This work caught my attention for it's bold depiction of a potentially uncomfortable episode. It's a simple yet thought provoking scene, and I wonder under what conditions it was created and what the artist meant to convey. Was this meant as a casual genre piece, or was the artist commenting on the questionable treatment of housekeeping staff? I wonder. Maybe my modern eye is framing this work in a particular context for which it wasn't meant to apply.
I presume the new maid is under the employ of the gentleman. Based on their body language, I sense that something is amiss; He's observing her while seated im a relaxed and possibly suggestive manner, and she appears to be reacting unfavorably while trying to keep composure. That's how I read the scene. Her dress and accessories give me the impression that she is well outside familiar territory.
Notice that their surroundings are fairly stark. There no lush fabrics or fanciful lights here. They are obviously alone in this dimly lit interior, which makes our subjects' interaction even more suspect.