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Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Formatting may be different depending on your device and eBook type. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice below stairs - the story of romance, intrigue, and drama among the servants of the Bennet household. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea. She lives in Lancaster with her husband, the playwright Daragh Carville, and their two children. Longbourn is due to be made into a film produced by Focus Features.

Jo Baker: The servants at Longbourn estate--only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen's classic--take centre stage in Jo Baker's.. Longbourn , Author: Baker, Jo: Now including the full text of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice! A brilliantly imagined, irresistible below-stairs answer to Pride.. Buy Longbourn: Try Free Sample ebook before you purchase, better..

Pride and Prejudice was only half the story If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats..

Pride and Prejudice was only half the story - If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often.. Torrent Contents. Jo Baker's retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective will please Austen fans and novices alike,..

The servants at Longbourn estate--only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen's classic--take centre stage in Jo Baker.

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The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has.. Return to Longbourn;. Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austens classic - into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper.. Longbourn - Kindle edition by Jo Baker. Because, she thought, as she xed the pails to the yoke, ducked into it, and staggered upright, really no one should have to deal with another persons dirty linen. The young ladies might behave like they were smooth and sealed as alabaster statues underneath their clothes, but then they would drop their soiled shifts on the bedchamber oor, to be whisked away and cleansed, and would thus reveal themselves to be the frail, leaking, forked bodily creatures that they really were.

Perhaps that was why they spoke instructions at her from behind an embroidery hoop or over the top of a book: The pails slopped as Sarah stumbled back across the yard; she was just approaching the scullery door when her foot skidded out from underneath her, and her balance was gone. The moment extended itself, so that she had time enough to see the pails y up and away, off the yoke, emptying themselves, and see all her work undo itself, and to realize that when she landed, it would hurt.

Then the pails hit the ground and bounced, making a racket that startled the rooks cawing from the beeches; Sarah landed hard on the stone ags. Her nose conrmed what she had already guessed: The sow had got out yesterday, and all her piglets skittering after her, and nobody had cleared up after them yet; nobody had had the time.

Each days work trickled over into the next, and nothing was ever nished, so you could never say, Look, thats it, the days labour is over and done. Work just lingered and festered and lay in wait, to make you slip up in the morning. After breakfast, by the kitchen re, feet tucked up under her, Lydia sipped her sugared milk, and complained to Mrs. You dont know how lucky you are, Hill. Hidden away all nice and cosy down here. If you say so, Miss Lyddie.

Oh, I do say so! You can do what you like, cant you, with no one hovering over you and scrutinizing you? If I have to listen to Jane thou-shalt-notting me one more timeand I was only having a bit of fun Next door, down the step into the scullery, Sarah leaned over the washboard, rubbing at a stained hem.

The petticoat had been three inches deep in mud when shed retrieved it from the girls bedroom oor and had had a nights soaking in lye already; the soap was not shifting the mark, but it was biting into her hands, already cracked and chapped and chilblained, making them sting. If Elizabeth had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, shed most likely be a sight more careful with them.

The copper steamed, a load of linen boiling away in there; in front of her the fogged window was laddered with drips. Sarah stepped neatly from the duckboard by the sinks to the duckboard by the copper, over the murky slither of the stone oor.

She slopped the petticoat into the grey bubbling water, lifted the laundry stick, and prodded the fabric down, poking the air out of it, then stirring. She had been toldand so she must believethat it was necessary to wash a petticoat quite white, even if it was to be got lthy again at the next wearing. Polly was elbow-deep in the cold slate sink, sloshing Mr. Bennets neck-cloths around in the rinsing water, then lifting them out one by one to dunk them in the bowl of cold rice-water, to starch them.

How much more we got to go, dyou think, Sarah? Sarah glanced around, assessing. The tubs of soaking linen; the heaps of sodden stuff at various stages of its cleansing. Some places, they got in help for washday. Not here, though; oh no.

At Longbourn House they washed their own dirty linen. There is sheets, and pillowslips, and there is our shifts, too Polly wiped her hands on her apron and went to count the loads off on her ngers, but then saw how startlingly pink they were; she frowned, turning them, examining her hands as if they were interesting.

They must be quite numb, for the time being at least. And there are the napkins to do, too, Sarah added. It had been that unfortunate time of the month, when all the women in the house had been more than usually short-tempered, clumsy and prone to tears, and then had bled.

The napkins now soaked in a separate tub that smelt uneasily of the butchers shop; theyd be boiled last, in the dregs of the copper, before it was emptied.

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I reckon we have ve more loads to do. Sarah huffed a sigh, and plucked at the seam under her arm; she had already sweated through her dress, which she hated. It was a poplin described by Mrs.

Hill as Eau de Nil, though Sarah always thought of it as Eau de Bile ; the unpleasant colour itself did not matter, since there was no one to see her in it, but the cut really did. It had been made for Mary, and was meant for pastry-soft arms, for needlework, for the pianoforte. It did not allow for the ex and shift of proper muscle, and Sarah only wore it now because her other dress, a mousy linsey-woolsey, had been sponged and dabbed and was patchy wet, and hanging on the line to air the piggy stink out of it.

Dump them shifts in next, she said. You stir for a bit, and Ill scrub. Save your poor little hands, Sarah thought, though her own were already raw. She stepped back from the copper to the duckboards by the sinks, stood aside to let Polly pass.

Then she scooped a neck-cloth out from the starch with the laundry tongs, and watched its jellied drip back into the bowl. Polly, thumping the stick around in the copper, plucked at her lower lip with blunt ngernails.

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She was still sore-eyed and smarting from the telling-off she had had from Mrs. Hill, about the state of the yard. In the morning she had the res to do, and then the water to take up, and then the Sunday dinner was under way; and then they had ate, and then it had got dark, and who can go shovelling up hog-doings by starlight?

And hadnt she had the pans to scour then anyway? Her ngertips were worn quite away with all the sand. And, come to think of it, wasnt the fault in the person who had let the stys gate-latch get slack, so that a good snouty nudge was all it took to open it? Shouldnt they be blaming not poor put-upon Polly for Sarahs fall and wasted.

Hill himself, who was in charge of the hogs upkeep? Shouldnt he be obliged to clean up after them? What use was the old tatterdemalion anyway? Where was he when he was needed? They could really do with another pair of hands, werent they always saying so? Sarah nodded along, and made sympathetic noises, though she had stopped listening quite some time ago.

By the time the hall clock had hitched itself round to the strike of four, Mr.

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Hill were serving a washday cold collationthe remnants of the Sunday roastto the family in the dining room, and the two housemaids were in the paddock, hanging out the washing, the damp cloth steaming in the cool afternoon. One of Sarahs chilblains had cracked with the work, and was weeping; she raised it to her mouth and sucked the blood away, so that it would not stain the linen.

For a moment she stood absorbed in the various sensations of hot tongue on cold skin, stinging chilblain, salt blood, warm lips; so she was not really looking, and she could have been mistaken, but she thought she saw movement on the lane that ran across the hillside opposite; the lane that linked the old high drovers road to London with the village of Longbourn and, beyond that, the new Meryton turnpike.

Look, Pollydyou see? Polly took a peg out from between her teeth, pinned up the shirt she was holding to the line, then turned and looked. The lane ran between two ancient hedges; the ocks and herds came that way on their long journey from the north. Youd hear the beasts before you saw them, a low burr of sound from cows still in the distance, the geese a bad-tempered honking, the yearlings calling for mothers left behind. And when they passed the house, it was like snow, transforming; and there were men from the deep country with their strange voices, who were gone before you knew they were really there.

I dont see no one, Sarah. No, but, look The only movement now was of the birds, hopping along through the hedgerow, picking at berries. Polly turned away, scuffed her toe in. The hedge was thick with old tea-coloured beech leaves, the holly looked almost black in the low sun, and the bones of the hazel were bare in stretches where it had been most recently laid.

But there was someone. Well, there isnt now. Polly picked up the stone and lobbed it, as if to prove a point. It fell far short of the lane, but seemed somehow to decide the matter. Oh well.

Longbourn - Jo Baker

One peg in her hand, a second between her teeth, Sarah pinned out another shift, still gazing off in that direction; maybe it had been a trick of the light, of the rising steam in low autumn sun, maybe Polly was right, after allthen she stopped, shielded her eyesand there it was again, further down the lane now, passing behind a stretch of bare laid hedge. There he was.

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Because it was a man, she was sure of it: She fumbled the peg out of her mouth, gestured, hand apping. There, Polly, do you see now? Scotchman, its got to be. Polly tutted, rolled her eyes, but turned again to stare. And he was gone, behind a stretch of knotted blackthorn. But there was something else now; Sarah could almost hear it: It was faint, and it was strange; it seemed to come from half a world away.

Dyou hear that, Pol? Sarah held up a reddened hand for quiet. Polly swung round and glared at her. Dont call me Pol, you know I dont like it. Polly stamped.

The butler . . . Mrs. Hill and the two housemaids . . .

Its only cos of Miss Mary that I have to be called Polly even at all. Please, Polly! Its only cos shes the Miss and I imnt, that she got to be called Mary, and I had to be changed to Polly, even though my christened name is Mary too. Sarah clicked her tongue and waved for her to shush, still peering.

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