Diary of a Scullery Maid


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November 6, 1935

I have never seen fireworks before last night – it was quite a sight! Almost all of the servants gathered outside in the grounds by the scorching bonfire, wrapped up in woolly scarfs and coats. Luckily, what with all the rain we have been having so far this month, it was a clear night so I could see the starts brightly overhead.

Everyone was jolly – Maggie giggled under the depths of her scarf, Mrs Finkle wore an indulgent smile and when I spotted Laurence amongst the housemaids he grinned and gave me a big wave.

When the fireworks started they were magnificent. When I was younger, in Bakewell, sometimes James and I would peer out of the attic window to try and spot fireworks from the big house on the hill, but we only ever saw the tips of white light.

These fireworks were something new to me and as they started my heart gave a great thump at the noise. I gave a little squeal and shoved my fingers into my ears. After a moment I became used to the “bang” and began to realise their beauty – they lit up the sky in a scatter of great, golden light. Like stars falling.

“Goodness!” breathed Lily, her cheeks rosy red as the fireworks lit up the Rotunda and left wisps of orange smoke in the inky sky.

Arianna Diary divideNovember 11, 1935

Papa was in my thoughts for much of the day and I just need to have my feelings down on paper. It somehow clarifies things for me.

At eleven o’clock this morning we remembered the fallen and I found tears rising up behind my eyes as I thought of home. I wondered how Mother was thinking of Father, now she has a new husband. I never knew Papa, but that does not mean I cannot love him. James loved him and that is enough for me – James knows who is good and he says Papa was a noble and worthy man.

Now I’m lying in bed scribbling this and remembering what Father did for the War. Although he survived after fighting in Ypres, he was wounded on the Front Lines and scarred for the remainder of his short life.

I just hope James will never have to face terror and cruelty like Father had to. I will pray for Father once I’ve turned the lamp down. It is right to remember all of the soldiers who died for us. I wouldn’t be here in this grand house if we hadn’t won, so I’ll be thankful for that.

Goodnight.

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