Clickable dictation at various speeds is available at the bottom of this page. The transcript of the dictation appears here as well.
The Graham system of stenography was basically an extension of Pitman's system. It had more shortcuts, more rules, more memory load in an effort to make the shorthand outlines as brief as possible. In a lawsuit, it was determined that not even Graham himself used all the "junk" in his texts. His system lost popularity quickly.
This month, we turn to a fable which was used as practice material. I have updated the language a bit, removing the "thee" and "thou" designations since today's stenographer will probably never take down such language. The piece is rather on the short side compared to prior months which means you should be able to practice it more and reach higher speeds.
The Handbook of Standard of American Phonography, Andrew J. Graham, 1894, p. 369
The Fox and the Goat
A fox and a goat traveling together, in a very sultry day, found themselves exceedingly thirsty; when looking round the country in order to discover a place where they might probably meet with water, they at length descried a clear spring at the bottom of a well. They both eagerly descended; and, having sufficiently allayed their thirst, began to consider how they should get out. Many expedients for that purpose were mutually proposed and rejected. At last the crafty fox cried out with great job\Y: “A thought has occurred to my mind, which I am confident will extricate us from our difficulty. Do you only rear yourself upon your hind legs, and rest your forefeet against the side of the well. In this posture, I will climb up to your head, from which I shall be able with a spring to reach the top; and when I am once there, you are sensible it will be very easy for me to pull you out by the horns.” The simple goat liked the proposal well and immediately placed himself as directed; when the fox, without much difficulty, gained the top.
“Now,” said the goat, “give me the assistance you promised.”
“You old fool,” replied the fox, “if only you had half as much brains as beard, you would never have believed that I would hazard my own life to save yours. However, I will leave you with a piece of advice which may be of service to you hereafter if you should have the good fortune to make your escape: Never venture into a well again before you have considered how to get out of it.”
For more information on shorthand speed building, click here.
Instructions for Self-Dictation Practice:
Copy and paste the above article into a word-processing document, using double or triple spacing and 12- or 14-pitch type.
As always, be sure to check your shorthand dictionary for correct outlines before "drilling"!
Note that the material was counted and recorded for dictation at 100; all other speeds were copied from the 100 take and electronically adjusted and may therefore sound unusual.
The dictation material above is copyrighted, all rights reserved.