Her full regal title was Exalted Mistress of the Manor, the Baroness. I cheat her here by calling her simply Mistress or Her Worship. She was the landed gentry. It shows what an insubordinate servant I was to this unappreciated aristocrat who occupied rarefied air not shared by the humble likes of me. I didn't have permission to gaze upon the royal features, and did it anyway. I didn't address her in the third person. I didn't curtsy when she entered the room. Brazenly, I gazed upon the noble features without permission, instead of averting my eyes until Her Worship gave her permission. I didn't polish the noble tiara. I had the temerity to approach Her Worship to ask that she accommodate my responsibilities away from The Manor of the Realm, where lots are close to an acre in size and most houses have a third floor. Some even have swimming pools and tennis courts! This is the world of high aristocracy, where Mistress exercised her right to be imperious. Imagine what a cheeky, impudent servant I was, thinking I had the right to any say in anything. It was for Mistress to issue commands, and it was for me to obey meekly, without any sass. I didn't answer the door and announce her visitors. The Throne Room was on the third floor—the fitting place at the very top of the household—but Her Worship had no bell cord or call button to summon the servant. I didn't bring her mail to her on a silver platter, sparing her having to take it directly from my hand. She had to venture to the mailbox herself to reach her exalted, dainty hand into a dusty, dirty mailbox. I didn’t anticipate her every whim and satisfy it without her having to ask. She didn’t have a yacht. There was no family office. Her Worship had to run her own errands and carry her packages into the house. She had to drive herself to her massages, facial treatments, art classes, and the health club. She didn’t have a staff dressed in livery lined up in the driveway to see her off and to greet her on her return from this horror. In my defense, I have to say I couldn’t do that for her because there was only one of me. I wasn’t on duty while Her Worship was down for her siesta, in case she needed anything. I wasn't resigned to my lowly status in life. Good help is so hard to find these days.
Poor Mistress. She was so cheated. She was not received in the homes of the Rockefellers, the Biddles, or the Carnegies. She didn't have a chauffeur, a sous chef, a sommelier, a nanny, a cook, or a gardener. I never could figure out if I was the upstairs staff or the downstairs staff. I had to serve as both, and Her Worship, in her life of deprivation, had to settle for that. She wasn't on the Social Register. Her education was going to waste. She majored in Dominion Over Living Things, with a minor in Bald-Faced Lying. Who can blame her for her urge to declare, “Off with her head!” when I dared to request that she accommodate me in any way. She worked hard to hone her unique skills. I rewarded her by persecuting her when I balked at sharing with her every aspect of my private life she wanted me to share. And she didn't even impose a curfew on me!
Her Worship must want for nothing!
My list of offenses against Her Worship goes on—I didn’t take care not to breathe heavily in her presence. I didn’t give a fast curtsy and then turn to face the wall when Her Worship entered the room. I didn't iron her newspapers and spread them out neatly and crisply on the table for her. I didn’t hand wash Her Worship’s loose change—there’s no telling where it had been before it landed in her pristine, aristocratic hands!
I treated her so harshly! How could I blame her for seeing me as a servant? I didn't have money to the degree of the family she married into. What else could I have been, except "the help"? Anyone without a fat portfolio must be a servant. And what's the use of having servants if you can't degrade and humiliate them? Oh, and this--landed gentry are entitled to lie in a dispute with the servant, and then claim the servant is lying, not them. They're entitled to be believed if that's what they want. They're entitled to throw a hissy fit if an underling says things to them they don't like to hear.
I didn't give Her Worship her money's worth--oh, wait. She wasn't paying me anything. I wasn't an employee. But never mind. I was under Her Worship's rule, and Her Worship was going to get the insubordinate servant to behave herself.
These are my memories of the honored life I had in the presence of Her Worship. I'm sure she is faring better now, with a far more humble, accommodating servant.