164 SYSTEMS OF TREATING STAMMERING
GinguenB that it was customary in Rome for those that spoke
with difficulty to aUow themselves to be accompanied by a
musical instrument when making a public address, and that in
speaking, they then followed the musician.. Gracchus never
spoke in public without having a slave beside him playing lightly
on a flageolet.
"Declaiming in verse greatly modifies stammering. The
stammerer is compelled to observe a certain poetic rhythm,
and to identify himself with the character he is portraying:
he is successively Caesar and Britannicus, then Tancred and
Othello. The attention that he must constantly apply to place
himself in the position of his hero becomes an accessory idea;
which, I repeat, together with the main idea, so modifies and
reduces the nervous influence that precedes the latter, that this
influence comes more into harmony with the muscular con-
tractions of the speech-organs.
" After what I have already said, the reader will of course
infer that the basis of my curative system is rhythmic speech.
"And in truth, one of the principal means that I employ
in combating stammering is rhythm, this perfect regulator of
all our movements. ... One must take care to speak the
syllables metrically, beating time with the foot or pressing the
thumb and forefinger together at every syllable,1 or after the
second, third, or the fourth and sixth syllables — as one may
wish. One can beat time according to f, |, f, |, or f
measure. The stammerer must rely especially upon this
metrical regulation of the syllables, and must give his chief
attention to it."
1 Variants of this device employed by modern "speech specialists"
are: nodding the head, flexing the index-finger, waving the arm,
moving the hand in a circle or in the form of a horizontal 8(0°) and
executing consentaneous finger-movements, beating time with a