9 Annotations

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

dined by chance at my Lady Batten’s, and they sent for my wife, and there was my Lady Pen and Pegg.

"Home, Elizabeth - brought Pepys with me. Send someone to fetch his wife."
"But I've just invited the Pens and cook is already seething."
" Damn woman - tell her to add some more potatoes or something - plenty more cooks where she came from."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...dined by chance at My Lady..."

Hmmn...Guess we know who rules the Batten roost.

Pedro   Link to this

On this day...

According to Davidson in her biography of Catherine (sometimes has suspect dates) the infection was creeping closer to Whitehall and Catherine was sent to Hampton Court. By the 27th the terror had crept to Hampton Court itself, and it was necessary for the Royals to move further away.

Mary   Link to this

"dined by chance....."

I have the feeling that guests are quite often invited to share a family's midday meal on the spur of the moment; here it's at the Battens, but Sam's visitors also appear to take pot luck on numerous occasions. In households where the servants would frequently have been included in the general catering arrangements, I imagine that it would not be too difficult to have extra food sent up to the dining room, whilst the underlings had to make do with bread and cheese or some left-overs if the meat etc. would not stretch far enough.

We have not yet, I think, reached the age when a completely different dinner would be cooked especially for the members of the servants' hall.

CGS   Link to this

Welcome mat , and and having a nibble at the high table.
In my youth, it was very popular to have people participate in the family meal, even in servantless households, breaking bread with friends and even strangers be quite normal. Television change the ways of social interaction, Privacy became more important , and the fact that homemakers have gone the way of buggy whip makers and bit makers.
The sharing of a 'cuppa' [tea] and and a cucumber {S}sandwiche disappeared in south of England first, while in the north the folks of Yorkshire would often invite the likes of me to share a meal, along with the disappearance of old fashioned cafes, and Publick houses, the ways of life have change immensely.

Mary   Link to this

CGS takes too dim a view.

Hospitality is not dead, at least not in this bit of south-east England, though the sharp-eared visitor may just hear low whispers of "FHB" ("family, hold back") as he moves towards the table.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

I've just returned from a couple of weeks in Mexico (Zacatecas), where we boarded with a family. It was quite common for folks to show up at mealtimes unannounced, and there was always some more food in the pot to put on their plates, or our landlady would quickly heat up some tortillas and some sauce to fill them with. I suspect that's more common worldwide than our hyperscheduled lives in the U.S.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Mary - FHB is used in our household too! Though hospitality is now a lot easier with the advent of the freezer.

In households like Sam's, large joints would be cooked most days for dinners and the cold meat left over used for suppers, breakfasts and servants' meals. And on some days, the joint would not stretch to much leftovers!

language hat   Link to this

Just read this in Henri Troyat's (excellent) biography of Tolstoy:

"Students and cadets... flocked to the Behrs', where the door was always open and the table always set, according to the old custom of Russian hospitality. Here, as in all the better homes of Moscow, a large company of servants, underpaid and underemployed, loitered about in the hall, ate the leftovers from the meals and slept in the doorways and closets. ... Poor relations or strays, blown in by the wind like seeds, took root between a screen and a leather sofa and stayed for years, or for life. In those days, Moscow was still a patriarchal, unsophisticated city in which formal invitations might be issued to a supper or a ball, but the old custom of "tapers" was still in use for all other occasions. Those wishing to receive callers set lighted candles in a window looking out on the street, and any acquaintances happening to pass that way knew from the signal that they would be welcome, and rang the bell."

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