Married to a Giantess by Walter Parke

I loved her with all my heart, and, indeed, it took all my heart to accomplish the feat; for, in sooth, there was a great deal—a very great deal—of her to love. Although only "sweet seventeen," she had reached the commanding stature of nine feet nine inches, and, to use the words of a familiar advertisement, she was "still growing."

From my childhood I had doated on the gigantic, loved the lofty, admired the massive, and had a weakness for strength. The tales I best loved were those of giants.

Can you wonder, then, that when I heard that the celebrated Samothracian Giantess, Goliathina Immensikoff, from the wilds of Wallachia, the largest woman in the world, was approaching London, my soul was stirred by the news as by a trumpet-call? I read with the deepest interest the accounts of her antecedents. I learnt how she was discovered in the Wilds of Wallachia by Whiteley, the World's Provider, who had "taken her from the bosom of her family"—and here I could not help exclaiming, "What a stupendous 'bosom' that 'family' must have had!"

As I reclined on my sofa, smoking the largest possible meerschaum, and reading with absorbing interest these accounts of one who was certainly "born to greatness," I suddenly came to a terrific and almost appalling resolve. Involuntarily I exclaimed, aloud, "She shall be mine!"

Yet how could I hope for success? To win so great a being one must be not only a lady-killer, but a giant-killer also; and though I bear a "big" name myself—Hector Gogmagog—Nature has denied me either extraordinary personal attractions or lofty stature. How hopeless, then, for me to aspire to the affection of the Monumental Maiden of Samothracia! Five feet five pitted against nine feet nine is to be pitted indeed!

But love laughs at obstacles. That evening I went to the Royal Escurial Theatre, where Mademoiselle Goliathina was performing, and sat enthralled to witness her impersonation of the Queen of Brobdingnag. The pictures had not exaggerated. She was "every inch a queen"—a phrase of some significance when the number of inches mounts up to one hundred and seventeen.

The next step was to get an introduction. This I accomplished to my satisfaction, and though at first naturally overawed by her Leviathan aspect, thenceforward my wooing proceeded rapidly. I had several interviews with the colossal charmer, at which I had the satisfaction of discovering that I was more in her eyes than some other men who were nearer to herself in point of stature. Words of encouragement coming from those lips, so near and yet so far away, words spoken in soft Wallachian, yet in tones that Stentor might have envied—elevated me to the seventh heaven of pride and delight. I already felt taller by inches—but what was that to her nine feet nine?

I sent her the very biggest bouquets, such as occupied a whole hansom cab each; love letters, their weight barely covered by eight stamps; and valentines that would only go by parcels delivery.

All this had its effect. She would have been less than woman, instead of a very great deal more—had she been insensible to my devotion. Can I ever forget what the poet ecstatically calls "the first kiss of love"—how, at considerable inconvenience to herself, she bent that statuesque form to accommodate herself to my limited stature? That was, indeed, "stooping to conquer."

Yet with all this encouragement, it was in fear and trembling that I approached the momentous question. Fancy a refusal from those lips. It would be crushing indeed!

"Dearest Goliathina," I said, standing upon the head of the sofa, in order to place myself upon something like her own exalted level, "say, oh, say you will be mine. You may be sure of my lifelong devotion. You will be all in all to me, and, in fact, much more than all; for you are far too large to be merely my better half. I shall always make much of you, and look up to you as one infinitely above me. Fortunately, I have a large heart; but as you occupy it entirely, it would be perfectly impossible for me to find room for any other object. Were you to reject me, there would be an immeasurable void in my life, and who else is capable of filling it?"

She was evidently affected; for what the poet calls a "big round tear"—and goodness knows how big round tear it was in this case—could be perceived starting from each of her moonlike eyes. I clasped her hand—which in point of length was a foot—and she did not withdraw it.

"Fondest Hector," she responded, "I am thine!"

And she leant her head upon my shoulder. I staggered; but by the exertion of all my strength I was able for some moments to sustain that delicious burden.

Our wedding took place before the Registrar, who, being of a nervous temperament, was so overwhelmed at the towering dimensions of the bride, that he could scarcely get through the ceremony. It was all as private as so abnormal an affair could possibly be kept, and for a time the famous female colossus figured no longer at the Royal Escurial as Queen Brobdingnag, a substitute only six feet two inches having been provided.

Marrying a giantess has its inconveniences. I had to have a house built with exceptionally lofty rooms and doors ten feet high, with furniture on a corresponding scale. An ordinary carriage was of no use to my wife, whose size also frightened the horses; so we had a sort of triumphal car built, drawn by a circus elephant. It was expensive, but an excellent advertisement in a theatrical sense. She could never walk out without being mobbed, and terrifying babies. She dared not visit a friend's house for fear of frightening the children and destroying the furniture. And fancy her at a dance! Moreover, our housekeeping expenses were something frightful.

Anon, darker shadows hovered around our domestic sphere. Her temper proved to be at times uncertain. At the least attempt to thwart any of her strange caprices, she grew infuriated; and when annoyed, she had a way of putting me on the top of a high bookcase, or locking me up in a cupboard, box, or trunk—for I have said all our belongings were on a gigantic scale—which was peculiarly humiliating.

About this time we became acquainted with Morlock Mastodon, Drum-Major to his highness the Grand Duke of Samothracia. The Major, though of small stature compared with my wife, was considered a giant by ordinary men, being seven feet ten in height. My fondness for giants rendered him an eligible acquaintance to me. Mrs. Gogmagog naturally took to one of her own gigantic species; and the Major was pleased to say that ours was the only comfortable and commodious house in England—he meant the only one in which the doors were ten feet high, and the chair-seats four feet from the ground. Anyhow, he soon made himself at home with us—too much at home, as I couldn't help thinking. I didn't mind him and my wife being good friends; but when, in their gigantic loftiness, they seemed to overlook me altogether, I began to entertain natural feelings of jealousy. Besides, the Major owed me money—large sums in proportion to his size, which he had borrowed under the obviously false pretence that he was "very short just now;" and he seemed in no hurry to pay it back. What could I do? It was rather a risky thing to expostulate with a man of seven feet ten; and to turn him out of the house would have been a task altogether beyond my physical strength. At all events I could resolve that he should never enter it again; and I gave strict injunctions that always in future when Major Mastodon called there was to be "nobody at home."

Moreover, I actually summoned up courage to tell my wife of my resolution, and even to remonstrate with her upon her own demeanour towards the gallant and gigantic Major. Then she got into a rage. And such a rage! Heavens! what had I done? What would become of me? I was as one who had called down upon his devoted head the wrath of the gods or of the Titans.

She drew herself up to her full height of nearly ten feet, her eyes glared like those of a demoniac, and grasping my arm in her Herculean clutch, she lifted me bodily from the ground.

"Hands off!" I exclaimed, struggling. "Hit one your own size!"

"My own size!" she thundered, in a contralto profundo voice that shook the very roof. "Where am I to find 'em? The only person approximating to my own size you have forbidden the house. You—you dare try and control my actions—you, whom I could crush like a blue-bottle—attempt to dictate to me! I will stand this no longer. You have offended me once too often. You die!"

"Beware, fearful female!" I gasped. "Colossal as you are, the arm of the law is still longer and even stronger than yours. Kill me, and you will assuredly die for it!"

She gave a laugh of scorn.

"Me?" she cried. "Do you believe they would hang me? No; I am above all laws, and I have sworn that you shall die!"

And in spite of my struggles she flung me, as easily as if I had been a doll, right out of the third storey window. Down I fell, down, down, till I—

—— found myself on the floor. I had tumbled off the sofa, and so awakened from my terrific dream. Heavens! what a relief to find that after all I was not married to a giantess, that it was all a vision due to my falling asleep over the advertisement, and that Mdlle. Goliathina was but a gigantic nightmare.