Servants on Top

Paul Andinach pandinac at
Tue Jun 14 10:25:28 EDT 2005

On Tue, 14 Jun 2005 minnow at wrote:

> When my family had just moved in to the house I grew up in, Mama
> opened the front door on the third day to a small, determined person
> who uttered the immortal words, "I've come to do for you".  After
> she'd reeled back a bit, Mama worked out that this wasn't a Mafia
> remark and said, "But we can't afford to have anyone to help in the
> house," in a slightly dazed way, and was told firmly that they could
> talk about wages later, but "I've always done for the people who
> live here, and in your condition you shouldn't be doing the
> bottoming yourself" -- Mama being eight months pregnant (me), and
> "bottoming" being the local word for cleaning floors and scrubbing
> and doing the washing and putting clothes through the mangle, the
> heavy work of the household.

It probably says something about my own childhood that when I read
this I immediately thought of comic books: there's an early version of
the Batman origin story in which the faithful Alfred enters Bruce
Wayne's life in a like manner. (It's more "don't want or think I need"
than "can't afford", of course, and naturally no nasturtiums are cast
at Mr Wayne's condition, but the determination to be of service is
just the same.) It's interesting to hear that such things happened in
real life too.

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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