"When the cat's away the mice will play — original illustration by Richard Doyle for "The Thirteenth Lecture" in Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures, first published in the Punch; or, The London Charivari number for 19 April 1845 instalment. Page 61 in the 1866 edition. Wood-engraving 7.5 x 9.4 cm, framed. Engraved by the Dalziels. Twenty-sixth illustration in the third edition.

Passage Complemented

"It is hard, I think, Mr. Caudle, that I can't leave home for a day or two, but the house must be turned into a tavern: a tavern? — a pothouse! Yes, I thought you were very anxious that I should go; I thought you wanted to get rid of me for something, or you would not have insisted on my staying at dear mother's all night. You were afraid I should get cold coming home, were you? Oh yes, you can be very tender, you can, Mr. Caudle, when it suits your own purpose. Yes! and the world thinks what a good husband you are! I only wish the world knew you as well as I do, that's all; but it shall, some day, I’m determined.

"I'm sure the house will not be sweet for a month. All the curtains are poisoned with smoke; and what's more, with the filthiest smoke I ever knew. Take 'em down, then? Yes, it’s all very well for you to say take 'em down; but they were only cleaned and put up a month ago; but a careful wife’s lost upon you, Mr. Caudle. You ought to have married somebody who'd have let your house go to wreck and ruin, as I will for the future. People who don’t care for their families are better thought of than those who do; I've long found out that. ["The Thirteenth Lecture. — Mrs. Caudle has been to see her dear mother. Caudle, on the 'Joyful Occasion,' has given a party, and issued the subjoined card of invitation," pp. 60-61]

Charles Keene’s illustrations for "The Thirteenth Lecture" (1866)

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]


Jerrold, Douglas. Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures, as Suffered by the late Job Caudle.​Edited from the Original MSS. by Douglas Jerrold. With a frontispiece by Leach, and as motto on the title-page, "Then, Pistol, lay thy head in Fury's lap. — Shakespeare."​ London: Punch​ Office; Bradbury​and Evans,​ 1846.

Jerrold, Douglas. Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures. Illustrated by John Leach and Richard Doyle. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1856.

Jerrold, Douglas. Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures. Illustrated by Charles Keene. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1866.

Last modified 18 November 2017