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George Ticknor, Life, letters and journals of George Ticknor (ed. George Hillard), Chapter 2: (search)
discover that he is never, like other impetuous speakers, driven to amplification and repetition in order to gain time to collect and arrange his ideas; you are surprised to find that, while his conversation is poured forth in such a fervor and tumult of eloquence that you can scarcely follow or comprehend it, it is still as compact and logical as if he were contending for a victory in the schools or for a decision from the bench. After all this, however, you do not begin to understand Mr. Jeffreys character; for it is not until you become interested in the mere discussion, until you forget his earnestness, his volubility, and his skill, that you begin to feel something of the full extent of his powers. You do not, till then, see with how strong and steady a hand he seizes the subject, and with what ease, as well as dexterity, he turns and examines it on every side. You are not, until then, convinced that he but plays with what is the labor of ordinary minds, and that half his fa