“For the danger in fine words is that they live from a life of their own. They are servants of distinction, that have kept their titles but no longer perform their functions — of which royal courts offer us example. You speak well, write well, and all is said. How many people content themselves with speaking, and believe that it exempts them from acting? And those who listen are content with having heard them. So it sometimes happens that a life may in the end be made up of a few well-turned speeches, a few fine books, and a few great plays. As for practicing what is so magisterially set forth, that is the last thing thought of.
“And if we pass from the world of talent to spheres which the mediocre exploit, there, in a pell-mell of confusion, we see those who think that we are in the world to talk and hear others talk — the great and hopeless rout of babblers, of everything that prates, bawls, and perorates and, after all, finds that there isn’t talking enough. They all forget that those who make the least noise do the most work. An engine that expends all its steam in whistling, has nothing left with which to turn wheels. Then let us cultivate silence. All that we can save in noise we gain in power.”
– Charles Wagner