Roberts' Guide for Butlers & Household Staff

Book cat: Life is good!
by Robert Roberts | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 155709120X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/9/2016
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, November 09, 2016
I found this fair-condition softcover at a local Salvation Army thrift shop. Originally published in 1827, it contains advice for those seeking to work as household staff. (I wonder if the "Downton Abbey" folk used this as a reference?) There's an inscription inside the cover from 1998, advising the recipient that "as you approach a new phase in your life - the BIG 4-0!! - you may want to consider another career!".

I enjoyed the book immensely, despite not having a need for its advice - though, to be sure, some of it would prove helpful in organizing one's own kitchen or setting the table for a formal dinner. But even the basics of cleaning silverware and shining shoes involve creating suitable products from scratch (there are recipes for that in the book too), and it all sounds really tough.

The author focuses on doing the work properly, but does include advice on getting along with one's fellow servants and, of course, with the master or mistress. Sometimes the priorities seem a bit off, such as when cautioning against trying to take plates away with the knives and forks still on them. "If the knife or fork should fall off, it might perhaps stick in your foot, or on the other hand it will dirty the carpet, which is a very disagreeable thing, and is sure to give dissatisfaction to the lady of the family." So, yeah, don't drop the knives, and if you do, make sure they land on your foot instead of the carpet {wry grin}.

More than half of the book consists of those "receipts", for everything from boot-black to really excellent lemonade to a cure for intoxication. And there's a special section devoted to making fires with Lehigh coal, which I thought at first was a product-placement kind of thing, but it seems that it's one of several varieties of a new, harder coal that requires different handling than the old kind. Oh, the things servants used to have to worry about! (The bit about the coal is actually pretty funny, and the author notes it was copied from its original source and, while humorous here and there, is actually a helpful guide.)

Released 3 yrs ago (12/7/2016 UTC) at Post Office bookswap shelf (UBCZ), 353 Middlesex Rd. in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book on the book-swap shelf in the Tyngsboro post office lobby at around 2; hope the finder enjoys it and posts their thoughts here!

*** Released as part of the 2016 What's In A Name release challenge. ***

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