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[166]

XXXIII. voices.

An exceedingly well-informed young woman said to another, in my hearing, the other day, “Do you not think that there is something in a voice?” It was my impulse to answer, “There is everything in a voice.” What is beauty, symmetry, or grace in man or woman if, the moment the lips part, there issue sounds so discordant that they drive you away like the harsh scream of a peacock? If we travel in the dark by stage-coach or sleeping-car, we instantly form an opinion of every person around us whose voice we hear. Their standard of manners, their chances of training, their course of education, often the very locality from which they come, reveal themselves. Qualities of character, as peevishness or sweetness, habitual interests, home habits, all indicate themselves there. And yet the voice has been until lately quite neglected in our schools. At this day, if anything is taught in that direction, it is mainly elocution; that is, the pronunciation of words and the utterance of sentences, while the

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