Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, November 01, 1878, Page 459, Image 4

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but because in nil time talking lias been
one of the greatest sources of pleasure as
well as improvement. We have a thought
but half.formod ; moulded by the single
touch of the tongue it leaps into dollnito
shapu. Butler says : " It matters little
how vast an amount of inlollectiml wealth
a man has in solid bars if he cannot mint
it into coin in the commerce of thought."
We may have a line of argument, vague
and dimly out-Hnod, but in giving itself
expression, it unwinds a clear and well
dellucd chain. Who can bound the picas,
lire experienced by intelligent and conge.
11 i nl people when they converse with each
other, and exchange their thoughts and
opinions upon subjects mutually interest
ing. Nothing is so indicative of character as
conversation. Hear anyone talk and you
know what ho is. llere, culture, refine
nienl, wit, eloquence and genius show
themselves in every sound; there, coarse
ness and ignorance.
Some people profess to read character
from the haudwriting or face of a person,
where to a great extent character may be
concealed; but let a man open his lips and
immediately we say: "lie is educated,
cultured, intelligent ;" or on the other hand
we pronounce him, ignorant, rude, billy.
In short us some one has put it, "Couver
satiou is the vent of character as well as
of thought." How delightful it must have
been to sit and listen to such talkers as
Macnulay, Ben Johnson, Burke, Lord
Chatham, Madame DeSlael, and scores of
other brilliant talkers. I remember a lit
tle anecdote told of Madame De Stael
which well illustrates her conversational
power. At one time, though poor, she
was obliged to invite a number of gentle
men to dine with her. At the table she
endeavored by conversation to cover if pos
sible the baroness of the board. The serv
ant slipped up to her in the midst of the
dinner unci whispered in her ear: " one
more anecdote, Madame, there is no
roast." She told the anecdote, and neither
the roast, nor any thing else that was nec
essary was missed. How wonderfully
fascinating she must have been to make
men forgot their dinners.
In choosing illustrations from brilliant
conversationists 1 am at a loss whom to
select from the many who have shone in
that sphere. Going back to the ancients,
there was Socrates, who spent his whole
life in talking and testing the goodness of
others, confuting and entangling them in
their own arguments until no made them
tlatly contradict themselves and acknowl
edge his victory. Cicero we may judge
by some few stories that are told of
him. Once in conversation with a Ro
man lady, she said she was thirty years
old; he replied that it must be true as he
had heard it for twenty years. In modern
times wo find a large number of flue con
versationists. Samuel Johnson, Matthews
thinks was the most celebrated of nil. He
styles him "the Goliah and David," at the
same time of conversation, "strong to
wield a spear like a weavers beam, and
nimble to whirl n pobble from a sling;
tongue, witli a garnish of brains."
Ben Johnson was also distinguished in
this regard. One of his opponents said of
him: "there is no use arguing witli John
son, if his pistol misses lire he knocks
you down with the butt end."
Coleridge was most elegant in his use
of language, indeed honeyed words were
said to drop from his tongue so smoothly
that at last they grow exceedingly mono
unions from very nicety. He talked so
much that he grew absolutely tiresome.
When talking with people he detained
them until they were completely wearied
Theodore Hook, in telling of a talk he
had with him occasioned by seeing two
soldiers by the way -side said : " Zounds, I
was never so bothumped with words "
Thank lloavon ho did'nt see a whole rcg.
imont, for then ho never would have fin
ished. Carlyle is also in the first rank of con
versationists. Ho is said to advance on
his opponent, not only with a perfect vol
ley of words, but also with his voice rnis.