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The Pickle

Atualizado: 28 de fev. de 2023

A young new footman named Arthur had seen a cooking opportunity to work at the Ritz, London, in a local newspaper. As a servant in an affluential family estate owned by a Lord and Duchess in the early 20th century, he wanted to improve his career prospects.

Carter the Butler ran an organized team who wore uniforms while on duty. Footmen had to wear formal dress which meant black tie while serving at the table and during the working day.

Two of the most important and natural qualities of the Butler were his professionalism and attentiveness. As an employee of the household, the Butler needed to exude a professional attitude at all times, remaining calm and attentive to the needs of family members and guests.

The butler was in charge of the dining room, the wine cellar, pantry, and sometimes the entire main floor which included lady's maids, cooks, cleaners, etc. Directly under the butler was the first footman (or head footman), although there could also be a deputy butler or under-butler who would fill in as butler during the butler's illness or absence. He was a good boss to Arthur, and encouraged him to go after his dreams.

Arthur used to get on with the kitchen staff who prepared lavish dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Actually, he used to learn how to cook from them. After practicing, and even supplying his cooked pastries to family members he was praised for his efforts. Bearing in mind he enjoyed it so much; he took it upon himself to apply for the competition.

He received an invitation to participate, purchased a train ticket to London, and went up there to give it his best shot. The French chef who was judging the dishes being made, liked Arthur’s cuisine.

A week later, he opened a posted letter and was pleasantly surprised that he had placed in the top three contestants, and won a spot on the Ritz team of cooks.

After opening the correspondence one morning whilst having breakfast with the other house staff, he mentioned how he felt.

Footman four, Arthur said, “I feel rather worried!”

“What is there to be nervous about?” Said footman three.

Carter cut in, “That’s because you’re intelligent Arthur. Only stupid people are foolhardy.”

Footman three looked puzzled, and was rather embarrassed by his boss’s support for Arthur.

Even the most confident of people find the prospect of starting a new job nerve-wracking.

After all, nerves are the body's natural response to change and feeling a sense of nervous anticipation before any pivotal change in our lives is completely normal.

Have a terrific day!

Prof. Carl Boniface

*Source based on Downton Abbey (Netflix series)

Bonus section:


Indulge in a slice of the finest British tea tradition and a champagne celebration with our Afternoon Tea experiences at The Ritz London.

Whilst dining at The Ritz, savour a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and a mouth-watering range of exquisitely presented pastries and teacakes, replenished on request.

As well as 18 different types of loose-leaf tea to choose from, why not sip a glass of Champagne to add some extra sparkle to the occasion.

This most charming English Afternoon Tea in Mayfair is served in the spectacular surroundings of The Palm Court.

The Ritz London is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Master, Gian Domenico Scanu, who travels around the world to various tea plantations to source their wonderful teas.

Next time you are in central London then why not try their exclusive Ritz Royal Blend Tea at just £70 a head? This is only available at The Ritz.

Vocabulary builder:

Footman (n) = a liveried servant whose duties include admitting visitors and waiting at table. Historically, a soldier in the infantry.

Liveried (adj) = uniformed, costumed, dressed up

Pickle (n) = plight, difficulty, bind, fix, jam, predicament, mess

Butler (n) = is in charge of running a house belonging to a wealthy person. Usually a man, however highly prized, female Butlers are able to fill many exciting opportunities often with an employer who feels more comfortable with a female in charge of their household or with the many middle eastern clients who for cultural reasons prefer a female Butler.

Exude (v) = radiate, display, show, project, (of a person) display (an emotion or quality) strongly and openly.

Nervous (adj) = worried, anxious, edgy, panicky, tense. “I’ve been rather nervous about going to London on my own, since receiving the invitation.

Foolhardy (adj) = reckless, imprudent, foolish, unwise, hotheaded, impulsive, unsafe, irresponsible, (ant) sensible

Nerve-wracking (adj) = nail-biting, menacing, intimidating, tense, worrying

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