Jimmy Cox asked:
Have you not been called upon for a few remarks and know by experience some of the embarrassments such a call entails?
The following two speechlets, embrace a pleasing variety of wit and wise sayings appropriate for many occasions. All successful speakers admit the great advantage of being prepared. Robert Ingersoll, one of the greatest orators that ever lived, denied there ever was impromptu speaking. He claims that all speeches of merit must be prepared. Few men make so many speeches as Chauncey Depew. He admits that he prepares his speeches in advance and goes loaded for the occasion.
“Preparation is the real art of speaking to please,” said Tom Marshall. “They tell of my astonishing bursts of eloquence. I simply write out my speech in full and commit it to memory.”
BEING SUDDENLY ASKED TO SPEAK
This call is really a surprise. I am a very bashful man, but unfortunately am so constructed physically as to be unable to make people understand that I am backward about coming forward. If a bashful man knows he has to speak it just spoils all his fun; he can’t enjoy the entertainment a bit until his part of it is over.
If friends must expose my inability to talk well, thanks are due them for not letting me know I should be called upon and allowing me to thoroughly enjoy myself up to this time. I have talked with men who have a reputation as after-dinner speakers who assured me that they could not half enjoy a dinner while trying to pull together thoughts worth uttering at its close.
It is said even of Chauncey Depew, that in company with ladies he was looking over a famous collection of paintings, among which was one of Daniel in the lion’s den. One lady asked why it was that Daniel, who was in great danger, should look so happy and contented. Mr. Depew said he thought Daniel appeared so happy because he knew that when the banquet was over he would not be called upon for an after-dinner speech. ‘A touch of nature makes the whole world kin.’ There are others who feel shaky about speech-making.
A boy wrenched his leg, and his mother insisted on calling in an osteopath. This party manipulated the leg very freely and rather roughly for a time, then assuring the mother that he had everything in place and that the boy would soon be well, took his leave.
The mother, thinking such manipulations must have been painful, complimented the boy on his courage and fortitude during the ordeal. The boy replied: “You don’t think I was fool enough to give that osteopath the sore leg.” If not satisfied with my talk I can take refuge in claiming that the wrong leg was pulled.
At this parting banquet you call for farewell remarks, and since the time my wife surprised me kissing a pretty girl I’ve not been at such a loss for speech. My remarks on that occasion might have been appropriately alluded to as ‘the infinity of silence.’ There is a saying that “out of a full heart the mouth speaketh,” but I find it about as difficult to talk when the heart is full as when the breath is short. The ‘lump in the throat’ is worse than a strangle hold.
There are billows far out on the ocean That never will break on the beach; So waves upon waves of emotion May find no expression in speech.
I find myself ‘too full for utterance,’ full of gratitude for many proofs of your friendship and esteem; full of regret for being under the necessity of severing my connection with ‘so goodly a company.’ What can I say that is fitting and worthy of this occasion? When most we feel, then are we least capable of giving our emotion vent in well chosen words. Elegant diction can seldom grace farewell remarks, for: “Of all such speech the silent part is best; of all expression, that which cannot be expressed.” What is harder to appropriately frame in words than the bitter-sweet of farewells?
The above two speechlets will be appropriate to many occasions and will make you an instant success. Good luck!