Mrs. Caudle's Umbrella Monologue
|Mrs. Caudle's Umbrella Monologue by Douglas William Jerrold|
MRS. CAUDLE: Bah! That's the third umbrella gone since Christmas. What were you to do? Why, let him go home in the rain, to be sure. I'm very certain there was nothing about him that could spoil. Take cold? Indeed! He doesn't look like one of the sort to take cold. Besides, he'd have better taken cold than taken our umbrella. Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear the rain? And, as I am alive, if it isn't Saint Swithin's day! Do you hear it against the windows? Nonsense, you don't impose upon me. You can't be asleep with such a shower as that! Do you hear it, I say? Oh, you do hear it? Well that's a pretty flood, I think, to last for six weeks; and no stirring all the time out of the house. Pooh! don't think me a fool, Mr. Caudle. Don't insult me. He return the umbrella? Anybody would think you were born yesterday. As if anybody ever did return an umbrella! There--do you hear it? Worse and worse! Cats and dogs, and for six weeks--always six weeks,--and no umbrella! I should like to know how the children are to go to school tomorrow. They shan't go through such weather; I am determined. No! they shall stop at home and never learn anything--the blessed creatures!--sooner than go and get wet. And, when they grow up, I wonder who they'll have to thank for knowing nothing--who, indeed, but their father. People who can't feel for their own children ought never to be fathers. But I know why you lent the umbrella. Oh, yes; I know very well. I was going out to tea at dear mother's tomorrow,--you knew that,--and you did it on purpose. Don't tell me; you hate to have me go there, and take every mean advantage to hinder me. But don't you think it, Mr. Caudle. No, sir; if it comes down in buckets-full, I'll go all the more. No: and I won't have a cab! Where do you think the money's to come from? You've got nice high notions at that club of yours. A cab, indeed! I should like to know who's to pay for 'em? I can't pay for 'em; and I'm sure you can't if you go on as you do; throwing away your property, and beggaring your children, buying umbrellas! Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear it? But I don't care--I'll go to mother's tomorrow, I will, and what's more, I'll walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my death. Don't call me a foolish woman; it's you that's a foolish man. You know I can't wear clogs; and, with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold--it always does. But, what do you care for that? Nothing at all. I may be laid up for what you care, as I dare say I shall--and a pretty doctor's bill there'll be. I hope there will! I will teach you to lend your umbrellas again. I shouldn't wonder if I caught my death: and that's what you lent your umbrella for. Of course! Nice clothes I shall get, too, traipsing through the weather like this. My gown and bonnet will be spoiled, quite. Needn't I wear 'em then? Indeed, Mr. Caudle, I shall wear 'em. No, sir; I'm not going out a dowdy to please you or anybody else. Gracious knows! It isn't often that I step over the threshold; indeed I might as well be a slave at once--better, I should say. But, when I do go out, Mr. Caudle, I choose to go as a lady. Oh! that rain--if it isn't enough to break in the windows. Ugh! I look forward with dread for tomorrow. How am I to go to mother's I'm sure I can't tell. But, if I die, I'll do it. No, sir; I won't borrow an umbrella. No; and you shan't buy one. Mr. Caudle, if you bring home another umbrella, I'll throw it into the street. Ha! it was only last week I had a new nozzle put to that umbrella. I'm sure if I'd have known as much as I do now, it might have gone without one for me. Paying for new nozzles, for other people to laught at you. Oh, it's all very well for you, you can go to sleep! You've no thought of your poor, patient wife and your own dear children. You think of nothing but lending umbrellas. Men, indeed!--call themselves lords of creation!--pretty lords, when they can't even take care of an umbrella!
Credits: Reprinted from One Hundred Choice Selections. Ed. Phineas Garrett. Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Co., 1897.