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“And then, when you're out late, Caudle - for I know you must be out late, sometimes ; I can't expect you, of course, to be always at home why then dear mother could sit and nothing would delight the dear soul half so much.
“And so, Caudle, love, I think dear mother had better come, don't you? Eh, Caudle? Now, you're not asleep, darling ; don't you think she'd better come? You say No? You say No again? You won't have her, you say; You won't, that's flat ? Caudle Cau-Cau-dle Cau -dle"
“Here Mrs. Caudle,” says her husband, “suddenly went into tears; and I went to sleep."
MR. CAUDLE, HAVING COME HOME A LITTLE LATE, DECLARES THAT HENCEFORTA “HE WILL HAVE A KEY.”
“UPOn my word, Mr. Caudle, I think it a waste of time to come to bed at all now! The cocks will be crowing in a minute. Why did I sit up, then ? Because I choose to sit up – but that's my thanks. No, it's no use your talking, Caudle; I never will let the girl sit up for you; and there's an end. What do you say? Why does she sit up with me, then? That's quite a different matter. You don't suppose I'm going to sit up alone, do you? What do you say? What's the use of two sitting up? That's my business. No, Caudle, it's no such thing. I don't sit up because I may have the pleasure of talking about it; and you're an ungrateful, unfeeling creature, to
I sit up because I choose it, and if you don't come home all the night long - and 'twill soon come to that I've no doubt — still, I'll never go to bed, so don't think it.
“Oh, yes! the time runs away very pleasantly with you men at your clubs - selfish creatures! You can laugh, and sing, and tell stories, and never think of the clock; never think there's such a person as a wife belonging to you. It's nothing to you that a poor woman's sitting up, and telling the minutes, and seeing all sorts of things in the fire - and sometimes thinking that something dreadful has happened to you — more fool she to care a straw about you ! - this is all nothing. Oh, no; when a woman's once married she's a slave worse than a slave - and must bear it all!
“ And what you men can find to talk about, I can't think ! Instead of a man sitting every night at home with his wife, and going to bed at a Christian hour, -going to a club, to meet a set of people who don't care a button for him — it's monstrous ! What do you say? You only go once a week? That's nothing at all to do with it: you might as well go every night; and I dare say you will soon. But if you do, you may get in as you can: I won't sit
I can tell you. My health's being destroyed night after night, and — oh, don't say it's only once a week; I tell you that's nothing to do with it — if you had any eyes, you'd see how ill I am; but you've no eyes for anybody belonging to you: oh, no! your eyes are for people out of doors. It's very well for you to call me a foolish, aggravating woman! I should like to see the woman who'd sit up for you as I do. You didn't want me to sit up? Yes, yes; that's your thanks — that's your gratitude: I'm to ruin my health, and to be abused for it. Nice principles you've got at that club, Mr. Caudle!
“But there's one comfort - one great comfort; it can't last long : I'm sinking — I feel it, though I never say anything about it — but I know my own feelings, and I say it can't last long. And then I should like to know who will sit up for you! Then I should like to know how your second wife say? You'll never be troubled with another ? Troubled, indeed! I never troubled you, Caudle. No; it's you who've troubled me; and you know it; though like a foolish woman I've borne it all, and never said a word about it. But it can't last — that's one blessing.
“Oh, if a woman could only know what she'd have to suffer before she was married Don't tell me you want to go to sleep! If you want to go to sleep, you should come home at proper hours! It's time to get up, for what I know now. Shouldn't wonder if you hear the milk in five minutes - there's the sparrows up already ; yes, I say the sparrows; and, Caudle, you ought to blush to hear 'em. You don't hear 'em ? Ha! you won't hear 'em, you mean: I hear 'em. No, Mr. Caudle; it isn't the wind whistling in the key-hole; I'm not quite foolish, though you may think so. I hope I know wind from a sparrow!
“Ha! when I think what a man you were before we were married! But you're now another person – quite an altered creature. But I suppose you're all alike – I dare say, every poor woman's troubled and put upon, though I should hope not
what do you
so much as I am. Indeed, I should hope not! Going and staying out, and
“What! You'll have a key? Will you! Not while I'm alive, Mr. Caudle. I'm not going to bed with the door upon the latch, for you or the best man breathing. You won't have a latch-you'll have a Chubb's lock? Will you? I'll have no Chubb here, I can tell you. What do you say? You'll have the lock put on to-morrow? Well, try it; that's all I say, Caudle; try it. I won't let you put me in a passion; but all I say is, —
“A respectable thing, that, for a married man to carry about with him, — a street-door key! That tells a tale, I think. A nice thing for the father of a family! A keyi What, to let yourself in and out when you please! To come in, like a thief in the middle of the night, instead of knocking at the door like a decent person! Oh, don't tell me that you only want to prevent me sitting up, — if I choose to sit up, what's that to you? Some wives, indeed, would make a noise about sitting up, but you've no reason to complain, - goodness knows.
"Well, upon my word, I've lived to hear something. Carry the street-door key about with you! I've heard of such things with young good-for-nothing bachelors, with nobody to care what became of 'em; but for a married man to leave his wife and children in a house, with the door upon the latch – don't talk to me about Chubb, it's all the same a great deal you must care for us. Yes, it's very well for you to say, that you only want the key for peace and quietness — what's it to you if I like to sit up? You've no business to complain ; it can't distress you. Now, it's no use your talking; all I say is this, Caudle: if you send a man to put on any lock here, I'll call in a policeman; as I'm your married wife, I will !
“No, I think when a man comes to have the street-door key, the sooner he turns bachelor altogether the better. I'm sure, Caudle, I don't want to be any clog upon you. Now, it's no use your telling me to hold my tongue, for I – What? I give you the headache, do I? No, I don't, Caudle ; it's your club that gives you the headache: it's your smoke, and your— well! if ever I knew such a man in all my life! there's no saying a word to you! You go out, and treat yourself like an emperor and come home at twelve at night, or any hour for what I know and, — and then you threaten to have a key, and — and — and”.
VOL. XII. - 30
"I did get to sleep at last,” said Caudle, “amidst the failing sentences of take children into a lodging' - separate maintenance' - 'won't be made a slave of' - and so forth.”
MR. CAUDLE HAS NOT ACTED “LIKE A HUSBAND
THE WEDDING DINNER.
“ Ah me! It's no use wishing none at all : but I do wish that yesterday fourteen years could come back again. Little did I think, Mr. Caudle, when you brought me home from church, your lawful wedded wife - little, I say, did I think that I should keep my wedding dinner in the manner I have done to-day. Fourteen years ago! Yes, I see you now in your blue coat, with bright buttons, and your white watered-satin waistcoat, and a moss rosebud in your button-hole, which you said was like me. What? You never talked such nonsense ? Ha! Mr. Caudle, you don't know what you talked that daybut I do. Yes; and you then sat at the table as if your face, as I may say, was buttered with happiness, and - What? No. Mr. Caudle, don't say that; I have not wiped the butter off — not I. If you above all men are not happy, you ought to be, gracious knows !
“Yes, I will talk of fourteen years ago. Ha! you sat beside me then, and picked out all sorts of nice things for me. You'd have given me pearls and diamonds to eat if I could have swallowed 'em. Yes, I say, you sat beside me, and — What do you talk about? You couldn't sit beside me to-day? That's nothing at all to do with it. But it's so like you. I can't speak but you fly off to something else. Ha! and when the health of the young couple was drunk, what a speech you made then! It was delicious! How you made everybody cry, as if their hearts were breaking; and I recollect it as if it was yesterday, how the tears ran down dear father's nose, and how dear mother nearly went into a fit! Dear souls! They little thought, with all
your fine talk, how you'd used me! How have you used me? Oh, Mr. Caudle, how can you ask that question? It's well for you I can't see you blush. How have you used me?
"Well, that the same tongue could make a speech like that, and then talk as it did to-day! How did you talk! Why shamefully! What did you say about your wedded happiness ? Why, nothing. What did you say about your wife? Worse
than nothing: just as if she were a bargain you were sorry for, but were obliged to make the best of. What do you say ? And bad's the best? If you say that again, Caudle, I'll rise from my bed. You didn't say it? What, then, did you say? Something very like it, I know. Yes, a pretty speech of thanks for a husband! And everybody could see that you didn't care a pin for me; and that's why you had 'em here: that's why you invited 'em, to insult me to their faces. What? I made you invite 'em? Oh, Caudle, what an aggravating man you are !
“I suppose you'll say next I made you invite Miss Prettyman? Oh yes ; don't tell me that her brother brought her without your knowing it? What? Didn't I hear him say 80? Of course I did; but do you suppose I'm quite a fool ? Do you think I don't know that that was all settled between you? And she must be a nice person to come unasked to a woman's house! But I know why she came.
she came to look about her. What do I mean?
What do I mean? Oh, the meaning's plain enough. She came to see how she should like the rooms how she should like my seat at the fireplace; how she — and if it isn't enough to break a mother's heart to be treated so! how she should like my dear children.
“Now, it's no use your bouncing about at — but of course that's it; I can't mention Miss Prettyman, but you fing about as if you were in a fit. Of course that shows there's something in it. Otherwise, why should you disturb yourself? Do you think I didn't see her looking at the ciphers on the spoons as if she already saw mine scratched out and hers there? No, I sha’n't drive you mad, Mr. Caudle; and if I do it's your own fault. No other man would treat the wife of his bosom in – What do you say? You might as well have married a hedgehog ? Well, now it's come to something! But it's always the case! Whenever you've seen that Miss Prettyman, I'm sure to be abused. A hedgehog! A pretty thing for a woman to be called by her husband! Now you don't think I'll lie quietly in bed, and be called a hedgehog - do you, Mr. Caudle?
“Well, I only hope Miss Prettyman had a good dinner, that's all. I had none! You know I had none how was I to get any? You know that the only part of the turkey I care for is the merrythought. And that, of course, went to Miss Prettyman. Oh, I saw you laugh when you put it on her plate! And you don't suppose, after such an insult as that, I'd taste another thing upon the table? No, I should hope I have more spirit