As I try to do from time to time, I'll offer a few background notes on the book. With Lord of Scoundrels, it's quite an experience, since I wrote the book before I had access to the Internet, and well before Google and others started scanning and posting online the ancient tomes I had to go into the bowels of libraries to find. And they were not searchable! You turned crusty, dusty pages, looking for what you wanted in magazine collections, for instance, that were not indexed.
So, when I installed a porter in the apartment building in Paris in which Bertie Trent lives at the story's start, I depended mainly on Frances Trollope’s Paris and the Parisians in 1835.** As is normally the case in travel writings, the author’s attitudes and prejudices color her observations. I try to give my English characters similar viewpoints, though I may tone them down a bit, so as not to jar my readers too much. It's always a balancing act, finding a happy medium between 19th and 21st century outlooks. I want to use a little of the "foreigners are not as cool as we are" attitude, both for comic effect and because that outlook is hardly unheard of today. But a little goes a long way.
I do think Ms. Trollope is fairly balanced in this particular context. From what I've read elsewhere, the position of the apartment building porter entailed a great deal more than that of the porter in a large English establishment, where many other servants, especially footmen, were available to perform various tasks. But read for yourself—and you may want to go on reading, by clicking on the link below to this section of Paris and the Parisians, now online.