An Amusing Incident (1894)

An Amusing Incident

A curious scene was witnessed in the principal hostelry of a pleasant Surrey village a few miles from Epsom. The inn is a great rallying place for bicyclists and on Saturdays, Sundays and popular holidays a cheap but sufficient dinner is served in the large room to ladies and gentlemen who take country exercise on velocipedes. Everything about the place is conducted in the most decorous manner, for the landlady is a prim and rather stately dame of the old school, who does not believe in advanced ideas of any kind. She was, therefore, much scandalised when two young ladies, arrayed in tunics and knickerbockers of the latest cut, arrived at the inn, probably after having seen the Derby. They jumped very jauntily from their machines and one of them said to the landlady “Is dinner served yet?” The proprietress surveyed the newcomers from head to foot with great deliberation and finally answered, “Yes, Mr Miss, dinner is served, but I am sorry to say I cannot let you enter my dining room in such clothes. There are ladies and gentlemen there who would be shocked by you.” Both the advanced women bicyclists protested against such an insult to their garments, which they declared to be becoming and comfortable and asserted that they had been so treated in any other hotel. They were entitled to dine and dine they must. But the landlady stood on principle and declined to allow them to enter in their knickerbockers. She, however, offered a compromise by expressing her willingness to lend them two of her own skirts, under which they might hide their bicycling garments during dinner. One of them was so hungry that she almost consented to turn herself into a guy for the occasion, but the other indignantly rejected the offer and the two left the inn dinnerless. The interview between them and the landlady caused great amusement to many bicyclists who heard it. – Daily Telegraph.

Liverpool Mercury etc, Friday, June 8, 1894

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