Sunday, February 6, 2005


Ladies and Gentlemen - It is my very pleasant duty to propose the heath of John Doe on reaching his majority. I will not use the expression "coming of age," for frankly, I dislike it. If age comes at twenty-one, then I must have died years ago. And how can you think of age when you look at our young friend? To me he represents the coming of youth. He is old only in the sense that he has now reached the age when most people stop wanting to be older. Happily he has a good many years to enjoy before he will reach the age when he will start to want to be younger.

Some people never grow up, and others are old for their age; I hope John will take it as a compliment when I express the opinion that he seems to me to be absolutely twenty-one in every respect. I am not going to embarrass him by reciting a catalogue of his many fine qualities, nor am I going to bore him with the advice of an older man, which he would probably ignore anyway. I think it was Somerset Maugham who said that there is a sort of conspiracy among older folks to pretend that they are wiser than younger folks, and the younger folks do not rumble it until they themselves have got older - and then, of course, it pays them to join in the conspiracy, so that it goes on for ever.

I am sure that John Doe will live a happy, successful and useful life, for he has all the qualities necessary for this enviable trinity. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you this toast. To our good friend John Doe.

"For he's a jolly good fellow, etc."

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