Story #2: My Life: Ethel Pearce

Hello! This is my second story on Mummy’s blog. It’s about a young Victorian girl who has a sudden change of fortune. I wrote this originally on the Jacqueline Wilson website.


Chapter 1

All about me

I’m Ethel Pearce and I’m eleven years old. I live in the terrible institution, the workhouse, with my mother, Willow Pearce.

Neither of us would be here if it wasn’t for my father. I’m sure Mother would have loved him dearly if he had stayed alive, but he died of pneumonia when I was barely a tiny babe in Mother’s arms. I looked up from my spot on the floor, that was flooded with spilt alcohol and nastier things I won’t even BEGIN to describe. All around me, drunken men staggered around the building. My mother glanced around and tutted (for the hundredth time that day).

I adore my mother. She has golden-blonde sheets of hair that flow down past her shoulders and piercing aqua-blue eyes that bore into you when you looked at her. As we lived in the workhouse, she wore tattered rags, poorly stitched and knitted. No wonder Father fell for her. I bet every man in her village did.

Chapter 2

The Surprise

 Just then, the workhouse manager demanded to see us.

“I have jus’ bin informed, like, that your ma, she’s dead. Goo’ news, she left ‘er money to you. You can move ou’.”

Oh, but this was the best news in my life! Not that poor Grandmama was dead, of course, but that we could move away to her house!

“YIPPEE!” I cried, jumping up as though electrified, and whirling Mother round and round.

Mother was much more organised than me.

“Now, Ethel, we must go upstairs and pack our things. I’m so excited! We’ll finally get to see how the other half live!”

I flew up the wooden, rotting stairs to my “room”. I hauled my miniscule, yet heavy suitcase from behind my bed of feathers and thin patchwork. Then I yanked out my few sorry possessions from by the door to the privy: my bundle of letters from dear Grandmama tied with a precious yellow ribbon from precious Mother, my nightgown and a worn story book as a birth gift from Father. Then I packed.

Chapter 3

Goodbye, workhouse

 Soon Mother was ready and we scampered through the door, not bothering to say goodbye to my first home. We were free! But now we had another problem. Where were we to go?

Fortunately, a few minutes later of us standing there looking gormless, a London taxi turned up!

!Hallo,” the driver peered at us out of the window. “Are you, by any chance, the Pearce family I’m supposed to take to…ah…Cornflower Mansion, Rose Road? I was a good friend of your ma, by the way, so you can trust me.”

“Um…yes,” Mother replied, while I stood there, speechless.

We clambered into the back of the taxi and loaded our luggage in. Without further ado, we drove away in a cloud of dust, leaving passers-by in coughing fits.

Chapter 4

Cornflower Mansion

We pulled up at a large driveway with a big sign in it. I peered at the huge lettering: PRIVATE! Cornflower Mansion.

My, was it stunning! It was all cornflower-blue, with grand windows on each floor. Then the driver pulled out some dusty keys from his pocket and handed them to us.

“There you are,” he said.

We hurried over to the welcoming, golden door. Mother fumbled with the keys and eventually pushed open. I tiptoed inside and took a sharp intake of breath. It was as glorious inside as it was on the outside! I wandered through all the breath-taking rooms: the dining room, the kitchen, even the lavatory was spacious! Then I explored the first floor. I saw a bedroom with a magnificent four-poster bed, curtains drawn to show me the grimy streets of London.

Chapter 5

Goodbye, everyone

Well, that’s my story so far. Hopefully my mother and I will stay happy and safe and we won’t have to go back to the workhouse.

Thanks for reading, and this isn’t the end of it…


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