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Fanny and the Servant Problem   By: (1859-1927)

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by Jerome K. Jerome


Fanny Her Husband, Vernon Wetherell, Lord Bantock Her Butler, Martin Bennet Her Housekeeper, Susannah Bennet Her Maid, Jane Bennet Her Second Footman, Ernest Bennet Her Still room Maid, Honoria Bennet Her Aunts by marriage, the Misses Wetherell Her Local Medical Man, Dr. Freemantle Her quondam Companions, "Our Empire": England Scotland Ireland Wales Canada Australia New Zealand Africa India Newfoundland Malay Archipelago Straits Settlements Her former Business Manager, George P. Newte



The Lady Bantock's boudoir, Bantock Hall, Rutlandshire, a spacious room handsomely furnished (chiefly in the style of Louis the Fourteenth) and lighted by three high windows, facing the south west. A door between the fireplace and the windows leads to his lordship's apartments. A door the other side of the fireplace is the general entrance. The door opposite the windows leads through her ladyship's dressing room into her ladyship's bedroom. Over the great fireplace hangs a full length portrait of Constance, first Lady Bantock, by Hoppner.

The time is sunset of a day in early spring. The youthful Lord Bantock is expected home with his newly wedded wife this evening; and the two Misses Wetherell, his aunts, have been busy decorating the room with flowers, and are nearing the end of their labours. The two Misses Wetherell have grown so much alike it would be difficult for a stranger to tell one from the other; and to add to his confusion they have fallen into the habit of dressing much alike in a fashion of their own that went out long ago, while the hair of both is white, and even in their voices they have caught each other's tones.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL [she has paused from her work and is looking out of the windows]. Such a lovely sunset, dear.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL [she leaves her work and joins her sister. The two stand holding each other's hands, looking out]. Beautiful! [A silence. The sun is streaming full into the room.] You you don't think, dear, that this room [she looks round it] may possibly be a little TOO sunny to quite suit her?

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL [not at first understanding]. How, dear, TOO sun [She grasps the meaning.] You mean you think that perhaps she does that sort of thing?

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. Well, dear, one is always given to understand that they do, women ladies of her profession.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL. It seems to me so wicked: painting God's work.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. We mustn't judge hardly, dear. Besides, dear, we don't know yet that she does.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL. Perhaps she's young, and hasn't commenced it. I fancy it's only the older ones that do it.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. He didn't mention her age, I remember.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL. No, dear, but I feel she's young.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. I do hope she is. We may be able to mould her.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL. We must be very sympathetic. One can accomplish so much with sympathy.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. We must get to understand her. [A sudden thought.] Perhaps, dear, we may get to like her.

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL [doubtful]. We might TRY, dear.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. For Vernon's sake. The poor boy seems so much in love with her. We must

Bennet has entered. He is the butler.

BENNET. Doctor Freemantle. I have shown him into the library.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. Thank you, Bennet. Will you please tell him that we shall be down in a few minutes? I must just finish these flowers. [She returns to the table.]

THE ELDER MISS WETHERELL. Why not ask him to come up here? We could consult him about the room. He always knows everything.

THE YOUNGER MISS WETHERELL. A good idea. Please ask him, Bennet, if he would mind coming up to us here. [Bennet, who has been piling up fresh logs upon the fire, turns to go.] Oh, Bennet! You will remind Charles to put a footwarmer in the carriage!

BENNET... Continue reading book >>

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