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|Maybe, maybe not
Written by helena6
(3/10/2003 4:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Plight of the poor but genteel; invisibility of the servant class, penned by Kay S
] I suppose a servant who swept the parlor floor at Pemberley every morning would arouse no more notice from the Darcys than today we would regard a vacuum machine. That sounds very harsh to our modern sensibilities, but I think that's just the way it was.
I would suspect that this also for the best. Can she do her job with her a nosy boss micromanaging her. Is that to her benefit? And is it nice for a boss to be constantly interfering in in one's work?
I assume that when servants married and had children they recieved their due attention. When relations and friends needed jobs the estate might be trusted to help find one.
I am reminded of how Emma remarks that James (the coachman) would love to spend Christmas at Randalls because his daughter Hannah is employed there. It is quite obvious to me that Emma helped secure her the job and while the family is having dinner with the Westons, James would likely be socializing with whomever did not have to work at that moment. Most likely he would know them. They might even be his good friends and his daughter.
Emma and Mr. Woodhouse look very favourably on Hannah. I don't often spend much time considering the people who sweep the halls of my school, but I do try my hardest to let them do their job. Sure they are not my servants but they are employed to clean the halls I use and I try to let them to their job in the most efficient manner.
A servant one saw more often or had a more intimate relationship with, would be one to be considered greater kindness and attention.
] I remember one picture of people sitting in an open carriage on a picnic outing, and the horses' names, but not the driver's, names are recorded! Attitudes were very different back then.
Certainly I hold more egalitarian views, but I am wary of thinking these workers would want to be taken as equals. There is nothing I would hate more than having to spend my evenings with my boss and co-workers. Once and a while is fine, but I have my own life. If I make friends with one sure, but I wouldn't want to feel obligated. I think too much attention would make a servant more indebted to her employer and indebted in ways that would make both uncomfortable.
It may be a sign of respect to allow them to have their own personal circle and let them do their job.
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