Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

How did the ladies behave when they stepped into the boat and why? Why didn't they want their clothes to be splashed by water?

Three Men in a boat a Novel of Class IX

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In Chapter Seven, J recounts a time he and a friend took several women rowing. The women wore such delicate clothes that even a drop of water would stain them, and they were unable to have fun on the trip because they were concerned about ruining their outfits.