Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Hilarious Guide to Toasts for Gentlemen from 1914

"A toast is to a good fellow what the hole is to the doughnut—the hole doesn't mean anything off by itself. Neither does the toast. [For] a good fellow—well, a toast improves his flavor, so to speak. It's like the chap who tells you, 'My, you're looking fine!' You knew it before, but now you're sure."

Image copyrighted by Printed in 1914 by The Reilly & Britton Co. of Chicago, The Good Fellow's Toast Book by George N. Madison, offers a collection of 400 toasts for many different occasions that a gentleman might encounter in the course of his life: bohemia, bachelorhood, drinking and conviviality, temperance, friendships, girls, love, kisses, hosts, mothers, and new years among many others. A "good fellow" here means a talented but slightly dissipated and reckless gentleman.

Image copyrighted by The book warns gentlemen against the pitfalls of a hasty toast given in response to a hasty request: "It takes talent to make an old toast sound sincere; it takes genius to get a chuckle out of last season's joke." So..."forearmed is better than forewarned." In other words, carry this book in your coat pocket or purse and consult it frequently.

Here are a few samples from the book:

Drink, and the world drinks with you;
Swear off, and you drink alone.

Let us drink to the thought that where'er a man roves
He is sure to find something that's blissful and dear;
And that when he is far from the lips that he loves,
He can always make love to the lips that are near.

Image copyrighted by When turkey's on the table laid,
And good things I may scan,
I'm thankful that I wasn't made
A vegetarian.

Here's to the chaperon;
May she learn from Cupid.
Just enough of blindness
To be sweetly stupid.

God made the world—and rested,
God made man—and rested,
Then God made woman;
Since then neither God nor man has rested.

Image copyrighted by A wedding is the only function which can't go off smoothly unless there is a hitch in the proceedings.

To Home—the place where we are treated best and grumble most.

Here's to our bachelors, created by God for the consolation of widows and the hope of maidens!

Here's to the Love that lies in Woman's eyes,
And lies—and lies—and lies!

In conclusion,
A good toast and a good glass go well together;
The one tells me you have the right spirit;
The other tells me I have it.