Did you ever wonder what a Cabriolet was, or who Croesus was and why he was so rich, or which servant in a Regency household had the unhappy task of emptying the chamber pots?
WHAT DO WE DO WITH YON CHAMBERPOT?
Historical Tidbit Offered by Julia London, author
No regency-era novel is complete without a full complement of servants thrown into the mix. Every great house had them because someone had to empty those chamber pots! I don't know about you, but if I can talk anyone in to cleaning my chamber pots, I simply call her goddess. Not so in 19th century England . . . there were more types of maids than my heroines ever knew what to do with!
How convenient for us all that my heroines have just stopped mentioning them altogether! At the top of the maid food chain was the lady's maid. If she was French, oo-la-la and more power to my heroines, ha-ha, as a French lady's maid was the true mark of having arrived. Fortunately, an English lady's maid would do in a pinch if no Frogs were about (whew!). The cool thing about being a lady's maid was that she got all the gravy of the job, including the hand-me-down clothes from the heroine. You might have noticed my heroines never wear the same gowns twice. Hey! I can dream, can't I?
The housemaid was next on the food chain simply because she did all the work. She was the one who actually got the privilege of emptying and cleaning the chamber pots, which one would lead one to believe put her at the bottom of the food chain. Au contraire.
The kitchenmaid was below the housemaid in status, and the scullerymaid below her . . . as if cleaning dishes was worse than chamber pots! Not in my novels, nosireebob. Last and yes, least, were the "dailies," or girls who came into a house on a daily basis to do everything. Overworked and underpaid, these maids had the distinction of working for employers who weren't wealthy enough to have a live-in, and therefore, suffered the lowest status in the world of female servants. Imagine, having to call in a daily to clean your chamber pots! Anyone have a number where she might be reached?