صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

442 THE INSOLENCE OF OFFICE.

some men conceive that the more arrogant their servants are, the more they add to their own éclat, as if they meant to say and let it be thought, that “though the fellow may show impertinence to some poor devil of only a few hundreds a year, he dare not do so to me." No doubt me is a most uncommonly fine fellow; but where he permits his servants or his pet tiger to be insolent to all but himself and immediate friends, Mr. Tiger should get a sound thrashing for his trouble; and if his conduct was defended, I know somebody else who would well deserve the same attention. There can be no doubt that superior persons require superior servants, and of course must give superior wages; but where wages are given to the amount they sometimes are, and where idleness and impertinence are permitted to the extent they are, the effect on a common mind is to convert that most useful, valuable, and respectable character, a trusty servant, into a dishonest, insolent profligate. Nor does it end here: not content with being this himself, if he comes in contact with a respectable and valuable servant, the latter is made the butt of the former vagabond and his companions, with Mr. Tiger at their head. Good servants (and there are plenty of them to be had if we get them from the right school) are inestimable treasures; as much so as good friends. We ought to be the friends of such, and consult their real comforts, and even feelings, much more than I suspect is often done: but the place to consult the feelings of the servants of many of our families of fashion is the cart's tail: such servants are the pest of the public. Show me the servants, I will pretty accurately guess at the habits of the family they serve (I should rather say are employed by). I remember an anecdote told me of a gentleman's

CHANGE PARTNERS AND POUSSETTE. 443

gentleman who went to be engaged: he was told that when port or sherry was left after dinner in the decanters, it was allowed to be used by the superior servants. “Of course, Sir!” said he ; “and I suppose if a friend comes in, you do not object to the butler drawing something better.”—“Why, you impudent scoundrel!” said the gentleman; “my son here, who is a captain in the army, could not ask for more.”—“I dare say not, Sir,” said the fellow; “we pity many of those gentlemen, and often wonder how they get on at all!” I think most persons will agree with me, that if the gentleman had taken such a fellow into his service (and there are those who would have done so), he would have been rightly served if he had his house robbed. That a vast number are robbed by the connivance of such servants is well known. Idleness and high wages lead such minds to vice; that leads to extra expense; and that to the result I have mentioned. The master in such cases is more to blame than the man. From whom do such women as regularly frequent the lobbies get a great portion of their support 2 Not merely from shopmen and apprentices, but from gentlemen's upper servants; and if men of fashion were to stoop so low in their amours, they would much oftener than they suppose follow their gentlemen. How different are the servants of a well-regulated nobleman or gentleman's establishment, of which there are many | These get high wages of course, and well many deserve them. There is an air of respectability in their conduct and manner which shows they know their duty, and that they do it: they command your respect by the respect they show where respect is due; and whether in the house, the stables, the kennel, or

444 MAUWAIS TON.

the garden, whatever is done is well done. Where the conduct of the family corresponds with their rank in life, that of the servants will in theirs be upon the same principle: where the master or family are scampish, the servants will be the same; and we may fairly describe those of such a man by saying, half the men are rogues, and half the women something else. If such heads of families knew the inferences drawn from the conduct of their servants, they would be convinced of the very bad taste they exhibit in tolerating the existing insolence of demeanour of their people. Idleness in a servant may be pardoned, because allowed habit may have brought it on; drunkenness may be overlooked, if we have allowed bad example to bring it on: even dishonesty, if it has arisen from improper temptation having been left in the way; but impertinence in a servant to any one admits of no excuse. I am quite sure even the apparent trifling circumstance of permitting a certain style of dress contributes towards it. I allow that a servant's hand covered while waiting at table may be more congenial to aristocratic eyes than one bare; but surely white kid gloves at 3s.6d., which can only be worn a very few times, might (with a servant) be replaced by cotton ones: and surely stockings of the same material would answer the purpose of silk | Plaster your servant all over with worsted, silver, or gold lace, if such is the taste of the master, and his wish to show gorgeous and expensive liveries; but what is worn by the guest I cannot but consider improper for the servant. Give him stockings of silk, if you please, at a guinea a pair, but let them be something like those of the livery of the late Duke of St. Alban's (if I remember right), black with yellow clocks. This is the

BRINGING THEM OUT IN RIGHT FORM. 445

badge of servitude, and some badge of that sort servants should wear. But then what would become of gentlemen's gentlemen? why, they would be in the same place where gentlemen-jocks, in racing phrase, should be —nowhere; and a very good place too for them, though a very bad one for a promising Derby colt. But gentlemen's gentlemen are generally cattle of no promise: I wish I had the handicapping them. Though I might seriously diminish the weight of their self-estimation, I promise them they should not carry a feather over the course they have hitherto run, I would bring them out fit to go, but without quite as much “waste and spare” on them. I would attend to their health, I warrant me. I would also attend to all their proper comforts and happiness; but they should not become calfish and tricky. Let us have gentlemen: let us have yeomen, plebeians, or the middle classes (by whichever or whatever name you choose to describe them): let us have jockeys, and servants; but let the line of demarcation between the grades not be done (in stationer's phrase) in faint lines, but in a good honest, broad, black one. The higher grades would not then (as they now are to a certain extent) be compelled to treat the lower with unbecoming hauteur from a fear of a too near approximation; nor the lower grades be perpetually struggling to attain that unattainable (and to them unnecessary) title, “gentleman.” By each adhering to his proper station, each would receive the proper respect due to that station. Let us therefore still have races to be ridden by gentlemen, races to be ridden by farmers, yeomanry, and of course, as usual, races to be ridden by jockeys; but in lieu of races for gentlemen-jocks,

446 A CONCLUSION.

let us substitute races for such and such horses, at such and such weights, jockeys or hired servants eacluded. This would be all that I conceive could be meant or wanted; and, doing away with the term gentleman-jock (which must ever be an equivocal one), would admit any man not hired or professional, and, what is much more desirable, would not admit disputes about qualification, as the qualification in this case would be clear and defined.

Let us then hope to see gentlemen's gentlemen turned into servants: gentlemen jocks may be turned to grass; but as they are a kind of mongrel breed, let them first undergo a little operation to prevent their producing fresh stock. I think then, coachmen having left off aping the gentlemen, we may say “ALL RIGHT.”

« السابقةمتابعة »