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Curran At A Debating Society

Irish Humour Home






Curran's account of his introduction and debut at a debating society,
is the identical first appearance of hundreds. Upon the first of our
assembling, he says, I attended, my foolish heart throbbing with the
anticipated honor of being styled 'the learned member that opened the
debate,' or 'the very eloquent gentleman who has just sat down.' All day
the coming scene had been flitting before my fancy, and cajoling it. My
ear already caught the glorious melody of 'Hear him! hear him!' Already
I was practising how to steal a sidelong glance at the tears of generous
approbation bubbling in the eyes of my little auditory,--never
suspecting, alas! that a modern eye may have so little affinity with
moisture, that the finest gunpowder may be dried upon it. I stood up; my
mind was stored with about a folio volume of matter; but I wanted a
preface, and for want of a preface, the volume was never published. I
stood up, trembling through every fibre: but remembering that in this I
was but imitating Tully, I took courage, and had actually proceeded
almost as far as 'Mr. Chairman,' when, to my astonishment and terror, I
perceived that every eye was riveted upon me. There were only six or
seven present, and the little room could not have contained as many
more; yet was it, to my panic-stricken imagination, as if I were the
central object in nature, and assembled millions were gazing upon me in
breathless expectation. I became dismayed and dumb. My friends cried
'Hear him!' but there was nothing to hear. My lips, indeed, went through
the pantomime of articulation; but I was like the unfortunate fiddler at
the fair, who, coming to strike up the solo that was to ravish every
ear, discovered that an enemy had maliciously soaped his bow; or rather,
like poor Punch, as I once saw him, grimacing a soliloquy, of which his
prompter had most indiscreetly neglected to administer the words. Such
was the debut of Stuttering Jack Curran, or Orator Mum, as he was
waggishly styled; but not many months elapsed ere the sun of his
eloquence burst forth in dazzling splendor.





Next: Curran And The Banker

Previous: Curran As Punch's Man



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