Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeShort StoriesMitchell On Women
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Mitchell On Women Post by :chrisfuchs Category :Short Stories Author :Henry Lawson Date :January 2011 Read :2535

Click below to download : Mitchell On Women (Format : PDF)

Mitchell On Women

"All the same," said Mitchell's mate, continuing an argument by the camp-fire; "all the same, I think that a woman can stand cold water better than a man. Why, when I was staying in a boarding-house in Dunedin, one very cold winter, there was a lady lodger who went down to the shower-bath first thing every morning; never missed one; sometimes went in freezing weather when I wouldn't go into a cold bath for a fiver; and sometimes she'd stay under the shower for ten minutes at a time."

"How'd you know?"

"Why, my room was near the bath-room, and I could hear the shower and tap going, and her floundering about."

"Hear your grandmother!" exclaimed Mitchell, contemptuously. "You don't know women yet. Was this woman married? Did she have a husband there?"

"No; she was a young widow."

"Ah! well, it would have been the same if she was a young girl--or an old one. Were there some passable men-boarders there?"

"_I_ was there."

"Oh, yes! But I mean, were there any there beside you?"

"Oh, yes, there were three or four; there was--a clerk and a----"

"Never mind, as long as there was something with trousers on. Did it ever strike you that she never got into the bath at all?"

"Why, no! What would she want to go there at all for, in that case?"

"To make an impression on the men," replied Mitchell promptly. "She wanted to make out she was nice, and wholesome, and well-washed, and particular. Made an impression on YOU, it seems, or you wouldn't remember it."

"Well, yes, I suppose so; and, now I come to think of it, the bath didn't seem to injure her make-up or wet her hair; but I supposed she held her head from under the shower somehow."

"Did she make-up so early in the morning?" asked Mitchell.

"Yes--I'm sure."

"That's unusual; but it might have been so where there was a lot of boarders. And about the hair--that didn't count for anything, because washing-the-head ain't supposed to be always included in a lady's bath; it's only supposed to be washed once a fortnight, and some don't do it once a month. The hair takes so long to dry; it don't matter so much if the woman's got short, scraggy hair; but if a girl's hair was down to her waist it would take hours to dry."

"Well, how do they manage it without wetting their heads?"

"Oh, that's easy enough. They have a little oilskin cap that fits tight over the forehead, and they put it on, and bunch their hair up in it when they go under the shower. Did you ever see a woman sit in a sunny place with her hair down after having a wash?"

"Yes, I used to see one do that regular where I was staying; but I thought she only did it to show off."

"Not at all--she was drying her hair; though perhaps she was showing off at the same time, for she wouldn't sit where you--or even a Chinaman--could see her, if she didn't think she had a good head of hair. Now, I'LL tell you a yarn about a woman's bath. I was stopping at a shabby-genteel boarding-house in Melbourne once, and one very cold winter, too; and there was a rather good-looking woman there, looking for a husband. She used to go down to the bath every morning, no matter how cold it was, and flounder and splash about as if she enjoyed it, till you'd feel as though you'd like to go and catch hold of her and wrap her in a rug and carry her in to the fire and nurse her till she was warm again."

Mitchell's mate moved uneasily, and crossed the other leg; he seemed greatly interested.

"But she never went into the water at all!" continued Mitchell. "As soon as one or two of the men was up in the morning she'd come down from her room in a dressing-gown. It was a toney dressing-gown, too, and set her off properly. She knew how to dress, anyway; most of that sort of women do. The gown was a kind of green colour, with pink and white flowers all over it, and red lining, and a lot of coffee-coloured lace round the neck and down the front. Well, she'd come tripping downstairs and along the passage, holding up one side of the gown to show her little bare white foot in a slipper; and in the other hand she carried her tooth-brush and bath-brush, and soap--like this--so's we all could see 'em; trying to make out she was too particular to use soap after anyone else. She could afford to buy her own soap, anyhow; it was hardly ever wet.

"Well, she'd go into the bathroom and turn on the tap and shower; when she got about three inches of water in the bath, she'd step in, holding up her gown out of the water, and go slithering and kicking up and down the bath, like this, making a tremendous splashing. Of course she'd turn off the shower first, and screw it off very tight--wouldn't do to let that leak, you know; she might get wet; but she'd leave the other tap on, so as to make all the more noise."

"But how did you come to know all about this?"

"Oh, the servant girl told me. One morning she twigged her through a corner of the bathroom window that the curtain didn't cover."

"You seem to have been pretty thick with servant girls."

"So do you with landladies! But never mind--let me finish the yarn. When she thought she'd splashed enough, she'd get out, wipe her feet, wash her face and hands, and carefully unbutton the two top buttons of her gown; then throw a towel over her head and shoulders, and listen at the door till she thought she heard some of the men moving about. Then she'd start for her room, and, if she met one of the men-boarders in the passage or on the stairs, she'd drop her eyes, and pretend to see for the first time that the top of her dressing-gown wasn't buttoned--and she'd give a little start and grab the gown and scurry off to her room buttoning it up.

"And sometimes she'd come skipping into the breakfast-room late, looking awfully sweet in her dressing-gown; and if she saw any of us there, she'd pretend to be much startled, and say that she thought all the men had gone out, and make as though she was going to clear; and someone 'd jump up and give her a chair, while someone else said, 'Come in, Miss Brown! come in! Don't let us frighten you. Come right in, and have your breakfast before it gets cold.' So she'd flutter a bit in pretty confusion, and then make a sweet little girly-girly dive for her chair, and tuck her feet away under the table; and she'd blush, too, but I don't know how she managed that.

"I know another trick that women have; it's mostly played by private barmaids. That is, to leave a stocking by accident in the bathroom for the gentlemen to find. If the barmaid's got a nice foot and ankle, she uses one of her own stockings; but if she hasn't she gets hold of a stocking that belongs to a girl that has. Anyway, she'll have one readied up somehow. The stocking must be worn and nicely darned; one that's been worn will keep the shape of the leg and foot--at least till it's washed again. Well, the barmaid generally knows what time the gentlemen go to bath, and she'll make it a point of going down just as a gentleman's going. Of course he'll give her the preference--let her go first, you know--and she'll go in and accidentally leave the stocking in a place where he's sure to see it, and when she comes out he'll go in and find it; and very likely he'll be a jolly sort of fellow, and when they're all sitting down to breakfast he'll come in and ask them to guess what he's found, and then he'll hold up the stocking. The barmaid likes this sort of thing; but she'll hold down her head, and pretend to be confused, and keep her eyes on her plate, and there'll be much blushing and all that sort of thing, and perhaps she'll gammon to be mad at him, and the landlady'll say, 'Oh, Mr. Smith! how can yer? At the breakfast table, too!' and they'll all laugh and look at the barmaid, and she'll get more embarrassed than ever, and spill her tea, and make out as though the stocking didn't belong to her."

 

(THE END)

An incomplete Glossary of Australian terms and concepts which may prove helpful to understanding this book:

Anniversary Day: Alluded to in the text, is now known as Australia Day. It commemorates the establishment of the first English settlement in Australia, at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), on 26 January 1788.

Billy: A kettle used for camp cooking, especially to boil water for tea.

Cabbage-tree/Cabbage-tree hat: A wide-brimmed hat made with the leaves of the cabbage tree palm (Livistona australis). It was a common hat in early colonial days, and later became associated with patriotism.

Gin: An aboriginal woman; use of the term is analogous to "squaw" in N. America. May be considered derogatory in modern usage.

Graft: Work; hard work.

Humpy: (Aboriginal) A rough or temporary hut or shelter in the bush, especially one built from bark, branches, and the like. A gunyah, wurley, or mia-mia.

Jackeroo/Jackaroo: At the time Lawson wrote, a Jackeroo was a "new chum" or newcomer to Australia, who sought work on a station to gain experience. The term now applies to any young man working as a station hand. A female station hand is a Jillaroo.

Jumbuck: A sheep.

Larrikin: A hoodlum.

Lollies: Candy, sweets.

'Possum/Possum: In Australia, a class of marsupials that were originally mistaken for the American animal of the same name. They are not especially related to the possums of North and South America, other than being marsupials.

Public/Pub.: The traditional pub. in Australia was a hotel with a "public" bar--hence the name. The modern pub has often (not always) dispensed with the lodging, and concentrated on the bar.

Push: A group of people sharing something in common; Lawson uses the word in an older and more particular sense, as a gang of violent city hoodlums.

Ratty: Shabby, dilapidated; somewhat eccentric, perhaps even slightly mad.

Selector: A free selector, a farmer who selected and settled land by lease or license from the government.

Shout: To buy a round of drinks.

Sliprails/slip-rails: movable rails, forming a section of fence, which can be taken down in lieu of a gate.

Sly grog shop or shanty: An unlicensed bar or liquor-store, especially one selling cheap or poor-quality liquor.

Squatter: A person who first settled on land without government permission, and later continued by lease or license, generally to raise stock; a wealthy rural landowner.

Station: A farm or ranch, especially one devoted to cattle or sheep.

Stoush: Violence; to do violence to.

Tea: In addition to the regular meaning, Tea can also mean a light snack or a meal (i.e., where Tea is served). In particular, Morning Tea (about 10 AM) and Afternoon Tea (about 3 PM) are nothing more than a snack, but Evening Tea (about 6 PM) is a meal. When just "Tea" is used, it usually means the evening meal. Variant: Tea- time.

Tucker: Food.

Also: a hint with the seasons--remember that the seasons are reversed from those in the northern hemisphere, hence June may be hot, but December is even hotter. Australia is at a lower latitude than the United States, so the winters are not harsh by US standards, and are not even mild in the north. In fact, large parts of Australia are governed more by "dry" versus "wet" than by Spring- Summer-Fall-Winter.


(The end)
Henry Lawson's short story: Mitchell on Women

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

Mitchell On Matrimony Mitchell On Matrimony

Mitchell On Matrimony
"I suppose your wife will be glad to see you," said Mitchell to his mate in their camp by the dam at Hungerford. They were overhauling their swags, and throwing away the blankets, and calico, and old clothes, and rubbish they didn't want--everything, in fact, except their pocket-books and letters and portraits, things which men carry about with them always, that are found on them when they die, and sent to their relations if possible. Otherwise they are taken in charge by the constable who officiates at the inquest, and forwarded to the Minister of Justice along with the depositions.It was
PREVIOUS BOOKS

No Place For A Woman No Place For A Woman

No Place For A Woman
He had a selection on a long box-scrub siding of the ridges, about half a mile back and up from the coach road. There were no neighbours that I ever heard of, and the nearest "town" was thirty miles away. He grew wheat among the stumps of his clearing, sold the crop standing to a Cockie who lived ten miles away, and had some surplus sons; or, some seasons, he reaped it by hand, had it thrashed by travelling "steamer" (portable steam engine and machine), and carried the grain, a few bags at a time, into the mill on his rickety
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT