By Margaret Powell
Arriving on the nice homes of Twenties London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's existence in carrier was once approximately to start… As a kitchen maid – the bottom of the low – she entered a wholly new international; one among stoves to be blacked, greens to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, or even bootlaces to be ironed. paintings begun at 5.30am and went on till after darkish. It was once a miles cry from her early life at the seashores of Hove, the place funds and nutrients have been scarce, yet heat and laughter by no means have been. but from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking tale of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced via her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in carrier are advised with wit, heat, and a pointy eye for the prejudices of her state of affairs.
The Pan actual Lives Series brings jointly a few actually notable tales. From relocating money owed of discomfort and redemption to enjoyable and outstanding confessions, wonderful adventures and touching stories of devotion, those are life-changing tales advised from the heart.
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Extra resources for Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid
He came around and sold sheets and pillowcases, and boots and shoes, and things like that, carrying them in a large case. You paid him so much a week for the goods and a little bit over the odds because he had to wait for his money. You never signed agreements, it was just written down in a book. Selling the goods was easy. Anyone could buy them but when it came to collecting the money it was a different story indeed. When Mother had no money I used to stand at the top of the steps watching for the tally-man.
We hadn’t got two pounds but anyway she managed to borrow it and she fitted me out. On the day I was due to go there she got her old, battered tin trunk that she’d been all through domestic service with, and I packed the few things that I had in it. Apart from the uniform my own clothes were very few indeed. I was dressed up in a blouse and skirt and a coat that had belonged to my grandmother. I said to Mum, ‘How are we going to get the tin trunk down to Adelaide Crescent? ’ She said, ‘You must be stark, raving mad.
As the cook said, some people can polish and some can’t. In front of it was the steel fender, and that also was polished to a silvery brightness. Opposite it was a dresser with great big cupboards on the lower half of it and five shelves on the other half, all plain white wood. Not the small kind of dresser we had in our own little kitchen at home, but one that could take a whole dinner set, and when I say a whole one I don’t mean the kind you buy now which are really only halves; a hundred and twenty-six pieces of china were ranged on the shelves, and on the flat part of it, which was the top of the cupboards, were an enormous soup tureen, vegetable dishes, and sauce boats.
Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid by Margaret Powell