So. Here you are in the 1800s, just like my character. Everything seems strange, outlandish and bizarre. How do YOU fit in? Do you know how to speak properly for that time period? Do you now how to act? What do you do with your spare time? Do you have any spare time?
Well, that depends...
ARE YOU WEALTHY?
If your father has money, you might spend your day entertaining visitors to your home by playing the piano and singing. If there are no visitors, you might want to sew something. Why not read, practice your handwriting skills or embroider something? Why not practice your piano playing?
In the evening you can go out to a gathering of friends or to a party. If you are not yet married, you might want to get together with your single friends in one of their homes, just like today.
DO YOU WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL?
If you want to go to college, forget it...unless you want to take up music and your family can afford one of the very few private, church-run music schools.
If you wait until the end of the 19th century, although you will be waaaay too old by then, opportunities will open up for you in education and careers - you can go into nursing - although this choice may be frowned upon. Shouldn't you get married and have four or five children? Why do you want anything else?
Because there is a shortage of teachers, you can always be a teacher...but just until you marry, of course. You can't possibly be a teacher in the mid-1800s once you are married. It isn't allowed.
The truth is, almost all women were housewives in the mid-1800s, unless you were a servant who was paid to help all the women who were housewives. If you are a servant, it is probably because you are still too young to get married and have children.
ARE YOU POOR?
You should find a position as a servant, commonly called a domestic.
The room you live in will be small. You will work long hours, and you won't get paid very much at all. A few of your responsibilities will be:
** Get those baths ready by hauling pails of water from the water pump. Oops, don't forget to heat it first in pots on the wood burning stove.
** Empty those bedpans (hold your nose).
** Wash the clothes and beddings. Hang them to dry.
** Shop for the family (no, not for designer clothes).
** Mend everything in the entire house that needs mending.
** Find those dust balls.
** Clean those floors.
** Oh. Don't forget to prepare the meals.
You will be a domestic until you marry when you are around 23 years of age. And once you marry, your place is in the home taking care of your husband (he rules the roost, by the way) and your children. If you don't marry, you will be called a spinster and will probably be a domestic for a long time.