venerdì 10 gennaio 2014

BEING IN SERVICE IN VICTORIAN TIMES: rules and wages.





Franck Antoine Bail (1858 - 1924), A Maid Watering Flowers



In ogni famiglia dell'epoca vittoriana, quando il reddito raggiungeva circa £ 150 p.a. veniva assunta una giovane adolescente come donna di servizio 'maid-of-all-works' che di solito era impegnata per 14-16 ore al giorno nei lavori più umili e se la famiglia possedeva un negozio ella avrebbe anche servito dietro il bancone; non appena il reddito aumentava, con esso, analogamente, aumentava il numero dei suoi dipendenti. 

Una cameriera ed una cuoca costituivano la priorità e solamente le persone davvero facoltose impegnavano domestici di sesso maschile perché esisteva la 'servant tax' la tassa sulla servitù che per loro doveva essere aggiuntivamente pagata allo stato.

I ricchi villeggianti che affittavano residenze per le vacanze estive spesso portavano al loro seguito solo una cameriera facente parte della servitù abituale mentre il resto era spesso affittato con la proprietà per impieghi stagionali.

Il metodo sicuramente più efficace per trovare personale di servizio era dato dalle inserzioni come appuntava il figlio di Charles Dickens " I domestici sono più svariati di quanto lo siano le materie prime. Il modo migliore per procurarsene uno è di sceglierlo leggendo gli annunci sui quotidiani .- Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879  ed ecco a voi, perciò, alcuni ritagli tratti dai giornali dell'epoca:








Sempre nel medesimo articolo, più avanti si legge: " I salari medi di Londra possono essere impostati come segue: Maggiordomi, £ 40 a £ 100, Facchini, £ 20 a £ 40, Paggi, £ 8 a 15 £, Cuochi, £ 18 a £ 50; Cameriere, £ 10 a £ 25; Cameriere di salotto, £ 12 a £ 30; "servi generali" e donne di fatica, £ 6 a £ 15. Il preavviso di un mese è richiesto prima di lasciare il lavoro o prima delle dimissioni, ma in quest'ultimo caso un mese di stipendio (e mance se richieste) sarà sufficiente. Se commette una grave colpa un domestico può essere licenziato senza alcun preavviso. "1


Ma cosa qualificava una domestica seria e ben educata, un maggiordomo affidabile, una governante responsabile, una cameriera solerte ?

Innanzitutto le referenze e poi, in secondo luogo, la rispondenza con quanto stabilito dai manuali che nello specifico trattavano della servitù, delle competenze e dei requisiti che al personale di servizio erano fondamentali in base alla mansione cui assolveva.
Anche per questo, come per ogni aspetto della loro vita, i vittoriani avevano pensato a regole fissate per iscritto, regole ben precise da imparare, rispettare, far rispettare.


Pensate che il vademecum per il comportamento della servitù, il  THE SERVANT'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly, pubblicato a Londra nel 1859 che stabiliva le regole non solo per l'atteggiamento che era conveniente assumere ma anche il modo di camminare, la postura, la modulazione dell voce, il modo di abbigliarsi etc. comincia così, titolando il primo capitolo OF THE VOICE AND SPEAKING, ovvero DELLA VOCE E DEL MODO DI PARLARE fissando come segue quelli che allora erano ritenuti i requisiti principali per una persona di servizio .. e noi che leggiamo oggi, noi che ahimè, viviamo in un mondo ormai caotico, un mondo governato dal baccano, da suoni talora tanto forti che offendono l'udito, scorriamo queste righe quasi con meraviglia ...






MAI LASCIARE CHE LA VOSTRA VOCE VENGA UDITA DALLE SIGNORE E DAI SIGNORI DELLA CASA, E QUANDO NECESSARIO, IL MENO POSSIBILE. 2 

MAI COMINCIARE A PARLARE CON LA VOSTRA PADRONA A MENO CHE NON SIA PER CONSEGNARE UN MESSAGGIO O PORRE UNA DOMANDA NECESSARIA, ED IN TAL CASO FARLO NEL PIU' BREVE TEMPO POSSIBILE. 3 


MAI PARLARE AD UN ALTRO DOMESTICO, PERSONA DEL VOSTRO STESSO RANGO O AD UN BAMBINO IN PRESENZA DELLA VOSTRA PADRONA TRANNE CHE PER NECESSITA'; ED ALLORA FATELO PIU' VELOCEMENTE POSSIBILE E SOTTOVOCE. 
4 



MAI PARLARE AD UN COMPAGNO DI SERVIZIO, A UNA PERSONA DEL VOSTRO STESSO RANGO, O AD UN BAMBINO IN UN CORRIDOIO, UN ATRIO, UNA SCALA O QUALSIASI ALTRO LUOGO AD ESSI AFFINE, A PATTO CHE NON SIA STRETTAMENTE NECESSARIO, ED IN TAL CASO FATELO SOTTOVOCE E NEL MINOR TEMPO POSSIBILE. 5 

MAI CHIAMARSI DA UNA STANZA ALL'ALTRA.
6 


RISPONDETE SEMPRE QUANDO RICEVETE UN ORDINE OD UN RIMPROVERO.
7 



e alla fine del capitolo viene ribadito per puntiglio il principio di partenza; al capitolo secondo intitolato TITLES OF RESPECT, ovvero APPELLATIVI DI RISPETTO, così si legge:

MAI RIVOLGERSI AD UNA SIGNORA O AD UN SIGNORE SENZA USARE GLI APPELLATIVI 'SIR' O 'MA'AM' O 'MISS' A SECONDA DEL CASO. 8 

MUOVERSI SEMPRE CON GRAZIA.

STATE SEMPRE FERMI E TENETE LE MANI AVANTI, O LUNGO I FIANCHI QUANDO PARLATE, O QUANDO QUALCUNO VI RIVOLGE LA PAROLA. 10 

ALZATEVI SEMPRE IN PIEDI QUANDO UNA SIGNORA, O UN SIGNORE ENTRA NELLA STANZA IN CUI SIETE VOI. 11 





E più avanti ancora:

Le balie sono spesso incoraggiate a cantare nella nursery; ma devono cessare immediatamente non appena fa il suo ingresso una signora o un signore. 12 

Mai prendere una piccola cosa della stanza in mano. Le lettere, il denaro, piccoli pacchi, un bicchiere, un cucchiaio, un coltello, una spoletta di cotone, un fazzoletto piegato, o qualsiasi altra piccola cosa, devono essere consegnati su un piccolo vassoio, che sia d'argento o no, conservato per lo scopo.


Un grande pacco, un libro così grande da apparire imbarazzante sul vassoio per le lettere, un piatto, e tutte le cose più grandi, possono essere consegnate a mano. 13 

Nulla può fare un' impressione migliore in un estraneo di un aspetto ordinato e pulito; e giustamente, giudichiamo che una ragazza che tenga le proprie mani ed i propri abiti puliti faccia lo stesso con il nostro cibo ed i nostri utensili.
14 


Non bisogna mai scegliere abiti di modelli o colori troppo azzardati . Non solo essi non sono adatti al lavoro che ogni domestica deve compiere il mattino, ma non potranno mai essere appropriati per dei dipendenti.
15 







Quanto agli stipendi il primo in ordine cronologico a dettare legge fu proprio il famoso e qui già più volte citato Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc. etc. - also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda;) with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort., scritto da Isabella Beeton e pubblicato nel 1861, altro testo miliare dell'epoca vittoriana che era doveroso consultare per qualsiasi cosa fosse pertinente alla casa e a chi la abitava, in cui, al paragrafo 21 del capitolo 1, CHAPTER I che tratta della padrona di casa, THE MISTRESS, in merito alle paghe stabilite mediamente per il personale di servizio, reca scritto quanto segue:


"La Governante da £ 10 a £ 80; Il Valletto da 25 a 50; Il Maggiordomo da 25 a 50; La Cuoca da 20 a 40; Il Giardiniere da 20 a 40; Il Lacchè da 20 a 40; Il Vice Maggiordomo da 5 a 30; Il Cocchiere da 20 a 35; Lo Stalliere da 15 a 30; Il Secondo Lacchè da 12 a 20; Il Paggio da 8 a 18; Il Garzone di Stalla da 6 a 12. "





In nome della loro puntigliosità, organizzazione, schematicità e sagacia i vittoriani tenevano persino veri e propri registri sul personale di servizio alle proprie dipendenze, ovvero molto spesso questo era uno dei doveri ascritti alla governante:













E per finire, prima di salutarvi con il mio più caloroso abbraccio, concludo con una citazione che amo


Fortunata la casa e felice il padrone quando ha un servo accorto, che ascolta sì le sue parole, ma non le segue e fa piuttosto a suo senno!


Fratelli Grimm, da Il servo accorto, in Fiabe, p. 515.




Joseph Caraud (1821 - 1905), Sharing the Chocolate




e dicendovi che qualora aveste piacere di leggere altro su questo stesso argomento 


  ☞ vi suggerisco questo mio breve racconto in due parti:



http://sweetlydreamingofthepast.blogspot.it/2013/07/upstairs-and-downstairs-una-giornata.html

http://sweetlydreamingofthepast.blogspot.it/2013/07/upstairs-and-downstairs-una-giornata_9.html
  





A presto 









Bibliografia:

Isabella BeetonMrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc. etc. - also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda;) with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort., S. O. Beeton Publishing, London, 1861
- disponibile on-line al seguente indirizzo: 
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/beeton/isabella/household/

Judith Flanders, The Victorian HouseHarper Perennial, 2004

Pamela HornThe Rise and Fall of the VICTORIAN SERVANT, Sutton Publishing LTD

Pamela Horn, Life in the Victorian Country House, Shire Publisher, 2010

Lee Jackson Daily Life in Victorian London: an Extraordinary Anthology, Kindle Edition, 2011

Lee Jackson, A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis, Anthem Press, 2006 

Trevor May, The Victorian Domestic Servant, Shire Publisher, 2008
(qui ne trovate una breve anteprima)

Emily Augusta Patmore, THE SERVANT'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly, Bell and Daldy, London, 1859
- disponibile on-line al seguente indirizzo

https://archive.org/details/servantsbehavio00patmgoog

Pamela A. Sambrook, The Country House Servant, Sutton Publisher, 1999 

Duties of Servants: A Practical Guide to the Routine of Domestic Service
by Member of the Aristocracy



Citazioni: 

1 - Lee Jackson,  A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis, Anthem Press, 2006 pag. 264

2 - Emily Augusta Patmore, THE SERVANT'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly, Bell and Daldy, London, 1859, pag. 11
3 - op. cit., pag. 13
4 - op. cit., pag. 23
5 - op. cit., pag. 27
6 - op. cit., pag. 29
7 - op. cit., pag. 29
8 - op. cit., pag. 32
9 - op. cit., pag. 40
10 - op. cit., pag. 41
11 - op. cit., pag. 46
12 - op. cit., pag. 76
13 - op. cit., pag. 77
14 - op. cit., pag. 82
15 - op. cit., pag. 87









- picture 1 - Franck Antoine Bail (1858 - 1924), A Maid Watering Flowers


In every family of the Victorian era, when the income reached about £ 150 p.a. it was employed a young girl as ' maid-of-all-works ' which was usually engaged for 14-16 hours a day in the most menial jobs and if the family owned a store she would also have served behind the counter; as soon as the income increased, with it, similarly, increased the number of its employees.

A maid and a cook were the priority and only the really wealthy people committed domestic male because there was a ' servant tax ' a tax on to the male servants that had to be paid additionally to the state.

The wealthy vacationers who rented residences for the summer holidays often brought in their wake only a maid that was part of the usual servants while the rest was often rented with the property for seasonal jobs .

The method that was certainly the most effective way to find service staff was given by advertisment as noted by Charles Dickens jr."Servants vary even more than most commodities. The best way to get one is to select from the advertisements in the daily papers" 
Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879; here you have, therefore, some clippings taken from the newspapers of the time:


- picture 2

- picture 3

- picture 4


Also in the same article we read further: " The average London wages may be set down as: Butlers, £40 to £100; Footmen, £20 to £40; Pages, £8 to £15; Cooks, £18 to £50; House. maids, £10 to £25; Parlour-maids. £12 to £30; “General Servants,”  Anglice Maids of all Work, £6 to £15. A month’s notice required before leaving or dismissing; but in the latter case a month’s wages (and board wages if demanded) will suffice. For serious misconduct a servant can be discharged without notice. " 1

But what qualified a serious and well-educated domestic, a reliable butler, a housekeeper in charge, a hard-working maid ? 


- picture 5 on the right - First of all, the references and then, secondly, the compliance with the provisions of the manuals that specifically dealt about servants, the skills and the requirements that were fundamental for the servants according to the task which they performed.
For this too, as with every aspect of their lives, the Victorians had thought of rules laid down in writing, precise rules to learn, observe, to make enforce.

You have to know that the specific handbook for the servant's behaviuor, the THE SERVANT 'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly , published in London in 1859 which established the rules not only for the attitude that it was convenient to take but also the way they had to walk, the posture, the modulation of the voice, the way of dressing etc. . so begins, headlining the first chapter OF THE VOICE AND SPEAKING setting as follows what were then considered the main requirements for a service person .. and we who are reading today, we who, alas, we live in a such cahotic world, a world ruled by the noise, by sounds sometimes so strong that offend our hearing, scroll down these lines almost with wonder ...


- picture 6


NEVER LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD BY THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE EXCEPT WHEN NECESSARY AND THEN AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

NEVER BEGIN TO TALK TO YOUR MISTRESS UNLESS IT IS TO DELIVER A MESSAGE OR ASK A NECESSARY QUESTION, EVEN THEN DO IT AS SHORTLY AS POSSIBLE.


NEVER TALK TO ANOTHER SERVANT, PERSON OF YOUR OWN RANK OR TO A CHILD IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR MISTRESS UNLESS FROM NECESSITY; AND THEN DO IT AS SHORTLY AS POSSIBLE, AND IN A LOW VOICE.
4




- picture 7 on the left -  NEVER TALK TO A FELLOW-SERVANT, A PERSON OF YOUR OWN RANK, OR A CHILD IN A PASSAGE OR HALL, A STAIRCASE OR ANY SUCH PLACE, UNLESS STRICTLY NECESSARY, AND THEN IN AN UNDERTONE, AND AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

NEVER CALL OUT FROM ONE ROOM TO ANOTHER.
6 


ALWAYS ANSWER WHEN YOU RECEIVE AN ORDER OR REPROOF.
7


and at the end of the chapter, to pique, it is reiterated the principle of departure; in the second chapter titled RESPECT OF TITLES, so we read:


NEVER SPEAK TO A LADY OR GENTLEMAN WITHOUT SAYING 'SIR' O 'MA'AM' OR 'MISS' AS THE CASE MAY BE. 8 

ALWAYS MOVE GENTLY.

ALWAYS STAND STILL AND KEEP YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU, OR AT YOUR SIDES WHEN YOU ARE SPEAKING OR BEING SPOKEN TO. 10 

ALWAYS STAND UP WHEN A LADY OR A GENTLEMAN COMES INTO THE ROOM WHERE YOU ARE. 11 


- picture 8


And further:

Nursemaids are often encouraged to sing in the nursery; but they should leave off immediately on the entrance of the lady or gentleman. 12 

Never take a small thing into the room in your hand. Letters, money, small parcels, a glass, spoon, knife, reel of cotton, flded pocket-handkerchief, or any small thing, should be handed on a little tray, silver or not, kept for the purpose.


- picture 9 on the left - A large parcel, a book as so large as to look awkward on the letter tray, a plate, and all larger things, may be given in the hand. 13 

Nothing makes so favorable an impression a stranger as a neat, clean appearance; and justly so, because we judge that the girl who keeps her own hands and clothes clean will keep our food and utensils so also.
14 


Do not ever choose gay patterns or colours. Not only are such dresses unfit for morning work after they are worn, but they can never look becoming for servants.
15 


- picture 10 on the right - As for the wages the first in chronological order to lay down the law was the very famous, here already several times quoted, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet Upper and under house-maids, Lady's-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc.. etc. - also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda;) with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort., written by Isabella Beeton and published in 1861, another landmark text of the Victorian era that was proper to refer to whatever it was relevant to the house and who lived there, where, at paragraph 21 of CHAPTER I, THE MISTRESS, in relation to average wages established for the service staff, carries written as follows:

"The House Steward from £10 to £80; The Valet from 25 to 50; The Butler from 25 to 50; The Cook from 20 to 40; The Gardener from 20 to 40; The Footman from 20 to 40 ;The Under Butler from15 to 30; The Coachman from 20 to 35; The Groom from 15 to 30; The Under Footman from 12 to 20; The Page or Footboy from 8 to 18; The Stableboy from 6 to 12."


- picture 11


In the name of their obstinacy, organization, schematicity and sagacity the Victorians held even true registers about the staff that was working at the home, actually, very often, this was one of the duties ascribed to the Housekeeper:




And finally, first than greeting you with my warmest hug, I conclude with a quote that I love


Lucky is the home and happy the master when he has a noticed servant who listens to his words yes, but doesn't follows them and does rather follow his heart!

Brothers Grimm, The noticed servant, in Fairy Tales, p. 515.


and by saying that if you had the pleasure of reading more on this topic


- picture 13 - Joseph Caraud (1821 - 1905)Sharing the Chocolate


I suggest you this short tale of mine in two parts:



 More on the topic:

Read my posts about Victorian servants in this link:



http://sweetlydreamingofthepast.blogspot.it/2013/07/upstairs-and-downstairs-una-giornata.html

 http://sweetlydreamingofthepast.blogspot.it/2013/07/upstairs-and-downstairs-una-giornata_9.html





See you soon 











Bibliography:

Isabella BeetonMrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc. etc. - also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda;) with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort., S. O. Beeton Publishing, London, 1861
- disponibile on-line al seguente indirizzo: 
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/beeton/isabella/household/

Judith Flanders, The Victorian HouseHarper Perennial, 2004

Pamela HornThe Rise and Fall of the VICTORIAN SERVANT, Sutton Publishing LTD

Pamela Horn, Life in the Victorian Country House, Shire Publisher, 2010

Lee Jackson Daily Life in Victorian London: an Extraordinary Anthology, Kindle Edition, 2011

Lee Jackson, A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis, Anthem Press, 2006 

Trevor May, The Victorian Domestic Servant, Shire Publisher, 2008
(qui ne trovate una breve anteprima)

Emily Augusta Patmore, THE SERVANT'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly, Bell and Daldy, London, 1859
- disponibile on-line al seguente indirizzo

https://archive.org/details/servantsbehavio00patmgoog

Pamela A. Sambrook, The Country House Servant, Sutton Publisher, 1999 

Duties of Servants: A Practical Guide to the Routine of Domestic Service
by Member of the Aristocracy



Quotations: 

1 - Lee Jackson, A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis, Anthem Press, 2006 p. 264

2 - Emily Augusta Patmore, THE SERVANT'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK or Hints on Manners and Dress for Maid Servants in Small Households by Mrs. Motherly, Bell and Daldy, London, 1859, p. 11
3 - op. cit., p. 13
4 - op. cit., p. 23
5 - op. cit., p. 27
6 - op. cit., p. 29
7 - op. cit., p. 29
8 - op. cit., p. 32
9 - op. cit., p. 40
10 - op. cit., p. 41
11 - op. cit., p. 46
12 - op. cit., p. 76
13 - op. cit., p. 77
14 - op. cit., p. 82
15 - op. cit., p. 87


8 commenti:

  1. A wonderful post about the household and rules in Victorian times, Dany !
    When reading this I often wonder how difficult it must have been for those servants ...
    Thanks for your lovely comment and yes ... time flies by ...
    Have a wonderful weekend, Dany !
    Sylvia

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. @ Sylvia
      well, I think that houseworks were far too hard then, at least till they didn't invent vacuum cleaners, electric smoothing irons, washmachines, and so on; by the way, while preparing this post I read that not every women could become laundry maids, they had to be quite brawny and strong, they had to have back, shoulders and arms pretty sturdy and when they had to wash linen bed sheets, which had to be scrubbed with lye and then boiled, they had to be at least two to pull out of the pot still full of water a little less than boiling (!) those heavy fabrics ...
      They seem incredible things today, but it was so that they did, the money they earned was certainly very sweated, poor women !
      I wish a lovely weekend to you too my dear friend and thank you for your sweetness ✿⊱╮

      Elimina
  2. It's difficult to imagine a time when this was acceptable, especially since the children were so young. No time to be a child, and enjoy the things children do.

    As always, this was a great post, Dany, and I learned many things I did not know.

    Thank you, dear friend, and have a beautiful weekend. xo.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. @ Lisa
      you're right, children lived in quite sad atmosphere .. if we think that it's spontaneous for everybody to talk to them, to make them a compliment, and probably just a little smile was allowed to servants without permission, actually I wonder whom children in their home spoke with at that time ..

      Thank you so much, my dear, have a wonderful weekend you too ♡♡♡

      Elimina
  3. Interesting and fun post, as always, Dany! Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. @ June
      good morning my friend and thank you for your beautiful words !
      ♥ May this Sunday be very lovely for you ♥

      Elimina
  4. Grazie Daniela!

    Quanto mi piace leggere i tuoi commenti.

    Buon fine settimana anche a te!

    Francesca

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. @ Francesca
      è un piacere venire a trovarti, forse perchè da te ritrovo una parte di me stessa ... :)
      Ti abbraccio con affetto e ti auguro una bellissima serata ❦

      Elimina

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND WORDS, SO PRECIOUS TO ME.