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From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 17:39:27 +0000
Subject: RE: (urth) Poor Moly

On 03/12/2002 16:34:24 James Wynn wrote:

>Perhaps you know the difference between a "housemaid" and a
>"maid-of-all-work."  I don't' really know what it would be, unless one
>assumes a housemaid dusts and cleans and MOAW also gardens and cooks.
>This would explain why Marble's parts wore out faster than Moly's but it
>doesn't prevent Moly from working at the cenoby which is, after all, the
>HOUSE of the sibyls.

Caveat that one doesn't know how Wolfe understands the terms nor if he
intended the distinction to be at all significant, or if the American
cultural context makes a difference.

In a smaller establishment the terms might be used interchangeably.
Principally I suspect to make the one member of the domestic staff  - the
maid of all work - feel a little better about scrubbing steps and blacking
grates by upping her status because...

In a household where there were sufficient domestics to make the hierarchy

Parlour maid: looks after public rooms and might, for lack of a footman
serve teas or even formal meals.

Chamber maid takes care of private rooms and by extention might be a
lady's dresser which otherwise would fall to a...

Ladies Maid.

A house maid might work in the public parts of the establishment but
without the particular duties or status of the parlour maid.

A Scullery maid washes pots for the kitchen and is the lowest of the low.

A kitchen maid might assit the cook or might be no more than a scullery
maid who doesn't get her hands wet so often.

A Tweenie, or between stairs maid was one who might be called upon to do
duty anywhere from the kitchen upwards depending on where labour was
needed and might well have been sweeping those stairs daily.  That's the
closest to a maid of all work in such a structured environment.

If you think this is silly....

  I'm afraid you're right.  It's silly.

I'm reasonably certain that even in it's best years the Cenoby would not
have extended to that many maids and if Marble or Molybdenum wroked in a
grander private house we don't see it to judge.



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