182 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
varieties of tone which go to make up the music of the word. Between this task and the preceding there stretched a prodigious difference, especially for a being whose development was dependent upon gradual effort, and who advanced toward civilisation only because I led thitherward so gently that he was unconscious of the progress. Eacing the difficulty now presented, I had need to arm myself more strongly than ever with patience and gentleness, encouraged by the hope that once I had surmounted this obstacle all would have been done for the sense of hearing.
" We began with the comparison of the vowel sounds, and here, too, made use of the hand to assure ourselves as to the result of our experiments. Each one of the fingers was made the sign of one of the five vowels. Thus the thumb represented A and was to be raised whenever this vowel was pronounced; the index finger was the sign for E; the middle finger for I; and so on.
" VI: Not without fatigue, and not for a long time, was I able to give a distinct idea of the vowels. The first to be clearly distinguished was O, and then followed A. The three others presented much greater difficulty, and were for a long time confused. At last, however, the ear began to perceive distinctly, and, then, there returned in all their vivacity, those demonstrations of joy of which I have spoken. This continued until the pleasure taken in the lessons began to be boisterous, the sounds became confused, and the finger was raised indiscriminately. The outbursts of laughter became indeed so excessive that I lost patience! As soon as I placed the blindfold over his eyes the shouts of laughter began."
Itard, finding it impossible to continue his educational