Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Footer and white mice

At the TLS, Paul Addison on Lucy Lethbridge's Servants:
Looking into the origins of Universal Aunts, an employment agency founded in 1921 to supply child minders and home helps of many kinds, she has discovered the card index in which its founder, Gertie Mclean, recorded the salient characteristics of applicants. Miss Charlotte Hedgecombe was “hefty, stern, stood for no nonsense, a stickler for etiquette and deportment. On borstal board of governors, Zoological Society’s certificate. Cope older boys, any number”. Miss Phyllis Beckett, on the other hand, “knows all about footer and white mice. Guaranteed not to nag. Can slide down banisters at a push”. Miss Pansy Trubshaw, she noted, understood cricket and foreign stamps, “but not much else”.

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading these quotes in a book I reviewed a few years ago. I reviewed non-fiction just long enough to notice the obvious facts that many of the same books get written every seven years, and to kick myself for not having realise it was obviously going to be the case.

    Not a criticism, obviously. Each generation writes the book for its own reasons. But the same stuff is in them.