“My friend,” he said, coldly, “your proposition of safety first doesn’t interest me. No, sir! I’m sending my wife to Virginia in hopes that she will actually fall in love with somebody else, so I won’t have to endure what little I see of her any more, and here you come in to spoil my future. No, sir!”
His visitor turned and faced him with a bright smile.
“My dear sir,” he said, “wait. Business man that you are, you do not understand the extent of our resources, which cover every emergency. In accordance with our usual custom, I have already met your wife at a bridge party, and I might say that she is crazy about me. Now, sir, for double the price of my regular fee and a small annual stipend, which is about half the alimony you might have to pay, I will agree to marry and take her off your hands in six months, making you happy for the rest of your life. Sign here, please. Thank you.”
Sanderson was on a visit to Simpkins, and in due course, naturally, he was shown the family album.
“Yes,” said Simpkins, as he turned the leaves, “that’s my wife’s second cousin’s aunt Susan. And that’s Cousin James, and that’s a friend of ours, and that—oh, now, who do you think that is?”
“Don’t know,” said Sanderson.
“Well, that’s my wife’s first husband, my boy.”
“Great Scot! What a perfect brainless-looking idiot. But excuse me, old fellow, I didn’t know your wife was a widow when you married her.”
“She wasn’t,” said Simpkins stiffly. “That, sir, is a portrait of myself at the age of twenty.”
American troops who during the early days of the European War were landed in France received a more careful and prolonged training than could possibly be given the most of the regiments hurriedly raised during the Civil War. The story goes that a raw battalion of rough backwoodsmen, who had “volunteered,” once joined General Grant. He admired their fine physique, but distrusted the capacity of their uncouth commander to handle troops promptly and efficiently in the field, so he said:
“Colonel, I want to see your men at work; call them to attention, and order them to march with shouldered arms in close column to the left flank.”
Without a moment’s hesitation the colonel yelled to his fellow-ruffians:
“Boys, look wild thar! Make ready to thicken and go left endways! Tote yer guns! Git!”
The manoeuvre proved a brilliant success and the self-elected colonel was forthwith officially commissioned.
President Wilson an ardent advocate of every kind of social reform, is fond of telling a story about an old teamster.
This old fellow said to the treasurer of the concern one day: