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Delia is a confident young woman who works as a housekeeper for a small family. Every morning, she gets up before everyone else and makes breakfast for each family member, then starts on her cleaning tasks. Despite her close relationship with the family she works for, Delia feels that she has more potential and does not like working a housemaid. She feels disrespected by some members in the family, and wants to try to find another job. After meeting with her friend, Minnie, Delia decides that she will quit her job. She wakes up the next morning and refuses to make the breakfast as usual. Instead, she tells the family of her decision and asked for the wages she’s due. Even though the family protests, Delia gets her wages and goes off to live with Minnie. However, Delia soon learns that the world is not kind to working women, and she struggles to find a well-paying job. Poor and unsure what to do, Delia remains optimistic and fights to find the best place for her.


Set in the early 1900s, The Diary of Delia is an intimate account of life as a poor working woman. Featuring detailed descriptions of landscapes, customs and dialects, The Diary of Delia acts a valuable and entertaining historical source. With animate and memorable characters, Onoto Watanna creates a historical narrative that still feels fresh and compelling to a modern audience.


First published in 1907, Onoto Watanna’s The Diary of Delia is rarely found in print. This special edition features a stunning cover design and is printed in an easy-to-read font. With these accommodations, this edition of The Diary of Delia caters to contemporary readers by restoring the novel to modern standards while preserving the original intimacy of Onoto Watanna’s work.


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Date de parution

23 février 2021

Nombre de lectures

0

EAN13

9781513276588

Langue

English

Poids de l'ouvrage

3 Mo

The Diary of Delia
Onoto Watanna
 
The Diary of Delia was first published in 1907.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513271583 | E-ISBN 9781513276588
Published by Mint Editions®

minteditionbooks .com
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
 
C ONTENTS I . II. N EXT D AY III. T HE T WENTY -F OURTH IV. T HE F OLLOWING D AY AT M INNIE C ARNAVAN ’ S H OUSE V. F OLLOWING D AY VI. T WO W EEKS L ATER VII. T WO W EEKS L ATER VIII. A F EW D AYS L ATER IX. A NOTHER D AY X. T HE N EXT D AY XI. N EXT D AY XII. A W EEK L ATER XIII. A NOTHER D AY XIV. A NOTHER D AY XV. A NOTHER D AY XVI. A W EEK L ATER XVII. A NOTHER D AY XVIII. T WO D AYS L ATER XIX. N EXT D AY XX. A W EEK L ATER XXI. F OLLOWING D AY XXII. N EXT D AY XXIII. N EXT D AY XXIV. N EXT D AY XXV. T EN D AYS L ATER XXVI. A W EEK L ATER XXVII. T HE N EXT D AY XXVIII. N EXT D AY XXIX. A NOTHER D AY XXX. A W EEK L ATER
 
I
I got up at siven. Washed. Dressed. Made me bed. I set the kittle on the gas stove and then furyissly rung the brikfust bell. The famly begun to get up about 9. Mr. John was the first to ate. He guv a look sideways at the appytising eggs befure him and the luvly staming coffee and thin wid a shuv pooshed thim aside. He tuk up his paper and begun to reed ignoaring me and the brikfust as if we wus durt. Me mouth being open I spoke up.
“Won’t you be after ating this morning” says I.
“Its all rite” says he. “Its all rite Delia.”
I lingered hoping to help him a bit. He russelled up the paper the way he has of doing when provoaked and says in that cam and gintle way he talks when turribly excited:
“Delia—what are you waiting for?”
“Nothing—says I—but won’t you be ating a bite Mr. Johnny.”
He controlled himsilf wid diffyculty his voyce all the cammer for his inwurd anger.
Now me girl says he—you attind to your own ating. Never mind me.
I shugged me sholders in the disdainful way I have and walked kitchen-wurd. I’d jest reeched the swinging door when “Delia!” ses he, calling very perlitely now.
“Well sir?”
“Will you kindly bring me” ses he “a cup of hot water.”
“Hot water is it?”
“Yep. I’m dying Delia” ses he.
“Dying!” ses I, shocked so that I drapped and broke the china in me hands.
“Confound you!” ses he, starting up in his seet “Dy-et-ing I said.”
“Its the same thing!” I showted back at him, and I marched out in a huff.
By and by I heard Miss Claire go into the dining-room and I let her ring the table bell awile befure ansering. Her payshunce gitting the better of her sense she pokes her hed into me kitchen. Now I happened to be standing neerby the dure, wayting for further ivints. Well, as I sed, out popped Miss Claire’s hed throo the dure which banged against me own, while me frying-pan wint flying up on hers.
“O! O! O!” crys she.
Her mother come running down the passage in her nitegown her hair scrooed up in them kid curlers.
“What is the matter?” crys she. Thin she seen the cundition of her dorter. The eggs had landed on her hed, and the fat run down her face in streams wid the yokes for company. The mother guv me a shove, and at that I boorst out in me rarth.
“Its no lady you are” ses I. “The whole boonch of you is bad. Gitting up at these unairthly ours and bullying the life out of a poor loan hard working girl.”
Wid that I tuk aff me aprun and throwed it at the madams feet.
“Will you be good enuff” ses I “to pay me me wages, for I’m for going.”
“Delia” ses she in the voyce she spakes whin drissed up fine for the opery or there’s company for dinner. “Delia” ses she, “Your month is up on the 24th. You will get nothing till then.”
“Indade” ses I, “Then I’ll set here till the 24th, but divil a bit of work will I be doing,” and wid that I set down on me chare and faulded me arms firmly across me brist.
“Delia” ses the lady, “Mr. Wolley will want his chop in a minit. Master Willie will have fareena and a poched egg. Shedded weet biskits for Miss Claire—”
“Mummer” ses she, washing her hed over me tubs, “I want nothing—nothing.”
Just then Mr. James wint into the dyning-roon and rung the bell lowdly.
“Peeches and pancakes” ses Mrs. Wolley coldly.
Miss Claire has her hed washed be this time, and she stands oop, wid it rolled oop in a towl. She guv me wan look—a cross betwane a shmile and a frown, and ses she:
“Delia, do you wish me to get brikfust to-day?”
“God forbid, Miss” ses I, and wint to wark.
Miss Claire is horty agin, and she ses wid a cold look at me:
“Very well thin Delia, till the 24th then. Come mother.”
 
II
N EXT D AY
Its a weery world. Here I be, a poor loansome female alone in this crool city warking for foaks wid lether harts.
“O wirra, wirra, wirra” as me auld mother used to say.
Aroze. Dressed. Washed.
I wint to see me frind Minnie Carnavan last nite and feel better the day. Ses she:
“Its a fool you be Delia O’Mally. The Idear of you doing all the wark in a family of 6. Its no more sinse you seem to have than an eediot. Delia ses she, its the gurls thats been here long thats foolish like yursilf. They get stook wid wan famly who hangs on to thim for deer life. The new wans—green from the auld cuntry arent hiring out to do gineral housewark. Its cooking in a family of 1 or 2 theyre looking for and getting. Its lite chamberwark or waiting on a table or the like. Theres never a one so green as to hire out to do the hole wark of a family. Your auld fashuned and saft” ses she, “Go down to Mack’s on 3rd Ave. Git a job for a munth or so as capper.”
“And what is that?”
“Well you tak a job” ses Minnie, “but you don’t kape it.”
“And what wud be the sinse of taking it for thin?”
“Why you gump for ivery place you tak Mack gits a fee of $3. You get harf for fooling thim.”
“Its an onest gurl I am” ses I wid scorn, “and its ashamed I’d be to mix mesilf in any such mess as that.”
“Well then” ses she “go down to the Alluyance. Its a place where they get jobs for the rich.”
“And what wud I be doing there?”
“Don’t you mind what I’m after meening? Its the rich ladies who pathronize them. Its a foine thing indade for thim. The Alluyunce fills oop there houses wid the sarvants. If a lady walks in modestly asking swately for a gurl for gineral housewark, they taks the fee of two or three or maybe five dollars, and thin smilingly infarm her that gineral housewarkers are an oonown quolity. ‘Tak a cook’ ses Miss Flimflam, seeted at a desk. ‘But’ ses the lady, luking very thrubbled, ‘a cook wont do anny other work at all.’”
“Sumtimes they do lite londry wark.” ses Miss Flimflam, yoning perlitely in her hand.
“Will they clean?”
“Land no!”
“Wate on table?”
“Certainly not.”
“Thin” ses the lady in disthress, “What am I to do? I moost have me wark dun.”
“Why” ses the clerk, a little more awake, “hire other girls, as the rist of our pathrons do.”
“Oh” ses the lady. “I suppose” ses she after a moment of deep and thrubbled thort, “if I get an exthra woman in to clean and wate on table the cook will wark cheeper?”
“Hm?” ses the lady at the disk. “I big yure pardin?”
“She’d wark cheeper, I sed?”
“Well to be frank, Mrs. Hodge Podge” answers Miss Flimflam at the desk, “a cooks an expinsive proppysition in these days. Now we have thim all the way down from $200 a munth to—er—well, you mite git an inexperienced beginnir for about $30, tho I cant promise.”
“Your fooling Minnie. Shure no cook gits such a forchune” ses I.
“Its thruth I’m telling you. Why I heard the uther day that Mrs. Vanderfool do be paying her cook $20,000 a year, and whats more the papers state theres an agytation now on foot among the bizzy club wimmin to let the poor hard warking girls, whose been impoased upon for sinturies, yuse the parlor wance a week to see there company in.”
“You don’t say” ses I, “and to think of me drudging for the starving wage of $20 per month.”
“Well” ses Minnie, “I wont misguide you Delia. $20 is the wages of a green girl who niver saw a Frinch pertater fryed on airth and who broils a stake in a sorspan cuvered snug wid water.”
 
III
T HE T WENTY -F OURTH
I aroze at the ushil our. Washed. Dressed in me best. Miss Claire cum into me room brite and airly. Ses she: “O Delia, heres that auld green skurt of mine you always liked. Your welcame to it.”
“Thanks” ses I, “but I expect to be making sooch grand wages soon, Miss Claire, I’ll be bying finer skurts than that.” Wid that I pushed the skurt aside with contemshus tooch.
She got all red and pretty, as she has a habit whin angry, and she put up her hed hy in the air.
“O well, if that’s the way you feel!” ses she and marched out.
Mr. John cum into me kitchen.
“Delia” ses he “heres a quarter. Now hussle wid me brikfust, will you?”
I took the quarter and flipped it round.
“Mr. Johnny” ses I, “me munth is oop at 7 A.M. this marning. I’m after waiting for me wages.”
He drew up his brows frowning and wint aff into his mothers room.
A moment later the auld gintleman himsilf cum bloostering out. Its his ushil custum to get up at 10.
“Whats up! Whats up!” ses he.
“Wheres me chop? Wheres me chop?”
Master Will started in to ball and Mr. James kept ringing the table bell. Such a house I never seen. Out came the madame in her ushil nitegown.
“Delia” ses she “didn’t I tell you yesterday I’d decided to guv you anuther chance.”
“You did mam, but I’m for going now” ses I.
“Go about your wark” ses she, her proud voice becoming a bit narvous in toan.
“I’m waiting for me wages mam” ses I.
“Delia—” she guv a hasty look about her, thin she spakes in a coaxing vyce:
“Now Delia, be sinsible. You no we think warlds of you. Now—”
Joost then, Miss Claire looks in, her face still red wid the snub I’m after giving her about the skurt.
“Muther” ses she, “don’t descind to begging Delia to remane. Let her go. We can get on famissly widout her.”
“What!” shourts Mr. James, sticking in his hed at the dure, “No cook! W

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