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THE MECHANISM OF WRITING                263

smooth cards on which are applied letters of the alphabet in sand-
paper; these are traced repeatedly following the direction taken
in writing. There are thus fixed the relative movements of the
hand and the arm, which in this way have become capable of
reproducing any sign which the eye, at the same time, has the
opportunity of fixing gradually. There is thus memorized in a two-
fold manner the symbols of the alphabet—by sight and by touch.
Summing up, the two mechanical factors of writing are
resolved into two independent exercises: drawing, which gives
the hand skill in handling the writing instrument; and touching
the letters of the alphabet, which serves to establish the motor
memory together with the visual memory of the letters.


I made two similar desks having slightly sloping wooden
tops and supported on four short legs also of wood; at the lower
edge of the sloping top there is fixed a transverse bar which prevents
things from slipping off the support. Fitting exactly into each
desk there are four square plaques with insets, each of 14 cm.
sides, of iron, coloured pink. In the centre of every plate there is
an inset piece, also of iron, blue in colour and provided at the
centre with a brass knob.


When the two desks are put together, they look somewhat
like a single desk which contains eight figures; this may be placed,.
for example, on a ledge, on the mistress's table, on a cupboard,
or even on the edge of the child's table.

The object is elegant and attracts the child's attention. He
may choose one or more figures, and he takes the inset piece along
with the frame.

The similarity with the flat insets already noticed is complete,,
only here the child has at his free disposal pieces which are very