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    #1

    be in good service

    Hi


    I was in good service before I married – head parlourmaid – and one

    thing I did learn was that women take their standing according to their husbands.

    Does it mean she had a good job?

    I take it to mean that they gain status depending on who their husband is?


  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: be in good service

    Yes. This is an archaic use of the word 'service'. People 'in service' were servants. There was a strict hierarchy in service: a parlourmaid was above a scullery* maid. A head parlourmaid was pretty important. She took a cut in standing when she married. (I knew someone, long dead, who worked in service. But it's pretty much a dying art - a few people still do it, but the hierarchy is less well defined (as there are fewer servants - often just one - in any household that has them [which are precious few].)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 24-May-2011 at 13:43. Reason: Replaced 'backstairs'

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    #3

    Re: be in good service

    Hi

    But the 2nd part of that sentence means that women gain status depending on who their husband is?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: be in good service

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    But the 2nd part of that sentence means that women gain status depending on who their husband is?
    Which sentence? In the words '..one thing I did learn was that women take their standing according to their husbands' the phrase "take their standing" has no implicit direction (up or down). It sounds to me as though she regrets moving down in the 'pecking order'.

    b

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    #5

    Re: be in good service

    I'm not entirely sure about the second half of the sentence either, though if forced, I would say that the writer is saying that when she was single and was "in service" she felt that she had quite a good position in society due to her service ranking. However, once married, her job did not have an impact. Her position in society was determined by the status of her husband, regardless of what she may have done for a living.

    In fact, I would have thought that in the period this piece probably refers to, a woman wouldn't continue to work once she was married anyway.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 24-May-2011 at 16:44. Reason: Typo

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