MARK TWAIN ON J. W. FOLEY.
Says the "Schoolboy" is a Public Pet and a Pioneer of Spelling Reform.
Mark Twain in Harper's Weekly.
A year and a quarter ago Mr. Foley began to do schoolboy poems in a fire-new and blood-curdling and criminal fashion of spelling which no self-respecting eye could endure at first. It was phonetics carried to the uttermost limit of exactness in the reproduction of sound effects. The public felt deeply outraged, and there was a smell of insurrection in the air - a quite justifiable condition of things, too, for the poems looked like the alphabet hiccuping home in disorderly squads, a most painful and irritating spectacle - but I ask you, what has become of that insurrection? No man knows. It disappeared and left no sign. For the public had done the fatal thing; it kept on reading the poems in order to curse the spelling, and of course the natural thing happened; familiarity with the spelling modified the reader's hostility to it, then reconciled him to it, and at last made him fall in love with it; and now - well, now Mr. Foley's schoolboy is a pet.
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