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If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. Samuel Adams
Go find some dust. The Sopranos s3e4: Employee of the Month starring James Gandolfini & Lorriane Bracco & Edie Falco & Michael Imperioli & Dominic Chianese & Steven van Zandt & Tony Sirico & Robert Iler et al, Tony to servant, HBO 2001
In 1897 Britain celebrated Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee – sixty years on the throne. But the show of pomp and majesty on London’s streets concealed a very different royal story. Behind palace gates a secret war was waging over Queen Victoria’s shocking relationship with a servant ... He was an Indian. It was a relationship that violated Victorian taboos of race and class. Queen Victoria’s Last Love, Channel 4 2012
It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: that we are in the process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. Aldous Huxley, UC Berkeley, 1962
There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears so to speak. Producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution. Aldous Huxley
With our present knowledge of animal psychology and genetics we could certainly solve the servant problem with the help of the monkey kingdom. Arthur C Clarke, BBC Horizon 1964
‘Do you have to hit the servants, Father?’
‘This is not America, son. Don't ask questions like that.’
‘Why can’t I ask questions?’
‘They expect it from us, Ashok. Remember that – they respect us for it.’ Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger p71-72
If we were in India now, there would be servants standing in the corners of this room and I wouldn’t notice them. That is what my society is like, that is what the divide is like. Aravind Adiga, interview The Guardian 2008
Servants need to abuse other servants. It’s been bred into us, the way Alsatian dogs are bred to attack strangers. We attack anyone who’s familiar. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger p109
The trustworthiness of servants is the basis of the entire Indian economy. ibid. p175
Never before in human history have so few owed so much to so many, Mr. Jiabao. A handful of men in this country have trained the remaining 99.9 percent – as strong, as talented, as intelligent in every way – to exist in perpetual servitude; a servitude so strong that you can put the key of his emancipation in a man’s hands and he will throw it back at you with a curse. ibid. pp175-176
Every day millions wake up at dawn – stand in dirty, crowded buses – and then clean the floors, wash the dishes, weed the garden, feed their children, press their feet – all for a pittance. ibid. p176
I put my hand out and wiped the vomit from his lips, and cooed soothing words to him. It squeezed my heart to see him suffer like this – but where my genuine concern for him ended and where my self-interest began, I could not tell: no servant can ever tell what the motives of his heart were. ibid. p187
A servant’s too often a negligent elf;
- If it’s business of consequence, Do it yourself! R H Barham, The Ingoldsby Legends, second series 1842
Wife and servant are the same,
But only differ in the name. Mary Lady Chudleigh, Poems: To the Ladies
‘There’s been an accident,’ they said,
‘Your servant’s cut in half, he’s dead!’
‘Indeed!’ said Mr Jones, ‘and please,
Send me the half that’s got my keys.’ Harry Graham, Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes, 1899
It is, of course, the responsibility of every butler to devote his utmost care in the devising of a staff plan. Who knows how many quarrels, false accusations, unnecessary dismissals, how many promising careers cut short can be attributed to a butler’s slovenliness at the stage of drawing up the staff plan? Indeed, I can say I am in agreement with those who say that the ability to draw up a good staff plan is the cornerstone of any decent butler’s skills. Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day p5
It is sometimes said that butlers only truly exist in England. Other countries, whatever title is actually used, have only manservants. I tend to believe this is true. Continentals are unable to be butlers because they are as a breed incapable of the emotional restraint which only the English race are capable of. Continentals – and by and large the Celts, as you will no doubt agree – are as a rule unable to control themselves in moments of a strong emotion, and are thus unable to maintain a professional demeanour other than in the least challenging of situations. If I may return to my earlier metaphor – you will excuse my putting it so coarsely – they are like a man who will, at the slightest provocation, tear off his suit and his shirt and run about screaming. In a word, ‘dignity’ is beyond such persons. We English have an important advantage over foreigners in this respect and it is for this reason that when you think of a great butler, he is bound, almost by definition, to be an Englishman. ibid. p43
I made my exit, and it was not until after I had done so that it occurred to me I had not actually offered her my condolences. I could well imagine the blow the news would be to her, her aunt having been, to all intents and purposes, like a mother to her, and I paused out in the corridor, wondering if I should go back, knock and make good my omission. But then it occurred to me that if I were to do so, I might easily intrude upon her private grief. Indeed, it was not impossible that Miss Kenton, at that very moment, and only a few feet from me, was actually crying. The thought provoked a strange feeling to rise within me, causing me to stand there hovering in the corridor for some moments. But eventually I judged it best to await another opportunity to express my sympathy and went on my way. ibid. pp176-177
For it is, in practice, simply not possible to adopt such a critical attitude towards an employer and at the same time provide good service. It is not simply that one is unlikely to be able to meet the many demands of service at the higher levels while one’s attentions are being diverted by such matters; more fundamentally, a butler who is forever attempting to formulate his own ‘strong opinions’ on his employer’s affairs is bound to lack one quality essential in all good professionals: namely, loyalty. ibid. p200
Dear Mr Stevens, you will be surprised to hear from me. The Remains of the Day 1993 starring Anthony Hopkins & Emma Thompson & James Fox & Christopher Reeve & Peter Vaughan & Hugh Grant & John Haycraft & Caroline Hunt & Ben Chaplin & Tim Pigott-Smith et al, director James Ivory, her letter to him
Oh, Mr Stevens, I so often think of the good old days. ibid.
In the past the world always came to the house. ibid.
Precisely the purpose of our conference. To discuss these matters informally. ibid. James Fox at dinner
None of us wish to see anything of that sort happen again, do we? ibid. Fox to Hopkins
It has been suggested you no longer wait on table. ibid. Mr Stevens junior to senior
It is in our own interests to have a free and strong Germany. ibid. James Fox at conference
International affairs should never be run by gentlemen amateurs. ibid.
Stevens, we have some refugee girls on the staff at the moment ... You’ll have to let them go. It’s regrettable, Stevens. ibid. Fox to Hopkins
For a great many people the evening is the best time of the day. The part they most look forward to. ibid.
A century ago one and a half million of us worked as servants. Astonishingly, that’s more than worked in industry or on the land. Dr Pamela Cox, Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs I: Knowing Your Place, BBC 2012
The family upstairs could summon the servants to any part of the house at any time. ibid.
The butler was at the top at the pile, overseeing the coachman and footman. He was in overall charge of the house alongside the housekeeper who hired the housemaids. ibid.
The main house itself was designed for invisibility ... A hidden army could service their masters’ needs with invisible hands. ibid.
These uniforms were actually a Victorian invention. ibid.