The Johnny sent his valentine
And followed on thereafter,
To see her greet “Will you be mine?”
With quite a burst of laughter.
Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio) Feb 14, 1900
Mr. Skinner’s Valentine
Mr. Zachariah Skinner was a lanky ruralist,
Rather loose at knees and elbows, but extremely tight of fist,
With a local reputation as to sharpness in a trade
And an appetite for saving every cent that could be made.
Twice he’d stood at Hymen’s altar, but his wives were now asleep
In that portion of the graveyard where the lots were few and cheap,
And their broken hearted relict, with an eye for number three,
Was attracted very strongly toward the widow Martha Bee.
Now the widow she was rosy, and the widow she was fair,
And her age was nigh to forty, with a year or two to spare,
And her first connubial venture left her pretty well to do,
As, perhaps it’s well to mention, crafty Zachariah knew.
So he thought as Mrs. Skinner she would be exactly right,
And the question how to win her vexted his brain both day and night,
Till there came an inspiration from Dan Cupid’s sacred shrine,
And he thought, “Perhaps ‘twould fetch her if I sent a valentine.”
So he wrote: “Dear Mrs. Martha — I’m a steady man, you see,
And, if you’re a frugal woman — as I understand you to be —
With a faculty for saving and a little cash on hand —
As I’ve always heard you did have — and no mortgage on your land,
Why, as I am sort of anxious for a partner during life,
I just kind of thought I’d write you asking you to by my wife.
P.S. — My heart I send you, just chock full of love divine,
And I’d like to have you take me for to be your valentine.”
This he mailed, and then he waited till the answer came at last,
And he burst the seal to read it, with his pulses beating fast.
“Mr. Zachariah Skinner,” formally the note began,
“Yours received and contents noted. Glad that you’re a steady man
That there heart you mention sending, couldn’t find it round about,
‘Fraid it must have been so little that the mail folks lost it out.
Got some cash and got no mortgage, but your offer I decline,
‘Cause I’ve got no use at present for a comic valentine.”
* * * * * * *
How the story reached the gossips probably will never be known,
Possibly the widow told it to some crony of her own,
But through all that country village, to the township’s farthest line,
Zachariah Skinner’s nickname is “The Comic Valentine.”
Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 13, 1900