Posted by ESC on October 20, 2003
In Reply to: "Tying a dish-cloth to your tail" posted by Hanni on October 20, 2003
: From that same (hyacinths) biography -
: one of Darwin's sons remembers his childhood and the cook:
: 'Francis remembered her kindness in spite of constant threats of "tying a dish-cloth to your tail",
: which he never understood.'
: ...and neither do I.
: Does anyone here understand this threat? know where it comes from?
: The child failing to understand the cook's words -
: could it have to do with Victorian class differences?
: Could she be threatening to spank him with a kitchen towel?
: I'll be very thankful for any suggestion, information or guess!
Well, people in the country (West Virginia) would talk about tying a tin can to a puppy's tail if it was too frisky and aggravating. Maybe a dish-cloth (dish rag) is a more humane version of that.