The rich are different–very different–from you and me

I’ve just finished the autobiography of Diana Cooper, born in 1892
into a fabulously wealthy English family. Her father was a duke, and she
grew up in the most extraordinary circumstances. Here are just a few
tidbits from the Manners household:

Servants included:

  • the “gong man,” employed solely to ring the bell for meals 3
    times a day. “Every corridor had to be warned, and the towers, too.”
  • the lamp and candlemen (but of course, as there was no electricity)
  • the water-men–“to keep all jugs, cans, and kettles full in the bedrooms”
  • the coal man
  • the watchmen, who “walked the passages, terraces, and battlements
    all night long. As they passed outside they said, ‘Past twelve o’clock.
    All’s well’.”


  • shooting parties
  • invitations to go on long walks on Sunday afternoons, written and delivered by hand
  • before dinner, silver trays of “sprays” and button-holes were passed “for dressing guests to choose from”

I can hardly believe my own time even barely overlapped with this age. It’s like something from a movie!

This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The rich are different–very different–from you and me

  1. Shirley says:

    Contrast the lady in the book with the life of your grandfather born the
    same year.

  2. Roz Cawley says:

    Take a look on my website (in Travel photo Albums) for pictures of the
    Manner’s (lady Diana’s )ancestral home, Haddon hall in Derbyshire – one
    of my most favourite places. So romantic.
    If you like the style, try to read her son’s books (John Julian
    Norwich)canlled “Christmas Crackers” – a sort of commonplace book that I
    think you might enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *