Science of Matrimony
As I have told you before, said Jeff Peters, I never had much confidence in the perfidiousness of woman. As partners or coeducators in the most innocent line of graft they are not trustworthy.
They deserve the compliment, said I. I think they are entitled to be called the honest sex.
Why shouldnt they be? said Jeff. Theyve got the other sex either grafting or working over-time time for em. Theyre all right in business until they get their emotions or their hair touched up too much. Then you want to have a flat-footed, heavy-breathing man with sandy whiskers, five kids and a building and loan mortgage ready as an understudy to take her desk. Now there was that widow lady that me and Andy Tucker engaged to help us in a little matrimonial agency scheme we floated out in Cairo.
When youve got enough advertising capitalsay a roll as big as the little end of a wagon tonguetheres money in matrimonial agencies. We had about $6,000 and we expected to double it in two months, which is about as long as a scheme like ours can be carried on without taking out a New Jersey charter.
We fixed up an advertisement that read about like this:Charming widow, beautiful, home loving, 32 years, possessing $3,000 cash and owning valuable country property, would remarry. Would prefer a poor man with affectionate disposition to one with means, as she realizes that the solid virtues are oftenest to be found in the humble walks of life. No objection to elderly man or one of homely appearance if faithful and true and competent to manage property and invest money with judgment. Address, with particulars,
Care of Peters & Tucker, agents, Cairo, III.
So far, so pernicious, says I, when we had finished the literary concoction. And now, says I, where is the lady?
Andy gives me one of his looks of calm irritation.
Jeff, says he, I thought you had lost them ideas of realism in your art. Why should there be a lady? When they sell a lot of watered stock on Wall Street would you expect to find a mermaid in it? What has a matrimonial ad got to do with a lady?
Now listen, says I. You know my rule, Andy, that in all my illegitimate inroads against the legal letter of the law the article sold must be existent, visible, producible. In that way and by a careful study of city ordinances and train schedules I have kept out of all trouble with the police that a five-dollar bill and a cigar could not square. Now, to work this scheme weve got to be able to produce bodily a charming widow or its equivalent with or without the beauty, hereditaments and appurtenances set forth in the catalogue and writ of errors, or hereafter be held by a justice of the peace.
Well, says Andy, reconstructing his mind, maybe it would be safer in case the post office or the peace commission should try to investigate our agency. But where, he says, could you hope to find a widow who would waste time on a matrimonial scheme that had no matrimony in it?
I told Andy that I thought I knew of the exact party. An old friend of mine, Zeke Trotter, who used to draw soda-water and teeth in a tent show, had made his wife a widow a year before by drinking some dyspepsia cure of the old doctors instead of the liniment that he always got boozed up on. I used to stop at their house often, and I thought we could get her to work with us.
Twas only sixty miles to the little town where she lived, so I jumped out on the I. C. and finds her in the same cottage with the same sunflowers and roosters standing on the wash-tub. Mrs. Trotter fitted our ad first-rate except, maybe, for beauty and age and property valuation. But she looked feasible and praiseworthy to the eye, and it was a kindness to Zekes memory to give her the job.
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