By Dinah Mulock Craik
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2010
Online Publication Date:August 2011
Original Publication Year:1858
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511751257.006
Subjects: Sociology of gender
Though female servants come under the category of handicraftswomen, yet they form a distinct class, very important in itself, and essential to the welfare of the community.
A faithful servant—next best blessing, and next rarest, after a faithful friend!—who among us has not had, or wanted, such an one? Some inestimable follower of the family, who has known all the family changes, sorrows, and joys; is always at hand to look after the petty necessities and indescribably small nothings which, in the aggregate, make up the sum of one's daily comfort; whom one can trust in sight and out of sight—call upon for help in season and out of season; rely on in absence, or sickness, or trouble, to “keep the house going,” and upon whom one can at all times, and under all circumstances, depend for that conscientious fidelity of service which money can never purchase, nor repay.
And this, what domestic servants ought to be, might be, they are—alas, how seldom!
Looking round on the various households we know, I fear we shall find that this relation of master (or mistress) and servant—a relation so necessary, as to have been instituted from the foundation of the world, and since so hallowed by both biblical and secular chronicles, as to be, next to ties of blood and friendship, the most sacred bond that can exist between man and man—is, on the whole, as badly fulfilled as any under the sun.