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Rosemary Palm is a 'Seamstress' in the city of Ankh-Morpork. A 'seamstress' does not make or mend clothes, however. "Seamstress" is a euphemism for "sex worker" or prostitute (see note below). Rosy Palm takes her name from the British slang term for masturbation - 'visiting Mrs Palm and her five daughters'. Opportunities for lower-class girls to improve their stations were scarce in Ankh-Morpork, much like Victorian London after which the city is patterned. Setting up some kind of shop required an investment that poor girls did not have. Marriage was popular, but no guarantee of improvement. The scion of some great Ankh family might come and carry off a young maiden to his mansion, but while some of the conventions of marriage might be observed, the actual legal marriage would not. So, 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. And the right traffic would bear some really impressive charges. Rosie was much like other little girls in her neighbourhood; maybe a little prettier, a bit cleverer, more inclined to do things her own way. She 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 are at the center of the street-level rebellion leading to the Glorious Revolution of Treacle Mine Road since the Patrician of the day, Winder was as bad for her business as anyone else's. She is a member of the Revolutionary council and vetoes the fourth resolution of "Free Love" in the Republic's motto, resulting in the familiar "Truth, Justice, Freedom and Reasonably-Priced Love" instead. During the revolution she comes to the attention of Havelock Vetinari and Lady Roberta Meserole, two of the revolution's supporters among the political class. When Vetinari finally becomes the Patrician, he grants the Seamstresses' request for a Guild of their own, and Rosemary Palm becomes a member of the Patrician's council as the President of the Seamstresses' Guild. She and several of her ladies always visited the cemetery on the anniversary of The People's Revolution of the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May.

From then on, no one calls her "Rosie" anymore, except those of 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. When Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg visit Ankh-Morpork in Maskerade they stay at Rosy's establishment (on the recommendation of 'Nev' Ogg) as does Carrot on first settling in Ankh-Morpork (in Guards! Guards!). Mrs Palm was considered almost a witch by Granny.


The term 'seamstress' was also used in the Roundworld as a euphemism for 'prostitute' on census forms. The garment industry occupations were extremely low paying, often attracting young females, and when the wages or lack of work were not sufficient, the women fell into the 'trade'. On census forms a clue to the real nature of the occupation can be gleaned by reviewing the number of people in a residence and the presence of an older female as head of the household - more than just a boarding house.

Note: There is considerable debate regarding the use of the term sex worker in Roundworld. One group believes that what goes on between consenting adults should not be criminalized and that the term legitimizes a chosen occupation as relevant as a construction worker, doctor or teacher. The other side argues that calling someone a sex worker in the same sense as other occupations simply legitimizes the exploitation of women and violence against them since no one would chose the occupation of prostitute if there were real alternatives and furthermore that it is impossible to determine the level of real consent between the affected adults with the threat of violence from pimps or from the client, making it much harder to control and prosecute violent pimps, underage exploitation and human trafficking. In Ankh-Morpork there is no such debate. Rosy Palm is a respected member of society, part of Vetinari's council and the head of the Seamstress Guild.