I have memories of this place. None of them fond. I started work here a few weeks after I arrived. The fourth daughter among ten children and my mum, bless her, knew I was different from the others. I’d never find happiness in County Clare. Or anywhere else in Ireland for that matter. I was the one for whom the money was spent for passage to New York. The St. Louis. I had a relative, a cousin of some distance, who got me my flat and who got me my job.

The flat was on the fourth floor of a tenement. I shared the small room with three other girls. The “toilet” out back. Dank and dreary. But it was not County Clare and it was not Ireland. And I blessed my mum each night before turning to sleep.

The job was in this place. Scullery maid. Five-and-a-half days a week.

After a year or so, I was promoted to undermaid. Upstairs. Much easier work. Soon the Master’s son fell in love with me and soon the Master’s son’s friends fell in love with me. I was dismissed, told I was lucky to get a week’s pay “in lieu of notice.” A disposable lass.

Now I was back. I was by then in a smaller studio apartment, still on the Lower East Side but not quite as close to the docks and the river. The new family in the old house would need to repair the dereliction after the prior owner, my prior Master, had lost everything in a swindle involving a railroad in Wyoming or Montana or somewhere I would never visit. His son, of course, no longer had any friends even when he was sober and even were I inclined to have one of them fall in love with me again.

No, the mansion had been run-down. It sat on 28th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues. Now I was the housekeeper. I ruled the roost. I knew what would happen. Soon the Master would fall in love with me. I would not be discharged. The Master’s wife was in love with me. And I with her.

A bit of erotica in this one. July 17, 2019.

Photo from Gary Tonge (