Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Basic Duties of a Butler

The duties of the butler confine him to the drawing-room and dining-room. The dining-room, however, is his particular domain; he sees that everything is in order, that the table is laid correctly, the lighting effect satisfactory, the flowers arranged, and in short that the room and appointments are in perfect readiness for a punctual meal. In this work a parlor maid assists him by sweeping and dusting, and a pantry-maid helps him by keeping everything immaculate and in readiness in the pantry. The butler serves at breakfast, luncheon and dinner.

Where there is a second-man, he may assist the butler with the serving at dinner; and at large entertainments the maid who assists in the pantry may also be requested to serve. The butler also is in charge of the afternoon-tea duties, in homes where this custom prevails. He brings in the tray, arranges it for the hostess and sees that everyone is served. Where there are only a few servants, the butler may be expected to help with the dishes, polish the silver and assist in the pantry. But if there are maid servants, and a second-man to do the heavier work, then he is expected to serve in a small measure as the valet for the master of the house. He lays out his evening clothes, brushes and presses the garments worn in the morning, and draws his bath. Sometimes, when his domestic duties are very light, the butler is requested to serve as footman to the mistress when she goes riding in the afternoon. An important duty of the butler is to answer the door bell whenever it rings. He must see that the front door and the hall is in order and well-swept, and that the drawing-room door is locked every night after the family has retired. A great deal of the comfort and pleasure of the family depends upon the manner in which the butler attends to his duties.

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