Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Social Changes in Sussex.                    283
menials," and sums of £5 and £10 were expected at some noble houses! Pope often refused invitations because the price of the dinner, in the shape of " vailes" to servants, was too high a price for the honour or the enjoyment. To whom the world (and especially the dining-out world) is indebted for putting down this system of vailes we do not know. Doubtless the abuse of it brought its own cure, as the same extortionate system, transplanted from private houses to hotels, has led in our days to a remedy in the shape of a fixed charge for attendance. How grievously must the thought of " vailes " have interfered in the 18th century with that " good digestion " which ought to " wait on appetite!"
After all, Edward Morley did not come to Little Park. On Easter Monday Richard Marchant wrote, "Edward Morley's mother was here, and made some scruples about her son's service. So away they both went together."
Perhaps the "vailes" of Little Park were not tempting enough !
Except that on Christmas Day " the workmen [that is, the farm labourers] dined in the house as usual," there is no further reference to servants in the Marchant Diary. Servants, it is evident, were more easily procured in those days than now, and not so difficult to be kept. Very regular hours were observed in most families, especially in the country. Dinner at 1 or 2 ; tea at 5 or 6; a little card-playing or smoking and drinking, and then to bed at 9 or 10—to be up again "with the lark." The servants were not worn out by late hours, or spoilt by over-dainty, ignorant mistresses; they were kept to their house-work, and, when that was done, were put to needle-work, or, in earlier days, to the spinning-wheel, the drone of which was the music of the old farm-house. Then, as we have already pointed out, there was little competition for female labour. There were not two mistresses running after one maid, or columns of advertisements in newspapers tempting young women from their places by higher wages. In thousands of households
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