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walking with the ducks …

April 19, 2023

I have already spoken about an important character in my story; the shepherd who started his ‘career’ after training in the big house.  I wonder if he had a daughter and what she might do when she left school. She would have learned much at home beside her mother and siblings but her contribution to the family income was vital so finding work was necessary. If she lived near a factory, then she might be lucky to begin an apprenticeship to learn a trade or merely undertake casual labour.  Some girls in towns and cities worked on the streets, selling matches, flowers, or ribbons.  Working in a coal mine was not out of the question, small children did tasks that took them in to small and seemingly inaccessible tunnels and caverns. 

My girl also found employment at the big house, before a time when there were laws to give children protection. Her day began before dawn for the ‘family’ and their guests whose demands were overly expectant, harsh, and unending. I have a romantic idea that perhaps taking the ducks and geese on to the meadows on a sunny day might have been a pleasant time in a world where child exploitation was the norm.    Sadly, it wasn’t nice with inadequate shoes and clothing and poor diet being exposed to all weathers was harmful to health and far from ideal. 

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