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From Maid to Mother

by youreit


*This is set in Paris in the 19th century.*

I dusted off the last tea cup and sighed as I gazed longingly out the window at the breathtaking view of the Eifel Tower. I was finally done. For today at least. Tomorrow there would be a whole new list of work to do.

The door opened and Henry, my employer, appeared. He was tall with dark hair; one that most called handsome. I had never viewed him that way, however.

“Excuse me sir,” I said, making a move for the door.

“No, it’s alright. I’ve been searching for you. Your cleaning for the day is done, correct?”

“Yes sir.”

“Then please follow me.” I nodded, and he led me to an unknown room. “You see, for a poor girl, you look respectable, and I’ve been admiring you for a while.” He paused to unlock the door. “So I wanted you to give me a bit of an… adventure.”

I realized then what he wanted me to do. “Henry, I can’t,” I pleaded. “I—I’m only 15. You’re married, and have a child. I can’t do—”

“Yes,” he inturrupted. “You will do it, because if you don’t, you will no longer have a job. Do you understand?”

I nodded, too frightened to speak.

Then he looked into my eyes and all my problems disappeared. I stopped denying my attraction and forgot that I was a young girl with no money, no hope, and no life. I fell into him completely.

He left later that night, presumably to be with his wife, Margaret, and I laid there, thinking. Never had a man been so scary, yet so appealing.

The next week was uneventful, and I rarely saw Henry. He was always with Margaret, and when he wasn’t, he ignored me. It hurt me that he did this, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to happen again, so I did my best to forget.

About two weeks later, I was rinsing dishes in the kitchen when Margaret stormed in. “I know what happened between you and Henry. Stay away from my husband. Do you understand? Stay away!” She left in a tornado of fury, slamming the door behind her.

My hands were shaking, and I had to set down the plate I was holding before I dropped it. I ran crying into the bathroom, and looking in the mirror, I wondered what I would look like if I had a husband to protect. I was sure I probably wouldn’t look any different than I did now, unless I was pregnant. I imagined myself with child and was hit with a thought that had never crossed my mind before. Strange. All it took was one mental image to turn my head completely upside down.

Like a little girl, I ran to my mother, my mind racing the whole time. She took me into the house and confirmed my suspicion. I was pregnant. It was Henry’s baby, of course; I had never been with another man. She comforted me, and cried with me, but the best thing she did for me was give me the advice I needed.

“Tell him.”

So I went back to Henry’s house and found him in his office.

“Beth?”

“I need to talk to you in private.”

“All right.” He closed the door and motioned for me to sit down.

“I’m sorry about Margaret. She was really upset,” he began.

“No, that’s not what I wanted to speak with you about. Well, it is, but it isn’t.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

I played with a strand of my hair, stalling.

“Are you going to tell me or not?”

I stood up and walked around the desk, then lifted his hand and rested it on my stomach. “I’m pregnant. And it’s your baby.”

His eyes widened with horror and he jerked away from me. “That’s not possible!”

“But it is.” I whispered.

“No! You’re a liar!” He thundered.

I shook my head.

“I don’t let liars work for me.” His tone of voice became graver.

I understood what he meant and gasped. “No!”

His eyes became the color of rain darkened stone. “You have until tomorrow to move out of the maid’s quarters.”

I wiped a tear from my eye and fled the room.

Later that evening, while I was stowing my few belongings into a tattered old potato sack that I snatched from the garbage. Margaret strolled into the room, followed by Henry.

“Beth, Henry has something he wants to say.” Her voice was no longer frigid, which puzzled me.

Like a boy being forced by his mother he muttered, “I apologize. You caught me by surprise.”

My brow wrinkled in confusion. Margaret was making Henry apologize? I thought she hated me.

“You can stay here, but Margaret and I want you to be our nanny. That way you can also take care of your baby when it comes.”

Why was Henry being so understanding? Just 3 hours ago, he wanted to toss me out onto the street.

Margaret waved him out of the room, and then turned to me and explained. “I made him let you stay. You’re so young, and from what the cook told me, he forced you. The least he can do is give you a job and a place to stay. Besides, you’ll need someone to teach you how to care for a baby, and it might as well be me.”

By now, I was so amazed, I was speechless. But I still managed to choke out, “Thank you so much.”

She smiled. “You’re welcome.”

My spirits lifted as I pondered my new situation. I had a home, a semi-permanent job, and maybe even a friend. Life was bearable. Good, even.

“And Beth?”

“Yes ma’am?”

“Move into the spare room beside the nursery. It’s much more convenient that way.” Then she winked and added, “It’s also more comfortable.”

Yes, life was definitely good.


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Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:52 am
Areida wrote a review...



Hi youreit!

Hopefully you won't find this too repetitive. I just skimmed a couple of the reviews above, so I'm not sure what all has or has not been said, but here are my suggestions:

1) Slow down! No big rush. You have a good concept for a story here, but you seem like you're just in a massive rush to tell it rightthisverysecond, and there's just no reason for it.

2) Use your setting to your advantage. 19th Century France? Um... awesome? I think so. Take the time to do some research and throw in a few cool details. What are they wearing? What's it like on a day-to-day basis? What do they eat? What do they use to clean? What's going on in the world? Setting a story in Paris in the 1800's and then only mentioning the Eiffel Tower is such a waste of a great idea.

3) Develop those characters. Right now the most interesting character to me is Margaret; I'll bet she's got a killer back story. Don't be in such a hurry to tell the story right away. Give us some time to get to know these people that you've introduced. Let us like and trust Henry a little before he forces himself on Beth; we'll feel her fear and betrayal much more poignantly that way.

I like the concept you've set up here, but you've got to work on the presentation. Really look over the comments above and try to apply them; it looks like you've already gotten a lot of good advice. Please don't hesitate to ask me if you have any more questions. Good luck!




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Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:14 pm
Hydey wrote a review...



I loved the idea of the story. It was very sad, yet sweet. However, I want to see a bit more of Margaret's transition from being cold to the narrator to becoming merciful. Also, add a bit of detail on how the narrator falls for Henry.
Other than that, keep writing! :smt004




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Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:00 am
shineondiamondeyes wrote a review...



Ok. so I've got a lot of little nitpicks. Well a couple big ones at least. I really felt like you rushed through this story. I think you were just to eager to get to the meat of it and I think you need to slow down and explain things. Perhaps you can dvelop the relationship between you three characters. I have no clue how the maid related to Margerat before Henry took her so I don't know if it's unusual that she was yelling at her and then befriending her. also i had issues with the way she just decided that life was good. I don't know about you but if I was fifteen and pregnant I would be freaking out weather I lived the coushiest life or the roughest. Period. Another thing is if you could develop the marriage between Henry and Margerat beacuse sometimes it seems as if Henry is dominant and other times it seems Margerat is so if you could make that a little more clear, that would be good. One last thing I think your timeline is a bit screwy. I think you need a little longer then three weeks to tell if your pregnant. Other then that great story. Keep writing.


~Shine




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Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:39 am
MiaParamore says...



I would love to read the story if you give a rating to it.Please!!!!!!!!!




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Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:32 pm
snickerdooly says...



Hi! I loved it but it needs much description into the lives of the characters, but I think that the idea was marvelous and I believe you should write more! PM when you post more please.




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Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:29 am
PenNPaper wrote a review...



Hi, PenNPaper here.

This story was well written, I was just hooked to the end(I feel like reading it again)

Henry, I can’t

If the MC was Henry's servant or maid, she should be addressing him as 'Sir'.
I fell into him completely

Maybe you were trying to say, 'I fell for him completely'?
I played with a strand of my hair, stalling.

It would probably sound not as weird if you said 'stalling for time'.
“I don’t let liars work for me.” His tone of voice became graver.

Punctuation, it should be a comma instead of a period before the second inverted comma.
Just 3 hours ago

Spell 3 out please.

Well, that's all for the mistakes, keep writing and good luck, Ciao~




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Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:02 am
youreit says...



Thank you to all who reviewed this peice for me. It's been a while since I've been on YWS, and even longer since I've written anything.

All the constructive criticism helped, and although I'm trying to dedicate my time to my current work in progress, Beth, Margaret, and Henry have joined the other characters in my head, scolding me for putting them off so long. I'll try to do some more research on Paris in the 19th century. I've always marveled at the romance of that time period.

So once again, thank you for all your comments. You've sent my characters back to me. '
-youreit




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Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:53 pm
Moriah Leila wrote a review...



Ok, so I have just three things that I want to cover, some of which has been addressed. But I wanted to be a little more in depth.

1. A lot happens in this story, in a very short amount of time. The master rapes the maid, the master's wife finds out about the affair, the maid finds out she is pregnant, the master kicks her out, and then the wife insists the maid stay. These are not every day happenings. You should describe these events in much more depth. Why does Beth suddenly decide she is attracted to Henry? Explore her feelings for the master and show us her emotions so we can feel a greater connection. What does Margaret look like when she confronts Beth? Is she wild eyed and is her hair in disarray? How did she discover the affair? Why do they have a change of heart so suddenly? What is the motive. If you are planning on revealing this motive later on, do some foreshadowing.

2. Develop your characters, yes, you do need to do that. The easiest way to do this is to do a quick character profile for the main characters.(Henry, Beth, and Margaret) What do they look like? How old are they? What do they typically wear? What are their likes and dislikes? Do they have any quirks or habits, like how you had Beth play with her hair when she went to tell Henry about the pregnancy. Just make sure that when you describe your characters you don't take a whole paragraph to tell us about them. Try to insert these things in with actions or dialouge. For example:

Beth twirled her dirty blonde hair around her finger, nervously. Margaret stormed into the kitchen, anger marring her pretty face.


These are bad examples, but you get the idea.

3. Develop the setting more. What time period is this set in? Give us some clues, by describing the light sources, the fashion of that era, etc. Depending on the time period, this would also affect the proper protocol for maid and master relations. When you are describing a room, try to use all five senses. What does the room look like is important, but to make it feel real show the reader what it smells like, what sounds do you hear in this room, what textures can you feel, does this room put a certain taste in your mouth? For example:

Henry's study was paneled in a dark mahogany and had plush burgandy carpet, that soaked up Beth's timid footsteps. As she stood before his massive desk, she could hear the crackle of the dying embers in the stone fireplace. Henry regarded her with a cool silence, puffing on a cigar that smelled of cinnamon and vanilla. The coppery taste of fear was thick in Beth's mouth.


If you need any help with any of these, you can always PM me. But you should also check out some of the writing resources. There are some awesome articles to read in the Writing Tips KB. You just put in whatever you need help with like character development and several articles should pop up that will help. I love this tool and recommend every serious writer use it.

Hopefully my review has been helpful. I am excited to see where this story goes. PM me when you post more, I'd like to read it.




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Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:32 am
babymagic18 wrote a review...



This was ok written just a tip of advice when you describe a person make them look believable and realistic. you want to draw the readers to the character not just skim past them. other then that it was good. :)




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Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:32 pm
Cassie9960 wrote a review...



I thought it was a very good story but you defiantly need to describe you characters more. Some thoughts I had during this sory is, What does Beth look like? Why would he force her to do that out of nowhere? What did that so called "fancy" house look like? You need to add more details to the story. And you should write more.
You need to add the corrections other people wrote in their reviews, otherwise your story is great!




*Emily*




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Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:55 pm
ballerina13 wrote a review...



:D Hi! This was very short but I enjoyed the concept of it. I have a few suggestions however:
Plot: the plot was good but, being that it was so short, it is hard to write a good review. Maybe you could lengthen it. Tell us how her life is after the baby comes; if she gets married. Or you could even 5 years into the future and have the child be a narrator. You just definitely try and continue with this story. It could have potential.
Character: You could have been a little more descriptive with your character. Tell us about her background and personality. Description could have been better. Paris is such a beautiful city. There is always something to describe. Good job. I hope to read more.




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Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:15 am
lala101 wrote a review...



Hey just to let you know i absolutely loved your story!

1. I think that the plot is strong but just needs a little bit more added to it.
2. The title is great it explains alot.
3. Your story kept me interested the whole way through and i throughly enjoyed it.
4. the only thing is that i didnt understand what they did until i re-read it through so i think you should make it more obvious.

Id love for you to do another part to this
Good luck!




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Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:56 pm
hannahbelle214 wrote a review...



Okay first of all you have a really got plot but it still needs some work. The part about veiwing the Effiel tower should be changed to maybe looking at the shops of a small city outside of Paris on (something) lane, or if you would like to stick with the Effeil tower idea maybe she could be looking at a newspaper with the effiel tower picture on it. How did shw know she was pregnant after two weeks. Maybe she could be remembering about a month back while dusting the tea cups. Definatley change some of those saids to declare or utter or any other synonms that seem appealing. You can go to any of these baby nameing websites and choose a category for French names so that Margaret or Henrey could have something a bit fancier. Also what is the maid's name and you could metion the visit she takes to her mother. And margaret yelling at her is also understandable but instead of just having her bargin into whatever the maid is doing have her approach her at a private time and drag out the conversation wheather or not margaret is listening. I really hope all of this helps I cant wait to see it rewritten!




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Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:48 am
hero wrote a review...



OK, I found it quite good; but some parts I think need a little brushing up:

I dusted off the last tea cup and sighed as I gazed longingly out the window at the breathtaking view of the Eifel Tower.

A) its Eiffel, and B) is it just me, or does everybody in France have a view of the Eiffel Tower? I don't mean to be mean or anything, just... eh.

I had never viewed him that way, however.

I would write this as maybe:
Of course, I'd never seen him that way.

You ken?

Also, her addressing of her employer by first name doesn't fit; shouldn't it be Mr... Wait, what is his last name? Or just plain 'sir' or 'master'.

And, like some others have pointed out, I don't think pregnancy is noticeable two weeks after conception.
And, how does Margaret know about her husband's affair with Beth? I mean, a bit more character interaction, like, say, Beth's friend (the cook) who has a minor crush on Henry, and, when Beth admits that they did have an affair, tells Margaret that Beth seduced Henry, and starts feeling guilty, telling Margaret the truth after Beth is to be thrown out. So, yeah.

Also, it could be a little longer. But other than that, I really think it did well.




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Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:05 pm
AliceRose wrote a review...



I liked it okay, but I thought it could've used some more detail. What does Beth look like? What about Henrey? When is the baby due? You also didn't put a lot of emotion into your characters, which I would have liked to see as well, but other than those few things, it was good. Keep writing!




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Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:43 pm
riddlemesphinx wrote a review...



I want to (again) echo some of the sentiments from other posters here. I think I agree that once this is fleshed out, you have an excellent first three or so chapters of a story here. Certainly the plot is interesting, but it is also a common theme-- what you have going for you here is the area of history you want to write about, as well as the location.

Do some research-- which, I'm sure you've been told, is what a good writer always does-- it is particularly important in historical fiction. What was Paris like in the 19th century? What did it smell like, look like, sound like? You can say at the beginning of your piece that it is set in 19th Century Paris, but what does that mean? I'm just full of clichés today, but SHOW, don't TELL! Paris is a powerful setting-- it's going to take a lot to give it life and do it justice.

A note on your protagonist-- she is clearly going to be facing some major issues down the road. Don't make her too weepy here at the beginning! That will only serve to make her emotions less powerful as her story unfolds. It is always a difficult task, but emotions should always be like a crescendo.

Keep writing!




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Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:26 am
blackpencil wrote a review...



Ok, sorry about this, but I'm going to have to tear this apart.
Your grammer seems really good, which is new to me.
This story is way to fast, way to short. The characters have no depth and the whole thing seems to lack style because of this. The character's own thoughts and actions contradict theselves. It just seemed to short, rushed, and confused.
Sorry, but that's the truth.




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Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:44 pm
AquaMarine wrote a review...



Hi! Aqua here,

I like the idea here, but (and I know I'm repeating others here) it is way too rushed and quick. Personally, I would split it into three or four chapters. Chapter one - introduce the MC a little more, tell us about her, then we can sympathize with her later in the story, maybe introduce other people in the house a little bit. Chapter two - More from Henry and him forcing himself onto her. Then some description about what she does afterwards (goes back downstairs, cleans up, etc.) and show us how she feels about what has happened. Chapter three - Margaret coming in and confronting her, then, at the end of the third chapter maybe she could realise that her period is late and go to her mother's? Chapter four - The rest of the story you have, just a lot more filled out.

Nitpicks:
Well, I've already said about it being rushed, we just need more feeling in the story. I didn't sympathize with your MC at all, I didn't really know her.

“Excuse me sir,” I said, making a move for the door.

“No, it’s alright. I’ve been searching for you. Your cleaning for the day is done, correct?”

“Yes sir.”

“Then please follow me.” I nodded, and he led me to an unknown room. “You see, for a poor girl, you look respectable, and I’ve been admiring you for a while.” He paused to unlock the door. “So I wanted you to give me a bit of an… adventure.”

I realized then what he wanted me to do. “Henry, I can’t,” I pleaded. “I—I’m only 15. You’re married, and have a child. I can’t do—”

See what happens here? At first their dialogue is good, much like an employer and a servant. But, it completely switches. She wouldn't ever call her employer Henry, not yet anyhow. She shouldn't be too surprised he'd want to either, most guys did in those days, it would have been quite common in the household, I think. Just write it so that she is surprised he wants to do it with her.

And her confrontation with Margaret. She needs to be more threatening. Also, I think it would be more believable if Margaret was more composed actually, y'know, coldly stating that if Beth tries to seduce her husband again, she will be thrown out on the street and never employed again. Much more scary.

Hope this helps, good luck with your story!
Aqua.




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Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:25 pm
Rosendorn wrote a review...



Hiya! I'm Rosey and I'll be your reviewer today.

You have about three chapters of a story here, once this gets fleshed out. Each little scene you have here (Henry forcing himself on her, her being ignored, Margaret storming in [especially Margaret storming in] her realizing that she's pregnant, telling Henry... you get the idea) needs to be expanded and given a proper "scene." Think of a scene like a mini-story; scenes need to have beginnings, middles and endings, they need to move the plot forward, and they spread out the action so readers don't feel like they've been given a list of plot events.

Also, two weeks isn't enough (I don't think) to know you're pregnant. Not so suddenly like that. She'd first have to notice her period hadn't started yet, or morning sickness. Look into that a bit more and adjust your story accordingly.

Overall I found this really quick. Slow down and give each scene the time it needs, put in the MC thinking about a lot of stuff as her mind wanders, and make the dialogue more subtle. The bones of this are good, they just need to be fleshed out.

PM me with questions!

~Rosey




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Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:21 am
archer123 wrote a review...



Umm.... it is really short. I would maybe go back and fill out your characters more too.... and add a few things here and there because it sounds very rushed like you don't want to be writing it.

There were a few nitpicks but most of them got covered in other reviews.

If you have any other questions please pm me.

*Archer*




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Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:28 am
Mira wrote a review...



Hiyas! ^-^ I'm Mira and I definitely loved this. However, I do have a few nitpicks. ;)

I dusted off the last tea cup and sighed as I gazed longingly out the window at the breathtaking view of the Eifel Tower.

Eifel should be Eiffel. This sentence doesn't really seem to 'flow.' I think if you described what makes the Eiffel Tower so breathtaking, then it would be really strong. ^-^

“But it is.” I whispered.

The period after 'is' should be a comma. ;)

Just 3 hours ago, he wanted to toss me out onto the street.

Replace '3' with 'three'. Try to write numbers out. :)

:arrow: Plot: The plot is good, but I feel like we could use a bit more. I'm guessing there will be more posts of this? ^-^ I hope so. I'd love to see how everything works out and get a better feel of the plot.
:arrow: Character: Right now your characters need just a bit of work. Give a bit more. Show us their personalities, their likes and dislikes. I want to feel as if I know your characters in real life. ;) I'm sure with just a bit of work, you'll be able to fix them up.
:arrow: Description: Your description is okay, but I know you can do better. :) Show us the view of the Eiffel Tower, the plate breaking when Beth drops it, her terror when the employer forces himself upon her.

:arrow: Overall: I was extremely interested in your work. It was a wonderful idea and I hope I'll be able to read more. Also, just one thing... I was wondering about how she knew she was pregnant. Maybe you could explain this a bit more. ;) Otherwise, good job. Keep at it. ^-^

If you need anything else, please PM me. :)

Smiles!
~Mira





Of those who say nothing, few are silent.
— Thomas Neill