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?