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The Universal Reciter 81 Choice Pieces of Rare Poetical Gems

by Various

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Mr. Wilkins.   Mrs. Wilkins, of all the aggravating women I ever came across, you are the worst. I believe you'd raise a riot in the cemetry if you were dead, you would. Don't you ever go prowling around any Quaker meeting, or you'll break it up in a plug muss. You? Why you'd put any other man's back up until he broke his spine. Oh! you're too annoying to live; I don't want to bother with you. Go to sleep.

Mrs. Wilkins.   But, Wilkins dear, just listen a minute. We must have that piano, and—

Mr. W.   Oh! don't "dear" me; I won't have it. You're the only dear thing around here—you're dear at any price. I tell you once for all that I don't get any new piano, and Mary Jane don't take singing lessons as long as I'm her father. There! If you don't understand that I'll say it over again. And now stop your clatter and go to sleep; I'm tired of hearing you cackle.

Mrs. W.   But, Wilk—

Mr. W.   Now don't aggravate me. I say Mary Jane shan't learn to sing and plant another instrument of torture in this house, while I'm boss of the family. Her voice is just like yours; it's got a twang to it like blowing on the edge of a piece of paper.

Mrs. W.   Ain't you ashamed, Wilk—

Mr. W.   It's disgrace enough to have you sitting down and pretending to sing, and trying to deafen people, without having the children do it. The first time I heard you sing I started round to the station-house and got six policemen, because I thought there was a murder in your house, and they were cutting you up by inches. I wish somebody would! I wouldn't go for any policeman now, not much!

Mrs. W.   I declare, you are a perfect brute!

Mr. W.   Not much, I wouldn't! But Smith, he told me yesterday that his family were kept awake half the night by the noise you made; and he said if I didn't stop those dogs from yowling in my cellar, he'd be obliged to complain to the board of health.

Mrs. W.   What an awful story, Mr Wilk—

Mr. W.   Then I told him it was you, and you thought you could sing; and he advised me as a friend to get a divorce, because he said no man could live happily with any woman who had a voice like a cross-cut saw. He said I might as well have a machine-shop with a lot of files at work in my house as that, and he'd rather any time.

Mrs. W.   Phugh! I don't care what Smith says.

Mr. W.   And you a-talking about a new piano! Why, haven't we got musical instruments enough in the house? There's Holofernes Montgomery been blowing away in the garret for ten days with that old key bugle, until he got so black in the face that he won't get his colour back for a month, and then he only gets a spurt out of her every now and then. He's blown enough wind in her to get up a hurricane, and I expect nothing else but he'll get the old machine so chock full that she'll blow back at him some day and burst his brains out, and all along of your tomfoolery. You're a pretty mother, you are! You'd better go and join some asylum for feeble-minded idiots, you had....