How Mark Twain Used Today’s Evocative Word – DIMLY – to get ’em evocating!
SOURCE: Letter excerpt sent by Mark Twain, January 1906 ( Twain was commenting on a speech where he bombed. For more detail see What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’)
“I vaguely remember some of the details of that gathering— DIMLY I can see a hundred people—no, perhaps fifty—shadowy figures sitting at tables feeding, ghosts now to me, and nameless forever more. I don’t know who they were, but I can very distinctly see, seated at the grand table and facing the rest of us, Mr. Emerson, supernaturally grave, unsmiling; Mr. Whittier, grave, lovely, his beautiful spirit shining out of his face; Mr. Longfellow, with his silken white hair and his benignant face; Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, flashing smiles and affection and all good-fellowship everywhere like a rose-diamond whose facets are being turned toward the light first one way and then another—a charming man, and always fascinating, whether he was talking or whether he was sitting still (what he would call still, but what would be more or less motion to other people). I can see those figures with entire distinctness across this abyss of time…………..
Now at that point ends all that was pleasurable about that notable celebration of Mr. Whittier’s seventieth birthday—because I got up at that point and followed (the previous speaker), with what I have no doubt I supposed would be the gem of the evening.“
Chicago motivational business speaker Conor Cunneen is author of What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’
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