The Butler’s Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces, by Stanley Ager with Fiona St. Aubyn
Since few of us today have the luxury of having a butler on tap, the fine old ways of managing household duties are fast disappearing, gone the way of the horse and cart and housemaids. Before he passed away, a respected English butler of the last century joined forces with the granddaughter of his last employer to write this useful guide to help others acquire the skills necessary to make a good impression on employers (if planning to become a butler) and guests and maintain the household elegantly. From these pages you can learn how to properly clean and care for silverware, clothing, books, leather, furniture, floors, and much more. Ager includes explicit directions for packing clothing so as to avoid wrinkles as well as storage advice to keep everything in good condition. The second half of the book deals with “managing the table” – from selecting wine and spirits through setting (“laying”) the table, folding napkins, serving, washing up and storing tableware. It’s fascinating as well as useful reading, because by way of introduction, Ager recounts his experiences as a butler for various masters, revealing a way of life most Americans will never know.
Hardcover, 205 pages plus index.