Perched on an island off the shores of Cornwall, England, the soaring castle of St. Michael’s Mount has been home to the St. Aubyn family since 1647. For nearly thirty years, Stanley Ager, one of the most esteemed butlers of the twentieth century, ensured that St. Michael’s Mount was an impeccable place to live and a gracious and welcoming one for guests to visit.
Revered by everyone from royalty to the estate staff, Stanley Ager considered it his calling to run a home gracefully and efficiently. Several of the men whom he trained at St. Michael’s Mount went on to serve in the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace and at British embassies throughout the world. But you don’t need a manor to benefit from Ager’s wisdom on homekeeping. This carefully detailed, charmingly illustrated, eminently useful volume offers important insights and techniques, including how to:
Wipe a glass—or a chandelier—until it sparkles *** Fold napkins precisely—in six different ways *** Polish furniture—or silver—to a mirror finish *** Lay a beautiful table and serve a meal impeccably *** Brush, buff, and maintain any manner of clothes and footwear *** Fold and pack for a trip—for business or pleasure *** Select and pour wine *** Stage “impromptu” romantic picnics *** And, among other graces, open a door soundlessly, roll an umbrella perfectly, and iron a newspaper
Stanley Ager entered service as a hallboy at the age of fourteen and eventually became head butler at St. Michael’s Mount, where he remained for nearly thirty of his fifty-three years in service. The Butler’s Guide was written after he and his wife, Barbara, retired nearby to Marazion, Cornwall. They are buried on St. Michael’s Mount.
Fiona St. Aubyn is also the author of A Portrait of Georgian London and wrote ClothesCarewith James Wagenvoord. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in creative writing and lives in Hampshire with her family. Fiona St. Aubyn is a granddaughter of the late third Lord St. Levan and his wife the Dowager Lady St. Levan, and her brother now lives at St. Michael’s Mount. She knew Stanley Ager all her life.
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