“Will you be my summer girl?”: 1909

The Jaunty Summer Girl

A SUMMER GIRL

“Will you be my summer girl?” he asked, as she sat on the rail in front of him. her sailor hat aslant of her rippling locks and her pretty little feet swinging in front of her.

“Do you want me to be?” she asked.

“Do I want you to be? Yes, assuredly, I want you to be.”

“And what will you do for me if I am your summer girl?”

“Everything. I’ll dance attendance; I’ll be your slave. I will feed you with chocolates, and ice cream, and–”

“I will be your summer girl.” and she held out her little brown hand “Thank you; you’re very kind, and I am delighted.”

“But, tell me. what does being a summer girl consist of?”

“Why, the most delightful, unfettered companionship–nothing serious on either side no promises–no false hopes–just a sort of mutual attention, don’t you know.”

“That suits me perfectly–yes, I’ll be your summer girl.”

That was the way it began. And what a summer girl she was to be sure. How she tripped through green fields with him, picking wild flowers and singing her merry songs. How she pulled away at the oars of the little cedar boat, with her sleeves rolled up to the elbow, calling upon him to watch the rounded muscle as it swelled her pretty arms.

But if these things were attractive how infinitely more attractive was the way she fell into calling him “Harry, ‘ and the pleasant little familiarity with which she treated him. It was not a sisterly familiarity exactly, not friendly one, and not the familiarity of one jolly good fellow for another, yet it smacked of all three, with a little touch of sentiment thrown in and a certain off-handedness to tone it down.

“You are an ideal summer girl,” he said to her one evening in the moonlight–“absolutely ideal.”

“Thank you,” she returned demurely; “I am glad I suit your majesty.”

“You are not glad. You don’t care a bit.”

She laughed merrily.

“What does that make me out?” she asked.

“Oh, only a summer girl,” he responded.

Unfortunately, summer days cannot go on forever, and toward the end of August there comes a chilling breeze across the waves, which shrivels up summer things, and makes one begin to think of heavier flannels and felt hats.

He had passed through the chummy stage, the brotherly stage, even the cousinly stage, and he had now reached a point where all feeling of relationship ceases, and where the desire for relationship begins. The little sprite was going home. The rolling waves would resound no longer to the music of her voice.

“Kitty–don’t let it be good-bye. Don’t say it’s all over. I love you, Kitty. You’re not only a summer girl, are you?”

“But, Harry, you only asked me to be a summer girl.”

“I know, dear, but now I ask you to be something else.”

The sprite laughed and shook her head.

“Too, late, old fellow,” she murmured–“too late! Jack Hilton asked me to be his all-the-year-round girl, and I have consented. You’ve had what you asked for, Harry.”

New Castle [PA] Herald 27 July 1909: p. 7

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Well!  The heartless minx! How dare she take Harry at his word and be merely the “ideal Summer Girl?” Mrs Daffodil wonders how long Harry nursed a grudge against Kitty. Obviously he assumed that she would, in the time-honoured tradition of newspaper short fiction, fall helplessly in love with him.

This next examination of the Summer Girl species is particularly distasteful about her “convenience” and her “cheapness”–attributes more suited to lauding washing-up powders than young ladies. It also likens her to a sweet, but transient fruit.

Mrs Daffodil will remain frigidly silent about the notion of “cling” kisses required of the Summer Girl.

THE SUMMER GIRL

Charming Creature Who Reigns Supreme During the Heated Term.

The summer girl is a peculiarly American product, says the Trenton Times. No other soil, so far as known, has ever produced her. She seems to have been discovered several years ago by some college students, and has since been cultivated to a large extent all over the country. She is a very popular creature in certain quarters, possesses undoubted charms and has her advantages. It might not be amiss just now to enumerate a few of her uses.

The summer girl is a good convenience. She does not expect to be fondled and fed on dainties that during the winter. The young man who cultivated her acquaintance knows just when and where to find her. He is not expected to become acquainted with her before strawberry time. She does not display her fairy charms, so to speak, until the cream season is thoroughly ripe. The hammock in which she swings and the perforated sleeves that she wears do not appear before June.

The Summer girl is sentimental. Having an active existence only during the warm months, it becomes necessary for her to lay in a stock of sentiment during the three months that will last throughout the year. Therefore she is very sweet, very tender, very caressable. The young mail who claims her for his own for  June to September is believed to have a very “soft” time of it. He is supposed in sentimental slang, to have all the hugging and kissing he wants. The Summer girl always has a supply of kisses on hand. It is true some of her kisses are rather stale, having been lent all Winter, but when they are warmed up they pass very readily for fresh ones. The young man who cultivates Summer girls is not very particular what kind of kisses he gets so long as they are the cling kind.

The Summer girl is pretty. If she wasn’t pretty she wouldn’t be a Summer girl. She wears a pretty girl’s dress, has a pretty girl’s teeth, and puts on a pretty girl’s smiles. She also has a dimple or two to add to the picture. She is usually plump, but not stout; well formed, but not rotund. The young man who pays for her strawberries and cream, and takes her to picnics where they play Copenhagen [a game where the boys chase the girls and claim a kiss] is always proud of her. The Summer girl never gets soiled or looks dirty. She even manages to keep her back hair in good shape after a hugging match.

The Summer girl is not very expensive. Her wishes are few and cheap. A row on the river now and then, an occasional buggy ride, a plate of ice cream on a warm evening and an escort to a picnic about once in two weeks nearly sums up her wants. Being only a summer girl, she does not expect those presents and that devotion that belong to the regular every-day-in-the-week and twice-on-Sunday-all-the-year-round girl. The Summer girl is more like some luscious fruit that comes only for a time and is gone for the year, but it is peculiarly sweet while it lasts.

The Leavenworth [KS] Times 5 August 1883: p. 2

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

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