Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Toast of the Evening


It is not always a pleasant thing to be called upon suddenly to address a public meeting of any sort, as is amusingly illustrated by the following speech, of one who was certainly not born an orator, at the opening of a free hospital:

"Gentlemen — ahem — I — I — I rise to say — that is, I wish to propose a toast, which I think you'll all say — ahem — I think, at least, that this toast is, as you'll say, the toast of the occasion.

"Gentlemen, I belong to a good many of those things, and I say, gentlemen, that this hospital requires no patronage — at least, what I mean is, you don't want any recommendation. You've only got to be ill — got to be ill.

"Now, gentlemen, I find by the report" (turning over the leaves in a fidgety way) "that from the year seventeen — no, eighteen — no, ah, yes, I'm right — eighteen hundred and fifty — no, it's a 3 — thirty-six — eighteen hundred and thirty-six, no less than 193,000,000 — no, ah!" (to a committeeman at his side) "Eh? Oh, yes, thank you — yes — 193,000 — 2,000,000 — no" (after a close scrutiny of the report) — "two hundred and thirty-one — one hundred and ninety-three thousand, two hundred and thirty-one! Gentlemen, I beg to propose — success to this admirable institution!"

To what the large and variously stated figures referred no one in his audience over felt positive, but all agreed, as he had said they would, that this was the toast of the evening. — Youth's Companion.

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