Below Stairs: Unfortunately She Reads

Even Lady Downall was the same in some respects. I remember asking her if I could borrow a book from her library to read, and I can see now the surprised look on her face. She said, ‘Yes, of course, certainly you can, Margaret,’ adding, ‘But I didn’t know you read.’ They knew that you breathed and you slept and you worked, but they didn’t know that you read. Such a thing was beyond comprehension. They thought that in your spare time you sat and gazed into space, or looked at Peg’s Paper or the Crimson Circle. You could almost see them reporting you to their friends. ‘Margaret’s a good cook, but unfortunately she reads. Books, you know.’

—Margaret Powell, Below Stairs

Advertisements