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these were not two sounds run together, but three methods of writing, at the same time, and that sounds - a short fine sound, a long open sound, on the same stone we find picture-writing of things and another short sound; namely, ba-ah-at, or that mean the thing drawn, and of things that B, A and T. By reasoning out from twenty to mean a sound, and should find, besides, alphathirty letters in this way they at last came to do betic signs having very little to do with their origaway entirely with their long list of syllable sounds. inal meanings and sounds. Wise as they were,
After some such fashion, therefore, men began to the Egyptians were not wise enough to give up realize the existence of consonants (definite, short, once for all their cumbersome methods, to choose chopping sounds, made by some change in the out from their own abundant store an alphabet mouth, along with a quick expulsion of the breath) which would express all the full and half sounds and of breathings (quick expulsions of the breath in their language, and agree among themselves to alone) and of vowels (slower and open outbreath- use it for monuments as well as for letters and esings accompanied by the voice). People did not at says on paper. In fact, it seems necessary that first distinguish so plainly as afterward between such advances must be made by a foreign race “breathings” and vowels, while in some cases they which picks out what is useful, and leaves the useused more consonants than there was need of; the less characters behind. Yet, in no known writlatter fell away in the course of time. But the great ing can the use of symbols and “keys " be done point was that they finally saw it was better, for in- away with entirely. For if we look sharply enough stance, to use two signs for al than one. Although at our own writing we shall find that we use little you might think it doubled the trouble, on the con- pictures that are symbols, and abbreviations that trary, it lessened it. For, in the first place, it are syllabic signs, and small marks that have the made writing much more exact, and fixed a spell- same office as the “keys," or “determinative ing for everybody; in the second, it reduced the signs.” These, you will learn, explained the gensigns to a number which could be easily remem- eral nature of the symbols near which they stood. bered. We have seen where the a came from. But do not our exclamation and interrogation The I took its rise in a picture of a lioness, called marks explain the nature of sentences ? So you lamed. Perhaps in some vanished syllabary the see we also use methods that remind us of all the changed figure of a lioness stood for a syllable past stages of writing. But the difference is that lam, and then was simplified into the Phænician l while we use only what is needed for clearness, from which we get it. To speak of one other: the the Egyptians appear to have held fast to signs letter I is thought to have come from the hieroglyph that encumbered them and made reading harder. of two feathers side by side. These were degraded Now you remember from our last paper, how into a zigzag, and this at last in Italy was made per- some of the wise men hold that our alphabet came fectly straight. By such steps was accomplished from Egyptian hieroglyphs. But, if the Egyptians the great change from syllabary to alphabet. could not shake off the cumbersome features of
When you go to the Central Park and see the their writing, what nation was it that improved obelisk, or to a museum where they have Egyptian and handed down to us our short and serviceable antiquities, like the Historical Society, do not fail alphabet ? I hope you have not forgotten the to examine carefully the figures. Many of these,
The Phænicians ! which are called hieroglyphs, are rebuses or sound- So far as history tells us, the Phænicians were writings; some are symbols; others were pronoun- a people of Asia Minor, supposed to have come ced, like our letters, very short. The Egyptians from a land where the date-palm called phanix were more apt, however, to use alphabetic signs grows. We know absolutely that they once lived on paper than on stone. They thought what was in Palestine. Thence they ventured off in ships to old-fashioned was best, and kept on using for Greece, Italy, Sicily, Northern Africa, and Spain, monuments the most ancient mode of writing. building towns and founding colonies, and teachThey had a way of writing a word very carefullying the Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards whatever according to its sounds, and then adding a key- they would learn of letters, arts, and manufactures. symbol, or “determinative sign,” or of clapping The Athenians, who reckoned themselves, and are down an exact picture of the animal and thing after still thought by many to have been, the most intelits written name. It would be like writing down ligent men in the world, were taught by the Phæthe word horse, and then putting a small picture nicians. The Etruscans and Latins of Italy were also of a horse after it to make sure — reversing the their pupils and the pupils of their Greek colonies. process of a painter who made a picture of a dog Being famous traders and merchants, large numand then wrote under it, “ This is a dog," for fear bers of Phænicians were always present as visitors some one might take it for an owl. It is singular or residents in the chief towns of Egypt, then the that the Egyptians should keep up several different richest country in the world, and considered also
the oldest and the wisest. It was full of great tem- it is, when we are young, to have names for the ples, and there were so many priests and priestesses letters which recall their sound and yet suggest that a stranger might have thought there were no something familiar. Few of us can fail to rememother classes. The priests were believed, and be- ber how, when we learned our letters, we had lieved themselves, to possess all the wisdom of gods blocks on which were very large capitals and and men.
There is evidence in Homer that at the then such legends as, “A was an Archer who time of the Trojan war the Egyptians were thought Shot at a Frog; B was a Butcher who Had a fine so wise that, favored by the gods, they were exempt Dog;” “C was a Cutler; ” “D was a Dustman;" from many of the ills of life, and were almost im- and so on. In the same way it was necessary for mortals. That is the way they impressed foreign the Phænicians to select Phænician names for the nations. Now, it is supposed that while living in Egyptian letters, beginning with the letter itself, Egypt some wise men among the Phænicians per- in order to remind beginners of the sound of the fected that alphabet of twenty-two letters which is letter. Perhaps another reason was that the Phæthe ancestor of ours. In Egypt there had been nicians, before they borrowed the signs, had some two kinds of writing in use from time immemo- sort of a letter-system of their own, probably a sylrial, one seen cut in stone on obelisks and other labary, in which the rough sketch of an ox's head monuments, called the hieroglyphic; the other was the sign for a syllable beginning with A. It for every-day use, and the writing of books, called was convenient to call the new letter by an old and the hieratic.* Hieroglyphic writing is the kind well-known name. It was also possible to see in which appears on the obelisk which has stood at the letter that came originally from an eagle, Heliopolis, in Egypt, for five thousand years, and but which had been greatly changed in Egypt on the two companion obelisks, one of which is in during the lapse of centuries, the head of an London and the other in New York. Our word And in the shapes of other letters in the paper, as you probably know, comes from the “hieratic” or running hand of Egypt, they word papyrus, an Egyptian plant, on the fibers might fancy a resemblance to the things meant by of which the hieratic was written in thick black ink the Phænician names. Every time a Phænician with a coarse, soft pen made by sharpening a reed. schoolboy looked at A, he may have thought of Now, the Egyptians probably had a large number the loop as the muzzle, and the two points as of true alphabetic letters; but the Phænicians, be- the horns, and cried aleph, ox! In the old hieing merchants and bankers, needed to write very ratic writing the sign chosen for B came from a quickly, and so to have a much less clumsy and com- little picture of a crane. But suppose the Phæniplicated alphabet than the hieratic. They there- cians had long been accustomed to use the name fore chose from among the many letters of the beth, house, for a sign in their old syllabary. When hieratic twenty-two that would spell all the sounds the schoolboy saw the Egyptian B, he would cry in their own language, and naming them aleph beth, house! The third letter, C, G, or K (which for A, beth for B, gimel for C or G, and so on- were often used for each other), came down in hieward, they formed the alpha-beta of the Greeks ratic from the hieroglyph of a throne, tent, or basket. and our own alphabet.
The Phænicians found it easier to call this gimel, or But why did they give their letters such names as camel, since they could fancy a resemblance between aleph, beth, gimel, and so forth? Why take Phe- it and the hump of the camel's back. And so it goes nician words and not Egyptian? For instance, why through the twenty-two letters. We see the Phæninot take the Egyptian name for A, when they took cians dropping whatever was their former system, the Egyptian letter? In Egyptian hieratic the and using the better one of an alphabet. Since their sound A was indicated by a double loop made by day, it has never again made so great a gain under sketching very quickly the outline of an eagle. But the various hands through which it has passed. The aleph, as the Phænicians called this letter, means chief improvement has been to make separate and
Why not call it by the name for eagle in their distinct the vowels which the Phænicians did not find tongue, since the sign was really a rough sketch of so important in their language as do we, and which an eagle? To understand this, think how needful the Egyptians could afford to neglect still more.
* Hieroglyphic,— from the Greek hiero, sacred, and głuphein, to hollow out or carve, -- means literally to hollow out sacred characters: hence, a carving of symbols. Hieratic is from the Greek hieratikos, priestly,—and signifies in this connection writing made by and for the priests of ancient Egypt.
BY MARIA L. POOL.
The snow was more than a foot deep on a level, Naomi glanced at the thermometer, which hung and Naomi could not estimate the depths of the by the door. It marked five degrees above zero. drifts that were piled here and there.
Then she went into the room where her mother “ However,” she said gayly, “the crust will sat, and put more wood into the cracked cookbear you; and I only wish I were going, too. stove. She was uneasy. She had an impulse to Tell Auntie her jelly was divine and her cake go out and run after her brother, but she remained transcendent.”
quiet, and told herself how foolish she was. “Divine and tranthendent,” lisped the child, She took up a book and read aloud for an who, although a boy of eight years, had been ar- hour, her mother placidly braiding straw the rayed in his sister's heavy woolen jacket, which was while. By that time a few flakes began to drift the warmest garment available. He had on a cloth about in the air, whirling, apparently with no incap without a visor, and this cap was fastened down tention of falling. with many windings of a white “cloud.” Rubber Naomi started up and Aung her book on the boots nearly enveloped his short legs, and leathern table. “ Mother,” she exclaimed; “I'm sorry mittens were on his hands, in one of which was we let Ben go !” grasped a six-quart tin pail. His bright, rosy “Ben knows the way perfectly ; and he will be face might have been that of a girl, and both in home by dusk,” replied her mother. size and countenance he appeared younger than Nevertheless, Mrs. Dunlap looked out of the he really was.
window, marked the ominous light gray of the Naomi used to say that when she felt very much heavens, and knew well that a heavy snow-storm in need of a sister, she called Ben a girl, but when was beginning. It might be a week before the she wanted a protector, she admitted that he was sun shone again. a boy.
Still it really was thilly," as Ben had said, to “You 'll go by the cart path, of course," spoke worry about him. up a woman who was leaning back in a large The wind kept shrieking around the corner of chair, and whose pale, thin face bore a resemblance the house. Naomi put on an old coat, hood, and to the faces of the children before her, and showed mittens, and went out to bring in wood. She that she was their mother and an invalid.
filled the woodbox and made a pile along the floor “Yeth, ma'am,” said Ben. “ Now I 'm off. by the stove. Remember, 'Omi, bithcuit for thupper.”
As she did so, a big Newfoundland dog came “ Don't break the eggs as you go, and don't from a corner of the woodhouse and followed her spill the milk as you come !” called out Naomi at back and forth. “Roy,” she said, reprovingly, the door.
“you ought to have gone with Ben.” She stood an instant watching the boy's figure Roy wagged his tail seriously, as if to say, he as it trudged along over the crust. She shivered had more weighty things to attend to than trotas she looked, for the air was biting cold and swept ting after a boy. down from the north.
When Naomi had finished her work, she walked The whole sky was covered by a light haze, toward the pine wood through which Ben had gone. such as often in New England precedes one of She did not quite know how cold it was until she those snow-storms in which the flakes sift down turned to come back, and faced the icy wind that with a sharp persistence that makes one breathless made her coat feel as if it were but a rag. who tries to battle against them.
How desolate and alone the small brown house, A sudden anxiety came to the girl, and she which was her home, looked now to her! It stood called after her brother:
in the midst of snow, with the snow flying about it. “ Remember, Ben, I allow you three hours,- The Dunlaps were very poor, as their home one to go, one to stay, and one to come home. plainly showed. Naomi's mother was a widow, Then it 'll be four o'clock. After that I shall be- and had been unable to walk for two years. You gin to worry.”
can imagine that Naomi, at fifteen, felt as if she “All right!” shouted the boy. “You 'll be were heavily burdened. very thilly to worry, though !”
She had been obliged to give up school just
It was three o'clock when Naomi came in and announced that the mercury had fallen two degrees more, and she thought she would begin making the biscuit.
The boy had gone to an aunt's with eggs, and was to bring back some milk.
“There is no danger of his spilling the milk,” remarked Naomi, measuring baking-powder. “It will be frozen as solid as a rock.”
At half-past four it was dark, of course. Naomi's biscuits were done and placed on the hearth, wrapped in a towel.
“Ben should not have stopped a moment longer than we told him,” said his mother, severely. “But, Naomi, you must not worry; there's no good in worrying.”
Nevertheless, the girl knew that her mother was worrying more and more, with every moment that passed.
It was snowing faster than ever now, as Naomi discovered when she stood on the doorstep and peered about her. She could see nothing. A blinding, cutting swirl was in the air and shut off all vision. As she stood there, Roy thrust his nose into her hand and whined.
She went in directly and put a light where it She screamed “Benny!” at the top of her voice. shone mistily out toward the pine wood.
“Oh, he must hear me!” she exclaimed to herThe cold was increasing so fast that she doubted self. “Roy, where is Ben?” if it could continue snowing much longer. But the The dog had kept near to her all the time. Now wind would drive the snow from the ground and he lifted his broad, snow-sprinkled head, and the drifts as blindingly as though the storm held on. pressed still nearer as if he said:
As Naomi went back into the kitchen where her “I am going to take care of you." mother sat, her face was pale but determined.
“Go!” cried Naoini, fiercely. « Find him! The thought of her little brother struggling Find him! Don't stay with me! Find Ben!" alone, in such a storm, was no longer endurable. The dog galloped away from her as she gave the
“Mother,” she said resolutely, “ I am going out command. When he had gone, she felt an unreato the pine woods. I shall take a lantern, and soning and almost helpless terror. Roy will go with me. Ben must be near home. I She stood still, for she knew now that she had will meet him, and bring him in."
not the least idea which way to turn. She was Mrs. Dunlap pressed her hands tightly together. like one in a dream, and still she must not dare In spite of her calm comments, she was half wild to remain quiet. There was that demon of the with anxiety.
cold waiting for her if she were to cease moving. She looked helplessly at her daughter, who was Her feet and hands ached so that from sheer pulling on long rubber boots. There was no pain she could hardly keep the tears back. neighbor within half a mile.
She went on, only trying to keep the wind behind “Then you will both be in the storm,” said the her, for that was all she had to guide her in the mother feebly; "and I can do nothing."
right direction, and she was fully aware how poor Naomi came to her mother's side and kissed a guide that was. her.
Where was the courage with which she had “You have the worst of it,” she said cheerfully, started ? She felt utterly subdued now, and her though her heart was like lead. ** But I shall be only thought was the thought of her brother. back in half an hour. With my lantern and Roy, She stamped her feet and swung her arms; I shall be well armed.”
then, as well as she could with her stiff lips, she She tied shawls over the very shabby coat, which whistled to the dog, but he did not answer. was all she had. She wheeled her mother's chair She went staggering on, whither she knew not. so that the good woman might be able to keep the As often as she could spare her breath, she stove full of wood.
shouted Ben !” and when no answer came, she “Don't worry, Mother, but please have a hot felt as if she were calling that name in a great, stove when we come back,” Naomi said, as she cruel world that had nothing in it but storm. took up her lantern and, followed by Roy, hurried Even the dog had left her. He had never been out into the storm.
carefully trained. Perhaps he had gone home. The wind swept into the entry, and howled so Mechanically she kept jumping about in the that the anxious woman within shuddered. snow; for she dared not go far in any direction.
It was comparatively easy for Naomi to go toward All at once, above the roar about her, she heard the pines, for the wind was at her back, and she ran Roy's bark, short and quick. The sound was like on over the snow-crust, swinging her lantern before an elixir of life in her veins. She sprang forward. her, and calling her brother's name in her fresh The dog, she found, was but a few yards away. young voice, that went forward on the rushing air. Naomi soon discovered him pulling at something in
It was terribly cold, though, even with the wind the snow. She dashed down beside that something, behind her! Her hands and feet began to sting and began furiously to brush the snow from it. and ache.
“ Ith 'at you, 'Omi?” asked a sleepy voice. She had not, as she believed, been going in the The girl began to cry, but she did not stop path toward the wood five minutes, when, in some working. unaccountable way, the wind was no longer behind “Don't bother a fellow !” said Ben, drowsily, her. It was rushing down upon her right, and she “I ’m all right. I'm only rethting.” felt as if she were going downhill.
“Resting!” repeated Naomi shrilly. She stood perfectly still, but trembling with a are freezing! Get up! You shall get up!” thrill of terrible alarm. She lifted her lantern; but She took hold of his collar and jerked him to from the first, the light had been of little service. his feet, the exertion sending a glow through her It made a small luminous halo, while beyond was frame. a blank, impenetrable white wall that seemed to “Now, thop that! I tell you, I 'm all right. I rush and roar about her- a wall that moved. wath cold, but I got warm.”