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Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191

four and sixpenny manual published by the Clarendon Press. The postcards which
Mrs Higgins describes are such as I have received from Sweet. I would decipher a
sound which a cockney would represent by zerr, and a Frenchman by seu, and
then write demanding with some heat what on earth it meant. Sweet, with bound-
less contempt for my stupidity, would reply that it not only meant but obviously
was the word Result, as no other word containing that sound, and capable of mak-
ing sense with the context, existed in any language spoken on earth. That less ex-
pert mortals should require fuller indications was beyond Sweet’s patience.
Therefore, though the whole point of his Current Shorthand is that it can express
every sound in the language perfectly, vowels as well as consonants, and that
your hand has to make no stroke except the easy and current ones with which you
write m, n, and u, l, p, and q, scribbling them at whatever angle comes easiest to
you, his unfortunate determination to make this remarkable and quite legible
script serve also as a shorthand reduced it in his own practice to the most inscruta-
ble of cryptograms. His true objective was the provision of a full, accurate, leg-
ible script for our noble but ill-dressed language; but he was led past that by his
contempt for the popular Pitman system of shorthand, which he called the Pitfall
system. The triumph of Pitman was a triumph of business organization: there was
a weekly paper to persuade you to learn Pitman: there were cheap textbooks and
exercise books and transcripts of speeches for you to copy, and schools where ex-
perienced teachers coached you up to the necessary proficiency. Sweet could not
organize his market in that fashion. He might as well have been the Sybil who
tore up the leaves of prophecy that nobody would attend to. The four and six-
<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191

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