THE OLD-TIME NEGRO
to the fact that the servants were always con-
sidered in such matters.
This awe of the butler in, his grandeur often
did not pass away with youth. He both de-
manded and received his due respect even from
grown members of the family. Of one that I
knew it is told now by gray-headed men how,
on occasion, long after they were grown, he
would correct their manners, even at table, by
a little rap on the head and a whispered reproof,
as he leaned over them to place a dish. And I
never knew one who did not retain his position
of influence and exercise his right of admonition.
I have known butlers to take upon themselves
the responsibility of saying what young gentle-
men should be admitted as visitors at the house,
and to whom the ladies slould be denied. In
fact, every wise young man used to be at pains
to make friends with the old servants, for they
were a sagacious class and their influence in the
household was not inconsiderable. They had
an intuitive knowledge, which amounted to an
instinct, for "winnowing the grain from the
chaff," and they knew a "gent'man" at sight.
Their acute and caustic comments have wrecked
the chances of many an aspiring young suitor
who failed to meet with their approval.