Monroe checks out new servant’s room

Reporter in Residence
Monroe Mouse

2013Winter_Monroe-Mouse
After all the excitement of the holiday season, it feels good to do just whatever I want.

While perusing back copies of
The Fanlight, an article on the renovations on the third floor of the Mansion caught my eye. It has been ages since I made a visit to the third floor, so I decided that the servant’s bedroom there would be a good place to start.

I found quite a transition from what had been the textile room (now in the colonial kitchen area) to a return to a house servant’s sleeping quarters.

The first thing that caught my eye was the bed. I am sure our visitors will be enthralled by its practicality.

The bed is called a trundle bed and from my research I understand that they are still popular in small guest rooms in today’s home. They are definitely a clever space-saver as the single low-to-the-floor bed easily slides under the bed above.

I pulled back the covers to examine the roping. Yes, I said roping — no springs here. Ropes were carefully woven around pegs in the bed‘s frame to provide a base for a mattress. The bed above the trundle is also roped. Traditionally, the rope would run from the pegs to a sail cloth bordered in eyelets. The stretched cloth is known as sacking cloth ,which I believe would make for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

The servant who would retire to this room had the additional comfort of a mattress. Now, if this wasn’t an historic building and museum, I would have investigated for evidence of bed bugs. Early mattresses had a way of attracting vermin, because they were stuffed with corn husks, horsehair, or moss. By colonial times, feather mattresses were more common.

Now, I can imagine what you are thinking. The rhyme “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” comes to mind. Many associate “sleep tight” with a tightly strung rope bed, but it has been questioned by several sources.

I prefer “sleep thigh,” meaning “sleep soundly” without a reference to bed bugs.

I hope you will visit the Stroud Mansion to learn more about the life of a Stroud servant.

straing wrench
When you visit you will see this artifact. Perhaps you know what it is already!