The Servant’s Directory

WomonbookHi, here's Jo.

No, that's not me, but it's a cheeky bit of clip art, isn't it? It seems to be my season to revisit or buy research books. I can't remember where this one was mentioned — it might have been here — but I purchased The Servant's Directory, or House-Keeper's companion etc by Hannah Glass. It's a POD facsimile from ECCO, the Eighteenth Century Collection Online. Glasse

I can't recommend buying this book for two reasons. One is that it throws little light on the roles of servants in the 18th century, being mostly recipes and instructions for cleaning. The other is that in 400+ pages only about 80 are useful text. The rest of the pages are blank forms for various household records. These may well have been useful for an 18th century housekeeper, and if they had been filled out, could be interesting now, but as it stands, not.

I complained to the Book Depository  (an exellent place to buy books, and which ships around the world for free) saying I was returning it for a refund. They made the refund and told me to keep it, so I still have it to comment on.

As a side note, I think ECCO should take a little more care with their cover illustrations. I bought an 18th century travel book which had a Victorian illustration. This one has what looks to me like a 16th century Dutch picture.

However, here are notes on the servants.

The Chamber-Maid

I thought a chamber maid was closer to the house maid below, but I found some clarification in Swift's satirical description of servants' duties. Apparently if working for a family of considerable estate the duties differ from those of the house maid. I wouldn't have thought Glasse was writing of such a family, but it's another puzzle from the past.

This section is mostly instructions for caring for her lady's clothing, some of which could be useful to an author when it comes to washing silk stockings and such.

You might be interested in this warning about hair. "If you cut it in the decline of the moon, it will all come off your head, and on the contrary, cut but the ends of your hair in the increase of the moon, and it will grow thick and prevent its falling off."

The House-Maid.

An odd thing here is the instruction to have very clean feet, "that you may not dirty your rooms as soon as cleaned, nor make any noise…" The house maid went barefoot?

There's quite a bit of detail about lighting fires and cleaning and caring for hearths followed by a routine of cleaning carpets, curtains, woodwork, stairs etc etc. No rest for the house-maid!

The Landry-Maid (sic)

Mistress Glasse says that every girl knows how to wash, being taught by her mother, but does give some suggestions for improving ease of washing.

The Nursery-Maid

Glasse says that the care of children requires a book, and recommends The Young Married Lady's Companion, or Nursery-Maid's Directory. I can't find this on line.

The Scullion

There's no description of duties at all, but instructions for cleaning pewter, tin, copper etc. There is a long section on collecting the drips cleaned off candles and making cakes of them to sell to the tallow chandler. We should remember how little waste they tolerated back then.

Thus ends the servants' section on page 67.

At the end, we have calculation tables and details of weights and measures, which illuminate how complex and variable the 18th century world was. For example, a firkin of butter is 56lbs, but a firkin of bacon is 64lbs.

These days a stone = 14lbs, but in these tables a stone of iron is 14lbs, but a stone of butcher's meat is 8!

At the very end there are some details of charges for traveling on the river, and some on coach routes, but these pages aren't well copied and the coach routes would need a lot of extra study to really understand them.

As with most primary sources, the useful pages of this book raise questions, but they also give a window into the organization and complexity of life in the past.

Do you like much attention paid to servants in a historical romance? Do you enjoy a book where a principal character is a servant, or is pretending to be one?

My taste is for servants to be portrayed accurately, but I'm happy enough for them to be well in the background in most fictional creations, with the exception of the sort of lady's maid or valet who is also a close companion, as many were.

Cheers,

Jo

55 thoughts on “The Servant’s Directory”

  1. You do discover why no-one lived very long in those days… between the hygiene, food freshness, water contamination, high birth rate but low survival of children… But that’s not why I read historical romance..

    Reply
  2. You do discover why no-one lived very long in those days… between the hygiene, food freshness, water contamination, high birth rate but low survival of children… But that’s not why I read historical romance..

    Reply
  3. You do discover why no-one lived very long in those days… between the hygiene, food freshness, water contamination, high birth rate but low survival of children… But that’s not why I read historical romance..

    Reply
  4. You do discover why no-one lived very long in those days… between the hygiene, food freshness, water contamination, high birth rate but low survival of children… But that’s not why I read historical romance..

    Reply
  5. You do discover why no-one lived very long in those days… between the hygiene, food freshness, water contamination, high birth rate but low survival of children… But that’s not why I read historical romance..

    Reply
  6. I’m not fond of the heroine-maid BFF either. In fact, I’m not particularly fond of the loyal servant trope. Some day I would like to write a book in which the hero and heroine are servants and rather contemptuous of their dependent and incompetent employers.;-)

    Reply
  7. I’m not fond of the heroine-maid BFF either. In fact, I’m not particularly fond of the loyal servant trope. Some day I would like to write a book in which the hero and heroine are servants and rather contemptuous of their dependent and incompetent employers.;-)

    Reply
  8. I’m not fond of the heroine-maid BFF either. In fact, I’m not particularly fond of the loyal servant trope. Some day I would like to write a book in which the hero and heroine are servants and rather contemptuous of their dependent and incompetent employers.;-)

    Reply
  9. I’m not fond of the heroine-maid BFF either. In fact, I’m not particularly fond of the loyal servant trope. Some day I would like to write a book in which the hero and heroine are servants and rather contemptuous of their dependent and incompetent employers.;-)

    Reply
  10. I’m not fond of the heroine-maid BFF either. In fact, I’m not particularly fond of the loyal servant trope. Some day I would like to write a book in which the hero and heroine are servants and rather contemptuous of their dependent and incompetent employers.;-)

    Reply
  11. I do like the kind servant, but I can’t say I have a preference. As with any character, I like them to have a purpose to the scene or to the book as needed, but it’s not a character or plot point that I seek.

    Reply
  12. I do like the kind servant, but I can’t say I have a preference. As with any character, I like them to have a purpose to the scene or to the book as needed, but it’s not a character or plot point that I seek.

    Reply
  13. I do like the kind servant, but I can’t say I have a preference. As with any character, I like them to have a purpose to the scene or to the book as needed, but it’s not a character or plot point that I seek.

    Reply
  14. I do like the kind servant, but I can’t say I have a preference. As with any character, I like them to have a purpose to the scene or to the book as needed, but it’s not a character or plot point that I seek.

    Reply
  15. I do like the kind servant, but I can’t say I have a preference. As with any character, I like them to have a purpose to the scene or to the book as needed, but it’s not a character or plot point that I seek.

    Reply
  16. I got a copy of Mrs. Beeton a few years ago and it was enlightening on the duties of the different servants and so on. Most interesting was how to clean feather beds (take it all apart, clean each damn feather), wash everything by hand, and polish things you didn’t know needed to be polished. Yikes! So glad for wash and wear, washing machines, and simple clothes that can be wrinkly and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  17. I got a copy of Mrs. Beeton a few years ago and it was enlightening on the duties of the different servants and so on. Most interesting was how to clean feather beds (take it all apart, clean each damn feather), wash everything by hand, and polish things you didn’t know needed to be polished. Yikes! So glad for wash and wear, washing machines, and simple clothes that can be wrinkly and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  18. I got a copy of Mrs. Beeton a few years ago and it was enlightening on the duties of the different servants and so on. Most interesting was how to clean feather beds (take it all apart, clean each damn feather), wash everything by hand, and polish things you didn’t know needed to be polished. Yikes! So glad for wash and wear, washing machines, and simple clothes that can be wrinkly and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  19. I got a copy of Mrs. Beeton a few years ago and it was enlightening on the duties of the different servants and so on. Most interesting was how to clean feather beds (take it all apart, clean each damn feather), wash everything by hand, and polish things you didn’t know needed to be polished. Yikes! So glad for wash and wear, washing machines, and simple clothes that can be wrinkly and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  20. I got a copy of Mrs. Beeton a few years ago and it was enlightening on the duties of the different servants and so on. Most interesting was how to clean feather beds (take it all apart, clean each damn feather), wash everything by hand, and polish things you didn’t know needed to be polished. Yikes! So glad for wash and wear, washing machines, and simple clothes that can be wrinkly and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  21. I generally prefer when servants are left out. When servants are there, for the most part my reaction is somewhere between “Could this really happen?” to “This is completely wrong and would never happen.” Quirky valets or ladies’ maids can be fun, but beyond that I really wish they’d stay in the background.
    On the other hand, there are a number of romances I like involving servants as characters (or characters pretending to be servants.) Pam Rosenrhal’s The Bookseller’s Daughter is one I found particularly interesting.

    Reply
  22. I generally prefer when servants are left out. When servants are there, for the most part my reaction is somewhere between “Could this really happen?” to “This is completely wrong and would never happen.” Quirky valets or ladies’ maids can be fun, but beyond that I really wish they’d stay in the background.
    On the other hand, there are a number of romances I like involving servants as characters (or characters pretending to be servants.) Pam Rosenrhal’s The Bookseller’s Daughter is one I found particularly interesting.

    Reply
  23. I generally prefer when servants are left out. When servants are there, for the most part my reaction is somewhere between “Could this really happen?” to “This is completely wrong and would never happen.” Quirky valets or ladies’ maids can be fun, but beyond that I really wish they’d stay in the background.
    On the other hand, there are a number of romances I like involving servants as characters (or characters pretending to be servants.) Pam Rosenrhal’s The Bookseller’s Daughter is one I found particularly interesting.

    Reply
  24. I generally prefer when servants are left out. When servants are there, for the most part my reaction is somewhere between “Could this really happen?” to “This is completely wrong and would never happen.” Quirky valets or ladies’ maids can be fun, but beyond that I really wish they’d stay in the background.
    On the other hand, there are a number of romances I like involving servants as characters (or characters pretending to be servants.) Pam Rosenrhal’s The Bookseller’s Daughter is one I found particularly interesting.

    Reply
  25. I generally prefer when servants are left out. When servants are there, for the most part my reaction is somewhere between “Could this really happen?” to “This is completely wrong and would never happen.” Quirky valets or ladies’ maids can be fun, but beyond that I really wish they’d stay in the background.
    On the other hand, there are a number of romances I like involving servants as characters (or characters pretending to be servants.) Pam Rosenrhal’s The Bookseller’s Daughter is one I found particularly interesting.

    Reply
  26. Sherrie, here. Interesting that measurements were not standardized back then. I suppose if you grew up knowing the various weights of firkins and stones, it wasn’t so difficult, but to my modern ears, it sounds very confusing. I will forever be ribbed by my sister for absent-mindedly referring to a ramekin as a firkin. I was extolling the virtues of a set of “firkins” (ramekins) I’d bought, and my sister, who’d never heard the term “firkin,” thought I was talking about a waistcoat. I guess you had to be there, but it had us both in stitches.
    I don’t mind when servants are given a minor role in novels, especially if the servant is a trusted lady’s maid or valet. Georgette Heyer often depicted valets, lady’s maids, tigers, and footmen as humorous (or much loved and respected) secondary characters. (Lord Sherringham’s thieving tiger in Friday’s Child; the sympathetic footman in The Foundling; the trusted manservant to Lord Damerel in Venetia; the heroine’s old nurse in The Reluctant Widow, the hilarious rivalry between the valets for Claud and Vincent in The Unknown Ajax, etc.)

    Reply
  27. Sherrie, here. Interesting that measurements were not standardized back then. I suppose if you grew up knowing the various weights of firkins and stones, it wasn’t so difficult, but to my modern ears, it sounds very confusing. I will forever be ribbed by my sister for absent-mindedly referring to a ramekin as a firkin. I was extolling the virtues of a set of “firkins” (ramekins) I’d bought, and my sister, who’d never heard the term “firkin,” thought I was talking about a waistcoat. I guess you had to be there, but it had us both in stitches.
    I don’t mind when servants are given a minor role in novels, especially if the servant is a trusted lady’s maid or valet. Georgette Heyer often depicted valets, lady’s maids, tigers, and footmen as humorous (or much loved and respected) secondary characters. (Lord Sherringham’s thieving tiger in Friday’s Child; the sympathetic footman in The Foundling; the trusted manservant to Lord Damerel in Venetia; the heroine’s old nurse in The Reluctant Widow, the hilarious rivalry between the valets for Claud and Vincent in The Unknown Ajax, etc.)

    Reply
  28. Sherrie, here. Interesting that measurements were not standardized back then. I suppose if you grew up knowing the various weights of firkins and stones, it wasn’t so difficult, but to my modern ears, it sounds very confusing. I will forever be ribbed by my sister for absent-mindedly referring to a ramekin as a firkin. I was extolling the virtues of a set of “firkins” (ramekins) I’d bought, and my sister, who’d never heard the term “firkin,” thought I was talking about a waistcoat. I guess you had to be there, but it had us both in stitches.
    I don’t mind when servants are given a minor role in novels, especially if the servant is a trusted lady’s maid or valet. Georgette Heyer often depicted valets, lady’s maids, tigers, and footmen as humorous (or much loved and respected) secondary characters. (Lord Sherringham’s thieving tiger in Friday’s Child; the sympathetic footman in The Foundling; the trusted manservant to Lord Damerel in Venetia; the heroine’s old nurse in The Reluctant Widow, the hilarious rivalry between the valets for Claud and Vincent in The Unknown Ajax, etc.)

    Reply
  29. Sherrie, here. Interesting that measurements were not standardized back then. I suppose if you grew up knowing the various weights of firkins and stones, it wasn’t so difficult, but to my modern ears, it sounds very confusing. I will forever be ribbed by my sister for absent-mindedly referring to a ramekin as a firkin. I was extolling the virtues of a set of “firkins” (ramekins) I’d bought, and my sister, who’d never heard the term “firkin,” thought I was talking about a waistcoat. I guess you had to be there, but it had us both in stitches.
    I don’t mind when servants are given a minor role in novels, especially if the servant is a trusted lady’s maid or valet. Georgette Heyer often depicted valets, lady’s maids, tigers, and footmen as humorous (or much loved and respected) secondary characters. (Lord Sherringham’s thieving tiger in Friday’s Child; the sympathetic footman in The Foundling; the trusted manservant to Lord Damerel in Venetia; the heroine’s old nurse in The Reluctant Widow, the hilarious rivalry between the valets for Claud and Vincent in The Unknown Ajax, etc.)

    Reply
  30. Sherrie, here. Interesting that measurements were not standardized back then. I suppose if you grew up knowing the various weights of firkins and stones, it wasn’t so difficult, but to my modern ears, it sounds very confusing. I will forever be ribbed by my sister for absent-mindedly referring to a ramekin as a firkin. I was extolling the virtues of a set of “firkins” (ramekins) I’d bought, and my sister, who’d never heard the term “firkin,” thought I was talking about a waistcoat. I guess you had to be there, but it had us both in stitches.
    I don’t mind when servants are given a minor role in novels, especially if the servant is a trusted lady’s maid or valet. Georgette Heyer often depicted valets, lady’s maids, tigers, and footmen as humorous (or much loved and respected) secondary characters. (Lord Sherringham’s thieving tiger in Friday’s Child; the sympathetic footman in The Foundling; the trusted manservant to Lord Damerel in Venetia; the heroine’s old nurse in The Reluctant Widow, the hilarious rivalry between the valets for Claud and Vincent in The Unknown Ajax, etc.)

    Reply
  31. Jo here. Sherrie, I agree that the servants can sometimes be used to good effect. They can also reveal a lot about the character of the employer, good and bad. For example, in A Scandalous Countess a footman is set to sit up and keep an eye on Dracy after he’s been wounded, but Dracy gives him a place to sleep, assuring him he’ll make a commotion if he feels unwell.
    A good employer need not be pally, but he/she can be considerate and appreciative.
    As for clever/virtuous servants and stupid/unpleasant employers I’m pretty sure the balance was equal. If you read the Swift piece linked to in the blog you’ll see he’s using advice to servants to relate all the unpleasant and illegal things they get up to without any implication that the employers deserve it.

    Reply
  32. Jo here. Sherrie, I agree that the servants can sometimes be used to good effect. They can also reveal a lot about the character of the employer, good and bad. For example, in A Scandalous Countess a footman is set to sit up and keep an eye on Dracy after he’s been wounded, but Dracy gives him a place to sleep, assuring him he’ll make a commotion if he feels unwell.
    A good employer need not be pally, but he/she can be considerate and appreciative.
    As for clever/virtuous servants and stupid/unpleasant employers I’m pretty sure the balance was equal. If you read the Swift piece linked to in the blog you’ll see he’s using advice to servants to relate all the unpleasant and illegal things they get up to without any implication that the employers deserve it.

    Reply
  33. Jo here. Sherrie, I agree that the servants can sometimes be used to good effect. They can also reveal a lot about the character of the employer, good and bad. For example, in A Scandalous Countess a footman is set to sit up and keep an eye on Dracy after he’s been wounded, but Dracy gives him a place to sleep, assuring him he’ll make a commotion if he feels unwell.
    A good employer need not be pally, but he/she can be considerate and appreciative.
    As for clever/virtuous servants and stupid/unpleasant employers I’m pretty sure the balance was equal. If you read the Swift piece linked to in the blog you’ll see he’s using advice to servants to relate all the unpleasant and illegal things they get up to without any implication that the employers deserve it.

    Reply
  34. Jo here. Sherrie, I agree that the servants can sometimes be used to good effect. They can also reveal a lot about the character of the employer, good and bad. For example, in A Scandalous Countess a footman is set to sit up and keep an eye on Dracy after he’s been wounded, but Dracy gives him a place to sleep, assuring him he’ll make a commotion if he feels unwell.
    A good employer need not be pally, but he/she can be considerate and appreciative.
    As for clever/virtuous servants and stupid/unpleasant employers I’m pretty sure the balance was equal. If you read the Swift piece linked to in the blog you’ll see he’s using advice to servants to relate all the unpleasant and illegal things they get up to without any implication that the employers deserve it.

    Reply
  35. Jo here. Sherrie, I agree that the servants can sometimes be used to good effect. They can also reveal a lot about the character of the employer, good and bad. For example, in A Scandalous Countess a footman is set to sit up and keep an eye on Dracy after he’s been wounded, but Dracy gives him a place to sleep, assuring him he’ll make a commotion if he feels unwell.
    A good employer need not be pally, but he/she can be considerate and appreciative.
    As for clever/virtuous servants and stupid/unpleasant employers I’m pretty sure the balance was equal. If you read the Swift piece linked to in the blog you’ll see he’s using advice to servants to relate all the unpleasant and illegal things they get up to without any implication that the employers deserve it.

    Reply
  36. Hi Jo. I have a copy of Beeton’s Law Book. It is Victorian (can’t find the publishing date off hand) but I think it is about 1850, and it has all the legal requirements for employing servants, and also for the servants themselves. It is a big thick tome, and just opening it I get this “In a domestic establishment, one housemaid is not necessarily bound to obey another housemaid, nor is the cook to obey the nurse, nor the nurse to obey the butler, nor the butler the coachman, nor the coachman the gardner” etc. etc. Everything was set down, and apparetly everyone knew their place. I suppose it was the same in the Regency and the Georgian periods as well. You knew your place. Turning the page, I come across the law regarding wives. I like this bit – “A domestic servant in a married man’s house is the servant of the husband, though she may never have seen him”. I really believe the women in the past who fought for and obtained womens’ freedom we enjoy today deserve a big thank you.
    As for the hero/heroine servant relationship in novels, I don’t mind if they take part, so long as they don’t take over the whole story.

    Reply
  37. Hi Jo. I have a copy of Beeton’s Law Book. It is Victorian (can’t find the publishing date off hand) but I think it is about 1850, and it has all the legal requirements for employing servants, and also for the servants themselves. It is a big thick tome, and just opening it I get this “In a domestic establishment, one housemaid is not necessarily bound to obey another housemaid, nor is the cook to obey the nurse, nor the nurse to obey the butler, nor the butler the coachman, nor the coachman the gardner” etc. etc. Everything was set down, and apparetly everyone knew their place. I suppose it was the same in the Regency and the Georgian periods as well. You knew your place. Turning the page, I come across the law regarding wives. I like this bit – “A domestic servant in a married man’s house is the servant of the husband, though she may never have seen him”. I really believe the women in the past who fought for and obtained womens’ freedom we enjoy today deserve a big thank you.
    As for the hero/heroine servant relationship in novels, I don’t mind if they take part, so long as they don’t take over the whole story.

    Reply
  38. Hi Jo. I have a copy of Beeton’s Law Book. It is Victorian (can’t find the publishing date off hand) but I think it is about 1850, and it has all the legal requirements for employing servants, and also for the servants themselves. It is a big thick tome, and just opening it I get this “In a domestic establishment, one housemaid is not necessarily bound to obey another housemaid, nor is the cook to obey the nurse, nor the nurse to obey the butler, nor the butler the coachman, nor the coachman the gardner” etc. etc. Everything was set down, and apparetly everyone knew their place. I suppose it was the same in the Regency and the Georgian periods as well. You knew your place. Turning the page, I come across the law regarding wives. I like this bit – “A domestic servant in a married man’s house is the servant of the husband, though she may never have seen him”. I really believe the women in the past who fought for and obtained womens’ freedom we enjoy today deserve a big thank you.
    As for the hero/heroine servant relationship in novels, I don’t mind if they take part, so long as they don’t take over the whole story.

    Reply
  39. Hi Jo. I have a copy of Beeton’s Law Book. It is Victorian (can’t find the publishing date off hand) but I think it is about 1850, and it has all the legal requirements for employing servants, and also for the servants themselves. It is a big thick tome, and just opening it I get this “In a domestic establishment, one housemaid is not necessarily bound to obey another housemaid, nor is the cook to obey the nurse, nor the nurse to obey the butler, nor the butler the coachman, nor the coachman the gardner” etc. etc. Everything was set down, and apparetly everyone knew their place. I suppose it was the same in the Regency and the Georgian periods as well. You knew your place. Turning the page, I come across the law regarding wives. I like this bit – “A domestic servant in a married man’s house is the servant of the husband, though she may never have seen him”. I really believe the women in the past who fought for and obtained womens’ freedom we enjoy today deserve a big thank you.
    As for the hero/heroine servant relationship in novels, I don’t mind if they take part, so long as they don’t take over the whole story.

    Reply
  40. Hi Jo. I have a copy of Beeton’s Law Book. It is Victorian (can’t find the publishing date off hand) but I think it is about 1850, and it has all the legal requirements for employing servants, and also for the servants themselves. It is a big thick tome, and just opening it I get this “In a domestic establishment, one housemaid is not necessarily bound to obey another housemaid, nor is the cook to obey the nurse, nor the nurse to obey the butler, nor the butler the coachman, nor the coachman the gardner” etc. etc. Everything was set down, and apparetly everyone knew their place. I suppose it was the same in the Regency and the Georgian periods as well. You knew your place. Turning the page, I come across the law regarding wives. I like this bit – “A domestic servant in a married man’s house is the servant of the husband, though she may never have seen him”. I really believe the women in the past who fought for and obtained womens’ freedom we enjoy today deserve a big thank you.
    As for the hero/heroine servant relationship in novels, I don’t mind if they take part, so long as they don’t take over the whole story.

    Reply
  41. How interesting! Thank you, Jo. I’ve always thought of a chamber-maid as the precursor of the housemaid but it seems that isn’t so. I can understand about the clean feet. There’s nothing worse than tramping dirt in after you’ve just cleaned a room.
    I have a lady’s maid as heroine in my next book and found the research into her duties to be fascinating. Also I enjoyed writing about the wider mindset of a servant as opposed to someone born to be waited on by servants.

    Reply
  42. How interesting! Thank you, Jo. I’ve always thought of a chamber-maid as the precursor of the housemaid but it seems that isn’t so. I can understand about the clean feet. There’s nothing worse than tramping dirt in after you’ve just cleaned a room.
    I have a lady’s maid as heroine in my next book and found the research into her duties to be fascinating. Also I enjoyed writing about the wider mindset of a servant as opposed to someone born to be waited on by servants.

    Reply
  43. How interesting! Thank you, Jo. I’ve always thought of a chamber-maid as the precursor of the housemaid but it seems that isn’t so. I can understand about the clean feet. There’s nothing worse than tramping dirt in after you’ve just cleaned a room.
    I have a lady’s maid as heroine in my next book and found the research into her duties to be fascinating. Also I enjoyed writing about the wider mindset of a servant as opposed to someone born to be waited on by servants.

    Reply
  44. How interesting! Thank you, Jo. I’ve always thought of a chamber-maid as the precursor of the housemaid but it seems that isn’t so. I can understand about the clean feet. There’s nothing worse than tramping dirt in after you’ve just cleaned a room.
    I have a lady’s maid as heroine in my next book and found the research into her duties to be fascinating. Also I enjoyed writing about the wider mindset of a servant as opposed to someone born to be waited on by servants.

    Reply
  45. How interesting! Thank you, Jo. I’ve always thought of a chamber-maid as the precursor of the housemaid but it seems that isn’t so. I can understand about the clean feet. There’s nothing worse than tramping dirt in after you’ve just cleaned a room.
    I have a lady’s maid as heroine in my next book and found the research into her duties to be fascinating. Also I enjoyed writing about the wider mindset of a servant as opposed to someone born to be waited on by servants.

    Reply

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