In Service

This is the story of a young Victorian girl who goes in to domestic service.


2. Starting out


My Scullery uniform was thick and heavy, and not particularly flattering, for I wore jovial yellow frocks at home, and these were black and white. Marina-Anne and me both went down to the vast kitchen together, and were greeted by the Under-Cook, Matthew, who insisted I called him Matty.

Our first job was to watch the stew pot, to insure it did not over boil, and spill into the oven, if it did it would mean a 10 shilling wage dock, which is not ideal, also at this time we had to eat, which involved doing two things at once, which Papa once said was not one of my strongholds. After that we began our four hour cleaning task, cleaning the oven, the surfaces and the floor. Only then were we given our final task before sleeping period, emptying the chamber pots. Doing this I worked out who in the servant household had the largest bladder, with the answer being the butler, who was a big beefy man.

I got every other Sunday off, where I would visit my family, or go and marvel at the large sculpture they are building in London, made mostly of glass.

I rarely saw Mr. Appleton, and when I did it was when he held domestic meetings, but there was one occasion when I saw him for another reason, a far better reason than to hear that Cook left a bone in his soup (she had a two pound wage dock for that). That particular day I went to him, a year and a half after my employment, about, if I dare say it, a promotion. The lady of the house had recently given birth to a small girl, and had no nurse to look after it, so that day in March I  became a Nurse, with my job being to look after small Scarlett Rose.

She was a lovely girl, a beautiful pale face and piercing blue eyes. I had to kindergarten her myself, and occasionally took her to The Royal Botanical Gardens, and on days when that was not possible, she seemed to delight in simply going down to the kitchens, watching Cook do the chopping of the vegetables.

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