From the upper echelons of the eighteenth-century butler to the downtrodden housemaid of the nineteenth-century, this book is an eye-opening examination of the upstairs/downstairs relationship over two hundred years. 'What The Butler Saw' is social history from an unusual angle. Drawing on literature, contemporary accounts and household manuals, it tells in fascinating detail the story of servants and their masters.
Did you know, for example, that the unwritten duties of a footman might include holding down his master for the surgeon, or that a lady's maid was responsible for removing her mistresses's pimples? Then there was the vexed question of what to do with servants with too much time on their hands. A problem not encountered by Victorian nursemaids who sometimes drugged their charges in order to gain leisure time.
Along with the drudgery, servants had to put up with blows from their masters and tantrums from their mistresses. While, even in the most respectable homes, pretty servant girls found their virtue in danger.