More ToastsErnest Bramah / Humor
Jokes, Stories and Quotations
MARION DIX MOSHERLibrarian, Genesee Branch, Rochester (N.Y.) Public Library
New YorkThe H. W. Wilson CompanyLondon: Grafton & Co.
* * * * *
BOOKS OF JOKES, STORIESAND QUOTATIONS
TOASTER'S HANDBOOK. Peggy Edmond andHarold Workman Williams. 501p. $1.80
MORE TOASTS. Marion D. Mosher. 552p. $1.80
* * * * *
INTRODUCTION The Divine Gift of Humor The Function of Humor Importance of Humor
The success of the Toaster's Handbook has encouraged its publishers tocompile another that will supplement it and bring it up-to-date. Newsubjects keep coming to the front, and the up-to-date toaster needsup-to-date stories to fit the up-to-date subjects. No public occasionof today is complete without its joke on the nineteenth amendment, theallied debts, the income tax, etc.
In offering the toasts, jokes, quotations and stories in thissecond volume, the editor has endeavored to bring further aid to thedistracted toastmaster, to the professional after-dinner speaker whomust change his stories often, and to individuals inexperienced inpublic speaking and so unfortunate as to have public addresses forcedupon them. He views the product with much the same feeling as didAlexander Pope, who said, O'er his books his eyes began to roll, inpleasing memory of all he stole.
Paolo Bellezze expressed the same feelings in the introduction to hiswork Humor when he said Of this work of mine, I must confess it isa great lot of stuff gathered from everywhere except from my brain....It is a necklace of pearls strung upon a slender cord; that, I haveput there; the pearls have been furnished me by the most famousjewelers, native and foreign. This said, I can--without being accusedof pride--recommend it to my respectable customers as an article ofgreat value and of absolute novelty.
In making this collection, files of such magazines as Life, Judge,Puck and Punch were drawn on extensively; also magazines havinghumorous pages or columns, such as the Literary Digest, Ladies' HomeJournal, Everybody's, Harper's; also Bindery Talk and various otherhouse organs. According to Samuel Johnson A man will turn over halfa library to make one book, and the compiler of this one makes humbleacknowledgment to a whole library of books and periodicals where mostof these jokes have already appeared. It has been impossible to givecredit unless the place of first publication was definitely known.
The compiling of More Toasts was in large measure cooperative. Thetest of the humor of a story or joke is in its efficacy when appliedto normal people under ordinary circumstances. With this philosophy inmind the editor made it a rule to include nothing until it had firstbeen tried on the dog. The original material was first graded intothree classes and, before being accepted, each joke had to stand thetest of appealing to the sense of humor of several persons. The resultis a collection of very carefully selected jokes and stories, onlyabout fifty per cent of the material originally chosen being used.If any over-critical reader fails to find them humorous, may not thefault possibly be due to his own imperfect sense of humor?
There is also much truth in the statement that the point of a jestlies in the telling of it and often much of the subtle humor is lostin the reading. The personality of the speaker is a necessary factorand is frequently more important in the effect produced by the storythan the story itself. Elbert Hubbard once said Next in importance tothe man who first voices a great thought is the man who quotes it.
The clever compiler, like a good chef, must not only know what toselect but in what order to present it. Knowledge consists in beingable to find a thing when you want it and accordingly an attempt hasbeen made to pigeonhole each joke where it would be most useful. Sucha classification is at best a difficult and debatable question, andnumerous cross references have been placed wherever it was thoughtthey might direct the reader to the subject wanted.
With these few explanatory words, the editor presents this littlevolume, sincerely hoping that it may prove a friend in need to all whoseek the relaxation of humor, and a lifesaver to that legion ofhumble men whose knees tremble when the chairman speaks those fatefulwords--The next speaker of the evening....