Toasts and Forms of Public Address

35. NEWSPAPER REPORTER

[Equally good for a missionary meeting or a gathering of newspaper men.]

A young journalist was requested to write something about the Zenana Mission. He assured the readers of the paper that among the many scenes of missionary labor, none had of late attracted more attention than the Zenana Mission, and assuredly none was more deserving of this attention. Comparatively few years had passed since Zenana had been opened up to British trade, but already, owing to the devotion of a handful of men and women, the nature of the inhabitants had been almost entirely changed. The Zenanese, from being a savage people, had become, in a wonderfully short space of time, practically civilized; and recent travelers to Zenana had returned with the most glowing accounts of the continued progress of the good work in that country. He then branched off into the “laborer-worthy-of-his-hire” side of this great work, and the question was aptly asked if the devoted laborers in that remote vineyard were not deserving of support. Were civilization and Christianity to be snatched from the Zenanese just when both were within their grasp? So on for nearly half a column the writer meandered in the most orthodox style, just as he had done scores of times before when advocating certain missions. Some one who found him the next day running his finger down the letter Z, in the index to the “Handy Atlas,” with a puzzled look upon his face, knew he had had a letter from the editor.

36. HOW A WOMAN PROPOSED

[A variation of the old and always pleasing theme.]

They were dining off fowl in a restaurant. “You see,” he explained, as he showed her the wishbone, “you take hold here. Then we must both make a wish and pull, and when it breaks the one who has the bigger part of it will have his or her wish granted.” “But I don’t know what to wish for,” she protested. “Oh! you can think of something,” he said. “No, I can’t,” she replied; “I can’t think of anything I want very much.” “Well, I’ll wish for you,” he exclaimed. “Will you, really?” she asked. “Yes.” “Well, then, there’s no use fooling with the old wishbone,” she interrupted, with a glad smile, “you can have me.”

37. LUCKY ANSWER

[Certainly Thompson would be a lawyer, ready for any emergency.]

In times past there was in a certain law school an aged and eccentric professor. “General information” was the old gentleman’s hobby. He held it as incontrovertible that if a young lawyer possessed a large fund of miscellaneous knowledge, combined with an equal amount of common sense, he would be successful in life. So every year the professor put on his examination papers a question very far removed from the subject of criminal law. One year it was, “How many kinds of trees are there in the college yard?” the next, “What is the make-up of the present English cabinet?”

Finally the professor thought he had invented the best question of his life. It was, “Name twelve animals that inhabit the polar regions.” The professor chuckled as he wrote this down. He was sure he would “pluck” half the students on that question and it was beyond a doubt that that opprobrious young loafer Thompson would fail. But when the professor read the examination papers, Thompson, who had not answered another question, was the only man who had solved the polar problem. This was Thompson’s answer: “Six seals and six polar bears.” Thompson got his degree with distinction.

38. DOUBLE EDUCATION

A young doctor, wishing to make a good impression upon a German farmer, mentioned the fact that he had received a double education, as it were. He had studied homoeopathy, and was also a graduate of a “regular” medical school. “Oh! dot vas noding,” said the farmer, “I had vonce a calf vot sucked two cows, and he made nothing but a common schteer after all.”

39. REMNANTS

[This and the preceding have a little spice of ill-nature, and while enjoyable must be applied carefully.]

Wife–“Such a dream as I had last night, dear!”

Husband–“May I hear about it?”

“Well, yes; I dreamed I was in a great establishment where they sold husbands. They were beauties; some in glass cases and marked at fearful prices, and others were sold at less figures. Girls were paying out fortunes, and getting the handsomest men I ever saw. It was wonderful.”

“Did you see any like me there, dear?”

“Yes; just as I was leaving I saw a whole lot like you lying on the remnant counter.”

40. INDIRECT AND DIRECT

[The following instances show that it is necessary to heed indirect as well as direct meanings.]

Mr. Callon, M. P. for Louth, Ireland, a stanch opponent of the Sunday Closing and Permissive Bill and personally a great benefactor to the Revenue, replying to the Irish Attorney-General, said: “The facts relied on by the learned gentleman are very strange. Now, Mr. Speaker, _I swallow a good deal_. [‘Hear, hear,’ ‘Quite true,’ ‘Begorra, you can,’ and roars of laughter.] I repeat, _I can swallow a great deal_ [‘Hear, hear,’ and fresh volleys of laughter], but I can’t swallow that.” A few nights before, in a debate which had to do with the Jews, Baron de Worms had just remarked, “_We owe much to the Jews_,” when there came a feeling groan from a well-known member in his back corner, “_We do_.”