Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Address Servants

Household servants are usually addressed by their first names. It is indeed bad form to address a servant by some abbreviated nickname, such as Lizzy for Elizabeth or Maggie for Margaret. The full first name should be used. A pleasant "Good morning, Margaret," starts the day right, both for the mistress and the maid. In England the surname is preferred but they do not have to contend with all the foreign importations in the way of names that we have here in America. It is certainly better to call John Soennichsen John, than to use his surname.

A butler or chauffeur is usually addressed by his surname unless he is a man who has served the family for many years.

The golden rule of "Thank you" is just as golden when it applies to our servants. It is only the extremely discourteous man or woman who will address servants in a peremptory, rude tone. And it is especially ill-bred and unkind to be overbearing to servants in the presence of guests, or to scold one servant in the presence of another.

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