“How often I was tempted to lead a bad life, but there always seemed to be a hand to hold me back.”
Published in The London Mercury Newspaper in 1926 Lucy Luck’s memoir Lucy Luck: A Little Of My Life follows the life of the hardworking Lucy Luck, the child of a drunkard whose life is shaped by his subsequent abandonment. It is a memoir that follows Lucy’s journey from a child of the workhouse to wife and working mother. Throughout the memoir Lucy does not shy away from writing about the struggles encountered by a working-class woman living through the Victorian era. Although the memoir deals with parts of life that are tragic and at times heart wrenching, Lucy’s narrative voice has a strong sense of faith and resilience that only strengthens reader admiration for her unwavering strength.
The main aspect of Lucy’s life that is featured in the memoir is her working life and her time spent in service. Her memoir highlights the poor working conditions and demanding working hours with very little pay. Lucy’s description of her working life presents the goodness of people, with some opening their homes to Lucy when she has been left homeless. However, not everyone is so trustworthy as Lucy describes in a particularly difficult part of her memoir how one of her employers, “had taken all I possessed because I could not keep up with the amount of work she set me, just for my food (9).” There are often moments in the memoir when Lucy’s life takes a turn into situations that most would find impossible to navigate alone but her strong sense of self and determination always pull her through.
Whilst Lucy has many jobs throughout her life it is her career in straw plaiting that is detailed most within the memoir. Lucy goes into great detail when describing the straw plaiting industry and its dependence on seasonal work and prides herself on working for “forty-seven years and never missed one season (14).” The length of Lucy’s working life is one that is reflective of many Victorians and is a part of her memoir that shares a similar experience to other working-class writers of the time.
Although it is only a short memoir being only 15 pages long, Lucy’s memoir is one that unique when compared with other memoirs in the Victorian era as it is a type written account, a highly unusual feature as most memoirs of this era were handwritten. The memoir, front page displayed below, is the edited version before being published, an interesting feature as it displays Lucy’s writing habits and mistakes. It is also intriguing that Lucy’s memoir is published in the London Mercury Newspaper two years after her death. The publishing of Lucy’s memoir in a public forum is indicative of the public interest surrounding the memoirs of the working class.
The memoir follows Lucy’s growth from her time as a poor workhouse child to a working mother, highlighting her progression throughout life. She is a person that the reader immediately has an affinity to as her narrative voice that is both assertive and endearing and draws the reader in from the start of her memoir until the end.
Luck Lucy. A Little of My Life. London Mercury Newspaper. Vol. XIII. No 76. (1926)
Image of London Mercury Newspaper:
The London Mercury Newspaper. 29th April No.80 (1893) https://www.newspapers.com/image/35661339/?fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjM1NjYxMzM5LCJpYXQiOjE2MTgxNjIyMjMsImV4cCI6MTYxODI0ODYyM30.rejcVDU_v86DzLIM97oGajEXtbQYxabicgPv14O58Oc
Front Cover :
Lucy Luck. A Little of My Life. London Mercury Newspaper. Vol XII. No 76 (1926)