By Margaret Powell
Arriving on the nice homes of Nineteen Twenties London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's lifestyles in provider used to be approximately to start… As a kitchen maid – the bottom of the low – she entered a wholly new international; one in all stoves to be blacked, greens to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, or even bootlaces to be ironed. paintings all started at 5.30am and went on until eventually after darkish. It used to be a much cry from her formative years at the seashores of Hove, the place cash and nutrition 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 through her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in carrier are informed with wit, heat, and a pointy eye for the prejudices of her scenario.
The Pan actual Lives Series brings jointly a few really outstanding tales. From relocating bills of discomfort and redemption to enjoyable and marvelous confessions, unique 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
My mother used to go out charring from about eight in the morning till six in the evening for two shillings a day. Sometimes she used to bring home little treasures: a basin of dripping, half a loaf of bread, a little bit of butter or a bowl of soup. She used to hate accepting anything. She hated charity. But we were so glad of them that, when she came home and we saw that she was carrying something, we used to make a dive to see what she’d got. It seems funny today, I suppose, that there was this hatred of charity, but when my parents brought us up there was no unemployment money.
An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman. She had to ask to have the Irishman removed. He made such uproars and all that. I don’t know what the money was, but I noticed there was a change in our standard of living. Mum said my father wasn’t too keen about the idea. You see she was an attractive woman and he was in France at the time and couldn’t do anything about it. It made a big difference. All of a sudden everybody sprouted out with new things. Even the tally-man got paid. The tally-man was a door-to-door salesman.
The butcher in particular, he was a great favourite of mine. ’ So I would say, ‘Oh, yes, I have. I’ve brought this bus ticket to wrap it in. ’ Every other morning, Mum got my brother and me up at six o’clock. She gave us sixpence and a pillowcase and we went to the baker’s – Forfar’s in Church Road. They didn’t open till eight o’clock but the earlier you got there, the better bread you got. It took us about twenty minutes to walk it so we had a long wait outside. If we were first in the queue, we used to look through the letterbox and see just what sort of bread they had.