Perkins, Rodney and Perkins, are two chaps in the servant class. Perkins, who appears in both Mariah’s Marriage and the forthcoming Daisy’s Dilemma (MuseItUp, May) has a first name, but we haven’t learned it yet. The earl, his master, would have known it, but he certainly doesn’t use it.
Perkins, Rodney has to have his first name known in order to differentiate him from his brother. This is a plot point and not because Rodney Perkins was better liked than Perkins, Perkins.
People in service had experiences that were vastly disparate. Some employers were good and some were not. Many were quite simply disinterested. The issue of names was occasionally sorted by the use of one on an ongoing basis. So, if the countess could remember the first parlour-maid was Mary, then the first parlour-maid was always Mary.
Servants weren’t the only people to lose their names, of course. Women did, too. And still do. Although social media means we all know the Duchess of Cambridge is Kate, officially, she’s Her Royal Highness, Princess William of Wales. In her case, because she’s not of Royal blood, she’s not going to become Princess Catherine.
At a much less exalted level I received a lot of mail in the early days of my marriage addressed to me as a Mrs of my husband. This practice is largely disappearing.
How important is your name to you? Do you get hot under the collar when it’s misspelled or even substituted?
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