transcription transcription + image
JQA Diary, volume 28 17 December 1810
JQA Neal Millikan African Americans Adams Family Residences
186

17. Mr: Montréal was with me this morning and Mr. Harris in the Evening— Mr: Delapré the keeper of the house at the Ville de Bordeaux was here— I engaged him to furnish us our dinners, at a stated price—twenty Rubles a day. And I shall dismiss my Cook— When a family becomes large, there is no possibility of observing economy in it, without the closest attention to minute details. Since we entered this house my monthly expence books have been insensibly swelling untill they amount to double what they were the first month. We have a Maitre d’Hotel, or Steward— A Cook who has under him two Scullions— Moozhiks. A Swiss or Porter. Two footmen— A Moozhik to make the fires. A Coachman and Postillion—and Thomas the Black man, to be my valet de chambre— Martha Godfrey the maid we brought with us from America— A femme de chambre of Mrs: Adams, who is the wife of the Steward A House-Maid and a Laundry maid.— The Swiss, the Cook, and one of the footmen are married; and their wives all live in the house— The Steward has two Children, and the washerwoman a daughter; all of whom are also kept in the house.— I have Bakers, Milkmans, Butcher’s, Greenman’s, poulterers, and fishmonger’s & grocer’s bills, to pay monthly; besides purchases of tea, Coffee, sugar, wax and tallow candles— The fire-wood is luckily included as part of my Rent. On all these articles of Consumption the Cook and Steward, first make their profits on the purchase, and next make free pillage of the articles themselves— The Steward takes the same liberty with my wines— In dismissing my Cook I shall attempt to escape from a part of these depredations— To avoid a great part of them is impossible— It is I believe the law of Nature between Master and Servant, that the Servant shall spoil or plunder the Master— In this Country at least it is universal usage— It requires the most constant and minute attention to keep this pilfering within tolerable bounds; and among the losses occasioned by it, the most valuable is the loss of time; swallowed up in the baseness of such drudgery. It engaged me so much of this day that I had only time left to write to my mother; and to that I was obliged to devote the evening as well as the day.