“Now, you’d’ve thought that she’d’ve been satisfied with that, when she’d got the share of four women and a quarter. But pretty soon, as luck would have it, Smith, died and she hustled him into the grave. And in less than a year afterward I was amazed to hear that she was going to marry another Smyth. I was never more astonished in my life. Positively going to annex a third man, when the supply was too short anyway. Did you ever hear of such impudence? Did you, now?”
“I’ll think it over and see if I can remember.”
“Well, then, I thought for certain now that woman would knock off and give the rest of us some kind of a chance; and when Smyth was killed by cholera and interred, it never entered my head that that widow’d go after another man. But, bless your soul! she’d hardly got into second mourning before she began to pursue Mr. McFadden, and got him. Now, look at it. One woman, no better’n I am, has had the property of eight women and a half, and here I am single and getting on in life, with the chances growing absurdly small. No civilized country ought to tolerate such a thing. It’s worse than piracy. You may scuttle a ship or blow her up or run her against the rocks, and no great harm is done, because timber’s plenty and you can build another one. But when one woman scuttles three men and then ties to a fourth, what are you going to do about it? You can’t go out into the woods and chop down trees and saw them up and tack them together and build a man. Now, can you?”
“That seems to be the common impression, anyway.”
“Just so. And I want you to pass a bill through that Legislature to make it a felony for a widow to marry again. I’ve drawn up a draft of a bill and I’ll leave it with you. I’ve made it retroactive, so that it’ll bring that woman Banger up with a short turn and send her after Smith and the others. I don’t care to marry, myself, but I want justice. Are you married?”
“Madam, leave the bill with me and I will examine it.”
“I say are you married?”
“I—I—married did you say? Oh yes. I’ve been married for ten years.”
“Very well, then; good-morning;” and Miss Mooney withdrew.
“Thunder!” exclaimed the colonel as he shut the door. “If I’d’ve been single, I believe she’d’ve proposed on the spot.”
It is not considered likely that the Mooney anti-widow bill will be pushed very hard in the Legislature next session.
A NEW MRS. TOODLES.—POTTS’ ADVENTURES.
One evening I met Mr. Potts out upon the turnpike, taking a walk; and I joined him. As we proceeded he became rather confidential. The subject of the mania for collecting bric-a-brac came up; and after an expression of opinion from me respecting the matter, Mr. Potts told the story of his wife’s fondness for that kind of thing. He said,