DICKNS-L Archives

Charles Dickens Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 17 Aug 1993 18:08:09 -0700
text/plain (23 lines)
A cross-posting from VICTORIA from Avery Gaskins:

Marion Diamond's search for a shift in address for servants and the use of
Agatha Christie made me think that the Sherlock Holmes stories might help.
I've been skimming the stories (not by any means a scientific survey) and
found some patterns that probably aren't very useful since they might be
idiosyncratic. I started out feeling assured that Holmes and Watson never
addressed each other except by surname. That has held up so far. Holmes also
addresses inspectors from Scotland Yard by surname leaving out the title. When
a client is new, Holmes addresses them as Miss, Mrs. or Mr. plus surname. With
women, he never drops the Miss or Mrs. With men clients, if the two have been
working together for a while, he is likely to lapse into a surname only. This
excludes, of course, those clients who outrank him. I cannot find a single
instance where anyone uses a servant's first name only. Clients speak to or
about their servants using surnames only, regardless of the gender. In one case
a servant reports the activities of a female co-worker using both first and
last names. The only times first names are used are when close family members
speak to or about each other. I wonder how many of those incidents where others
of us have found servants addressed by first name occur exclusively in a family
setting or in privacy? How does Lord Peter Whimsey address his butler?

                             Avery Gaskins [log in to unmask]