The Ladies "Sisters Under The Skin"
by Rudyard Kipling

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"Sisters Under The Skin"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The man in Kipling's "The Ladies" tells of his four "outstanding" sweethearts. The first is older and experienced. The second is a Burmese girl, "Funny an' yellow an' faithful–". The third is a Negress who stabs him because he wishes she were white. The last one is a girl from a convent who falls in love with him at first sight. He laments so many sweethearts because, "For the more you 'ave known o' the others/ The less will you settle to one." But what did the Sergeant's wife think of all this? Well, men are "like as a row of pins." The speaker has learned from his sweethearts that the same is true of women!

I've taken my fun where I've found it;
I've rogued an' I've ranged in my time;
I've 'ad my pickin' o' sweethearts,
An' four o' the lot was prime.
. . .
What did the Colonel's Lady think?
Nobody never knew.
Somebody asked the Sergeant's Wife
An' she told 'em true!
When you get to a man in the case,
They're like as a row of pins–
For the Colonel's Lady and Judy O'Grady
Are sisters under their skins!