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Nahant (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 13
king on the same platform with an able young Irish lawyer, he was making an attack on the present Senator Lodge, and said contemptuously, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge of Nahant --and he paused for a response which did not adequately follow. Then he repeated more emphatically, Of Nahant! He calls it in that way, but common people say NaNahant! He calls it in that way, but common people say Nahant! Then the audience took the point, and, being largely Irish, responded enthusiastically. Now, Mr. Lodge had only pronounced the name of his place of residence as he had done from the cradle, as his parents had said it before him, and as all good Bostonians had habitually pronounced it, with the broad sound that is universalNahant! Then the audience took the point, and, being largely Irish, responded enthusiastically. Now, Mr. Lodge had only pronounced the name of his place of residence as he had done from the cradle, as his parents had said it before him, and as all good Bostonians had habitually pronounced it, with the broad sound that is universal among Englishmen, except-as Mr. Thomas Hardy has lately assured me — in the Wessex region; while this sarcastic young political critic, on the other hand, representing the Western and Southern and Irish mode of speech, treated this tradition of boyhood as a mere bit of affectation. One forms unexpected judgments of characters
Connecticut (Connecticut, United States) (search for this): chapter 13
all the leaders in the legislature opposed to me. Votes were often carried against the leaders, but almost never against this deadly undertow of awakened prejudice. No money could possibly have affected it; and indeed the attempt to use money to control the legislature must then have been a very rare thing. There was not then, and perhaps is not to this day, any organized corporation which had such a controlling influence in Massachusetts as have certain railways, according to rumor, in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Something of this power has been attributed, since my time, perhaps without reason, to the great West End Railway; but there was certainly only one man in the legislature, at the time I describe, who was generally believed to be the agent of a powerful corporation; and although he was one of the most formidable debaters in the house, by reason of wit and brilliancy, he yet failed to carry votes through this general distrust. Men in such bodies often listen eagerly, for
Quiquechan River (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 13
able ladies, with especial reference to some disrespectful remarks of mine on the American pie. I had said, in a sentence which, though I had not really reduced it to writing, yet secured a greater circulation through the newspapers than any other sentence I shall ever write, that the average pie of the American railway station was something very white and indigestible at the top, very moist and indigestible at the bottom, and with untold horrors in the middle. I had given this lecture at Fall River, and was returning by way of the steamboat to Providence, when I heard one of my neighbors ask the other if she heard the lecture. No, she answered, I did n't. But Mis' Jones, she come home that night, and she flung her hood right down on the table, and says she, There, says she, Mr. Jones, I'm never goina to have another oa them mince pies in the house just as long as I live, says she. There was Sammy, says she, he was sick all last night, and I do believe it was nothina in all the wo
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 13
on that there never was an honester body of men, on the whole, than the two Massachusetts legislatures with which I served in 1880 and 188 . If there has been a seriis day, any organized corporation which had such a controlling influence in Massachusetts as have certain railways, according to rumor, in Connecticut and Pennsylvannal nomination and afterwards spoke in his behalf in five different states, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey, and was brought closely ed Mugwumps — an almost exaggerated unselfishness, at least for a time; in Massachusetts, especially, it was practically understood among them that they were to askleasantest to be associated was the late Governor William Eustis Russell of Massachusetts. Carrying his election three successive times in a state where his party w the election of John Davis Long, now Secretary of the Navy, as governor of Massachusetts in 1880, he asked me to act on his military staff; and although I had not k
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (search for this): chapter 13
l remarks of mine on the American pie. I had said, in a sentence which, though I had not really reduced it to writing, yet secured a greater circulation through the newspapers than any other sentence I shall ever write, that the average pie of the American railway station was something very white and indigestible at the top, very moist and indigestible at the bottom, and with untold horrors in the middle. I had given this lecture at Fall River, and was returning by way of the steamboat to Providence, when I heard one of my neighbors ask the other if she heard the lecture. No, she answered, I did n't. But Mis' Jones, she come home that night, and she flung her hood right down on the table, and says she, There, says she, Mr. Jones, I'm never goina to have another oa them mince pies in the house just as long as I live, says she. There was Sammy, says she, he was sick all last night, and I do believe it was nothina in all the world but just them mince pies, says she. Well, said the
United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 13
not a help. Indeed, I believe that most young speakers can reach this point much earlier than they suppose; and in my little book, Hints on writing and speech-making, I have indicated how this can be done. A speaker's magnetic hold upon his audience is unquestionably impaired by the sight of the smallest bit of paper in his hand. During a long intervening period, however, I lectured a great deal in what were then called lyceum courses, which stretched over the northern half of the United States, forty years ago, to an extent now hardly conceivable. There were two or three large organizations, or bureaus, which undertook systematically the task of bringing speaker and audience together, with the least possible inconvenience to both. One of these, whose centre was Dubuque, Iowa, negotiated in 1867 for thirty-five lecturers and one hundred and ten lecture courses; undertaking to distribute the one with perfect precision, and to supply the other. As a result, the lecturer left h
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 13
. After such experiences a man could go back to his writing or his editing with enlarged faith. He would get new impressions, too, of the dignity and value of the lecture system itself. In one of my trips, while on a small branch railway in New England, I found everybody talking about the prospective entertainment of that evening, --conductor, brakemen, and passengers all kept recurring to the subject; everybody was going. As we drew near the end, the conductor singled me out as the only stast, has held its own. No delusion is harder to drive out of the public mind than the impression that college-bred American men habitually avoid public duties. It may hold in a few large cities, but is rarely the case in country towns, and in New England generally is quite untrue. In looking back fifty years, I cannot put my finger on five years when I myself was not performing some official service for the city or state, or both simultaneously. In each of the four places where I have reside
d, who sat in the next seat to mine during a whole session. I believe that the instinct of this whole class for politics is on the whole a sign of promise, although producing some temporary evils; and that it is much more hopeful, for instance, than the comparative indifference to public affairs among our large French-Canadian population. The desire for office, once partially gratified, soon becomes very strong, and the pride of being known as a vote-getter is a very potent stimulus to Americans, and is very demoralizing. Few men are willing to let the offices come to them, and although they respect this quality of abstinence in another, if combined with success, they do not have the same feeling for it per se. They early glide into the habit of regarding office as a perquisite, and as something to be given to the man who works hardest for it, not to the man who is best fitted for it. Money too necessarily enters into the account, as is shown by the habit of assessing candidates
lowing men to testify, and then telling the jury that their testimony was not worth having. This measure was defeated, not by the Roman Catholics in the House, but by the Protestants, the representatives of the former being equally divided; a result attributed mainly to my having a certain personal popularity among that class. A more curious result of the same thing was when the woman suffrage bill was defeated, and when four Irish-American members went out and sat in the lobby,--beside Mr. Plunkett, the armless sergeant-at-arms, who told me the fact afterwards, -not wishing either to vote for the bill or to vote against what I desired. I rejoice to say that I had the same experience described by Theodore Roosevelt, in finding my general liking for the Irish temperament confirmed by seeing men of that race in public bodies. Often unreasonable, impetuous, one-sided, or scheming, they produce certainly some men of a high type of character. There was no one in the legislature for who
Theodore Parker (search for this): chapter 13
ately pressing upon heart and conscience, for the speaking to be otherwise than alive. It carried men away as with a flood. Fame is never wide or retentive enough to preserve the names of more than two or three leaders: Bright and Cobden in the anticorn-law movement; Clarkson and Wilberforce in that which carried West India Emancipation; Garrison, Phillips, and John Brown in the great American agitation. But there were constantly to be heard in anti-slavery meetings such minor speakers as Parker, Douglass, William Henry Channing, Burleigh, Foster, May, Remond, Pillsbury, Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelley,--each one holding the audience, each one making converts. How could eloquence not be present there, when we had not time to think of eloquence?--as Clarkson under similar circumstances said that he had not time to think of the welfare of his soul. I know that my own teachers were the slave women who came shyly before the audience, women perhaps as white as my own sisters,--Ellen Craft
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