TEACHING READING AND WRITING 251
which he has them draw to right and left of a vertical and above and below a horizontal, and concludes: "So we find the solution of the problems for which we sought — the vertical line, the horizontal, the oblique, and the four curves, whose union forms the circle, contain all possible lines, all writing.
" Arrived at this point, Itard and I were for a long time at a standstill. The lines being known, the next step was to have the child trace regular figures, beginning of course, with the simplest. According to the general opinion, Itard had advised me to begin with the square and I had followed this advice for three months, without being able to make the child understand me."
After a long series of experiments, guided by his ideas of the genesis of gRometric figures, Seguin became aware that the triangle is the figure most easily drawn.
" When three lines meet thus, they always form a triangle, while four lines may meet in a hundred different directions without remaining parallel and therefore without presenting a perfect square.
" From these experiments and many others, I have deduced the first principles of writing and of design for the idiot; principles whose application is too simple for me to discuss further."
Such was the proceeding used by my predecessors in the teaching of writing to deficients. As for reading, Itard proceeded thus: he drove nails into the wall and hung upon them, gRometric figures of wood, such as triangles, squares, circles. Tie then drew the exact imprint of these upon the wall, after which he took the figures away and had the " boy of Aveyron " replace them upon the proper nails, guided by the design. From this design Itard conceived the idea of the plane gRometric