84 SYSTEMS OF TREATING STAMMERING
a p. Why, it is preposterous. There's no more reason, phys-
ically, why you should hesitate on a word beginning with p or
any other letter than I should; it is all fancy.'
"He smiles a melancholy smile, and shakes his head sadly.
"'How long have you had this fancy ? Now don't be in a
hurry to speak, but recollect first, and then answer.'
"A pause of a few seconds; after a gasp or two, he at length
blurts out with an explosion of sound:
"'Nine years, eh? Now do you know the reason why you
don't say the word nine clearly at once, without boggle or hesi-
tation? Not why you can't say it, mind, but why you don't?
(He shakes his head.) Well, I'll tell you, and prove to you
that you can say nine, or any "other word beginning with n,
as well and as easily as I or any other man living, if you set
about it rightly. Now, then: shut your teeth close together,
opening your lips at the same time. (He does so.) Now
put your tongue against the roof of your mouth, just above your
upper teeth, and keeping teeth closed, and lips open, and tongue
in that position. Utter any other sound but that of n if you
"He does so, and tries to utter a sound, and produces, of
necessity, a repetition of the sub-tonic n, n, n. r
"'Very well! Now you see that it is not that you cannot
utter n, but that if you take the right means for the utterance of
the sound of the letter you cannot say anything else'
" He opens his mouth and tries to say 'No.'
"'Ha!' I say, 'you cannot say "no" with a mouth wide
open; you can't begin to say it, because the sound of n in no
requires closed teeth, or nearly so. Go back to your former
closed teeth and open lips and say no, at once, and without
"A pause, and he does so, and laughs with satisfaction.