They were in to see a divorce lawyer yesterday — Mary Ann and her mother. Mary Ann was a little embarrassed, but the old woman was calm. When they spoke about a breach-of-promise case the lawyer asked:
“What evidence have you got?”
“Mary Ann, produce the letters,” commanded the mother, and the girl took the cover off a willow basket and remarked that she thought 927 letters would do to begin on. The other 651 would be produced as soon as the case was fairly before the court
“And outside of these letters?” queried the lawyer.
“Mary Ann, produce your diary,” said the mother. “Now turn to the heading of ‘Promises,’ and tell how many times this marriage business was talked over.”
“The footing is 214 times,” answered the girl
“Now turn to the heading of ‘Darling,’ and give us the number of times he has applied the term to you.”
“If I have figured right, the total is 9,254 times.”
“I guess you counted pretty straight, for you are good in arithmetic. Now turn to the heading of ‘Woodbine Cottage,’ and tell as how many times he has talked of such a home for you after marriage.”
“The footing is 1,395 times.”
“Very well. This lawyer wants to be sure that we’ve got a case. How many times has Charles Henry said he would die for you?”
‘Three hundred and fifty,” answered the girl as she turned over a leaf.
“How many times has he called you an angel?”
“Over 11,000, mamma.”
“How about squeezing hands?”
“Over 384,000 squeezes.”
“There’s our case,” said the mother, as she deposited basket and diary on the lawyer’s table. “Look over the documents, and if you want anything further I can bring in a dozen neighbors to swear to facts. We sue for $10,000 damages, and we don’t settle for less than an eighty-acre farm, with buildings in good repair. We’ll call again next week. Good day, sir!”
Hot Stuff by Funny Men, 1901: p. 237
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: And to think that some persons believe that girls have no business studying mathematics! A persuasive argument to the contrary…
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.