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- The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 7 - 12/12 -


should be done sparingly, and not oftener than three times a day, for the marriage ceremony isn't lightly to be repeated. But I want to tell you what Brigham Young observed to me.

"Artemus, my boy," said he, "you don't know how often a man marries against his will. Let me recite one case out of a hundred that has happened to myself. About three months ago a family arrived here-- they were from Hoboken--everybody knows how beautiful the Jersey girls are--with the exception of applejack, they are the nicest things Jersey produces. Well, this family consisted of four daughters, a mother and two grandmothers, one with teeth, the other without. I took a fancy to the youngest of the girls, and proposed. After considerable reflection she said: 'I can't think of marrying you without you marry my three sisters as well.'

"After some considerable hesitation I agreed, and went to the girl's mother for her consent: 'No objection to your marrying my four girls, but you'll have to take me as well.' After a little reflection, I consented, and went to the two grandmothers for their consent:--'No objection,' said the old dames in a breath, 'but you'll have to marry us as well. We cannot think of separating the family.' After a little cosy hesitation on my part, I finally agreed to swallow the two old venerable antiquities as a sort of sauce to the other five."

Under these circumstances, who can wonder at Brigham Young being the most highly married man in the Republic? In a word, he is too much married--indeed, if I were he, I should say two hundred and too much married.

As I see my esteemed friend Joe Whitton, of Niblo's Garden, sitting right before me, I will give him an anecdote which he will appreciate. There is considerable barter in Salt Lake City--horses and cows are good for hundred-dollar greenbacks, while pigs, dogs, cats, babies, and pickaxes are the fractional currency. I dare say my friend Joe Whitton would be as much astonished as I was after my first lecture. Seeing a splendid house I naturally began to reckon my spondulics. Full of this Pactolean vision, I went into my treasurer's room.

"Now, Hingston, my boy, let us see what the proceeds are! We shall soon make a fortune at this rate."

Hingston with the solemnity of a cashier, then read the proceeds of the lecture:

"Three cows, one with horns, and two without, but not a stumptail; fourteen pigs, alive and grunting; seventeen hams, sugar cured; three babies in arms, two of them cutting their teeth, and the other sickening with the chicken-coop, or some such disease." There were no end of old hats, ladies' hoops, corsets, and another article of clothing, generally stolen from the husband. There was also a secondhand coffin, three barrels of turnips, and a peck of coals; there was likewise a footless pair of stockings without the legs, and a pair of embroidered gaiters, a little worn. If I could find the legs belonging to them--well, I won't say what I'd do now--but leave all ladies in that pleasing state of expectation which is true happiness. Ladies and gentlemen, my lecture is done--if you refuse to leave the hall, you'll be forcibly ejected.


The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 7 - 12/12

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