We’ve had nine applications for the maid’s position. Three were from girls who couldn’t spell, which the Lady of the House takes as an indication of laziness, and instantly rejected. Three from girls whose pictures disclosed figure flaws beyond even a Corset’s capacity to correct. The last three were all intriguing and after exchanges of correspondence we have scheduled interviews with each. Yesterday we did our first with Madelaine, Mady for short.
She arrived at the rear door of our home, as instructed. We don’t specify any special clothing for our interviews – how a girl first presents herself is a wonderful indication of her understanding of the world. Mady seemed to have understood rather well. I opened the door to a petite girl. Dark brunette, closely cropped hair, minimum makeup – just lipstick in a pleasing pinkish nude shade and a bit of mascara. I took her well made woolen coat and could see that she had obviously thought carefully about her outfit.
“Sir, might I have a moment to change from my boots into my shoes?” she asked. Two tick marks to Mady I thought:”Sir” was excellent sending a little pulse to my caged cock. And “might” is the sort of language which suggests a formal, somewhat old fashioned, sensibility. I of course agreed and watched as she extracted a pair of leather ballet flats from her bucket bag and slipped them on her stockinged feet. Without the heel of her boots she was, at most, five feet three. She wore a nicely cut, below the knee black pencil skirt and a plain, very pale pink, woolen long sleeved sweater. No jewellery. Her nails, which I knew Hannah would look at carefully, were nicely filed and polished with the same pale pink as her lipstick. She had obviously taken a bit of time to dress. Her sweater and skirt fitted snuggly and she was blessed with a pleasingly rounded bottom and not terribly large but quite full breasts. At a guess all of this would please Hannah.
When she was ready, I conducted her to Hannah’s sitting room. It is a pretty, rather feminine, room which on the East side overlooks our Creek, while on the West has a partial view of the lake.
“If you’ll wait here Mady, the Lady of the House will be with you in a moment.”
Hannah prefers to conduct her interviews with the candidate standing. During the more formal parts of our day the maid, in uniform, would never sit in the presence of her mistress (or me for that matter.)
We divide our day in the sense that before four o’clock we simply get on with our lives without a great deal of formality. During that time a Maid is not in uniform, though nicely and practically dressed, and not on “duty”. A curtsey is not required although previous maids have made it a habit even off duty. Only after four is a Maid officially on duty, in uniform and expected to show complete difference and respect to the Lady of the House. It is a nice compromise between the all too “hip” ‘This is my friend Mady who helps out.’ informality of people awkward with servants and the long outdated practices you see on Downton Abbey. At the same time, Hannah’s standards require our Maid to address her as Ma’am or, if the girl is able to do it without a hint of modern irony, “Madame” at all times. I am Sir at all times, even the more humbling. It is a bit of an adjustment for most girls but they soon get the hang of it.
“Well?” said Hannah as I came into her dressing room to fetch her.
“Very nice, quite pretty, well spoken girl. Petite. Nicely dressed. You’ll see for yourself.”
Hannah looked wonderful. She always takes time to dress but today she was looking every inch the Lady of the House. Nothing terrifically fancy: a pleated calf length, light grey, linen, full skirt, a crisp white cotton shirt, pretty nude stockings, low heels and a little silver jewellery.
Her heels clicked as we went down the stairs and through the hall to her sitting room. Mady was standing where I had left her. When Hannah entered the room she dropped a nearly perfect curtsey. Not deep like a debutante nor perfunctory. She had taken our ad to heart and knew what was expected of her.
Hannah walked across the room and took Mady’s hand.
“How nice of you to join us. Lovely curtsey by the way. Did you practice?”
“Yes Madame. I had to I have never curtsied before.” said Mady looking Hannah in the eye before dropping her gaze.
“And how did you enjoy the real thing?”
“More than I thought I would Madame. It seemed more natural with you here than in my mirror.”
“I am delighted you think so. It is an old custom but one I think both Mistress and Maid can enjoy. And I know Elliot just loves a pretty girl bobbing him a curtsey. Don’t you Elliot?”
“Of course dear.” I said. My job in interviews is to speak when spoken to and answer Hannah’s questions. She’ll ask me my opinion later;but her decision is, of course, her own.
“Sit here beside me Darling.” I sat and soon Hannah and Mary were deep in conversation. Mady standing, Hannah elegantly seated on her dead salmon pink love seat, back straight. After a time Hannah said, “Mady, I would like some tea and a few biscuits. Elliot will show you what to do.”
“Yes Madame.”, said Mady bobbing a very pretty curtsey. I lead the way to the kitchen.
“You’re doing very well Mady.” I said as we walked through the hall and dining room and bar to Hannah’s pride and joy, her kitchen. Of all the things we did in our extension and renovation of the house, even her dressing room took second place. It is a very plain room, twenty feet wide, thirty long with very high ceilings and sets of black steel, tall, French doors facing South, South, West. Miles of counter space and the contents of a commercial kitchen bought near new at a bankruptcy auction lining the North wall. We can cook for two or twenty.
“Sir, this is beautiful.”
“Isn’t it. The Lady of the House love to cook and, I am afraid, I love to eat.” Even with my girdle there was still a little bit of evidence of how much I do. We got the tea things and I showed Mady where a few of the basics were. Then I said, “Would you like to see your accommodation if Hannah decides to hire you?”
“Yes please, sir.”
I lead the way…
(to be continued)