Works in the Herald 1933

Weather conditions certainly do have a lot to do at times with one's point of view and prejudices. Strangely enough, here on top of the mountains we have missed that torrential downpour that has recently fallen all too lavishly on many other portions of the State, bringing an embarrassment of riches in the form of serious floods.

Broken only by one night of rather generous rain, that brought small relief to this district, a succession of seven depressing and humid days has upset nerves and frayed tempers to a ragged edge.

At the beginning of this heat-wave -- on the Tuesday, to be exact -- before this insidious weather had more than slightly tarnished my usually bright and affable disposition, there came to me a cheerful young man who is one of those apt to go rather to extremes in the matter of modern dress reform.

His garb annoyed me. Legs, unlovely and knobbly as my own, were revealed between his low, open-work shoes and a pair of extremely short socks, while his sports shirt, wide open at the neck, was worthy of a very decollete dame.

What annoyed me more than anything was that he seemed absurdly carefree.

My own concession to the weather was the discarding of my waistcoat. I wore tweed coat and trousers, a respectable collar and tie and various other sartorial appurtenances that I regard as essentially civilised.

After I had spent some ten minutes heaping ridicule on his grotesque attire, the young man seemed a little crestfallen, and departed in a thoughtful mood. I immediately shed my coat and called for cooling draughts.

Meantime, the humid days continued in unbroken sequence, and prejudice began to go by the board.

Two days later my young friend returned, cheerful as ever. But he had evidently taken some little notice of my lecture; for a pair of white trousers now replaced his shorts. But his decollete shirt remained, much to my annoyance.

But my scornful criticism on this occasion was rather discounted by the fact that I was not for the moment wearing collar or tie, coat, waistcoat, nor for that matter, socks or suspenders.

He seemed again impressed, however, by my remarks, and again departed in what I hope was a chastened mood.

As he went, I could not help complaining audibly of the heat; and he replied, sapiently, that it was not so much the heat as the humidity. Only my enervated condition saved him from violence.

Muggy night followed sultry day, and still relief came not out of the brazen sky nor from the waters of the luke-warm pool. Matters were becoming desperate.

Then, yesterday, as I was seated gasping upon my verandah, my young friend again called on me. He came down the garden path whistling buoyantly; and the mere sight of him raised my temperature ten degrees. His garb consisted of a full sack suit of heavy serge, shirt, collar, tie, brown boots and a bowler hat.

"Well!" I barked at him. "Of all the prize idiots!"

And, as though in immediate justification of my remark, he burst into a loud cackle of laughter while he pointed a derisive forefinger at my sole item of attire -- a very sensible and rational suit of very light cotton pyjamas.

Upon my word, these dress reformers are all cranks, lacking every vestige of a sense of humor!

Herald, 5 December 1933, p8

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003