Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Servant Problem

“In no condition of service is the relation between mistress and maid of more importance than in those homes where it is only possible to employ a general servant.  It is imperative to recognize that a ‘general’ is very apt to feel lonely.  Loneliness means depression and a depressed maid never does good work and sooner or later gives notice.

Therefore, let the owner of one maid make excuses now and then to visit the kitchen, have a few minutes’ chat, ask after relatives, and generally evince the natural interest of one human being in another.  There is no need to be familiar, and the best servants do not expect or even like it, but without ever losing caste it is perfectly possible to be interested and sympathetic in new clothes, family affairs, and so forth.

When only one servant is kept the mistress of necessity has to give much help, and, as it is difficult for her to be quite regular in performing all her self-imposed duties, she cannot strictly adhere to any time-table.  The following may, however, be some slight guide.

GENERAL SERVANT’S TIME-TABLE.  Daily work in a seven-roomed house.  Family – master, mistress and one child.

6 a.m.  Rise, light kitchen fire, fill kettles, clean boots, sweep hall and steps.  Sweep, and light dining room fire, call family, and take hot water.  Help mistress to lay table, and prepare breakfast.
8 a.m.  Have kitchen breakfast while family breakfast.  Clear kitchen breakfast; tidy kitchen.  Attend to bedrooms.
9 a.m.  Help clear dining-room.  Wash breakfast things.
9:20 a.m.  Help make beds; receive daily orders.  Dust bedrooms.
10:15 a.m.  Do special work for the day.  Help in the kitchen, etc.
12:30 a.m.  Lay cloth for luncheon.
1 p.m.  Dining room luncheon and kitchen dinner.
1:45 p.m.  Remove and wash lunch things.  Tidy kitchen.  Make up fire.
2:30 p.m.  Change dress.  Put large clean apron over afternoon black dress and muslin apron, and do some light work such as cleaning silver, sewing, ironing.  Be ready to answer front door.
4 p.m.  Prepare drawing-room and kitchen tea.
4:30 p.m.  Carry in drawing-room tea.
5:15 p.m.  Remove and wash tea things.
6 p.m.  Arrange bedrooms for the night.  Help prepare dinner.
7 p.m.  Lay table.
7:30 p.m. Serve dinner and wait at table (the amount possible depends on the skill of the mistress in organizing and arranging this meal).
8:30 or 9 p.m.  Clear, and wash up dinner things.  Tidy kitchen.  Have supper.
9:45 p.m. Take hot water to bedrooms and go to bed.

The mistress should see that the general servant has an hour off for writing letters, reading, or going on some errand during the afternoon or early evening each day.


Monday morning.  Wash kitchen cloths, dusters, and any small articles done at home.
Tuesday morning.  Clean large bedroom.
Wednesday morning.  Clean two small bedrooms.
Thursday morning.  Clean dining-room, bathroom, and lavatory.
Friday morning.  Clean staircase, hall, and sweep drawing room.
Friday afternoon.  Clean kitchen brasses, etc.
Saturday morning.  Clean kitchen range thoroughly and do extra work in larder, etc. “


H J Hess said...

"without ever losing caste" . . .

Shay said...

God forbid one should ever lose caste.

Anonymous said...