Friday, October 12, 2018

To Autumn, by John Keats

Autumn, also called Fall in the good old USA, is one of my favorite times of the year. To me, autumn is not a sign that nature is dying or even going dormant, it is colorful and sensory-rich and full of life. Leaves turning glorious shades of burgundy, gold, and rust set trees ablaze, and eventually flutter down to blanket lawns. Smells of cinnamon and nutmeg in apple cider and pumpkin pie, wood burning in hearths, rain on leaves, hot cocoa, the loamy aroma of gardens where summer’s flowers are falling asleep that signals the season permeate our homes and outdoors. Coole weather means getting out sweaters and scarves, donning boots, snuggling under blankets, and going for walks or drives to enjoy the splendor of autumn.  Autumn is the signal that some of my favorite holidays are right around the corner: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, with all of our family traditions.

Others to share my love of the season. “To Autumn” is a poem written by English Romantic Poet John Keats, one of the most beloved poets during the Regency Era.  He composed this work on 19 September 1819 and published it in 1820 in a volume of Keats’s poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes. “To Autumn” is his final work in a collection of poems known as Keats’s “1819 odes”.  He reportedly composed “To Autumn” after a walk near Winchester one evening in autumn.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Though this work has been interpreted as a meditation on death, critics regard “To Autumn” as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language.  To Autumn went on to become one of the most highly-regarded poems in the English language.

I am not delusional enough to believe I am anywhere near the master of the pen as Keats, nor do I write poetry, but autumn inspired me to write two novellas and one novel set during my favorite time of year. My two novellas are still available–“Unmasking the Duke” and “The Reluctant Bride.”

Happy Autumn!

“Unmasking the Duke”

The last thing Hannah Palmer wants is to flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister, Alicia, the Countess of Tarrington, throws a Masquerade Ball in her honor, Hannah can’t say no. Taking shelter behind a disguise, Hannah dances with a delightful masked gentleman, matching him wit for wit, and falling for his charms. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and they remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is the despised Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she could ever love.

(This novella was originally part of the Autumn Masquerade Regency Collection)

“Unmasking the Duke” is available on Amazon here

The Reluctant Bride

Fleeing a looming marriage to a terrifying man, Abby meets a mysterious, yet charming stranger who makes a startling proposition that will either save her or leave her mired in scandal.

“The Reluctant Bride” is available on Amazon here


To Autumn, by John Keats posted first on http://donnahatchnovels.tumblr.com/

Friday, October 5, 2018

Love at fist sight, and other life-changing topics with guest author Jen Geigle Johnson

Today it is my pleasure to interview historical romance author Jen Geigle Johnson. What a fun interview!

My first question is: Love at first sight.  Is it possible?

Absolutely. There is a certain magnetism that happens between two people, and it’s magic, it can be love at first sight when this initial zing is followed by respect and a sense of humor. Then BAM. They’re both goners.

I get that! What do you love about historical romance? 

I LOVE history. I think real-life stories are by far the most interesting and I love to bring to light almost forgotten people or circumstances.

I love that, too! Have you ever created a villain or killed off a character who was based on someone you know?

I named a character after my uncle not knowing he was going to die at the end of the book, and interestingly, my uncle died when I was young, of cancer. The sad part about all this is my sister named her son this same name and was not too happy the character died at the end of the book.

Wow, that’s rough. What advice do you give aspiring authors? 

Push through the hard times. It is so worth it.

It is! What do you do for fun (besides write)?

I have six awesome children. I love them. The youngest is nine. He still likes hugs. And my eldest is twenty and she is fun–like an adult friend. I have every age in between. We like to ski, play in the water, and hike mountains together.

Wow! I have six children, too. Good for you! What are you working on now?

I am planning a whole series of Regency stories set in Bath, England. What a quirky town.

Okay, here’s the bonus round:

Favorite dessert? MMMMM Key lime pie

Favorite flower? Hydrangeas

Favorite vacation destination? Destin Florida or Sienna Italy

Dark, milk or white chocolate? None, I am a strange soul who doesn’t like chocolate

Wow, you don’t like chocolate? I guess that means I won’t have to fight you for dessert! Anything else you’d like to include?

You’re invited to my REGENCY HOUSE PARTY.

Regency House Party started with a setting. Wentworth Woodhouse still stands today as England’s largest private dwelling. With 365 rooms, including a fish hatchery, conservatory, multiple music rooms, bear cave, dungeon type room, nurseries, bedrooms, and all others you would expect and some you wouldn’t, even an armory, it became the perfect place to tell five romances.

Our guests attend a ten-day house party together with our hostess The Countess Du’Breven, her pug, Wellington, her footman, and staff. They interact with each other in all the stories and we share the same timeline. And so, as a result, we have created five stand-alone romances set in a fascinating setting. We hope you enjoy each one and until you have the complete set.

Regency England at Christmas time? Look for my story in a new anthology 2018.

Women’s Suffrage during the Regency time period? You bet and when I tell the story, it is filled with romance! Coming soon!

Coming to America and Maid in Disguise. Two popular movie titles. What could they possibly have to do with a Regency romance novel?

Author bio:

An award-winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep’s roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love.

Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference.

Website: http://www.jengeiglejohnson.com

Twitter–@authorjen

Instagram–@authorlyjen


Love at fist sight, and other life-changing topics with guest author Jen Geigle Johnson posted first on http://donnahatchnovels.tumblr.com/

Friday, September 28, 2018

Lies Jane Austen Never Told Me

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single young lady desiring to secure a husband, must wear white.”

Okay, I confess, that’s not a Jane Austen quote. However, a common belief is that Regency London debutantes had to wear white. It’s also wrong.

First of all, the term debutante was not used in Regency England. Yes, the word existed but not in the context that we think of it now. Debutante, as it applies to a young lady having her debut into society, is a term that the Victorians adopted a couple of decades after the Regency.

Secondly, there was no hard and fast rule during the Regency that young ladies who were newly “out” had to wear white. They could, in fact, wear whatever color they chose. Many ladies young and old wore white but many more wore pastels.

White and pastel were fashionable. These lighter colors were extremely difficult to keep clean, so wearing a pristine light-colored gown proclaimed one’s wealth. Without today’s modern streets, sidewalks, street sweepers—and automobiles instead of horses with all the messes they make—keeping one’s clothes proved a challenging task amid the muck and mud of earlier eras. Such delicate colors were impractical for anyone less affluent to wear because they couldn’t keep it clean and unspoiled. Unlike the very wealthy, the working classes didn’t have an army of servants to do their laundry, and they couldn’t afford to simply cast off and replace stained clothing.

Fashionable ladies wore richer colors, too. All one must do is look at any historical clothing museum to understand the popularity of the whole rainbow of colors—even red.

Expensive fabrics such as silk, the quality of cut and stitching, as well as all the trimmings were another sign of wealth and taste. All the braids, lace, ribbons (called ‘ribbands’ in older writing) and feathers cost a great deal of money, and also divided the classes.

So why do we have this false belief that unmarried young ladies were only allowed to wear white? Because that’s what we read in historical novels. The queen of the modern Regency Romance, Georgette Heyer, was a careful researcher, but she didn’t have access to the internet or the wealth of information we have now, nor did she have writers’ groups and fellow history geeks to help her ferret out information. In addition to whatever primary source books she could find, Heyer relied heavily on her grandmother’s memory, and grandmama grew up in the Late Victorian/early Edwardian Era, so things had changed. Debutants wore white in Heyer’s novels, so of course, we believed that was a hard-and-fast-rule.

A common theory to explain Heyer’s occasional inaccuracies was that she deliberately lied! The belief is that she deliberately wrote in misinformation to see who was copying her instead of doing their own research. However, I can’t believe she’d do that—she was too methodical to have purposely written something wrong just to trip up another author.

Heyer novels, like any fictional accounts, should be read and enjoyed as fiction, and not as a source upon which to base research—unless, of course, it is Jane Austen. It is a truth, universally accepted, that Austen’s books are accurate since she lived in that time and wrote about characters who lived at that time, too.

As a Regency Romance author, I make every possible attempt to keep my novels historically accurate, but since I didn’t live in the era, I don’t know everything either. (I know—shocking, right?) In my continuing research, I learn new facts almost daily–sometimes details I didn’t get quite right in earlier books. However, each book is better researched than the last because each new one is the culmination of my knowledge, and that’s the best I can do. Historical accuracy is important to me, but if I wanted until I knew everything, I would not have published a single novel yet. I hope you enjoy the discovery with me.

Sources:

Years of my own research, plus numerous museum visits in England. However, you might also enjoy these sources:

Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen, by Jody Gayle

Candice Hern

Risky Regencies


Lies Jane Austen Never Told Me posted first on http://donnahatchnovels.tumblr.com/

Friday, September 21, 2018

Coach Travel in Regency England, stage and mail coaches

Travel in Regency England took many forms. While journeying to the nearest village, one usually walked or rode horseback, or, if wealthy, took the family coach. Travel to distant destinations, however, was different. Walking and horseback was impractical, and most family coaches had to travel slowly so as not to over-tire the horses. Wealthy people might send horses ahead several days in advance to wait for them at various posting inns so they could be changed out up on arrival. This allowed them to continue their journey with a fresh team every so often. They might even board horses long-term at posting inns if that route was one they frequently used. Many lords did this along the main routes to London so they could reach it easily and without a lot of arrangements ahead of time.

However, in many cases people used the mail coach or the stage coach. These coaches traveled on schedule much like today’s trains or airplanes.

One of the least expensive ways to travel was the Royal Mail. This ran over specific routes usually only once a day in either direction. They did not travel on Sundays or religious holidays, such as Easter or Christmas. The main coach’s purpose was to deliver the mail. Passengers were secondary, and the coachmen were very strict about keeping their schedule—even if it meant leaving a tardy passenger behind.

Stage and mail coaches primarily stuck to the main highways but could take smaller routes—just less frequently. In well-established efficiency, they stopped at posting inns to change horses. Each posting inn along the stage coach routes kept horses to switch out with incoming coaches. With the speed of a pit crew changing tires at a NASCAR race, men changed the horses for the mail or stage coaches. According to several sources, they could do it in under 5 minutes. Some of these coaches had teams of four and some had six. Obviously, the more horses, the longer it took the change the team.

Private companies owned various stage coaches. These ran on their own schedules but kept to them as tightly as the mail coaches. They were dependable and often more crowded. They, too, were not supposed to run on Sundays or religious holidays, but some did in the interest of profit. The time they took to change horses was more relaxed and stops were worked into their schedules to give the passengers up to twenty minutes to get out to stretch, eat, and take care of personal needs.

Whether there was more than one stage or mail going out a day depended on the route. Generally, they ran once a day in each direction—or possibly even less depending the route. Well-traveled roads leading to cities and larger towns had more frequent trips. Several coaches used the same main roads for part of the journey, then split off to reach various end destinations. The destination determined whether the next coach out would be in two hours or the next day.

Coaches stopped during severe weather such as blizzards, and when snow blocked the roads, however, they generally ran regardless of the cold or rain. In a couple of cases, outside passengers froze to death.

Getting a seat on a coach could be difficult. Most sold out days in advance, so it was not easy to simply “catch” a ride. One bought tickets at the origin point for the mail or stage. Coachmen could sometimes be bribed to stuff in a passenger or give them an outside seat on the top of the coach, but it was not always possible. Horses can only pull so much weight, after all.


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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Autumn, Fall and Mabon

Signs of autumn are already showing in many parts of the US but September 23, 2018 is officially the first day of Autumn, or “fall” as we Americans call it.

Long ago, when the air cooled and the leaves turned gorgeous shades of gold, red and burgundy, people did more than don sweaters, switch their clothing to darker colors, and decorate their homes with autumn leaves and pumpkins.  Anciently, the Autumn Equinox or Harvest Home was called Mabon, pronounced ‘MAY-bon’, after a Welsh god called Mabon ap Modron which literally means ‘son of mother.’

One Mabon Celtic ritual was taking the last sheaf of corn harvested and dressing it in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. Apparently, they believed the sun was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. So they burned it and spread the ashes on their fields.

Mabon is also known as the Feast of Avalon, derived from the word Avalon which means ‘the land of the apples’.  It was also traditional at Mabon to honor the dead by placing apples on burial cairns as a symbolism of rebirth. It was also a way for the living to anticipate being reunited with their loved ones who had passed on.

Many people often associate autumn with being melancholy and facing the end of the liveliness of summer and the beginning of the bleakness of winter. Grey skies cause many people to retreat, both physically and mentally. Autumn is the time of year when the celebrated English poet, John Keats, wrote his most acclaimed poem, “To Autumn” which has a distinctly melancholy beauty.

The ancient Celtics, however, used this time to reflect on the past year as well as celebrate nature’s bounty by having a feast and a celebration. I imagine those were the roots for the Thanksgiving feast that Americans celebrate.

In my novella, “Unmasking the Duke,” I chose an autumn setting to add color to the story, but also to give it a dimension of a wistful longing. Don’t worry, like all my romances, this has a swoony happily ever after ending!

Unmasking the Duke

The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister, the Countess of Tarrington, throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation. Taking comfort behind her disguise, she dances with a charming masked gentleman, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover she’s been flirting with all night with her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she could ever love.

“Unmasking the Duke” is available in ebook and paperback

Amazon

Barnes & Noble


Autumn, Fall and Mabon posted first on http://donnahatchnovels.tumblr.com/

Friday, September 7, 2018

Dressing the Regency Lady

If you’ve been following all my scandalous (gasp!) posts about all the underpinnings a Regency lady wore, but wished for a quick overall in one place, this post is for you.

The first layer is the shift or chemise. Notice how plain and unadorned it is as well as being very shapeless. A chemise/shift provided a barrier between a woman’s body and the other layers of clothing, so the shift absorbed perspiration. I had my shift made out of poly cotton batiste which is as close to an heirloom fabric as I could find. A fine weave muslin would have worked well, too.

The next layer is the corset, which, during the Regency, was called Stays. This style of stays is called long stays. This is the kind of stays nearly every women, rich or poor, wore. The material we used these for stays was cotton twill. Later, I discovered that another good choice for stays or corsets is Coutil (or Coutille), a woven cloth created specifically for making corsets. These grommets are metal, but Regency stays have stitched button holes. Some women preferred short stays during the summer or if they were especially small busted, or if they didn’t have someone to help lace up their

stays—although that would have been very rare—but these provided less support and lacked the smoothing effects of the long stays so they were not anywhere near as popular. It is believed that more of the working classes wore short stays than members of the upper classes but most working women wore long stays, too. The center has a wooden busk which is designed to help the garment lay flat, as well as help lift and separate the breasts. It loosely resembles a ruler, and in some stays it can be removed for washing.

The next layer is the petticoat. Regency Ladies wore one petticoat underneath her formal gowns. The petticoat resembles a sleeveless jumper with a scooped neckline. The petticoat helps create a smooth canvas over which ladies wore the transparent muslins and silks of the era that were intended to flow elegantly around a lady’s form. To make this petticoat, we choose cotton sateen, made with spun yarn instead of filament. Sateen is similar to muslin so it still feels authentic and has a really nice feel to it, a nice shimmer, and it drapes beautifully. The petticoat ties shut at the back. It is anchored at the back with hooks and eyelets. This pattern our lovely model is wearing is smooth at the front and sides, and pleated at the back to keep the streamlined silhouette while still allowing room for leg movement. Petticoats were often embellished at the hem with tucks or embroidery. In very cold weather our Regency lady probably worn more petticoats for warmth, but her gowns would have to be made large enough to accommodate that, unless she is wearing an apron-style gown that is less fitted.

At this point, the lady might have donned her gown, or her stockings. I’ll address gowns in another post, so I’ll dress my lady in stockings, next.

Stockings fastened with garters that tied, buckled, or hooked either at the thigh or just above the knee. Stripes on any and all garments were extremely popular in the 1790s but by the Regency, plainer styles, almost always white, either plain or stitched with white or colored embroidery became popular. I don’t have any authentic Regency stockings (yet) but our Regency lady would have worn knit stockings of cotton or silk (or wool if it was cold. People often wore thicker stockings under the fine silk ones for additional warmth if it was a formal setting where silk would be more fashionable. Wearing white cotton underneath their silk also helped hide their leg hair.

It is my hope that the next time you read (or write) a Regency novel, you will better be able to visualize all the undergarments and how they work together to create the desired Regency clothing silhouette that fine ladies prized.


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Friday, August 31, 2018

The Hierarchy of Servants

Jean Sim̩on Chardin, The Kitchen Maid, French, 1699 Р1779, 1738, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection

A few days ago, a friend commented that our appliances and small machines–washers, dryers, dishwashers, lawnmowers, garbage disposals–even cars–are the modern-day equivalent to servants. I had never thought of it that way, but she’s right.  In Regency England, however, people relied on manpower to run their households. Many people comment on the division of classes in those days–specifically the differences between the upper classes and the working class. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a whole social structure within the working class–especially those employed by the Big House, and house servants were even more conscious of status and rank than members of the ton.

At the top of this food chain were the housekeeper and butler. Not all houses had both, but those that did, had two leaders each with different duties. They were addressed as Mr. Lastname and Mrs. Lastname, both by their co-workers and their employers. Lower servants were normally addressed their first names.  The cook was most often called Cook (unless you had a fancy French chef, in which case you stuck with strict formality).  The servants called those above them Mr. Lastname, Mrs. Lastname, etc, and addressed those below them by their first names.  For example, a groom would call the top footman Mr. Lastname, and would call the groom Firstname. Sometimes the family simply called the person by their job title such as John Coachman, regardless of his real name. It all depended on the individual’s personality, their relationship with the servant, the servant’s position as well as his personality, and the circumstances.

In a small country manor where most of the servants were drawn from the tenant families, they would mostly be related to each other and use names for each other that they had used since birth.  A lady might call her lady’s maid Lastname if they had a formal relationship (especially if the maid was French or good enough to be called a “dresser” or “lady’s” maid rather than simply a maid). If this personal maid had been serving her since she was a child, then they might have developed a friendlier relationship. The same goes for a gentleman and his valet.  

Author Arietta Richmond has a thorough list of household servants on her post on Historical Hussies. I cannot improve on it, so I will simply quote her:

Butler

The senior servant in the house, responsible for oversight of all other male servants (except in some cases, where a Lord might have a steward who was responsible for all of their estates, in which case the Butler also answered to the Steward, as the Butler was only for a single house). Butlers also were not necessarily responsible for managing tutors, who might come in each day just to teach.  Responsible for making everything run smoothly, for the security of the silverware and other valuables, and for the quality of service.

Housekeeper

The senior female servant in the House, responsible for oversight of all other female staff (except for the Companion or Governess, if there is one). Responsible for ensuring that the linens, draperies etc are maintained in good order, that the rooms are cleaned as needed, that the items needed for the kitchens (as specified by the Cook) are available, and that the female servants are cared for and protected from abuse.

Cook / Chef

Responsible for the kitchen for that establishment. Manages the scullery maids and any kitchen boys. Responsible for food ordering, and for planning menus, in consultation with the mistress of the house and the housekeeper. Also manages the storage of food and avoids waste.  In a big house, there may be second cooks, who answer to the senior cook.

Scullery maids

Work in the kitchen, under the Cook’s direction. Scrub benches, tables, pots and keep things clean, also may be called upon to cut up food and help with other prep work.

Kitchen Boys

Do the dirty work in the kitchens – keep the fires going, cart coal or wood, cart away the rubbish, take the food scraps out to the compost heap. Turn the spit if there is a spit to cook whole animals, carry water where there is no running water.

House maids

Responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy. Each maid will be allocated certain rooms to keep clean – dust and mess free, with everything in its place, and making sure that there is always coal in the coal scuttle beside each fire place, ready to go. The larger the house, and the wealthier the owner, the smaller number of rooms that each maid will likely have to look after, and the more maids there will be.

Ladies maids

Generally, each lady living in the house would have a dedicated Lady’s maid, to help her dress, to do her hair, and generally to look after her in any way that was needed.  Sometimes, two sisters might share a maid. The maid was expected to have sewing / clothing repair skills, cleaning skills, hairdressing skills, skill with cosmetics and more.

The Lady’s maid was the top of the hierarchy of maids, with greater privileges, including often receiving her mistresses cast off dresses – which, even when they were ‘too old and unfashionable’ for the Lady, could easily be reworked into higher quality dresses than the maid might ever have otherwise.

Footmen

Footmen were the ubiquitous method of getting anything done.  They might be tasked with staying in the foyer, ready to open the door, or might each have a section of the house where they simply waited in the halls, ready to run errands or do whatever was needed.  There was a hierarchy here as well – some tasks were more desirable than others. Footmen might also accompany a lady when she went shopping, ready to carry her parcels. Pretty much any time that someone pulled the bell rope to summon a servant to get something done, the one who answered was a footman, even if the task then required action by someone else.

Nanny

If the household had young children, there was usually a nanny. The Nanny was the senior childcare servant and might have nursery maids to help her – the more children, the more nursery maids. The nanny was also usually responsible for the children’s first, very basic, education – in manners, and in simple reading and numbers.

Nursery maid

Nursery maids did the tedious bits of childcare – from changing nappies, to being the one up at all hours of the night, to providing entertainment for teething children. They took children out for walks in the park (note, early baby carriages barely existed yet, so often they carried the children), and amused the children. They also had to deal with washing all of those nappies….

Valet

The Valet, like the Lady’s maid, was a role with status.  The valet was the gentleman’s personal servant, responsible for helping him dress, caring for his clothes, shaving him, polishing his boots and more.  A good valet could tie a perfect cravat in multiple styles and could dress a man’s hair in the fashion of the day. He was also likely to receive the gentleman’s cast off clothes, and was expected to be very discreet about the gentleman’s day to day affairs, which he was almost always aware of.

Valet

The Valet, like the Lady’s maid, was a role with status.  The valet was the gentleman’s personal servant, responsible for helping him dress, caring for his clothes, shaving him, polishing his boots and more.  A good valet could tie a perfect cravat in multiple styles and could dress a man’s hair in the fashion of the day. He was also likely to receive the gentleman’s cast off clothes, and was expected to be very discreet about the gentleman’s day to day affairs, which he was almost always aware of.

Governess

A Governess was employed to teach younger children – usually girls, but sometimes also very young boys. A Governess was an odd position, hallway between a normal servant, and a gently born lady. Often, women of the upper classes, whose families had fallen on hard times, would take employment as a governess. It was regarded as one of the only acceptable roles for a well born lady, if she had to work. The governess taught young girls manners, ladylike skills (painting, music, singing, dancing, languages and more) and prepared them for their role in society.

Companion

A Companion was employed to keep an older woman, or a single woman, company – this provided a layer of propriety, as well as giving an older widow (for example) someone to talk to, in their daily life. Companions, like governesses, were in that grey area between servant and the nobly born. They were often from good families fallen on hard times, or they were distant cousins from the poor side of the family.

Tutor

A Tutor was employed to teach boys, before they reached the age where they were sent off to boarding schools. The Tutor taught languages, maths, science and potentially other subjects which were regarded as suitable for boys. Like governesses, tutors might be of gentle birth, but from a poorer family, but they might also be from a commoner family, but be  a man who had done well for himself and become learned. They might live with the family, or come in each day to teach, and live elsewhere.

Smaller houses would not have had all these servants. They might simply have a maid-of-all work, or two. It all depended on the wealth and status of the family.


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