The Gentle Grafter HTML version

The Exact 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
"Why shouldn't they be?" said Jeff. "They've got the other sex either grafting or working
overtime for 'em. They're 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 that little matrimonial agency scheme we floated out in Cairo.
"When you've got enough advertising capital—say a roll as big as the little end of a
wagon tongue—there's 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, Ill.
"'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?'