Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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278                Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Horsted Keynes, escape the troubles consequent thereon. Here, under date March 26th, 1693, is an illustration:—"I paid Frances Smith all her wages due to this day, £2, and discharged her, she being a notorious thief."
These, and other corresponding entries, may console modern housekeepers for their little domestic troubles, which, as we see, may occur in the " best regulated families," under Cromwell and William of Orange, as well as under the Stewarts or Guelphs. Nor, it is evident, by Mr. Timothy Burrell's entries, had those golden days of servants yet been reached of which Mr. Turner speaks so enthusiastically, when boys and girls grew into old men and women in the service of their masters and mistresses. For we have only to pass on to April, 1694, to come to a new footman to Mr. Burrell: —"Marian Hall (it is a singular Christian name for a man), footman, came at the wages of 30s. per an. and a livery once in two years. I laid out for him, in part of his wages, linen sleeves, shoes, hat, and frock, 17s. 8d."
The Ockenden coachman, however, kept his place better: — "1700, May. Paid John the coachman, in full of his year's wages, £4.. 3s. I payd him 2s. 6d. for Thos. Gates for a goos, but he kept it for ale, and to widow Goldsmith, for mending his stockings, is. 6d."
Wages, it is evident, had not risen much at Cuckfield. 30s. a-year and his livery for a footman and £4.. 3s. for a coach­man are not very high rates of payment. What would the present generation of footmen and coachmen say to them ?
Yet we have a proof, in the following entry, that the men who took, or rejected, these wages might " go further and fare worse:"—" 14th Sept. Goldsmith departed my service, by consent, this day. On the 29th October he repented, and returned, half-starved."
And here we arrive at one of those facts which would have made the late Mr. Turner's heart rejoice, and at which modern masters will shake their heads in melancholy guise:
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