Thanks to cyberspace I find myself back in the summer of 1912 about to interview Anthony Jenkins, Lord Lynchcliffe’s much esteemed butler
Me: I’m very grateful you could spare me some of your valuable time Mr Jenkins as I realise you must be extremely busy.
Jenkins: It’s no trouble miss. I need to relax and take time away occasionally.
Me: How did you come into Lord Lynchcliffe’s service?
Jenkins: I left school at 14 with a better than basic education. I had an offer of a merchant bank clerk position but as figures were never my strong suit I opted for domestic service. I was a footman for several years and doubled as the then Lord Jeremiah Lynchcliffe’s valet. When I was but thirty Mr Hancock, the existing butler, was forced to retire due to ill-health and I was deemed a natural successor although I was probably one of the youngest butlers in England at that time.
Me: You seem very respected and contented.
Jenkins: Yes I am. This is my home and family especially since my parents are dead and I have no siblings. I have a cousin, Amy, living in the village and I sometimes spend time with her on my afternoons off.
Me: Have you ever had staff that cause you problems?
Jenkins: Yes. Our former kitchen maid, Katie Thomas, had trouble as a middle name. She was unruly, lazy and spiteful. I was glad to get rid of her after she tried to sabotage Mr Franklin’s reputation. Our new kitchen maid, Amber, is her opposite; polite, hard-working and enthusiastic. She is grateful for the chance she has been given which Katie never was.
Me: I understand you discovered Lord Lynchcliffe’s body?
Jenkins: (Shivers) Yes. I discovered the body along with Irene, one of the lady’s maids. I would rather not speak of that if you don’t mind. I had never been so shocked by anything in my entire life or seen so much blood. It will take a long time for this household to get over it, if indeed we ever do.
Me: It must have been a very difficult time for all of you.
Jenkins: It was. Her Ladyship is distraught. It helped that Scotland Yard were so effective in solving the case but it will take more than that to bring her Ladyship back to the happy carefree woman she was. We have all pulled together and supported each other across the social divide which does help.
Me: Have you ever considered getting married?
Jenkins: It is rare for senior servants to marry but I am somewhat shy around women and happy with my own company. I am a bit long in the tooth for that sort of carry on but I don’t dismiss the prospect entirely.
Me: I understand Mr Franklin, the chauffeur, is to marry soon? He’s not a young man.
Jenkins: Yes, Franklin is engaged. He has waited a long time for a woman to inspire passion in him and in Miss Margaret he has found her. He deserves to be happy for he has not had an easy life and lost his nephew who was like a son to him.
Me: Who are your closest friends/confidantes?
Jenkins: If you want the truth I tend to brood over things rather than confide in someone about them but Mrs Halliwell and I have shared a few problems over the years and I can talk to Franklin as well.
Me: If you hadn’t gone into service what would you like to have done with your life?
Jenkins: I have no idea. I have already said I had a chance to work for a merchant bank but I suppose I probably would have worked in a shop as I am not really practically minded.
Me: I notice you have a lot of books. What literary characters do you most admire?
Jenkins: Well if I’m honest I would like to have been a bit wild natured and enigmatic like Heathcliff or Mr Rochester. I also admire Dr Watson in the Conan Doyle books
Me: How do you see the future?
Jenkins: I am quite happy to remain here until I retire. The family need me as much as I need them. I miss Lord Jeremiah but he passed away peacefully. I still feel anger about what happened to his son.
Me: How is the new Lord Lynchcliffe adjusting to the changes?
Jenkins: The current Lord Lynchcliffe thinks a lot and says little but I believe he will make good. There is a lot of insecurity and anger in him for he is young yet but if life can channel his energies in the right direction then he will be fine.
A bell rings
Jenkins: (gets up) Please excuse me, I am required upstairs.
Me: Certainly, thank you very much for your time.
Jenkins: You are more than welcome.
You can read all about Jenkins in the following eBooks
The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume 1: Mise en Scène
You can buy a paperback edition of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume 1: Mise en Scène from Lulu.com
Martin Shaw as Jenkins. My ideal casting lol