Naturally enough, we hardly glimpse her in the diaries of her teenage son John.
She had been running the large household at Bridge Foot for thirty years, bringing up six children and entertaining family, friends and business guests. This was the unexamined background to John's life and escapes comment, except for occasional entries such as this one on 23 May 1856, when John was thirteen:
“at night I rode to Ouseburn … got home at a ¼ to ten got a rowing for being so late"We don't know how many servants were employed in the house nor how many employees the shop needed. Bessie Carass seems to have been in the family's employ for a very long time and her importance can be seen from John’s fiancée Ellis’s letters to him from Boroughbridge on her first visit there:
“Last Night I went to the kitchen to try to get old Bessie tell me something bad about you, but of course failed altogether. This morning I watched her prepare a turkey for cooking. So you see I am beginning already!!”Bessie obviously knew John all his life and may have been the children's nurse. She and her husband Henry, a local butcher, are frequently mentioned in John's diaries and she remained a mainstay of the family for many years, helping Mary with cooking and cleaning in the 1870s, offering to come and look after Ellis when the babies were due, making cushions for Ellis and going for holidays to stay with John and Ellis in Coatham.