+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error


MR. CONDUCTOR. Any atom of individual
experience, which is likely to be of use to the
community in general, is, I am informed,
sure of finding an indulgent welcome in these
pages. I have a little morsel of purely domestic
experience to place before the public
eye; and I venture to hope that it may have
the advantage of appearing in this Journal.

I am a married man, with an income which
is too miserably limited to be worth mentioning.
About a month since, my wife advanced
me one step nearer to the Court for
the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, by presenting
me with another child. On five previous
occasions, her name had appeared in that
interesting List of British Mothers which
adorns the daily Supplement of the Times
newspaper. At each of these trying periods
(I speak entirely of myself when I use the
word " trying ") she was attended by the
same Monthly Nurse. On this last, and
sixth, occasion, we were not so fortunate as
to secure the services of our regular functionary.
She was already engaged; and a
new Nurse, with excellent recommendations,
was, therefore, employed in her stead. When
I first heard of her, and was told that her
name was Mrs. Bullwinkle, I laughed. It
was then the beginning of the month. It is
now the end of it, and I write down that
once comical name with feelings of unutterable

We all know Mrs. Gamp. My late Monthly
Nurse is the exact antipodes of her. Mrs.
Bullwinkle is tall and dignified; her complexion
is fair; her Grecian nose is innocent
of all convivial colouring; her figure is not
more than agreeably plump; her manners
are icily composed; her dress is quiet and
neat; her age cannot be more than five-and-thirty;
her style of conversation, when she
talks, is flowing and grammaticalupon the
whole, she appears to be a woman who is
much too ladylike for her station in life.
When I first met Mrs. Bullwinkle on the
stairs, I felt inclined to apologise for my
wife's presumption in engaging her services.
Though I checked this absurd impulse, I
could not resist answering the new nurse's
magnificent curtsey by expressing a polite
hope that she would find her situation
everything that she could wish, under my

"I am not accustomed to exact much, sir,"
said Mrs. Bullwinkle. " The cook seems, I
am rejoiced to say, to be an intelligent and
attentive person. I have been giving her
some little hints on the subject of my meals.
I have ventured to tell her, that I eat little
and often; and I think she thoroughly understands

I am ashamed to say I was not so sharp as
the cook. I did not thoroughly understand
Mrs. Bullwinkle, until it became my duty,
through my wife's inability to manage our
domestic business, to settle the weekly bills.
I then became sensible of an alarming increase
in our household expenditure. If I
had given two dinner-parties in the course of
the week, the bills could not have been more
exorbitant: the butcher, the baker, and the
grocer could not have taken me at a heavier
pecuniary disadvantage. My heart sank as I
thought of my miserable income. I looked
up piteously from the bills to the cook for an

The cook looked back at me compassionately,
shook her head, and said:

"Mrs. Bullwinkle."

I reckoned up additional joints, additional
chops, additional steaks, fillets, kidneys, gravy
beef. I told off a terrible supplement to the
usual family consumption of bread, flour, tea,
sugar, and alcoholic liquids. I appealed to
the cook again; and again the cook shook
her head, and said, " Mrs. Bullwinkle."

My miserable income obliges me to look
after sixpences, as other men look after
five-pound notes. Ruin sat immovable on the
pile of weekly bills, and stared me sternly in
the face. I went up into my wife's room.
The new nurse was not there. The unhappy
partner of my pecuniary embarrassments was
reading a novel. My innocent infant was
smiling in his sleep. I had taken the bills
with me. Ruin followed them up-stairs, and
sat spectral on one side of the bed, while I
sat on the other.

"Don't be alarmed, love," I said, " if you
hear the police in the house. Mrs. Bullwinkle
has a large family, and feeds them all out of
our provisions. A search shall be instituted,
and slumbering Justice shall be aroused.
Look at these joints, these chops, these steaks,