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You see, I have just written to our local Member of Parliament and I'm hoping he's
going to represent our views in the next debate on women's suffrage.
Oh I see
Well don't you take any interest in these affairs Mrs. Crocombe?
Oh I don't know that I have the time!
I think that Lady Braybrooke is an example to follow.
She takes a great interest in all the local affairs, you might have noticed?
After all the things she has done for the necessitous children of Walden, all her
charitable activities and so forth... - Well, I'll think about it.
Oh look! Here's your applicant for the laundry.
Ah good morning! I see that you're punctual - very good. I daresay you'd like
a tour of the service wing? We shall go to the laundry directly.
This is the wet laundry. Now, I understand you've been assisting your mother with
her local cottage laundry but you will find this a very different proposition
at Audley End. You see you will have to deal with 600 towels every week, for example,
and you must be quite robust because we do like our laundry maids
to have stamina. We would never take a girl fresh from school, for example.
They simply don't have the right experience or the strength.
And we certainly wouldn't take somebody from the workhouse.
We are scrupulous about hygiene here at Audley End. For instance in one country house
that shall be nameless, do you know a case of scarlet fever was brought in
with a laundry basket. Huh! Quelle horreur.
That would never happen here.
So, we operate on a weekly laundry cycle here.
The laundry is delivered every Sunday evening by rail
depending on where Lord and Lady Braybrooke have been staying.
Typically their London residence up at Brook Street, or it could be Bournemouth. Or Scotland.
You must rise at 3:00 on Monday morning to make sure all the fires are lit.
Then you can return to bed for a couple of hours, and then rise again to take a cup of tea
to your laundry superiors - Ellen and Sarah. You must make sure you show them
all due respect at all times for you are their junior.
You must know how to identify various stains.
Now, Lady Braybrooke's personal maid will deal with any stains pertaining to her lace, for example.
But there are many other stains aren't there. For example, how would you deal with, say, ink stains?
Of course.
You would use buttermilk, wouldn't you?
And now let's move on to the coppers shall we?
There are many different types of treatment depending on the nature of the laundry.
For instance, Mrs. Crocombe's kitchen cloths will need a very hot boil.
So we put the washing in the copper here when it's quite an average temperature
and then we wait for the temperature to come to the boil.
Mrs. Crocombe as you will know maintains very high standards of hygiene in her kitchen.
I'm sure you're quite aufait with wringing out excess water but you may well find that
this mangle helps you in that process. Always be sure to use a mangle cloth.
And do be careful. Don't trap your fingers in it.
The laundry drying lawn is just out there
behind the cloud hedge, where the family's laundry can dry in privacy.
You do know how to bleach your laundry don't you?
We sometimes use the rather quaint method
of using the action of the sun upon our linens to make them whiter.
Quite often our linens are cream-colored and to reach the optimum level of white
well we might have to to and fro for quite some months before we reach that
white that we so desire. We usually prefer our grass that we lay our linens
upon to be of medium height and preferably on a frosty day.
And however long it takes...well, so be it.
Patience is a virtue!
Now, we've done the washing and the ringing
Now it's time to do the ironing and the finishing.
Now, we like to iron things when they're slightly damp. You must supply your own
iron cloth. You only pick up an iron without an iron cloth once.
I don't know whether your mother has one of these in her small laundry
but if ever see you using a box mangle to wring out excess water you will be instantly dismissed.
Think of it as a flattening machine.
Always use a mangle cloth
and everything that comes out of it should be perfectly flat and perfectly shiny.
Now, we come to Saturday. That's when we parcel up all the finished laundry,
we send it off to where it has to go and that means labelling it.
It's another reason why we don't use commercial laundries. So what we have to do is make
sure it's dated, numbered, the house it's going from, the house it's going to, so on and so forth.
Now, do you have any questions?
I'm sorry, what was that?
Do we have a washing machine?
[laughs] No, we certainly don't!
It's far too much effort! Why would we go to all that trouble?
Does your mother have one?
Do you want to do yourself out of a job!
So, I think that we've seen all we need to now.
I shall perhaps usher you into the servants hall
and Mrs Crocombe will procure you a cup of tea. I shall read through your character and we
shall give you your expenses for your fare.
Thank you so very much for coming to see us.
We'll let you know.
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A Tour of the Laundry - The Victorian Way

23 分類 收藏
Summer 發佈於 2020 年 4 月 28 日
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