When searching for this week’s blog topic, I wanted to pick something different. I came across an interesting blog post about male sevants during Jane Austen’s time. After reading the article, I was struck by a few extremely interesting quotes that I want to share with you all. I had never done a lot of thinking about the footmen that appear in the background of the Jane Austen movies I love so much, or about the real people those actors represent.
So here are some quotes and facts I found very interesting!
“Because of their appearance at dinner and in public with the family, footmen were supposed to be the most “presentable” of the male servants. They were evaluated on the basis of the appearance of their calves in silk stocking, and they often gave their height when advertising for positions in the paper–it was considered absurd to have a pair of footmen who didn’t match in height” (Poole, p. 221).
The name “footmen” came from the task the men were required to do. They often ran alongside carriages/
Footmen often competed in contests, running alongside horses and carriages.
The life of a footman was not easy at all. He worked long hours, from early morning to nearly midnight, without much of a break. Here is an account of a footman named John Gorst after seeing a doctor because he fainted on the job. “Dr. Burton asked me how much time I had off for rest and recreation, and I told him that I had not has a day off since I began to work at Ashton-Hayes six months ago. Moreover, I had not had a holiday nor seen my family in more than three years.”
For more information, see this website! http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/footmen-male-servants-in-the-regency-era/