After Dinner Speeches
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ORATOR--"I thought your paper was friendly to me?"
EDITOR--"So it is. What's the matter?"
ORATOR--"I made a speech at the dinner last night, and you didn't
print a line of it."
EDITOR--"Well, what further proof do you want?"
TRAVELING LECTURER FOR SOCIETY (to the remaining listener)--"I should
like to thank you, sir, for so attentively hearing me to the end of a
rather too long speech."
LOCAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY--"Not at all, sir. I'm the second speaker."
Ex-senator Spooner of Wisconsin says the best speech of introduction
he ever heard was delivered by the German mayor of a small town in
Wisconsin, where Spooner had been engaged to speak.
The mayor said:
"Ladies und shentlemens, I haf been asked to indrotoose you to the
Honorable Senator Spooner, who vill make to you a speech, yes. I haf
now done so; he vill now do so."
"When I arose to speak," related a martyred statesman, "some one
hurled a base, cowardly egg at me and it struck me in the chest."
"And what kind of an egg might that be?" asked a fresh young man.
"A base, cowardly egg," explained the statesman, "is one that hits you
and then runs."
"Uncle Joe" Cannon has a way of speaking his mind that is sometimes
embarrassing to others. On one occasion an inexperienced young fellow
was called upon to make a speech at a banquet at which ex-speaker
Cannon was also present.
"Gentlemen," began the young fellow, "my opinion is that the
generality of mankind in general is disposed to take advantage of the
"Sit down, son," interrupted "Uncle Joe." "You are coming out of the
same hole you went in at."
A South African tribe has an effective method of dealing with bores,
which might be adopted by Western peoples. This simple tribe considers
long speeches injurious to the orator and his hearers; so to protect
both there is an unwritten law that every public orator must stand on
only one leg when he is addressing an audience. As soon as he has to
place the other leg on the ground his oration is brought to a close,
by main force, if necessary.
A rather turgid orator, noted for his verbosity and heaviness, was
once assigned to do some campaigning in a mining camp in the
mountains. There were about fifty miners present when he began; but
when, at the end of a couple of hours, he gave no sign of finishing,
his listeners dropped away.
Some went back to work, but the majority sought places to quench their
thirst, which had been aggravated by the dryness of the discourse.
Finally there was only one auditor left, a dilapidated, weary-looking
old fellow. Fixing his gaze on him, the orator pulled out a large
six-shooter and laid it on the table. The old fellow rose slowly and
"Be you going to shoot if I go?"
"You bet I am," replied the speaker. "I'm bound to finish my speech,
even if I have to shoot to keep an audience."
The old fellow sighed in a tired manner, and edged slowly away, saying
as he did so:
"Well, shoot if you want to. I may jest as well be shot as talked to
The self-made millionaire who had endowed the school had been invited
to make the opening speech at the commencement exercises. He had not
often had a chance of speaking before the public and he was resolved
to make the most of it. He dragged his address out most tiresomely,
repeating the same thought over and over. Unable to stand it any
longer a couple of boys in the rear of the room slipped out. A
coachman who was waiting outside asked them if the millionaire had
finished his speech.
"Gee, yes!" replied the boys, "but he won't stop."
Mark Twain once told this story:
"Some years ago in Hartford, we all went to church one hot, sweltering
night to hear the annual report of Mr. Hawley, a city missionary who
went around finding people who needed help and didn't want to ask for
it. He told of the life in cellars, where poverty resided; he gave
instances of the heroism and devotion of the poor. When a man with
millions gives, he said, we make a great deal of noise. It's a noise
in the wrong place, for it's the widow's mite that counts. Well,
Hawley worked me up to a great pitch. I could hardly wait for him to
get through. I had $400 in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow
more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But instead of
passing the plate then, he kept on talking and talking and talking,
and as he talked it grew hotter and hotter and hotter, and we grew
sleepier and sleepier and sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down,
down, down--$100 at a clip--until finally, when the plate did come
around, I stole ten cents out of it. It all goes to show how a little
thing like this can lead to crime."
_See also_ After dinner speeches; Candidates; Politicians.
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