I wrote yesterday about two characters who had popped into my mind, brothers Percy and Reginald Lidd. Now a third person has arrived, Miss Beans; I think her name is Molly, or maybe she is Molly, or maybe Dolly (actually Dorothy or Dorothea) is her mother, or maybe she is Maisie… I did have her name very clearly, but it seems to have slipped away as so many things do when I’m mulling on a piece of writing.
If Molly/Maisie is contemporary to the Lidd brothers then she was born between 1880 – 1900-ish. I have the feeling that like her name she is quite a quirky character, maybe described as ‘odd’ by cruel contemporaries, or ‘a funny little thing’ by patronising others. I think when she was at school, everyone quite liked her but she wasn’t anyone’s particular friend. if on occasion someone tried to bully her then she would look at them in rather a plain faced way, her head on one side, as if puzzled by their unkindness. Others would always stick up for her, but they themselves would probably tease her not thinking that what they were doing was the thin edge of the bullying wedge.
I imagine that she was maybe brought up by a maiden aunt in rather straightened circumstances so her clothes, though clean and well-looked after, were a little old-fashioned, a little shabby, and well-worn. She has mousy coloured hair, a pale face and hazel eyes; she is a little shy but will answer in a quiet voice when spoken to. In class she always tries her best, but maths defeats her, and her handwriting is erratic although she can spell any word in a spelling test, even obscure ones. She likes painting flowers and she likes embroidery, although she’s not very good and her stitches are uneven and sometimes for no reason she uses an unusual colour.. The old teacher made her unpick her sewing time and time again until it all became a little grimy and there were holes in the cloth. The new teacher is different; a green sun, Molly, how unusual, but quite charming, it almost matches the trees.
Although Molly’s aunt was quite gentile, Molly had to go into service as the old lady became ill and her small pension from her late father, the Major, was spent on her care in a sanatorium. Maybe Molly was unlucky in her life, but good fortune did smile on her when the Lidd family took her in as a parlour maid. They were strict and old fashioned and kind,and although Percy Lidd would tease her, and called her Molly Mouse, Reginald was always polite and considerate. She wasn’t very good as a parlour maid, when she dusted she would rearrange the ornaments, when she swept out the fire, she would arrange the cinders in patterns in the grate, and take too long doing her task. So she was moved to the kitchen, where, unexpectedly, she was found to have the lightest of touches when making fancy cakes.
I’m not sure if she is Molly or Maisie,, but at some point Miss Beans will have her own name.
My featured image may show the house the Lidds lived in where Maisie/Molly was their maid.