Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A gentleman's servants

From Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son, which are an excellent insight into the life of
a gentleman in the mid 18th century, just a little earlier than the Malloren novels. 
"I would neither have that man, nor him whom you 
have already, put out of livery, which makes them both 
impertinent and useless. 
I am sure that, as soon as you 
shall have taken the other servant, your present man will 
press extremely to be out of livery, and (become) valet de chambre ; 
which is as much as to say, that he will curl your hair, and 
shave you, but not condescend to do anything else. 
I therefore advise you never to have a servant out of livery ; 
and though you may not always think proper to carry the 
servant who dresses you abroad in the rain and dirt, behind 
a coach or before a chair, yet keep it in your power to do 
so, if you please, by keeping him in livery."
Interesting distinctions that they take for granted. The valet de chambre was a high-ranking
servant and almost a companion. He would dress in style, and if he accompanied his employer
he would travel in the coach, or have a sedan chair of his own. Livery placed him closer to a footman. 
Not Georgian, but Regency -- RITA winning An Unwilling Bride is newly available now.


Pipes said...

Alas, cannot read this blog post as the lines are being cut off. Please correct formatting and republish so we can all enjoy reading your research! Thank you, Moira

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