248 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
horizontal, and from the various oblique lines; and must finally make clear the principal points of conjunction of two or more lines in forming a figure.
" This rational analysis of design, from which writing will spring, is so essential in all its parts, that a child who, before being confided to my care, already wrote many of the letters, has taken six days to learn to draw a perpendicular or a horizontal line; he spent fifteen days before imitating a curve and an oblique. Indeed the greater number of my pupils, are for a long time incapable of even imitating the movements of my hand upon the paper, before attempting to draw a line in a determined direction. The most imitative, or the least stupid ones, produce a sign diametrically opposite to that which I show them and all of them confound the points of conjunction of two lines no matter how evident this is. It is true that the thorough knowledge I have given them of lines and of configuration helps them to make the connection which must be established between the plane and the various marks with which they must cover the surface, but in the study rendered necessary by the deficiency of my pupils, the progression in the matter of the vertical, the horizontal, the oblique, and tne curve must be determined by the consideration of the difficulty of comprehension and of execution which each offers to a torpid intelligence and to a weak unsteady hand.
" I do not speak here of merely having them perform a difficult thing, since I have them surmount a series of difficulties and for this reason I ask myself if some of these difficulties are not greater and some less, and if they do not grow one from the other, like theorems. Here are the ideas which have guided me in this respect.