The French Maid

Tuesday 23 August 1664 (Pepys’ Diary)

Lay long talking with my wife, and angry awhile about her desiring to have a French mayde all of a sudden, which I took to arise from yesterday’s being with her mother. But that went over and friends again, and so she be well qualitied, I care not much whether she be French or no, so a Protestant.

Fascinating quote from Pepys’ diary. In Pepys’ time, a maidservant from France was seen as a sign that your lady wife might be converting to Catholicism and for a government servant like Pepys this was a dangerous sign, as Catholics were still seen as a fifth column in the country, obeying the Pope over King & Country. Nowadays, the husband is keen on the French maid; it’s the wife who’s concerned.

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