A diary from the French Revolution

Danniella Adolfsson 2010-03-08

Frihet, bröderskap och jämlikhet.
Frihet, bröderskap och jämlikhet.

August 20th 1786.
Today was the day that my master had his annual party for the nobility. As his maid I wasn't allowed to come out of my room or speak to any of the guests. The only thing I could do was to help the chef in the kitchen or serve the guests. I wasn't allowed to wear my maid clothes either so my master bought me a beautiful dress with a collar in grey lace. My master is a widower and I came to his mansion right after his wife died. For being a lord he is a very careful man but he is easyly tricked by beautiful women.

Tonight my master asked me if I could be a nanny for his ten year old son, Sebastian, instead of being a servant. I accepted his suggestion. He doesn't trust everyone so it was a great honour for me to have the responsibility for the only family member he had left. Sebastian has always seen me as a big sister, although I'm only five years older than him. He is always smiling but today he couldn't even pretend to smile. When I asked him what the problem was he answered that his father is going to marry someone. I know that he has a hard time getting over his mother's death, but still I wanted to know more about my master's fiancée. He told me that she only wanted my master's money.

Many times I've heard my master talk to people about the financial crises and how the nobility no longer will get any money from the state. I'm not sure if my master is working for his money or if he gets them for being part of the nobility. I don't know what is going to happen if he stops getting money so he no longer can live in his mansion or keep me and the other maids. I'm a bit educated but it's far from enough to get a job. I hope that I don't have to end up as a beggar or a prostituted.

Both my parents died when I was little and I grew up on an orphanage, so I have no one to rely on. If I don't get any money so I can rent a room, the streets will be my home. I'm a bit worried about my future because even if I can stay at my master's mansion I can't be a maid forever. When I get old and can't do my work as good as I can now, my master will find someone younger who can do more work much faster than an old woman. Actually I don't want to be a maid forever,

I want to get married and have kids, but who would propose to a poor servant? Sometimes it feels like I'm born to be absolutely nobody, just a maid who works everyday to get at least one meal a day and roof over my head. Still it's a good job, it could be much worse. One of my friends from the orphanage told me that the worst thing you could end up as is a prostituted. To let someone do whatever they want with you in a sexual way for money doesn't seem so inviting either.

Actually, I'm lucky to have a job as a maid. I know that not everyone from the orphanage was good enough to even be a maid or a nanny, most of them became beggars. Sometimes when I'm at the market I can see some familiar faces; people I grew up with and old friends. It's hard sometimes to see them and know that I have it so much better. Every time I'm about to complain about the weather or anything else I think of them and try to see it from the bright side, at least I've got a home. My master isn't the type of person who looks down on less fortuned, but he doesn't help them either. I give away things that I no longer use and sometimes yesterday's leftovers without my master knowing it.

I don't know how he would react so I choose not to tell him. If he wouldn't like it he could fire me for giving away things that belongs to him, so it's better to be careful and go behind his back, although it's for a good thing. The French right now are very egoistic, everyone thinks of themselves first and no one helps the less fortuned. I wonder if France will get bad karma for the way that the French behave, actually I hope so.

August 28th 1786
Dear diary, today my master got married. I helped Sebastian to get dressed this morning but it wasn't easy. He didn't want to put on his clothes because he doesn't like his father marrying someone else. Still after two years Sebastian misses his mother and now his father got married to a women old enough to be his sister. She is always looking in a superior way at me and the other maids and she is not even nice to Sebastian. I can't see what my master likes about her. She is very beautiful but her personality would make anyone run away. Maybe my master just doesn't want to be alone? Actually I'm not sure if he really loves her.