Sunday, March 16, 2014

Where will you find the toughest audience for a speech?

An article in the June 3, 1912 issue of an Australian newspaper, The Colac Herald, titled Speech Fright in the House of Commons and subtitled The Most Chilling Audience in the World ended with this zinger about that London venue:

“A better known story of a Parliamentary fiasco is perhaps that of Joseph Addison, who opened his maiden speech with the words, ‘Mr. Speaker, I conceive.’ Here he came to a full stop, only to begin again in a louder tone, as if to stimulate his courage, ‘I conceive, Mr. Speaker.’ Again came a horrible pause, broken by ironical cheers. ‘Sir, I conceive,’ he resumed - this time in a still louder voice; whereupon the House burst into such shrieks of laughter that Addison in disgust plumped down in his seat. When the laughter had subsided, a waggish member rose, and with a solemn face and grave voice, said, ‘Sir, the honourable Member has conceived three times and brought forth nothing.‘ “ 

A vintage image of the House of Commons came from Wikimedia Commons.

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