of your dear suffering boy. You long fervently to see him，
Public speaking, like any other art, has to be cultivated. However scholarly a man may be, and however clever he may be in private conversation, when called upon to speak in public he may sometimes make a very poor impression. I have known highly placed foreign officials, with deserved reputations for wisdom and ability, who were shockingly poor speakers at banquets. They would hesitate and almost stammer, and would prove quite incapable of expressing their thoughts in any sensible or intelligent manner. In this respect, personal observations have convinced me that Americans, as a rule, are better speakers than. . . . (I will not mention the nationality in my mind, it might give offense.) An American, who, without previous notice, is called upon to speak, generally acquits himself creditably. He is nearly always witty, appreciative, and frank. This is due, I believe, to the thorough-going nature of his education: he is taught to be self-confident, to believe in his own ability to create, to express his opinions without fear. A diffident and retiring man, whose chief characteristic is extreme modesty, is not likely to be a good speaker; but Americans are free from this weakness. Far be it from me to suggest that there are no good speakers in other countries. America can by no means claim a monopoly of orators; there are many elsewhere whose sage sayings and forcible logic are appreciated by all who hear or read them; but, on the whole, Americans excel others in the readiness of their wit, and their power to make a good extempore speech on any subject, without opportunity for preparation.
Neither is the fair sex in America behind the men in this matter. I have heard some most excellent speeches by women, speeches which would do credit to an orator; but they labor under a disadvantage. The female voice is soft and low, it is not easily heard in a large room, and consequently the audience sometimes does not appreciate lady speakers to the extent that they deserve. However, I know a lady who possesses a powerful, masculine voice, and who is a very popular speaker, but she is an exception. Anyhow I believe the worst speaker, male or female, could improve by practising private declamation, and awakening to the importance of articulation, modulation, and -- the pause.
Another class of social functions are "At Homes", tea parties, and receptions. The number of guests invited to these is almost unlimited, it may be one or two dozen, or one or two dozen hundreds. The purpose of these is usually to meet some distinguished stranger, some guest in the house, or the newly married daughter of the hostess. It is impossible for the host or hostess to remember all those who attend, or even all who have been invited to attend; generally visitors leave their cards, although many do not even observe this rule, but walk right in as if they owned the house. When a newcomer is introduced his name is scarcely audible, and before the hostess, or the distinguished guest, has exchanged more than one or two words with him, another stranger comes along, so that it is quite excusable if the next time the hosts meet these people they do not recognize them. In China a new fashion is now in vogue; new acquaintances exchange cards. If this custom should be adopted in America there would be less complaints about new friends receiving the cold shoulder from those who they thought should have known them.
In large receptions, such as those mentioned above, however spacious the reception hall, in a great many instances there is not even standing room for all who attend. It requires but little imagination to understand the condition of the atmosphere when there is no proper ventilation. Now, what always astonished me was, that although the parlor might be crowded with ladies and gentlemen, all the windows were, as a rule, kept closed, with the result that the place was full of vitiated air. Frequently after a short time I have had to slip away when I would willingly have remained longer to enjoy the charming company. If I had done so, however, I should have taken into my lungs a large amount of the obnoxious atmosphere exhaled from hundreds of other persons in the room, to the injury of my health, and no one can give his fellows his best unless his health is hearty. No wonder we often hear of a host or hostess being unwell after a big function. Their feelings on the morning after are often the reverse of "good-will to men", and the cause is not a lowered moral heartiness but a weakened physical body through breathing too much air exhaled from other people's lungs. When man understands, he will make "good health" a religious duty.
In connection with this I quote Dr. J. H. Kellogg, the eminent physician and Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. In his book, "The Living Temple"*, the doctor speaks as follows on the importance of breathing pure air: "The purpose of breathing is to obtain from the air a supply of oxygen, which the blood takes up and carries to the tissues. Oxygen is one of the most essential of all the materials required for the support of life. . . . The amount of oxygen necessarily required for this purpose is about one and one-fourth cubic inches for each breath. . . . In place of the one and one-fourth cubic inches of oxygen taken into the blood, a cubic inch of carbonic acid gas is given off, and along with it are thrown off various other still more poisonous substances which find a natural exit through the lungs. The amount of these combined poisons thrown off with a single breath is sufficient to contaminate, and render unfit to breathe, three cubic feet, or three-fourths of a barrel, of air. Counting an average of twenty breaths a minute for children and adults, the amount of air contaminated per minute would be three times twenty or sixty cubic feet, or one cubic foot a second. . . . Every one should become intelligent in relation to the matter of ventilation, and should appreciate its importance. Vast and irreparable injury frequently results from the confinement of several scores or hundreds of people in a schoolroom, church, or lecture room, without adequate means of removing the impurities thrown off from their lungs and bodies. The same air being breathed over and over becomes densely charged with poisons, which render the blood impure, lessen the bodily resistance, and induce susceptibility to taking cold, and to infection with the germs of pneumonia, consumption, and other infectious diseases, which are always present in a very crowded audience room. Suppose, for example, a thousand persons are seated in a room forty feet in width, sixty in length, and fifteen in height: how long a time would elapse before the air of such a room would become unfit for further respiration? Remembering that each person spoils one foot of air every second, it is clear that one thousand cubic feet of air will be contaminated for every second that the room is occupied. To ascertain the number of seconds which would elapse before the entire air contained in the room will be contaminated, so that it is unfit for further breathing, we have only to divide the cubic contents of the room by one thousand. Multiplying, we have 60*40*15 equals 36,000, the number of cubic feet. This, divided by one thousand, gives thirty-six as the number of seconds. Thus it appears that with closed doors and windows, breath poisoning of the audience would begin at the end of thirty-six seconds, or less than one minute. The condition of the air in such a room at the end of an hour cannot be adequately pictured in words, and yet hundreds of audiences are daily subjected to just such inhumane treatment through ignorance."
-- * "The Living Temple", by J. H. Kellogg, pp. 282 et al. Published by Good Health Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Mich., U.S.A. --
The above remarks apply not only to churches, lecture rooms, and other public places, but also with equal force to offices and family houses. I should like to know how many persons pay even a little attention to this important subject of pure air breathing? You go to an office, whether large or small, and you find all the windows closed, although there are half-a-dozen or more persons working in the room. No wonder that managers, clerks, and other office workers often break down and require a holiday to recuperate their impaired health at the seaside, or elsewhere.
When you call at a private residence you will find the same thing, all the windows closed. It is true that there are not so many persons in the room as in an office, but if your sense of smell is keen you will notice that the air has close, stuffy exhalations, which surely cannot be sanitary. If you venture to suggest that one of the windows be opened the lady of the house will at once tell you that you will be in a draught and catch cold.
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