A Day in the Life of a Footman

Fiction By Raine // 8/23/2007

(this is a fictional account of an actual experience I had)

So you think being a chauffeur or footman is a boring job? You don’t want to be a servant? Well, let me tell you, while it's not always a piece of cake, being a footman has its perks. Like chocolate, for instance. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about the night that I was a footman, photographer and assistant chauffeur.

I wasn’t always a footman—or footwoman, I should say. I’m not usually one at all. I just take up the job when circumstance demands it. A while ago, circumstance demanded it. I happen to know this young gentleman who is graduating from that venerable institution of higher education, known as High School. He had everything planned and ready, his date, the tuxedo, the banquet tickets…everything he needed to have an extraordinary celebratory evening. Only…he found himself lacking in a couple things. A Chauffeur and a Footman (not to mention the shining carriage).

The day before, I received a request for my services as Footman and Assistant Chauffeur. He was a charming and dashing gentleman, and his mother’s winning offer was too good to refuse. She promised me dinner, an evening out, good company and chocolate. Now who could refuse that? Another young girl, known as Jenkins, was hired as Chauffeur and chief photographer. We both accepted willingly.

Now, life as an assistant chauffeur isn’t always glamorous. Oh indeed no. Many duties are reserved especially for the subservient. That very afternoon I began my duties and made ready the shining red carriage, polishing it from top to bottom. Unlike many footmen I have known, I was blessed enough to be hired by a kind and generous master, and he himself assisted me in the cleaning of said carriage! I must say I forgot myself as humble hired help and doused him from head to toe in chilly water. But even footmen have their moments of passing insanity!

After the mode of transportation was satisfactorily cleaned, I headed over to meet my fellow chauffeur. We took an hour to get properly attired and prepared for our evening as hired help. We were suited up and I made sure my long hair was tucked securely into my cap. We stood in front of the mirror for a few moments, practicing our stern and composed faces. We made sure we were poised and serious, as any sincere servant should be. Jenkins and I—my name, by the way, is Jeffries—got into the shining mini-van and went to pick up Sir Miles, our striking and sophisticated employer. He was elegantly dressed in a stunning tuxedo, and we gave him our compliments and approval, as any good footmen would. Then we took him to pick up the special young lady, Lady Erin. Before we reached her residence, we quietly but firmly informed our employer that we were bringing books to the banquet, “Sir, as subservient hired help, we are not required to associate with the upper crust.” He told us this was all right with him, and we reached the Lady’s home. I hurriedly opened the door for Sir Miles, and Jenkins and I armed ourselves with cameras, ready for their appearance on the steps. She was gorgeously arrayed in a simple, yet lovely red dress, and she looked positively beautiful. We took several pictures, than helped Lady Erin and Sir Miles into the vehicle. We had prepared for the drive, and put in a CD with quiet classical music that added richly to the drive. Jenkins and I kept our eyes to the front, our faces composed, and responding to our Masters directions with low monosyllables, referring to him as Sir and to the dear lady, as of course, Lady. The Lady I did not address as much as I did Sir Miles, as she would have found association with hired help beneath her, as she rightly should. Like most worthy servants, we were loyal and well known to Sir Miles and his family, so our words to him were less monotone and distant than they would have been, had we been newly acquainted. However, unlike most worthy servants, we were perhaps a bit too familiar, as you will see later.

We drove to the school grounds, and directed the Master and his Lady to their waiting families. We followed, remaining a respectable distance of four feet behind them as we followed.

Introductions were made as we met up with the other family, and we were surprised to find ourselves included in the introductions. Such generous employers!

We had barely taken the cameras out, when we were sent to fetch something to clean the Master’s jacket; somehow, Sir Miles had gotten something on the front of his tuxedo. We hurried back, and Jenkins proceeded to clean it for him. We took our cameras out again and immediately began snapping pictures. I don’t think a professional photographer could have done a better job, if I do say so myself.

Most people don’t pay much attention to the hired help. Thus Jenkins and I were able to spend most of our time walking around unobtrusively and unobserved. No one wants to lower themselves to speak with the servants, at least, not on such a special occasion.

Soon though, it was time to make our way to the High School, for the banquet would begin soon. Sir Miles and Lady Erin set off, and Jenkins and I fell into step behind them. As we walked, I found myself caught by an almost uncontrollable urge. I looked at Jenkins and whispered to her, “I feel a mad desire to make faces at their backs. They can’t see us, after all. No one is watching us.” Jenkins kept a stern face, but I could see her lips twitch. “It is awfully tempting,” she said. We walked a few more moments in silence, and then Jenkins halted and made an impish face at their backs. She grinned at me, and I quickly followed suit, crossing my eyes and making an equally mischievous face. Just then, Sir Miles turned around. We quickly composed our faces and resumed our roles as the dutiful hired help. I don’t believe they suspected a thing.

We made our way into the banquet area, and I held the masters chair out for him. Jenkins and I retreated farther down the table, a respectable distance from the upper class. We sat ourselves down beside our employer’s younger sister, with whom we were quite glad to sit.

The Dinner was served buffet style, and our table was the last to get up to serve themselves. As we went through the line, Sir Miles decided he wanted two plates, but he wasn’t sure how he was going to carry two dishes of food. I was the dutiful footman after all, and I reminded him of my station, and he handed me his plate, with instructions to Jenkins and I to fill it with heaping helpings. We did so, and made sure he received it safely. I had just seated myself in front of my own plate of food, when I happened to look up. Sir Miles tipped his head in my direction and snapped his fingers. I stood up immediately and made my way around the table to him. After all, a footman’s work is never done. I tied a large plastic bag around his neck—like a large napkin—to protect his clothing. “Thank you Jeffries. Would you see if the Lady Erin wants one as well?”
“Yes Sir, very good Sir.” I replied humbly and proceeded to offer one to the Lady Erin. She accepted and I spread it over her lap.

Dinner was as good as promised, if not better, and worth my time. Jenkins and I opened our books, and read throughout most of the talks that followed the banquet. I, at least, was unfamiliar with most of the people involved, and I quite enjoyed my book. We also took the liberty of loosening our collars and removing our hats, as it did not seem to upset our employers, and we found we could relax a bit. There were a couple musical numbers that night, which were very beautiful and moving. Sir Miles himself was in one of them. He was very much his usual exuberant self, putting his whole self into his performance. As he returned to his seat, I was there to congratulate him on his marvelous singing and to hold his chair for him.

As the banquet ended, Jenkins and I prepared ourselves to take more pictures, outside in front of a magnificent building. We made good use of our remaining film, and followed Sir Miles and Lady Erin around until it was all gone. Then we withdrew to stand by his mother, watching the other couples walk by, and commenting on the lovely dresses. There were many gorgeous dresses, and we picked out our favorites. The gentlemen were all dressed very handsomely as well, though none so elegantly as our own Sir Miles.

We had a lovely conversation with his mother as we watched. At one point Madam laughed and said to us, “Oh dear, the things you Chauffeurs hear!” Jenkins replied, “Oh, well, we’re very good at keeping things quiet Ma’am. It’s part of our job.”

Madam soon went up the hill to visit with some acquaintances of hers. Soon after, she beckoned us closer and asked us to fetch Sir Miles for her. I quickly acquiesced and searched out the Master. I found him, and respectfully tapped him on the shoulder telling him, “Sir, your mother requests your presence at the top of the hill.” He nodded, and Jenkins and I followed him up the hill. He visited with the ladies there, and we were introduced. They were playing some music, and Sir Miles began dancing in the parking lot with his mother. Soon, she tired and the Madam invited us to dance instead. As no one was watching, Jenkins and I threw caution to the wind and our hats to the ground, and our good employer began dancing with both of us. This dashing, sophisticated gentleman stood in the parking lot, dancing with his two loyal chauffeurs. It was highly enjoyable! Though I am sure any of the higher class would have been scandalized to see such behavior from such respectable looking chauffeurs, and such a handsome and dignified gentleman. As you can see…we may have known our master just a bit too well. Or perhaps he should have picked more serious and reputable hired help. Ah…but we enjoyed letting our hair down for a few moments. As I have said before, Chaffeurs do have their moments of passing insanity!

Soon though, Sir Miles went to find his Lady, and take her to the ball. Jenkins and I escorted Madam down the hill and to the dance as well, where she wanted to watch Sir Miles for a few moments. We took more pictures, as Sir Miles asked his mother to dance and swept her around the room. It was very enjoyable to watch the dancing! I don’t dance well, so it is always pleasing to see people who can. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were however, a few instances when Sir Miles, and anyone else with a good up bringing had to leave the room. I was proud of the Master for setting such a good example. Other than those, it seemed to be a fine evening. The room was stunningly decorated, right to the point of having a beautiful chandelier hanging in the middle of the room!

Lady Erin went off to visit some of her friends, and Jenkins and I again threw caution to the wind, and danced with Sir Miles. He taught us a few new dances, which went well for Jenkins who has been blessed with natural grace and poise. It was rather difficult for me, on the other hand, who have always been terribly clumsy and awkward when it comes to moving gracefully or smoothly. And yet, I quite enjoyed myself. I’m sure the people around us were shocked to see such a distinguished gentleman lower himself to dance with his subordinates. That is precisely what makes him such a wonderful employer!

Lady Erin suddenly appeared at his elbow, and we felt that it was time for us to depart. We took Madam out to the vehicle, opening the doors for her and treating her as well as we had treated Sir Miles. After purchasing some refreshments, we returned to their home and settled down to wait until the ball was over, when we would be summoned again. We had a marvelous visit with Madam, and watched a bit of a very good play. Soon, however, the phone rang. It was for Jenkins. She listened for a moment, then said, “Yes Sir. Right away Sir. Very good Sir.” And informed me that we were back on duty. We took ten minutes to tidy up, then quickly headed over to the school. I hopped out of the vehicle and bowed, letting Lady Erin and Sir Miles climb in. We dropped the Lady off to change, and hurried the Master home to change as well. They were planning on going to a party, out at a friends mansion. When Sir Miles came upstairs, we had a few spare minutes so we asked him how he had enjoyed his evening, and Sir Miles shared a box of chocolate with Jenkins and I. The chocolate was divine. We then took Sir Miles to pick up his lady, but before she entered the vehicle, we took a moment to share some motherly advice with our master, feeling inclined to do so as he went out into the wide world. Any good footman would have done the same. “Remember who you are and what you stand for, Sir”, we cautioned him, among other things. We then picked up the Lady Erin, who still looked as lovely as ever, and was still as gracious as ever. We delivered them safely to their destination, and returned to the home, where we intended to leave the vehicle and retire to our respective locations. However, we got conversing with Madam and another of her sons, about the evening. Soon, it was rather late. Suddenly, the phone rang again and it was Sir Miles. It was a bit of a surprise to us, as he had planned to stay longer, and had hired someone else to bring him home. Madam answered the phone, and upon finding he wanted a ride home told him that our chauffeuring services were still available. We quickly went out to the car and picked up Sir Miles…he had felt like it was right for him to come home. He thanked us profusely for waiting up for him, and for being such wonderful chauffeurs. We took another few pieces of chocolate and returned him to his home.

That was my day, as a Footman, assistant chauffeur and photographer. I had a highly enjoyable time, I was well paid and my fellow Chauffeur was marvelous company. I had the best employers any footman could ever ask for, and I would gladly assist them again at any time, in any way.

Comments

Woot!

Nice! I almost was was tired and excited at the same time at the end. VERY well written and I could totally feel what you felt. Man, some people get it all. XD Kidding. Nice job!

And I love being randomly insane. ;)
-Matthew

Matthew | Wed, 08/29/2007

-The Werewolf Prince.

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