266 Old-time Schools and School-books
The first reader produced on this side of the Atlantic was compiled by the industrious Noah Webster, shortly after the Revolution, as the Third Part of his Grammatical Institute. Hitherto, the spellers and New England Primers were the only text-books containing exercises in reading. Webster's title-page describes his book as "An American Selection of Leffons in Reading and Speaking calculated to improve the minds and refine the tafte of youth, to which are prefixed Rules in Elocution and directions for expressing the Principal Paffions of the Mind." From the prefatory matter I have taken the several paragraphs which follow : —
Let each fyllable be pronounced with a clear voice, without whining, drawling, lifping, ftammering, mumbling in the throat, or fpeaking through the nofe.
If a perfon is rehearfing the words of an angry man, he fhould affume the fame furious looks ; his eyes fhould flafh with rage, his geftures fhould be violent, and the tone of his voice threatening. If kindnefs is to be expreffed, the countenance fhould be calm and placid, and wear a fmile, the tone fhould be mild, and the motion of the hand inviting.
Mirth or laughter opens the mouth, crifps the nofe, lef-fens the aperture of the eyes, and fhakes the whole frame.
Grief is expreffed by weeping, ftamping with the feet, lifting up the eyes to heaven, &c.
Fear opens the eyes and mouth, fhortens the nofe, draws down the eye-brows, gives the countenance an air of wild-nefs; the face becomes pale, the elbows are drawn back parrallel with the fides, one foot is drawn back, the heart beats violently, the breath is quick, the voice weak and trembling.