Never underestimate the power wielded by the lady’s maid

“Among all privileged spies, a lady’s-maid has the highest privileges; it is she who bathes Lady Theresa’s eyes with eau-de-cologne after her ladyship’s quarrel with the colonel; it is she who administers sal-volatile to Miss Fanny when Count Beaudesert, of the Blues, has jilted her. She has a hundred methods for the finding out of her mistress’ secrets. She knows by the manner in which her victim jerks her head from under the hair-brush, or chafes at the gentlest administration of the comb, what hidden tortures are racking her breast–what secret perplexities are bewildering her brain.

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That well-bred attendant knows how to interpret the most obscure diagnosis of all mental diseases that can afflict her mistress; she knows when the ivory complexion is bought and paid for–when the pearly teeth are foreign substances fashioned by the dentist–when the glossy plaits are the relics of the dead, rather than the property of the living; and she knows other and more sacred secrets than these; she knows when the sweet smile is more false than Madame Levison’s enamel, and far less enduring–when the words that issue from between gates of borrowed pearl are more disguised and painted than the lips which help to shape them–when the lovely fairy of the ball-room re-enters the dressing-room after the night’s long revelry, and throws aside her voluminous burnous and her faded bouquet, and drops her mask, and like another Cinderella loses the glass-slipper, by whose glitter she has been distinguished, and falls back into her rags and dirt, the lady’s maid is by to see the transformation. The valet who took wages from the prophet of Korazin must have seen his master sometimes unveiled, and must have laughed in his sleeve at the folly of the monster’s worshipers.”

Wise words from Chapter 33 of M. E Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret 

 

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