Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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282                Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Richard Mitchell left my service and I paid him £3. 10s. He came to me again on the 29th" This was the consequence of one of those provisions of the old Poor Laws which have been swept away in the present century with so many other fetters on the labour-market. It was a matter of policy not to allow a man to get a settlement—that is, a right to be relieved out of the Poor-rates in a parish, and so he was dis­charged previous to the completion of a twelvemonths' service and then taken back again.
To all appearances things went smoothly at Hickstead Place in respect to indoor service. There was no want of good servants, and these seem to have known when they had good masters and mistresses. The latter part of the Stapley Diaries reaches to the times of which Mr. Turner had experience—the golden age of masters and mistresses, and the fabulous one of servants, or, shall we say, the age of fabulous servants?
Pari passu with the later Stapley Diaries runs the diary of Richard Marchant, of Little Park, Hurst, beginning in 1714 and ending in 1728. But Mr. Marchant's references to servants and wages are few and far between. One point of interest, however, is touched upon, under date March 28th, 1716:—"Bargained with Edward Morleyat 35s. until Michael­mas, and if his vailes be not 5s. I have promised to make them so."
This matter of "vailes," as douceurs to servants were called, was one of no small importance in the last century, both to those who received and to those who paid them. These latter were the visitors and guests of the master. They were expected to " tip " handsomely to the servants, and at length the practice grew into a system of extortion which made hospitality a grievous tax to the recipient of it and a disgrace to the host. The "vailes" which Edward Morley expected to receive at Little Park were, it is obvious, not very formidable; but at the houses of the great, and especially in London, nothing less than gold was taken by the " pampered
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