Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures


“Fie, Mr. Caudle, I knew it would come to this.  I said it would, when you joined those precious Skylarks.  People being called out of their beds at all hours of the night, to bail a set of fellows who are never so happy as when they’re leading sober men to destruction.  I should like to know what the neighbours will think of you, with people from the police knocking at the door at two in the morning?  Don’t tell me that the man has been ill-used: he’s not the man to be ill-used.  And you must go and bail him!  I know the end of that: he’ll run away, and you’ll have to pay the money.  I should like to know what’s the use of my working and slaving to save a farthing, when you throw away pounds upon your precious Skylarks.  A pretty cold you’ll have to-morrow morning, being called out of your warm bed this weather; but don’t you think I’ll nurse you - not I; not a drop of gruel do you get from me.

“I’m sure you’ve plenty of ways of spending your money - not throwing it away upon a set of dissolute peace-breakers.  It’s all very well for you to say you haven’t thrown away your money, but you will.  He’ll be certain to run off; it isn’t likely he’ll go upon his trial, and you’ll be fixed with the bail.  Don’t tell me there’s no trial in the matter, because I know there is; it’s for something more than quarrelling with the policeman that he was locked up.  People aren’t locked up for that.  No, it’s for robbery, or something worse, perhaps.

“And as you have bailed him, people will think you are as bad as he is.  Don’t tell me you couldn’t help bailing him; you should have shown yourself a respectable man, and have let him been sent to prison.

“Now people know you’re the friend of drunken and disorderly persons, you’ll never have a night’s sleep in your bed.  Not that it would matter what fell upon you, if it wasn’t your poor wife who suffered.  Of course all the business will be in the newspapers, and your name with it.  I shouldn’t wonder, too, if they give your picture as they do the other folks of the Old Bailey.  A pretty thing that, to go down to your children.  I’m sure it will be enough to make them change their name.  No, I shall not go to sleep; it’s all very well for you to say, go to sleep, after such a disturbance.  But I shall not go to sleep, Mr. Caudle; certainly not.”

Her will, I have no doubt,” says Caudle, “was strong; but nature was stronger, and she did sleep; this night inflicting upon me a remarkably short lecture.”

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