Arturo Rubinstein in order to practise for a concert instructed his butler Francois not to let in any caller; he was to tell the caller that he was not at home. When the telephone rang Francois dutifully answered the woman at the other end as was instructed with the crashing chords of the maestro coming from the next room.
“Out?” she asked with disbelief,”I can hear him playing!” ”Not at all madam,”the butler was quite clear,”it is merely I, dusting the keys.”(Ack: Jack Lait Jr.-Brooklyn Eagle)
Ralph Waldo Emerson was well versed in philosophy, poetry and many other disciplines that the label of savant adequately expresses him, was however at a loss in leading a female calf into the barn. His son Edward once went to his help and he grabbed the animal by the ear while his father pushed from behind. While they were stumped an Irish servant girl came to their rescue. With an amused glance at the perspiring philosopher she thrust a finger into the calf’s mouth and the animal enticed by this maternal imitation dutifully followed her into the barn.
After cleaning himself up he paid a tribute to the servant girl in his journal thus:’I like people who can do things.’ (Ack: Philip Russel-The Wisest American)
George Nathaniel Curzon(1859-1925)
Curzon who was the Viceroy of India was a hard task master and no servants lasted long in his household. One fellow served Curzon in the capacity of a butler for years and he also one day decided he had had enough. He gave notice and the great man asked him if he could recommend a successor.”There are,” he replied wearily,”only two who could take my place-one is Jesus Christ, I am the other.”
Alexandre Dumas occasionally lost patience with his servant who was not respectful always. Once after he had ignored an order Dumas cried out,”My God are you mad or am I?”
“Ah sir,”replied the servant,”surely you would not hire a servant who is mad!”
Sir William S.Gilbert(1836-1911)liberettist,wit
A lady of ample girth once was the guest of Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame; during the rehearsal he was urgently called to backstage and when he came back he found his guest missing. He asked the stage-hand who stood nearby if he knew whare she might be.
“Oh,”answered the stage-hand pointing,”she is round behind.”
“I asked you,”replied a waspish Gilbert,”for her geography, not her description.”
Soon after the death of a well known composer, someone who did not keep up with the news asked Sir Gilbert what that particular composer was doing. Gilbert said that he was doing nothing.”Surely he is composing?”the fellow persisted.
“On the contrary,”commented the wit,”he is decomposing.”