The White "Maid" and the Brown.
Observer, Volume XXXIV, Issue 41, 20 June 1914, Page 18
The White "Maid" and the Brown.
[Fob the Observeb].
By Te Pana.
GOD'S OWN" Avas shaken to its foundations some little time ago Avhen the houseAVives shrieked from the verandah that there was a dearth of ' dtoaks, and AY.hat not in the land. Jfiibby would wander in for his luncheon chop and find the bit of meat refusing to sizzle on the pas ring and wifey in tears and dishabille over the sudden departure of Annie. Then would his ire rise. In the car he confided to Brown that Mary and Jane and Kate and the Avhoie box and dice of them were
wasters and didn't know when they were Avell off; had no sense of proportion; asked for fifteen shillings for five bob's worth of work. It Avas sickening. And hubby Avould feed at a restaurant in future and curse the shortage of slaveys. It became a terrible problem, this supplying of competent help to incompetent missises. The newspapers filled their columns with the wails of the outraged and denounced the Government for allowing such an evil to exist in the country. "What are the Legislators going to do about the matter?" thundered the Press. And the men at the helm,
brave beings, imported lassies from Lancashire, Avho, after a Aveek's sojourn in the cities wiped the dust off their clogs and drifted into the bush and learned to milk cuws and i'ecJ pi_s. And the sorroAving housewife sorrowed some more. Then in the midst of all the disorder arose one whose cry in the land was, "Let us get girls from the Islands. They will save the
situation. Given a feAV months efficient teaching the dusky maids Avill clean windows, and scrub floors, and make toast with the best of their white sisters. And they it re cheap." I lost sight of the outcome of all this. I don't know whether Mrs Remuera's sink is presided over by a being in a vala, or whether good ole Mary Jane still wields the mop. Bub I do Iviioav this, that the person who recommends an Island damsel to peel the spuds, is talking through his hat or her creation, i know some maids in Tahiti, Raratonga, and ordinary Tonga, and a Samoan girl has just broken the Avife's fancy hot Avater jug; the collective abilities of the crowd is not worth tuppence as house help. They perspire freely, and sometimes dean the knives on their valas; Avash up in cold water and can't boil eggs for nuts. As for handling joints, or stews, or sweets a bank clerk could make a better mess of the game- And a bank clerk doesn't knoAV much about anything but tennis and good form, and is always careful to eat peas with his fork. And just this point, Mele of the Islands doesn't want to do house Avork. It's too much trouble. To give her just one pat on the back, though, let me mention that, she can wash clothes, and iron creases in your white clothes to perfection. But Mrs Remuera doesn't want creases. She wante ten course dinners. The maid par excellence, is a boy. A Nuie Islander for preference. He is willing that you should teach him to distinguish between a chop and the consomme, and a scrubbing brush and a carpet sweeper. Once having soaked the difference in his brown head the right way of doing tilings is harder to tear from him than the income tax. By the way, I'm a dyspeptic and live on ice water.