A Sacrifice for your Country

In the second world war, civil servants from the ministry of labour visited the big estates to see if some people could be released for essential war work. This work of the civil servants involved checking several duties and timing labour activities of members of staff. While visiting the household of the Duke of Devonshire one civil servant remarked:

“Well your grace, we can understand that you need forty-seven gardeners and thirteen under-gardeners, several grooms, chauffeurs, upstairs maids, downstairs maids, in-between maids, laundry room maids, stool room maids, kitchen maids, nurse maids, housemaids, and parlour maids. And we understand you need the boys to scrape your knives and polish your shoes, the butlers, and four footman. But we were wondering if a minor economy could be made; is it truly necessary your grace needs two pastry chefs?”

To which the Duke replied: “Oh damn it! Can’t a man have a biscuit?”

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