Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Jean Abercromby, Mrs Morison of Haddo, about 1767

By Allan Ramsay (1713 – 1784)
Every morning I have to clean this room and light the fire. Everything has to be neat and tidy before they all come down in this big draughty house. Then my mistress runs me around all day, fetch this, get that. Even when you make an effort nothing is good enough for her. Never stops complaining.

That's her picture up there, up above the fireplace, looking down on me, looking down on everyone. As if it's checking up on everything I do. That's her picture allright, though she's a lot older now. Everyone says she's some great beauty, but I can't see it. Not as pretty as my sister. But I suppose they only say that because she has all that finery.

She sent my sister away. She used to clean this room, like me now. Accused her of stealing some silly trinket. Not that you could get away with taking anything around here. Those lot keep an eye on everything they've got. One little thing out of place and they fine you. Or you're out, no references.

Then they go and find it again. Her up there had mislaid it, taken it upstairs somewhere. I'm not allowed up there. Does she apologise? Does she bring my sister back? Of course not, they just carry on as if nothing had happened. They don't care about the likes of you and me. It's over there on that side table – horrible, ugly thing isn't it. Good mind to take it myself, get revenge. Only then my life wouldn't be worth living.

One day I'll get her up there back, you'll see. I can bide my time.

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