Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/59

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43
BROACH.

a dairy-shop, and seeing a pot of boiling milk (rather partial to this liquor), asked the woman sitting there how much she would take for a ser[1] of her milk. She glared at me in answer, got up from her crouching posture—I could see she was a short woman, with a shorter petticoat, and a shorter temper still—she got up, Isay, and asked, in gasping tones, "Is it asking for the milk you are after ? And asking me! Ar'n't you ashamed? Ask my this." Her "this," I saw, was her "old man," sitting in the inmost recesses of the shop, and eating curds on the sly, if I guessed aright. A Hindu woman will die rather than address or speak of her husband by his name; she will say "I say," or "my this." If they are an elderly pair, the wife will describe her husband as "father of my" (naming her eldest born). The husband does the same by her; and it is delicious to hear these old creatures chatting cosily of an evening, "I say, mother of———" "Yes, father of ——— ,whatisit?"

But to return to the milk-maid. I humbly said, "I only ask if this milk is to sell." "Don't ask me," she shrieked; "milk and no

  1. About one pound, more or less.