Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Send in the frumpy old maid

"Miss Climpson," said Lord Peter, "is a manifestation of the wasteful way in which this country is run. Look at electricity. Look at water-power. Look at the tides. Look at the sun. Millions of power units being given off into space every minute. Thousands of old maids, simply bursting with useful energy, forced by our stupid social system into hydros and hotels and communities and hostels and posts as companions, where their magnificent gossip-powers and units of inquisitiveness are allowed to dissipate themselves or even become harmful to the community, while the ratepayers' money is spent on getting work for which these women are providentially fitted, inefficiently carried out by ill-equipped policement like you."

. . .

". . . Just think. People want questions asked. Whom do they send? A man with large flat feet and a notebook—the sort of man whose privae life is conducted in a series of inarticulate grunts. I send a lady with a long, woolly jumper on knitting-needles and jingly things around her neck. Of course she asks questions—everyone expects it. Nobody is surprised. Nobody is alarmed. And so-called superfluity is agreeable and usefully disposed of. One of these days they will put up a statue to me, with an inscription:
"'To the Man who Made Thousands of Superfluous Women
Happy without Injury to their Modesty or Exertion to Himself.'"
Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death (1927) (Kindle ed. 2014)

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