Georgian Servants


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    This piece is from Simond - an American who toured Britain during the Regency - and while he is an observer of England his impressions are interesting;

    January 8.-We arrived at Bath last night. The chaise drew up in style at the White Hart. Two well-dressed footmen were ready to help us to alight, presenting an arm on each side. Then a loud bell on the stairs, and lights carried before us to an elegantly furnished sitting-room, where the fire was already blazing. In a few minutes, a neat-looking chamber-maid with an ample white apron, pinned behind, came to offer her services to the ladies, and shew them bed-rooms. In less than half an hour, five powdered gentlemen burst into the room with three dishes &c. and two remained to wait. I give this as a sample of the best, or rather the finest of inns. Our bill was 2 pounds 11s sterling, dinner for three, tea, beds, and breakfast. The servants have no wages-but, depending on the generosity of travellers, they find it their interest to please them. They (the servants) cost us about five shillings a-day.

    The Princess Charlotte of Wales was equally forthcoming writing to her good friend Margaret Elphinstone Mercer about her upcoming marriage and her father, the Regent's, servants;

    What do you think of the Regent's footmen having 6 shillings for every 6 miles they go from home, a hundred & 5 guineas a year wages, besides 15 pound in one place & 5 in another & for all sorts of things~ as to Wedgeborow he says he cannot say what his wages are, or what his place is worth, as he is not paid all yet; but at present he has a hundred & 50 pound a year, then be has different situations & places. This will a little account to you, [I] think, for Civil List arrears."

    Another example of serving classes comes up in Jane Austen's novel Emma where the lack of gentility of the Martin's is demonstrated by their inability to afford a indoor male servant, although it is stated, by way of apology that in the next year they may be able to hire a boy.

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