Toasts and Forms of Public Address

41. AN UNMARRIED MAN’S WIFE

At a dinner at Delmonico’s, after the bottle had made its tenth round, one of the company proposed this toast: “To the man whose wife was never vixenish to him!” A wag of an old bachelor jumped up and said: “Gentlemen, as I am the only _unmarried_ man at this table, I suppose that that toast was intended for me.”

42. A DILEMMA

“I am no good unless I strike,” said the match. “And you lose your head every time you do strike,” said the box.

43. COURAGEOUS GIRL

[The following is a good instance of an elaborate story and a sharp retort.]

It is not always safe to presume upon the timidity or ignorance of folks. The most demure may be the most courageous. A gentleman who attempted to play a practical joke in order to test the courage of a servant, was nonplused in a very unexpected way. Here is his story:

I am very particular about fastening the doors and windows of my house. I do not intend to leave them open at night as an invitation to burglars to enter. You see, I was robbed once in that way last year, and I never mean to be again; so when I go to bed I like to be sure that every door and window is securely fastened.

Last winter my wife engaged a big, strong country girl, and the new-comer was very careless about the doors at night. On two or three occasions I came down-stairs to find a window up or the back door unlocked. I cautioned her, but it did her no good. I therefore determined to frighten her. I got some false whiskers, and one night about eleven o’clock I crept down the back-stairs to the kitchen, where she was. She had turned down the gas, and was in her chair by the fire fast asleep, as I could tell by her breathing, but the moment I struck a match she awoke.

I expected a great yelling and screaming, but nothing of the sort took place. She bounced out of her seat with a “You villain!” on her lips, seized a chair by the back, and before I had made a move she hit me over the head, forcing me to my knees. I tried to get up, tried to explain who I was, but in vain. Before I could get out of the room she struck me again, and it was only after I had tumbled up the back-stairs that she gave the alarm. Then she came up to my room, rapped at the door, and coolly announced:

“Mr. —-, please get up. I’ve killed a burglar.”

44. MORAL SUASION

“What are your usual modes of punishment?” was among the questions submitted to a teacher in rural district in Ohio. Her answer was, “I try moral suasion first, and if that does not work I use capital punishment.”

As it was a neighborhood where moral suasion had not been a success, and the children were scarce the committee took no risks.

45. CUTE BOY

The teacher in geography was putting the class through a few simple tests:

“On which side of the earth is the North Pole?” he inquired.

“On the north side,” came the unanimous answer.

“On which side is the South Pole?”

“On the south side?”

“Now, on which side are the most people?”

This was a poser, and nobody answered. Finally, a very young scholar held up his hand.

“I know,” he said, hesitatingly, as if the excess of his knowledge was too much for him.

“Good for you,” said the teacher, encouragingly; “tell the class on which side the most people are.”

“On the outside,” piped the youngster, and whatever answer the teacher had in her mind was lost in the shuffle.

46. PERPLEXED

Bob–“Hello! I’m awfully glad to see you!” Dick–“I guess there must be some mistake. I don’t owe you anything, and I am not in a condition to place you in a position to owe me anything!”

47. BEN FRANKLIN’S OYSTERS

Benjamin Franklin was not unlike other boys in his love for sophomoric phrases. It is related that one day he told his father that he had swallowed some acephalus molluscus, which so alarmed him that he shrieked for help. The mother came in with warm water, and forced half a gallon down Benjamin’s throat with the garden pump, then held him upside down, the father saying, “If we don’t get those things out of Bennie he’ll be poisoned sure.” When Benjamin was allowed to get his breath he explained that the articles referred to were oysters. His father was so indignant that he whipped him for an hour for frightening the family. Franklin never afterward used a word with two syllables when a monosyllable would do.

48. FAMILY AFFAIRS

“Newlywed seems to find particular delight in parading his little family affairs before the eyes of his acquaintances,” “Does he? What are they? Scandals?” “Nop, twins.”