The Real Regency Rake: His Servants

We’ve already discussed Mytton’s agent, that long-suffering fellow from Oswestry, who tried in vain to stay his master’s impulsive spending. Wily merchants, like the pheasant dealer who stocked birds for Mytton’s heronry, learned to bypass Mr. Longueville and apply directly to the baronet for payment. Mytton had a reputation for honoring his debts on the spot, in their entirety. Unfortunately for his agent, he would send the applicant to Oswestry with his invoice in hand upon which was written simply: “Right” and signed “John Mytton.”

John Mytton had several grooms with designated occupations. One had the unlikely name of Tinkler–his “home stud” groom. Tinkler’s job was to oversee his master’s race horse breeding operations. Nimrod reports this employee was of the “old sort,” a “careful nurser of young racing stock.” Mytton was quite in charity with this thinking, not wanting his young stock to be raced too soon. Unfortunately, when other horsemen pushed their young colts and fillies to the track early, Mytton’s stock hadn’t a chance.  “Too fond of green meat,” they said of the groom, and the master.

Valets, as you might have guessed, must needs have their work judged by the turnout of their employer. In Arabella , Heyer gives us an unforgettable image of the posh hero’s body-servant Mr. Painswick (and that name is rather glorious in its setting, you can be sure):

Thank heavens for that little grocery in Staines!

Thank heavens for that little grocery in Staines!

“Your boots, Sir! You will never use a jack!”

“Certainly not,” said Mr. Beaumaris. “Some menial shall pull them off for me.”

Mr. Painswick gave a groan. “With greasy hands, Sir!  And only I know what it means to get a thumb-mark off your Hessians!”

Mytton, in contrast to the elegant Mr. Beaumaris, is a rake. He cares not what society thinks of the state of his Hessians. Which is why he elevated a stable-boy to the rank of valet. It was perhaps an unlucky thing for the boy, who was with Mytton when his four-in-hand, by mistake, turned down a closed road and crashed into a barrier. The valet, riding in the coach with his master, suffered serious injuries. Mytton, as was usually case, came out without a scratch.

In the midst of so much carelessness in Mytton’s service, some fraud was bound to occur. Nimrod was astonished to see a favored servant of Mytton’s roaming aimlessly in Shrewsbury.

“I have left Mr. Mytton’s service,” said the man.

“How so?” observed I, with surprise, knowing him to have been a favourite servant.

Apparently said employee had been induced to change the veterinarian’s bill (is that so wrong?) to pocket the extra change from Mytton’s ever-ready and generous hand. And so he might have gotten away with it but for our man Longueville who discovered the discrepancy. It was Nimrod who interceded for the servant, having always demonstrated good character during his service with a Shrewsbury clergyman. Mytton, in typical fashion, forgave his servant and kicked him back in the servants’ hall with an order to put on his livery.

crash

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7 thoughts on “The Real Regency Rake: His Servants

  1. It is hard to think one would have so many servants. They were necessary to run big estates. Imagine trying to keep up with all those people! Good post.

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    • Yes–I’m quite in agreement. Youngsters had to have those cannon bones blistered and other obnoxious cures administered. Mytton had the right of it with his horses, I should say.

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  2. He sounds like a good master and horse owner. A shame he wasn’t a better husband to his wife and property. But really, Angelyn, Robert Beaumaris would be shocked to have been included in company with Mytton!

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