Servants on Top

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at imperial.ac.uk
Tue Jun 14 06:34:07 EDT 2005


Colin wrote: 
> Suggested subcategories:
> 1. The master is posing as the servant
>     1a. Long-term
>     1b. For some specific event
> 2. The servant has some sinister hold on the master
> 3. The servant is so good at everything that the master relies on him 
> and doesn't even realise
> 4. The master is stupid and doesn't realise the servant is 
> running rings around him.

There is also one which was explicitly mentioned in something I read yesterday... I think it was an Agatha Christie short story. The Old Retainer syndrome, which I think is different from 2 or 4 - the master can't do anything that Nanny wouldn't like, not because she has a hold on him or because he is dim but because she brought him up from a baby. It relies on the hero being nice and not wanting to hurt the servant's feelings. Besides Christie, Heyer has quite a few trusted grooms who boss the heroes and maids who boss the heroines. There's often a scene where they finally disobey in order to win the loved one, and the servant is then proud of them (instead of going into a massive sulk!)
Jennifer

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