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BOTD 02-05-2016 The Servant Boy - An Anonymous Production

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Bransom Postmaster
An Anonymous Production

You are a country gentleman in the late 19th Century.  You brought William, an orphaned eleven year old, in to your home as a servant.  You do provide for William's shelter, food, and clothing.  He gets fresh hay in the loft once a week, the leavings from each day's meals and the clothing that your nephew has worn out or outgrown. William has a daily assignment of chores and duties, mostly outdoor work maintaining the grounds.

You go for a stroll today and decide to check on William's progress.  You see this:

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What, if any, action do you take against William?

Can you dig it?


He is an ungrateful little wretch who deserves to be sent back to the workhouse...

It's not as though he gets worked too hard - he's only expected to work from five in the morning until seven at night and all... only fourteen hours six days a week... he gets a day off to go to church on Sunday...

I'll go easy on him this time and only give him a dozen strokes on his bare backside with my riding crop... next time I won't be so lenient... he'll be back to gruel in the workhouse and all...



Editor Extraordinaire
Nineteenth century or not, I hope that I'm a decent human being. I don't think I need to take any action against William beyond waking him. I'll be checking to make sure he has adequate time for sleeping and that his responsibilities are reasonable for a boy of eleven.


David M. Katz

Hopefully this is a wake up call for ME. I will cover William with my coat and realize that sleeping in the loft is not good enough and that his chores are too heavy. I will let him sleep and then we will reconsider his terms. The boy needs decent accommodations, less work, and an education.

Sadly, however, Stevie has the more realistic answer.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


I agree with Kat, and David--sadly, including the part about Stevie's answer being more realistic for the time period.


I'm a generous, not a harsh and cruel man.

He's a chubby boy, not really lazy and clearly his state isn't due to malnutrition so it must be lack of sleep. For now I'll wake him with a few whacks of my crop and then rearrange his duties to allow mim to sleep in until half past five on a morning and seven o'clock on Sundays.


I am obviously enlightened, but not by very much.

Hopefully my actions are going to be closer to MM's than Stevie's

Pi Beta

I'm going to earch out my head gardener and sack him for providing inadequate supervision of William, give the lad a thrashing and find a new head gardener, putting William entirely under his care to apprentice, feed and clothe him.


Since he's acting childish and irresponsible, I shall treat him that way and give him a good smacking. Afterwards, I will make sure he's getting enough rest in the evenings.

(My first thought was, 'heat of the day', but I'm pretty sure that's not set in Texas, so I'm not sure how much a trouble that would be.)

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


I suspect that to an extent I have delegated his care to the Butler or the Head Gardener and am not necessarily aware of the lads workload, routine and the likely situation with his chores. I will ascertain the position before I take action. A caning may be in order but the workhouse is not in consideration.


How dare you die of cholera during working hours, you ungrateful wretch!!!


Unfortunately, Stevie has captured the ethos of the era. I however find myself wanting to preserve my 'investment' a bit better.

I'm in MM's camp on this-(given the era/reality of the time) wake him up with a few whacks and get him back to work, thereafter ensuring that his supervisors provide sufficient rest/downtime for a child this age and HE needs to do what is expected unless he wants to fully experience MY wrath!


It's just as well we tried that newfangled tinned salmon out on the servants before eating any of it ourselves...

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