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Poem by Lewis Carroll
What Tottles Meant
“One thousand pounds per annum Is not so bad a figure, come!” Cried Tottles. “And I tell you, flat, A man may marry well on that! To say ‘the Husband needs the Wife’ Is not the way to represent it. The crowning joy of Woman’s life Is Man!” said Tottles (and he meant it). The blissful Honey-moon is past: The Pair have settled down at last: Mamma-in-law their home will share And make their happiness her care. “Your income is an ample one: Go it, my children!” (And they went it). “I rayther think this kind of fun Wo’n’t last!” said Tottles (and he meant it). They took a little country-box – A box at Covent Garden also: T hey lived a life of double-knocks Acquaintances began to call so: Their London house was much the same (It took three hundred, clear, to rent it): “Life is a very jolly game!” Cried happy Tottles (and he meant it). “Contented with a frugal lot” (He always used that phrase at Gunter’s) He bought a handy little yacht – A dozen serviceable hunters – the fishing of a Highland Loch – A sailing-boat to circumvent it – “The sounding of that Gaelic ‘och’ Beats me!” said Tottles (and he meant it). But oh, the worst of human ills (Poor Tottles found) are “little bills”! And, with no balance in the Bank, What wonder that his spirits sank? Still, as the money flowed away, He wondered how on earth she spent it. “You cost me twenty pounds a day, At least!” cried Tottles (and he meant it). She sighed. “Those Drawing Rooms, you know! I really never thought about it: Mamma declared we ought to go – We should be Nobodies without it. That diamond-circlet for my brow – I quite believed that she had sent it, Until the Bill came in just now –” “Viper!” cried Tottles (and he meant it). Poor Mrs. T. could bear no more, But fainted flat upon the floor. Mamma-in-law, with anguish wild Seeks, all in vain, to rouse her child. “Quick! Take this box of smelling-salts! Don’t scold her, James, or you’ll repent it, She’s a dear girl, with all her faults –” “She is!” groaned Tottles (and he meant it). “I was a donkey”, Tottles cried, “To choose your daughter for my bride! ’Twas you that bid us cut a dash! ’Tis you have brought us to this smash! You don’t suggest one single thing That can in any way prevent it –” “Then what’s the use of arguing?” “Shut up!” cried Tottles (and he meant it). “And now the mischief’s done, perhaps You’ll kindly go and pack your traps? Since two (your daughter and your son) Are Company, but three are none. A course of saving we’ll begin: When change is needed, I’ll invent it: Don’t think to put your finger in This pie!” cried Tottles (and he meant it). See now this couple settled down In quiet lodgings, out of town: Submissively the tearful wife Accepts a plain and humble life: Yet begs one boon on bended knee: ”My ducky-darling, don’t resent it! Mamma might come for two or three –” ”NEVER!” yelled Tottles. And he meant it.
Lewis Carroll's other poems:
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