Working to Catch a Man – September 1910

While listing to a harangue upon the tiresome delinquencies of a servant girl — for there was nothing really very bad complained of — I could not help wondering why experienced mistresses continue to cherish such a high standard of excellence for their maid servants.

We know that such servants are usually drawn from the most shiftless of the respectable classes, that they have had scarcely the elements of training in the duties that they are supposed to undertake, that they have seldom any desire to improve their methods, that they are at the most giddy and thoughtless age and that they have little moral sense towards their employers as such.

Considering all these things, it is really surprising on the whole how well they work and how decently they behave themselves. We ourselves have come to the conclusion that if they are only tolerable, we have much reason to be thankful. It is giving oneself useless worry to dwell upon their numerous small lapses from perfection so long as they do their work fairly well.

There is one factor in the case of the young maid servant which has the most important bearing upon her efficiency. She means to be a servant for as brief a time as possible.

Her one aim in life is to get married as soon as she can capture a man. Therefore it is not to her interest — so she argues to herself instructively —-to devote her time to her business. Rather must she manoeuvre to get out among the men as often as she can. Studying to perfect herself in cooking and house cleaning will bring her no nearer marriage.

Guffawing with men will. Of course, the girls are often better than their instincts. Or rather there is another instinct in many of them — a certain desire of doing work well for its own sake — at war with the first. Certainly, if girls expected to continue in service for the whole term of their lives, we should get a higher standard of work from them.

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1 Response to Working to Catch a Man – September 1910

  1. dacj40 says:

    I love the veiled contempt that she seems to show for the “shiftless classes”!

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