Century 13: The Ghosts of Privelege

From the Journal of Lita Hopkins,

July 13, 1928

I am afraid that Hunter finds our life quite dull. It often seems sterile and still, not even a breeze to stir a curtain sometimes. I have been ill since yesterday, just a touch of fever. But, Nancy, my lovely Nancy, who spoils me, has seen to the house and brings me tea and bits of food which she insists I eat. She is devoted to me as if I were more important than her own life to her. I am often confused by the interactions of servants their masters and mistresses.I pay her well and do not expect too much from her, but how can she put my importance so far above her own. she is always going out of her way to do extra little things. She seems to move around me like I was a light for her to see by. I know myself and I am no shining beacon.

I asked Nancy why she was so accommodating  and eager to please me.

She blushed and said, “Lor’ a mercy, Mrs. H, you is the best mistress a girl cou’ ope for. Never a cross word and always talkin’ a me like I was jes’ anyone.”

“Where you previous mistresses so cross and overbearing?” I asked

“Not more ‘an most, Mrs. H, they was nice enough, but always lookin’ through ya like ya wasn’t there. Like you was a ghost not really a person. You know wha’ I mean, doncha?”

She has such a clear way of putting things. I almost always know exactly what she means. She has very little education and yet is able to cut right to the important part of any problem or express clearly what she wishes to say, once you parse out the grammar and pronunciation. I have no doubt she could run this house with more efficiency and competence than me, and I have had every advantage, education, upbringing, marriage. On what is my privilege based? Even so it would not work if I gave her too much authority. It would be an unfair weight upon her. What would my life be like without her? I would be quite destitute and lonely. Someday I will have to say goodbye to her, and it will be more like losing a dear friend or younger sister than a servant. I hope she feels she can be honest with me. It would break my heart to find out I had mistreated her in any way.

This entry was posted in Century, conversations, developing relationships, Family, Fiction, House and home, novel projects and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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