After Dinner Speeches
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The children had been reminded that they must not appear at school the
following week without their application blanks properly filled out as
to names of parents, addresses, dates and place of birth. On Monday
morning Katie Barnes arrived, the tears streaming down her cheeks. "What
is the trouble?" Miss Green inquired, seeking to comfort her. "Oh,"
sobbed the little girl, "I forgot my excuse for being born."
O. Henry always retained the whimsical sense of humor which made him
quickly famous. Shortly before his death he called on the cashier of a
New York publishing house, after vainly writing several times for a
check which had been promised as an advance on his royalties.
"I'm sorry," explained the cashier, "but Mr. Blank, who signs the
checks, is laid up with a sprained ankle."
"But, my dear sir," expostulated the author, "does he sign them with his
Strolling along the boardwalk at Atlantic City, Mr. Mulligan, the
wealthy retired contractor, dropped a quarter through a crack in the
planking. A friend came along a minute later and found him squatted
down, industriously poking a two dollar bill through the treacherous
cranny with his forefinger.
"Mulligan, what the divvil ar-re ye doin'?" inquired the friend.
"Sh-h," said Mr. Mulligan, "I'm tryin' to make it wort' me while to tear
up this board."
A captain, inspecting his company one morning, came to an Irishman who
evidently had not shaved for several days.
"Doyle," he asked, "how is it that you haven't shaved this morning?"
"But Oi did, sor."
"How dare you tell me that with the beard you have on your face?"
"Well, ye see, sor," stammered Doyle, "there wus nine of us to one small
bit uv a lookin'-glass, an' it must be thot in th' gineral confusion Oi
shaved some other man's face."
"Is that you, dear?" said a young husband over the telephone. "I just
called up to say that I'm afraid I won't be able to get home to dinner
to-night, as I am detained at the office."
"You poor dear," answered the wife sympathetically. "I don't wonder. I
don't see how you manage to get anything done at all with that orchestra
playing in your office. Good-by."
"What is the matter, dearest?" asked the mother of a small girl who had
been discovered crying in the hall.
"Somfing awful's happened, Mother."
"Well, what is it, sweetheart?"
"My d'doll-baby got away from me and broked a plate in the pantry."
A poor casual laborer, working on a scaffolding, fell five stories to
the ground. As his horrified mates rushed down pell-mell to his aid, he
picked himself up, uninjured, from a great, soft pile of sand.
"Say, fellers," he murmured anxiously, "is the boss mad? Tell him I had
to come down anyway for a ball of twine."
Cephas is a darky come up from Maryland to a border town in
Pennsylvania, where he has established himself as a handy man to do odd
jobs. He is a good worker, and sober, but there are certain proclivities
of his which necessitate a pretty close watch on him. Not long ago he
was caught with a chicken under his coat, and was haled to court to
explain its presence there.
"Now, Cephas," said the judge very kindly, "you have got into a new
place, and you ought to have new habits. We have been good to you and
helped you, and while we like you as a sober and industrious worker,
this other business cannot be tolerated. Why did you take Mrs. Gilkie's
Cephas was stumped, and he stood before the majesty of the law, rubbing
his head and looking ashamed of himself. Finally he answered:
"Deed, I dunno, Jedge," he explained, "ceptin' 't is dat chickens is
chickens and niggers is niggers."
GRANDMA--"Johnny, I have discovered that you have taken more maple-sugar
than I gave you."
JOHNNY--"Yes, Grandma, I've been making believe there was another little
boy spending the day with me."
Mr. X was a prominent member of the B.P.O.E. At the breakfast table the
other morning he was relating to his wife an incident that occurred at
the lodge the previous night. The president of the order offered a silk
hat to the brother who could stand up and truthfully say that during his
married life he had never kissed any woman but his own wife. "And, would
you believe it, Mary?--not a one stood up." "George," his wife said,
"why didn't you stand up?" "Well," he replied, "I was going to, but I
know I look like hell in a silk hat."
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,
As patches set upon a little breach,
Discredit more in hiding of the fault
Than did the fault before it was so patched.
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