The tour, and the exploration of a fascinating family continues on the blog of Chris, the Story Reading Ape.
Taffetia Drane was a lady who believed that in a marriage, a wife should also bring in money to the family. Now it wasn’t as if the family faced penury. Garrat Drane’s salary as a lawyer’s clerk wasn’t extravagant, but like his fellow clerks, Garrat benefited from a certain unworldliness in his employers. After all, successful lawyers can command remarkably high fees. It was not unknown for them to bill a client more for lunch than they paid their clerk for the week. And anyway, the clerk’s time was always added to the bill, so there is an unspoken presumption amongst the upper echelons of the legal profession that clerks effectively cost you nothing. Indeed some legal practices have so forgotten the value of money, that they even pay the clerk as much as half of what they have charged the clerk’s time out to the client.
In spite of the families comparative prosperity Taffetia still felt she ought to contribute. She did have a number of difficulties to surmount. With a young and growing family, plus being pregnant repeatedly, she felt merely going out to work wasn’t the answer. She needed her own business. Then she had a moment of inspiration. She would become a ‘wailer’.
She rented a cheap room in a doss house, dressed herself and her children appropriately, schooled them to the correct demeanour and then let word circulate amongst a certainly level of society that a decent young woman had fallen upon hard times.
Now traditionally ‘wailers’ will weep copiously and bewail their fate, hence the name. But Taffetia bore it in stoical silence. She was also wise enough not to abandon the use of soap. This meant that those who took it upon themselves to minister to the poor and destitute would preferentially visit her rather than some other unfortunate who was less particular. She even took to hiring the bed out to some drunken sot who would sprawl, comatose, between the sheets, secure in the fact she would be watching over him. This individual would then be passed off as her husband, whose drinking was the obvious source of the family downfall.
All in all she quite liked the job. Admittedly there wasn’t a lot of money, but the groceries and suchlike came in very handy, and whilst they were between visiting donors, she had chance to school the children. Indeed, because they were busy working, her children weren’t out on the streets getting into trouble. All in all Taffetia felt that smug glow of satisfaction that comes from raising your children well and setting them a good example to follow.
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