The Butler

Past Retainers

The House of Zaus has never had staff or servants, they have always employed ‘retainers’.  Pre-twentieth century the job title would have been surf or minion, but as The House was brought kicking and biting into the beginning of last century, the word retainer was brought into use.  It was felt surf or minion would have put any future employee off.  The current House employs only two retainers at present, myself as scribe and general factotum, and a steward simply known as ‘Oy you…’.  The good doctor himself employed several retainers for as long as history shows and it is difficult to find a precise date when they came into his employ.

Having spent time in the Far East building up his trading companies in Macau and Taipei, Warren employed an elderly oriental gentleman whom he re-named Ping Pong to be his opium specialist.  It is believed that Warren re-christened Ping Pong because he couldn’t pronounce his real name (though he spoke fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Han and Pinghua).  Ping Pong (real name thought to be Xin Lin Ding Dong Jiang), is described as being around 5’5″ tall with a mane of white hair, a beard that reached his navel, and fingernails like tiger claws.  Allegedly this made rolling the opium into better balls.  Ping Pong is believed to have retired to Blackpool in the 1920′s where he opened a fortune tellers booth on the North Pier.

Saunière, Bérenger and Holmes, Solicitors in Law.  For centuries, they have been, and are still, solicitors to House Zaus.  I have dealt with them on a number of occasions when acquiring items for the collection or when an excitable journalist has stumbled upon some information that should not be in the public domain.  No super injunction’s for House Zaus.  Just a visit from one of the aforementioned procurators and most folk are left with a chill in the chest and a lifetime looking over their shoulder.  I find them to be very agreeable and tea and buns are always offered at appointments.

Dunstable, the Butler.  Dunstable joined Zaus around 1930.  He had buttled in many grand houses and had been the height of discretion in each and every one.  Warren employed him especially for his polishing and shoe cleaning ability.  He was an excellent flower arranger, ice sculptor and napkin folder, and everyone remarked on the lovely table decorations at the famous Zaus Supperettes.  After he retired at the beginning of this century, Dunstable bought himself a small flat in Hastings and took up oil painting.  I remember him as being rather dusty in appearance and having an odour of mothballs.

Posted in Historical Notes, The Collection

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