The Youth’s Temperance Lecturer didn’t last long, but it made an impression on editors of other periodicals, who reprinted various pieces. “Talking Too Much” takes temperance to an unusual place: temperance in speaking. It’s one of several pieces from the Lecturer reprinted in Youth’s Companion.
“Talking Too Much” (reprinted from Youth’s Temperance Lecturer; from Youth’s Companion, December 5, 1832; p. 115)

I wish, children, if you can stop talking long enough, you would stop and read this, twice over. You may think it of no consequence, but as sure as you are great talkers, you are very troublesome, and very disagreeable.

I have often been in a house, where the mother, or older sisters were talking, and some impertinent little child would interrupt, by finishing the story, or pulling the mother’s sleeve, to ask for something, and have been very much ashamed for the mother and child too. When these children grow older, and mix in other families, how do they conduct? Why, the greater part of them talk when they should be silent interrupt others, and can hear nothing said without adding something to it. This they often do because so fond of talking, and often to make people think they know much. I once knew a young lad who was so fond of talking, that the family where he resided, dreaded to meet him at the table, or by the fireside, because no one could speak, without his tongue must be put in motion. Children, and sometimes men and women, are apt to think, if they do not always tell all they know, people will think them ignorant. A sad mistake;—for when a person is in the habit of speaking on every subject, whether invited or not, it is always upposed he tells all he knows, on every subject; and if he were silent, till called on, and then answered such questions as were put to him, people might reasonably suppose he knew some things he had not told. It is a sign of wisdom to say little, and of ignorance to say much.

The next time I call at any of your houses after you have read this, I shall expect to see you silent while I am talking with your mother; and let her tell her story through, without interrupting her, or adding another to it.

You may think you shall escape, because I shall never call on you; but be assured I have been in the houses of many who read this little paper, and have learned some of them to read.

Copyright 1999-2020, Pat Pflieger
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