Mind, I myself am a Simplified Speller; I belong to that unhappy guild that is patiently and hopefully trying to reform our drunken old alphabet by reducing his whiskey. Well, it will improve him. When they get through and have reformed him all they can by their system he will be only HALF drunk. Above that condition their system can never lift him. There is no competent, and lasting, and real reform for him but to take away his whiskey entirely, and fill up his jug with Pitman's wholesome and undiseased alphabet.

One great drawback to Simplified Spelling is, that in print a simplified word looks so like the very nation! and when you bunch a whole squadron of the Simplified together the spectacle is very nearly unendurable.

The da ma ov koars kum when the publik ma be expektd to get rekonsyled to the bezair asspekt of the Simplified Kombynashuns, but--if I may be allowed the expression--is it worth the wasted time? [Figure 7]

To see our letters put together in ways to which we are not accustomed offends the eye, and also takes the EXPRESSION out of the words.

La on, Makduf, and damd be he hoo furst krys hold, enuf!

It doesn't thrill you as it used to do. The simplifications have sucked the thrill all out of it.

But a written character with which we are NOT ACQUAINTED does not offend us--Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, and the others--they have an interesting look, and we see beauty in them, too. And this is true of hieroglyphics, as well. There is something pleasant and engaging about the mathematical signs when we do not understand them. The mystery hidden in these things has a fascination for us: we can't come across a printed page of shorthand without being impressed by it and wishing we could read it.

Very well, what I am offering for acceptance and adopting is not shorthand, but longhand, written with the SHORTHAND ALPHABET UNREACHED. You can write three times as many words in a minute with it as you can write with our alphabet. And so, in a way, it IS properly a shorthand. It has a pleasant look, too; a beguiling look, an inviting look. I will write something in it, in my rude and untaught way: [Figure 8]

Even when _I_ do it it comes out prettier than it does in Simplified Spelling. Yes, and in the Simplified it costs one hundred and twenty-three pen-strokes to write it, whereas in the phonographic it costs only twenty-nine.

[Figure 9] is probably [Figure 10].

Let us hope so, anyway.



This line of hieroglyphics was for fourteen years the despair of all the scholars who labored over the mysteries of the Rosetta stone: [Figure 1]

After five years of study Champollion translated it thus:

Therefore let the worship of Epiphanes be maintained in all the temples, this upon pain of death.

That was the twenty-forth translation that had been furnished by scholars. For a time it stood. But only for a time. Then doubts began to assail it and undermine it, and the scholars resumed their labors. Three years of patient work produced eleven new translations; among them, this, by Gr:unfeldt, was received with considerable favor:

The horse of Epiphanes shall be maintained at the public expense; this upon pain of death.

But the following rendering, by Gospodin, was received by the learned world with yet greater favor:

The priest shall explain the wisdom of Epiphanes to all these people, and these shall listen with reverence, upon pain of death.

Seven years followed, in which twenty-one fresh and widely varying renderings were scored--none of them quite convincing. But now, at last, came Rawlinson, the youngest of all the scholars, with a translation which was immediately and universally recognized as being the correct version, and his name became famous in a day. So famous, indeed, that even the children were familiar with it; and such a noise did the achievement itself make that not even the noise of the monumental political event of that same year--the flight from Elba--was able to smother it to silence.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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