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U3A Writing: What The Butler Saw

...A butler’s life can be very demanding and there are some things he should be very careful in discussing, even with Sir and Madam...

Barrie Mansell tells an observant tale.

There was a distinct clatter of high heels on the polished timber in the hallway; the Hall Clock chimed three o’clock. A cultured female voice enquired amongst the crescendo of activity, “Are you there Richard?”

“Yes Madam.”

The briefest of smiles were exchanged as they closed to within a couple of metres.

“Gordon will be late in this evening, a committee meeting at the club, as I recall.” She paused apparently considering her next comment. “Peter is probably out with his University mates, so there will be no need to prepare any evening meal for us.”

She smiled briefly, “In fact you can have a quiet night with the television.”

“Thank you Madam.” His eyes appraised her attire. “Madam is attending the Charity Dinner; your outfit suits you beautifully”

“Thank you Richard, you are so kind.”

They both turned away, he to his duties in the back room, she toward the front door, which she opened, viewed the darkening sky and returned to the hall cupboard and selected a raincoat and an umbrella. Returning to the doorway, she departed closing the door rather more firmly than Richard would have thought necessary.

Richard continued tidying the shelves for another ten minutes or so. A tea break followed in the kitchen, he read the paper intently, especially about the people across the street who recently had a party which included some frolics in the bedrooms that were captured in some rather revealing positions, the mistress of the house certainly was well blessed, her male companion appeared to be very devoted to her satisfaction. Obviously this was interesting to Richard if his deep concentration was a guide.

Sir and Madam appeared to live rather staid lives; the young Master appeared to have a bolder life style, while Richard always appeared to be a very private person. At odd times strange female attire appeared in Peter’s bedroom, the publications that lay about demonstrated a strong interest in the female form rather than the study of law. Richard in his housekeeping could not overlook the quality of the photographs in these scattered items.

Sometime after Richard consumed his evening meal and a rather nice glass of red wine from Sir’s extensive collection he tidied up; it was time for Madam’s suggested television, and as everyone was out, the television in the lounge was the perfect choice.

The hall clock chimed eight, a rattle of the front door lock announced the return of someone. Richard turned off the television and was about to welcome the home comer, a girlish giggle, then Peter’s slightly intoxicated whisper suggesting, “Be quiet Maria, you mustn’t disturb the Butler!” More girlish giggles brought an exaggerated, “Ssssh.”

Richard had a fleeting glimpse of Peter and a young Maria disappearing into the young master’s bedroom. The door closed firmly behind them, the sounds of youthful enjoyment could be heard even in Richard’s room when he retired, the passion finally abated.

Richard always an early riser, briefly sighted the young Maria departing out the front door, Peter kissed her passionately, then closed the door behind her, quietly returning to his room, the six o’clock chimes providing a cover for his movements.

At breakfast, the family were their usual quiet reserved selves, Richard served their selections, topping up the coffees and clearing the finished plates as required.

Madam enquired of Peter, “You were in early last night Peter!”

Peter had a slight smirk on his lips, “Yes Mother, but I was hard at it all day.”

Sir, with a degree of fatherly concern offered, “You mustn’t overdo it Peter, you know all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Peter appeared to have some difficulty swallowing his toast at this moment, but recovered. The glass of water offered by Richard was accepted.

The Butler ever attentive enquired, “I trust Madam’s Charity Dinner was a success?”

“Yes thank you Richard, we raised over $15,000.”

“Good work my dear,” responded Sir.

Madam suddenly recalled Richard had a night off, her sense of humour showing, “Can I ask what the Butler saw, last night?”

Richard smiled in reflection, “Not too much, but there appeared to be a lot of nocturnal activity.”

Madam enquired, “What was the show?”

“Oh a bit of a love story. I missed the title, it was all about Maria and some young chap.”

Peter had another choking fit; Richard was quick to provide assistance to the young Master.

A butler’s life can be very demanding and there are some things he should be very careful in discussing, even with Sir and Madam.


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