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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 110 pages of information about The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893.

* * * * *

TOLD BY THE COLONEL.

X.

A MATRIMONIAL ROMANCE.

BY W. L. ALDEN.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY R. JACK.

“And by the way,” continued the Colonel, “a curious thing about this Josiah Wilson was that he was married for fifteen years and never had any wife whatever.”

The Colonel had begun a story concerning one Josiah Wilson, which promised to be interesting, but his incidental allusion to Mr. Wilson’s matrimonial experience awakened our curiosity, and we begged him to interrupt his narrative long enough to tell us how it came to pass that Josiah was a married man who never had a wife.

[Illustration:  “HOWLED FOR HELP.”]

“The marriage laws in the United States,” said the Colonel, giving his chair an increased tilt backwards, which was his usual way of beginning a fresh anecdote, “are as peculiar in their way as are the divorce laws.  You would think to look at them that they would permit anybody to marry anybody else in any way that either of them might choose, but for all that they sometimes make it impossible for a man or a woman to get married.  There was a couple who intended to be married in a balloon, which is a style of lunacy that is quite fashionable in some parts of the country, though I can’t see why a man should want to risk his neck in a balloon on his wedding day unless it is that it takes so much courage to be married at all that a man forgets all about such minor dangers as are connected with ballooning.  The bride, the minister, and two witnesses of assorted sexes went up in the balloon at the appointed time, and, naturally, the bridegroom intended to go with them, but he accidentally caught his foot in a neglected guy-rope, and went up head downwards about twenty feet below the car.  The party in the balloon could not haul him up because they could not get hold of the rope, and the bride would not consent to give up the trip, because the groom had always been a little shy, and she was afraid that, if she let him go this time, she might not be able to land him again.  So the parson went on with the ceremony, and the groom made most of his responses in bad language, and howled for help when he wasn’t swearing.  When the ceremony was over, the aeronaut managed to land the balloon without seriously damaging the bridegroom, but when, a year or two afterwards, the bride wanted to get her divorce, the court held that there had never been any marriage, for the reason that both the groom and the bride had not appeared together in the presence of the officiating minister, and that, furthermore, there was no provision in the law which would permit a man to be married upside down.

[Illustration:  “SMITH’S BULL-DOG.”]

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