15 APRIL 1938, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—Through a series of misfortunes I find myself having to take any job. I therefore decided to try domestic work— in view of the alleged shortage of labour in that sphere. Now, being a man, I neither like household work nor regard it as a manly occupation. It is not. But I can do it average well and am prepared to, for reasonable people. However from the one or two contacts I have made with potential employers I have honestly been scared stiff at the prospect of working for them.

Perhaps the problem of servants has got to such a state that it accounts for the almost bored and indifferent way in which one is interviewed—the manner which plainly says " Oh dear ! this one's probably the same and won't last long." As for the manners of some people who live in the monied position to employ household servants, they are atrocious ; for sheer vulgarity they could not be matched by a scullery- maid !

Recently I interviewed a woman with lips like a pillar-box, who, though thinking it necessary to smoke—yes, and drink— while interrogating me, did not apparently know that it is manners to ask even a potential servant to take a seat ! One is treated with cold disdain, without either a handshake, a welcoming smile or any attempt to create a decent atmosphere. One can only guess how awful is the treatment once you are inside the houses of these people.

My grandfather and grandmother knew how to treat their domestic employees and my mother, too, but today the scales are turned, and it is largely those whose forbears were servants who are in the position to employ them today, and are doing all the grumbling. They must learn to treat servants in a

humane fashion.—Yours truly, ERNEST PAULEY.