Tea (bread and butter or toast) 1 0 Bed 1 6 Breakfast (rasher of bacon, eggs, or cold meats) 1 6 Dinner 2 6 Waiter 0 9 Chambermaid 0 6 Boots 0 3
Total 8 0
These are about the average charges at the middle-class hotels in Great Britain. Generally the servants’ fees amount to 25 per cent. of the whole bill. These, too, are graduated to parts of days. The waiter expects 3d. for every meal he serves; the chambermaid 6d. for every bed she makes, and the boots 3d. for doing every pair of boots, brogans, or shoes. You will pay these charges with all the better grace and good-will to these servants when you come to learn that these fees frequently, if not always, constitute all the salary they receive for hotel service. Even in a great number of eating-shops the same rule obtains. The penny you give the waiter, male or female, is all he or she gets for serving you. Besides this consideration, you get back much additional personal comfort from these extras. The waiter serves you with extra satisfaction and assiduity under their stimulus. He acts the host very blandly. He answers a hundred questions, extraneous to the meal, with good-natured readiness. He is a good judge of the weather and its signs. He is well “posted-up” in the local histories and sceneries of the place. He can give political information on both sides, incidents and anecdotes to match, whether you are Tory, Whig, or Radical. If you have a bias in that direction, he has or has heard some thoughts on Bishop Colenso and the Tractarians. In short, he caters to the humour and disposition of every guest with a happy facility of adaptation; and the shilling you give him at the end of a day’s entertainment has been pretty well earned, if you have availed yourself of all these extra attentions which he is prepared and expecting to give for it.
The same may be said of the chambermaid. She is not the taciturn invisible that steals in and out of your bed-room, and does it up when you are at breakfast or at your out-door business—whom you never see, except by sheer accident, as in the American hotel. She is an important and prominent personage in the English inn. She is a kind of mistress of the robes, and exercises her prerogative with much conscious dignity and self-satisfaction; and, what is better, with great satisfaction to yourself. No other subordinate official or servant trenches or poaches upon her preserves. She it is who precedes you up stairs with a candle, on a broad-bottomed brass candlestick, polished to its highest lustre. She conducts you to your room as if you were her personal guest, invited and expected a month ago. She opens the door with amiable complacency, as if welcoming