C3. ROLE PLAYING

1. Mrs. Wealthy’s upstairs-maid.
“Keeping this family clean takes a lot of work. Every morning I have to bring hot water to fill the pitchers in each
bedroom. Then everyone can wash his face and hands before coming to breakfast. After they wash up, they
dump the dirty water into covered slop jars. I take those out every night. I also have to empty and scald the
chamber pots every morning.

When Mrs. Wealthy wants a hot bath, it’s a lot of work for me. I have to take the tin bathtub to her room, and then
carry buckets of water upstairs.  Then I have to empty the tub when she’s finished.



2.  Mrs. Wealthy's a downstairs maid.   

The first thing I have to do every morning is blacken the andirons, clean the fireplace and lay the fires in each
room except the kitchen; Cook starts the fire there. Then I dust and sweep and wash the lamp-chimneys.  
Sometimes cook has me scrub the kitchen floor because Mrs. Wealthy likes it scrubbed white.  I use a corn-husk
mop for that.  She usually blackens the stove herself.  After that, I help cut up vegetables, grind coffee and wash
dishes.

This week we’ve been doing spring cleaning, so I’ve been helping wash and refill the feather mattresses.  We took
up all the rugs, hung them on the fence and beat them until the dust came out.  Then I had to help white-wash the
pantry and cellar.




C4.  ADVANCED READINGS from Primary Sources

1. Kate Stone's Impression of Texas

“In this part of Texas, shoes are considered rather luxuries than necessaries, and are carefully kept for state
occasions. Nothing looks funnier than a woman walking around with an immense hoopskirt- barefooted. As for
bowls and pitchers, they never mention them. One pan or a frying pan answers every purpose. Wash tubs seem
obsolete and not to be bought at any price.”  (Adapted from
Blackburn: The Diary of Kate Stone p. 223-225)


3 . A Gentleman’s Quandary
Last year I was staying at some friends’ house during hog killing time. The lady of the house was gracious and
refined, the perfect picture of womanhood as she sat in the parlor with her embroidery.  The next morning I came
out for an early walk to find her in a work-dress with no hoop, her hair disheveled, and her arms up to the elbows
in brine, packing the fresh pork in barrels. I wanted to spare her any embarrassment, so I just kept right on
walking as if I didn’t recognize her.
CLEANING