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Written by MelanieB
(2/12/2004 2:30 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Would they ever hire temporary help?, penned by kathleen (elder)
I found the following information in Venetia Murray's book "High Society in the Regency Period" which has a chapter on The Country House:
"It was taken for granted amongst the upper classes that a large part of the year would be spent in travelling aroud the country visiting friends and relations; and that they would be welcome at short notice, even though the party often consisted of the whole family and a retinue of servants, lady's maid, valet, nanny, governess, secretary and the ubiquitous family doctor."
She is describing the top echelon of society here - I can't imagine the Bingleys, for example had that kind of entourage and Darcy as has already been pointed out was a single man. But maybe scaled down a bit...?
I also found a description of life at Godmersham (the house where JA's brother Edward lived) in Claire Tomalin's biography of JA that says:
I believe in many big houses estate workers and their families would be called in to give extra help in the kitchens etc when required.
BTW, looking back to Lizzy and Jane's stay at Netherfield, when Lizzy declined to join in the card game because "she was afraid they were playing for high stakes" Murray says the Duke of York insisted his guests played whist for £5 a point plus £25 on the rubber, while the Duchess "played for fun" and usually set the stakes at her table at an upper limit of half a crown. I think Lizzy did well to stick to her book!
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