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Most Women Are Dull and Stupid

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Grandmother has always had a way, hasn't she,

Of always making our parents, aunts and especially

Our uncles feel uncomfortable. Between taking

Uncle Christopher to task about letting Miss Lister

Run rings around him, though everyone knows,

It was Uncle Jeremiah who negotiated--


The family likes Jeremiah, or at least doesn't

Dislike him.)

                        --and showing unabashed admiration

For Miss Lister, for her cleverness, her company,

Her conversation--

                                    (and here I couldn't help

But get the feeling Grandmother was inserting

A dig about her children's conversation...)


--"That's why I like her. Even though she is

A bit of an oddity. She's been to so many

Places, done so many things. Most women

Are dull and stupid, but not her." You and I

Exchange looks. Presumably she thinks that

Also of us? And not just of Mother and the aunts?


Uncle Christopher has no such moments of

Humble introspection. He claims to be just as

Clever as Miss Lister--

                                    (which is in itself quite

A compliment from him, who normally claims

All women are beneath him. Her, he claims

As his equal. I wonder if he notices his own

Words... Grandmother has, you can be sure.)


--He claims to have the measure of Miss Lister;

Grandmother scoffs, "I doubt it!" Then Uncle

Jeremiah, in his haste to point out the power

Miss Lister has in their business dealings,

Says something that makes Father ask if they

Have been stealing her coal. Uncle Christopher

Speeds over Grandmother's shock. "She claims

She'll sink her own pits, and her demand

For a price is just nonsense. I'm tempted

To tell her where she can shove her upper bed--

Sorry, ladies, and call her bluff." Grandmother

Gives him a pitying look. "Well, perhaps,

Her little friend will help her. She's got plenty

Of money." "Sorry? What? Who?" "Miss Walker!

Your cousin! They went to York together,

And now they're inseparable!" "Really?" says

Uncle Christopher, clearly feigning boredom.

Grandmother smirks, "Next stop, Paris.

Maybe Miss Walker will let Miss Lister dip

Into her purse. Whatever else she's been

Letting her dip into." Eyes flick away

From Grandmother and back, embarrassed.

Not her. "So sorry, ladies." Not. Sorry. At. All.