Feminine Perplexity – Thursday November 1900

Eternal feminine perplexity: Market-day. Butter and eggs are, unfortunately, for our purse, becoming light to handle. The eternal feminine perplexity of dress. Is it going to rain, or is it not? Shall we put on an old hat and skirt, or a good one? A fine morning, but no sooner are we well on the road than the rain descends in torrents. And, of course, we had decided on the good hat with summer plumes that will rub against the ribs of the umbrella.

Oh to be a man! But I am afraid he does not half appreciate his privileges. We pass on the road a jog-trot couple; she with ancient “ulster “ of indescribable colour, probably 20 years old, and kept for market use; rusty hat that will never go out of fashion, because it was never “in” and a huge cotton umbrella, like a family canopy, the drip of it falling outside the “machine” — beneath which the pair sit cosy, smiling and dry.

They are business-like, with a happy indifference to the critical gentility of the market square. Driving down the narrow street leading to the market at ten in the morning we count 13 ladders in front of shop windows and anxious, red-faced women with a large basket on each arm striving to avoid the ladders. They leave the pavement and are in imminent danger of being run down by a gig behind, two cyclists in front, while a barrow and a cart hem them into the gutter; and every passer-by curses the baskets. The price of butter does not rise — still 1s 2d and 1s 3d; so we pass the tempting shops and restaurants and come home to a tea dinner.

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