Waiting for the “maidens” …

She rises also while it is still night,
And gives food to her household,
And portions to her maidens.

(Proverbs 31:15)


As you may know, I live with grown sons and a husband. And although I get up hours before dawn (as specified above) — to do laundry and get breakfast and lunches before work — there are no “maidens” to give portions to.

I am on the watch for those maidens, ever hopeful. I would gladly give them portions. But they do not show up.


Yesterday during my Thanksgiving Day cooking marathon — in my galley-style kitchen — I found myself giving thanks for each one of my modern appliances. And hot water. And functional plumbing.

Could these be my “maidens”?

I am also very thankful that I do not have to slap together a massive, intricate meal every single day. What the real-life Mrs Bridges and Mrs Patmores had to put up with was a lot!

Upstairs-Downstairs kitchen

Upstairs-Downstairs kitchen2

While I’d like to socialize in Jane Austen’s world, I do not want to cook or clean there.

(Well actually, I don’t want to cook or clean anywhere, ever, you know?)

So in Jane Austen’s day, which would you rather be? Kitchen help? Or cleaning help?


3 thoughts on “Waiting for the “maidens” …

  1. Laura Hile Post author

    Because I’m a teacher (and also a fan of Jane Eyre), I’ve always envisioned myself working in Jane Austen’s world as a governess. But what if that were not open to me? Kitchen help, probably.

    Although that is a very high pressure job, isn’t it? Hungry, particular people demanding superior food produced on a strict schedule, on a slim budget…

    Sounds familiar, that.


  2. Robin Helm

    There’s no way I’d be a maid or kitchen help. If I couldn’t be a governess, I’d just have to be a nanny. I absolutely hate cleaning. Now, if I ran the kitchen, I could probably tolerate it.


    1. Laura Hile Post author

      I’m with you on loathing the cleaning thing, Robin. I recall the PBS reality series The 1900 House, and the overwhelming demands of keeping an unmodernized Victorian house clean. And then there was cooking, laundry, bathing…

      So we enjoy period novels with our feet firmly planted in the modern era!

      Besides, in the fantasy world, I am a woman of independent means, or at least shabby-genteel. But there was a reason our ancestors immigrated to America, and it probably wasn’t because they had plenty of money…



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