Woodview. House in southern England’s Sussex countryside, close to Shoreham, that is owned by the Barfields, for whom Esther Waters becomes a kitchen maid. Although she is from London, Esther loves the countryside and spends much of her spare time walking on the Downs. Woodview is not so much a country house as a working stables, where racehorses are trained. Nevertheless, in many ways the establishment is typical of a small country house and is managed in the usual fashion, with a distinct hierarchy below stairs as well as above.
The house has been much expanded and altered, reflecting Mr. Barfield’s intermittent prosperity. The establishment is unusual in that it is entirely permeated by the racing culture, with many of its staff members having been involved in racing for many years. Others gamble habitually, and servants are likely to be sacked if they discuss racing business, for fear this might give information to other racehorse owners. Although much of the racing culture is unpleasant to the religious Esther Waters, who is a member of the Plymouth Brethren, she is nevertheless happier at Woodview than at any other time and in any other place, and it is to Woodview, much diminished, that she later returns, to work for Mrs. Barfield once again, after her husband dies.
*London. Esther’s original home and the city to which she returns after she becomes pregnant. After first going to her mother’s home, she spends time in a lying-in hospital in Marylebone, in a lodginghouse, in a workhouse, sleeping rough on the Embankment, and in a succession of situations as she attempts to find enough money to keep herself and her son—who lodges with an old woman in Dulwich. George...
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