the student has faithfully followed the preceding instructions he
should by this time have attained considerable facility in the
imitation of near articulate sounds as employed with figures, and have
developed considerable capacity for creating the distant sounds that
form the art to which was originally applied the term Ven¬triloquism.
In fact, he should now be able not only to imitate near voices in
caricature, but also to " throw " his voice into a box or closet, to
the room above and the cellar below, and to cause it to appear
gradually to ascend from a level or the basement to the floor or roof
above (by simply reversing the method given for making it seem to
descend), and even to approach from a distant point on a level until it
sounds close at hand, or recede until it is heard no more.
therefore now ready to amalgamate these accomplishments to produce a
natural effect, or what is a humorous travesty of nature, for
enter¬tainment purposes. The utterance of sounds with an unmoved
countenance is one step toward this end, and the requisite subtlety and
device neces¬sary to ventriloquial acting, is again another, as is also
the proper selection of a ventriloquial vocabulary.
of a right vocabulary can easily be seen by trying to say without
moving the lips a sentence containing a number of " p's " or " b's "
like " the persistent pertinacity of the priesthood," and though you
try for a century the effort will not be fully satisfactory. If, on the
other hand, you attempt such phrases as "Hullo, down there," "Yes, I'm
here," "Good¬night to you," you will find no difficulty. Avoid,
therefore, as much as possible those words in which occur labial
sounds, or letters which can only properly be pronounced by aid of the
lips. By substituting for such sentences as trouble you those which may
be pronounced without aid of the lips, you have the key to the
prevention of any difficulty of this kind which you may expe-rience.
Arrange such sentences as do not require labial pronunciation and
practice these before a mirror until yon can employ ventriloquism,
either" Near" or " Distant" without change of coun¬tenance.
nice little point of procedure which may be taken advantage of to help
conceal the limita¬tions of the art may be mentioned here, to wit: when
you speak in your natural voice, employ, if you can without rendering
your speech stilted and absurd, words that are impracticable in
ven¬triloquism; also make your utterance as far for¬ward in the mouth
as possible, and exaggerate a little the unrestrained motion of your
lips. When you cease to speak naturally, your countenance changes as if
you had really ceased, although you are still sustaining a
conversation. After a time, when you drop the natural voice the face
changes by habit from animation to repose, and the vocal organs
mechanically adjust themselves for the effect required.