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FORMATION OF LETTERS.
THE ART OF PENMANSHIP is obtained by frequent trials in imitating good specimens or copies, made for that purpose. The modern penwen, such as the late Mr. Towne, Mr. Forster, of Baltimore, and Mr. Dean, of New York, have afforded us elegant and modern specimens, well worthy of imitation.
Some one of their copies ought to be where we can often take a view of the formation of the letters and cuts. Imitations may be made with a piece of chalk on a board, or with a pencil on a slate, rather than to take a view and make no trial in forming those characters.*.
If some person would employ Mr. Fairman, of Philadelphia, to delineate and engrave a set of copies for the use of schools, I am of opinion that the performance would be well accepted by the public, and at the same time afford to teachers modern samples which would appear lively and elegant.
As to rules in writing, there are many; and alınost every writing masler has some small variation from his rival. These differences, however, are not of the greatest importance : it is true that some rules are better than others; but the main object is to instruct learners in the easiest and most expeditious mode of becoming good writers or good penmen. This may be done by adopting certain simple rules for the beginning, the ending, the joining, the length, the width, the inclination and proportion of letters.
Rules for imitating the elements of penmanship, as inserted in this book, entitled “ Every man his own Teacher," may be expressed thus:
1. The Stem No 1, may be formed by placing ihe nib of the pen in such a manner as to form the top of the slemn square and parallel with the upper line; then bring down a bold and quick stroke to the lower line, suddenly taking off the pen and leaving ihe impression square at the bottom.
2. Begin the inverted Ell, or No. 2, with a hair stroke on the middle line, proceed to the upper line, and from that gradually form a bold stroke, which bring down and take off the pen at the lower line, suddenly, as in forming the stem.
3. The Direct Ell, or No. 3, may be begun in manner as that of the sten, brought down with a bold stroke, and turned gradually with a hair stroke to the middle line.
4. Begin the Curved Ell, or No. 4, on the middle line with a hair stroke, turn the top like the inverted ell, and the bottom like that of the direct ell.
5. Form the Jay, or No. 5, like the loop of the capital G, with a small degree of curvity, the plate being imperfect by having the loop of the y, j, and g, too straight.
* It would be profitable for young teachers to visit Mr. Picket's school in New. York, and observe his mode of instruction. His Telegraphic Slates are of the greatest utility in teaching; and his pupils are more independently expert in penmanship, arithmetic, grammar, and geography, than any I have ever seen. The method of lecturing pupils in arithmet.c, at Baltimore College, Maryland, is also well worthy thre attention of young teachers.
6. Let the learners proceed and make the o, the inverted c, the c, k, v, r and w; then begin to inform them, that these marks are the component parts of the alphabet : begin with the h on line No. 1, and bring down a stem 10 line No. 4; then make a curved ell, and join the hair stroke to the stem of the h, or line No. 3, and carry its other hair stroke up to No. 3 also, to join the i on that line, as in the word history on the plate. See the plate. Have the plate in view and point to each character.
7. Then observe, that with a stem and a curved ell, we form an h; with a curved ell and a j, we forin a y; with an o, and a direct ell, we form an a, or an a and d; and, with an inverted ell and a curved ell, we form an n, &c.; giving at the same time such other pertinent lectures, as the master by his ingenuity may invent.
8. Observe to pupils, that all strokes in Roman text partake of an oval form, except the stem. For instance, continue the hair stroke of a c, with fine dots, and it will forin an o; continue the hair strokes of a curved ell, and they will form a double o; continue the loop and the upper part of the capital G, and each will form a large (); continue each particular stroke of a capital B, and they will form an O three times; and these observations will hold good with regard 10 almost every letter, great and small, in the alphabet.t When any capital letter is ended with a flourish, instead of a curl, let the flourish be formed in shape like an oval; and not suffer lines to cross each other, so as 10 form right angles; but always endeavour to leave them in such position as to cross obliquely, forming acute angles. And this caution inay apply to all scribblers, who are dashing cuts and flourishes, on slates or paper, for pastime or for improvement.
Aim to cut a flourish in such manner, as to have the beginning and ending of the stroke meet, and at the same time form an oval. These ovals may stand with an inclination, like the O or any other letter in the text hand, or, they may lie horizontally. A horizontal oval, or a segment of it, will help in forming an elegant capital D, L, or Q.
When capitals, such as B, F, I, K, P, R, S, and T, are ended with a curl, let them stand in such position, and be of such shape, as to cut through the middle of an 0; that is, if we begin at the curl, and dot an ( about the body of the letter, the O will be bisected. I
HOW TO HOLD A PEN. In the first place, let the body be stationed in an easy posture, resting more on the left side iban on the right, where the light comes from the Jeft hand; curl the ring finger, or that next to the little finger, into the hollow of the hand, and rest the hand on the little finger; also rest the arm, half way from the elbow to the wrist, on the edge of the writing desk or table. When children first begin to write, furnish thein with a slate and pencil; teach them how to hold the pen or pencil, and by degrees learn
them to point the upper end over the right shoulder; but as this manner - of holding the pen is unnatural at first, briug it on by degrees; give them an easy copy, such as the steni or inverted ell, show them how to place the marks equidistant, with spaces between about the width of a small n, make the marks of one inclination and of equal length. At the same time promise the little tyroes, pen, ink, and paper, when they become capable of holding their pens correctly:
It is said, that the use of ihe pencil is a detriment in holding the pen;" but experience has proved to the contrary, in thousands of instances.
+ See Mr. Towne's copies, New-York.
HOW TO MAKE A PEN. 1. In the first place have two penknives, of narrow thin blades, that are made of the best steel. One knife with a thick basil edge as it comes from the cutler, and another with a more thin edge, are necessary in making good pens for writing elegant copies in school. Shape the nib of the pen with the thick-edged knife, scrape the back of the nib upwards, in such manner, that will make it rough about half an inch, and check the end of the unfinished broad nib, with the edge of the knife; then, piace the thumb-nail on the back of the quill, so far up as you mean to have the split extend, and strike a sudden stroke with the knife to split the nib. This scraping roughly upwards, is to alter the texture of the quill, so that it inay split clearly, without a roughness cominonly called ganders' teeth; for no pen will write smoothly, and make fair strokes, if the split be rough.
2. Immerse a number of these half-made pens in water, and let them remain there till they are wanted for use; then, with the thin-edged knife, fiuish the vibs for coarse or fine hand writing as you chuse ; expose them to the air a short time to gain their strength and spring, but not too long, lest they curl out of shape. The immersion is to soften the quill, that it may not turn the edge of the thin knife, and the scraping and splitting of the quill when dry, is done because a quill will not split clearly when wet. The sharper the knife is when nibbing a pen, the more fine will be the hair strokes, and the more smooth will be the bold strokes.
3. When you are sharpening a penknife, observe in what shape the edge came from the cutler ; that is, a long basil is on the side that slides next to the quill, and a very short basil on the opposite side ; hone the thick-edged knife in the same manner as it was at first, but make the knife you nib with, more thin and keen. In forming the point of a pen, regard must be had to the thickness of the quill : if the quill be thick, the point and split inay be long, and the cheeks shaved till thin, then scraped till smooth, to make them pliable and elastic. But when you are shaving the cheeks, be careful and avoid taking off any substance froin the back of the quill where the split runs ; leave that part, generally, as thick as nature has formed it; because this will preserve the elasticity or springy power of the pen. One exception however may be noticed here; that is, before you cut off the nib of the pen, pare the back of the nib, beginning úpward about one sixteenth part of an inch, and take off a slice downward, forming the nib into a perfect point; this will improve the fineness, but will not decrease the elasticity.
4. If a quill be thin, the split and point of the pen must be short, and the cheeks not shaven; but such quilis will' not afford a pen suitable for handsome work.
For fine drawing, such as landscapes, or the representation of streams on a map, a house, a lake, a mill-pond, or the like, procure crow-quills : with these you may make a fine hair stroke, nearly equal in delicacy, to those impressed on a copper-plate.
5. REMARK ON QUILLS. When you stop writing with a good pen, leave it in the ink, or in some moist body, as, sponge, cloth, cotton, or the like, to keep it from curling out of the natural shape; but if a pen want mending, wipe it clean with a piece of soft paper, and lay it down to dry. In chusing quills, endeavour to obtain those which grow in the left wing; the curvature of such quills tvill fay to the forefinger of the right hand, and are more easily rolled and