You know what’s a lost art? Starting a sentence with “Why.” It’s so antique, in fact, that I can’t articulate when you’re allowed to do it.
I understand that the initial “Why” can denote mild surprise:
Why, I had no idea you were from Boonestown!
or some kind of vague intensification:
Why, you dirty rat
or can function something like intial “Well”:
Why, it’s quite simple, Maxine….
or can even serve as a phonetic wind-up:
Why, I oughtta…
But you clearly can’t put “Why” before any old declarative sentence: my idiolect rejects “Why, I’ll have the eggs benedict and a coffee.”
Can anyone put their finger on the underlying rule here?