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[167] voice itself, which is the foundation of all elocution, remains untrained.

Yet there is no training which we as a nation need more. Whether by change of climate or of habits, we in this country have lost the good average of clear enunciation which prevails in England. Through the general spread of popular education we have really less of local dialect than the English; and the mere pronunciation of words is on the whole as well done here; it is in the tones of voice that the disadvantage lies. English people make the mistake of supposing that what they call “the American twang” is universal, just as we make the mistake of supposing the dropped “h” to be universal in England; but each evil is too common. Nor is it in comparing the best-trained people especially that we notice any drawback among ourselves, for English public speakers are very awkward compared to ours; and there is now much of the Dundreary affectation in London fashionable circles. But that the ordinary well-to-do Englishman speaks in a more agreeable voice than the ordinary well-to-do American is something that there is no use in denying; and when the comparison is applied to the average woman, the answer is still more inevitable. I must confess to preferring a well-bred American woman to her English compeer in every aspect but this one; her greater

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