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Curtain Lectures.

(Notes and Queries.) I have no doubt that Douglas Jerrold was well acquainted with a facetious book written m the early part of last century by the celebrated Edward, “commonly called Ned Ward,” bearing the title, “ Nuptial Dialogues and Debates, or a Useful Prospect of the Felicities and Discomforts of a Marryed Life, Incident to all Degrees, from the Throne to the Cottage. London, 1724.” 2 vols. Bvo. For the title, however, of his witty “ lectures ” he was probably indebted to one of Stockdale’s humorous publications: “Eloisa en Dishabile : a satirical Poem, by the late Prof. Porson. To which are added the Modern Fine Gentleman, Modern Fine Lady, Curtain Lectures, and the Squire and the Parson. London, - 1819,” Bvo. pp. 157. This volume is illustrated with eight colored etchings, by “ Williams.” The “ Curtain Lectures,” extending to some hundred pages, and written in Hudibrastic verse, are four in number, viz. : “ Lecture I. Inscribed to Sir W. C . Bet\yeen a drunken surly Husband and his inflexible termagent Wife.” “ Lecture 11. Inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. C s. Between an old amorous Knight and a young Yorkshire girl,'by whom he was deceived into a Marriage soon after her arrival in town.” “ Lecture 111. Inscrbed to Obadiah and Rachel P . Between Obadiah the Quaker and his wife Rachel, concerning a primitive purity and the sinful abominations of the present age.” Lecture IV. Inscribed to the Earl of . Between a gay Lady of the Town and, her Husband, who subsisted on the fruits of her gallantry.” But even if Jerrold has borrowed the title ofthis book he has;, borrowed nothing more, —the manner and matter of his own are entirely original. Stockdale’s volume (one of a series—“ The Greeks, Pigeons, Fashion, Modem Belles, Tonight, The Ton, Modern Beaux, Dress and Address,” etc.) is not deficient in humor, but is grossly indecorous. It commands a price disproportionate to its literary merits. I have before me original water-colored drawing by John Leech of one of the celebrated “Curtain Lectures.” Mr. and Mrs. Caudle are snug in bed ; the gentleman would fain repose, but the lady exclaims, “ No, Mr. Caudle, .! shall not go to sleep, like a good soul !” In the centre, at the foot, are the bed-steps, surmounted by an extinguished candle. It is a clever, characteristic perfomance, and has been fac-similed, but the reproduction I do not to possess.

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Curtain Lectures. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 230, 31 December 1880

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