ON FAMILIES LEAVING THEIR TOWN HOUSES IN CARE OF SERVANTS

The following paragraph from the "Morning Chronicle" of the 21st November, 1851, shows how essentially necessary to families is the adoption of a proper mode in leaving their houses in charge of one servant on their going out of town; and not, as is often the case, in care of the whole of the domestics; for in the latter instance each has an equal right, and consequently no control exists to give protection to the house.

SHERIFF'S COURT, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON.
Thursday, Nov. 20M, 1851.
BEFORE MB. DEPUTY- SHERIFF BURCHELL.
Ann Harrison against Count C and Bottley.
This action was brought in the Court of Exchequer to recover compensation in damages for an assault. The judgment was suffered to go by default, and the inquiry in the Sheriff's Court was simply to ascertain the amount of damages. The case stated: —
Ann Harrison was engaged as cook, in July, 1851, by the countess. The cook afterwards left, of her own accord, for eight or nine days, and was re-engaged by the countess on the Friday in August previous to the Saturday of her ladyship leaving town for Glasgow. Whilst the countess was out of town, a misunderstanding having taken place between her cook and the butler, Mr. Bottley, the butler is said to have induced a friend resident in the house, and also the young count, a child thirteen years old, to order the cook to leave the house. She refused, stating that it was the countess alone who could discharge her, and who had not done so. At half-past ten at night, after the cook had gone up to bed and partly undressed, the friend is said (together with Mr. Bottley and a policeman in disguise) to have entered her bedroom, and at length forced her out of the house into the streets; where another policeman, finding her at one o'clock in the morning, directed her to a passage in Belgrave-mews, therein merely to stand from out of the pouring rain; and there she stopped till six o'clock in the morning, for she had no home.

After the deputy-sherifif summed up, the jury found a verdict for (the cook, Ann Harrison,) plaintiff. Damages, 50£.

This case of Harrison and Bottley clearly shows that neither party at issue had the power of sending a refractory servant from the house.

Occurrences like this, and of such painful and annoying character, it is suggested, might be always easily avoided, and that simply by the nobleman, or gentleman previously to leaving town giving his written authority of trust to one of his faithful servants, or to some other responsible person, placing him in the sole charge of his house, and resting responsibility upon him alone.
The Household Manager, By Charles Pierce, 1857
Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged, 1863