Respectable young women were expected to remain living at the home of their parents until marriage. Following the death of their parents, if sisters remained unmarried, it was common for them to reside together. One literary example of this may be found in Deborah and Matilda Jenkyns in Cranford (1851) by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Because it was considered somewhat inappropriate for a young women to live alone, many such spinsters would provide an orphaned young woman, usually a relation but sometimes the daughter of a good friend, with a respectable residence.
In the case of Dora Spenlow, her aunts provide her with both a respectable home and an official guardianship.
Diaries were often kept my members of the middle and upper classes. Among those published were the diaries of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) and Henry Crabb Robinson (1776-1867).
Jack Ketch was an executioner in the seventeenth century, and his name has become associated with the profession.