When a young man rapped timidly at his door the other evening, Rev. George I. Foster, 1106 Addison-rd N.E. opened it. The young man, who was not tall, told Rev. Mr. Foster bashfully that he had come to be married.
“To whom?” asked the minister.
“To her,” said the young man, and he pointed into the gloom of the porch to a rather tall young woman whose features were hid under a heavy dotted veil. It was chilly out and there wasn’t much time for parley.
“Won’t you step in?” said the minister.
In the front parlor Rev. Mr. Foster began conversation with, “You are the couple of whom my wife spoke at dinner?”
“I suppose we are,” replied the prospective groom. “I called up this afternoon.”
So the two stood up and Rev. Mr. Foster began the ceremony.
The young woman was very modest. She answered the questions in her turn, but she couldn’t talk loud. She kept her hat and veil on and perhaps that hindered her or else it was all new to her, or she had a cold. Anyway she managed to make herself heard and when the ceremony was ended the little husband asked what the fee was. He was laboriously pulling a pocketbook out of his trousers’ pocket.
“Now, where is the license?” asked Rev. Mr. Foster, according to rule.
“Why, we had no license,” said the young man as he tendered a bill.
“Then you’re not married.”
“What, not married?” came from the astonished bride and groom together.
The minister said that was the case.
“Very well,” said the young couple.
The young woman lifted her veil, the young man tore a tiny mustache off his lip and there stood Mrs. Foster, the pastor’s wife and Mrs. Alfred Shaw, a near neighbor and friend.
It was Halloween. Rev. Mr. Foster said it was very skillfully done.
Plain Dealer [Cleveland OH] 3 November 1910: p. 1
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil suspects that, had the prank been perpetrated on anyone but a man of the cloth, “skillfully done” would have been the least of the comments from the victim of the imposture. Mrs Daffodil also wonders who tipped off the newspaper. The newspaper rather spoilt the fun with its headline:
MINISTER, ON HALLOWEEN, MARRIES HIS WIFE TO WOMAN LIVING NEAR BY
Goes Through Ceremony According to Rote, Discovering Joke Only When License to Wed is Asked and Refused.
The Rev. Mr. Foster, who was Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Cleveland, Ohio was quite the artistic nibs: he wrote and published operettas, cantatas, and band music. He also knew about the importance of casting the right person for the part. In 1907 he wrote an operetta for the children of the church, “Jack the Giant Killer.” Since none of the children were tall enough for the role of the giant, he looked out from the pulpit at his congregation one Sunday, noted a fellow who towered over his pew-mates and afterwards congratulated a bemused draftsman named John Davis on getting the part. He died in 1935 and the church seems to have closed its doors soon afterward. No one could fill his clerical or theatrical shoes.
Mrs Daffodil wonders if the Rev. Mr Foster was near-sighted. A man’s suit and a “tiny mustache” seems scarcely adequate to conceal the face, form, and sex of a “near neighbor and friend.”
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.