Each good tale with a wealthy master has to have a servant, even two. Anyway, the larger quantity of servants, the better story will be. This book is not an exception and continues keeping this concept alive. Merriman is one of Algernon and Jack’s servants. In this book, he plays a role of a butler at the Manor House which is Jack’s estate in the country. This character appears only in Act II and III that is why we don’t have a lot of information about him. Nevertheless, we will try to describe him as much as we can.
Merriman keeps the structure of the plot working: the only job he does is announcing people and things that happen. He has a less important role in comparison to Lane, but his role is important as well. He is polite, calm, hard-working and kind-hearted.
Also, he always does what his masters say. And you have to agree that those qualities are very important for a servant. Do you want some proves? Well, in one scene, he and another servant, Lane, if you want, force the bickering between Gwendolen and Cecily to make them stop and maintain a supposedly polite conversation.
Like Lane, another servant, he studies very well that he can’t comment anything, he has to keep neutral face whatever it takes, though upper class usually laughs because of this. Sad, but wealthy people have a really strange sense of what is funny and what is not. Merriman was smart enough to understand that it’s better to keep silent and be derided that to say something and lose a job. By the way, all rich people know each other and if one fired a servant, no one from upper-class will hire him.
It is even a little bit sad that we don’t see him more in the book; probably his character could do lots more helpful and good things. But of course, the writer is an expert here.
Merriman in the Essays