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----------]1 ATRDIOIAL MIDDLEM

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]1 ATRDIOIAL MIDDLEM NI) one in search of a wholesome subject f"l Lentfji meditation could do better (remarks 11 writer in the World) than ponder the IllUra: of tho re-imrkuble matrimonial agency trinl which reached its predestined end last week. liead aright., that moral is a somewhat humiliating one, and us such may be held peculiarly suitable* for cor.:empbi- (ion at the present season. It rafcrees once more tho often demonstrated truth thai; neither free nor cheap literature, nor aay other of t,h« boasted modern Agencies of popular progress has I power to seriously diminish that "race of fools which to-day, as in Plato's time, is not to he counted." The simpletons who poured their nion>'y into the pockets of these matrimonial marauders seem to have belonged, for the moat pl- to th cesses whose mental cultivation has been the most boasted achievement of progressive zealots within the lust quarter of a century. Put ii comeF" wisdom lingers, at any rate in the case of the congenital idiot whose tribe remains so obstinately proliiic. Tatlbt or untaught, handicapped by ignorance or ad ran tnged by the best th it modern educational developments can do for him) he remains, like Mrs. "Abe" Lincoln in tho eyes of her apprecia- -i'Je the sfuno durned fool as he abv.i vs was. the supply of credulous boobies is just as exhanstless now as it was before the era of school hoards and free libraries nor did it need the amazing evidence tendered during the exposure of the recent niarriage- agencv frauds to establish this chastening fact- It is not, however, by their cras3 stupidity alone that these fleeced and fooled candidates for matri- mony have rendered themselves only less contemp- tible than their deceivers. Great as was their folly, it had its match in their preposterous vanity, assur- ance, and greed. It was bad enough that they should have swallowed in shoals the obviously arti- ficial bit presented to them by this precious Asso- ciation," and should have suffered themselves to be- lieve in the genuineness of the matrimonial prizes promised to them upon payment of the indispensable fee. It was worse still that they, or any of them, should have been persuaded that, by joining tho special high-class fashionable department," which involved the payment of another fee, they would be entitled to a selection of partners endowed not only with all possible graces of person and disposition, but also with comfortable incomes, sometimes run- ning well into four figures. The biggest fool of the whole clientele might have seen cause to wonder why the possessors of such accumulated attractions should have found it necessary to enter them upon the books of a matrimonial agency, and how it came about that they had not been readily negotiated by private contract. But nothing in the whole sorry business, excepting, of course, the vast swindle itself, is more astonishing than the outrageous vanity and impudence of the clerks and drapers' assistants and small tradesmen, earning a few shillings a week, who were wagnamimously prepared to barter themselves in the marriage-mart for incomes of several hundreds or more a year, with beautiful and accomplished maids and matrons thrown in." There seems little reason to doubt that the too enterprising persons who have now exchanged their commodious offices for tho convict's cell might have made an excellent livelihood, unclouded by any fear of tho police, had they been content to work their undertaking as a genuine marriage agency, honestly maintained for the mutual introduction—on com- mission-of persons desiring life-partners and lack- ing due opportunity of selection. Worked on these lines, the business might not have been quite so brilliantly lucrative but at least it would have been secure against such a catastrophe as has deservedly overwhelmed the fraudulent "Association" and its managers, Probably there would be plenty of room, in these practical times, for the operations of the matrimonial middleman, provided that he would be satisfied to conduct his business in the sooer fashion of an ordinary introduction agency, making no attempt to dazzle his clients with prospects of ficti- tious beauty, fascination, and banking accounts.

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