Toasts and Forms of Public Address

24. REASONING IN A CIRCLE

[This is very common, as in the case of the heroine of this story.]

The director of a Chicago bank tells how his wife overdrew her account at the bank one day last month. “I spoke to her about it one evening,” said he, “and told her she ought to adjust it at once. A day or two afterward I asked her if she had done what I suggested. ‘Oh! yes,’ she answered. ‘I attended to that matter the very next morning after you spoke about it. I sent the bank my check for the amount I had overdrawn.'”

25. EXTREME ECONOMY

[Economy is a great virtue, but it should not be extreme.]

An old lady of Massachusetts was famed in her native township for health and thrift. To an acquaintance who was once congratulating her upon the former she said:

“We be pretty well for old folks, Josiah and me. Josiah hasn’t had an ailin’ time for fifty years, ‘cept last winter. And I ain’t never suffered but one day in my life, and that was when I took some of the medicine Josiah had left over, so’s how it shouldn’t be wasted.”

26. SENSIBLE TO THE LAST

[How we commend those who take our standards and help us.]

A story is told of a late Dublin doctor, famous for his skill and also his great love of money. He had a constant and profitable patient in an old shopkeeper in Dame Street. This old lady was terribly rheumatic and unable to leave her sofa. During the doctor’s visit she kept a £1 note in her hand, which duly went into Dr. C.’s pocket. One morning he found her lying dead on the sofa. Sighing deeply, the doctor approached, and taking her hand in his, he saw the fingers closed on his fee. “Poor thing,” he said as he pocketed it, “sensible to the last.”

27. FISHING FOR A COMPLIMENT

[Fishing for compliments is sometimes dangerous.]

A well-known Congressman, who was a farmer before he went into politics, was doing his district not long ago, and in his rambles he saw a man in a stumpy patch of ground trying to get a plow through it. He went over to him, and after a brief salutation he asked the privilege of making a turn or two with the plow. The native shook his head doubtfully as he looked at his visitor’s store clothes and general air of gentleman of elegant leisure, but he let him take the plow. The Congressman sailed away with it in fine style, and plowed four or five furrows before the owner of the field could recover his surprise. Then he pulled up and handed the handles over to the original holder.

“By gravy, mister,” said the farmer, admiringly, “air you in the aggercultural business?”

“No,” laughed the statesman.

“Y’ain’t selling plows?”

“No.”

“Then what in thunder air you?”

“I’m the member of Congress from this district.”

“Air you the man I voted for and that I’ve been reading about in the papers doin’ legislatin’ and sich in Washington?”

“Yes.”

“Well, by hokey, mister,” said the farmer, as he looked with admiration over the recently-plowed furrows, “ef I’d a had any idea that I was votin’ fer a waste of sich good farmin’ material I’d voted fer the other candidate as shore as shootin’.”

28. BEYOND EXPRESSION

[When called on for a speech one may answer the chairman in the words of this lady:]

She was in her room when some people came to call. Her husband received the company, and after awhile said to his daughter, who was playing about the room:

“Go up-stairs and tell your mamma that Mr. and Mrs. Blank have come to call.”

The child went, and after a while returned and began to play again.

“Did you tell your mamma that Mr. and Mrs. Blank are here?” asked the father.

“Oh! yes.”

“And what did she say?”

The little girl looked up, and after a moment’s hesitation, exclaimed:

“She said–well, she said, ‘O dear!'”

29. THE TOAST OF THE EVENING

[The comment upon this incident by the editor is not less amusing than the speech.]

It is not always a pleasant thing to be called upon suddenly to address a public meeting of any sort, as is amusingly illustrated by the following speech at the opening of a free hospital by one who was certainly not born an orator:

“Gentlemen–ahem–I–I–I rise to say–that is, I wish to propose a toast, which I think you’ll all say–ahem–I think, at least, that this toast is, as you’ll say, the toast of the occasion. Gentlemen, I belong to a good many of these things, and I say, gentlemen, that this hospital requires no patronage–at least, what I mean is, you don’t want any recommendation. You’ve only got to be ill–got to be ill.”

“Now, gentlemen, I find by the report” (turning over the leaves in a fidgety way) “that from the year seventeen–no eighteen–no, ah, yes, I’m right–eighteen hundred and fifty–no, it’s a ‘3’–thirty-six–eighteen hundred and thirty-six, no less than one hundred and ninety-three millions–no! ah!” (to a committeeman at his side) “Eh? oh, yes, thank you–yes–one hundred and ninety-three thousand–two millions–no” (after a close scrutiny at the report) “two hundred and thirty-one–one hundred and ninety-three thousand, two hundred and thirty-one! Gentlemen, I beg to propose–success to this admirable institution!”

To what the large and variously stated figures referred no one in the audience ever felt positive, but all agreed, as he had said they would, that this was the toast of the evening.