18.2.36

In the early morning the mill girls clumping down the cobbled street, all in clogs, make a curiously formidable sound, like an army hurrying into battle. I suppose this is the typical sound of Lancashire. And the typical imprint in the mud outline of a clog-iron, like one half of a cow’s hoof. Clogs are very cheap. They cost about 5/- a pair and need not wear out for years because all they need is new irons costing a few pence.

As always and everywhere, the dress peculiar to the locality is considered plebeian. A very down in the mouth respectable woman, at one of the houses I visited with the N.U.W.M. collectors, said:

“I’ve always kept myself decent-like. I’ve never worn a shawl over my head – I wouldn’t be seen in such a thing. I’ve worn a hat since I was a girl. But it don’t do you much good. At Christmas time we was that hard put to it that I thought I’d go up and try for a well-wisher. (Hamper given away by some charitable organisation.) When I got up there the clergyman says to me, ‘You don’t want no well-wisher;’ he says. ‘There’s plenty worse than you. We knows many a one that’s living on bread and jam,’ he says. ‘And how do you know what we’re living on?’ I says. He says, ‘You can’t be so bad if you can dress as well as that,’ he says – meaning my hat. I didn’t get no well-wisher. If I’d ha’ gone up with a shawl over my head I’d ha’ got it. That’s what you get for keeping yourself respectable.”

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