|Occupation||Housekeeper, so to speak; head of the Seamstresses' Guild|
|Cameos||Feet of Clay, The Last Hero, The Truth|
Once upon a time, in a city called Ankh-Morpork, there lived a little girl named Rosemary Palm. She was much like other little girls in her neighbourhood; maybe a little prettier, a bit cleverer, more inclined to do it her own way, in fact not so much like as not like; different, really.
Opportunities for lower-class girls to improve their stations were scarce. Marriage was popular, but no guarantee of improvement. The scion of some great Ankh family might come and carry one off to his mansion, but while the general peripheries of marriage might be observed, the end product might not. Setting up some kind of shop required an investment. No, the obvious career for an ambitious young woman of limited means was as a Lady of Negotiable Affection : minimal investment and the ability to charge whatever the traffic would bear. The right traffic would bear some really impressive charges. "Rosie" had what it took to succeed in Ankh-Morpork and elsewhere : looks, brains and ambition.
Amid the general unrest at the end of Lord Winder's tyranny, Rosie and other Seamstresses were at the center of the street-level rebellion leading to the Glorious Revolution of Treacle Mine Road. Winder was as bad for her business as anyone's. She vetoed the fourth resolution of the Republic's motto, resulting in the familiar "Truth, Justice, Freedom and Reasonably-Priced Love". During this episode she came to the attention of Havelock Vetinari and Lady Roberta Meserole, some of their supporters among the political class. Their subsequent relationship is lost in the historical vacuum of the Snapcase tyranny, but when Vetinari finally became the Patrician, he granted the Seamstresses' request for a Guild of their own, and Rosemary Palm has tended to be among the Patrician's council ever since. She continues as President of the Seamstresses' Guild.
One doesn't call her "Rosie" anymore, unless by long acquaintance. Mrs. Rosemary Palm is one of Ankh-Morpork's success stories, known far and wide, wealthy, and the confidante of the powerful. (The honorific comes with with her position in the business; there is no Mr. Palm.) Her house in the "entertainment district" (formerly and rather more accurately known as 'The Whore Pits') is one of the city's great tourist attractions.
And a grubby one at that. In general English slang parlance, 'visiting Mrs Palm and her five daughters' has long been a euphemism for a male trait that is also generally supposed to send one blind. Need we expound further? Or see the lyrics to Jackson Browne's song "Rosie".
The Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw, (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was known for plays and novels addressing prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. One such play is called 'Mrs Warren's Profession'. The story centers on the relationship between Mrs Kitty Warren, owner of a chain of brothels across Europe, and her daughter, Vivie, an intelligent and pragmatic young woman. The play focuses on the characters' relationships to each other as shaped by Mrs. Warren's choices, and the social hypocrisies relating to prostitution and the limited opportunities available for young women in Victorian England. Her mother, Mrs. Warren has changed her name to hide her true identity and added 'Mrs' to give the impression that she is married.