Social Amenities

I am getting on well with this anecdote,
   When suddenly I recall
   The many times I have told it of old,
   And all the worked-up phrases, and the dying fall
   Of voice, well timed in the crisis, the note
   Of mock-heroic ingeniously struck—
   The whole thing sticks in my throat,
   And my face all tingles and pricks with shame
   For myself and my hearers.
   These are the social pleasures, my God!
   But I finish the story triumphantly all the same.
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