Skip to main content

Full text of "The key to success"

See other formats

ti if" 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

^he UCey to Success 

The Key to Success 

Observation: — The Key to Success 

Who the Real Leaders Are 

Mastering Natural Forces 

Whom Mankind Shall Love 

Need of Orators 

Woman's Influence 





597 Fifth Avenue. New York 

Observation-Every Man His Own University 
Copyright. 1917. by Harper & Brothers 
Printed in the United States of America 


PEOPLE are thinking, but they can think 
much more. The housewife is thinking 
about the chemical changes caused by heat in 
meats, vegetables, and liquids. The sailor thinks 
about the gold in sea- water, the soldier thinks of 
smokeless powder and muffled guns; the puddler 
meditates on iron squeezers and electric furnaces; 
the farmer admires Luther Burbank's magical 
combinations in plant life; the school-girl ex- 
amines the composition of her pencil and analyses 
the writing-paper ; the teacher studies psychology 
at first hand; the preacher understands more of 
the life that now is; the merchant and manufac- 
turer give more attention to the demand. Yes, we 
are all thinking. But we are still thinking too 
far away; even the prism through which we see 
the stars is near the eyes. The dentist is thinking 
too much about other people's teeth. 

This book is sent out to induce people to look 


at their own eyes, to pick up the gold in their 
laps, to study anatomy under the tutorship of 
their own hearts. One could accumulate great 
wisdom and secure fortunes by studying his own 
finger-nails. This lesson seems the very easiest 
to learn, and for that reason is the most difficult. 

The lecture, "The Silver Crown," which the 
author has been giving in various forms for fifty 
years, is herein printed from a stenographic re- 
port of one address on this general subject. It 
will not be found all together, as a lecture, for 
this book is an attempt to give further suggestion 
on the many different ways in which the subject 
has been treated, just as the lecture has varied 
in its illustrations from time to time. The lecture 
was addressed to the ear. This truth, which 
amplifies the lecture, is addressed to the eye. 

I have been greatly assisted, and sometimes 
superseded, in the preparation of these pages by 
Prof. James F. Willis, of Philadelphia. Bless him ! 

My hope is by this means to reach a larger 
audience even than that which has heard some 
of the things herein so many times in the last 
forty-five years. We do not hope to give or sell 
anything to the reader. He has enough already. 
But many starve with bread in their mouths. 
They spit it out and weep for food. Humans are 


a strange collection. But they can be induced 
to think much more accurately and far more 
efficiently. This book is sent out as an aid to 
closer observation and more efficient living. 

Russell H. Conwell. 
September 1917. 


AN autobiography ! What an absurd request • 
If all the conditions were favorable, the 
story of my public life could not be made inter- 
esting. It does not seem possible that any will 
care to read so plain and uneventful a tale. 

I was a young man, not yet of age, when I 
delivered my first platform lecture. The Civil 
War of 1861-65 drew on with all its passions, 
patriotism, horrors, and fears, and I was studying 
law at Yale University. I had from childhood 
felt that I was "called to the ministry.' ' The 
earliest event of memory is the prayer of my 
father at family prayers in the little old cottage 
in the Hampshire highlands of the Berkshire Hills, 
calling on God with a sobbing voice to lead me 
into some special service for the Saviour. It 
filled me with awe, dread, and fear, and I recoiled 
from the thought, until I determined to fight 

^hese pages are taken from an autobiographical chapter in 
Doctor Con well's previous book, Acres of Diamonds, published 
by Harper & Brothers. 


against it with all my power. So I sought for 
other professions and for decent excuses for being 
anything but a preacher. 

Yet while I was nervous and timid before the 
class in declamation and dreaded to face any 
kind of an audience, I felt in my soul a strange 
impulsion toward public speaking which for years 
made me miserable. The war and the public 
meetings for recruiting soldiers furnished an outlet 
for my suppressed sense of duty, and my first 
lecture was on the " Lessons of History." 

That matchless temperance orator and loving 
friend, John B. Gough, introduced me to the 
little audience in Westfield, Massachusetts, in 
1862. What a foolish little school-boy speech it 
must have been ! But Mr. Gough's kind words of 
praise, the bouquets, and the applause, made me 
feel that somehow the way to public oratory 
would not be so hard as I had feared. 

From that time I acted on Mr. Gough's advice 
and " sought practice" by accepting almost every 
invitation I received to speak on any kind of a 

While I was gaining practice in the first years 
of platform work, I had the good fortune to have 
profitable employment as a soldier, or as a corre- 
spondent or lawyer, or as an editor, or as a preacher, 


which enabled me to pay my own expenses, and 
it has been seldom in the fifty years that I have 
ever taken a fee for my personal use. In the last 
thirty-six years I have dedicated solemnly all the 
lecture income to benevolent enterprises. If I 
am antiquated enough for an autobiography, per- 
haps I may be aged enough to avoid the criticism 
of being an egotist when I state that some years 
I delivered one lecture, " Acres of Diamonds," 
over two hundred times each year, at an average 
income of about one hundred and fifty dollars 
for each lecture. 

Often have I been asked if I did not, in fifty 
years of travel in all sorts of conveyances, meet 
with accidents. It is a marvel to me that no 
such event ever brought me harm. In a con- 
tinuous period of over twenty-seven years I de- 
livered about two lectures in every three days, 
yet I did not miss a single engagement. Some- 
times I had to hire a special train, but I reached 
the town on time, with only a rare exception, and 
then I was but a few minutes late. Accidents 
have preceded and followed me on trains and 
boats, and were sometimes in sight, but I was pre- 
served without injury through all the years. In 
the Johnstown flood region I saw a bridge go out 
behind our train. I was once on a derelict steamer 


on the Atlantic for twenty-six days. At another 
time a man was killed in the berth of a sleeper 
I had left half an hour before. Often have I felt 
the train leave the track, but no one was killed. 

Yet this period of lecturing has been, after all, 
a side issue. The Temple, and its church, in 
Philadelphia, which, when its membership was 
less than three thousand members, for so many 
years contributed through its membership over 
sixty thousand dollars a year for the uplift of 
humanity, have made life a continual surprise; 
while the Samaritan Hospital's amazing growth, 
and the Garret son Hospital's dispensaries, have 
been so continually ministering to the sick and 
poor, and have done such skilful work for the tens 
of thousands who ask for their help each year, 
that I have been happy while away lecturing by 
the feeling that each hour and minute they were 
faithfully doing good. 

Temple University, which was founded only 
twenty-seven years ago, has already sent out into 
a higher income and nobler life nearly a hundred 
thousand young men and women who could not 
probably have obtained an education in any other 
institution. The faithful, self-sacrificing faculty, 
now numbering two hundred and fifty-three pro- 
fessors, have done the real work. For that I can 


claim but little credit; and I mention the uni- 
versity here only to show that my "fifty years 
on the lecture platform" has necessarily been a 
side line of work. 

My best -known lecture, "Acres of Diamonds," 
was a mere accidental address, at first given be- 
fore a reunion of my old comrades of the Forty- 
sixth Massachusetts Regiment, which served in 
the Civil War, and in which I was captain. I 
had no thought of giving the address again, and 
even after it began to be called for by lecture 
committees I did not dream that I should live 
to deliver it, as I now have done, almost five 
thousand times. "What is the secret of its popu- 
larity?" I could never explain to myself or others. 
I simply know that I always attempt to enthuse 
myself on each occasion with the idea that it is 
a special opportunity to do good, and I interest 
myself in each community and apply the general 
principles with local illustrations. 

Russell H. Conwell. 

South Worthington, Massachusetts, 
September i, igi 3. 


^he ZKey to Success 



YEARS ago we went up the Ganges River 
in India. I was then a traveling corre- 
spondent, and we visited Argra, the sacred city 
of northern India, going thence to the Taj 
Mahal. Then we hired an ox team to take us 
across country twenty-two miles to visit the 
summer home of Ackba, the great Mogul of India. 
That is a wonderful, but dead city. 

I have never been sorry that I traversed that 
country. What I saw and heard furnished me 
with a story which I have never seen in print. 
Harper's Magazine recently published an illus- 
trated article upon the city, so that if you secure 


the files you may find the account of that wonder- 
ful dead city at Futtepore Sicree. 

As we were being shown around those buildings 
the old guide, full of Eastern lore, told us a tradi- 
tion connected with the ancient history of that 
place which has served me often as an illustra- 
tion of the practical ideas I desire to advance. 
I wrote it down in the "hen tracks" of short- 
hand which are now difficult to decipher. But I 
remember well the story. 

He said that there was a beautiful palace on 
that spot before the great Mogul purchased it. 
That previous palace was the scene of the tradi- 
tional story. In the palace there was a throne- 
room, and at the head of that room there was a 
raised platform, and upon the platform was 
placed the throne of burnished gold. Beside the 
throne was a pedestal upon which rested the won- 
derful Crown of Silver, which the emperor wore 
when his word was to be actual law. At other 
times he was no more than an ordinary citizen. 
But when he assumed that crown, which was 
made of silver because silver was then worth much 
more than gold, his command was as absolute as 
the law of the Medes and Persians. 

The guide said that when the old king who had 
ruled that country for many years died he was 


without heirs, leaving no person to claim that 
throne or to wear that Crown of Silver. The 
people, believing in the divine right of kings, 
were unwilling to accept any person to rule who 
was not born in the royal line. They wasted 
twelve years in searching for some successor, some 
relative of the late king. At last the people sank 
into anarchy, business ceased, famine overspread 
the land, and the afflicted people called upon the 
astrologers — their priests — to find a king. 

The astrologers, who then worshiped the stars, 
met in that throne-room and, consulting their 
curious charts, asked of the stars : 

" Where shall we find a successor to our king?" 

The stars made to them this reply: 

"Look up and down your country, and when 
you find a man whom the animals follow, the sun 
serves, the waters obey, and mankind love, you need 
not ask who his ancestors were. This man will 
be one of the royal line entitled to the throne of 
gold and the Crown of Silver." 

The astrologers dispersed and began to ask of 
the people: 

"Have you seen a man whom the animals fol- 
low, the sun serves, the waters obey, and man- 
kind love?" 

They were only met with ridicule. At last, in 


his travels, one gray old astrologer found his way 
into the depths of the Himalaya Mountains. He 
was overtaken by a December storm and sought 
shelter in a huntsman's cottage on the side of 
a mountain. 

That night, as he lay awake, weeping for his 
suffering and dying people, he suddenly heard the 
howl of a wild beast down the valley. He listened 
as it drew nearer. He detected "the purr of the 
hyena, the hiss of the tiger, and the howl of the 
wolf." In a moment or two those wild animals 
sniffed at the log walls within which the atrologer 
lay. In his fright he arose to close the window 
lest they should leap in where the moonlight en- 
tered. While he stood by the window he saw the 
dark outline of his host, the huntsman, descend- 
ing the ladder from the loft to the floor. The 
astrologer saw the huntsman approach the door 
as though he were about to open it and go out. 
The astrologer leaped forward, and said: 

"Don't open that door! There are tigers, 
panthers, hyenas, and wolves out there." 

The huntsman replied: 

"Lie down, my friend, in peace. These are 
acquaintances of mine." 

He flung open the door and in walked tiger, 
panther, hyena, and wolf. Going to the corner 



of his hut, the huntsman took down from a cord, 
stretched across the corner, the dried weeds which 
he had gathered the fall before because he had 
noticed that those weeds were antidotes for 
poisoned wild animals. Those poisoned animals 
had sniffed the antidote from afar and gathered 
at his door. When he opened that door they fol- 
lowed him to the corner of the hut, in peace with 
one another because of their common distress. He 
fed each one the antidote for which it came, and 
each one licked his hand with thanks and turned 
harmlessly out the door. Then the huntsman 
closed the door after the last one, and went to his 
rest as though nothing remarkable had happened. 

This is the fabulous tradition as it was told me. 

When the old astrologer lay down on his rug 
after the animals were gone, he said to himself, 
"The animals follow him," and then he caught 
upon the message of the stars and said, "It may 
be this huntsman is the king," but on second 
thought he said, "Oh no; he is not a king. How 
would he look on a throne of gold and wearing 
a Crown of Silver — that ignorant, horny-handed 
man of the mountains? He is not the king." 

The next morning it was cold and they desired 
a fire, and the huntsman went outside and gath- 
ered some leaves and sticks. He put them in the 



center of the hut upon the ground floor. He 
then drew aside a curtain which hid a crystal 
set in the roof, which he had placed there because 
he had noticed that the crystal brought the sun- 
light to a focused point upon the floor. Then the 
astrologer saw, as that spot of light approached 
the leaves and sticks with the rising of the sun, 
the sticks began to crackle. Then the leaves be- 
gan to curl, little spirals of smoke arose, and a 
flame flashed forth. As the astrologer looked on 
that rising flame, he said to himself: 

"The sun has lit his fire! The sun serves him; 
and the animals followed him last night ; after all, 
it may be that he is the king." 

But on second thought he said to himself again : 
' ' Oh, he is not the king ; for how would I look with 
all my inherited nobility, with all my wealth, 
cultivation, and education, as an ordinary citizen 
of a kingdom of which this ignorant fellow was a 
king? It is far more likely to be me." 

A little later the astrologer desired water to 
drink, and he applied to the huntsman, and the 
huntsman said, "There is a spring down in the 
valley where I drink." 

So down to the spring went the astrologer. 
But the wind swept down and roiled the shallow 
water so that he could not drink, and he went 



back and complained of that muddy water. The 
huntsman said: 

"Is that spring rebellious? I will teach it a 

Going to another corner of his hut, he took 
down a vial of oil which he himself had collected, 
and, going down to the spring with the vial of oil, 
he dropped the oil upon the waters. Of course, 
the surface of the spring became placid beauty. 
As the astrologer dipped his glittering bowl into 
the flashing stream and partook of its cooling 
draught, he felt within him the testimony, "This is 
the king, for the waters obey him!" But again 
he hesitated and said, "I hope he is not the 

The next day they went up into the mountains, 
and there was a dam holding back, up a valley, 
a great reservoir of water. The astrologer said, 
"Why is there a dam here with no mill?" And 
the huntsman said: "A few years ago I was down 
on the plains, and the people were dying for 
want of water. My heart's sympathies went out 
for the suffering and dying humanity, and when 
I came back here I noticed ..." 

I may as well stop here in this story and em- 
phasize this phrase. He said, "When I came 
back here I noticed." This is the infallible secret 



of success. I wish you to be happy; I wish you 
to be mighty forces of God and man; I wish you 
to have fine homes and fine libraries and money 
invested, and here is the only open road to them. 
By this road only have men who have won great 
success traveled. 

The huntsman said: "When I came back here 
I noticed a boulder hanging on the side of the 
mountain. I noticed it could be easily dislodged, 
and I noticed that it would form an excellent 
anchorage in the narrow valley for a dam. I 
noticed that a small dam here would hold back a 
large body of water in the mountain. I let the 
boulder fall, filled in for the dam, and gathered 
the water. Now every hot summer's day I 
come out and dig away a little more of the dam, 
and thus keep the water running in the river 
through the hot season. Then, when the fall 
comes on, I fill up the dam again and gather the 
waters for the next year's supply." 

When the astrologer heard that he turned to 
the huntsman and said: 

"Do mankind down on the plains know that 
you are their benefactor?" 

"Oh yes," said he; "they found it out. I was 
down there a little while ago, selling the skins 
I had taken in the winter, and they came around 



me, kissed me, embraced me, and fairly mobbed 
me with their demonstrations of gratitude. I will 
never go down on the plains again." 

When the astrologer heard that mankind loved 
him, all four conditions were filled. He fell upon 
his knees, took the horny hand of the huntsman, 
looked up into his scarred face, and said : 

"Thou art a king born in the royal line. The 
stars did tell us that when we found a man whom 
the animals followed, the sun served, the waters 
obeyed, and mankind loved, he would be the 
heir entitled to the throne, and thou art the 

But the huntsman said: "la king! Oh, I am 
not a king! My grandfather was a farmer!" 

The astrologer said: "Don't talk about your 
grandfather. That has nothing to do with it. 
The stars told us thou art the man." 

The huntsman replied: "How could I rule a 
nation, knowing nothing about law? I never 
studied law!" 

Then the astrologer cut short the whole dis- 
cussion with a theological dictum quoted from the 
ancient sacred books, which I will give in a very 
literal translation: 

"Let not him whom the stars ordain to rule 
dare disobey their divine decree." 



Now I will put that into a phrase a little more 
modern : 

"Never refuse a nomination!" 

When the huntsman heard that very wise de- 
cision he consented to be led down to the Juna 
Valley and to the beautiful palace. There they 
clothed him in purple. Then, amid the acclaim 
of happy and hopeful people, they placed upon 
his brow that badge of kingly authority — the 
Silver Crown. For forty years after that, so the 
old guide said to us, he ruled the nation and 
brought it to a peace and prosperity such as it 
had never known before and has never enjoyed 

That wonderful tradition, so full of illustrative 
force, has remained with me all the subsequent 
years. When I look for a man to do any great 
work, I seek one having these four characteristics. 
If he has not all four he must have some of them, 
or else he is good for little in modern civilization. 

<Wbo the died 
headers c^Cre 





AMONG all of you who read this book I am 
looking for the kings and queens. I am 
looking for the successful men and women of the 
future. No matter how old you may be, you yet 
have life before you. I am looking for the lead- 
ing men and women, and I will find them with 
these four tests. I cannot fail; it is infallible. 
Some men, intensely American, will say: 
"Oh, we don't have any kings or queens in 
this country." 

Did you ever observe that America is ruled by 
the least number of people of any nation known 
on earth? And that same small number will rule 
it when we add aJ1 the women, as we soon shall, 
to the voting population. America is ruled by 
a very few kings and queens. The reason why 
we are ruled by so few is because our people are 
generally intelligent. "Oh," you will ask, "do 
you mean the political boss rule?" Yes. That 




is not a good word to use, because it is misleading. 
America is ruled by bosses, anyhow, and it will 
be so long as we are a free people. We do not ap- 
prove of certain phases of boss rule, and so don't 
misunderstand me when I state that a very few 
persons govern the American people. In my 
home city, Philadelphia, for instance, nearly two 
millions of people are ruled by four or five men. 
It will always be so. Everything depends on 
whether those four or five men are fitted for the 
place of leaders or not. If they are wise men 
and good men, then that is the best kind of gov- 
ernment. There is no doubt about it. If all 
the eighty or ninety millions of people in the 
United States were compelled to vote on every 
little thing that was done by the Government, 
you would be a long time getting around to any 

An intelligent farmer would build a house. 
Will he, as a farmer, go to work and cut out that 
lumber himself, plane it himself, shape it himself? 
Will he be the architect of the house, drive all the 
nails, put on the shingles, and build the chimney 
himself? If he is an intelligent man he will hire 
a carpenter, an architect, and a mason who under- 
stand their business, and tell them to oversee 
that work for him. In an intelligent country we 



can hire men who understand statesmanship, law, 
social economics, who love justice. We hire them 
as skilled people to do what we are not able to 
do. Why should all the people be all the time 
meddling with something they don't understand? 
They employ people who do understand it, and 
consequently, in a free nation a few specially 
fitted people will ever be allowed to guide. They 
will be the people who know better than we know 
what to do under difficult or important circum- 

You are ruled by a few people, and I am look- 
ing for these few people among my readers. 
There are some women in this country who now 
have more influence than any known statesman, 
and their names are hardly mentioned in the 
newspapers. I remember once, in the days of 
Queen Victoria, asking a college class, "Who rules 
England?" Of course, they said, "Queen Vic- 
toria." Did Queen Victoria rule England? Dur- 
ing her nominal reign England was the freest land 
on the face of the earth, and America not half as 
free if you go to the extremes of comparison. 
She was only a figurehead, and she would not even 
express an opinion on the Boer War. It was all 
left to the statesmen, who had really been selected by 
the Parliament to rule. They were the real rulers. 



I am looking for the real kings, not the nominal 
ones, and I shall find the successful men and 
women of the future by the four tests mentioned 
in the old tradition of the Silver Crown. The 
first one is : 

"Animals will follow them." 

If a dog or cat tags your heels to-morrow remem- 
ber what I am writing about it here. It is evi- 
dence of kingship or queenship. If you don't 
have a cat or dog or an ox or a horse to love you, 
then I pity you. I pity the animal the most, but 
you are also a subject of sympathy. Is there no 
lower animal that loves to hear your footstep, 
whines after your heels, or wags the tail or shakes 
the head at your door ? Is there no cat that loves 
to see you come in when the house has been 
vacant? Is there no faithful dog that rises and 
barks with joy when he hears your key in the 
door? If you have none it is time you had one, 
because one of the important pathways to great 
success is along the line of what animal life can 
give to us of instruction and encouragement. 

The time has come when a dog ought to be 
worth at least a thousand dollars. The time has 
come when a horse that now trots a mile in 2 : 05 
or 2 : 06 ought to trot a mile in fifty-five seconds. 
That is scientifically possible. Now, where are 



your deacons and your elders and your class leaders 
that you haven't a horse in your city that will 
trot a mile in fifty-five seconds? 

"Oh," says some good, pious brother, "I don't 
pay any attention to trotting-horses ! I am too 
religious to spend time over them." 

Is that so ? Who made the trot ting-horse ? Who 
used the most picturesque language on the face 
of the earth, in the Book of Job, to describe him? 
Did you ever own a trotting-horse ? Did you ever 
see a beautiful animal so well fed, so well cared 
for, trembling on that line with his mane shaking, 
his eyes flashing, his nostrils distended, and all 
his being alert for the leap? And did you hear 
the shot and see him go? If you did and didn't 
love him, you ought to be turned out of the church. 

The time has come when a horse may be as use- 
ful as a university. 

At Yale University, one day, I heard a professor 
of science tell those boys that a horse has within 
its body so much galvanic or electric force con- 
tinually generated by the activities of life, that if 
that electricity could be concentrated and held 
to a certain point, a horse could stand still and 
run a forty-horse power electric engine. He went 
further than that and said that a man has within 
his living body sufficient continually generated 
2 i5 


electricity which, if it were brought to a point, 
might enbable him to stand still and run a ten- 
horsepower electric engine. I went out of that 
class-room with a sense of triumph, thinking: 

"There is going to be use, after all, for the loafers 
who stand on the corners and smoke I" 

In Europe, some years ago, a sewing-machine 
was invented on which a lady put her bare feet, 
and her electric forces started the machine. 
This power does not yet run the machine strong 
enough to force the needle for real sewing. The 
only question is to get more of the electricity of 
that lady through the machine and secure the 
greater power. Then if a young man wants a 
valuable wife he must marry one "full of light- 

The time is very near at hand when all the 
motive power of the world may be furnished by 
animal life. When they get one step further the 
greatest airships will go up and take with them 
a lap dog. The airship will require no coal, no 
oil, but just the electric force of that lap dog; and 
if they carry up enough to feed that dog he will 
furnish the power to run the motors. The great 
high seas of the air will be filled with machines 
run by lap dogs or the electricity of the aviator 
himself. It is not so far away as many of you 



may suppose, and it is the greatly needed improve- 
ment of this time, not so much for the purpose of 
the war, as for peace. 

The time has come when an old hen may be- 
come a great instructor of the world. I would 
rather send my child to an old hen than to any 
professor I ever saw in my life. That old biddy 
which scratches around your door, or who cackles 
beside your fence, or picks off your flowers, knows 
more of some things than any scientific professor 
on the face of the earth. I wish I knew what that 
old hen does. But there are some professors who 
pretend to have a wonderful intellect, who say: 

"I graduated from Leipsic or from Oxford or 
Harvard, and I have no time to observe a 

No time to notice a hen? My friend, did you 
ever try to talk with her? 

"No, I did not; she has no language." 

Didn't you ever hear her call the chickens and 
see them come? Didn't you ever hear her scold 
the rooster, and see him go? Well, a hen does 
have a real language, and it is time you scientific 
professors understood what that old biddy says. 

"Oh, but," says the professor, "I have no time 
to spend with a hen! They are around the place 
all the time, but I never take any special notice 



of them. I am studying the greater things in the 

" Won't you come into my study a minute, pro- 
fessor, and let me examine you? You have ex- 
amined the boys long enough, now let me examine 

Bring all you know of science and all the scien- 
tific applications ever made, and all the instru- 
ments that are ever used, bring all that the world 
has ever discovered of chemistry. Come, and 
take in your hand a dove's egg, just the egg. 
Now, professor, will you tell the person who is 
reading this book where, in this egg, is now the 
beating heart of the future bird? Can you tell 
where it is? 

"Oh no, I cannot tell that. I can tell you the 
chemistry of the egg." 

"No, I am not looking for that. I am looking 
for the design in the egg. I am looking for some- 
thing more divinely mysterious than anything of 
chemistry. Now, professor, will you tell me 
where in that egg is the bony frame that next 
will appear?" 

"No, I cannot tell you that." 

"Where is the sheening bosom, and where the 
wings that shall welcome the sun in its coming?" 

"No man can tell that," says the professor. 



The professor is quite right. It cannot yet be 
told. Yet, in that egg is the greatest scientific 
problem with which the world has ever grappled — 
the beginning of life and the God-given design. 
In that egg is the secret of life. Professor, tell 
me where this life begins. The professor says, 
"No man can answer questions like that." 

Then, until we can answer, we must take off 
our hats every time we meet a setting hen. For 
that old biddy knows by instinct more about it 
than any one of us. She knows directly, through 
her instinctive nature from God, something about 
the beginnings of life that we cannot understand 

The last time I saw Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
the grand poet of Massachusetts, he asked me to 
go out in his back yard and see his chickens. He 
told me they would answer to their names. But 
it turned out that they were like our children, 
and would not show off before company. But I 
haven't any doubt those little chickens still with 
the hen did answer to their individual names 
when she alone called them. I am sure that 
great man understood the hen and chickens as 
fully as Darwin did the doves. 

It was a wonderful thing for science that men 
like Holmes and Darwin could learn so much from 



the hen. It reminds me of a current event in 
Doctor Holmes's own life, though the biogra- 
phies do not seem to have taken notice of it. 
He and Mr. Longfellow were very intimate friends. 
They were ever joking each other like two boys, 
always at play whenever they met. One day, it 
is said, Doctor Holmes asked Mr. Longfellow to 
go down to Bridgewater, in Massachusetts, to a 
poultry show. He went; he was greatly inter- 
ested in chickens. 

Those two great poets went down to the poul- 
try show, and as they walked up the middle 
passageway between the exhibits of hens and 
chickens they came to a large poster on which 
was a picture of a rooster. He had his wings 
spread and mouth open, making a speech to a lot 
of little chickens. It was such a unique picture 
that Mr. Longfellow called Doctor Holmes's at- 
tention to it, and said: 

"There, you love chickens, you understand 
them. What do you suppose a rooster does say 
when he makes a speech to chickens like that?" 

They went on, and Doctor Holmes was studying 
over it. Finally he turned around and said, ' ' Go 
on, I will catch up with you." He went back to 
that poster, got up on a chair, took the tacks out 
of the top, turned in the advertisement at the 



top, above the picture, and then took his pencil 
and drew a line from the bill of the rooster that 
was making that speech up to the top. There 
he wrote what he thought that rooster was saying 
to those chickens. They say that he did not 
make a single correction in it, of line or word. 
He then went after Mr. Longfellow and brought 
the great poet back to see the poster. He had 
written these words, in imitation of Longfellow's 
"Psalm of Life": 

Life is real, life is earnest! 

And the shell is not its pen; 
Egg thou art, and egg remainest, 

Was not spoken of the hen, 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting, 
Be our bills then sharpened well, 

And not like muffled drums be beating, 
On the inside of the shell. 

In the world's broad field of battle, 
In the great barnyard of life, 

Be not like those lazy cattle! 
Be a rooster in the strife! 

Lives of roosters all remind us, 
We can make our lives sublime, 

And when roasted, leave behind us 
Hen tracks on the sands of time. 


Hen tracks that perhaps another 
Chicken drooping in the rain, 

Some forlorn and hen-pecked brother, 
When he sees, shall crow again. 

Animal life can do much for us if we will but 
study it, take notice of it daily in our homes, in 
the streets, wherever we are. 

Statural forces 





IT has been demonstrated by science that the 
mentality and disposition of all kinds of animal 
life are greatly affected by what they eat. Pro- 
fessor Virchow, of Germany, took two little kittens 
and fed them on different foods, but kept them 
in the same environment. After three months he 
went in and put out his finger at one of those 
little kittens, and it stuck up its back and spit 
and scratched and drew the blood. It was sav- 
age. He put out his finger to the other kitten, 
fed on the other food, and it rubbed against his 
finger and purred with all the loveliness of do- 
mestic peace. What was the difference between 
the kittens ? Nothing in the world but what they 

Now I can understand why some men swear 
and some women scratch. It is what they eat. 

The universities of the world are now estab- 
lishing schools of domestic science for the purpose 



of training people to understand the chemistry 
of digestion and the chemistry of cooking. Oh, 
there is an awful need of better cooks! Yet the 
fashionable aristocratic American lady thinks it is 
altogether beneath her dignity to cook a pie or 
pudding, or boil potatoes. How short sighted 
that is! The need of better cooks is great. 
How many a man fails in business because his 
wife is a poor cook. How many a student is 
marked down because of the bad biscuit in 
the boarding-house. Oh yes, and how many a 
grave in yonder cemetery would be empty still 
if there had been a good cook in that house. 

I have grappled with an awful subject now — 
the need of better cooks. A man can't even be 
pious with the dyspepsia. The American lady, so 
called, who sits in the parlor amid the lace cur- 
tains and there plies her needle upon some deli- 
cate piece of embroidery, and commits the won- 
derful chemistry of the kitchen to the care of some 
girl who doesn't know the difference between a 
frying-pan and a horse-rake, is not fit to be called 
an American lady. Any fool could sit amid the 
curtains, but it takes a giant mind to handle the 
chemistry of the kitchen. If women forsake that 
throne of power, men must take it, or our civili- 
zation must cease. 



But I will not follow this thought into the 
thousands of discoveries animals suggest, because, 
in this wonderful tradition, the real king was not 
only followed by animals, but "the sun served 
him, and the waters obeyed him." Now I can 
combine those two thoughts for illustration, using 
the wonderful locomotive which draws our rail- 
way trains. The locomotive has within it the 
coal, which is the carbon of the sun. Thus the 
sun serves man by heating the water; and there 
is the water changing to steam and driving the 
piston-rods over the land, obeying man. 

We need so much to travel faster than we do 
now. I saw a man not long ago who said he did 
not like to travel a mile a minute in a railway 
train. If you don't go faster than a mile a minute 
ten years from now you will feel like that old 
lady who got in a slow train with a little girl. 
The conductor came through and asked for a 
ticket for the little girl, and the old lady said : 

"She is too young to pay her fare." 

"No," said the conductor. "A great girl like 
that must pay her fare." 

"Well," the mother replied, "she was young 
enough to go for nothing when we got in this 

You will feel like that if you don't travel faster 




than a mile a minute ten years from now. The 
time is soon coming when, in order to go from 
Philadelphia to San Francisco, you will get in 
the end of a pipe or on a wire, and about as quick 
as you can say " that " you will be in San Francisco. 
Is that an extravagant expression? The time 
draws nigh when you won't say that is an ex- 
travagant expression. As I am writing this a com- 
pany to lay that long-contemplated pneumatic 
tube from New York to Boston is being formed. 
They have been fighting in the courts over the 
right to lay it. When they finish it you can put 
a hundredweight of goods in the New York end 
of it, and it will possibly land in Boston in one 
minute and fifty-eight seconds. Now, then, what 
is to hinder making a little larger pipe and put- 
ting a man in and sending him in one minute 
and fifty-eight seconds? The only reason why 
you cannot send them with that lightning speed 
is for the same reason, perhaps, that the Irishman 
gave when he fell from a tall building and they 
asked, "Didn't the fall hurt you?" "No, it was 
not the falling that hurt me, it was the stopping 
so quick." That is all the difficulty there is in 
using now those pneumatic tubes for human 
We need those inventions now. We are soon 



going to find the inventors. Will you find them 
graduating from some university, or from some 
great scientific school at Harvard, Yale, Oxford, 
or Berlin? It may be. I would not say, while 
presiding over a university myself, that you would 
not find such people there. Perhaps you will. 

But come back in history with me a little way 
and let us see where these men and women are 
to be found. Go into northern England, and go 
down a coal shaft underground two miles, and 
there is a young man picking away at a vein of 
coal a foot and a half thick. His hair sticks 
out through his hat, his face is besmirched, his 
fingers are covered with soot. Yet he is digging 
away and whistling. Is he a king? One of the 
greatest the world has ever seen. Queen Victoria, 
introducing her son, who has since been king, to 
that young man, said to him: 

"I introduce you, my son, to England's great- 
est man." 

What! This poor miner, who has never been 
to school but a few months in his life? While he 
had not been to a day school, he had been learn- 
ing all the time in the university of experience, in 
the world's great university — every-day observation. 
When such a man graduates he gets the highest 
possible degree — D.N.R. — "Don't Need Recom- 



mends." Let us go in the mine and ask the 
miner his name. 

" Young man, what is your name?" 


The inventor of the locomotive itself! Oh, 
where are thy kings, oh, men? They may be in 
the mine, on the mountain, in the hovel or the 
palace, wherever a man notices what other people 
have not seen. Wherever a man observes in his 
every-day work what other people have not 
noticed, there will be found the king. 

Are any of my readers milkmen? Are you 
discouraged when the brooks freeze up in the 
winter? Now, there was a milkman in West 
Virginia, not many years ago, who went to the 
train every morning with the milk from the 
farm, and while they were putting the milk in 
the car he studied the locomotive standing in the 

"What do you know about a locomotive?" 

"Oh, I don't know anything about it." 

Is that so? You have seen and ridden after 
them all your lifetime, and you have seen them 
standing in the station, you have looked at the 
immense structure with some respect, but you 
don't know anything about it — and then you ex- 
pect to be a successful man! That young man 



became interested in the locomotive, and while 
he stood around there he watched it, measured it, 
asked the engineer questions about it. One day 
the engineer, seeing he was interested, took him 
down to the switch and showed him how to put 
on the steam, and how to shut it off, and how to 
reverse the engine, ring the bell, operate the 
whistle, and all about it, and he was delighted. 
He went home and made draftings in the evenings 
of the locomotive. 

Two years after that the same train ran on the 
siding and the engineer and fireman went into a 
house to get their breakfast, leaving the locomo- 
tive alone — waiting for the snow to be shoveled 
off the track which had rolled down the moun- 
tain. While they were absent a valve of the 
engine accidentally opened. It started the piston, 
and the engine began to draw out the train on to 
the main track, and then it began to go down the 
fearful grade at full speed. The brakeman went 
out on the rear platform, caught hold of the wheel 
brake in order to slow down the train. When he 
saw the engineer and fireman at the top of the 
hill swinging their arms as though something awful 
had happened, the brakeman shouted: 

" There is the engineer and fireman, both of 
them, up there. We will all be killed !" 



The people fainted and screamed, and the 
cry went to the second car, and then to the 
baggage car, and that milkman was there. He 
ran to the side-door to leap, but saw that it 
would be certain death. Then, with the help 
of the baggage-man he clambered over the tender, 
reached the engineer's place, and felt around for 
the lever in the smoke. When he discovered it 
he pressed it home. Then reversed the engine. 
It was a wonder those cylinder heads held. But 
with an awful crack the driving wheels stopped 
on the track, shot fire through the snow as they 
began to roll back against the ongoing train, the 
momentum still pushing it on. It shook the train 
until every pane of glass was broken. When it 
came to a stop the passengers climbed out to 
ascertain who stopped the train. They discovered 
that this young man had done it, and saved their 
lives, and they thanked him with tears. 

A stockholder in the railroad company, an old 
man nearly eighty years of age, was on the train. 
He went into the stockholders' meeting that night 
and told the story of his narrow escape on that 
train. Since then that milkman has been one of 
the richest railroad owners in the world. 

What do you suppose has become of the other 
milkmen who went at the same time to the same 



place and sat on the edge of the platform and 
swung their feet ? What has become of them ? 

Ask the winds that sweep down from the 
Alleghany mountains — where are the other milk- 
men? The winds will answer, "They are going 
to the pump there still." 

It was ever the same. Wherever you look, 
success in any branch of achievement depends upon 
this ability to get one's education every day as 
one goes along from the events that are around us 
now. The king is found wherever a person notices 
that which other men do not see. 


H&hom ^Mankind 
Shall SBove 






HE great scientific men — and we need more- 

often are not given the full credit that is due 
them because they have not " graduated" from 
somewhere. It seems to me there is a feeling in 
these later days for creating an aristocracy among 
the men who have graduated from some rich 
university. But that does not determine a 
man's life. It may be a foolish tyranny for a little 
while, but nevertheless every man and woman 
must finally take the place where he and she are 
best fitted to be, and do the things that he and 
she can do best, and the things about which he 
and she really know. Where they graduated, or 
when, will not long count in the race of practical 

We need great scientific men now more than 
we ever needed them before. Where are you 
going to find them? We won't find them where 
that scientific man came from who invented an 



improvement upon the cuckoo clock. His clock, 
instead of saying, " Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo," when 
it struck the hour, said, "I love you! I love you! 
I love you!" That man left the clock at home 
with his wife nights while he was around at the 
club, thinking that would be sufficient protesta- 
tion of his love. Yet any man knows you cannot 
make love by machinery. That was only a so- 
called scientific idea. 

I read not long ago that a great scientific man 
said that "love and worship are only the aggre- 
gate results of physical causes." That is not 
true. Love and worship are something beyond 
physical causes. Educated men ought to know 
better than to say anything like that. 

There are many valuable things that every 
man knows until he has unlearned them in a 

There is danger that a man will get so much 
education that he won't know anything of real 
value because his useless education has driven 
the useful out of his mind. It is like a dog I owned 
when a boy. He was a very good fox dog. One 
day I thought I would show him off before the 
boys. We let the fox out at the barn door, which 
was open just far enough for the dog to see the 
fox start. Then he began whining and yelping 



to get out. I ran out and dropped some red 
pepper where the dog was likely to follow the fox 
over the hill. Then I went back and opened the 
door. The dog rushed out after the fox, but soon 
began to take in the red pepper. Then he began 
to whine and yelp — and stopped, whirled around, 
and, rushing down to the brook, put his nose under 
the water. From the time he graduated from that 
pepper university he never would follow a fox 
at all. He had added education in the wrong 
direction, and so it is often with these scientific 

Do you know that the humblest man, whatever 
his occupation, really knows instinctively certain 
things better for not having been to school much ? 
It is so easy to bias the mind. 

When the boy comes to learn geometry the 
teacher will say: "Two parallel lines will never 
run together." The boy may look up and ask, 
"What is the use of telling me that?" Every 
man knows that two parallel lines will never 
run together. But how does he know it? It is 
born with him. His natural instincts tell that to 
him. It is what we call "an axiom" — a self- 
evident truth. It is above argument and beyond 
all possible reasoning. We know that "two 
halves are equal to the whole"! You know that 



when you cut an apple in half the two halves are 
equal to the whole of it. You tell that to a 
geometry class, and they say: "I know that. 
Everybody knows it." Of course everybody 
does, because it is a natural scientific fact that 
you cannot reasonably question. 

Ask a man, "Do you know that you exist?" 
He looks with astonishment and says: "Cer- 
tainly! Don't I know that I am? I know that 
I am here, that this is me, that I am not Mrs. 
Smith or some one else?" 

Of course you do. But how do you know it ? By 
a God-given instinct that came into the world 
with you. 

No scientist or school on earth could disprove 
that, or prove it, either. It is a self-evident 
fact. I know that I am an intelligent personal 
identity, and that I dwell in this body in some 
mysterious way. I know that is my hand, but 
what I possess is not me. I know by an instinct 
infallible that I am a spiritual being, separate 
from this material. You know that. No scientist 
can prove or disprove it. It is a fact we all 
know. I know that I can never die, and you 
know it unless you have gotten educated out of 
it. It is in your very life; it is a part of your 
original instinct. 



When some graduate of some great university 
shall come to you, young man, and say, "I can 
prove to you that the Bible is not true," or, "I 
can prove to you that your religion is false," you 
can say to him: "You are nothing but an edu- 
cated fool. Because the more you have studied 
the less truth you seem to know." 

It is only one's own personal self that can know 
his own religious instincts. It is only himself 
that can know whether he is in spiritual relation 
to God or not. No education on earth can over- 
turn the fact, although wrong study may confuse 
the mind. 

When a man comes to me, with his higher educa- 
tion, to overturn religion, it reminds me of what 
Artemus Ward said to that lordly graduate of 
Oxford and Cambridge. This man told Ward 
that he was disgusted with his shows. Artemus 
Ward asked him, "What do you know about 
these shows?" and he said: "I know everything 
about them. I graduated from two universities." 
Then Artemus Ward said, "You remind me of a 
farmer in Maine who had a calf that stole the 
milk of two cows, and the more milk he got the 
greater calf he was." Such is the effect sometimes 
of education on religious life — the more mental 
education of some kind which you get the less 



you may know about your natural religious 

There is a great need to-day, and prayers go 
up to heaven now for men and women whom 
mankind shall love — love because they are great 
benefactors; love because, while they are making 
money or gaining fame or honor for themselves, 
they are blessing humanity all the way along. 
I must not argue now. I will illustrate, because 
you can remember the illustrations and you might 
forget an argument. 

There is a great need for artists. There never 
was such a need in the progress of Christian 
civilization as there is now for great painters. 
All these walls ought to be covered with magnif- 
icent paintings teaching some great divine truth, 
and every school-house, yes, every barn, ought 
to have some picture upon it that will instruct 
and inspire. All our children seek to go to the 
moving pictures, and that shows what an agency 
there is in pictures for the instruction of man- 
kind. We need artists by the thousands. It 
is not a surprise to me that a New York man is 
getting a salary of $35,000 a year for moving- 
picture work because "he notices something 
other people have not seen." It is no surprise 
that a great store in that city pays an advertising 



man $21,000 a year salary. He can see what the 
rest of the public does not see. 

We need great artists, hundreds of them. Where 
are you going to find them? You will say ''at 
the art school, in the National Gallery in London, 
or at the Louvre in Paris, or in Rome." Well, 
it may be that you will. But it is an unfortunate 
thing for your theory that one of the greatest 
painters in America painted with a cat's tail. It 
is another enlightening thing that the man who 
received the highest prize at the World's Fair in 
Chicago for a landscape painting never took 
"a lesson" in color or drawing in his life. 

But that doesn't argue against lessons nor 
against schools or universities. Don't misunder- 
stand me in this. I am only making emphatic 
my special subject. 

He took the highest prize and never went to an 
art school in his life. If he had attended school 
the teacher might have tried to show him some- 
thing and thus weakened his mind. The teacher 
in a school who shows a child anything that that 
child could work out for himself is a curse to that 
child. It is an awful calamity for a child to 
be under the control of a too kind-hearted teacher 
who will show him everything. 

One of the greatest artists was Charlotte 



Bronte. She was a wonderful little woman, and 
I like little women. Did you ever read Long- 
fellow's poem on "Little Women"? It always 
reminds me so much of Charlotte Bronte. One 
day he showed me the poem, and I asked him why 
he did not print it in his book, and he replied, "I 
don't think it is worth while." Since his death 
they have given it first rank, and I will quote one 
verse : 

As within a little rose we find the richest dyes, 
As in a little grain of gold much price and value lies, 
And as from a little balsam much odor doth arise, 
So in a little woman there's a gleam of paradise. 

Charlotte Bronte was one of those wonderful, 
wiry, beautiful little cultivated combinations of 
divine femininity which no man can describe. She 
had a younger brother on her hands, and when a 
young woman has a younger brother on her hands 
if she has a beau, she has her hands full. This 
younger brother was dull of brains, clumsy of 
finger and unfitted to be an artist. But his sister was 
determined he should be a painter, and took him to 
the shore, to the village and the woods, and said, 
"Notice everything, and notice it closely." Final- 
ly, he did secure a second prize. Then his little 
sister threw her arms about her brother's neck and 



kissed him, and thanked him for getting that prize. 
That is just like a woman! I never could under- 
stand a woman. Of all the mysterious things 
that the Lord ever put together, a woman is the 
most mysterious. Charlotte Bronte was like an 
old lady I used to know up in my native town 
who thanked her husband, with tears, for having 
brought up a flock of sheep which she herself 
fed every morning through the winter before he 
was out of bed. 

Finally, Charlotte Bronte's younger brother 
became dissipated and died, and then her father 
died, and when we ministers get to be old we 
might as well die. She was left without means 
of support. But when she told her friends, they 
said: ''You have a college education, Charlotte. 
Why don't you write something?" We now find 
that the first thing she wrote was "Jane Eyre," 
the wonderful story for which she at last received 
$38,000. Queen Victoria invited that humble 
girl to her palace at Windsor because of her mar- 
velous genius. 

How came she to write a book like that? 
Simply because she had noticed so closely, for 
her brother's sake, that from the nib of her pen 
flowed those beautiful descriptions as naturally as 
the water ripples down the mountain-side. That 



is always so. No man ever gives himself for oth- 
ers' good in the right spirit without receiving 
"a hundredfold more in this present time." 

I will go one step farther with this thought. 
We do need great painters, but we don't want 
more painters like that man who painted the 
Israelites coming out of Egypt, representing them 
with muskets on their shoulders with U. S. on the 

But more than artists we need great musicians. 
There is an awful need of music. We have too 
much noise, but very little real music. Did you 
ever think how little you have ? Do you suppose 
a true musician is simply a man who roars down 
to low B and squeals to high C? What an awful 
need there is of the music which refines the heart, 
brightens the mind ; that brings glory and heaven 
down to men. I have not the space here to ex- 
pand upon that thought — the awful need of 
humanity for real music. But we don't get it. 
I do not know why it is. I am not able to explain. 
But perhaps I can hint at what music is. 

At Yale I had to earn my own living, and that 
is why, for these forty-four years, I have been 
lecturing exclusively to help young men secure 
their college education. I arose at four o'clock and 
worked in the New Haven House from four to 



eight to get the "come backs" from the break- 
fast table so that my brother and I could live. 
Some days, however, I digged potatoes in the 
afternoon, and taught music in the evening, 
although the former was my proper occupation. 
Sometimes my music scholars would invite me 
in to play something to entertain their company, 
and I noticed the louder I played the louder they 
talked. I often said, "What a low standard of 
musical culture there is in New Haven! But I 
learned something after I left college. I learned 
I was not a musician. 

Had I been a musician they would have lis- 
tened. That is the only test of real music. There 
is no other. 

If you sing and every one whispers, or you play 
and every one talks, it is because you are not a 
musician. I dare tell it to you here, when I would 
not dare say it to you individually if we were 
alone. There is no person on earth who gets so 
many lies to the square inch as a person who drums 
on a piano. 

What is music ? Music may be wholly a personal 
matter and be called music. I remember Major 
Snow, of my native town, who used to listen to the 
filing of the saw at the sawmill. How that did 
screech and scratch until it hurt to our toes! 



We asked the old major why he went down to the 
mill Saturday, when he could go any other day. 
He said: "Oh, boys, you do not understand it. 
When I was young I worked in a sawmill and I 
come down here to hear them file that saw. It 
reminds me of the good old days. It is music to 
me." He was "educated up" to that standard 
where filing of a saw was music to him, and so 
men may be educated in all manner of ways in so- 
called music. But it is not the real music. 

What is true music? I went to a beautiful 
church in New York to exchange with the pastor, 
and an officer of the church came down the aisle 
as I walked in and said to me, "Sir, the choir 
always opens the service." They did; they opened 
it! I sat down on the pulpit sofa and waited an 
embarrassingly long time for something to be done 
up there. The choir roosted on a shelf over my 
head. The soprano earned $4,000 a year, and I 
was anxious to hear her. Soon I heard the rustle 
of silk up there, and one or two little giggles. 
Then the soprano began. She struck the lowest 
note her cultivated voice could possibly touch, 
and then she began to wind, or rather, cork- 
screw, her way up and up and up, out of sight — 
and she stayed up there. Then the second bass 
began and wound his way down, down, down — 



down to the Hades of sound — and he stayed down 

Now, was that music? Was it worship? Why, 
if I had stood in that sacred place and positively 
sworn at the people it would not have been 
greater sacrilege than that exhibition up on that 
shelf! Do you think the living God Is to be wor- 
shiped by a high-flying, pyrotechnic, trapeze 
performance in acoustics? Neither worship nor 
music was there. Music does not consist of a 
high-flying circus trapeze performance in acous- 

What is music? Music is such a combination of 
sound as moves the heart to holier emotions, quick- 
ens the brain to brighter thoughts, and moves the 
whole man on to nobler deeds. That is music. 
Nothing else is music. You can only find out 
whether you are a musician or not by taking 
notice, while you sing, whether you hold the 
attention of the people, and whether you influence 
their memory and their after character. 

c&he 3Veed of 




WE need great orators. The need is some- 
thing alarming. I am often called to lecture 
at the Chautauquas and the lyceums, and the 
committees often urge me to recommend some 
man or woman who will fill a place on the public 
platform. They offer marvelous rewards for those 
who will do that well. There are no men or 
women alive, not one known in our land to- 
day, who could be called a great orator. When I 
began to lecture, fifty-eight years ago, there were 
Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, George 
William Curtis, Edward Everett, the greatest 
orator of his day — and John B. Gough. I esteem 
it a great honor to have been induced by Mr. 
Gough to go on the lecture platform. They are all 
gone, and no successors have appeared. 

Liberty and oratory have ever gone together, 
and always will, hence the need of oratory is 
especially pressing now. 



Why don't we have orators? The editors say 
" because the newspaper has come in and goes 
into every home, and a man on Sunday will read a 
better sermon in his newspaper than ever was 
delivered, and will save paying the minister and 
having trouble with the choir." Now, that time 
will never come. You will never get along with- 
out real orators, no matter how many newspapers 
you may have. I respect the press. I have had 
something to do with its work in my lifetime. 
I have worked upon and owned a daily news- 
paper. But I must say that there is something, 
after all, in the shake of a living man's finger, 
something in the flash of his eye, something in the 
stamp of his foot, but vastly more in his mesmeric 
power, which no cold type will ever express ! You 
never can fully express the living man in cold lead. 

Why don't we have great orators? I don't 
think the newspapers are in the way. But other 
people say to me. "It is the injurious effect of 
the modern school of elocution, which is now 
called 'the school of oratory."' It has only been 
a few years since all these elocutionary schools 
changed their names to "schools of oratory" and 
consequently damaged the prospect of our country. 
The school of elocution may not be a school of 
oratory at all. It may be a hindrance to oratory; 



it depends on what the teaching is. There is a 
wide difference between elocution and real ora- 
tory. Elocution is an art of expression, which 
every teacher has, and he teaches his own art. 
But oratory is the great science of successful 
speech. The man who gets what he pleads for 
is an orator, no matter how he calls. If you call 
a dog and he comes, that is oratory. If he runs 
away, that is elocution ! 

Why don't we have greater orators? These 
schools of elocution remind me of an incident 
which occurred about seventeen years ago. I 
don't believe I will hurt any one's feelings now 
by mentioning it. The professor of elocution was 
sick one day, and the boys came after me. They 
wanted me to come because the teacher was away, 
and I resolved to go and entertain that class and let 
it pass for a recitation. Professors often do that. 
When I came into the class-room, I said to the boy 
on the front seat: ''What was the last lesson you 
had in elocution?" One of the boys said: 

"Peter Piper, pickle-picker, picked six pecks of pickled 

peppers ; 
If Peter Piper, pickle-picker, picked six pecks of 

pickled peppers, 
Where are the six pecks of pickled peppers which 

Peter Piper picked?" 

4 47 


That is "lip exercise" in elocution. I said to 
that young man, "I will not teach elocution. 
But I wish you would come up and deliver that 
to this class just as you would to an audience." 
The boy came up and put his toes together, and 
his hands by his side, for he had not reached 
the study of gesture. He yelled very rapidly and 
loudly : 

"Peter Piper, pickle-picker, picked six pecks of pickled 

peppers ; 
If Peter Piper, piping, picked six pecks of pickled 

Where are the pecks of pickled peppers which Peter 

Piper picked?" 

It was elocution, but it was not oratory. I had 
trouble in getting up another boy, but I finally did. 
He thought that oratory consisted entirely in 
elocutionary "inflections," so he delivered it: 

"Peter Piper picked six pecks of pickled peppers; 
If Peter piping picked a peck of pickled peppers, 
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper 

(With marked raising and lowering of the voice.) 

It sounded like an old rooster in the barn in the 
morning. But being elocution, it was not oratory. 



But the most illustrative and most absurd speech 
I ever heard was by a visitor in that class that day. 
He was sitting over near the aisle, and one of 
the students came and whispered to me: "That 
young man has graduated from an Eastern school 
of elocution, and he is going to act the heavy parts 
in tragedy upon the stage. He is a great elocution- 
ist, and won't you get him to recite something to 
the class?" I fell into the trap, and went down to 
the young man, and said: "I understand you are 
an elocutionist. Will you come up and recite 
something for the class ?" 

As soon as he looked up at me I saw by his eyes 
there was something the matter with his head. I 
do not know just what, but things have happened 
since that make it no unkindness to refer to him 
the way I do. I said: "Please come up and re- 
cite something," and he replied: "Shall I recite 
the same thing the young men have been re- 
citing?" I said, "You don't need to do that; 
take anything." He left his gold-headed cane — 
the best part of him — on the floor, and then he 
came up to the platform and leaned on the table 
and said to me: "Shall I recite the same thing 
the young men have been reciting?" I said: 
"You can if you wish. You are perfectly free to 
take anything you choose. The professor is away, 



anyhow. When the cat is away the mice will 

Then he began to prepare himself for that reci- 
tation. I never saw such behavior in my life. 
He pulled up his sleeves, brushed back his hair, 
shook himself, moved the table away forward, 
and I slid far back by the door and left the plat- 
form open, for I didn't know what he was going 
to do next. Then he gave the selection : 

'* Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper-r-rs; 
If Peter Piper, piping piper, picked a peck of pickled 

Where's the peck of pickled pepper-r-r-rs Peter Piper 

pickle-picker-r-r picked ?" 

He rolled in a flutter the letter "r" in each line. 
That class looked up with awe, and applauded 
until he repeated it. It was still elocution, but 
it was not oratory. He thought that oratory con- 
sisted of rolling the "rV and rolling himself. 
That is not oratory. 

Where do they learn oratory ? They learn it in 
the old-fashioned school-house, from that old hen 
at the kitchen door, in some back office, in some 
hall, or some church where young men or women 
get together and debate, saying naturally the 
things they mean, and then take notice of the 



effects of what they debate upon, the conviction 
or after action of those who listen. That is the 
place to observe. You must take notice if you 
are to be a great orator. 

The greatest orator of the future will be a 
woman. It has not been two months since the 
management of a women's Chautauqua said, 
"We could give $40,000 a year to any woman who 
will be a natural woman on the platform." They 
would make money at $40,000 a year if they 
hired a woman who would be a real woman. The 
trouble is that when women get on the platform 
they try to sing bass or try to speak as a man 
speaks. And there is such a need for women 
orators now! I get provoked about it when I 
think. Why isn't there a great woman orator 
like Mrs. Livermore now when she is needed so 
much ? 

'Woman's confluence 






IF women vote they will be of little account un- 
less they are leaders. It is of no special ad- 
vantage to the voter to ignorantly put a piece 
of paper in a box. But it is of great account to 
influence ten thousand votes. That is what 
women must do if they are going to exercise their 
right under suffrage — they must be the influence 
behind the throne, not merely a voter. 

When I was a boy in the district school a sub- 
stitute teacher came in, and we all loved that little 
woman. We would do anything she asked us to 
do. One day that substitute teacher, who could 
not get a first-class certificate, copied a verse of 
a poem and asked me to read it: 

If you cannot on the ocean 
Sail among the swiftest fleet: 

Rocking on the mighty billows, 
Laughing at the storms you meet. 


She asked me to read it once, and then she 
turned the paper over and said, "Now, Russell, 
repeat it." I said, "I have not learned it by 
heart." Said she: "Don't learn it by heart. I 
will try again." So she wrote the second verse: 

If you are too weak to journey 
Up the mountain steep and high. 

Then she said to me, "Now, Russell, read it 
through once, and notice carefully each word, 
and don't look back at a word a second time." 
I know not now why she demanded that; I have 
looked in many books of psychology and in many 
places to find out. I have no explanation of this, 
and I ask you to think for me, for this is the fact. 
I took the second verse and read it through as 
she told me to do. Then she turned it over and 
said, "Please repeat it." I said, "I cannot re- 
peat it; I have not learned it by heart." She re- 
plied : "Don't you say that again. Just shut your 
eyes and make a mental effort to see those verses, 
and then read it." 

I shut my eyes and said, "Oh, it is all dark." 
Then she seemed very much disturbed and said: 
"Now, Russell, don't say that. Won't you try 
to do what I ask you to do?" 

I thought the little woman was going to cry, 



so I said, "Yes, I will do the best I can." She 
said, "Shut your eyes again and make a deter- 
mined effort, with your eyes shut, to see that 
poetry just as though it were right before you." 
I shut my eyes and made that effort, and saw it 
as distinctly as though I had held it before my 
open eyes. So long as my eyes were shut I could 
see the two verses, and I read it all through, word 
for word, and I read it backward, word for word, 
to the beginning. 

I thought I had seen a ghost. I went home and 
told my father what had happened, and he rushed 
down from the pasture to the schoolhouse and 
said to the teacher: 

"If you indulge again in your foolish super- 
stitions you will never teach in that schoolhouse 

It must have been uncomfortable for her, and 
her secret went down to the grave with her, as far 
as I know. Yet what would I not give if I could 
place before the world now what that little girl 
knew. All our educational institutions, for which 
I have labored all these years, would be as noth- 
ing compared with that one secret if I could give 
it to you — that secret of being able to look upon 
a scene and shut's one's eyes and bring it all back 
again, study it in detail. 



I have not had great personal power in that 
line. But I have seen a man who would take a 
column of the morning paper and read it down, 
and hand me the paper and read it through with 
his eyes shut and scarcely make a mistake. I do 
not know that I ever saw any one who was in- 
fallible, but rarely would he make a mistake. 
Often he could tell me where the comma, semi- 
colon, and other marks of punctuation were. 

I do not believe there is a normal child who is 
not mentally capable of that power when he has 
a teacher who understands how to develop it. 
That little teacher, who held only a second-class 
certificate, knew more about pyschology than 
many of the greatest men who preside over great 

In the Alps some years ago was Professor Slay- 
ton, a native of Brighton, England. He was one 
•of the nation's best botanists. His wife died and 
he was left with a little child between five and six 
years of age. They boarded at the Hotel Des 
Alps, in the Chamouni Valley. One morning he 
took his little girl up to the Mer-de-Glace, and 
then he told her to run back to the hotel, saying 
he would return to her in the evening. 

She bid her father good-by and saw him go up 
Mont Blanc into the forest, and she ran back. 



He did not return in the evening, and she sat 
up all night and worried, and early in the morning 
she ran out from the hotel and ran up the stream 
to the path she had seen her father take. Then, 
running across, she started climbing up the side 
of the great snow-capped mountain. She came 
suddenly to a place where the path ran around 
along a projecting precipice, two hundred and 
eighty feet in the perpendicular, around a promon- 
tory of rock that set a few feet back. When she 
came to that spot her feet slipped upon the snow 
on the glare ice, and she slid down and down over 
the edge so far that her fingers just caught in the 
moss on the edge and one foot rested on about an 
inch projection of the rock. 

As she hung there she screamed, "Papa!" Her 
father heard that cry. He was down in the valley 
so far that he could not see her, but he could hear 
her voice. He recognized it, and he felt there 
was an awful need of him — "humanity called to 
him." He ran across the valley and up the path. 
On the way there was a tree near which he had 
previously noticed there was an ax. He pulled 
out the ax and ran on to a tree where he had 
previously observed there was a rope which the 
coal-burners had long used to let coal down from 
the cliff. He clipped the rope with the ax, 



threw away the ax, and, tying the rope around 
him as he had noticed the guides do who take 
travelers over the "sea of ice/' he ran on, until 
suddenly he came to the spot where his little girl 
had slipped. He could see the parting in her hair 
twenty feet down, and all was glare ice between. 
His heart must have stopped beating. But he 
suddenly shouted : 

" Papa's come. Hold on tight!" 

She screamed, "I cannot hold on any longer!" 

He turned and threatened her. Oh, ye parents, 
whosoever you may be, you may save your own 
son or daughter from a physical or moral death 
by training them to obey when they are young. 
Her fingers tightened again, and he threw the 
rope around the butt of a tree he had noticed, and 
let himself rapidly down over that ice. He tried 
to get hold of his little child's hands, but they had 
melted deep into the moss, and he let himself 
down beside her and caught hold of her dress and 
pulled her to him. 

Both were hanging from the edge of the cliff, 
and the end of the rope was in his hand, and his 
hand on the ice. He tried to pull himself up, 
but the rope would not give an inch, and then he 
tried to push his little girl up, but with frozen 
fingers she could not climb. 



There they hung in the high Alps, alone ! Will 
he fall on the jagged rocks and be crushed to 
death? No, he will not fall, because he is a king. 
He has used his every-day observation, though he 
is a graduate of a university. He had noticed 
something more — he had observed how the dogs 
howl when they find perishing travelers. Those 
St. Bernard dogs, whenever they find a dead body 
or a man laying insensible, will always howl in 
one peculiar way. Those dogs know more about 
acoustics than an architect. How do they 
know? God told them. When a dog utters that 
cry it can be heard for miles and miles. The pro- 
fessor imitated the call of the dog, and when it 
rang down the valley the coal-burners heard it 
and the wood-choppers heard it. They said: 

"That is a dog, and a dog never howls like that 
unless he has found a dying man." So, throwing 
down their axes and guns, and running over the 
snows toward the sound of the call, they suddenly 
came to the spot. They caught hold of the rope 
and one of them slid down rapidly and seized the 
little girl's arm and passed her up, and then caught 
hold of the professor's arm and lifted him, while 
the others pulled upon the rope. Thus they 
dragged him up. The professor fell on the snow- 
drift and fainted dead away. 

58 ' 


But he was a king. He heard humanity's cry, 
and when he heard it he knew where the ax was. 
He had used his every-day study in such a way 
that he knew where the old rope was, and knew 
how to tie it, and he knew how to call for help. 
Whenever you find on earth a successful man or 
woman you will always find it is a man or woman 
who hears humanity's call, and who has so used 
his every-day means of observation that he knows 
where the weapons are with which to fight those 
battles, or where the means are with which to 
bring men relief. 

I could not better put into your minds that 
professor's feelings than by a quotation of an Eng- 
lish phrase which he printed in English on his 
scientific books, though the books were published 
in French: 

We live for those who love us, 
For those who know us true; 
For the heavens that bend above us, 

For the good that we can do. 
For the wrongs that lack resistance, 
For each cause that needs assistance, 
For the future in the distance, 
For the good that we can do.