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may, of course, contain some good-natured bantering, together with compliment, but always without sting. Those taking part may "get back" at the toastmaster, but always in a manner to leave no hard feeling anywhere. The toastmaster should strive to make his speakers feel at ease, to give them good standing with their hearers without overpraising them and making it hard to live up to what is expected of them. In short, let everybody boost good naturedly for everybody else.

The toastmaster, and for that matter everyone taking part, should be carefully prepared. It may be safely said that those who are successful after-dinner speakers have learned the need of careful forethought. A practised speaker may appear to speak extemporaneously by putting together on one occasion thoughts and expressions previously prepared for other occasions, but the neophyte may well consider it necessary to think out carefully the matter of what to say and how to say it. Cicero said of Antonius, “All his speeches were, in appearance, the unpremeditated effusion of an honest heart; and yet, in reality, they were preconceived with so much skill that the judges were not so well prepared as they should have been to withstand the force of them!"

After considering the nature of the occasion and getting himself in harmony with it, the speaker should next consider the relation of his particular subject to the occasion and to the subjects of the other speakers. He should be careful to hold closely to the subject allotted to him so that he will not encroach upon the ground of other speakers. He should be careful, too, not to appropriate to himself any of their time. And he should consider, without vanity and without humility, his own relative importance and govern himself accordingly. We have all had the painful experience of waiting in impatience for the speech of the evening to begin while some humble citizen made "a few introductory remarks."

In planning his speech and in getting it into finished form, the toaster will do well to remember those three essentials to all good composition with which he struggled in school and college days, Unity, Mass and Coherence. The first means that his talk must have a central thought, on which all his stories, anecdotes and jokes will have a bearing; the second that there will be a proper balance between the parts, that it will not be all

introduction and conclusion; the third, that it will hang together. without awkward transitions. A toast may consist, as Lowell said, of "a platitude, a quotation and an anecdote," but the toaster must exercise his ingenuity in putting these together.

In delivering the toast, the speaker must of course be natural. The after-dinner speech calls for a conversational tone, not for oratory of voice or manner. Something of an air of detachment on the part of the speaker is advisable. The humorist who can tell a story with a straight face adds to the humorous effect.

A word might be said to those who plan the program. In the number of speakers it is better to err in having too few than too many. Especially is this true if there is one distinguished person who is the speaker of the occasion. In such a case the number of lesser lights may well be limited to two or three. The placing of the guest of honor on the program is a matter of importance. Logically he would be expected to come last, as the crowning feature. But if the occasion is a large semi-public affair-a political gathering, for example-where strict etiquet does not require that all remain thru the entire program, there will always be those who will leave early, thus missing the best part of the entertainment. In this case some shifting of speakers, even at the risk of an anti-climax, would be advisable. On ordinary occasions, where the speakers are of much the same rank, order will be determined mainly by subject. And if the topics for discussion are directly related, if they are all component parts of a general subject, so much the better.

Now we are going to add a special paragraph for the abso- * lutely inexperienced person-who has never given, or heard anyone else give, a toast. It would seem hardly possible in this day of banquets to find an individual who has missed these occasions entirely-but he is to be found. Especially is this true in a world where toasting and after-dinner speaking are coming to be more and more in demand at social functions-the college world. Here the young man or woman, coming from a country town where the formal banquet is unknown, who has never heard an after-dinner speech, may be confronted with the necessity of responding to a toast on, say "Needles and Pins." Such a one would like to be told first of all what an after-dinner speech is. It is only a short, informal talk, usually witty, at any rate kindly, with one central idea and a certain amount of illus

trative material in the way of anecdotes, quotations and stories. The best advice to such a speaker is: Make your first effort simple. Don't be over ambitious. If, as was suggested in the example cited a moment ago, the subject is fanciful-as it is very apt to be at a college banquet-any interpretation you choose to put upon it is allowable. If the interpretation is ingenious, your case is already half won. Such a subject is in effect a challenge. "Now, let's see what you can make of this," is what it implies. First get an idea; then find something in the way of illustrative material. Speak simply and naturally and sit down and watch how the others do it. Of course the subject on such occasions is often of a more serious nature-Our Class; The Team; Our President—in which case a more serious treatment is called for, with a touch of honest pride and sentiment.

To sum up what has been said, with borrowings from what others have said on the subject, the following general rules have been formulated:

Prepare carefully.

Self-confidence is a valuable possession, but beware of being too sure of yourself. Pride goes before a fall, and overconfidence in his ability to improvise has been the downfall of many a would-be speaker. The speaker should strive to give the effect of spontaneity, but this can be done only with practice. The toast calls for the art that conceals art.

Let your speech have unity. As some one has pointed out, the after-dinner speech is a distinct form of expression, just as is the short story. As such it should give a unity of impression. It bears something of the same relation to the oration that the short story does to the novel.

Let it have continuity. James Bryce says: "There is a tendency today to make after-dinner speaking a mere string of anecdotes, most of which may have little to do with the subject or with one another. Even the best stories lose their charm when they are dragged in by the head and shoulders, having no connection with the allotted theme. Relevance as well as brevity is the soul of wit."

Do not grow emotional or sentimental. American traditions are largely borrowed from England. We have the Anglo-Saxon reticence. A parade of emotion in public embarrasses us. A simple and sincere expression of feeling is often desirable in a toast-but don't overdo it.

Avoid trite sayings. Don't use quotations that are shopworn, and avoid the set forms for toasts-"Our sweethearts and wives-may they never meet," etc.

Don't apologize. Don't say that you are not prepared; that you speak on very short notice; that you are "no orator as Brutus is." Resolve to do your best and let your effort speak for itself.

Avoid irony and satire. It has already been said that occasions on which toasts are given call for friendliness and good humor. Yet the temptation to use irony and satire may be strong. Especially may this be true at political gatherings where there is a chance to grow witty at the expense of rivals. Irony and satire are keen-edged tools; they have their uses; but they are dangerous. Pope, who knew how to use them, said:

Satire 's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
To run amuck and tilt at all I meet.

Use personal references sparingly. A certain amount of good-natured chaffing may be indulged in. Yet there may be danger in even the most kindly of fun. One never knows how a jest will be taken. Once in the early part of his career, Mark Twain, at a New England banquet, grew funny at the expense of Longfellow and Emerson, then in their old age and looked upon almost as divinities. His joke fell dead, and to the end of his life he suffered humiliation at the recollection.

Be clear. While you must not draw an obvious moral or explain the point to your jokes, be sure that the point is there and that it is put in such a way that your hearers cannot miss it. Avoid flights of rhetoric and do not lose your anecdotes in a sea of words.

Avoid didacticism. Do not try to instruct. Do not give statistics and figures. They will not be remembered. A historical résumé of your subject from the beginning of time is not called for; neither are well-known facts about the greatness of your city or state or the prominent person in whose honor you may be speaking. Do not tell your hearers things they already know.

Be brief. An after-dinner audience is in a particuarly defenceless position. It is so out in the open. There is no opportunity for a quiet nod or two behind a newspaper or the hat of the lady in front. If you bore your hearers by overstepping your

time politeness requires that they sit still and look pleased. Spare them. Remember Bacon's advice to the speaker: "Let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak." But suppose you come late on the program! Suppose the other speakers have not heeded Bacon? What are you going to do about it? Here is a story that James Bryce tells of the most successful after-dinner speech he remembers to have heard. The speaker was a famous engineer, the occasion a dinner of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. "He came last; and midnight had arrived. His toast was Applied Science, and his speech was as follows: 'Ladies and gentlemen, at this late hour I advise you to illustrate the Applications of Science by applying a lucifer match to the wick of your bedroom candle. Let us all go to bed.”

If you are capable of making a similar sacrifice by cutting short your own carefully-prepared, wise, witty and sparkling remarks, your audience will thank you-and they may ask you to speak again.

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