Posts Tagged ‘the green baize door’

APOLOGIES to anyone who gets this twice.  Somehow the original was deleted and I have to post it again.

For anyone unfamiliar with Friday Fictioneers, the short story is that we’re a group of people who write….well, short stories. Very short stories. 100-word stories. Stories based on a photo prompt, posted weekly on Wednesdays, on our master site: Anyone can participate, either by writing a story or by reading the stories or both. The little blue link creature at the end will also take you to the stories.

wasps' nest_copyright janet m. webb

wasps’ nest_copyright janet m. webb

Genre: Historical fiction, or non-fiction, circa the Victorian era
For every Downton Abbey, there were many more houses like this.

The Green Baize Door

The servants rise in the dark from hard beds in cell-like rooms. After washing with cold water, they gulp their meager breakfasts. Doling out their tasks, the housekeeper waspishly admonishes them to be unobtrusive, eyes averted, neither seen nor heard.

On the opposite side of the green baize door, family members rise late before taking wing into the day. They live adorned in beautiful garments made by none of their own work. Predators and parasites, they buzz through life, taking nectar where they will, their lives sweet. They ignore the workers. Sometimes, they carelessly squash one. There are always more.


For those of you unfamiliar with the term “the green baize door”, here is an explanation:

The ‘Green Baize Door’ was the dividing line between the two domains, and trespassing beyond meant going into foreign territory. The ‘Green Baize Door’ was a feature of almost every substantial house. It was generally an ordinary framed door onto which was tacked a green baize cloth, usually with brass tacks. It was the universal signal of the dividing line between the two halves of the house. The Bull children would not be tolerated by the servants in the domestic part of the house unless they were working under supervision. This was like walking into somebody else’s house. The servants would normally use a different route to get to the various parts of the house, and would aim to be seen as little as possible. This was not because they were considered beneath notice: on the contrary, it was so that they could do their work uninterrupted by the requirement to exchange civilities. Houses evolved so that domestic staff could go about their task without interruption, not to ensure the privacy of the residents. They had none. –Borley Rectory and the Green-Baize Door, Domestic life at Borley Rectory, by Andrew Clarke , copyright 2002”

From Jane Austen’s World, If you want to learn more, read the rest of her informative post.