Is a fine thing on a boring Thursday afternoon. Don't get me wrong I like my job but some days it's all just a bit mundane and I sit there (usually whilst sipping my second post lunch cup of tea) and my mind wanders a bit. Like today I was thinking about workhouses. One particular workhouse, held up as an example of a well-ordered institution by the establishment of the town. The inmates were kept fully occupied by a rigorous programme of work, prayer and lessons where suitable; any resistance or infractions of the rule were dealt with harshly and promptly.
I was a model inmate, industrious, quiet and friendly to the other girls. Little did they know I had quietly been biding my time, waiting for the right time to run for it and escape. As a well behaved and trusted girl I'd quickly been given responsibility for some of the other girls, whom had quietly been included in my plot to escape the very system I was supposed to support.
The day came and everything went to plan, the boy from the laundry who had come to collect our freshly starched sheets easily diverted by a rumour that cook was handing out cake in the kitchens. More the fool him, we never had cake. One by one the other girls fled through the open door as I kept watch for trouble. Ellie had gone missing, I ventured back into the laundry to look for her, I didn't want to leave without her. The door bangs shut, the overseer stands angrily in front of it grasping a white-faced Ellie.
I deny everything but it's no use, Ellie has already told him everything. In the workhouse there is no need for a second opinion, no chance to defend yourself. I am bundled down into the cellar by the two of the overseer's men, my arms twisted painfully behind my back. A heavy oak door swings open and I am shoved into the dark room. One of the men holds my arms whilst the other strips me of my worn dress. They force me over a whipping block, buckling me down with cool, sturdy leather straps. Then they leave me, naked and exposed in the cellar to await the overseer's wrath.