Once when a child I was sent to a grocer’s shop with an order and I heard a girl ask for a packet “of that new kind of black-lead that didn’t take so hard to brush.”
A middle-aged man, standing by waiting his turn, interposed in a loud domineering voice. “It doesn’t matter what kind of black-lead, my lass, as long as you give it plenty of elbow grease. Tell your mother that I hae nae patience,” he continued, addressing the shop in general and the young man behind the counter in particular “wi’ women wantin’ things tae make their wark easy. Plenty o’ scrubbin’ an’ rubbin’ an’ plenty o’ elbow grease, say I. It’s good for their muscles and good for their tempers.”
As I gazed up into the hard-face (he might have been quite a weak man at home having it out when he was beyond the ear of his wife) my small bosom swelled with indignant contempt of the tyrant who thought that the work of the house should be made as hard as possible — for the good of the women.