Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures

One of the things that
we seem to enjoy around
here at the Muscleheaded
Blog is to present our
modern readers with the
perceptions and perspectives
of our Victorian, Edwardian,
and Roaring Twenties
predecessors.

We don’t look at
all their publications
and artifacts
with critical or
reactionary
motives usually –

– we know that generations
aren’t born into existential
or social vacuums, and that
the times people live in
are a large determining
factor in how they
themselves think
and act.

Sure —

cultures and peoples
do evolve …
– slowly –
and once you recognize
all that, it’s kinda fun
to contemplate that
process in action –

… and postcards are a
terrific gateway for us
to do that.

Today we look at a
phenomenon that has
been, I hope, sleeping
the big sleep since
about a century after
the industrial revolution.

Most of us know that in
most western households
during that period,
the ‘man of the house’
would spend long hours
working to support his
family, while the
‘lady of the house’
would stay home and
cook, clean, and care
for the children:

And this meant that wives
and husbands had very
little quality time to
spend with each other
socializing.

One part of the day,
however, was an
exception: Bed Time.

A women’s magazine
around 1910 explained
the importance of this
time of day for
married couples,
young and old, by
stating it could
” … make or break
the delicate, amatory
bond ” between them.

And, over the years,
some wives had come to
believe that it seemed
a perfect time to air
their grievances and
just generally nag –
– the husband was
‘a captive audience ‘
as it were.

This practice of reserving
wifely complaints until
bed-time became known
as “Curtain Lectures”,
and was responsible for
ruining, not only many
thousand of nights sleep,
but a multiplicity of
marriages as well.

Several series
of postcards
in the period
between 1880
and 1920 were
issued mocking
the custom,
inspired in part
by a popular satirical book,
published in 1845, called:
“Mrs. Caudle’s
Curtain Lectures”
by Douglas William Jerrold,
as well as subsequent
illustrations in “Punch”
magazine.

The book elucidated
37 ‘lectures’
that the fictional Mrs. Caudle
delivered to her long-suffering
and sleep-deprived husband –

making proverbial mountains
out of minor incidents and
his personal flaws in character.

A couple of the ’causes’
and the wild spin she would
put on them might be worth
reciting:

On one occasion, Mr. Caudle
had ill-advisedly told his
wife that he had lent his
umbrella to a friend –

– and Mrs. Caudle spun her
nightly bedtime discourse
into an absurd diatribe
involving a conspiracy on
the part of the husband to
make his wife ill (due to
the lack of the umbrella
in question), causing the
children to miss school,
and the eventual break-down
of the relationship of the
wife with his mother.

All the while, Mr. Caudle
suffers away-
– feigning sleep –
but there is no rest
to found for the
‘wicked’, and Mrs.
Caudle makes sure of that.

On another occasion, she
complains bitterly about
Caudle stopping at the Pub
after work – she brings
down all the hellfire
and brimstone one might
find in a Pilgrim’s sermon –
– telling him that he’s
inevitably bound for prison,
and the poor-house.

Still another sees her
attempting to convince
Caudle to allow his
difficult mother-in-law
to come move in with
them– for his own good,
of course.

Mr. Caudle has
no real defense –
– he punches his pillow,
groans in pain, and
prays aloud –

but in the end,
Mrs. Caudle
will have the last word-
even if it takes all night.

A period piece?

One would certainly
like to hope so —

but I’m not sure
I don’t know a
couple Mister and
Missus Caudles.

How about you?

.

!!! HOY !!!

 

 

 

 

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Better Manners In Bed

Of all the places
I would think you
should exercise some
courtesy and manners,
perhaps the most
important place would
be in bed.

After all, it should
be a happy place –
– a friendly place –
a place where
joy abounds.

So, maybe
the thought of somebody
considering a book teaching
things like bedroom manners
to be necessary bugs me
just a little bit.

Then again,
it shouldn’t surprise
anybody, in this world
where please and
thank you’s are becoming
increasingly rare-ified.

Hell, what fun is a
weekend without
at least one good
thank you ma’am
may I have another?“,
I ask you ?

Oooops,
boy,
do I digress.

The books that opened our
post today were originally
printed in the 1930’s — so,
there was a lot of stuff like
how to share a sleeping
compartment on a train,
references to hot water
bottles, and the like —

Suzie Wonder and I
figured we might be
able to do better.

Hence, this post,
a single chapter of what
I’m sure will become an
annoyingly regular part
of the Muscleheaded blog
family.

Not near the 130 some pages
of the original, but then, I’m
not gonna send you a bill for
$19.95 either………

Unless, of course,
you’d be willing
to pay it.

Which is probably
out of the
question, right ?

Oh well.

Anyhoo ……….

I think we can boil this chapter
all down to an old fashioned
virtue called “consideration”-

For instance,
– jammies.

If you’d like your significant
other to ever be interested in
you in ‘that way’ again,
you should never wear
anything that reminds one
of a Canadian winter .

Even if it is
Canadian
winter outside.

Flannel is right out.

So are ‘footies’ ,
or anything that makes
you look like a ‘furry’.

Come on –
you really
should know better.

Suzie’s contribution is
this:

– that you should never,
never, never wear those
‘elephant trunk’ shorts
to bed unless she
specifically asks you
to wear them.

( And she won’t ).

I tend to agree —
as a practical matter,
there’s no sense in
reminding anyone
of one’s ….
errr….
shortcomings,
ya know.

Next…..

I think it’s always helpful
to have things clean and
shipshape…
– to smell good, so your
S.O. doesn’t want to send
out an S.O.S.
( save our stink )  .

Suzie says men should
always shave before they
go to bed.

Her reasoning has something
to do with the disagreeable
nature of cuddling a brillo-pad.

She says that a man can’t really
expect a woman to warm up to
a man whose face scrapes away
soft, silky, moisturized skin
faster than industrial paint
remover.

I definitely get her point……

A quick five minute going
over with an electric razor
might encourage all sorts of
other more timely adventures.

Good thinking, Suzie.

Now,
we’ve been having a
more spirited conversation
as regards to who should get
up in the middle of the night
to take the dog out if such
an eventuality should occur.

My feeling is that the duty
should be rotated –

Her feeling is that if she
rolls over and goes back
to sleep, that means that
you have to do it.

( And she will. )

See how helpful
this stuff is?

!!! HOY !!!

.