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And Sarah, my master's wife, bare a son to my master when he was old; and unto him hath he given all that he hath.
And my master made me swear, saying, “Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell. But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.'
And I said unto my master, “Peradventure the woman will not follow me.”
And he said unto me, "The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house. Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give thee not one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.”
And I came this day unto the well, and said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now Thou do prosper my way which I go: Behold I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, 'Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink,' and she say to me, 'Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels,'-let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath pointed out for my master's son.”
And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew
water. And I said unto her, “Let me drink, I pray thee."
And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, “Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also.” So I drank, and she made the camels drink also.
And I asked her and said, “Whose daughter art thou?"
And she said, “The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him.' And I put the earring upon her face, and the brace
, let upon her hands. And I bowed down my head, and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me into the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.
And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.
Write out and bring to class a list of things you have read which may be regarded as illustrative of the four types below. If possible, select from familiar works, such as other members of the class have perhaps read. Be prepared to give orally in class your reasons for classifying the specimens as you have done.
(1) A written composition. Roughly speaking, we may say that a given piece of writing is to be regarded as a written composition if its author does not imagine it to have been spoken by some one.
(2) A public speech. Although what you select now stands in printed form, why can it any longer be spoken of as a “speech”'?
(3) A conversation. You will experience no diffi. culty in finding, under this head, a great many illustrations in short stories, novels, and plays.
(4) An oral composition. Lengthy and uninterrupted parts of conversation that stick rather closely to one centralized thought would supply your need here. The Bible, Arabian Nights, and long discussions by one character in plays or novels are sources to which you can go.
2. The Basis of Oral Composition.-Can people be taught to express themselves better orally? Are there any helpful suggestions for the person who would learn to talk in a clear, interesting manner! Men used to ask such questions about writing. But nowadays it is generally conceded that we can be taught to write better. Long before grammars and rhetorics were invented, men were writing out their thoughts, each man according to a system that he regarded as best. Some men had better order to their writing, a better style of expression,—their works were more interesting and clearer than those of other men. A few critical readers analyzed the product of these best authors to discover what were the qualities that gave them excellence. This analysis revealed in the good writings certain recurring and desirable characteristics of sentence structure, paragraphing, and construction of the whole composition. As a result of these investigations, critics wrote books of rhetoric and composition, with the aim of helping the less gifted to write better than they otherwise would do.
Oral composition is now going through a somewhat similar process of development. Men have practiced this means of communication since primitive times, but, doubtless because talking is a thing so constantly indulged in, they have never taken the time to study how our informal speech might be made more pleasant and intelligible to those listening to us. We are now beginning to notice the talk of the dull speaker to see why he is dull, and that of the pleasant speaker to see why he is interesting. From this observation of bad and good talking, we are able to formulate certain principles helpful to the person who wishes to talk pointedly, clearly, and pleasantly.
And, too, we take into consideration the fact that every person is the resultant of two forces,--his heredity and his environment (our education and training being included in the latter). Heredity may have given you an aptitude for violin playing; but no matter how well you can play in a natural way, you can improve your talent by taking instruction along the line of your particular gift. On the other hand, if nature has slighted you as a musician, you can, by learning and following principles studied out by violinists, greatly develop what small musical ability you do possess. The same thing is true of talk
Ing. Whether or not you are an easy, fluent talker, it is possible for you to make great improvement by constant and systematic practice.
3. The Value of Oral Composition.-Oral composition is not intended as a substitute for written composition; but rather the two are to co-operate, to supplement and aid each other. If you know how to write with order, clearness, and force, you can readily transfer this ability to your oral work. And, in a similar way, if you are able to make before your classmates a unified, interesting talk, developed in smooth language and choice words, you can easily apply some of these qualities to your writing. You will tend to take more into consideration the humanness of the person who is to read what you write; and, as a result, you will endeavor to be more natural, to be free from the stiff phraseology and artificial conventions so often indulged in by young writers. You will put into your writings a touch of the individual, of self. When you learn from experience that a “bookish” talk is dull, you will know that the same quality is harmful to writing.
Since oral composition is related to public speaking, the two work in harmony. It is a transition between broken conversation and public speaking. It is easier than public speaking, for the speaker sits (if he wishes) at his ease, and talks in his usual tone. Most of us can think ten minutes on a familiar subject, and talk as long, if some one but draw us out with questions. Our chief difficulty is to connect