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Domestic CP - April 1954

Sunday Pictorial, London, 11 April 1954

Soapbox: I Confess

'A policeman knocked ... and saved me'

I WAS seventeen and maid in a house in Surbiton.

My master was a retired major; his wife did nothing but play bridge, drink gin and make life uncomfortable for me.

I stayed only because situations were so hard to get.

One day I found a 10s. note, was tempted and kept it. I am convinced now it was put there purposely. Anyway, I was accused and threatened with the police and prison, but eventually I was told I could, if I liked, have a caning instead.

I thought it would be a caning across the hand.

But I had to bend over like a schoolboy and receive twelve awful cuts from the major while his wife looked on. I thought I should die with the pain and humiliation of it.

All night I lay awake plotting revenge, and by morning I knew what I meant to do. When I made tea at eleven o'clock I put rat poison in it from the woodshed.

But before I could serve it there was a knock at the door. Outside was a policeman.

He had come to bring back a travelling rug which the master had handed in some months before, but I didn't know that.

Suddenly I saw where I was heading. Without a word to the policeman I rushed back to the kitchen, poured the tea down the sink and threw the pot on the floor, where it broke into pieces. Then I burst into tears, packed my few things and left.

After some hard weeks of unemployment, I got a factory job and later married.

But I've never forgotten that house and those people -- especially when I've been tempted to take what doesn't belong to me.

-- Full name and address given.

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