Regency,  Research

Regency jobs

I’m recycling a blog post from a year or so ago about my ideal Regency job. I spent last weekend with the lovely ladies of Virginia Romance Writers at their conference, where I spoke on servants, so this is timely. And Amanda, have you opened the vampire bar yet?
The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking elderly woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any notion of finding her.
After Amanda’s exotic and glamorous plans to open a vampire bar, I thought I’d like to describe my ideal Regency job as a housekeeper.

Just imagine it. All that power! Solely in charge of the nutmeg and other spices and maybe even the tea, gliding silently around the corridors of the great house and coming upon servant hanky-panky, unless the slight jangling from your chatelaine betrayed your presence. This lovely example is from early eighteenth century Holland (I think. An ebay find which I couldn’t afford) with a St. Christopher motif.

Just the position if you were a gentlewoman widowed and down on her luck, like Mrs. Fairfax in Jane Eyre (and then I’d be Judi Dench too!).

Or even the unmarried and troublesome member of the family who needs to be shuffled off somewhere to learn the folly of her ways and spend some time brewing stuff in the stillroom.

Housekeepers got nice, fat salaries, too, augmented with tips from tourists if they worked in a great house. When Darcy’s housekeeper (the one described in my opening quote) finished showing Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle around, you may be absolutely sure she had her hand held out. It was quite a cottage industry.

What’s your ideal Regency job?

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Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Well, I have been learning to make certain cocktails 🙂

Elena Greene
10 years ago

The same as any time: novelist, preferably successful. 🙂

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

I don’t know about an ideal job, but I’m pretty sure I was a scullery maid during the Regency.

10 years ago

Housekeeper really wouldn’t be too bad. You directed and everyone else did the work. I remember this post. I’m not sure, but I think I said I would like to be a governess.. Either job would be fine.

Janet Mullany
10 years ago

I agree, Pat. Particularly if you were there so long that only you knew what was going on and where the bodies were hidden.

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