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MRS. CAUDLE'S CURTAIN LECTURES. MRS CAUDLE, SUSPECTING THAT MR, CAUDLE HAS MADE HIS WILL. IS "ONLY ANXIOUS AS A WIFE" TO KNOW ITS PRO- VISIONS. "There, 1 always said you'd a strong mind when you liked, Caudle; and what you've just been doing proves it. Some people won't make a will, because they think they must die directly afterwards, Now, you're above that, love, am't you? Nonsense; you know very well what I mean. I know your will's made, for Scratcherly told me so. What 1 Vot* don', believe it ? Well, I'm sure That's a pretty thing for a man to say to his wife. I know he's too much of a man of business to talk; but I suppose there's a way of telling things without speaking them. And when I put the question to him, lawyer as he is, he hadn't the face to deny it. To be sure, it can be of no consequence to me whether your wilt is made or not. I shall not be alive, Mr. Caudle, to want any thing I shall bo provided for a long time before your will's of any use. No, Mr. Caudle; I shan't survive you and— though a woman's wrong to let her affection for a man be known, for then she's always taken advantage of—though I know it's foolish and weak to say so, still I don't" want to survive you. How should I? No, no; don't say that: I'm not good for a bundred-I shan't see rou out, and another husband too! What a gross idea, Caudle To imagine I'd ever think of marrying again. No—never What ? That's what we all say ? Not at ail; quite the reverse. To me the very idea of such a thing is horrible, and always was. Yes, I know very well, that some do marry again,—but what they're made of, I'm sure I can't tell! Ugh! "There are men, I know, who leave their property in such a way that their widows, to hold it, must keep widows. Now, if there is any thing in the world that is mean and small, it is that. Don't you think so, too, Caudle ? Why don't you speak, love ? That's so like you I never want a little quiet rational talk, but you want to go to sleep, But you never were like any other man! What? How do I know? There now,—that's so like your aggravating way. I never open 81Y lips upon a subject, but you try to put me off! I've no doubt when Miss Prettyman speaks, you can answer her properly enough. There you are, again Upon my life, it is odd but I never in the most inno- cent way mention that person's name that— Why can't [leave her a/OMe ? I'm sure—with all my heart! Who wants to talk about her! I don't: only you always will say something that's certain to bring up her name. What was I saying, Caudle ? Oh, about the way some men bind their widows, To my mind, there is nothing so little. When a man forbids his wife to marry again without losing what he leaves—it's what I call selfishness after death. Mean to a degree It's like taking his wife into the grave with him. Eh ? You never want to do that ? No, I'm sure of that, love you are not tile man to tie a woman up in that mean manner. A man who'd do that would have his widow burnt with him, if he could—just as those monsters, who call themselves men, do in the Indies. However, it's no matter to me how you've made your will; b12t it may be to your second wife, What ? I shall never give you a chance? Ha! you don't know my constitution after all, Caudle. I'm not at all the woman I was. I say nothing about em, but very often you don't know my feelings. And as we're on the subject, dearest, I've only one favour to ask. When you marry again—now it's no use your saying that. After the com- forts you've known of marriage—what are you sighing at, dear after the comforts, you must marry again-now don't forswear yourself in that violent way, taking an oath that you must break—you eouldn't help it, I'm sure of it: and I know you better than you know yourself. Well, all I ask is. love, because it's only for your sake. -and it would make no difference to me then—how should it I-but all I ask is, don't marry Miss Pret There there I've done I woa't say another word about 1t I but all I ask is, don't. After the way you've been thought of, and aftwr the comforts you've been used to, Caudle, she wouldn't be the wife for you. Of course, I could then have no interest in the matter—you might marry the Queen of England, for what it would be to me then—I'm only anxious about you. Mind, Caudle, I'm not saying anything against her; not at all but there's a flightiness in her manner-I dare say, poor thing, 3he meaAs no harm. and it may be, as the saying is, only her jnanner after aU-still, there is a flightiness about her that, after what you've been used to, would make you very wretched. No, for if I may boast of anything, Caudle, it has been my propriety of manner all my life, 1 know that wives who're very particu- lar, ar'nt thought as well of as those who're not—still, it is very little to be virtuous, if people don't seem 110. And virtue, Caudle-no, I'm not going to preach about virtue, for I never do. No and I don't go about with my virtue, like a child with A drum< making all sorts of noises with it. But I know your rrrjnc.ipies. I shall never forget what I once heard you say to and it's no excuse that you'd taken so much wine vou didn't know what you were saying at the time; for wine brings out men's wickedness, just as fire brings out spots of grease. What did you say? Why you sud this Virtue's a beautiful thing in women, when they don t make so much noise about it: but there's some women, who think virtue was given 'em, as slaws were given to cats j es, ca s was the word'to do nothing but scratch with. That s what you said. You don't recollect a syllable of it? No, that sit; when you're in that dreadful state, you recollect nothing; but it s a good thing I do. But we won't talk of that, love—that's all over; I dare say you meant nothing. But I'm glad you agree with me, that the man who'd tie up his widow, not to marry again, is a mean man. It makes me happy that you've that confidence in me to say that. You never said it? That's nothing to do with it— you ye just as geod as said it. No; when a man leaves all his property to his wife, without binding her hands from marrying again, he ■hows what a dependence he has upon her love. He proves to all the world what a wife she's been to him and how, after his death, he knows she'll grieve for him. And then, of course, a second marriage never enters her head. But when she only keeps his money as long as she keeps a widow, why she's aggra- vated to take another husband. I m sure of it, many a poor woman has been driven into wedlock again, only because she was spited into it by her husband's will. Its only natural to suppose it. If I thought, Caudle you could do such a thing, though it would break my heart to do it,—yet, though you were dead and gone, I'd show you I'd a spirit, and marry again directly. Not but what it's ridiculous my talking in such a way, M I shall fgo long before you; still, mark my words, and don t provoke me with any will of that sort, or I d do it-as I m a. living woman in this bed, I'd do it. I did not contradict her," says Caudle, but suffered her o ia such assuraace.»J>wwA,




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