Conclusion





In concluding this series I will group several items of importance which

did not suggest themselves under any previous head.



Gestures should be carefully watched, especially at the beginning, when

future habits are in the process of formation. They should not be

affected or mechanical like those of the child reciting something of

which it does not understand the sense.



A good story is told of the old preacher who could weep at will and

marked his manuscript "weep here;" but, on one unfortunate occasion, to

the great consternation of his congregation, got his signals mixed, and

wept profusely during a reference to the recent marriage of two of his

parishioners.



Never allow your thumb and fingers, especially the thumb, to stick out

from the palm at right angles like pens stuck in a potato.



Never work the forearm from the elbow "pump-handle" fashion, but always

move the arms from the shoulders. Do not move the palms of your hands

toward yourself as if you were trying to gather something in, mesmerist

fashion, but always outward as is natural in giving something forth.



Cultivate a narrative style. History, poetry, and all forms of

literature take their origin in the story-teller who once discharged all

their functions. The so-called dry facts of science, well told, make a

"story" of surpassing interest.



If young, let no man despise thy youth. Plunge boldly in, blunder if

needs be, but do something; experiment with your theories. Let the

veteran who has no sympathy with your crude efforts "go to pot." The

lapse of years has made his early inflictions look to him like the

masterpieces of Burke and Chatham.



Never slight a small audience. Do your best as though you had a crowded

theater. If you speak listlessly to a small gathering in a town, depend

on it next time you go there it will be still smaller.



Preserve your health and take especial care of your throat. The speaker

who doesn't smoke has a great advantage, and when the throat is at all

relaxed smoking should be eschewed. The most dangerous time to smoke is

immediately after the close of a lecture. Then the cells are all exposed

from recent exercise, and it is positively wicked to so abuse them with

tobacco fumes when they have served you so well. It is equally wicked to

scald them with "straight" liquor. Any speaker who persists in either of

these habits will pay a heavy penalty. If these things must be done, at

least wait an hour or two after speaking.



All this is just so much more true of street speaking as the throat is

more exhausted by the louder tone.



When you have worked out your lecture, and are waiting for the hour to

strike, test its merit by this question: Does it contain enough valuable

information to make a distinct addition to the education of an average

listener? If you cannot affirm this, whatever merits otherwise it may

have, fundamentally, it fails. When the enthusiasm has worn off, your

audience should be able to decide that, in its acquaintance with modern

knowledge, a distinct step forward has been made. Anything else is

building on sand.



Always be firm, positive, courageous. First get a mastery of the

question, and then let your audience realize that you know what you are

talking about. The great merit of a certain speaker of long ago, seems

to have been that "he spake with authority." Remember truth is not

decided by counting heads, and if you are correct, even though the

majority, in some cases in your own audience, may be against you, they

will be obliged eventually to come to your position. True, in the

meantime you may be obliged to suffer a temporary eclipse, but this is

one of the permanent possibilities of the career of the real teacher.



Weigh carefully, investigate thoroughly, consult the authorities, be

sure of your ground and prepared to defend it against all comers, and

then--



"Plunge deep the rowels of thy speech,

Hold back no syllable of fire."





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