To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
What the Butler Winked At: Being the Life and Adventures of Eric Horne, Butler Paperback – May 20, 2011
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Eric Horne served various members of the nobility and gentry for fifty-seven years before retiring after World War I with a small pension from a former employer.
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
Fortunately, I purchased it in spite of the opinions of some of the previous reviewers.
One of the charms of the book is the lack of modern editing which would have only served to detract from the immediacy of the reading experience and the authentic voice of the author. There are some spelling errors. The language is true to its times and, I expect, to its place. Yes, the writer rambles at times, and tells some jokes and "funny stories" that to the modern ear are not all that funny. But the point is: they probably were then and, at any rate, were to him. I admit I had some difficulty understanding the point of a couple of his stories--just like you might if you found yourself transported back to 1923 and listening to a 70-some year old man tell you about his life in the second half of the century before that. He was not a professional writer and he obviously was not using a ghost writer to make up for that fact.
This book is a treasure and I hope to find out, if I can, how it happened to be currently republished. I'm so glad it was. It's like finding an old diary tucked away at the bottom of a trunk in your great grandfather's attic--complete with the spelling errors and full of personal observations, judgments, some gentle boasting and some regrets.
The book gives a very clear and unique glimpse into the world and the mind of a person working "in service" in the great houses before, during and after their decline. The author also shares some interesting conflicts regarding his feelings about the families and individuals who lived in them.Read more ›
One forgets that the book was written in the 1920s, after Horne had retired from service, so most of his experiences as a butler took place when great houses were lit by candles, bath water had to be carried upstairs in pails, and horse-drawn carriages were the main mode of transportation. (Watch the first season of Downton Abbey as a reminder of what that was like...)
If the book has one fault other than Horne's mostly-abominable grammar, it's that he could have written a much longer book. Whether it was a butler's natural reticence to reveal the secrets of his employers, or not knowing how much time he had left and he chose to only hint at what were probably some quite juicy tales both upstairs and down, the book left me wanting more!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr. Horne gives a good accounting of his experiences, interwoven with stories from his lifetime of observation. His life was much harder than I would have imagined. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Shenandoah1865
It was interesting, but certainly not a great title. A biography of a guy who became a butler, and really pretty pedestrian. I didn't expect great writing, and didn't get it.Published 10 months ago by B. Macdonough
This book wasn't half as good as I thought it would be from various recommendations of other authors. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Katharine
Tales from behind the scenes from tight lipped buttlers. If you are a Downton Abbey fan you will understand that I bought this book feeding my habit. Read morePublished 14 months ago by DH
The book was an "easy read" which chronicled the life of Eric Holme . It was a little disappointing in it's "style" written rather amateurishly. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Paul Guido
Very enjoyable reading, a bit rambling at times, but on the whole a good read with amusing insight into the Victorian culture and mores.Published on November 20, 2013 by Jan H. Herndon
I was expecting more of what went on in the butler's domain, but, instead, got a large glimpse of the butler's personal life before he began buttling. Not very interesting.Published on July 11, 2013 by P. A. Stefanelli
For anyone interested in domestics and the history of domestics, this is a superb book. would recommend for anyone who wants a history lesson in domestics.Published on December 3, 2012 by Bob B.
Interesting- since it is real- shows the negative sides of a live in service- but the stories are all short and bare on details- not a tell all bookPublished on November 27, 2012 by Amazon Customer