After Dinner Speeches
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A Frenchman once remarked:
"The table is the only place where one is not bored for the first hour."
Every rose has its thorn
There's fuzz on all the peaches.
There never was a dinner yet
Without some lengthy speeches.
Joseph Chamberlain was the guest of honor at a dinner in an important
city. The Mayor presided, and when coffee was being served the Mayor
leaned over and touched Mr. Chamberlain, saying, "Shall we let the
people enjoy themselves a little longer, or had we better have your
"Friend," said one immigrant to another, "this is a grand country to
settle in. They don't hang you here for murder."
"What do they do to you?" the other immigrant asked.
"They kill you," was the reply, "with elocution."
When Daniel got into the lions' den and looked around he thought to
himself, "Whoever's got to do the after-dinner speaking, it won't be
Joseph H. Choate and Chauncey Depew were invited to a dinner. Mr. Choate
was to speak, and it fell to the lot of Mr. Depew to introduce him,
which he did thus: "Gentlemen, permit me to introduce Ambassador Choate,
America's most inveterate after-dinner speaker. All you need to do to
get a speech out of Mr. Choate is to open his mouth, drop in a dinner
and up comes your speech."
Mr. Choate thanked the Senator for his compliment, and then said: "Mr.
Depew says if you open my mouth and drop in a dinner up will come a
speech, but I warn you that if you open your mouths and drop in one of
Senator Depew's speeches up will come your dinners."
Mr. John C. Hackett recently told the following story:
"I was up in Rockland County last summer, and there was a banquet given
at a country hotel. All the farmers were there and all the village
characters. I was asked to make a speech.
"'Now,' said I, with the usual apologetic manner, 'it is not fair to you
that the toastmaster should ask me to speak. I am notorious as the worst
public speaker in the State of New York. My reputation extends from one
end of the state to the other. I have no rival whatever, when it
comes--' I was interrupted by a lanky, ill-clad individual, who had
stuck too close to the beer pitcher.
"'Gentlemen,' said he, 'I take 'ception to what this here man says. He
ain't the worst public speaker in the state. I am. You all know it, an'
I want it made a matter of record that I took 'ception.'
"'Well, my friend,' said I, 'suppose we leave it to the guests. You sit
down while I say my piece, and then I'll sit down and let you give a
demonstration.' The fellow agreed and I went on. I hadn't gone far when
he got up again.
"''S all right,' said he, 'you win; needn't go no farther!'"
Mark Twain and Chauncey M. Depew once went abroad on the same ship. When
the ship was a few days out they were both invited to a dinner.
Speech-making time came. Mark Twain had the first chance. He spoke
twenty minutes and made a great hit. Then it was Mr. Depew's turn.
"Mr. Toastmaster and Ladies and Gentlemen," said the famous raconteur as
he arose, "Before this dinner Mark Twain and myself made an agreement to
trade speeches. He has just delivered my speech, and I thank you for the
pleasant manner in which you received it. I regret to say that I have
lost the notes of his speech and cannot remember anything he was to
Then he sat down. There was much laughter. Next day an Englishman who
had been in the party came across Mark Twain in the smoking-room. "Mr
Clemens," he said, "I consider you were much imposed upon last night. I
have always heard that Mr. Depew is a clever man, but, really, that
speech of his you made last night struck me as being the most infernal
_See also_ Orators; Politicians; Public Speakers.
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