|Jerome K. Jerome, image in the public domain|
via wikimedia commons
Things I found particularly fascinating:
- The 'boys'. Every shop they visited had a 'boy' working there, and several turned up to watch when they were trying to hail a taxi.
- Servants. Random housekeepers, washing ladies and charwomen turn up in what are clearly middle-class households. What's most interesting is that in an era of sexual inequality a large number of these random servants are women. Speaking of which...
- Sexual inequality. Women are described as basically another species. It's not malicious, or degrading, just very alien. He devotes a full mini-chapter to the experience of having the boat pulled by 'girls'.
- Entertainment. This stands out because while on the boat the guys are entertaining themselves by going to the pub in the evening and chatting, which is pretty much what most people would do on a boating trip nowadays. Whenever he goes off into an anecdote about home life though, you're suddenly plunged into a world of piano playing, music hall songs, and party games.
I enjoyed the historical anthropology of it so much that it almost tempted me into reading Dickens again. Almost...