, Derry, New Hampshire


February 21, 2013

Column: Pondering the lives of the rich and British


Servants dress and undress the Crawley family all day long. The women get their hair braided before retiring for the night.

Want to drive Master Crawley and his valet nuts? Hide his white-tie dinner wear so he’s forced to dress down for the New Year’s Eve festivities. While his lordship had to suffer his mother’s evil glances, he managed to get through the evening in a black-tie ensemble.

Years ago, I received a gift certificate to a high-end Boston restaurant. I love good food, and there was plenty of it that night, but I couldn’t adjust myself in my seat without one waiter or another refilling my water glass or scraping crumbs off the tablecloth. I expect close quarters while riding the subway, but I need some elbowroom to enjoy a meal.

I could get used to breakfast in bed — every morning. And I wouldn’t mind being driven around, because those early 20th century buses didn’t look very comfortable. But if an obedient servant took out his brush to tidy up my jacket before dinner? Nope, that crosses the creepy line. In which case I’d head straight to the lower chamber. Besides, the Crawley servants seem to have much more fun than their masters.


John Edmondson is a teacher in Hampstead.

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