Diary of a Housemaid #8

DofHM July

July 1935

This incredible heat has lasted for three weeks now. To begin with it was pleasant, the gradual warming-up of the corridors, but now the basement is like an oven. Work in the kitchens must be unbearable. One kitchen maid was sent to bed yesterday from heat exhaustion. Florence, Beatrice, Violet and I followed the odd man to the ice-store when he went on an errand for Cook. He dropped a few shards of ice when he was shovelling it into a bucket and we were quick to retrieve them. Jim knew exactly what we were doing, but he said nothing. For a brief moment, with that ice in our hands, we felt cool and refreshed.

The village school has shut because of the heat and last week my sister Iris, and one of my younger brothers, Thomas, walked from Chevington to see me. They were both red in the face from the sun by the time they arrived at the gates. I was so worried about them that I dragged them down the servant’s stairs and brought them to Mrs. Seddon’s room. We are not meant to bring our visitors into the house, but the kindly lady took pity and allowed Iris and Thomas to sit at her table. She even allowed me to stay since it was my half-day. This was meant as a gesture of kindness, I am sure, but I just felt uneasy being in that room as a guest. In the end Father had to pick them up with his cart. They received such a telling-off that I don’t suppose they will visit again, at least until the weather cools.

Rose Bailey



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