5. Now, I wish to show you how hard he worked, and what he did, to become a great orator.
6. In the first place, then, he had a very weak voice, and could not speak loud enough to be heard by a large assembly; and, besides this, he was very much troubled with shortness of breath. These were very great discouragements, and had he not labored very hard to overcome them, he never could have succeeded.
7. To cure his shortness of breath, he used to go up and down stairs very frequently, and run up steep and uneven places; and to strengthen his voice, he often went to the sea-shore, when the waves were very noisy and violent, and talked aloud to them, so that he could hear his own voice above the noise of the waters.
8. He could not speak the letter r plainly, but pronounced it very much as you have heard some little boys and girls pronounce it, when they say a wed wose for a red rose, or a wipe cherwy instead of a ripe cherry.
9. Besides this, he stammered, or stuttered, very badly. To cure himself of these faults in speaking, he used to fill his mouth full of pebbles, and try to speak with them in his mouth.
10. He had a habit, also, of making up faces, when he was trying to speak hard words; and, in order to cure himself of this, he used to practice speaking before a looking-glass, that he might see himself, and try to correct the habit.
11. To break himself of a habit he had of shrugging up his shoulders, and making himself appear hump-backed, he hung up a sword over his back, so that it might prick him, with its sharp point, whenever he did so.
12. He shut himself up in a cave under ground, and, in order to confine himself there to his studies, he shaved the hair off of one half of his head, so that he might be ashamed to go out among men.
13. It was in this way that this great man overcame all of his difficulties, and, at last, became one of the greatest orators that have ever lived.
14. Now, whenever you have a hard lesson to read, or to study, think of Demos’thenes, and recollect how he overcame all his difficulties, and I think you will find that you have few things to do so hard as these things which he did.
15. When your teacher requests you to put out your voice and speak loud, remember what Demos’thenes used to do to strengthen his voice, and you will find very little trouble in speaking loudly enough to be heard, if you will only try.
1. In one of the former lessons, you were taught how to read long and hard words, by taking them to pieces, and reading a part of a word at a time.
2. I promised you also that this book should not be filled with hard words; but I did not promise that there should be no hard words in it.