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Frankie M'Kee's Strange Wish., Issue 8048, 26 October 1889, Supplement
Frankie M'Kee's Strange Wish.
The news comes from Chicago that Frankie Brown M'Kee and Arthur Branscomb were married there a few days ago. There is a dash of romance in the story of the girl, or rather woman, who is now Mrs Branscomb. There is also a great deal of what may be mildly termed foolishness. Frankie is the daughter of the late Hiram Brown, of Oakland, Cal. Upon his death she found herself sole heiress to LIO.OOO. Young, pretty, vivacious, and fond of society, she naturally received her full share of the attentions and »dmiration of her male acquaintances. But this did not quite satisfy her. She wanted something a little more exciting. In her circle of acquaintance was a handsome young widow, whose style and dashing ways seemed well-nigh irresistible to the gallants of Oaklaud, and which drew many devotees as well from the swell circles of San Francisco society. Frankie was consumed with envy. It seemed to her that if she could only have the adoration in kind and degree which the widow enjoyed, she would be supremely happy. She fretted at the thought that she had a rival—one with whom she could not compete on quite equal terms. Finally, she made known the cause of her disquietude to a confidant, Captain Apgar, who, when he had comprehended the situation, replied : '• I thiuk that if you wore a widow's weeds your triumph would be. easy." This set Frankie to thinking, and it was not a great while until she had formed a plan of procedure. She confided it to Captain Apgar, who, whether he approved it or not, agreed to help her carry it cut. At that time Frank M'Gee was "failing rapidly " with what was supposed to be an attack of quick consumption. His physician, Dr Anson, was a friend of Captain Apgar. One day M'Kee was astonished at having communicated to him a proposal of marriage from Frankie Brown. He had never met her, and only knew her by reputation as an heiress and society belle. Naturally he concluded that a joke was being played upon him, and it was with much difficulty that he was convinced to the contrary. The whole scheme was unfolded to him, and, while he could not relish the idea of the heiress and her friends speculating in such a practical sort of way on his early demise, he finally decided to accept the offer, upon it being explained to him that Frankie would provide liberally for all his wants so long as he should live, and give him an elaborate funeral when he died. He was a printer by occupation, and poor, and tha prospect of spending the rest of his days in comfort, and even affluence, was not a repulsive one. A meeting was arranged between Frankie and M'Kee, and all details were sati«facfactorily arranged. The marriage occurred almost immediately, and M'Kee was handed a liberal supply of money for his present needs. Frankie went at once to her dressmakers and ordered a complete outfit of mourning attire, such as would be appropriate for a stylish youug widow who was not grief-stricken to any great extent. Then she proceeded to wait for the event which would enable her to wear it. Messengers came from time to time from her husband, saying that he was still failing and could not last much longer. She tried to look sorrowful, and the rather formidable requests for money to meet sundry bills of her dying spouse enabled her to succeed in a measure. This went on for a while, and finally grew extremely monotonous to the prospective widow. She resolved to visit her husband and see for herself what the outlook was. As she was about to board the train for San Francisco, where he was living, a hand was laid on her arm, and, turning, ."he saw Mr M'Kee, apparently in excellent health—so much so, in fact, that it several secouds before she recognised him. He demanded that she should live with him as his wife—which she was—and she angrily refused to do so. Then there was a scene. Finally his importunity was satisfied by her giving him a considerable sum of money. But he returned again aud again ; and Frankie, becoming tired of depleting her fortuue in such a rapid manner, packed up and fled to Paris. When M'Kee heard this he "went on a drunk" which lasted for weeks—in fact he never drew a sober breath afterwards, and drank himself into his grave inside of six months. The news was cabled to Frankie in Paris, and she started at once for America, but not to carry out her once pet plan of shining in San Francisco and Oakland society as a beautiful and dashing young widow. She wanted above everything else to find Arthur Branscomb.
Branscomb is, or rather was, a barnstorming actor. At the time Frankie was waiting in expectation of soon becoming a widow he appeared in San Francisco from Australai. For a time he worked as a reporter on the 'Alta California,' and while thus employed met Frankie. The two fell desperately in love with each other, and it was agreed between them to marry after M'Kee should die. Later Branscomb joined a travelling theatrical troupe, and with it made the Pacific Coast tour. It is believed that he and Frankie have corresponded ever since their first meeting. He is a handsome fellow, with light curly hair and pleasaut address. He is the only son of an English clergyman, who before his death lived in Kent, where it is said the family still reside. Young Branscomb drifted out to Melbourne several years ago. and there became an actor. It is said that he has a wife and child living in New Zealand. Harry Emmett, an actor who was Branscomb's companion from Australia to San Francisco, when asked about the matter, said : "I have written a letter to Arthur in regard to it, and I do not care to say anything until I hear from him." Another actor who knew Branscomb in Australia said : " Yes, I met his wife, and I have dandled his little girl on my knee. I don't know as I blame Branscomb much for running away from his New Zealand wife, as he is from a way-up family in England, and his wife is rather on the washerwoman style."
F. W. Kinnie, who was night editor of the ' Alta' when Hranscomb was reporter on it, said : " I know that he haa a wife in New Zealand, and I was thunderstruck when I heard of his marriage to Frankie Brown M'Kee. Branscomb toid me that he never would return to Australia. The impression prevailed in San Francisco that he was the second son of an English lord. I never looked upon him as an adventurer, as he was a hard-working reporter." If these reports are true there may be trouble in the future awaiting Branscomb and his eccentric and dashing young wife. One of his friends said that it was barely possible that Branscomb had secured a divorce from his New Zealand wife, but that he did not think that such was the case.
Men of Few Words. —Jollyfellow (after an absence): "Hello, Meak ! Married yet ?" Meak (sadly): "No; not married yet." Jollyfellow (after another absence): " Hello, Meak! Married yet?" Meak (sadly): " Yes ; married yet!" Managing a Boy.—Husband (a literary man): " I wish you'd stop watching little Dick for a while." Wife : " But if I don't watch him he'll be in mischief." Husband: " Yes, that's what I mean. When he's in mischief he's quiet, and I want to write." Bolivia has not been in diplomatic relations with England since phe was wiped off the diplomatic map by Lord Palmerston because the President of the day deported the British Minister on the back of an ass with his face to the tail,
Frankie M'Kee's Strange Wish., Issue 8048, 26 October 1889, Supplement
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