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To the Manor Born

My dearest reader,

This letter hopes to find you and your family well and that the fortunes of employment bestowed upon you are sufficient so as to alleviate your most strenuous anxiety that frequently attends the lack of an income.  The news daily importunes a great degree of future distress and depression on that front but I beg you leave off such ruminations.  For it is a truth universally acknowledged that bailout recipients of great fortune are surely in want of retainers.

Gentle reader, take heart.  We shall all be wanted to serve our masters most diligently.  There shall be need of cooks, chaffeurs and gardeners and we will simplify the need of our betters to have to remember our names.  So shall we be called “Cook”, “Foote” and “my own Gardener”.  We shall see the world too as we will be required to set up the many houses upon which our masters will depend for their amusement.  Verily, our cares will be few as we will be relieved of even the details of our costume with the new livery we shall be required to wear.  Musicians and cookery artists may gain full employment now by attaching themselves to one houshold or another, thereby ensuring a modest steady income that will make tolerable the lack of taste that is the failure of good understanding in the ruthlessly fittest.  Is there a felicity in the world superior to this?

Indeed, such a change is already taking place and it will not be long before we entertain ourselves with the arrangements of the nuptials of the gentility.  How much merry  we will make over the sport of alliances between houses of many billions and poor connexions indeed will the girl have who will settle for less than $5 million a year.  Of those of us who cannot go into service but will be left among the professional class, it is true that we cannot all benefit half so well,  But those among us with a natural inclination for the sciences will by necessity attach ourselves to the billionaire biologists who live on their interest and can dabble at leisure on the cure for cancer.  Meanwhile, there will be no further need of scientific inquiry that does not directly benefit our betters and what financial interest they have in the area of innovation will find it thought of by those few remaining who can afford it and carried out in the Indies by those whose lives depend upon it.

Be of good cheer.  Your degrees will not be for naught as diligence in improving ones mind must always find employment in entertaining the spirit during a lifetime of artless routine.  There will always be an opportunity to move up in the world for your daughters, so take care to educate them as well as you can and guard their excesses lest they be thought below the station of the company they intend to keep. As for your sons, the militia is an honorable profession.

I beg to take leave of you now but I hope this missive has had the effect of good persuasion and that you will in every way endeavor to exert yourself to optimism and hope.  It can not be long now before we shall be required to adjust to our reduced circumstances, which will affect in us a discipline to such an extent that will in time reduce the surplus population.   To be sure,  pliancy and resiliance of spirit will serve ourselves and our future masters well.

Your most humble and obediant servant, etc.,


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43 Responses

  1. Indeed, you make excellent points – but what about us older folks? and the faxt that some of us might not “want to serve no stinkin’ masters”

  2. I have been lifting weights. I am hoping to be a kitchen serf and will need to be able to lift those 10-15 gallon pots used during the banquets and celebrations.

    I have no other serviceable skills with which to serve my master.

  3. ooops “fact” not faxt

  4. LOL! I love it! Ms. Austen could not have done better, RD.

  5. I believe thee, fair Gentlewoman, will forevermore be able to obtain employment as a Jane Austen impersonator, for the many landed Gentry as may require such amusement.

  6. Be of good cheer. Your degrees will not be for naught as diligence in improving ones mind must always find employment in entertaining the spirit during a lifetime of artless routine.

    So true-I find myself repeating that 24/7- LOL!

    Fantastic Post!

  7. Ah yes, twill be good to speak with one another on an evening after we lay down our rakes and pots to trade stories and tales of those degrees we earned and our own silly vanity that made us think we might someday
    profit from the fruits of the labors of our minds. Perhaps we may read to one another from the old classics like the Constiution and fall asleep on our rags before the hearth.

    • Provided we have coal for that hearth.

      • i thought we’d probably be just be burning dung. I mean, should those we serve deem us worthy of such warmth.

      • Some among us can go down into the mines. It’s “dark as a dungeon” down there, but we’ll go to please our masters.

        • And if we fall by the wayside from exhaustion or lack of oxygen, or the mines cave in, we can still rejoice that we did our duty. For that we shall be rewarded in the hereafter.

          • Our reward will necessarily be in the hereafter. You cannot expect the upper class to acknowledge you. It would be beneath their dignity and you do not need their praise or renumeration. Content yourself with heavenly thoughts and be a more ruthless bastard upon your reincarnation.

          • Such worthy aspirations!

  8. BTW, RD is that your house at the top of this thread??? 🙂

    • It will be if the present owners agree to take me on in some small capacity. I think I may be overqualified as a scullery maid but I could work in the kitchen. I’m very good at chopping onions.

  9. So many good and proper things to do and think that our minds so full of filth will be cleansed and we will only entertain pure thoughts. We will be rid of yearning for health care or paying for it.

    Equality will remain the same – it will be for the gentry not genders. [Cue in Masterpiece Theater theme]

  10. Alas, with no skills to speak of, I will without doubt become the “piss boy”, a la History of the World Part I.

    That being said I will be able to extract revenge by tripping frequently and spilling said piss all over the brocade shoes.

  11. I think the real meaning of the Twilight Zone aliens book title “To Serve Man’ is just now being revealed…
    A fun thing happened in the titles placement when tabloids were swooning over Obama’s visit to Iraq

  12. Will I be able to claim my uniforms and clogs on my yearly tribute?

  13. I humbly offer my baby delivering skills during these difficult times.

    (But since we are all a bunch of old lesbians, they probably won’t be needed, huh?)

    • Talking about babies … and their mothers:
      “MEPs who become pregnant during their terms cannot go on maternity leave but have to step down from their position if they want to spend time with their babies.”

      So the husband of this Danish member took maternity leave instead, when they moved to Bruxelles and became a stay-at-home dad. When it’s time for nursing he sms’s her. 🙂

      But in this instance he had to go back to Denmark and she brought her baby with her to the Parliament. The story is ALL over, but this rendition sounds pretty much accurate.

  14. Thank you for the job advice RD. I myself was an excellent baker before I sullied my mind with law school. As there is currently no middle class able to purchase my modest services, and soon the legal rights of the poor will be nil, due processs suspended, and the children of the poor even now are speedily removed from their parents’ care on the slimmest of pretext, I shall retire to my kitchen to perfect sugary treats for the thin, gym owning rich to devour.

  15. One is amused.

  16. A bit cheeky, that one.

    VERY well done, RD.

    Your next career beckons…those tofs will need something to read…

    • I was going to write in the style of Austen about the dinner I had with some pretentious people in Manhattan last weekend but will probably save it for a book. Maybe I can eek out a small living and will not be a burden to my family.

  17. Very amusing, my dear, but i fear i will not have so far to fall as you.
    I see myself back on the farm where my grandparents (and relatives backward in time) came from- I can survive that.
    My thoroughly modern offspring will be in for a rude awakening though- he will wail when the Wii and ipod are lost. And he might have to learn to enjoy reading- oh, horrors!

  18. Hmmmm. Have you all noticed how the folks who are 50 and older are getting laid off? I have four friends who are just over 50 who got dumped. They are really having trouble adapting. I don’t think they will ever find a job that will pay what they used to make although they could find jobs for about half that much. Also their 401Ks are down 45%. I really think employers are taking this chance to dump folks who make bigger salarys and could cost the company retirement benifits in the next few years and replace them with youngsters. This has to have an effect on the economy.

    • Hmmmm. Have you all noticed how the folks who are 50 and older are getting laid off?

      That’s been true for a good many years now. I’ve known a number of people who, in thier 50’s , got das boot just before retirement and or when the health care becomes more expensive. It’s just there are so many of us now in our 50’s, it’s even more noticeable.

  19. Madam: We shall be gently weaned from the credit card teat so nobly extended to the humbler among us. Only in the most recent moments have I not received a letter from the great House of B of A letting me know in the most gentle but firm tones that interest rates and fees would be climbing from 15% to 25%. So pleased was I to know that this House of Bankruptcy and Angst would be able to move forward in collecting more from the masses now that the masses have so nobly given of their taxiful bounty in billions to this great House of B of A. How sad I was to look at my own coffers and conclude that I must reject their kind offer to fleece me more since I can no longer afford the luxury of their bountifulness. These are but the times that try men’s souls and for women’s souls there are no words that measure the pleasure of the time.

  20. Me, I plan on remaining rebellious with an eye to causing much consternation amongst the gentry. Perhaps I will take to the woods with what merry folk I can find to assist me in my adventure.

  21. Feudalism, Redux. Nailed.

    “Little Women” — Redux.

    Oh, RD.



    In our lifetimes……

  22. Can I be a Highway man? Or at least one of the rabble that the gentry are always being annoyed by?

    It will be my luck that they will just dress me up as a fox, give me a five minute head start, then turn the dogs loose on me for their amusement. So there’s no mistake let me just say here, “Me doth hate it when that happens”. 🙂

  23. A chemist AND a prose writer–you are a true talent RD 🙂

    I should have posted my comment on this thread (but read above first) that talked about the young woman on the radio today who was repeating the drek Obama feeds the masses about fighting the banks/rich to empower the average American. The sheer hypocrisy and injustice of what he is really doing with Timmy–to bail out their friends and benefactors who really are to the Manor born–is galling. This young woman thinks he’s Robin Hood, and he’s really a con man.

  24. Missed reading you this morning, RD, but this was worth the wait. I wish I could respond in kind, but the words elude me.

  25. Oh, he’s Robin Hood all right—but in reverse.

    Those of us lucky enough to still live on the family farm will soon be growing a lot more food crops, I think. I know I will.

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