Servants and Lack of Modesty – August 1897

Some people are fond of saying that the lower working classes are over-educated now and that is the reason that good servants are more difficult to get than formerly. That is a dark saying to me for we have never had a servant who was not under-educated in every sense of the word.

Now there is no doubt that mistresses are responsible for a great many of the faults of servants, but there is one fault very common with country lasses and which is most irritating and difficult to deal with and that is downright impudence of various sorts. She comes to you brazen and incapable of shame or modesty, shrewdly aware of what law she has on her side and how far she can go without danger of dismissal.

How are you to protect yourself from the disrespect of such? There may be some mistresses with such dignity of character, such command of manner, as to overawe the boldest hussie. But such women are so rare as to be neglected. Of course, the difficulty applies chiefly to those humble households where the mistress and daughters take their share of the menial work and are consequently thrown much into contact with their maids.

We have observed that the more men-servants we have in the house, the more difficult are the girls to deal with in every way.

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