“What’s the good of ‘avin work as a scullery and kitchen maid for six years if you’re going to change you’re profession now? What’s wrong with you girl? Ain’t mucking out them grates good enough for you no more?!”
Emily LeFevre sighed, it had taken all of her nerve to apply for the job of Chef Patissiere, at the establishment of the Right Honourable Lord Tobias Grid-Iron, but she had done it, the job was hers. Nothing and no one was going to stop her from arising like a phoenix from the ashes of the St Bacchanalia Asylum, nothing.
” I wants to work in a refined establishment what has oil lamps, shiny bed pans and flushable toilets. I wants to wear a linen bustle under me petticoats and button up boots on me feet, most of all I wants me own bed”
Madame LeFevre frowned, her eyes lit upon the black, leather bound testament of St. Gove which lay on a small table beside her bed, “I recall your Aunt Maggie wanting ‘er little girl to go into service, but she would ‘ave none of it! And now look at her! Swishing her skirts out of doors past midnight and knocking back laudunum like it was pump water.”
“The Grid-Irons are a refined and respected household, Lord Grid-Iron is a man of the people, be ‘appy for me mother, finally, this is a chance for me to improve myself.”
“Lord Grid-Iron..that wouldn’t be the man who reduced beer duty would it? Your Uncle Jim near drove his whole family to penury because of it, his wife is in the poor house still.”
Emily snapped the clasp shut on her carpet bag, she brushed the lint off her dress and wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and bosom tightly.” I wants to earn my keep by working for the best people there is, rich people, like the Tobias Grid-Irons, you know what they say, rub against gold a bit might stick to you.”
“Grid-Irons, that’s a familiar name that is, I think your father knows an Emile Grid-Iron, works as an Ostler down at the The Bunch O’ Keys, they say ‘is mother was in the buttock & twang game, a terrible woman of ill-repute” Mrs LeFevre looked troubled, “She never did tell who ‘is father was. Ow’ much are they payin you?”
“The hours is flexible Ma, it’s what they calls a zero-hour contract, it’s all the rage nowadays, I’ll dare say as I’ll manage.”
Mrs LeFevre smiled gently at her little girl, now a grown woman of eighteen years, it was a miracle she hadn’t died of Cholera, Typhoid or Scarlet Fever, she had even survived her brother. “Well girl if this is what you want to do I can’t see as anything I might say will stop you”
Emily LeFevre choked back a tear “Ma” she said, “Before I go, may we ask aid & succour of St. Gove?”
Kneeling alongside the family bed mother and daughter prayed.