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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 Womans 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
Wont 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 Gunters)
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!
Dont scold her, James, or youll repent it,
Shes 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 dont suggest one single thing
That can in any way prevent it 
Then whats the use of arguing?
Shut up! cried Tottles (and he meant it).

And now the mischiefs done, perhaps
Youll kindly go and pack your traps?
Since two (your daughter and your son)
Are Company, but three are none.
A course of saving well begin:
When change is needed, Ill invent it:
Dont 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, dont resent it!
Mamma might come for two or three 
NEVER! yelled Tottles. And he meant it.



Lewis Carroll


Lewis Carroll's other poems:
  1. The Wandering Burgess
  2. The Elections to the Hebdomadal Council
  3. Theme with Variations
  4. Photography Extraordinary
  5. Melancholetta


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