. So 
thinking, unconsciously he lets out a great kick and breaks all 
his wares. 

(6) A modern man, e.g. a business man, in Calcutta, finds 
a bottle containing a Jin (a sort of ghost of great powers). 
The ghost says he is his servant. The business man asks him 
to fulfil various wishes. The ghost does so, but in the old 
fairy book way, e.g. extraordinary gold palaces which are 
really very uncomfortable to live in, camel loads of gifts, which 
make the poor man a jest to his friends. The man's father- 
in-law annoys the ghost, so he turns him into a mule. At 
last the ghost becomes such a nuisance that by various fanciful 
threats the man persuades him to get back into the bottle. 
He seals it up, and drops it in the river. As soon as it disappears 
all memory of the events vanishes and things are as before. 

(7) A modern boy finds a magic stone. He is just returning 
to school, and feels rather sad at the prospect. The boy's 
father says he ought to be glad to go. The father is holding 
the stone at the time. He says " I wish I were a school boy 
again." It actually happens. The father becomes the son in 
appearance, and the son seizing the stone wishes he may be 
his father. The father at school gets into serious trouble for 
patronising the teachers, for " telling on " other boys, etc. 
The son at the father's business makes a mess of things. 
They are glad to exchange places again. 

(8) A scientific story. Professor X. invents a flying machine 
which will take him to the moon and the planets. He goes to 
the moon, and finds it a desert. In Mars he finds men of a 



THE SHORT STORY 161 

strange kind. His account of life on the earth (e.g. all the 
money -getting, war, slums, disease, etc.) so shocks the Martians 
that they send him back again. 

(9) A ghost story. A man buys a very old house. Night 
after night he hears the sound of one foot, then a shuffle as if a 
man were walking lame. He goes out to look for it. He sees 
nothing. He sits up for it. He hears the step. Something 
seizes him and begins to throttle him. Just as he is nearly 
dead, dawn breaks. He finds a skeleton under the floor just 
where he was lying. One foot is missing. 

(10) A detective story. A valuable paper has been stolen. 
It is known that X. has probably got it. His house has been 
searched, but it cannot be found. Y., the great private de- 
tective, called in to advise. He goes to the house. There is an 
alarm of fire while he is there. It proves a false alarm. He 
returns and says " The paper is hidden in a hole bored in the 
leg of the table nearest the window." He had arranged the 
alarm because on such an occasion a person always starts 
towards their most valuable possession to save it. In this way 
X. had unconsciously revealed the hiding place. 

Note to the Teacher. — Plots may very easily be 
found for the class by reading up a story they are unlikely 
to be acquainted with, and then giving a very brief abstract 
of it. 

For fairy tales the following will be found useful : — 
Grimm's Fairy Tales. (The boys are likely to know the 
more common ones, but in the complete edition there 
are several which will be unfamiliar. The complete 
edition is published by Routledge.) 
Andersen's Fairy Tales. 
" On a Pin-cushion," by Mary de Morgan. 
" The Princess Fiorimond," by Mary de Morgan. 
Collins' Clear Type Press, publishes a good series of 
" Fairy Tales from Russia." " Fairy Tales from Ireland," etc. 
(various countries), at fourpence per volume. See also 
" Books for the Bairns." 

The Arabian Nights. 

Longmans' Red, Green, Blue, etc.. 'Fairy Books, and 
Books of Romance. 
For Scientific " Wonder Stories "— 
The eariv books of H. G. Wells. 



162 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

(N.B, — The main plot of a complete novel will do for 
a story. In the case of beginners it is better to 
give a fairly strong plot as their power of develop- 
ment is small.) 
E.g. " Twelve Stories and a Dream." 
" The Invisible Man." 
" The First Men in the Moon." 
" The Time Machine." 
" When the Sleeper Wakes." 
Also Jules Verne — 
" A Trip to the Moon." 
" Five Weeks in a Balloon." 
" Round the World in Eighty Days." 
Collingwood — " The Log of the Flying Fish," has a good 
plot. 

For Ghost stories — 

" Haunted Homes and Family Legends." 
There are also various " Books of Ghosts " easily obtain- 
able. I do not recommend the setting of this type of story in 
large quantities. 

For Adventure stories — 
Miles — " Fifty-two stories for boys." (There are several 

volumes in this series.) 
Ballantyne. " Adventures on Land." 
" Adventures by Sea." 
Boy Scout stories are to be found in The Scout. There 
are also several volumes of collected stories published at the 
same office. Messrs. Traill & Co., British India Street, Calcutta, 
stock some. 

For Domestic Stories. — The best material will be ob- 
tained from novels. The plot in this type of novel is usually 
rather light, and the unskilled writer finds it not more than 
enough for a short story. Avoid modern English novels about 
India, except Kipling and F. A. Steel. 

Good plots are also obtainable in such magazines as The 
Strand, The London, Pearson's, The Grand, The Novel, Cassells\ 
The stories are usually of mixed merit, but there are few 
numbers which do not contain some useful material. 

The American Magazines keep on the whole a very high 
standard of excellence in their short stories, e.g. Harper's ; 
also The Cavalier. 



PART V— LETTERS 

General. 

Note-paper. — A man is judged by the note-paper he 
uses as much as by his clothes. Worse than cheap note- 
paper is over-expensive and showy note-paper. Keep to 
good stout, plain paper, of square size, cut edges, cream or 
very faint blue. Hand-torn edges, gilt crests, fancy colours, 
peculiar shapes, embossed monograms, scented paper, and 
the rest of it, are much to be avoided. Note-paper which 
does not match its envelope looks very bad. 

Hmidwriting. — It is simply selfishness to reply to a 
legible letter with an illegible one. Letters written " In 
haste " (a feminine habit) save half a minute of the writer's 
time, and waste five minutes of the reader's time. 



CHAPTER XIV 

PRIVATE LETTERS 

The Start of a Letter. — Notice the alignment of the 
address : — 

42, Camac Street, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 25, 1915. 

Dear 



A man of your own age and standing may be addressed 
by his name without Mr. — 

Dear Smith. 

But if Smith is aged 60 against your 25 years ; if he is 
the head of an important firm, and you a mere beginner, it 
will be — 

Dear Mr. Smith. 

So also if he is very much inferior in position, e.g. a clerk in 
your office. 

If the letter starts " Dear Smith " or " Dear Mr. Smith," 
it will end " Yours sincerely." To relations the ending 
may be " Yours affectionately." 

The Formal Letter. — There are certain letters which 
are of a purely formal nature. There are many possible 
forms, but it is as well to stick to one always. 
An Invitation — 

42, Camac Street, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 10, 1910. 

Dear Mr. Smith, 

It will give nie great pleasure if you will dine with 
me on Wednesday next, Aug. IGth, at 8 o'clock. 
Yours sinceroly. 

Julia .Tone.s. 
in4 



PRIVATE LETTERS 165 

Smith replies, accepting. — 

18, Lee Road, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 11, 1916. 

Dear Mrs. Jones, 

I have much pleasure in accepting your kind 
invitation to dinner on Wednesday next (Aug. 16th) 
at 8. 

Yours sincerely, 

W. Smith. 

On the other hand Robinson, who was also asked, can- 
not go. 

12, Albert Place, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 11, 1916. 

Dear Mrs. Jones, 

I regret that a previous engagement prevents me 
accepting your kind invitation to dinner on Aug. 16th. 

Yours sincerely, 

R. Robinson. 

As a matter of fact, in a refusal a little more explanation 
would probably be given unless it was unfriendly. 
A very formal invitation is in the third person — 

Aug. Ist, 1916. 
Mrs. Smith requests the pleasure of the company of 
Mr. R. Robinson at dinner on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 1916. 

42. Camac Street, 
Calcutta. R.S.V.P. 

This would be answered formally — 

Aug. 2nd, 1916. 
Mr. R. Robinson has great pleasure in accepting Mrs. 
Smith's kind invitation to dinner on Aug. 16th. 

or — 

Aug. 2iid, 1916. 
Mr. R. Robinson regrets that owing to a previous en- 
gagement he is unable to accept Mrs. Smith's kind invi- 
tation to dinner on Aug. 16th. 

The Friendly Letter. — The purpose of a friendly 
letter is to give pleasure — to one's parents, relatives or 



166 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

friends. They derive most pleasure from an intimate 
letter, a letter full of details. To give full details of every- 
thing which has happened in the week would be difficult. 
To give all the events without details would be extremely 
dull. This sort of letter is of no use to any one. — 

42, Camac Street, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 15, 1916. 
Dear Mother, 

On Monday I went out to dinner with the Smiths. 
It was very pleasant. 

On Tuesday afternoon I motored out to Barrackpore. 
The road is fairly good ; the place is p^ett3^ 

On Wednesday I went to tea with the Mitchells. 
Their uncle, Mr. Wayne, was there. He was very- 
amusing. 

On Thursday I played for the Crescent Club against 
the Wanderers. We won 7-2. 

Your loving son, 

Richard. 

This is a miserable collection of unembellished facts. 
It gives no pleasure at all. 

A letter should consist of one or two items selected out 
of the week's news, because they are likely to be of most 
interest to the person to whom the letter will be sent. The 
football match and the trip to Barrackpore are probably of 
less interest to the writer's mother than the dinner and tea 
party — if she knows the Smiths and the Mitchells. On the 
other hand to a friend the Smiths and Mitchells might well 
be omitted. The great thing is "Do not give too many 
items of news, but supply complete details of those that are 
given." A good letter can be made out of a single incident. 
A single incident well described brings one in far closer 
touch with the writer than a number of bare events. 

Asking Questions. — The asking of a lot of questions 
in a letter is a bad practice. It should be done only where 
there is a special reason for showing memory of a person 
or thing. For example, your mother mentioned a slight 
cold in her last letter. It would be a kind thought to show 



PRIVATE LETTERS 167 

memory of this by enquiring if it is better. But the asking 
week after week after so and so, and so and so, and so and so, 
whom one has no reason to believe to be in any way out 
of the normal, merely shows laziness of thought and desire 
to fill up the page. 

Style.— Style in the Friendly letter should be much 
more lax than in ordinary essay-writing. The letter is not 
intended to live into the future, nor is it addressed to a large 
audience, hence one should write just as one would speak 
to the recipient of the letter. A schoolboy writing to a 
schoolboy will use schoolboy slang ; writing to his mother 
he will use his natural speech purged of such slang as 
she would not understand, or would offend her. 

Example. — Let us suppose that as Richard we sit down 
to write the above letter as it should be written : — 

42, Camac Street, 
Calcutta, 

Aug. 15, 1916. 
Dear Mother, 

On Monday I dined with the Smiths. You met 
them in Winchester about two years ago. I believe they 
have some relations there. They used to be living in 
a hotel, but they have moved now to a httle house of 
theu- own at Ballygunge. I think old Mr. Smith preferred 
the hotel. He is fond of his billiards and bridge, and not 
very devoted to tea and dinner parties. Nowadays he 
can't get away from them so easily as he used to. I 
expect Mrs. Smith was responsible for the change. She 
is a great person for managing : having no house to 
manage she found life a bit empty at the hotel. From 
her remarks about poor old Canizzi, the Manager of the 
Cecil, where she used to stay, I should guess that she 
tried managing the hotel and" found her efforts unappre- 
ciated. She is a good old sort. She was tremendously 
pleased with the new house. I had to look at all the 
chintzes and cretonnes, and all the rest, and the new 
twisty-legged table, and the brass tray brought from 
Darjeeling (much cheaper in Calcutta). 



168 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Old Smith grunted all the while, and attacked the 
sherry. He growled good-humouredly at the useless 
expense of furnishing in India. " It will all rot, my 
dear, white ants, red ants, weevils — all go to rot, same as 
us. Think of all the nice stuff we had when we were in 
Assam." Mrs. Smith said : " He always looks on the 
dark side before dinner." 

Miss Smith came down just then, as pretty as ever, 
though a little pale from the hot weather. She's engaged 
now, but I don't think you know the man, — Captain 
Forbes. He is in Ootacamund just now. That's where 
she met him. 

There were two other people there — a Dr. Venn and his 
wife. She is very handsome with quite white hair. It 
must have gone white in enteric, for she is not very old. 
She is immensely full of energy. She belongs to every 
society in the place, from " Cigarettes for Soldiers," to 
the " Prevention of Cruelty to Dogs." She was laughing 
at herself about it, and said she sometimes got mixed 
up, and that one of these days she would be sending 
the cigarettes to the Dogs. Old Venn, who hadn't spoken 
a word till then, slipped in " That's better than sending 
the soldiers there." He rumbled over that joke for the 
next two courses. Then he got into an argument with 
Smith about explosives. 

We played bridge after dinner. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. 
Venn were talking about one of the Dog or Cigarette 
societies. Miss Smith plays a very good game. 

I went to a tea-fight at the Mitchells' on Thursday. 
They asked after you. 

i expect your cold will be gone by the time this reaches 
you. 

Your loving son, 

Richard, 

This letter gives only one incident. There are several 
others he might have taken, and they would very likely 
have done as well. But he must select. So he. selects one 
incident, and makes of it a nice personal little letter. He 
just mentions those of the other items which are likely to 
be of any interest. 



PKIVATE LETTERS 169 

The Essay Letter. — Sometimes there really is no 
" news " — nothing that will make a good letter. In this 
case it is quite a good idea not to attempt to give any news, 
but to write a general " Essay letter " on some phenomenon 
of one's life — ^such as one's servants, insects in India, river 
travelling in India, one's neighbours in the streets, or the 
other people in the boarding house, the various professors in 
the college, other students, etc. The essay should not be 
formal. Design should be avoided, for any suggestion of 
design will destroy the personal touch. The subject should 
always be reached by an easy and natural transition. 

Dear Maby, 

There is precious httle news this week. It has 
been an ordinary busy week of office work. It is ver}' 
hot and stickj* here now. The rains have ended, and the 
sun is drying up the count r}-. Everything is steam, and 
the steam breeds insects. 

You really couldn't imagine the Uttle collection of 
spectators there are of this letter. A small brown beetle 
about the size of a pea is trj'ing to read the address. 
He is very hard and round, and flips well. His wife— or 
sister — or brother, I dont know which, went with a lovely 
" ping " against one of the glass panes of the door just 
now. 

There is a larger beetle of a colour like cold cofEee with 
milk in it. He is dignified in movement, and keeps at a 
distance. 

There is no Gandi present this evening, thank good- 
ness. He is a small beetle-like thing. Indeed I won't 
say exactly what common pest he looks like. It is one 
not mentioned in poUte society. But his smeU is hke 
nothing on earth. One of his kind is quite sufficient to 
make a big drawing-room smell like a dirty scullery. 

The Mantis is a great friend of mine. At present I 
have one putting up with me for the week-end in the 
bath-room. By day he hides behind the looking-glass. 
In the evening, after a cautious squint round, he crawls 
out. He is an enormous grasshopper with short front 
feet, thin waist, and a long green gown, shaped very 
elegantly. In fact he always reminds me of a dowager 



170 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



in a " handsome green silk dress." The way he flaps the 
short front legs is a very good imitation of Mrs. de Vere 
shaking hands. 

Etc. {Finish it). 

Exercises. 

1. Note down the chief events of the last week (at least ten 
in number). 

|)||i Then write a letter of three pages at least to the following 
people. Do not use the same incident in any two letters. 
Every letter should be totally different, dealing with a different 
main subject, and merely referring to the others. 

Heads under which to note the events of the week : — 



1. I 2. 
Personal. Sport. 



3. 

Work. 



Music 
or art. 



Movements 
of family, 

friends and 
relations. 



0. 

News- 
paper 
events. 



7. 
(jJcneral. 



Persons to write to : — 
1. A sister. 

An old friend of a sporting disposition. 

An old teacher — or older friend of serious disposition. 

An aunt. 

Parents. 

A friend in the same business. 

An artistic friend (or relation). 

Exercise 2. — Write essay letters on the following subjects : — 

1. The ways of washermen. 

2. My bearer. 

3. Burr a Sahebs. 

4. Dak bungalows. 
5. 
6. 

7. Humours of correspondence in India. 

8. Some curious friends. 

9. The shops where I deal. 

10. The view from my window. 

11. Night noises. 

12. Smells and scents in India. 



^^ Railway travelling. 
Boat travelling. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE BUSINESS LETTER 

We do not propose to deal with the technicalities of business 
correspondence as met with in the work of a clerk in a 
commercial house. These matters are very well treated 
in the various books on the subject published by Messrs. 
Pitman and others. We propose to consider here not the 
business correspondence of a firm but that of an ordinary 
man. Every one has a certain number of business letters 
to write about his private affairs — ordering from shops, 
paying or objecting to bills, letters to one's bank or one's 
insurance company, etc. These letters are often badly 
composed, badly written ; no copy is kept, and the reply 
is not filed. As a result when a reference is needed to some 
past correspondence, it cannot be traced ; when the 
business man wants to know exactly what he promised, 
he can find no record of his letter. Such mistakes are 
expensive. 

Method of Writing a Business Letter. — It is most 
important to keep a copy of business letters — even those 
which appear trivial. Many such copies will never be 
referred to again. One in a hundred will be needed and will 
save the cost of many thousand copies. 

The easiest and best way of taking a copy is to use Pen 
Carbon Paper. Gret a good size of note-paper in the form 
of a pad. Seven inches by nine is a good size. Let the 
paper be thick and unruled. Get another pad of the same 
size but of thin paper. Buy from any large stationer a 
packet of Pen Carbon paper. WTien writing a letter tear off 
and put one sheet of the thick paper under a page of the 
thin paper pad. Put the Pen Carbon paper in between. 
Now by writing with a fairly broad and hard pen a copy is 
pressed through on to the thick paper. It will be found that 

171 



172 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



the copy is so clear that it looks as well as the original. 
Send the copy and keep the thin-paper original. 

Filing. — Keep the papers on any one subject together. 
This is best done by using a detachable wire clip, — Q Give 
each batch of papers a title-page, thus — 



From Ranken & Co. I 



I Copy l"0 Ranken& Co. 2 



From Phelps & Co. 3 
I Copy -H) Phelps & Co . 4 



Clohhes. 1916. 



rj 



Clothes 1916. 



These bunches of papers may be filed alphabetically in 
a box file, or vertical file, or in the ordinary paper concertina 
file. In any case let the file have an index, thus : — 

A Assurance. 

B Bank. 
Brother. 

Bicycle Insurance. 
Books. 
Building. 
Butcher. 

C Clothes. 
Club. 

Etc. 

Whenever a new bunch of papers is started and put in 
the file, the title should be written on this Index. As a rule 
the title should be the general subject, not the name of the 
sender of the letter. Letters from any number of different 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 173 

senders may be included in one section, also of course all 
copies (or rather originals) of letters sent. 

The reason for this indexing is as follows. A letter 
comes from the Insurance Company. We wish to find the 
other connected papers and deal with the case. Now are 
the papers filed under — 
I Insurance, 
or A Assurance, 
or L Life insurance, 
or P Premiums or Policy, 
or C " Chartered Insurance Co." 
or F Fielding — the name of the manager ? 
A reference to the Index settles the matter at once. 
The Utility of Business Method. — The reader may 
urge that he has so little correspondence that it is not 
worth while to have all this paraphernalia. The para- 
phernalia, I may add, consists only in — 

2 pads of writing paper (instead of one), extra cost -/12 

1 packet of pen carbon paper -/ 8 

1 packet of wire paper clips -/ 8 

1 file -/12 

Cost 2/8 

The reply is, that it is worth it. It is worth it for the 
habit. Correspondence is not large now, but year by year 
it increases. One stows letters away anywhere, writes 
without keeping copies now with 50 letters a year. Next 
year there are 75 letters a year, and the year after 150. 
Still the old habit continues. The number reaches 1000 
and some form of filing is introduced, but it is not con- 
sistently used. Moreover all the old letters are hopelessly 
mixed. At 3000 a system becomes a necessity, but the 
bad habit is too firmly rooted. The paraphernalia may be 
bousht but it is not used. Sometimes a letter is filed — 
sometimes not. Sometimes a copy is made — sometimes 
not. So one never knows if the document will be there 
or not. 



174 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Do not unnecessarily complicate the system. Use one 
simple system and stick to it. Do not over-systematize 
simply for the sake of systematizing. That wastes time. 

The Form of the Business Letter. — A business letter 

starts — 

Dear Sir, 
and ends — 

Yours truly. 

There are other forms, but the above is never wrong 
whereas the others are sometimes. 

Above " Dear Sir " write the name and address of the 
receiver, otherwise there will be nothing in the letter to 
show for whom it is intended. Thus : — 

A. Smith, 42, Lichee Street, Calcutta. 
Dear Sir, 

The Contents of the Letter. 

1. The date and reference number of the letter under 
reply. A large business house numbers all the letters it 
sends out. Hence when any letter arrives in reply, the 
number quoted enables the shop to refer to their previous 
correspondence. Hence it is very important in writing to 
any business house to quote the number and date of the 
letter to which reply is being given. 

" Sir, 

Your 462 A of July 22/16." 

2, A brief reminder of the subject-matter — 
" Hire of office in Old Court House Street." 

Sir, 

Your 462 A of July 22/16. Hire of office in Old Court 
House Street. 

This is the first paragraph. It is not grammar, but it 
gives all the facts. 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 175 

3. Take the letter under reply and deal with the points 
one by one. The letter under reply is — 



No. 462 A. 



62, Pomfret Lane, 
Calcutte, 
July 22, '16. 



G. Jones, Esq., 
Hilsa Street, Calcutta. 



Sir, 

Your letter of June 15th enquiry re office in 
Old Court House Street. 

1. I am willing to let you have 9000 square feet at 

Rs.600 per mensem. 

2. Electric terminals are provided by me. Lights 

and Fans by you. 

3. There wiU be no charge for partitions. Please 

inform me what alterations are required. 
Yours tnily, 

A. Smith. 



To this we reply — 



11, Hilsa Street. 
Calcutta, 

July 24th, 1916. 



A. Smith, Esq., 

Pomfret Lane, Calcutta. 

Sir, 

Your 462 of Jidy 22, '16. Office accommodation 
in Old Court House Street. 

1. Nine thousand square feet is more than I need. 
Eight thousand will be enough. 

2. Under my present arrangement fans and lights are 
included in the rent. I do not intend to increase my 
office costs in any way. I must therefore ask you to 
include lights and fans in the rental. You may allow me 
less space as stated above, to compensate. 



176 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

3. The plans of partitions will be prepared when terms 
have been settled. 

Yours truly, 

G. Jones. 

Paragraph headings are frequently used. Thus — 

1, Space. 

Nine thousand square feet is more than I need. 
Eight thousand would be enough. 

2. Lights and Fans. 

Under my present . . . 

Having said all we wish to, we close " Yours truly " 
and the signature. An illegible signature is not business 
like. It is the opposite. It is very apt to lead to error, 
and is just as hard or easy to imitate as a legible signature. 

Fancy endings to letters should be avoided. 

" Trusting this will meet with your approval." 

" Hoping to receive the favour of an order." 

Of course we " trust " and " hope." It is mere waste 
of ink and paper and time to put in this stuff. Thus the form 
of the letter is — 

{a) Reference. 

(6) Point by point treatment. 

(c) Conclusion. 

5. We address the letter. In the absence of other title 
an equal or superior is addressed as " Esq." One markedly 
inferior, e.g. one's servant, the owner of a small and un- 
important shop or business, a very subordinate assistant in 
a firm, as Mr. 



G. Smith, Esq., 

42, Pomfret Law, 
Calcutta. 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 



177 







D 


Mr. John Brown, 




2 


Chingri Alley, 
Howrah. 





When the initial is not known put a dash. 







a 


— Smith, 


Esq., 




4.'> 


Pom/ret Lane, 
Calcutta. 





It is not correct to enter University degree aft^r a name, 
e.g. IVIichael West, Esq., B.A. If the addressee is a doctor 
he may be addiessed as doctor. Dr. Williams. 

The Stamp — Stick it on the front, not on the back, for 

1. It looks bad. 

2. It causes unnecessary trouble to the post office. 

If the letter is to be sealed, use sealing wax, not the 
postage stamp. 

Forms of Letter — 

1. An application. 

The ordinary form applies (1) Reference. 

(2) Point by point. 

(3) Conclusion. 
This will be in greater detail. 

(1) Reference to advertisement. 

(2) The requirements of the advertiser. The qualifica- 
tion of the applicant. Extra qualifications. 

(3) In the conclusion the applicant will ask any question 
he wishes of the advertiser. 

N 



178 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Warnings. — 

Do not boast. 

Do not mention inferior qualifications, e.g. a medal for 
swimming at school. This looks as if you were hard up. 

Do not plead or beg. No post was ever yet given for 
pity. A man who needs pity is not the man wanted for 
a job. 

Example. — • 

Statesman, August 22, 1916. 

Wanted. — Head Master for a school in the hills. Pay 
Rs. 100, rising by annual increments of Rs. 10 to Rs. 150 
a month. Knowledge of Nepali and previous experience 
essential. Applications with copies of certificates should 
be sent to Box 1917, Advt. Dept., Statesman. 
01135 K35702 

Enclos. 5. 

15, Frascr Street, 
Calcutta, 
Aug. 22, 1910. 

Advertiser, Box 1917, Advt. Dept,, Statesman. 

Sir, 

Your advertisement in the Statesman of August 
22nd, Head Master for a school in the hills. 

1. Knowledge of Nepali. 

1 have some knowledge of Nepali, as I served as 
Assistant Teacher in the Darjecling High School for two 
years. Please see Testimonial No. 1. During this period 
in hopes of being confirmed in the post I studied Nepali. 
Not being in Government service I was not eligible for 
the Government test ; but I enclose a certificate of my 
proficiency from Rev. James Hill of the Baptist Mission, 
Ghoom. (Enclos. 2.) 

2. Previous Experience. 

I have served as Assistant Teacher in the following 
schools :— 

Jan. 1912 till Dec. 1912 at Comilla Zilla— Please see 

Enclosure 3. 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 179 

Jan. 1913 till Jan. 1915 at Harinavi — See Enclosure i. 

In Jan. 1915 I joined the Wedderburn In.stitution, 
Diamond Harbour, as Head Master, where I am still 
serving. The Secretary of the school may be referred 
to regarding my work. 

3. Qualifications. 

I am at present aged 28. 

Degree B.A. (History, Sanskrit) 1910. 

M.A. (History, Political Economy) 1911. 
I studied at the Chittagong Collegiate School, and the 
Chittagong College. 

In both institutions I played in the first team at 
football, as Enclosure 5 will testif}'. I still play games, 
and at both my previous appointments have taken a 
large share in organizing the school athletics. 

4. Enquiries. 

I shall be obliged if you will inform me 

1. ^^^^ether a house is provided. 

2. Is there a Provident Fund ? 

3. On what date shall I be required to join if ap- 
l)ointed ? 

Lastly I shall be glad to receive some particulars re- 
garding the school — its roll number, proportion of Nepali 
children, course of studies, facility for athletics. 

Yours truly, 

K. Sarma. 



Notice " Enclos 5." Always write on a letter the number 
of enclosures it contains, preferably in red ink. Before 
sealing down the letter see that all are there. The recipient 
will similarly verify and write at once if there is any mistake. 

An Enquiry. 
The plan is — 

1. Reference (to advertisement or catalogue). 

2. Enquiry. 

3. Conclusion. 



180 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

St. Paul's School, 
Calcutta, 

June 13, 1916. 

Messrs. Whitevvay, Laidlaw & Co., Calcutta. 

Sirs, 

In your Catalogue June, 1916, page 153, you quote 
medium-size bath towels at 2/- each and 20/- per dozen. 
Please inform me at what rate you could supply these 
if 5 dozen were ordered. 

Yours truly, 

J. Robins, 

Headmaster. 



• There is no 
previous cor- 
respondence. 



An order.— 

1. Reference to previous correspondence (if any). 

2. Very exact specification of article required and 

price, with reference to catalogue or advertisement 
if available. 

3. How it is to be sent. 

4. How payment will be made. 

7, Commercial Road, 
Dacca, 
June 11, 1916. 
Messrs. Hall & Anderson, Calcutta. 

Sir, 

♦Please send one Harrison & Harrison razor, 
medium size, price 3/8, page 62, item 723B in your 
catalogue, June, 1915. 

The razor should be sent by parcel post (not V.P.) 
and the cost entered in the account which I have with 
you. 

Yours truly, 

John Johnson. 

An Acknowledgment. — This may be of a letter, an article. 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 181 

or of money. It Ls a purely fonnal document. Care is 
needed only in giving particulars of the articles received. 

6, Vass Street, 
Poona, 
June 3, 1916. 
Hewett & Co.. Bombav. 
Sir, 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of one parcel of 
red woollen blankets, size 7 x4 at Rs. 8/- each, ordered 
in my letter of May 28th. 1916. 

Yours truly, 

W. Ware. 

6, Vass Street. 
Poona, 

June 3, 191G. 
Ross & Rowe, Calcutta. 
Sir, 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of estimate 
enclosed with your .5725 of June 1, 1916. 

Yours truly, 

.W. Ware. 

5, Straight Street, 
f^tboume, 
Sept. 10, 1916. 

James Prendergast, Esq., 3 Lowdon Square, London. 
Sir, 
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
of Sept. 9th. which is receiving my attention. I will 
reply in due course. 

Yours truly, 

WiLUAM Wace. 

7, Commercial Row, 
Dacca, 

June 20, 1916. 
Messrs. Hall & Anderson, Calcutta. 

Sir, 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of one razor 
forwarded in reply to my order of June 11th. 

Yours truly, 

John Johnson. 



182 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

In acknowledging the receipt of money and whenever 
mentioning money, words as well as figures should be used. 

3, Council House Street, 
Calcutta, 
Nov. 8th, 1916. 

Manager, Traffic Dept., E.B.S.R., Sealdah. 
Sir, 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of Rs. 5/12 
(Rupees five annas twelve only) refund on unused ticket 
for Krishnagar, forwarded with your 62 P, of Nov. 6. 

Yours truly, 

Edward Watt. 



The Forwarding Letter. — This is a similar form. 

0, Primrose Lane, 
Pevensey, 
Jan. 7, 1916, 
Enclos. 1. 

Day's Drug Stores, Bexhill. 
Sir, 

I beg to enclose Postal Order for the sum of 
5/4 (five shillings and four pence) in settlement of 
ray account forwarded with your 162 of Jan. 2. 

Yours tnily, 

Enstan Wills. 

The only thing to note is not to forget the enclosure. 

The word " enclose " may be used even where the object 
is obviously far too big to be actually " enclosed." The 
word merely means to include in the same parcel, e.g. 

" I beg to enclose four pairs of boots." 

When the object is not inchided in the letter, but is sent 
in a separate package, the form will be : — 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 183 

No. 352. The Boot Stores, 

Old Brompton Road, London, 
Feb. 7, 1916. 

William Scott, 2, Short Street, Calcutta. 
Sm, 

Your 163 of Feb. 4. Order for boots. 
I beg to inform you that I am forwarding per parcels 
post three pairs of boots as ordered. 

Yours truly, 

George Lacet. 

When this is done a copy of the above letter or a note 
" From George Lacey, The Boot Shop, Old Brompton Road, 
London," should be enclosed in the parcel. 

The Complaint. — ^Do not complain simply for the sake 
of complaining. Complain only if there is a clear case for 
some form of restitution. In this event it is obviously of 
no advantage to be unnecessarily rude, otherwise the seller 
will get his back up and refuse to refund. This is a sordid 
argument : the general truism is better — viz. that it never 
pays to be rude, least of all in writing. Let the complaint 
therefore express merely pained regret. 

12, Long Street, 
Bafiirhat, 
Feb. 14, 1916. 

Messrs. Sole & Heel, 162 Chowringhee, Calcutta. 

Sm, 

I am forwarding by separate parcel a pair of boots 
for your inspection. These were ordered in my letter of 
Nov. 20th, and were forwarded with your 173 B of Nov. 
30th. The price was Rs. 25. 

The boots have been worn only since Dec. 15th. It 
wiU be observed that the sole has torn from the uppers, 
and that a flaw in the leather near the toe has developed 
into a bad hole. 

In view of the price I paid I fear that some mistake 
must have occurred. Possibly boots of a cheaper quality 
were sent me by error. 



184 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

I shall be obliged if you will rectify the mistake as 
promptly as possible. 

Yours truly, 

Maurice Wade. 

Always be innocently benevolent ; suppose the best of 
intentions in the culprit even if it is laiown they were not 
there. 

Suppose that Messrs. Sole & Heel merely reply that 
no guarantee was given with the boots and that they appear 
to have been roughly used (which is not a fact). Scurrility 
will not improve the situation. If any reply is sent at all 
it may be — 

12, Long Street, 
Basirhat, 

March 11, 1916. 

Messrs. Sole & Heel, 162, Chowringhee, Calcutta. 

Sir, 

Your 212 B of February 25th. 

I regret to note that you are unwilling to make any 
reparation in the matter of the boots referred to. 

Under the circumstances, although I have dealt with 
you for some three years past, I shall be compelled to 
place my custom in future elsewhere. 

Yours truly, 

Maurice Wade. 

Conclusion. — ^However small your business corre- 
spondence may be, and however unimportant the individual 
letter may be, take as much care with it as if it were part 
of Rockfeller or Ralli Brother's mail, and as if the matter 
at stake were thousands of pounds. For practice makes 
perfect. Care takes time to start with ; very soon it takes 
no more time than carelessness. A good business man will 
reply to a letter properly in as short a time as a bad business 
man will take to reply to it improperly. Moreover the loss 
of a few minutes here and there in taking a copy or filing 
a letter is more than compensated for by the saving of 
hours which would otherwise be spent in hunting for a 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 



185 



Union Motor Co. 



missing document, or guessing in the dark at the contents 
of a letter of which no record has been kept. 

Exerciser. — The following letters make up each day's mail. 
First write out the day's mail in full as it would be received. 
Reply to each letter and file separate cases separately, as they 
would be kept by Mr. Smith. 

Mr. Smith is a manufacturer of furniture. He is thinking 
of selling his horse and carriage and of buying a motor car. 

Monday, Augtist \st. 

From Substance. 

W. Brown. Re advertisement in Morning Post, 

July 28. Is Mr. Smith wilUng to sell the 
horse only without the carriage, and if so 
at what price ? 

Can offer a 2-seated Union car at 
Rs. 4000. Stock is small, therefore order 
early. Have a few last year second-hand 
of which will give particulars if desired. 
New model a great improvement on last 
year's. 

Desire quotation for roll top desk, 
chair, book-cases, table, etc. (complete 
furniture for an office. The student 
should supply all details). 

Last set of cheap dining-room sets not 
satisfactory. Cloth upholstery is of cheap 
quaUty, flaws in the wood, pohsh rather 
dull, etc., etc. Mr. Smith will reply that 
they are a cheap line not made in this 
factory. He sold them on no guarantee 
and informed Messrs. Stuart of the full 
circumstances. 

Accept Mr. Smith's estimate for furnish- 
ing office and place the order (give full 
details of price, articles, method of 
delivery, etc.). 

Offer a " Force " car, 4 seated, at 
Rs. 3500. second hand, 
is willing to buy Mr. Smith's horse and 
carriage. 



Ketchem, 
Solicitors. 



Stuart & Co. 
House 
furnishers. 



Grav & Cowlev, 



French Motor 

Car Co. 
Sir Henrv Hobart 



186 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

August 4:th. 

W. Brown. Makes an offer for the horse and carriage. 

Union Motor Co. Supply particulars of second-hand cars. 

Ketchem & Co. Criticize the estimate and request 

reduction. 
Stuart & Co. Apologize and ask for estimates of the 

cheapest dining-room set which would be 

supplied with a guarantee. 
Sir Henry Hobart. Encloses a cheque. 

2. Write, file and index the following correspondence : — 

July mh, 1916. 

Mr. Thin asks the rental of No. 52, Eoyd Street. 

Mr, Fat replies, also suggests other possible houses at 

various rentals, mentioning the special advantages 

of each. 
Mr. Thin would like to " view " No. 31, London Street. 

Mr. Fat arranges a meeting. 

Mr, Thin refers to their interview and offers a rent for 

31, London Street, on condition it is put in full 

repair by August 1st. 
Mr. Fat accepts. 

Mr. Thin gives notice to his landlord Mr. Bone that he 

intends to quit No. 171, Camac Street, at the end 

of the month. 
Mr. Bone claims a full 30 days' notice. 
Mr. Thin admits his right, but asks him to forego it. 

Mr. Bone says he will do so if he gets another tenant in 

time. 
Mr. Fat says No. 31 is ready. Does not Mr. Thin intend 

to move in as it is now August 3 ? Rent will be 

charged from August 1. 
Mr. Thin says it is inconvenient to move in at present. 

Rent should be charged from date of occupation. 
Mr. Fat denies this. 

Mr. Thin says that the house is not in a proper state of 

repair. 
Mr. Fat denies this. 

Mr. Bone says he has let No. 171 from Aug. 10th. 
Mr Thin tells Mr. Fat he will move in on Aug. 9th, but 

requests that repairs may be completed by then. 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 187 

Mr. Fat agrees. Says that regarding rent he will com- 

promise and charge from the 5th. 
Mr. Thin agrees. 

3. Write application for the following posts from imaginary 
candidates. Write replies from the employers asking further 
information, appointing one man for each post, and rejecting 
another. 

SITUATIONS VACANT. 

WANTED— A LEGAL ASSISTANT. APPLY STATING 
lowest terms to Box 2191, Advt. Dept., "Statesman." 
270 A35890 

WANTED— AN EURASIAN AS CANVASSER. PAY AND 
commission. Apply to The MANAGER, H. E. 
Restaurant, 40, Dhumimtollah Street. A69730 

WANTED— DRIVER FOR G. W. K. CAR. MUST UNDER- 
stand his work thoroughly. Salary Rs. 35 per month. 
Apply SMITH STANISTREET & Co., Calcutta. 
260 A35867 



WANTED— ORGANIST, TEMPORARY, SEPTEMBER 
and October. Previous experience. State salary re- 
quired. 

CHAPLAIN, Barrackpore. 
260 A35825 

WANTED— EXPERIENCED ASSISTANT FOR THE 

' » Gunny Department of an European Mercantile Firm. 

Apply in first instance to Box 2162. Advt. Dept., "Statesman.' 

270 Arj972G 

WANTED— FOR TEA GARDEN IN CACHAR, A NATIVE 
Mechanic. Must be able to drive and look after Clj-no 
Motor cycle. Apply Box 2172, Advt. Dept., "Statesman." 
29612 A35863 

WANTED— A MARRIED COUPLE TO RUN A BOARD- 
ing House Establishment with 40 to 50 boarders. Must 
have knowledge of catering. Apply Box 2173, Advt. Dept., 
"Statesman."' 
270 A69701 



188 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

WANTED— A L. M. S. AS MEDICAL OFFICER AT IRON 
Ore Mines, pay Rs. 100 per month with free quarters and 
prospects. Apply to GENERAL MANAGER, Bengal Iron & 
Steel Co., Ltd., Kulti, E. I. R. 
270 A35873 



WANTED — AN EXPERIENCED SUB-ASSISTANT 
Surgeon for a dispensary in the mofussil. Accommodation 
free, private practice allowed. Pay Rs. 45 to start with. 
Apply with testimonials to Box 2187, Advt. Dept., "States- 
man." 

30513 A35882 



WANTED— TWO EUROPEAN MANAGERS FOR PURFS 
Gaiety Theatre and Purl's Imperial Cinema, Lahore. 
Salary and liberal commission both. Only expert and ex- 
perienced hands need apply. Cash security Rs. 500. M. D. 
PURI, Proprietor, Puri's Rink Cinema, Lahore. 

30351 A69G42 



WANTED— AN ENERGETIC ENGINEER FOR OIL- 
Field Work ; must be capable of handling native 
labour to best advantage and take in hand repairs of loco 
type boilers, drilling engines and pumping machinery. 
Preference given to Engineer with some knowledge of oil and 
gas engines. Box 1017, Advt. Dept., " Statesman." 

00 A36238 



WANTED— FOR THE ZANZIBAR PROTECTORATE 
Government a qualified Indian Surveyor. Period of en- 
gagement three years on probation. Salary Rs. 250 per men- 
sem. For further particulars apply in writing with copies of 
certificateB to — 

MACKINNON MACKENZIE & Co., 

Agentfl in India for the East African Protectorates, 
Nicol Road, Ballard Pier, Bombay. 
2535 A35824 



WANTED. 

A LOCAL INDIAN DOCTOR AND A COMPOUNDER 
for the Dalsingserai Dispensary, on Rs. 35 and Rs. 15 per 
month, respectively, with free quarters. Select<>d candidates 
will have to join positively on the 15th Septeml>er next. Apply 
with testimonial to the U.S. 

S. M. LIVISEY, M.B. F.R.n.R., 

Offg. (JiviJ Surgeon, Darbhanga. 
250 A368I8 



THE BUSINESS LETTER 189 

WANTED. 

ONE PROBATIONER ON A SUBSISTENCE ALLOW- 
ance of Rs. 20 a month. Candidate must have a thorough 
knowledge in typewriting. 

Applications with copies of testimonials will be received 
by the Secretary up to and including 28th August, 1916. 

C. H. BOMPAS, 



The Calcutta Improvement Trust, 
5, Clive Street, 
Calcutta, the 24th August, 1916. 



NOTICE. 



Chairman. 



A35876 



WANTED— FOR A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS A 
second chauffeur. Must be a bachelor, of European 
parentage, and fully qualified to drive VVolseley Cars. Should 
applicant prove satisfactory- in all respects a retaining fee 
would probably be allowed under certain conditions during the 
summer. Apply with copies of testimonials, stating salary 
i-equircd, to Box 1382, Advt. Dept., " Statesman." 
2952 A35425 



NOTICE. 

YOUNG MEN OF RESPECTABLE PARENTAGE, 
who wish to apply for appointments as Sub-Inspectors 
of Police are invited to submit their applications by the Ist 
September, 1916, to the Superintendent of Police of the district 
in which they reside. None need apply who have not passed 
the Entrance or Matriculation Examinations of an Indian 
University, or the final "' B " or " C " Class Examination of a 
Zilla or High School. Candidates must have a fluent know- 
ledge of English. Preference will be given to graduates and 
undergraduates and to natives of a Commissioner's Division 
in filling up the appointments allotted to it. A limited number 
of applicants who have obtained the B. L. degree will be ap- 
pointed to a higher grade, and, if they subsequently give proof 
of special aptitude for conducting prosecutions, may look for 
special promotion to the post of Court Inspector. 
No Europeans or Anglo-Indians need apply. 

C. T. BRETT, 
Offg. Personal Assistant to the 
Inspector-General of Police, 
Bihar and Orissa, Ranchi. 
30513 A35875 



190 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

STATIONERY. 

WANTED— BY A LARGE FIRM IN CALCUTTA, A 
European Assistant to take charge of Printing and 
Stationery. Applicants without experience in the line need not 
apply. State salary expected. Apply Box 2175, Ad vt. Dept., 
'' Statesman." 
270 A35870 



nOLLIERY ENGINEER REQUIRED FOR COLLIERY 

vJ in Raneegunge field, sound electrical experience essential. 
Apply with full particulars of past experience and salary re- 
quired to Box 2180, Advt. Dept., " Statesman." 
270 A35871 



COLLIERY MANAGER — WANTED A MANAGER 
for coal mine in the Jherriah field. Must be European of 
Home training and 1st class Indian certificate. Apply with 
copies of testimonials and particulars of Indian experience 
to Box 2183, Advt. Dept., " Statesman." 
270 A35880 



I 



4. Write a letter of Enquiry, reply, order, complaint, explana- 
tion to each of the following advertisements: — 

Miscellaneous Wanted. 

WANTED TO PURCHASE, COMPLETE— A VVELL- 
equipped travelling Cinema outfit : Engine, Dynamo, 
Projector, Films, etc., second-hand or new. Box 1829, Advt. 
Dept., " Statesman." 
240 ¥00251 



Miscellaneous For Sale. 

FOR SALE. 
LARGE QUANTITY OF USED TENNIS BALLS, 
Rs. 3 per dozen. Apply HONY. SECTY., Ranchi Club, 
Ranchi. 
292 W35293 



A 



16 



MILD STEEL SHEETS (BLACK). 

18, 20, 22 AND 24 B. W. G. AVAILABLE. PRICES 
) and particulars from Box 1996, Advt. Dept., " States- 



man. 
230 W35770 



THE BUSINESS LETTER liil 

GTEEL TRUNK, TllTLN BASKET, Rs. 5. DIETZ 
U Hurricane Lamp, Re. I. 2 Scotch Plaid Blankets, Rs. 5. 
2 art serge, 1 cretonne purdahs, ringed, Rs. 2. 2 Razors, 
Rs. 2. Tiffin carrier. Re 1. 17 Collin Lane. 

W6956G 



The Garden. 

RBANERJI, GRAFT EXPERT, BOX A., DARBHANGA. 
t offers concession up to Oct. 20th. The real Langra Mango 
grafts* Rose Lichis and other varieties at Re. 1 and As, 14 
each ; Rs. 11, Rs. 10 and Rs. 9 per doz. Apply sharp. 
2525 WA69027 



FINEST ENGLISH DESSERT APPLES AND PEARS 
from 20th July to following April 9 lb. nett of fruit at 
domicile for Rs. 4, per V.-P. P MANAGER, Kulu Fruit 
Gardens, Bajaura (Kulu), Kangra Dist. 

00462 WA35004 



KING COCOANUT FROM CEYLON. DWARF VARS., 
anybody can pluck cocoanut by his own hand at Rs. 2 — 8 
each. 

EMPRESS NURSERY, 
No. 26, Narcoldanga Main Road, Calcutta. 
220 WA35713 



LANDRETH'S SEEDS JUST ARRIVED VEGETABLE 
colk. of 40, 25 and 15 sorts, prices Rs. 7, Rs. 4-8 and Rs. 3, 
respectively. DE & SONS, 27/1, Beadon Row, Calcutta. 
220 WA69303 



THE KULU ARAMGARH ORCHARDS. 

BY NEW SHORT ROUTE :— ENGLISH PEARS OR 
Apples, best kinds, 9 lb. net, Rs. 4. Walnuts or Chestnuts 
from 15th Sept., 9 lb., Rs. 3-8. Pure Himalayan Honey, 2 lb., 
Rs. 2-8. Best Black Tea, Certificate of Merit, 5 lb., Rs. 6-4. 
The above prices V.-P. P. include all charges. Apply 
MANAGER, Aramgarh, Kulu. 
09246 WA35447 



Typewriter, Etc. 

EEMINGTON No. 7 BI-COLOUR TYPE- WRITER USED 
for one year only. Bargain for Rs. 150, or near offer. Box 
2041, Advt. Dcpt., " Statesman." 

220 WB69455 



192 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Trade Announcements. 

CHEAP TROUSER PRESSERS (TO CLEAR) As. 14; 
A pair collapsible nicklc coat hangers. Re. 1-12 & Rs. 2 ; 
Stickphast, As. 4 and As. 6 per bottle ; Toothpicks, As. 4 per 
box. SAKLOTH & CO., 12/1, Chowringhec, Calcutta. 
cl Y 

Ij^OR OILCAKES (CASTOR AND COTTON SEED), 
Castor Seed Husk, Arhar Husk, Gram Barley and Oats 
write to The CAWNPORE DAL WORKS, Cawnpore. • 
22412 Y69119 

EVERLASTING BEDSHEETS— HAVE YOU TRIED OUR 
everlasting Bedsheets made from real Cawnpur Un- 
bleached Bedsheeting as supplied to the various Hospitals, 
Schools, etc., throughout India ? Size 7'x4' at Re. 1-4-6 each, 
8' X 5' at Re. 1-12 each. ELGIN MILLS AGENCY, 4, Govern- 
ment Place, Calcutta. 

THE " CORNEX " QUARTER-PLATE HAND CAMERA, 
with directions complete, original price Rs. 24 each, offered 
for Rs. 15 each. The " Pitol " hand camera, J^-plate, with 
12 sheaths for plates : an excellent article. English made, 
Rs. 10 each. EROOM & Co., Calcutta, 

WRISTLET SWISS-MADE WATCH WITH PROTECTIVE 
metal outside cover and leather strap, luminous figures and 
hands, a splendid timekeeper, expressly made for war service. 
Price Rs. 30 each. Ju^t a few left. EROOM & Co., Cal- 
cutta. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE PRECIS 

An essay is written from notes. A speech is made from 
notes. In this case the notes are one's own, and the essay 
is one's own. In making a precis we take some one else's 
essay and try to extract from it the original notes from which 
it was written. 

Properly speaking a well written essay should be almost 
incapable of precis. For every idea should so far as is 
consistent with grammar be incapable of shorter expression. 
However it is to be remembered that — 

1. In a full length e&say a point may be explained. In 

a precis the explanation is omitted. It is assumed 
that the reader is acquainted with the general 
meaning. 

2. In an essay a point may be emphasized and even 

repeated. This is not done in the precis. 

3. A point may be illustrated in several ways. The 

illustrations are omitted in the precis, or only one 
is given. 

Even if all this is done it does not make a precis. It 
produces merely a condensed version. A condensed version 
is not a precis. 

The main object of a precis is to make clear the skeleton, 
the FRAME of the argument. It should therefore always be 
in the form of " Left to Right " notes such as we discussed 
in the Essay on Gray and the Examination Paper. This is 
the type of note easiest to carry in the mind. The object 
of the precis is so to reveal the skeleton of the argument that 
it may easily be carried in the mind. 

The Method. — Approach the piece set for precis as if it 
were necessary to memorize the points for a speech. 

In order to memorize we must first find the main sections, 

193 o 



194 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

and get large easily remembered headings which will act 
as landmarks. 

Kead the piece below. What are the main sections ? 

" The silk inquiry on which Mr. Lefroy has been engaged 
since last autumn promises to be one of the most systematic, as 
it should be one of the most practically fruitful trade in- 
vestigations for which the Government of India have made 
themselves responsible. The three phases of the industry — 
cocoon production, the utilization of silk in weaving, etc., and 
the sale of the finished product — are all being thoroughly 
examined, and Mr. Ansorge is engaged meanwhile in a separate 
statistical enquiry designed to ascertain the districts from which 
the silk of India is derived and the sources of supply in the case 
of the competing article that arrives from outside. Bengal 
is interested in almost every phase of the question. She 
produces the raw silk, her operatives spin and weave it, and 
there is, or was, a large market in the province for its con- 
sumption as well as an export trade. Other centres, such as 
Assam, are engaged mainly in production. Yet others, such 
as the Punjab, produce very Httle silk but weave a great deal 
which comes from Bokhara, China or Japan. Mr. Lefroy 's 
enquiry will aim at deciding once for all which centres are, and 
which are not, suited climatically for silk production. He will 
suggest measures by which the breeds of worms can be 
strengthened, their nourishment improved, and the treatment 
of the cocoons rendered more scientific. He will aim also at 
devising measures for improving the organization of the 
spinners and weavers and their methods of distributing their 
finished goods. The object aimed at in this section of the 
enquiry is to secure for Indian silk goods an entry into the 
world's markets and to those markets of India which are at pre- 
sent controlled by the imported commodity. Not the least of the 
objects of the enquiry is to place Indian silk producers in one 
part of the country in touch with industrial consumers in other 
parts of the country. Mr. Lefroy's report, when it is issued at 
the end of the year, should throw considerable light on the 
needs of the industry in all its branches and do for it all and 
more than all that the Holland Commission's enquiry is 
expected to accomplish for Indian industry in general." 

The main sections are obvioiwly that Messrs. Lefroy 



THE PRECIS 195 

and Ansorge are making certain Enquiries, and as a result 
of them they will, on their conclusion, make certain Pro- 
'posals. The main heads are " Enquiry — Proposals." 

In making the second column look out for things capable 
of tabulation. " The three phases " attract attention. 
This gives away the writer's scheme. The enquiry has 
" three phases." Look at the second half. It obviously 
repeats though in a more skilfully concealed manner, the 
scheme of the first part. The three phases are Production, 
Manufacture (spinning and weaving). Sale. 

The scheme of the article used by the writer was 
obviously — 

Enquiry. 

1. Production. 

2. Manufacture. 

3. Sale. 
Proposals. 

1. Production. 

2. Manufacture. 

3. Sale. 

We may now set about the precis, for we have reached 
our goal, and the goal in making a precis is always to get 

BACK TO THE WRITER'S NOTES. 

The precis of the above passage will be — 

Enquiry by Messrs. Lefroy and Ansorge into Silk Production, 

The Enquiry 
will cover 
1 Production. 

A. The present sources internal and external of 

supply. 

B. What internal areas are most suitable. 

2. Manufacture. 

A, The present areas where manufacture is carried 

on. 
B. The methods followed. 

3. Sale. 

Present markets in which sales are made. 
Present methods of organizing sale. 



196 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Proposals. 

On completion of enquiry will recommend 

1. Production 

A. What areas are most suitable. 

B. Improved methods of breeding. 

C. Improved methods of rearing. 

2. Manufacture. 

Organization of spinners and weavers. 

3. Sale. 

Organization of Distributing and Sales agency, 
with especial view to entry into world markets. 

It will be observed that we have to a certain extent im- 
proved on the writer's scheme by bringing up certain of the 
points mentioned in " Proposals " into the " Enquiry " 
section. This is always necessary. A writer is never 
absolutely regular and systematic in his arrangement of 
matter. Indeed, he avoids this lest his essay appear 
mechanical, lest its framework be too conspicuous. A precis 
must be systematic. A really good precis is almost a new 
creation, just as a shopkeeper's arrangement of his goods 
in the window is a creation — of order. It is a work of art 
to make a good precis out of an ill-arranged speech. 

The Running Precis. — In certain cases a running precis 
is necessary. For example the verbatim report of a rather 
rambling speech has to be condensed for reproduction in the 
newspaper. This is a special case. In all ordinary cases, 
as stated above, the note form should be used. 

Before making a running precis always first reduce the 
article to the note form. Then write it out in a cursive 
form. The above precis would thus read as follows : — 

"Mr. Lefroy is conducting an enquiry into the silk industry. 
His enquiry will cover the methods of production, manu- 
facture and sale. In the matter of production he will enquire 
into the present internal and external sources of supply, and 
the comparative suitability of various areas in India. He 
will investigate the present manufacturing areas and the 
methods there followed " 



THE PREaS 197 

(Finish it as an exercise.) 

Exercises. — In Exercbe 1 below the title will be " The 
Stegomyia fasciata " : the main heads will be — 
Connection wdth yellow fever. 
Habitation. 
Preventive measures. 

In 6 the heads will be — 

1. The " Separate school policy." 

2. The present policy — Reasons. 

Causes of changes in pubUc 
opinion. 

3. The Urdu question. 

4. The real requirements. 



{Make a tabulated precis.) 

The Municipal Health Officer's departmental report m- 
cluded in the report on the municipal administration of Cal- 
cutta for 1915, contains particulars regarding investigations 
made during the year as to the prevalence in the city of the 
mosquito stegomyia fasciata. The stegomyia fasciata, as all the 
world knows by now, is the carrier of the dreaded yellow fever 
and there are not wanting those who believe that were the germ 
once brought into the port by a vessel coming from an infected 
harbour the disease would be widely disseminated owing to 
the prevalence here of the carrying insect. Dr. Nandi's 
observations over twelve months in two areas, the one south 
of Park Street and the other south of WeUesley Square, show 
clearly that the stegomyia fasciata is a domestic mosquito and 
that its breeding places are chiefly confined to human habita- 
tions. The most important breeding places in the observed 
areas appeared to be the Uttle " anti-formicas " placed by 
memsahibs under the le^ of almiras ; the choubachas or large 
masonn- resenoirs wherein water is stored for domestic use, 
vessels for storing drinking water in huts, and miscellaneous 
vessels, such as tubs, buckets, etc. Some Uttle might be done 
towards the elimination of this pest if phenile or kerosene were 
always placed with the water in anti-formicas. Nothing, 
however, of a comprehensive character will be possible until 
the port area is placed under a proper general sanitary authority 



198 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

and a systematic anti-stego7nyia campaign is instituted on the 
plan recommended by Major Christophers as the result of his 
investigation, 

2. 

{Tabulated precis.) 

Professor Hamilton said that as an economist whose duty 
it was to study among other things the principles of sound 
banking, he gave his reasons for believing that the Central Bank 
of India was worthy of trust. 

The Central Bank of India, he said, not only possessed a 
body of Directors who had won their reputation as able and 
conservative business men, but was under the immediate 
management of Mr. Pochkhanawala who had himself served 
just such an apprenticeship in all the departments of banking 
as was demanded of bankers in Europe. 

But, further, the efficiency of its management had been put 
to a severe test and had come through it triumphantly. The 
Bank was started in 1911. By June, 1913, it had a working 
capital of 136 lakhs of rupees. In October of that year 
occurred the Indian banking crisis. There was for a time a 
panic among depositors. By December 31, 1913, depositors 
had withdrawn 75 lakhs of rupees. The bank not only met 
this run successfully but actually strengthened its position. 

Proceeding Proifessor Hamilton said that the causes of 
failures among Indian Banks may broadly speaking be divided 
into three heads, viz. (I) Either dishonesty or culpable 
negligence in the management ; (II) Inefficiency of their 
management ; and (III) the possession of inadequate capital. 
In connection with the Central Bank, however, he said, the 
subscribed capital amounted to 30 lakhs of which 15 lakhs had 
been paid up. In conclusion Professor Hamilton said that 
he believed that there was great need for the development of 
sound banking as a means to help the industrial expansion of 
Bengal, and he was glad that a branch of the Central Bank had 
been started in Calcutta. In course of time he hoped to see the 
Branch Bank system developed so as to carry facilities through- 
out an Indian Province as it now did throughout the English 
counties. When that day comes the hoarded wealth of India 
will truly " irrigate " Indian industry and commerce and the 
organization of credit will be placed on the basis of enlightened 
business relationship. 



I 



THE PRECIS 199 

3. 
EDUCATION OF THE BLIND, DEAF AND DUMB 

Need for Better Provision* 

SiMUL, Aua. 5. 
The Government of India, Education Department, have 
issued the following circular letter : — It has been brought to 
the notice of the Government of India that the arrangements 
for the education of the blind and the deaf and dumb in India 
are at present on an inadequate scale. There were, according 
to the last census, 41,558 children between the ages of 5 and 15 
who were blind and 58,804 who were deaf and dumb, and for 
these there are in the whole of British India some 18 schools 
only, which provide instruction for something like 500 children. 
In the present state of general education it is impossible to 
deal with the problem in any complete manner, but it is 
believed that with the assistance of Government more might 
be done than at present to encourage and improve the education 
of defective children. The existing arrangements for this 
class of education are described in chapter 18 of the last 
quinquennial review of education in India, to which a reference 
is invited and there are various steps which have from time to 
time been suggested for the improvement of these arrange- 
ments. It has, for instance, been proposed that public 
attention should be drawn to the education of defectives b}- 
including references to them in school-books and by exhibitions 
of the work done by them, that the Braille system should be 
applied to the Inian vernaculars, that agencies should be 
formed for providing industrial work for defectives after 
leaving school, and so forth. As regards the schools them- 
selves it has been proposed that their organization should be 
improved, that there should be greater uniformity in the 
syllabus adopted, that physical training should not be neglected, 
and that the education supplied should aim at a proper com- 
bination of general and industrial training. The Government 
of India desire to commend these suggestions for the con- 
sideration of Local Governments and for such support from 
local resources as may be possible when normal financial 
conditions are restored. WhUe not precluding the institution 
of Government schools where this is thought advisable, they 
consider that schools for defectives are a form of effort 



200 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

peculiarly suitable for charitable agencies of a private character 
and that the support of Government should ordinarily take the 
form of assistance to private or board schools. The Govern- 
ment of India are, at the same time, satisfied that until properly- 
trained teachers are available anything in the shape of sub- 
stantial progress is unlikely, and they would suggest that in 
cases where Local Governments find openings for the expansion 
of this class of education they should ascertain where teachers 
can suitably be taught in India or in England and give such 
assistance as is possible for the training of a limited number of 
special teachers. 

4. 

{Make a Running PrScis of this passage.) 

BOMBAY UNIVERSITY 

The Annual Convocation 

Bombay, Aug. 15. 
The annual convocation of Bombay University for con- 
ferring degrees was held this evening at University Hall, H.E. 
Lord Willingdon, the Chancellor, presiding. There was a large 
gathering. After the ceremony of conferring the degrees by 
the Chancellor was over, the Rev. Dr. D. Mackichan, Vice- 
Chancellor, addressed the gathering. He referred to the death 
of Sir R. P. M. Melita and other Fellows since the last annual 
convocation and then passed on to speak of the war. He said 
events which would lead to the end of this cataclysm of devasta- 
tion and of death were in progress and we were beginning to 
look more definitely into that period so often summed up in 
the words " after the war." The Allies were already con- 
certing their economic measures against the coming time. 
" We too," he continued, " should not feel precluded from 
consideration of the kind of future to which, as a university, 
we should look forward. Your Excellency's exposition of the 
principles which are at stake in this struggle and the attitude 
which these require in us has found a response in the thoughts 
and feelings of that India which has been to so large an extent 
the creation of our universities. It fills us with joy to see 
India ranging herself by our side in this conflict, tho liberality 
of her princes and the sacrifices which her sons have made of 




THE PRECIS 201 

strength, and so often of life, to make victory speedier and 
more sure. These have aroused wonderfid enthusiasm 
throughout the British Empire. But to my mind there is 
something more significant than all this aggregate of service 
and co-operation. I mean intellectual and moral sympathy. 
It is not knowledge which moves the world but spiritual ideals 
and moral convictions, and when Britain was moved, in 
response to the caU of duty and honour and humanity, to enter 
into this conflict the uppermost thought in the minds of those 
who were concerned as to India's future was not whether 
India would take her stand alongside Great Britain and her 
Allies on the stricken field, whether her princes and rulers 
would lay their treasures at the foot of the Emperor, but 
whether the heart of India would respond in inward appre- 
ciation and sympathy to the spirit in which our nation was 
entering on this world conflict. In this conflict of warring 
ideals that is proceeding day by day to its final issue our con- 
fidence that victory is sure, and that a better era is preparing 
for all the nations, is simply our con\action that in God's 
government of this world the cause of righteousness and freedom 
is bound to triumph over unrighteous ethics bom of human 
arrogance and the doctrine of force that tramples under foot 
every right of the weak. That India has been moved to take 
her stand on the side of righteousness means more to India 
even than to the Empire, for it leads all who cherish high 
anticipations in regard to the future of this country to believe 
that all thoughtful and sincere Indian patriots are convinced 
that by the soul alone nations shall be great and free. They 
will recognize that their highest aspirations can only be 
realized through the moral and spiritual uplifting of the 
entire nation." 

5. 

{Running Precis.) 

DACCA MEDICAL SCHOOL 

Lord Carmichael*s Speech 

Dacca, Aug. 9. 
H.E. Lord Carmichael yesterday presided at the annual 
prize-giving of the Dacca Medical School and distributed the 
medals to the successful candidates. Surgeon-General Edwards 
was among those present. 



202 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

His Excellency, addressing the students and guests, said : — 
I am grateful to Surgeon-General Edwards for having given 
me another opportunity of showing my interest in medical 
education in Bengal. I fully share in the regret w^hich you so 
kindly express that Lady Carmichael is not able to be present 
on this occasion. In many ways, too, I regret that this is the 
last occasion upon which I shall be able to preside at your 
annual prize-giving. My wife and I both hoped that we would 
see much done for the school and for the hospital before we 
left Bengal and we would gladly have helped in any way we 
could, but as you know the schemes we had in view were 
rendered impossible of attainment by the absence of funds 
during the latter half of our stay in this province. I feel 
confident that those who succeed us will take up the work 
where we have left it and I trust that they will be more fortunate 
than we have been in finding that the necessary funds are 
available. 

I look on the needs of the school, especially the improve- 
ment of the laboratory accommodation and the enlargement 
of the school buildings — particularly of the dissecting room — 
as very urgent needs indeed. I look upon the provision of 
hostel accommodation as absolutely required in the interests 
of the students. I think these projects ought to be carried out 
as soon as ever money is available. Some of you may have 
been here when once before I spoke about the duty of meeting 
the demand for medical education by giving the very best 
that can be supplied. I believe in keeping the standard high 
and in placing a high ideal before the students, for the use 
which they will make in after-life of the materials they will 
have to work with will largely depend upon the ideal which 
they have learned in their school to set before them. I spoke 
to the students, I remember, of the great value of nursing. It 
is a very real disappointment to Lady Carmichael (as it is to 
me) that the scheme in which she was so interested and which 
was so nearly ready to be put into working order has had to be 
abandoned for the present owing to the want of the money 
needed to carry it out. But I feel certain that the abandon- 
ment is only temporary. The need for the scheme is so great 
and KG obvious that I feel sure it will receive sympathetic 
couf^ideralion as soon as financial prosperity returas. Mean- 
while Miss Hillson, even during the loo short period she was 
connected with the hospital, showed what the possibilities of 



THE PRECIS 203 

the scheme were, and with the generous donation of Rs. 25,000 
from Babu Gour Nitai Sankhanidhi, Colonel Xewman has been 
able to create a fund the interest from which has already 
enabled him to employ an operation nurse. You have an 
out-patient nurse, and Col. Newman tells me he soon hopes 
to have a Superintendent nurse. I am grateful to Gour Nitai 
Sankhanidhi for having made it possible that a beginning at 
any rate shall be made with the scheme which my wife has so 
much at heart, and I hope this example will be followed by 
other generous donors. 

I agree with what Col. Newman said as to there being few- 
better ways in which private generosity can assert itself than 
in assisting the healing arts and I sLncerelv trust that the 
citizens of Dacca will show that in this matter they are deter- 
mined not to let the second city in Bengal be far behind any 
city in the Indian Empire. I was surprised to hear from 
Colonel Newman how small the proportion of Mahomedans 
here is. I should have expected the demand for medical 
education among the Mahomedan community in Dacca to be 
much larger. Of 260 students only 21 are Mahomedans. 
Col. Newman tells me that only 13 students applied last year 
and that of these he admitted 9. The others he had to reject 
because they had not reached a standard of preliminary 
general education such as would have enabled them to benefit 
by the teaching. My own personal knowledge convinces me 
that the standard of medical education must not be lowered 
and if the standard is to be maintained a good preliminary 
general education is essential ; but I feel sure that Mahomedan 
practitioners are sorely needed and I hope that soon there will 
be more Mahomedan candidates well qualified for admission. 



6. 

{Tabulated Precis.) 

The report of the Coromittee appointed by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal to consider questions connected with Mahome- 
dan education indicates a great advance on the part of the 
Mahomedan community in its \-iews regarding education, both 
primary and secondary. The Committee was composed of 
representative Mahomedan gentlemen who, it may be pre- 
sumed, know the sentiments and prejudices of their fellow 



204 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Moslems, and, if this assumption is correct, a broad progressive 
change has come about in Mahomedan ideas. Hitherto the 
prevailing opinion has been that, in the interests of Islam, 
separate schools were required for Mahomedan children. It 
is true that in practice Mahomedan boys, in considerable 
numbers, receive their education in ordinary primary schools ; 
but there has always been a strong feeling in favour of distinct 
institutions such as maktabs. This policy of separation was 
much strengthened by insistence on the retention of Urdu or 
Hindustani as a kind of Mahomedan language, in which 
Mahomedan boys must receive their instruction. Both these 
special requirements of Moslem education have now been 
abandoned. " The general conclusion of the Committee," 
says the Government Resolution, " is that it is necessary to 
maintain separate institutions for Mahomedans, but that it is 
undesirable to develop any further a separate system of edu- 
cation intended solely for that community." As to the wisdom 
of this decision there can be no doubt. It is virtually im- 
possible, for financial reasons, to establish an adequate number 
of sectarian institutions. Public money necessarily tends to 
go to the support of schools open to all creeds, and if Maho- 
medans are to enjoy equal educational facilities with Hindus 
they must comply with the same conditions. The decision 
of the Committee is in reality more far-reaching than it seems, 
for they recommend that " Government should recognize the 
existence of maktabs and encourage them as far as possible to 
add secular subjects to their courses of study." In this pro- 
posal the Governor-in-Council concurs, and the result of such 
a development should be that, as niaktabs conform to the 
standards for primary schools, they will be recognized as 
eligible for grants such as arc given to ordinary primary 
schools. In short, if the new policy succeeds, maklabs will be 
incorporated in the general education of the Province. Failing 
this, it is probable that measures taken to render the existing 
primary schools more attractive to Mahomedan parents will 
lead to the gradual extinction of the nmktab. Facilities for 
religious observances and the introduction of Mahomedan 
teachers will go a long way towards meeting the wishes of 
Mahomedans, now that the importance of a sound secular 
education is being perceived. As to the causes of the change 
in the attitude of the Mahomedan masses the Committee ad- 
vance a curious and interesting explanation. The Mahomedan 



II 



THE PRECIS 205 

cultivators have recently made great strides in prosperity, 
largely owing to the jute industry, and as they become 
comfortable their desire for litigation increases. " When they 
go to the courts," say the Committee, " they find that most 
of the pleaders and officials of the courts are Hindus ; they 
naturally feel that they would fare better if there were more 
of their co-religionists in the courts, and they are now convinced 
that it is to the advantage of their community that a certain 
proportion of their boys should go through the University 
course and become pleaders and Government officials." There 
is a touch of picturesqueness in this theory which provokes 
scepticism, but it is probably true that, speaking generally, 
Mahomedans have begun to realize that education has given 
Hindus great advantages and that it is high time for the 
Mahomedan community to adopt similar means of attaining 
the same end. Impressed with the need of promoting edu- 
cational progress among their people, the Committee have 
arrived at a decision in regard to the language difficulty which 
is as noteworthy as their pronouncement against separate 
educational institutions. Until quite recently the accepted 
view has been that Urdu must be the vehicle of education for 
Mahomedan children. " There is still an idea," say the Com- 
mittee, " at the back of the minds of the more conservative 
members of the community, that Urdu is the mother-tongue 
of all Moslems. Such persons admit that Moslems may have 
had to adopt the vernacular of the people among whom they 
live for the affairs of everyday life, but they contend that the 
language which is connected with Moslem religion and tradi- 
tion is Urdu." The Committee, however, while thev recognize 
Urdu as the language which represents Moslem culture, state 
that they realize that " the majority of Moslems in Bengal not 
only do not read and write Urdu, but do not even speak it. 
Whatever may be the reason, the fact remains that the ver- 
nacular of the present majority of Moslems in Bengal is Bengali. 
Accordingly, they formulate, for the first time, the opinion 
that " Bengali must be the medium of instruction in schools 
attended by children whose vernacular is Bengali." They 
add : " We also realize that, if Moslem boys are forced to learn 
Urdu in addition to their ordinary school subjects, the burden 
imposed on them will handicap them throughout their school 
career." The Committee are to be congratulated on their 
frankness and courage, and all who have given any serious 



206 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

thought to Mahomedan education will welcome a declaration 
which, if it can be translated into practice, will in itself effect 
an immense change in the educational status of the Moslem 
community. The Committee display much eagerness for the 
extension of higher education among Mahometans, and urge 
that Government should establish High Schools for their 
benefit. The wisdom of this recommendation is doubtful, 
while its feasibility is negatived by its cost. What is really 
wanted is a greater use by Mahomedans of the existing second- 
ary schools, under prudent limitations. The circumstances 
of the Mahomedan community give its leaders and the Govern- 
ment an opportunity of developing higher education on lines 
which will avoid the over-education that has been attended 
with such disastrous results among the Hindus. The Maho- 
medan cultivator is anxious that his son should be of assistance 
to him. Long may he remain of this mind, and long may the 
Government avoid the repetition in his case of the mistake 
of treating every boy as destined to become a B.A. of the 
Calcutta University. 

7. 
{Tabulated Precis.) 

The Nigerian trade in palm kernels affords an interesting 
example — and one which is of importance to India — of the 
extent to which Germany before the war had come to mono- 
polize the staple trade of a British possession to her own 
advantage. Of the 320,000 tons of palm kernels produced in 
Nigeria Germany took 280,000 tons. But while receiving duty 
free from Nigeria this produce, which is the raw material of 
margarine and many vegetable oils, she clapped a duty of 
£6 a ton on to all refined edible oils coming into her territory. 
The result was that her vegetable oil manufacturers, by over- 
charging the German consumer, could afford to undersell the 
English oil refiners and capture from them the Home and 
Canadian markets. A committee recently appointed by the 
Home Government to enquire into the subject recommended 
that the Nigerian Government should impose an export duty 
of £2 a ton on such of the palm kernels as are not destined for 
the British Empire. The Colonial Secretary has followed up 
this recommendation with instructions to the Governor of 
Nigeria to take this step. By the end of this month the duty 



THE PRECIS 207 

will be in force. As a consequence the oil-crushing and re- 
fining industry at Home has received a fresh impetus and mills 
are springing up in the lower Thames valley. The industry 
is expected to be a thriving one, in view of the importance which 
wholesome vegetable oils are gradually acquiring owing to the 
heavy reduction of the milch cattle of the world in relation 
to the population. Before the war India was exporting seeds, 
nuts, and kernels, to the value of £17,000,000 per annum. The 
future of this important trade is a matter of obvious urgency, 
and it is desirable that steps should be taken early to investigate 
the problem of finding new markets for Indian oil seeds and 
nuts, unless indeed Sir Thomas Holland's Commission can 
organize a crushing and refining industry in India. 

The Precis of Correspondence. — ^First get the corre- 
spondence in order according to date. 

Then put a number in the top right-hand comer of each 
letter, letting the first in date be Xo. 1. The number should 
be written in red. 

Rule the sheet on which the precis is to be written in 
this way. 

Date. 

1/7 1 From The Collector ofNadia. 

3/1 2 To The Sub-Dimsioiial Officer of Bongortg. 

Then state the substance, preferably in a tabulated form. 

This type of precis is used in presenting a case either to 
ourself or to a superior officer for a decision on it. It is 
therefore extremely important that the precis should be 
absolutely impartial. This is not easy. One is very apt 
to form as one goes along various impressions of the rights 
or wrongs of the case. The impressions are dangerous 
because they have been formed before all the facts have 
been studied. Therefore let the writer be continuously 
on his guard to prevent any such bias. 

^V^len the precis is finished it should be left for at least 
a day if the case is important. The facts are in mind. 
They should be thought over carefully before any con- 
clusion is reached. Delay of course is not always possible, 
but a little delay is always desirable except in straight- 
forward and unimportant matters. 



208 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



When the case, as a wJiole, has been thought over, the 
conclusion may be written. This should take the form of 
a Biassed Running precis, i.e. the case is told in a cursive 
form from the point of view which the writer thinks to be 
the correct one. The story of which the bare facts have 
been presented is retold with the supposed motives and 
explanations of these facts. 

Finally, a conclusion should be written in which the rights 
of the case are discussed and a recommendation should be 
made as to the action to be taken. 



Example. 
Date. 



1/5 



2/5 



7/5 



10/5 



11/5 



1 



Pay of Sailendra Nath Choudhury. 

From Babu Sailendra Nath Choudhury, 161, 
Cornwallis Street.* 

* As the letter is to the office in which the writer is 
employed, there is no need to state the addresses. 

He served till April 14, 191G, in the Oriental 
Institute, Khulna. He left to take up a post at 
the Indian College, Calcutta. The Oriental Insti- 
tute refuses to give him his pay for March and 
April. 

To Secretary, Oriental Institute. 
Forwards serial 1, for explanation. 

To Secretary, Oriental Institute. 
A reminder. 

From Secretary, Oriental Institute. 

Babu Sailendra Nath Choudhury gave notice 
on March 27th that he intended to leave on 
April Ist. As one month's notice is due, and was 
not given the school is justified in refusing pay 
for one month. 

To Oriental Institute. 

Requests Head Master to send Teachers' 
Attendance Register for March and April, also 
a copy of agreement form used for teachers. 



I 



THE PRECIS 



209 



Date. 

13/.J G 



14/5 



15/5 



17/5 



19/5 



21/5 



10 



11 



From Head Master, Oriental Institute. 

Forwards attendance register. States that no 
agreement is signed by teachers. 

A Note. The attendance shows that Babu 
Sailendra Xath Choudhury served till the end of 
February, also on April 1^5 and 8-14 (the 6th 
was a holiday, the 7th a Sunday.) 

To Secretary, Oriental Institute. 

The teacher gave notice for April. Why was 
he serving on April 1-5 and 8-14, and on what 
terms ? 

From Secretary, Oriental Institute. 

The teacher was asked to serve until a sub- 
stitute could be found. No terms were dis- 
cussed. 

To Babu Sailendra Nath Choudhury. 

On what terms did he agree to serve for April 
1-5 and 8-14 ? On what date did he accept the 
appointment in the Indian College, and on what 
date was he instructed by them as to his going ? 

From Babu Sailendra Nath Choudhury. 

He understood that he was to receive par. 
There was no special agreement. He accepted 
the appointment at the Indian College on 
January 2oth, and was told on Januar}- 30th that 
he would be needed on April 1st. On March 30th 
he was told to join on April 20th. He gave notice 
for April 1, because he wanted a few days' rest. 

Sununary. 

Babu Sailendra Nath Choudhury was serving 
at the Oriental Institute. On Januarj- 25th he 
accepted a post in the Indian College, under- 
standing he would join on April 1st. He could 
have given notice then. But fearing that he 
might be asked to leave earUer and so be left for 



210 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 



a few weeks without employment, he kept silence, 
and gave notice at the last minute. The school 
was left without a teacher and the Headmaster 
asked him to stay on to prevent disorganization of 
affairs. The teacher understood that he would re- 
ceive pay and the Secretary did not disillusion him. 

Conclusion. 

The purpose of the month's notice is to prevent 
disorganization of school work by the sudden 
departure of a teacher before a successor can be 
found. This purpose was served by the teacher 
staying on until lith. 

As there is no written agreement the school 
cannot insist on the letter of the law and refuse 
30 days' payment in lieu of the 30 days' notice. 

The teacher intended by a dishonest trick to 
inconvenience the school and would have done 
so but for the change of date on the part of the 
Indian College. He does not therefore deserve 
payment for the few extra days' service by 
which he saved the school from the inconvenience 
he had intentionally caused. These days of service 
may be taken in lieu of the one month's notice. 

The teacher should be paid up to March 30th. 



Summary and Conclusion — In making a precis for 
one's self in order to clear up a case, the summary and 
conclusion would naturally be included. In a routine case 
such as the above the Clerk might add a summary and 
conclusion if he feels certain of the case. If he were un- 
certain it would be better to omit both. 

In an important and difficult case, e.g. a reference from 
Government for opinion, or a very difficult local case, no 
summary and conclusion should be given. In such cases 
the superior officer will prefer not to receive suggestions 
which are obviously of little value. 

Notice that the Summary is omitted with the conclusion. 
For the summary is biassed, reflecting a certain point of 



THE PRECIS 211 

view of the case. When the precis is simply put up 
for orders no shadow of opinion should be allowed to 
creep in. 

Exercises. — Exercises may be obtained by borrowing old 
routine cases from a friend in an office. One or two printed 
cases may be found in " The Clerk's Manual," Thacker, Spink 
k Co. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE OFFICIAL LETTER 

Official letters are of three kinds — 

1. The Formal letter. 

2. The D.O. or Demi-official. 

3. The Memo. 

The memo, is used for brief and unimportant matters 
where a reply of only a few words is required. It is never 
sent to superior officers. A memo would be used to acknow- 
ledge a letter, to approve of an unimportant proposal, to 
request the return of some papers, as a reminder, as a curt 
refusal to take up a case. 

Its form is — 

Memo. No. 142. 

Dated Jalpaigari, 

August 16, 1917. 

To Babu Nagendra Nath Sen, 10 Mango Lane, Jalpaiguri. 
His letter of Aug. 14th regarding arrears of pay from 
the Iswar High School. The undersigned can take no 
action in the matter, as the school is unrecognized. The 
complainant should appeal to the Law Courts. 

J. Brown, 
Inspector of Schools, 
Rajshahi Division. 

Memo. No. 163. 

Dated July 15, 1916. 
To Deputy Inspector of Schools, Chandpur. 

The undersigned requests return of files 132X, 135X, 
139X Playgrounds in Chandpur Sub-Division. 

K. K., 
for J. Brown, 
Inspector of Schools, 
Chittagong. 
212 



r 



THE OFFICIAI. LETTER 213 

The memo, is an extremely useful form ; it should be 
used as often as possible. 

The Demi-official — The Demi-oflScial letter starts — 

Dear (Name) ; or in the case of a superior officer, 
" Dear Mr. (Name)." 

Previous correspondence is then referred to by number 
and date. The points at issue are dealt with one by one 
just as in the business letter. The letter ends " Yours 
sincerely." 

D.O. No. 63. Office of the Inspector of 

Schools, Jalpaiguri, 
June 24, 1916. 

R. Jones, Esq., Secretary of the St. Mary's High School, 
Kurseong. 
Dear Mr. Jones, 

Your 361 of June 20th forwarding estimates for 
new hostels for the St. Mary's High School. The estimate 
appears to be correct except for the item " steel girder 
carrying the wall over the bay window of the hall." ilr. 
Williams the Manager of the Phoenix Iron Company 
informs me that girders of that weight have increased 
25 % above their cost of last year. The price quoted 
appears to be the same as in the estimate submitted with 
your 153 of February, 1915. 

Will you kindly look into this point ? 

Yours sincerely, 
J. Smith. 

The Official Letter — The official letter is written in the 

form " I have the honour to " ^ This makes expression 

very cumbersome and difficult. The best policy is to get 
rid of the " have the honour " in the first sentence, put a full 
stop and then start free. The rest of the letter will be 
expressed as clearly and concisely as possible in just the 
same manner as an ordinary business letter. In writing 
the official letter there is a great temptation — ^why, I cannot 

' This in the case of heads of Departments. Secretary and Under- 
Secretaries use the form " I am directed to," " I am desired to." 



214 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

say — to put in redundant phrases : " to be so good as to," 
" kindly to," " to oblige me by doing," etc. Avoid these. 
But above all avoid the type of letter so regrettably common, 
which starts " I have the honour " and progresses in an 
infinite series of infinitives. 

" I have the honour to request you to refer to the corre- 
spondence ending with your 36 of Jan. 3, 1916, and to state 
that I cannot approve of your proposal, to borrow on the 
security of your grant in aid, and to desire you to revise your 
plans and estimates so as to reduce the cost of the project, 
and to enquire at what date fresh proposals may be expected." 

This is not the way to write a letter. 

The above example of badness may be made worse by 
introducing the redundancies so loved by the Drafting 
Clerk. 

" I have the honour to request you kindly to refer to the 
correspondence ending with your 36 of Jan. 3, 1916, and to 
state that I regret that I cannot approve of your proposal 
referred to above, viz. to borrow on the security of your grant 
in aid and to desire you to be so good as to revise your plans 
and estimates so as to reduce the cost of the project and to 
make enquiry of you as to the date at which fresh proposals 
may be expected." 

The above letter should be written as below : — 

" I have the honour to refer you to the correspondence 
ending with your 36 of Jan. 3, 1916. 

" Your proposal to borrow on the socurity of your grant 
in aid cannot be approved. Please revise the plans and esti- 
mates so as to reduce the cost of the project. 

" At what date may fresh proposals be expected ? 

" I have the honour, etc." 

Note the getting rid of the influence of " I have the 
honour " in the first sentence, also the avoidance of the 
" I " and the preference for the passive voice, as noted in 
a previous chapter, in order to make a style stiff and formal : 



THE OFFICIAI. LETTER 215 

In formal style prefer nouns to verbs and the passive to the 
active. 

The " have the honour " might have been avoided in 
another way. 

Sir, 

Your No. 36 of Jan. 3, 1916. 
I have the honour to inform you that your proposal to 
borrow on the security of your grant in aid cannot be approved. 

Example. 

Xo. 43. 
From The Head Master of Khulna Zilla School. 
To The Inspector of Schools. 

Khulna, 18th April, 1916. 

Sir, 

I have the honour to enclose an application from 
Babu Surendra K. Das, teacher of this school, for 5 days' 
casual leave. 

This teacher has already taken a great deal of leave 
during the session, causing dislocation of school work. 
I propose therefore to refuse the leave, but informed 
the teacher that the matter should be referred to vou. 

I have the honour to be. 
Sir, 
Your most obedient servant, 
KuMUD Behari Ray, 
Head Master, 
Enclos. 1. 

Notice again that wherever an enclosure is to be made, 
the word Enclos. should be written, preferably in red and 
the number of enclosures. The enclosures will then be 
verified before the letter is issued. 

Exercises. — Write the following letters : — 
Official. The Inspector of Schools informs the Head 

blaster of the Benodpur Government School that 
last year promotions were rather lenient. The 
mark sheets should be submitted for approval this 
year before the results are issued. 



216 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Memo. Are the mark sheets ready ? 

Official. Head Master submits the sheets. 

D.O. Why is Subod Kumar Chatterji, Class VI., pro- 

moted as he only got 207 out of 800 ? Is there 
any special reason ? Also Girindra Ch. Gupta, 
Class III., 147 out of 800. Ksitish Ch. Ghosh, 
VII., was absent from all papers except one, but 
is promoted. 

D.O. Head Master explains that Subod and Girindra 

were genuinely ill, and put in medical certificates 
from the Civil Surgeon. So also Ksitish who has 
excellent marks in all the weekly examinations 
and in the half-yearly Test, encloses certificates. 

Official. Inspector approves of the promotions and 

returns the mark sheet. 

Memo. Inspector returns medical certificates. 

2. 

Official. B. C. Ghosh, Clerk of the Superintending Engi- 

neer, applies for 6 days' casual leave from his 
home address. 

Unofficial The S.E. (on tour) writes to the Head Clerk 
(same form asking how much leave B. C. Ghosh has had, and 
as the D.O.) did he take leave in anticipation of sanction, if 
so why ? 

D.O. The Head Clerk replies that B. C. Ghosh has had 

2 months' privilege, 1 month medical and 5 days' 
casual leave. He is therefore entitled only to 
4 days more. His reason for leave was a wedding 
ceremony which he knew of beforehand. He took 
leave in anticipation. There was no need to do so. 

Official S.E. instructs B. C. Ghosh to return to duty at once. 
The leave taken will be on no pay, and he forfeits 
the rest of his casual leave, 
3. 

Official. The Sub-Assistant Surgeon in charge of the 

Bolpur Dispensary, tells the Civil Surgeon that his 
stock of dnigs is short, that the grant for next 
year will be insufficient owing to the increase of 
cost. 



THE OFFICIAL LETTEK 



217 



D.O. 



DO. 
Memo, 



D.O. 



Official. 



The Civil Sui^eon asks for details of amount of 
drugs used in last six months, in corresponding 
six months of previous year, proposed purchase for 
next year. 

The Sub- Assistant Surgeon supplies Ust. 

Civil Surgeon enquires why so much increase in 
consumption of Quinine, Ipecacuanha. Opium ? 
Why propose large purchases of Tabloid ammoni- 
ated Quinine instead of the ordinan- liquid form ? 
^V^ly Calcium Sulphate Tabloids, which were not 
supplied before ? 

S.A.S. states, Quinine — Recent Circular re- 
commended larger doses. 

Ipecacuanha and Opium — An epidemic of 
dysentery. The water is bad therefore epidemic is 
likely to recur. 

Ammoniated Quinine — The people do not like 
taking the liquid. 

Calcium — Recommended by the Sub-Divisional 
Officer for boils which are very prevalent owing to 
the bad water. 

Civil Surgeon sanctions increased grant of 25 % 
to cover increased cost of drugs. Also a further 
sum increase for 30 per cent, increase of Quinine, 
25 per cent, of Ipecacuanha and Opium, also Rs. 5 
for Calcium Sulphate. Refuses to sanction Tabloids 
of Ammoniated Quinine. These are a luxurj- and 
if the patients are reaUy suffering they wiU take 
what is given. In any case the malady for which it 
is given is not a serious one. 



Further exercises may easily be invented by working 
out the details of an imaginary case, e.g. — 

1. A school is required to submit plans and estimates 
for a new building to the Inspector. Corre- 
spondence with the Architect, the Inspector, the 
Contractor, the P.W.D., the Sanitary Com- 
missioner. 



218 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

2. A MunsifE represents that his court is extremely 

uncomfortable and dilapidated. He requires a 
new one. Correspondence with S.D.O., Collector, 
P.W.D. 

3. Claim for refund on an unused ticket. (This might 

be done in Business form, but may also be done in 
official form.) 

4. A report was published in 1867 on sugar-growing in 

East Bengal. A Sub-Divisional Officer wishes to 
get hold of a copy of it. He writes to various 
departments. Each department has no copy but 
suggests some other department which may have 
one, e.g. Government Press, Director of Agriculture, 
Dacca Government Farm, Pusa Farm, Director 
of Public Instruction, Imperial Library. 

5. A report has reached the Director- General of Police 

that local constable grossly maltreated a villager. 
He calls for the facts. As a matter of fact the 
villager was a notorious character and resisted 
arrest. This is explained. Correspondence 
between D.S.P. and H.S.P., etc. 

Exercises. — Write out the following correspondence in full. 
Then make a note-sheet abstract with orders. The result 
should be a complete file with all papers notes and orders : — 

1. The District Superintendent of Police writes to the 
Superintendent stating that the house of the Zeerut Police 
Outpost has become extremely dilapidated. The recent storm 
has made it almost uninhabitable. Considerable repairs will 
be needed. But it would probably be no more expensive to 
rebuild. 

S.P. requests (1) Actual estimates for repairs. 

(2) Actual estimate for rebuilding. 
He enquires whether it is proposed to rebuild on the same site 
and on the same plan. 

D.S.P. requests P.W.D. to give rough estimate for 
repairs, also for rebuilding the house on same plan as before but 
with deeper verandah uiul higher plinth. 

P.W.D. sends estimate for repairs, says plan for new 



THE OFFICIAL LETTER 219 

building cannot be given till site settled. Cost of new founda- 
tions would be considerable, whereas old foundations can be 
repaired if the present site is used. 

D.S.P. requests estimate for new building on the opposite 
site of the road. 

Estimate is sent, is forwarded to S.P. S.P. remarks that 
the cost of rebuilding is obviously much greater than that of 
repair. It will be better to repair. 

D.S.P. replies present site low and damp. Records of the 
outpost show bad health. Contrast with Circular Road out- 
post where cases of sickness less than § of Zleerut. Encloses 
copy of opinion of Civil Surgeon (a demi-official letter). Re- 
building on present site is out of the question. The alterna- 
tives are to — 

1. Repair present building, or 

2. Rebuild on a new site. 

S.P. asks what would be the cost of the land of new site. 

D.S.P. replies owner of new site will exchange plot for old 
site, old site being valuable as may be used for warehouse and 
landing stage. New site not on river. 

S.P. approves project. Notes that plan makes no indication 
of proposed sanitary arrangements. 



Deputy Inspector of Excise reports officially to Super- 
intendent of Excise that J. N. De, Sub-Inspector of Excise, is 
accused of falsifying his tour diar}-. He states that he went to 
Damuda on Wednesday, July 10th. The villagers of Halisahar 
bear witness that he was in Halisahar on that day. 

Superintendent replies that the accusation should be set 
out in the form laid down in Circular 51, and that the state- 
ments of the witnesses should be taken down in writing, and 
signed by the witnesses. 

Deputy Inspector forwards the accusation with depositions 
of mtnesses. 

Superintendent calls on Sub-Inspector for an explanation. 

Sub-Inspector explains that the villagers of Halisahar have 
a grudge against him for suppressing iUicit sales of liquor. 
People of Damuda will bear witness he was in Damuda. More- 
over he despatched from Damuda P.O. a money order to his 
wife on July 10th. (Enclosed.) This proves his presence in 
Damuda on that day. Post Master also bears witness. 



220 ADVANCED ENGLISH COMPOSITION 

Superintendent writes denii-of&cial letter to Deputy 
Inspector saying that the evidence in the case is extremely 
weak. Reports of this kind should not be made unless the 
case is certain and sure. An officer reported and acquitted is 
a man spoiled, for he has a grudge ever after, also a sense of 
wrong. Requests Deputy to be more careful in future. 



3. Dhirendra Nath Sen requests the Sub-Divisional Officer 
of Hotar to pay him Rs. 350 value of a horse. Said horse was 
killed by eating cypress which hung over ditch outside wall of 
S.D.O.'s garden. As cypress branch was outside S.D.O.'s 
garden, S.D.O. is responsible for the damage done. 

S.D.O. acknowledges receipt of the letter. Desires to be 
informed under what section he is liable. 

Dhirendra Nath Sen refers to case of Lawson versus Lea- 
royd, Reports XXXVIII, page 1151. 

S.D.O. writes D.O. to John Smith, District Judge of Arbelia, 
explaining case and requesting an opinion. 

Smith replies claim is perfectly correct. The owner of 
garden is liable for damage done by his garden. In case quoted 
horse ate laburnum hanging over road. In present case 
problem is. Who is responsible ? House is rented. Is S.D.O. 
or Government or the owner ? Answer is, Whoever sees to 
upkeep of garden, i.e. S.D.O. 

Requests S.D.O. to send acccurate plan of his house and 
garden, as there may be a way of getting out of it. 

S.D.O. sends map. 

Smith replies that boundary walls are usually built well 
inside the boundary of the land. In present case ditch belongs 
to S.D.O. Hence horse was trespassing when it ate cypress. 
S.D.O. is therefore not liable. 
S.D.O. replies to D. N. S. as above. 



THE END 



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