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DOWNWARD INFLECTIONS—THE FALLING SLIDE.
As the rising slide has a tendency to connect, so the falling slide has a tendency to separate, ideas. Dynamically considered, it is the strongest of all the inflections. More intense pathos may be expressed by the rising slide.
The falling slide carries the voice downward through a succession of tones.
NorE.-The voice is carried gradually downward throngh a whole clause or sentence.
The falling slide is marked with the grave accent.
It is used in the delivery of indefinite interrogative sentences (VIII, p. 13), the voice rising until the emphatic word, and then continuing to fall to the close of the sentence ;* as, “Where is the man who has not his wrong tendencies to lament'?" “When was it that Rome attracted more strongly the admiration of mankind, and impressed the deepest sentiment of fear on the hearts of her enemies'?”
OBSERVATION 1.-A circumstance following an indefinite interrogative is delivered with a continuation of the falling slide, the cir
* This direction, like its counterpart, for the delivery of definite interrogatives (CHAP. JII, on the Rising Slide, p. 30), is very general, and subject to many modifications, particularly under the influence of emphasis. (CHAP. VII, on the Effect of Emphasis on Other Inflections, p. 77.) It is merely intended to discourage those aimless fluctuations of the voice which so "easily beset" the reader in the delivery of long sentences, and to enjoin upon him to fix in his mind at the very outset the pitch at which he shall issue at the close, and steadily work toward it.
" Who was
cumstance taking its coloring from what precedes; as, it ?' said the unhappy man to his friend\”
OBSERVATION 2.—When the indefinite interrogative is too long for a continuous downward slide, it must be delivered with that slide at the beginning and at the end, the intermediate part being given in a level tone; as, “What reflecting American does not acknowledge the incalculable advantages derived to this land ont of the deep foundations of civil, intellectual, and moral truth
?) from which we have drawn in England ?”
OBSERVATION 3.-When an indefinite interrogative consists of several parts, especially if they are themselves interrogatives, separate, but related to each other, these parts should be successively delivered in a slightly lower tone unto the end; as, " What are we to look for when you shall be no longer hackneyed in the ways of men, when ritualism shall have completed the obduration of your heart, and when experience shall have improved you in all the
.?) arts of guile?”
OBSERVATION 4.-When an interrogative sentence is composed of two contrasted parts separated by the conjunction or, the former should be delivered with the rising, and the latter with the falling,
Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another\?”
OBSERVATION 5.-Such sentences must be carefully discriminated from those, apparently similar, the parts of which are not contrasted, and in which the or is used conjunctively; “Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel', or under a bed'?”
“ Do men gather grapes of thorns', or figs of thistles' ? ”
There are several exceptions to the rule. Thus :The indefinite interrogative may be delivered with the rising slide:
When repeated :
a. In order to obtain a more distinct answer; as, “When will you have my picture done'?' 'Next week.' • When will you have my picture done' ?' 'Next week.'” “What is he'? What'? Touch-paper, to be sure!”
b. With inquiry, surprise, or scorn, preparatory to reply; as, “ Hark you, fellow! whom do you live with'?' Whom do I live with'? With my mistress, to be sure.'"
«« What's the matter' ?' · What's the matter'? Here be four of us have taken a thousand pounds this morning.'"
NOTE.—The sentences“ Whom do I live with' ?” etc., are given with something like the waving slide (see CHAP. VI, p. 61), as they resemble in character the indirect interrogative. (VIII, p. 13.)
Again, the rising slide may be used with an indefinite interrogative:
c. When there is great intensity in the question, implying a repetition of what has been asked before; as,
"Well, then, away goes old Jack to the hospital.' "What's that you say'?'”
NOTE.--In this instance and others like it, the rising slide may be supposed to indicate an ellipsis, the full form of the sentence being definite. Thus, What'?” or “ What's that you say'?” may be the equivalent of “Will you repeat what you say?” or “ Do I hear correctly what you say ?
Finally, the rising slide is used with an indefinite interrogative:-
In parenthesis, except when marked by strong emphasis (See CHAP. II, 1, p. 18, and OBSERVATION 1, p. 19.
OBSERVATION. -The rising and falling inflections should be balanced as much as possible, when this can be done without affecting the sense. A succession of falling inflections especially, is injurious to melody.
NotE.-For the falling slide with compellatives see p. 18; with indefinite interrogatives in parenthesis sce OBSERVATION 1, p. 19; with definite interrogatives see exceptions to the rule, p. 31; with indirect interrogatives sce OBSERVATIONS 1 and 2, p. 61.
EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE IN THE USE OF THE FALLING
Indefinite Interrogatives, with Falling Slide. Who can say for how many centuries, safe in their undiscovered fastnesses, they had decked their warchiefs with the feathers of the eagle's tail, and listened to the counsels of their beloved old men ?
Who can doubt, that in the sacred desk, or at the bar, the man who speaks well will enjoy a larger share of reputation, and be more useful to his fellow-creatures, than the divine or the lawyer of equal learning and integrity, but unblest with the talent of oratory?
Who that reads the concentrated sense and melodious versification of Dryden and Pope does not perceive in them the disciples of the old school, whose genius was inflamed by the heroic verse, the terse satire, and the playful wit, of antiquity ?
Who will ever forget, that, in that eventful struggle which severed this mighty empire from the British crown, there was not heard throughout our continent, in arms, a voice which spoke louder for the rights of America than that of Burke or Chatham, within the walls of the British Parliament, and at the foot of the British throne ?
What could have been his motive for pursuing the conduct he did on that occasion, when his obligations to act differently were numerous and solemn ?
But what to them the sculptor's art,
Why wouldst thon, but for some felonious end,
Who that then
Indefinite Interrogatives, the Length of which Modifies
the Falling Slide. Wny did they not, in the next breath, by way of crowning the climax of their vanity, bid the magnificent fire-ball to descend from its exalted and appropriate region, and perform its splendid tour along the surface of the earth ?
Who can tell how much of his good or ill success in life, how much of the favor or disregard with which he himself has been treated, may have depended upon that skill or deficiency in grammar of which he must have afforded certain and constant evidence ?
What time can suffice for the contemplation and worship of that glorious, immortal, and eternal Being, among the works of whose stupendous creation those numberless luminaries which we may here behold spangling in the sky may possibly appear but as a few atoms, opposed to the whole earth which we inhabit ?
Who can look upon the heights of Brooklyn without fancying, that, as he gazes, the spires and streets fade from his view, while in their stead stern and anxious faces rise through the misty air, and amid them the majestic form of Washington, with a smile of triumph