A short story is presented.
In 1958 I was a chambermaid at the Sgian Palace. The hotel. As you come into Carnbeg. It's the place that looks like an enchanted castle. Not that working there was-enchanting, I mean.Long, long corridors. And so many stairs and back ways. The folk you saw on the back ways who shouldn't have been there, but they were guests or the "friends" of guests, so you couldn't really complain about it. But I got a right fright once or twice, seeing someone in a state of undress-just a quick look, to tell if it was man or woman, someone in a bathrobe or with a sheet wrapped round them. The permissive age began before the 60s, let me tell you, although Carnbeg in the Scottish Highlands was one of the last places you might have imagined. (The hydropathic spa-hotel across town was still in its churchy phase and attracted those types, and so we got all the rest. The holies went to the Hydro or the private establishments, and the heathens came to us.)Back to the chambermaid's story. A tale of drudgery mostly, and those sudden startling glimpses into other people's lives. Quarrels, there right in front of you. A wife crying, or a husband banging his head against a wall, or a phone that had been pulled right out of the wall, or one woman who couldn't stop laughing and had to be taken off in an ambulance. Someone opening a birthday present and their face lighting up, or an old dame of ninety doing her daily handstands, or a man who asked me to spray his hair gold for Christmas. A grandfather and his wee granddaughter who climbed a tree and wouldn't come down, because they'd been dumped together and they both thought the girl's parents were heartless; although it made the parents see sense in the end, if only because the press got to hear about the commotion.And so I wasn't the complete naive when, one day as I was hauling laundry down a backstairs, the manager himse...