The first footman lays the table for each meal, serves the family breakfast either on trays in the different rooms or in the breakfast or dining room, and attends the door during the morning. In households where but a butler and one footman are kept, the two alternate in tending the door. In other establishments the first, second, and third footmen take turns at the door, each one serving every third day. Families differ in the management of these divisions of household labor, but the above and all other duties mentioned apply in a general rule.
If the first footman does not wait at breakfast, he is busy cleaning silver. To keep it in perfect order, silver should be rubbed every day and cleaned once a week, and he w411 therefore need to do some part every day. The large dining room, where there is a breakfast room also, he has to brush before he sets out the silver on the sideboard. The dining room is thoroughly swept every Saturday morning, and of course is in perfect order before the family breakfast. If it is used upon the previous day, it should be brushed every morning. All sweeping and dusting should be finished before breakfast.
The morning dress of the footman is of a double-breasted coat, waistcoat, trousers, and small black tie. At lunch he wears his regular livery suit with a striped waistcoat. When the family is in mourning, he wears black tie, studs, and cuff-buttons. At dinner he wears livery. His livery should always be immaculate.
Duties of Second and Third Footman
Each second man or footman should have every second or third afternoon from the time lunch work is finished until five o'clock.
The Second Footman
has care of the breakfast room, waits at breakfast with the butler, helps with trays, leathers the small silver, and helps wipe dishes.
The Third Footman
has care of the front hall and library; also of coat-room. He dusts every morning and sweeps the halls thoroughly Saturday mornings and the library on Thursdays. He serves breakfast to the housekeeper and children's table if there be one, and with his fellow-footmen takes turns at serving lunch at this table. He is dressed in livery at ten o'clock and in the hall to answer bells, etc.
It is usual to allow each man two suits per year, also to find him in silk stockings, and fur capes, if they are worn.
Valeting is done by footmen. They take turns in valeting guests.
The Duties of Second Man
when Three Men (a Butler and Useful Man) are kept. To be at work at 7 a.m.; sweep and dust the front hall and vestibule and to breakfast at seven-thirty. To carry up all trays with breakfasts to those having breakfast in their rooms. --To wash up breakfast things; help butler clean small silver; answer door-bell. To see (in winter) that all fires in parlor and dining rooms are kept brightly burning. In some houses to attend to the cleaning and pressing of gentlemen's clothing, especially when visitors have come without their valets. To keep the pantry clean; to break ice for cooling wines; in summer to see that the door and window awnings are up or down as occasion requires; to assist at serving lunch and dinner; to wash up all lunch and dinner dishes, etc.
The Duties of Fourth or Useful Man
He carries all coal and wood to kitchen and laundry and to boxes on each floor, and keeps them full. He carries down ashes, carries up and down all trunks and baggage, opens all express and freight packages, keeps basement hall, trunk-room, cellar, and court in order. He washes garbage cans, washes all windows, cleans brasses of the house, sweeps walk, piazza and vestibules. Washes steps and sidewalk at least twice a week with the hose. Shakes door-mats. Helps sweep bedrooms when such are very large and the furniture heavy, carries all hampers of clothes to the laundry, and carries clean clothes upstairs. Freezes ice-cream. Attends the furnace. In fact he is what his name implies, "a useful man."
The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton, 1907
The Second Man
THIS may be a house footman exclusively; or, as is most frequently the case, it can be one who, besides assisting the butler, appears on the box of the mistress' carriage when she drives, serving then in the capacity of carriage groom and wearing the regular livery of a carriage groom or over his house livery, in cold weather, he puts a long coat such as the coachman wears and dons gloves and hat to match the coachman's. The second man in the house assists the butler by answering the door bell when that functionary is off duty or busy, by washing dishes in the butler's pantry and washing windows; by building and tending the fires, caring for the front steps and veranda, polishing brasses and taking part in the care of the silver. At dinner and for luncheon parties the second man aids the butler also in waiting at table. He should be clean-shaven and wear his hair closely trimmed. His shoes are such as the butler wears, and his livery is not changed in the evening. This consists of coat and trousers of one color; the coat is swallow-tail in cut and is ornamented on the tails, on the cuffs, and down the front with brass or silver buttons. Both coat and trousers should be of the livery color chosen by the heads of the house — dark green, blue, brown, or deep plum color, with the outside edge of the trouser legs piped in yellow or red. A waistcoat of Valencia striped in lateral, alternate bars of dark green and yellow or dark brown and red, in accordance with the two colors that appear on the coat and trousers, shows between the open fronts of the coat, and buttons high. White linen, a standing collar, and a white tie are worn with this costume.
In households where only one footman is kept, he has to do the work that in larger establishments is allotted to the first, second and third footmen with some little assistance from the butler if one is kept; but in many cases a parlour-maid lends him help in laying the cloth and waiting at table. His duties we give in detail, these being in effect those of the three named, and it will not be difficult to determine, where several footmen are kept, which portion of the duties belongs to each. In large households the head footman usually stays at home to answer the door to visitors, and the second footman goes out with the carriage.
Footman's Morning Duties
He is expected to rise early in order to get through his early morning work before the family are stirring. Boots and shoes, knives and forks, should be cleaned, coal scuttles filled, lamps in use trimmed, then any gentleman's clothes that require it, brushed, hot water taken up and baths prepared before he tidies himself, has his own breakfast, and lays that for the family. At breakfast the footman carries up the urn and places the chief dishes upon the table. If any waiting is required, he does it assisted by parlour-maid or housemaid. During the morning his time will be occupied in cleaning plate, windows, etc., according to the rules of the house in which he is engaged, and he will have to answer the front door and look after the sitting-room fires. After these duties will come laying the table for luncheon.
As at breakfast, where only one man-servant is kept, but little waiting is required at luncheon after the soup or hot dishes have been served. These taken away, the footman will have his own dinner. When the family have left the dining-room, the footman clears away, washes the glass used, and cleans the plate. He then prepares himself either to go out with the carriage or to answer the door to visitors, as the case may be. When required to go out with the carriage, it is the footman's duty to see that the inside is free from dust, and he should be ready to open and close the door after his mistress. In receiving messages at the carriage door he should turn his ear to the speaker, so as to comprehend what is said, in order that he may give his directions to the coachman clearly. When the house he is to call at is reached, he should knock and return to the carriage for orders. In closing the door upon the family, he should see that the handle is securely turned, and that no part of the ladies' dress is shut in.
It is the footman's duty to carry messages or letters for his master or mistress to their friends, to the post, or to the tradespeople; and nothing is more important than despatch and exactness in doing so.
Politeness and civility to visitors is one of the things masters and mistresses should exact rigorously. When visitors present themselves, the servant charged with the duty of opening the door will open it promptly, and answer, without hesitation, if the family are "not at home," or "engaged." On the contrary, if he has no such orders, he will answer affirmatively, open the door wide to admit them, and precede them to open the door of the drawing-room. If the family are not there, he will place chairs for them, and intimate civilly that he goes to inform his mistress. If the lady is in her drawing-room, he announces the name of the visitors, having previously acquainted himself with it. In this part of his duty it is necessary to be very careful to repeat the names correctly; mispronouncing names is very apt to give offence. When the visitor is departing, the servant should be at hand, ready, when rung for, to open the door; he should open it with a respectful manner, and close it gently when the visitors are fairly beyond the threshold.
Afternoon tea is brought in by the single footman. In many houses a small table is first brought in by him for this purpose (the butler would follow with the tray where the former is kept), then after seeing that there are sufficient cups and hot water ready at hand for his mistress, quits the room, holding himself in readiness to answer the drawing-room bell for change of cups or anything that may be required.
For dinner, the footman lays the cloth, arranges knives, forks, and glasses, etc., and places chairs enough for the party, distributing them equally on each side of the table.
About half an hour before dinner, he rings the dinner-bell or gong, where that is the practice, and occupies himself with carrying up everything he is likely to require. At the expiration of the time, having communicated with the cook, he rings the dinner bell, and proceeds to take it up, with such assistance as he can obtain. Having ascertained that all is in order, that his own dress is clean and presentable and his gloves are without a stain, he announces in the drawing-room that dinner is served, and stands respectfully by the door until the company are seated: he places himself on the left, behind his master, who is to distribute the soup; where soup and fish are served together, his place will be at his mistress's left hand; but he must be on the alert to see that whoever is assisting him, whether male or female, are at their posts. If any of the guests has brought his own servant with him, his place is behind his master's chair, rendering such assistance to others as he can, while attending to his master's wants throughout the dinner.Mrs. Beeton's Household Management, 1861
While attentive to all, the footman should be obtrusive to none; he should give nothing but on a waiter, and always hand it with the left hand and on the left side of the person he serves, and hold it so that the guest may take it with ease. In lifting dishes from the table, he should use both hands, and remove them with care, so that nothing is spilt on the table cloth or on the dresses of the guests.
In opening wine, let it be done quietly, and without shaking the bottle; if crusted, let it be inclined to the crusted side, and decanted while in that position. In opening champagne, it is not necessary to discharge it with a pop; properly cooled, the cork is easily extracted without any explosion; when the cork is out, the mouth of the bottle should be wiped with a napkin.
At the end of the first course, notice is conveyed to the cook, who is waiting to send up the second, which is introduced in the same way as before; the attendants who remove the fragments carrying the dishes from the kitchen and handing them to the footmen or butler, whose duty it is to arrange them on the table. After dinner, the dessert-glasses and wines are placed on the table by the footman, who places himself behind his master's chair, to supply wine and hand round the ices and other refreshments, all other servants leaving the room.
As soon as the drawing-room bell rings for tea, the footman enters with the tray, which has been previously prepared; hands the tray round to the company, with cream and sugar, the tea and coffee being generally poured out, while another attendant hands cakes, toast, or biscuits. If it is an ordinary family party, where this social meal is prepared by the mistress, he carries the urn or kettle, as the case may be; hands round the toast, or such other eatable as may be required, removing the whole in the same manner when tea is over.
Receptions and Evening Parties. The drawing-rooms being prepared, the card tables laid out with cards and counters, and such other arrangements as are necessary made for the reception of the company, the rooms should be lighted up. The attendant should avoid displaying an interest in his master or mistress's game.
The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton, 1907
Mrs. Seely's Cook Book & Manual on Domestic Servants, By Mrs. L. Seely, 1902
Where a single footman, or odd man, is the only male servant, then, whatever his ostensible position, he is required to make himself generally useful. He has to clean the knives and shoes, the furniture, the plate; answer the visitors who call, the drawing-room and parlour bells; and do all the errands. His life is no sinecure; and a methodical arrangement of his time will be necessary, in order to perform his many duties with any satisfaction to himself or his master. The footman only finds himself in stockings, shoes, and washing. Where silk stockings, or other extra articles of linen are worn, they are found by the family, as well as his livery, a working dress, consisting of a pair of overalls, a waistcoat, a fustian jacket, with a white or jean one for times when he is liable to be called to answer the door or wait at breakfast; and, on quitting his service, he is expected to leave behind him any livery had within six months.
The footman is expected to rise early, in order to get through all his dirty work before the family are stirring. Boots and shoes, and knives and forks, should be cleaned, lamps in use trimmed, his master's clothes brushed, the furniture rubbed over; so that he may put aside his working dress, tidy himself, and appear in a clean jean jacket to lay the cloth and prepare breakfast for the family.
We need hardly dwell on the boot-cleaning process: three good brushes and good blacking must be provided; one of the brushes hard, to brush off the mud; the other soft, to lay on the blacking; the third of a medium hardness, for polishing; and each should be kept for its particular use. The blacking should be kept corked up, except when in use, and applied to the brush with a sponge tied to a stick, which, when put away, rests in a notch cut in the cork. When boots come in very muddy, it is a good practice to wash off the mud, and wipe them dry with a sponge; then leave them to dry very gradually on their sides, taking care they are not placed near the fire, or scorched. Much delicacy of treatment is required in cleaning ladies' boots, so as to make the leather look well-polished, and the upper part retain a fresh appearance, with the lining free from hand-marks, which are very offensive to a lady of refined tastes.
Patent leather boots require to be wiped with a wet sponge, and afterwards with a soft dry cloth, and occasionally with a soft cloth and sweet oil, blacking and polishing the edge of the soles in the usual way, but so as not to cover the patent polish with blacking. A little milk may also be used with very good effect for patent leather boots.
Top boots are still occasionally worn by gentlemen. While cleaning the lower part in the usual manner, protect the tops, by inserting a cloth or brown paper under the edges and bringing it over them. In cleaning the tops, let the covering fall down over the boot; wash the tops clean with soap and flannel, and rub out any spots with pumice-stone. If the tops are to be whiter, dissolve an ounce of oxalic acid and half an ounce of pumice-stone in a pint of soft water; if a brown colour is intended, mix an ounce of muriatic acid, half an ounce of alum, half an ounce of gum Arabic, and half an ounce of spirit of lavender, in a pint and a half of skimmed milk "turned." These mixtures apply by means of a sponge, and polish, when dry, with a rubber made of soft flannel.
Knives are now generally cleaned by means of Kent's or Masters's machine, which gives very little trouble, and is very effective; before, however, putting the knives into the machine, it is highly necessary that they be first washed in a little warm (not hot) water, and then thoroughly wiped: if put into the machine with any grease on them, it adheres to the brushes, and consequently renders them unfit to use for the next knives that may be put in. When this precaution is not taken, the machine must come to pieces, so causing an immense amount of trouble, which may all be avoided by having the knives thoroughly free from grease before using the machine. Brushes are also used for cleaning forks, which facilitate the operation. When knives are so cleaned, see that they are carefully polished, wiped, and with a good edge, the ferules and prongs free from dirt, and place them in the basket with the handles all one way.
Lamp-trimming requires a thorough acquaintance with the mechanism; after that, constant attention to cleanliness, and an occasional entire clearing out with hot water: when this is done, all the parts should be carefully dried before filling again with oil. When lacquered, wipe the lacquered parts with a soft brush and cloth, and wash occasionally with weak soapsuds, wiping carefully afterwards. Brass lamps may be cleaned with oil and rottenstone every day when trimmed. With bronze, and other ornamental lamps, more care will be required, and soft flannel and oil only used to prevent the removal of the bronze or enamel. Brass-work, or any metal-work not lacquered, is cleaned by a little oil and rottenstone made into a paste, or with fine emery-powder and oil mixed in the same manner. A small portion of sal ammoniac, beat into a fine powder and moistened with soft water, rubbed over brass ornaments, and heated over a charcoal fire, and rubbed dry with bran or whitening, will give to brass-work the brilliancy of gold. In trimming moderator lamps, let the wick be cut evenly all round; as, if left higher in one place than it is in another, it will cause it to smoke and burn badly. The lamp should then be filled with oil from a feeder, and afterwards well wiped with a cloth or rag kept for the purpose. If it can be avoided, never wash the chimneys of a lamp, as it causes them to crack when they become hot. Small sticks, covered with wash-leather pads, are the best things to use for cleaning the glasses inside, and a clean duster for polishing the outside. The globe of a moderator lamp should be occasionally washed in warm soap-and-water, then well rinsed in cold water, and either wiped dry or left to drain. Where candle-lamps are used, take out the springs occasionally, and free them well from the grease that adheres to them.
French polish, so universally applied to furniture, is easily kept in condition by dusting and rubbing with a soft cloth, or a rubber of old silk; but dining-tables can only be kept in order by hard rubbing, or rather by quick rubbing, which warms the wood and removes all spots.
Brushing clothes is a very simple but very necessary operation. Fine cloths require to be brushed lightly, and with rather a soft brush, except where mud is to be removed, when a hard one is necessary, being previously beaten lightly to dislodge the dirt. Lay the garment on a table, and brush it in the direction of the nap. Having brushed it properly, turn the sleeves back to the collar, so that the folds may come at the elbow-joints; next turn the lappels or sides back over the folded sleeves; then lay the skirts over level with the collar,so that the crease may fall about the centre, and double one half over the other, so as the fold comes in the centre of the back.
Having got through his dirty work, the single footman has now to clean himself and prepare the breakfast. He lays the cloth on the table; over it the breakfast-cloth, and sets the breakfast things in order, and then proceeds to wait upon his master, if he has any of the duties of a valet to perform.
Where a valet is not kept, a portion of his duties falls to the footman's share, brushing the clothes among others. When the hat is silk, it requires brushing every day with a soft brush; after rain, it requires wiping the way of the nap before drying, and, when nearly dry, brushing with the soft brush and with the hat-stick in it. If the footman is required to perform any part of a valet's duties, he will have to see that the housemaid lights a fire in the dressing-room in due time; that the room is dusted and cleaned; that the washhand-ewer is filled with soft water; and that the bath, whether hot or cold, is ready when required; that towels are at hand; that hair-brushes and combs are properly cleansed, and in their places; that hot water is ready at the hour ordered; the dressing-gown and slippers in their place, the clean linen aired, and the clothes to be worn for the day in their proper places. After the master has dressed, it will be the footman's duty to restore everything to its place properly cleansed and dry, and the whole restored to order.
At breakfast, when there is no butler, the footman carries up the tea-urn, and, assisted by the housemaid, he waits during breakfast. Breakfast over, he removes the tray and other things off the table, folds up the breakfast-cloth, and sets the room in order, by sweeping up all crumbs, shaking the cloth, and laying it on the table again, making up the fire, and sweeping up the hearth.
At luncheon-time nearly the same routine is observed, except where the footman is either out with the carriage or away on other business, when, in the absence of any butler, the housemaid must assist.
For dinner, the footman lays the cloth, taking care that the table is not too near the fire, if there is one, and that passage-room is left. A tablecloth should be laid without a wrinkle; and this requires two persons: over this the slips are laid, which are usually removed preparatory to placing dessert on the table. He prepares knives, forks, and glasses, with five or six plates for each person. This done, he places chairs enough for the party, distributing them equally on each side of the table, and opposite to each a napkin neatly folded, within it a piece of bread or small roll, and a knife on the right side of each plate, a fork on the left, and a carving-knife and fork at the top and bottom of the table, outside the others, with the rests opposite to them, and a gravy-spoon beside the knife. The fish-slice should be at the top, where the lady of the house, with the assistance of the gentleman next to her, divides the fish, and the soup-ladle at the bottom: it is sometimes usual to add a dessert-knife and fork; at the same time, on the right side also of each plate, put a wine-glass for as many kinds of wine as it is intended to hand round, and a finger-glass or glass-cooler about four inches from the edge. The latter are frequently put on the table with the dessert.
The Footman will be under the control of the butler, and it will be greatly to his credit if every thing be kept in the neatest and best order. The decanters are apt to become furred, in which case they may be effectually cleansed and restored to their brilliancy, by scraping a raw potatoe into a pint of water: with this, rinse them, aad wash it out with clean water. An highly polished table and sideboard should be the foatman's pride: to obtain which, the Speenhausan receipt will very much contribute: take cold-drawn linsed oil, two quarts; alkanet-root bruised, two ounces; rose-pink, one ounce: put them together into a bottle, let them stand for a fortnight, shaking the bottle three or four times a day. To use this oil, the table must be first washed with warm vinegar, and when dry, the oil rubbed on with a linen cloth; in this state it should remain at least six hours, when it may be wiped off with linen, and then polished with a linen cloth. Observe, you must never use a woollen cloth. At every other cleaning, it will be sufficient to use the oily cloth, and polish with a dry one. Tables rubbed with oil, acquire in time a polish unattainable by any other means: the common tables at Speen Hill are a proof of this. But as this oil requires a constant and continued use, it may not perhaps, on the whole, be as well liked as the following: take four ounces of beeswax, and half an ounce of white rosin, melt them in one ounce of olive oil, adding rose-pink to make it of a beautiful colour; to this composition add as much spirit of turpentine as will make it of the thickness of honey. Rub it on the table with a piece of linen cloth, and polish with a clean cloth. The turpentine will fly off, consequently a little more must be added, as it grows too thick. Nothing will more effectually clean coats, etc. after they have been first beaten and brushed, than by sprinkling them with a little dry sand, and brushing it out with the grain of the cloth. Grease spots may be removed by scraping upon them a little French chalk, rubbing it in well with the finger, and afterwards brushing it off: or by dropping a few drops of spirit of turpentine upon it, and rubbing it in well. The best blacking for shoes, is made by dissolving the improved blacking-cake in water, which is sold by Bailey, in Cockspur Street. And the following is an invaluable recipe for cleaning boot-tops: take half an ounce of oil of vitriol, two ounces of water, and mix gradually in a strong earthen pot; (if not mixed gradually with the 'water, it will heat too much and crack the pot). With this liquid wash the boot-tops, and wipe them dry. Have ready the white of one egg well-beaten in the juice of a lemon, and when well mixed, add half a pint of milk. With this mixture, wash over the boot-tops: when dry, wash then. with milk and water, wipe them quite dry, and brush them with a clean hard brush.
Domestic Economy, by John Farley, 1811
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Duties of Page or "Buttons"
He assists the waitress in taking care of vestibule steps, sidewalk and area. He cleans the front door-knobs, washes up in the pantry, assists waitress in cleaning dining room and parlor floors and windows, attends front door and carries coal, wood, etc.