A Lady's valet

He never forgets a single bag or hat-box; buys tickets and tips the guard efficiently, secures a reserved railway compartment; brings the noble Lady tea at the stations (for he travels third-class) and has everything unpacked and ready by the time She leisurely strolls upstairs to dress. He has always the same noiseless step and perfect sleekness and politeness of manner, the same absolute good temper and gentleness of tone, with the same subserviency of voice, the same enthusiasm and energy in his work. He polishes Her boots till She can see Her face in them; clothes are pressed, dried and ironed; hats are brushed; hot water is always at the ready; whips are greased to perfection; the carriage meticulously washed and cleaned; the horses groomed and fed. A Lady’s valet is an unique specimen of fine manners, humility, obedience and complete submission. What he lacks in intelligence he makes up for the vows he makes to serve and obey a Lady. There is veneer, but no real value underneath. Yet, take him all in all, a Lady’s valet is agreeable to live with, easy to manage, useful, faithful and devoted, meek and obedient and without any wishes of his own. He submits with all fear to a Lady, not only if She’s kind and reasonable, but also if She’s strict, perverse and cruel. December 1898 – Lady Rose

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