This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Having the necessary materials in readiness for writing, the student should set apart a certain hour or two each day for practice in penmanship, for at least one month, carefully observing the following directions:
See Plate 1. Carefully examine each copy on this plate. Devote one page in the writing book to the practice of each copy. Commence with copy No. 1. The practice of this copy is an important exercise for two reasons, being : first, to give sufficient angularity for rapidity in writing; and second, to give freedom of movement.
The student who carries a heavy, cramped hand, will find great benefit result from practicing this copy always at the commencement of the writing exercise. Rest the hand on the two lower fingers - never on the wrist, and rest the body and arm lightly upon the forearm. Assume thus a position whereby the pen can take in the entire sweep of the page, writing this exercise, in copy No. 1, from the left to the right side of the page, without removing the pen from the paper while making the same. The student may write both with pen and lead-pencil, and should continue the practice of this exercise until perfect command is obtained of the fingers, hand and arm ; and all evidence of a stiff, cramped penmanship disappears.
Copy No. 2 is a contraction of copy No. 1, making the letter
Great care should be used in writing this letter to make the several parts of the same, uniform in height, size, and slope ; the downward slope of all the letters being at an angle of 52 degrees. See diagram illustrating slope of letters.
AN object early to be attained, is to acquire an easy, graceful and healthful position of body while sitting or standing, when writing. To obtain this, the writer should sit with the right side to the desk, using a table so high as to compel the body to sit erect.
Rest the arm lightly upon the elbow and forearm, and the hand upon the two lower fingers, the wrist being free from the desk. Allow the body and head to incline sufficiently to see the writing, but no more.
Maintain a position such as will give a free expansion of the lungs, as such posture is absolutely indispensable to the preservation of health.
A desk or table, with a perfectly level surface, is best for writing. "Where a decided preference is manifested for sitting with the left side, or square, to the desk, such position may be taken. If the desk slopes considerably, the left side is preferable.
Avoid dropping the body down into an awkward, tiresome position. If wearied with continued sitting, cease writing. Lay down the pen, step forth into the fresh air, throw back the arms, expand the chest, inflate the lungs, and take exercise. When work is again resumed, maintain the same erect position, until the habit becomes thoroughly fixed of sitting gracefully and easily, while engaged in this exercise.
TO secure the correct slope of a plain, rapid penmanship, when writing, keep the paper at right angles with the arm, holding the same in position with the left hand, the edge of the paper being parallel with edge of the desk.
Hold the pen between the thumb and second finger, resting against the corner of the nail, with the forefinger on the back of the pen, for the purpose of steadying it; having the thumb sufficiently bent to come opposite the forefinger joint, the two last fingers being bent under, resting lightly on the nails.
Avoid dropping or rolling the hand and pen too much to one side, thereby causing one point of the pen to drag more heavily than the other, thus producing a rough mark in writing. A smooth stroke indicates that the pen is held correctly; a rough one tells us when the position is wrong.
Sit sufficiently close to the desk to avoid the necessity of leaning forward or sidewise in order to reach the same, and occupy a chair that gives support to the back, using a table large enough to comfortably hold all the writing materials that are necessary when writing.
Copy No. 3 shows (see Plate I) the in words, and illustrates the distinction that should be made between the several letters, to make writing plain. See "Description of the Plates."