Previously: Reasons Why I Would Make An Excellent Tudor-Era Lady-In-Waiting And You Should Consider Me For The Position.
1. I have a severe and forbidding aspect that I can only imagine will intensify with age, and plan on allowing my hair to whiten naturally (I already have at least seven growing in a very promising Bonnie-Raitt-like location).
2. I am terrible at keeping secrets with one notable exception: if the secret is for the greater good of a group I consider myself to be a part of. Give me the chance to be a faithful old retainer, and watch how far I’ll go to keep the family secrets hidden.
3. When I was in high school, I often wore an unnecessary carabiner clipped to my Dickies to hold my keys instead of using a purse, so I am prepared to hold a massive ring bristling with brass keys on my person at all times, and to wield it with terrifying authority.
4. Remember that scene in season five of Buffy where Giles asks Ben if he can move and then tells him that “Buffy’s a hero…not like us,” emphasis on the us, and Ben says “Us?” and then Giles stares him dead in the eye and deliberately smothers him with his bare hand, because he’s going to do something he knows that Buffy should never have to do but that at the same time absolutely has to be done, and he’s not going to try to hide from this act, monstrous as it is; if Rupert Giles is going to kill a man for the greater good, he’s going to really be present in the moment and not try to let himself off the hook? Anyhow, I really relate to that scene, and would do my best to bring that kind of unhinged energy to my work with whatever family I chose to bind my fate to.
5. My class loyalties are incredibly weak, and I would gladly spy on the rest of the household at my mistress’ command. I would also, should the need arise, help her poison her husband in the event that he has an affair. The housekeeper reports to the lady of the house, not its lord; the butler should protect him from poisonings and my loyalties are deeply specific.
6. I’m five seven and a half, almost five eight, and given to barely-audible grim mutterings like “No good’ll come of this, mark my words,” and “There’s been no joy in this land since Lady Sarah went a-walking by herself that cursed day on the moors.”
7. It is my understanding that housekeepers of great estates have their own servants to do their laundry and prepare their meals, which seems like a pretty sweet deal, as I would neither have to deal with the burden of being a great lady nor the responsibility of washing someone else’s sheets.
8. I would never breathe a word to any man, dead or living, of what I saw that day in the East Wing.
9. It is also my understanding that the housekeeper of a great estate is usually referred to as Mrs. [Lastname] despite often being unmarried, which in my opinion kind of solves feminism, so we are set in that department.
10. There is nothing I love more than being indoors. If the lord of the house decides to shut himself up and become a recluse after the mysterious loss of his family, I would devote myself to keeping out visitors and the curtains shut at all times. “The master can’t bear the light,” I would remind new scullery-maids, none of whom would last longer than three weeks in our strange, crumbling manor. “It reminds him o’ what he’s lost.”
11. I’m a great snob on other people’s behalf. I would never tarnish the family name, but I also know my place: I maintain the family name’s honor, I do not pretend any claim to it myself.
12. I have always longed to call someone “a clumsy slattern” and believe I could do so effectively in this position.
13. I like the idea of being paid once a year with a handful of gold coins by a man who wears mutton chops.
14. There is nothing I love more than telling people what to do, while at the same time I do not have a great eye for detail. I cannot remember what days Nicole and I have scheduled calls with the redesign team, but I can get large-scale tasks done if everyone just leaves me alone for a few weeks, so delegation is definitely a strong suit of mine.
15. I can walk softly around dark corners and have excellent hearing.
16. If necessary, I would be happy to take on a Mrs. Danvers-like role after the death of the first lady of the house, should her widower decide to bring home a younger, socially inferior replacement. I do not approve of new people, change, or social climbers, and believe strongly in punishing people for trying to get me to like them. I can also hold a grudge well into the grave and beyond.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.