The Treasurer's Report

Robert Benchley

The report is delivered by an Assistant Treasurer who has been called in to pinch-hit for the regular Treasurer who is ill. He is not a very good public speaker, this assistant, but after a few minutes of confusion is caught up by the spell of his own oratory and is hard to stop.

I shall take but a very few moments of your time this evening, for I realize that you would much rather be listening to this interesting entertainment than to a dry financial statement . . . but I am reminded of a story—which you have probably all of you heard.

It seems that there were these two Irishmen walking down the street when they came to a—oh, I should have said in the first place that the parrot which was hanging out in front of the store—or rather belonging to one of these two fellows—the first Irishman, that is—was—well, anyway, this parrot—

(After a slight cogitation, he realizes that, for all practical purposes, the story is as good as lost; so he abandons it entirely and, stepping forward, drops his facile, story-telling manner and assumes a quite spurious businesslike air.)

Now, in connection with reading this report, there are one or two points which Dr. Murnie wanted brought up in connection with it, and he has asked me to bring them up in connec—to bring them up.

In the first place, there is the question of the work which we are trying to do up there at our little place at Silver Lake, a work which we feel not only fills a very definite need in the community but also fills a very definite need—er—in the community. I don't think that many members of the Society realize just how big the work is that we are trying to do up there. For instance, I don't think that it is generally known that most of our boys are between the age of fourteen. We feel that, by taking the boy at this age, we can get closer to his real nature—for a boy has a very real nature, you may be sure—and bring him into close touch not only with the school, the parents, and with each other, but also with the town in which they live, the country to whose flag they pay allegiance, and to the—ah—(trailing off) town in which they live.

Now the fourth point which Dr. Murnie wanted brought up was that in connection with the installation of the new furnace last Fall. There seems to have been considerable talk going around about this not having been done quite as economically as it might—have—been—done, when, as a matter of fact, the whole thing was done just as economically as possible—in fact, even more so. I have here a report of the Furnace Committee, showing just how the whole thing was handled from start to finish.

(Reads from report, with considerable initial difficulty with the stiff covers.)

Bids were submitted by the following firms of furnace contractors, with a clause stating that if we did not engage a firm to do the work for us we should pay them nothing for submitting the bids. This clause alone saved us a great deal of money.

The following firms, then, submitted bids:

Merkle, Wybigant Co., the Eureka Dust Bin and Shaker Co., The Elite Furnace Shop, and Harris, Birnbauer and Harris. The bid of Merkle, Wybigant being the lowest, Harris Birnbauer were selected to do the job.

(Here a page is evidently missing from the report, and a hurried search is carried on through all the pages, without result.)

Well, that pretty well clears up that end of the work.

Those of you who contributed so generously last year to the floating hospital have probably wondered what became of the money. I was speaking on this subject only last week at our up-town branch, and, after the meeting, a dear little old lady, dressed all in lavender, came up on the platform, and, laying her hand on my arm, said: Mr. So-and-so (calling me by name) Mr. So-and-so, what the hell did you do with all the money we gave you last year? Well, I just laughed and pushed her off the platform, but it has occurred to the committee that perhaps some of you, like that little old lady, would be interested in knowing the disposition of the funds.

Now, Mr. Rossiter, unfortunately our treasurer—or rather Mr. Rossiter our treasurer, unfortunately is confined at his home tonight with a bad head-cold and I have been asked (he hears someone whispering at him from the wings, but decides to ignore it) and I have been asked if I would (the whisperer will not be denied, so he goes over to the entrance and receives a brief message, returning beaming and laughing to himself). Well, the joke seems to be on me! Mr. Rossiter has pneumonia!

Following, then, is a summary of the Treasurer's Report:

(Reads, in a very businesslike manner.)

During the year 1929—and by that is meant 1928—the Choral Society received the following in donations:

B. L. G.$500
G. K. M.500
Lottie and Nellie W______500
In memory of a happy summer
at Rye Beach
Proceeds of a sale of coats and
hats left in the boat-house
And then the Junior League gave
a performance of Pinafore
for the benefit of the Fund
which, unfortunately, resulted
in a deficit of
Then, from dues and charges2,354.75
And, following the installation
of the new furnace, a saving
in coal amounting to $374.75
—which made Dr. Murnie very
happy, you may be sure.
Making a total of receipts
amounting to

This is all, of course, reckoned as of June.
In the matter of expenditures, the Club has not been so fortunate. There was the unsettled condition of business, and the late Spring, to contend with, resulting in the following—er—rather discouraging figures, I am afraid.
Then there was a loss, owing to—
several things—of
And then, Mrs. Rawlins' expense
account, when she went down
to see the work they are doing
in Baltimore, came to $256.50,
but I am sure that you will all
agree that it was worth it to
find out—er—what they are
doing in Baltimore.
And then, under the general head
of Odds and Ends
Making a total disbursement of
… (hurriedly)

or a net deficit of—ah—several thousand dollars.

Now, these figures bring us down only to October. In October my sister was married, and the house was all torn up, and in the general confusion we lost track of the figures for May and August. All those wishing the approximate figures for May and August, however, may obtain them from me in the vestry after the dinner, where I will be with pledge cards for those of you who wish to subscribe over and above your annual dues, and I hope that each and every one of you here tonight will look deep into his heart and (archly) into his pocketbook, and see if he can not find it there to help us to put this thing over with a bang (accompanied by a wholly ineffectual gesture representing a bang) and to help and make this just the biggest and best year the Armenians have ever had … I thank you.

(Exits, bumping into proscenium.)

Col. George Sicherman [ HOME | MAIL ]