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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/283

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PSM V73 D283 Manner of fine japanese writing.png

Fig. 2. Manner of Fine Writing.

illustrate the point. The story is told of Rufus Choate that he wrote three hands; one which he could read and his clerk could not, one which his clerk could read and he could not, and one which nobody could read. Of a certain well-known Baltimore clergyman it is stated that he could not read his own manuscript twenty-four hours after he had written it. Similar anecdotes might be collected by the hundred. It does not matter whether they are literally true or not; the fact remains that the humorous way in which bad writing is treated shows that the general public sentiment regards poor writing as a thing to be proud of rather than otherwise.

Writing is to us a means of communication to be used as economically as possible—the biggest amount of communication with the least expenditure of pen-energy. Of course, from this point of view the best writer is the typewriter, and when typewriters are cheap enough we can expect the school-children to be taught typewriting instead of pen-writing.