Reblogged from Jim Webster aka Tallis Steelyard:
I have written previously about the Rattlestone Sisters of Philanthropy. But perhaps I ought to delve more deeply into the impact they inadvertently had on Rattlestone. This collection of perfectly sensible and modestly well-to-do ladies effectively recreated Rattlestone. But not necessarily as they would have hoped to.
One of the early impacts was on the local young women and girls of the village. They had a life path laid out for them. They would do what their mothers did, marry a fisherman, keep house, have children, be widowed young, marry again, be widowed in middle age, and then grow old alone. To be fair, it wasn’t a bad option compared to that of the sons of Rattlestone. The Rattlestone graveyard is interesting in that very few named males are interred there. The men of Rattlestone die at sea and their bodies, if found, are washed ashore in a condition where they’re no longer recognisable.
When the ladies of the Rattlestone Sisters of Philanthropy summered in Rattlestone, they didn’t bring domestic staff with them. Indeed many couldn’t afford them anyway. Back at home in Port Naain, they might have, ‘a woman who does’ but that was the limit to their extravagance. But now, on holiday, they rather begrudged time given to washing clothes and similar. So many would pay a handy local girl to do those essential domestic chores.
The system worked well. Young women earned cash! That’s something young men rarely saw, they merely had a share of the catch credited to them for their ‘keep’ and were reminded that after all, they were going to inherit a boat.
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