Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VII.] A " Christian" Reception.                      97
Men's Christian Association to an evening reception, with leave to each to bring a " young lady." The attendance was 105 all told. They walked about; and talked to one another; then I talked to them, telling them something about the County of Sussex (I think that was my subject); then there was music of sorts, and the evening ended with light refreshments. We had then in our service a very experienced old housekeeper, Esther Hammond by name(aJ, and she provided, as we all supposed a large surplus of food and drinks, but Arabian locusts could not have cleared the tables with more rapidity. Between 20 and 30 dishes of cakes, bread and butter, and biscuits, and 6 gallons of tea disappeared like lightning, but everybody seemed very happy, and that was the chief thing.
" %&trx bi^a stank muzfy on ifcrir irignitg Igubt not mnclg tht to stxnb upon."(S. Merriman).
(a) This woman was a " treasure " of the old school; over and above her ordinary duties as nurse and lady's maid in succession, she was always looking after the interest of her employers, and therefore quite unlike modern servants. She was in my service for 20 years before she died in 1887, having previously lived for 34 years in my wife's family, so that her service may be put at 54 years in one family without a break.
II
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