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Jenna Jaxon | The Characteristics of the Lady’s Maid

September 22, 2016

All ladies of the Regency, if they could at all afford one, had a lady’s maid, a personal servant who attended her every day. Characteristics of a good lady’s maid included “great neatness, skill, and taste, as well as discretion and cleverness.” Many such maids “received special training so as to enable them to acquire a certain level of knowledge before entering the unique field of caring for a mistress.” Her main duties were to see to her mistress’s clothes, help her choose outfits, fix her hair, keep all clothing laundered, shoes cleaned and all items in good repair, know how to sew and mend, and bring her mistress early breakfast in her bedroom if she desired. Her focus was always on her mistress to assure that when she went out into Society, she presented a flawless appearance.

Other important duties of the lady’s maid, according to Geri Walton, were “medical tasks, hair brushing, and money matters.” She might be called upon to change bandages or apply leeches. In addition to creating her mistresses’ coiffures, she was in charge of brushing her hair each night to keep it healthy and in good order. A lady’s maid also made sure that bills form tradesmen were paid in good order, but that was the only instance of money matters in which she was involved.

At the top of the servant pyramid, a lady’s maid often received compensation beyond her quarterly salary. She would have traveled whenever her mistress did, this being one of the perks of the position, as was her bed and board. The status of the position was an inducement as well. When visiting other households, the lady’s maid would take the status of her mistress. At home, she was considered above the other servants, with the highest status save only the butler and the gentleman’s gentleman.

French maids were highly prized, as were French dressmakers, for their fashion sense. In HEART OF DELIGHT, Gabriella has been hired by an English countess and traveled back to England with her. She had a very desirable skill set, having been a modiste in France. Therefore, she is able to not only attend to her mistresses’ outfits, but is able to create them as well. Of course, Gabriella takes the position of lady’s maid for purposes other than employment. She wants to travel to England to seek out the powerful Duke of Rother, for reasons of her own.

About Jenna Jaxon

Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical romance in periods ranging from medieval to Victorian. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and two rambunctious cats, Marmalade and Suger. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is very active in Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

House of Pleasure | Handful of Hearts



Handful of Hearts #3

Heart of Delight

He’ll do anything to be her heart’s delight—except tell the truth.

Gabriella d’Adventure is on a mission. She has come to England as a lady’s maid in pursuit of the Duke of Rother. When she meets Horace Carpenter, valet to a marquess, she is delighted to enlist his aid in gaining her heart’s desire: a meeting with the duke. But will her growing feelings for the handsome valet interfere with her plans for the duke?

The eccentric Marquess of Halford, Hal to his friends, is tired of the demands of Society, especially his father’s decree that he marry this Season. When a breathtaking young woman intrudes on his solitude, he is captivated and introduces himself as his valet in hopes of learning more about her. Despite his fear about the true motive behind Gabriella’s quest to meet the Duke of Rother, Hal agrees to help her gain an audience with him, all the while praying his deception won’t ruin his chances of winning her love.

Romance Historical [Author Self-Published, On Sale: September 20, 2016, e-Book, / ]

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