The title reads "Passe la mi-careme" which roughly translates to "Past
halfway, this pregnancy." Two young laundress girls carry their heavy loads.
The red haired girl suggests sarcastically to the brunette girl, who appears to
be well along in her pregnancy, "Fat chance a student will come and help
us with that load!"
"The years around the turn of the century in
Paris were the great periods of the 'artist-reporter' those painters who found
their inspiration in the events of every-day life. One of the very greatest of
these was Steinlen. With an eye for movement and gesture, with the ability to
translate the scenes of the cafes, bars and street corners into pictorial composition,
in his drawings he created a pattern of expressive shape, swift shading and telling
details of facial expression which is redolent with the whole atmosphere of the
period...During the 1880's his frequent illustrations for 'Le
Rire' and 'Gil Blas' made him amongst the best known artists of his generation.
Much of his strength and effectiveness of his work derives from the fact that,
like Daumier, he was able to combine a clear sense of style with humour and social
understanding " (Weston No.5 1984, 28)