The carriage containing my governess and me sped under the canopy of an avenue of Linden trees. The emerald green, deep Landau carriage was upholstered with vanilla cream-colored Italian leather, as soft to the touch as silk. It rolled soundlessly, swaying gently as the gracefully cadenced dancing mares trotted. The bright early summer day was drenched in scented air by the blossoms of the locust trees. Competing with their sweet perfume were the Linden trees just joining in the scenting of summer air. My governess, Beci, set bolt upright in the deep cradle of the carriage. A hat, not merely enormously tall but also magnificently rimmed, lidded her. I was sitting opposite and at a slight angle to manage to see the kind face of my governess hidden under her towering hat. The delicate quivering of the long tail feathers of cock pheasants that adorned her hat bewitched my eyes.
As usual, I was chatting. I was five or six years old, perhaps. In polite volume and with varied tonal articulations, I was relating my thoughts, composed into little anecdotes and convincing opinions. My governess, never to ignore her chance to enlighten me, attracted my attention at the opportune time when I succumbed to a need for a brief drawing of breath, which gave a moment’s pause to my torrent of words. She said, gazing calmly into the rapidly passing landscape, “I think, My Sweet, that it is wonderful how much you think and how interesting and varied you thoughts are. However, one should always do one’s thinking silently. What one actually says should be only the bits of thought that might interest those that are listening. Granted, it is not easy to determine what may interest others in one’s company. But, then again, in the silence of one’s thoughts, introspection and analysis might take place and a valid position on the matter might present itself. Suddenly, one might arrive to the conclusion that one’s thoughts would be interesting, informative and amusing to others and then one could narrate them out loud to everyone’s delight.”
I thought to myself, that Beci once again spoke well, as she usually would. “Thank you for telling me that not all chattering is important enough. But when I hear grown-ups in conversation, I find everything they say, interesting. I like to listen to chattering.” Without delay, Beci had her advise. “Now that is very commendable. However, with time, you will learn to appreciate silences ever more.” My gratitude inspired the governess to add just one more cultural crumb, “Voltaire said,
‘The best way to be a bore is to say everything.’”