I found this story in E.S. Turner’s What the Butler Saw.
We’ve talked a lot on this blog about double standards for female servants, especially as it concerns sexuality. For those of you who are not familiar with George Moore’s Esther Waters (1894), it’s a book which provided a vicious indictment of the treatment of ‘fallen’ female servants, exposing in particular the dehumanizing world of wet nursing.
And yet George Moore, ‘whose book roused compassion for wronged maidservants’ (139), was apparently a complete jerk to his own servants. In a very much ‘do as I say, not as I do’ series of events, Moore was known to throw his boots a his maid when she displeased him.
In one instance in particular, he fired his cook for fixing him an omelette he didn’t like. The cook argued against his negative opinion of her omelette, so Moore called a policeman to settle the debate if the omelette was edible or not. I don’t know what the policeman’s verdict was, but I’m guessing it was something along the lines of, “Sir, this is not the best use of police resources.” This was the sixth cook he had fired in three weeks.