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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1965

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The domestic duties of the butler are to bring in the eatables at breakfast and wait upon the family at that meal, assisted by the footman, and see to the cleanliness of everything at table. On taking away, he removes the tray with the china and plate, for which he is responsible. At luncheon, he arranges the meal, and waits un-assisted, the footman being now engaged in other duties. At dinner, he places the silver and plated articles on the table and sees that everything is in its place. Where the dishes are carved on the dinner table he carries in the first dish, and announces in the drawing-room that dinner is on the table, and respectfully stands by the door until the company are seated, when he takes his place behind his master's chair on the left, to remove the covers, handing them to the other attendants to carry out. After the first course of plates is supplied, his place is at the sideboard to serve the wines, but only when called on. The first course ended, he rings the cook's bell, and hands the dishes from the table to the other servants to carry away, receiving from them the second course, which he places on the table, removing the covers as before, and again taking his place at the sideboard.

Carving at dinner is now generally done by the butler, for even the every-day family dinner is not put upon the table, the chief man-servant carving each dish at a side table. After serving the soups the butler has time to pour out the wine taken after that course, then he returns to his post at the side table. Entrées have now so superseded the old-fashioned joints, that a skilful carver can easily manage to do all that is necessary even at a large dinner.

After dinner the butler receives the dessert from the other servants, and arranges it on the table, with plates and glasses, and then takes his place behind his master's chair to hand the wines and ices, while the footman stands behind his mistress for the same purpose, the other attendants leaving the room.

Before dinner he should satisfy himself that the lamps, candles, electric globes or gas burners are in perfect order, if not lighted, which will usually be the case. Having served every one with their share of the dessert, put the fires in order (when these are used), and seen the lights are all right, at a signal from his master, he and the footman leave the room. He now proceeds to the drawing-room, arranges the fireplace, and sees to the lights; he then returns to his pantry, prepared to answer the bell, and attend to the company, while the footman is clearing away and cleaning the plate and glasses.

At tea he again attends. At bedtime he appears with the candles; he locks up the plate, secures doors and windows, and sees that all the fires are safe.

In addition to these duties, the butler, where only one footman is kept, will be required to perform some of the duties of the valet and to pay bills. But the real duties of the butler are in the wine cellar; there he should be competent to advise his master as to the price and quality