Sir,–I belong to that unhappy class of persons known as governesses, where every accomplishment is required, and the salary is, with few exceptions, what a good cook would decline to take. If a lady can teach English, music, singing, French, Latin, Italian, German, &c., she may obtain a situation, a comfortable home, and good salary ; but if she does not teach singing and Latin, German, &c., she is obliged to take a low salary, and put up with many hardships. The life of a nursery governess is worse than that of a maid of all work. Now, Sir, would it not be better for a lady not very accomplished to take a situation as lady’s-maid or parlourmaid, where she would be well treated, for ladies do not dare to treat their servants as badly as they do, in many cases, their governesses, for fear of losing them, for they know they will have little difficulty in replacing a governess, as the market is overstocked, and domestics are not easy to obtain. A lady might say she loses her position in being a servant. Which, think you, is the best position–an ill-treated, badly-paid nursery governess, or an independent, well-treated parlourmaid ? I really believe the latter has the best position, and is thought far more of. Let ladies pause before entering the ranks of governesses, unless highly accomplished, and turn their attention to what I have said, and trust me they will be far happier.
–Yours, &c.

The Argus, 3 July 1876

Image: The Governess, by Richard Redgrave, fromWikipedia Commons

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