I can’t really imagine a life like this, and I certainly would never want a life like this, but a hundred years ago women might have found it quite normal, one to be like a pampered child, the other to be like a too doting mother – and yet the one in the child’s position was the ‘mistress’, and the one acting like a mother was the ‘servant’. In Modern Practical Cookery, published in the early 1930’s, so no doubt written a couple of years later, in the back was helpful household hints including ‘Training a Maid’
Early morning duties
In the morning, one of the maid’s duties is to knock at the bed-room door and then walk in with the tea, which is arranged on a tray with a biscuit and a piece of bread and butter.
She pulls up the blinds and enquires if her mistress would like a bath, and if so, fills it and puts the bath mat on the floor. She knocks at the door when the bath is quite ready.
When the maid has chance to give to her mistress, or when letters, parcels, and newspapers arrive, they must be brought in on a salver, which is kept in the hall for this purpose.
What a completely different world it was.