The Good Servant Guide – everything you need to know about finding the right staff
A gentlewoman is a sensitive and highly personal appointment for any mistress of a grand house to make. She will be her lady’s private confidant and must be absolutely trustworthy. She will come from a good family.
We met with Maria the gentlewoman to the esteemed Countess Olivia and asked her to tell us some of the important aspects of the role.
Good Servant Guide- Maria, tell us how you see the role of gentlewoman.
Maria- Well, you know, it is a very intimate position to hold. You dress your lady, help choose her clothes and share the most private parts of her life.
GSG- If a grand lady is looking for a new gentlewoman, what sort of person should she look for?
Maria- A lady would need to find someone who is very trustworthy and discreet. She requires someone she can share her most private thoughts and secrets with. You also share her sad moments like the bereavement my lady has suffered, but I also think a gentlewoman should also have a good sense of humour.
GSG- Sense of humour? Why is that important?
Maria- Well, being a grand lady can be very serious and she will sometimes need to be able to laugh. Her gentlewoman can laugh with her and take away some of the pressures. It is really important if some of her other staff are stuffy and self-important.
GSG- Can you give our readers an example?
Maria- Oh yes! In our house there is a steward who is very serious and seems to think he is in charge and not my lady. It helps my lady that we can laugh about him behind his back at times. It brings a lighter atmosphere making a change from his seriousness
GSG- Thank you Maria for giving us a glimpse into the life of a gentlewoman. Our readers now know what kind of person they need to look out for.