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The Book of Household Management by Mrs. Isabella Beeton

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neck; they are cleaned by beating the edge of the collar between
the folds of a fine linen cloth, then washing the edges as
directed above, and spreading it out on an ironing-board,
pinning it at each corner with fine pins; then going carefully
over it with a sponge charged with water in which some
gum-dragon and fig-blue have been dissolved, to give it a proper
consistence. To give the collar the same tint throughout, the
whole collar should be sponged with the same water, taking care
not to touch the flowers.

2267. A multiplicity of accidents occur to soil and spot dresses, which
should be removed at once. To remove--

2268. _Grease-spots_ from cotton or woollen materials of fast
colours, absorbent pastes, purified bullock's-blood, and even
common soap, are used, applied to the spot when dry. When the
colours are not fast, use fuller's-earth or pulverized
potter's-clay, laid in a layer over the spot, and press it with
a very hot iron.

2269. For Silks, Moires, and plain or brocaded Satins, begin by
pouring over the spot two drops of rectified spirits of wine;
cover it over with a linen cloth, and press it with a hot iron,
changing the linen instantly. The spot will look tarnished, for
a portion of the grease still remains: this will be removed
entirely by a little sulphuric ether dropped on the spot, and a
very little rubbing. If neatly done, no perceptible mark or
circle will remain; nor will the lustre of the richest silk be
changed, the union of the two liquids operating with no
injurious effects from rubbing.

2270. _Fruit-spots_ are removed from white and fast-coloured
cottons by the use of chloride of soda. Commence by cold-soaping
the article, then touch the spot with a hair-pencil or feather
dipped in the chloride, dipping it immediately into cold water,
to prevent the texture of the article being injured.

2271. _Ink-spots_ are removed, when fresh applied to the spot,
by a few drops of hot water being poured on immediately
afterwards. By the same process, iron-mould in linen or calico
may be removed, dipping immediately in cold water to prevent
injury to the fabric.

2272. _Wax_ dropped on a shawl, table-cover, or cloth dress, is
easily discharged by applying spirits of wine.

2273. _Syrups or Preserved Fruits_, by washing in lukewarm water
with a dry cloth, and pressing the spot between two folds of
clean linen.

2274. _Essence of Lemon_ will remove grease, but will make a
spot itself in a few days.

To clean Silk or Ribbons.

2275. INGREDIENTS.--1/2 pint of gin, 1/2 lb. of honey, 1/2 lb. of soft
soap, 1/2 pint of water.

_Mode_.--Mix the above ingredients together; then lay each breadth of
silk upon a clean kitchen table or dresser, and scrub it well on the
soiled side with the mixture. Have ready three vessels of cold water;
take each piece of silk at two corners, and dip it up and down in each
vessel, but do not wring it; and take care that each breadth has one
vessel of quite clean water for the last dip. Hang it up dripping for a
minute or two, then dab it in a cloth, and iron it quickly with a very
hot iron.

To remove Paint-spots from Silk Cloth.

2276. If the fabric will bear it, sharp rubbing will frequently entirely
discharge a newly-made paint-stain; but, if this is not successful,
apply spirit of turpentine with a quill till the stains disappear.

To make old Crape look nearly equal to new.

2277. Place a little water in a teakettle, and let it boil until there
is plenty of steam from the spout; then, holding the crape in both
hands, pass it to and fro several times through the steam, and it will
to clean and look nearly equal to new.

2278. Linen.--Before sending linen to wash, the lady's-maid should see
that everything under her charge is properly mended; for her own sake
she should take care that it is sent out in an orderly manner, each
class of garments by themselves, with a proper list, of which she
retains a copy. On its return, it is still more necessary to examine
every piece separately, so that all missing buttons be supplied, and
only the articles properly washed and in perfect repair passed into the

2279. Ladies who keep a waiting-maid for their own persons are in the
habit of paying visits to their friends, in which it is not unusual for
the maid to accompany them; at all events, it is her duty to pack the
trunks; and this requires not only knowledge but some practice, although
the improved trunks and portmanteaus now made, in which there is a place
for nearly everything, render this more simple than formerly. Before
packing, let the trunks be thoroughly well cleaned, and, if necessary,
lined with paper, and everything intended for packing laid out on the
bed or chairs, so that it may be seen what is to be stowed away; the
nicer articles of dress neatly folded in clean calico wrappers. Having
satisfied herself that everything wanted is laid out, and that it is in
perfect order, the packing is commenced by disposing of the most bulky
articles, the dressing-case and work-box, skirts, and other articles
requiring room, leaving the smaller articles to fill up; finally, having
satisfied herself that all is included, she should lock and cover up the
trunk in its canvas case, and then pack her own box, if she is to
accompany her mistress.

2280. On reaching the house, the lady's-maid will be shown her lady's
apartment; and her duties here are what they were at home; she will
arrange her mistress's things, and learn which is her bell, in order to
go to her when she rings. Her meals will be taken in the housekeeper's
room; and here she must be discreet and guarded in her talk to any one
of her mistress or her concerns. Her only occupation here will be
attending in her lady's room, keeping her things in order, and making
her rooms comfortable for her.

2281. The evening duties of a lady's-maid are pretty nearly a repetition
of those of the morning. She is in attendance when her mistress retires;
she assists her to undress if required, brushes her hair, and renders
such other assistance as is demanded; removes all slops; takes care that
the fire, if any, is safe, before she retires to rest herself.

2282. Ironing is a part of the duties of a lady's-maid, and she should
be able to do it in the most perfect manner when it becomes necessary.
Ironing is often badly done from inattention to a few very simple
requirements. Cleanliness is the first essential: the ironing-board, the
fire, the iron, and the ironing-blanket should all be perfectly clean.
It will not be necessary here to enter into details on ironing, as full
directions are given in the "Duties of the Laundry-maid." A lady's-maid
will have a great deal of "Ironing-out" to do; such as light evening
dresses, muslin dresses, &c., which are not dirty enough to be washed,
but merely require smoothing out to remove the creases. In summer,
particularly, an iron will be constantly required, as also a
skirt-board, which should be covered with a nice clean piece of flannel.
To keep muslin dresses in order, they almost require smoothing out every
time they are worn, particularly if made with many flounces. The
lady's-maid may often have to perform little services for her mistress
which require care; such as restoring the colour to scorched linen, &c.
&c. The following recipe is, we believe, a very good one.

To restore Whiteness to scorched Linen.

2283. INGREDIENTS.--1/2 pint of vinegar, 2 oz. of fuller's-earth, 1 oz.
of dried fowls' dung, 1/2 oz. of soap, the juice of 2 large onions.

_Mode._--Boil all these ingredients together to the consistency of
paste; spread the composition thickly over the damaged part, and if the
threads be not actually consumed, after it has been allowed to dry on,
and the place has subsequently been washed once or twice, every trace of
scorching will disappear.

2284. _Furs, Feathers, and Woollens_ require the constant care
of the waiting-maid. Furs and feathers not in constant use
should be wrapped up in linen washed in lye. From May to
September they are subject to being made the depositary of the
moth-eggs. They should be looked too, and shaken and beaten,
from time to time, in case some of the eggs should have been
lodged in them, in spite of every precaution; laying them up
again, or rather folding them up as before, wrapping them in
brown paper, which is itself a preservative. Shawls and cloaks,
which would be damaged by such close folds, must be looked to,
and aired and beaten, putting them away dry before the evening.

Preservatives against the Ravages of Moths.

2285. Place pieces of camphor, cedar-wood, Russia leather,
tobacco-leaves, bog-myrtle, or anything else strongly aromatic, in the
drawers or boxes where furs or other things to be preserved from moths
are kept, and they will never take harm.

2286. _Jewels_ are generally wrapped up in cotton, and kept in
their cases; but they are subject to tarnish from exposure to
the air, and require cleaning. This is done by preparing clean
soap-suds, using fine toilet-soap. Dip any article of gold,
silver, gilt, or precious stones into this lye, and dry them by
brushing with a brush of soft badgers' hair, or a fine sponge;
afterwards with a piece of fine cloth, and, lastly, with a soft

2287. _Epaulettes_ of gold or silver, and, in general, all
articles of jewellery, may be dressed by dipping them in spirits
of wine warmed in a _bain marie,_ or shallow kettle, placed over
a slow fire or hot-plate.

2288. The valet and lady's-maid, from their supposed influence with
their master and mistress, are exposed to some temptations to which
other servants are less subjected. They are probably in communication
with the tradespeople who supply articles for the toilet; such as
batters, tailors, dressmakers, and perfumers. The conduct of
waiting-maid and valet to these people should be civil but independent,
making reasonable allowance for want of exact punctuality, if any such
can be made: they should represent any inconvenience respectfully, and
if an excuse seems unreasonable, put the matter fairly to master or
mistress, leaving it to them to notice it further, if they think it
necessary. No expectations of a personal character should influence them
one way or the other. It would be acting unreasonably to any domestic to
make them refuse such presents as tradespeople choose to give them; the
utmost that can be expected is that they should not influence their
judgment in the articles supplied--that they should represent them truly
to master or mistress, without fear and without favour. Civility to all,
servility to none, is a good maxim for every one. Deference to a master
and mistress, and to their friends and visitors, is one of the implied
terms of their engagement; and this deference must apply even to what
may be considered their whims. A servant is not to be seated, or wear a
hat in the house, in his master's or mistress's presence; nor offer any
opinion, unless asked for it; nor even to say "good night," or "good
morning," except in reply to that salutation.

To preserve cut Flowers.

2289. A bouquet of freshly-cut flowers may be preserved alive for a long
time by placing them in a glass or vase with fresh water, in which a
little charcoal has been steeped, or a small piece of camphor dissolved.
The vase should be set upon a plate or dish, and covered with a
bell-glass, around the edges of which, when it comes in contact with the
plate, a little water should be poured to exclude the air.

To revive cut Flowers after packing.

2290. Plunge the stems into boiling water, and by the time the water is
cold, the flowers will have revived. Then cut afresh the ends of the
stems, and keep them in fresh cold water.


2291. Housemaids, in large establishments, have usually one or more
assistants; in this case they are upper and under housemaids. Dividing
the work between them, the upper housemaid will probably reserve for
herself the task of dusting the ornaments and cleaning the furniture of
the principal apartments, but it is her duty to see that every
department is properly attended to. The number of assistants depends on
the number in the family, as well as on the style in which the
establishment is kept up. In wealthy families it is not unusual for
every grown-up daughter to have her waiting-maid, whose duty it is to
keep her mistress's apartments in order, thus abridging the housemaid's
duties. In others, perhaps, one waiting-maid attends on two or three,
when the housemaid's assistance will be more requisite. In fact, every
establishment has some customs peculiar to itself, on which we need not
dwell; the general duties are the _same in all_, perfect cleanliness and
order being the object.


2292. "Cleanliness is next to godliness," saith the proverb, and "order"
is in the next degree; the housemaid, then, may be said to be the
handmaiden to two of the most prominent virtues. Her duties are very
numerous, and many of the comforts of the family depend on their
performance; but they are simple and easy to a person naturally clean
and orderly, and desirous of giving satisfaction. In all families,
whatever the habits of the master and mistress, servants will find it
advantageous to rise early; their daily work will thus come easy to
them. If they rise late, there is a struggle to overtake it, which
throws an air of haste and hurry over the whole establishment. Where the
master's time is regulated by early business or professional
engagements, this will, of course, regulate the hours of the servants;
but even where that is not the case, servants will find great personal
convenience in rising early and getting through their work in an orderly
and methodical manner. The housemaid who studies her own ease will
certainly be at her work by six o'clock in the summer, and, probably,
half-past six or seven in the winter months, having spent a reasonable
time in her own chamber in dressing. Earlier than this would, probably,
be an unnecessary waste of coals and candle in winter.

2293. The first duty of the housemaid in winter is to open the shutters
of all the lower rooms in the house, and take up the hearth-rugs of
those rooms which she is going to "do" before breakfast. In some
families, where there is only a cook and housemaid kept, and where the
drawing-rooms are large, the cook has the care of the dining-room, and
the housemaid that of the breakfast-room, library, and drawing-rooms.
After the shutters are all opened, she sweeps the breakfast-room,
sweeping the dust towards the fire-place, of course previously removing
the fonder. She should then lay a cloth (generally made of coarse
wrappering) over the carpet in front of the stove, and on this should
place her housemaid's box, containing black-lead brushes, leathers,
emery-paper, cloth, black lead, and all utensils necessary for cleaning
a grate, with the cinder-pail on the other side.

[Illustration: CARPET-BROOMS.]

2294. She now sweeps up the ashes, and deposits them in her cinder-pail,
which is a japanned tin pail, with a wire-sifter inside, and a
closely-fitting top. In this pail the cinders are sifted, and reserved
for use in the kitchen or under the copper, the ashes only being thrown
away. The cinders disposed of, she proceeds to black-lead the grate,
producing the black lead, the soft brush for laying it on, her blacking
and polishing brushes, from the box which contains her tools. This
housemaid's box should be kept well stocked. Having blackened, brushed,
and polished every part, and made all clean and bright, she now proceeds
to lay the fire. Sometimes it is very difficult to get a proper polish
to black grates, particularly if they have been neglected, and allowed
to rust at all. Brunswick black, which is an excellent varnish for
grates, may be prepared in the following manner:--

[Illustration: STOVE BRUSHES.]

[Illustration: HOUSEMAID'S BOX.]

2295. INGREDIENTS.--1 lb. of common asphaltum, 1/2 pint of linseed oil,
1 quart of oil of turpentine.

_Mode._--Melt the asphaltum, and add gradually to it the other two
ingredients. Apply this with a small painter's brush, and leave it to
become perfectly dry. The grate will need no other cleaning, but will
merely require dusting every day, and occasionally brushing with a dry
black-lead brush. This is, of course, when no fires are used. When they
are required, the bars, cheeks, and back of the grate will need
black-leading in the usual manner.

2296. _Fire-lighting,_ however simple, is an operation requiring
some skill; a fire is readily made by laying a few cinders at
the bottom in open order; over this a few pieces of paper, and
over that again eight or ten pieces of dry wood; over the wood,
a course of moderate-sized pieces of coal, taking care to leave
hollow spaces between for air at the centre; and taking care to
lay the whole well back in the grate, so that the smoke may go
up the chimney, and not into the room. This done, fire the paper
with a match from below, and, if properly laid, it will soon
burn up; the stream of flame from the wood and paper soon
communicating to the coals and cinders, provided there is plenty
of air at the centre.

2297. A new method of lighting a fire is sometimes practised
with advantage, the fire lighting from the top and burning down,
in place of being lighted and burning up from below. This is
arranged by laying the coals at the bottom, mixed with a few
good-sized cinders, and the wood at the top, with another layer
of coals and some paper over it; the paper is lighted in the
usual way, and soon burns down to a good fire, with some economy
of fuel, as is said.

2298. Bright grates require unceasing attention to keep them in perfect
order. A day should never pass without the housemaid rubbing with a dry
leather the polished parts of a grate, as also the fender and
fire-irons. A careful and attentive housemaid should have no occasion
ever to use emery-paper for any part but the bars, which, of course,
become blackened by the fire. (Some mistresses, to save labour, have a
double set of bars, one set bright for the summer, and another black set
to use when fires are in requisition.) When bright grates are once
neglected, small rust-spots begin to show themselves, which a plain
leather will not remove; the following method of cleaning them must then
be resorted to:--First, thoroughly clean with emery-paper; then take a
large smooth pebble from the road, sufficiently large to hold
comfortably in the hand, with which rub the steel backwards and forwards
one way, until the desired polish is obtained. It may appear at first to
scratch, but continue rubbing, and the result will be success. The
following is also an excellent polish for bright stoves and steel

2299. INGREDIENTS.--1 tablespoonful of turpentine, 1 ditto of sweet oil,
emery powder.

_Mode._--Mix the turpentine and sweet oil together, stirring in
sufficient emery powder to make the mixture of the thickness of cream.
Put it on the article with a piece of soft flannel, rub off quickly with
another piece, then polish with a little dry emery powder and clean

2300. The several fires lighted, the housemaid proceeds with her
dusting, and polishing the several pieces of furniture in the
breakfast-parlour, leaving no corner unvisited. Before sweeping the
carpet, it is a good practice to sprinkle it all over with tea-leaves,
which not only lay all dust, but give a slightly fragrant smell to the
room. It is now in order for the reception of the family; and where
there is neither footman nor parlour-maid, she now proceeds to the
dressing-room, and lights her mistress's fire, if she is in the habit of
having one to dress by. Her mistress is called, hot water placed in the
dressing-room for her use, her clothes--as far as they are under the
house-maid's charge--put before the fire to air, hanging a fire-guard on
the bars where there is one, while she proceeds to prepare the

2301. In summer the housemaid's work is considerably abridged: she
throws open the windows of the several rooms not occupied as bedrooms,
that they may receive the fresh morning air before they are occupied;
she prepares the breakfast-room by sweeping the carpet, rubbing tables
and chairs, dusting mantel-shelf and picture-frames with a light brush,
dusting the furniture, and beating and sweeping the rug; she cleans the
grate when necessary, and replaces the white paper or arranges the
shavings with which it is filled, leaving everything clean and tidy for
breakfast. It is not enough, however, in cleaning furniture, just to
pass lightly over the surface; the rims and legs of tables, and the
backs and legs of chairs and sofas, should be rubbed vigorously daily;
if there is a book-case, every corner of every pane and ledge requires
to be carefully wiped, so that not a speck of dust can be found in the

2302. After the breakfast-room is finished, the housemaid should proceed
to sweep down the stairs, commencing at the top, whilst the cook has the
charge of the hall, door-step, and passages. After this she should go
into the drawing-room, cover up every article of furniture that is
likely to spoil, with large dusting-sheets, and put the chairs together,
by turning them seat to seat, and, in fact, make as much room as
possible, by placing all the loose furniture in the middle of the room,
whilst she sweeps the corners and sides. When this is accomplished, the
furniture can then be put back in its place, and the middle of the room
swept, sweeping the dirt, as before said, towards the fireplace. The
same rules should be observed in cleaning the drawing-room grates as we
have just stated, putting down the cloth, before commencing, to prevent
the carpet from getting soiled. In the country, a room would not require
sweeping thoroughly like this more than twice a week; but the housemaid
should go over it every morning with a dust-pan and broom, taking up
every crumb and piece she may see. After the sweeping she should leave
the room, shut the door, and proceed to lay the breakfast. Where there
is neither footman nor parlour-maid kept, the duty of laying the
breakfast-cloth rests on the housemaid.

[Illustration: BANISTER-BROOM.]

[Illustration: STAIRCASE-BROOM.]

2303. Before laying the cloth for breakfast, the heater of the tea-urn
is to be placed in the hottest part of the kitchen fire; or, where the
kettle is used, boiled on the kitchen fire, and then removed to the
parlour, where it is kept hot. Having washed herself free from the dust
arising from the morning's work, the housemaid collects the
breakfast-things on her tray, takes the breakfast-cloth from the napkin
press, and carries them all on the tray into the parlour; arranges them
on the table, placing a sufficiency of knives, forks, and salt-cellars
for the family, and takes the tray back to the pantry; gets a supply of
milk, cream, and bread; fills the butter-dish, taking care that the salt
is plentiful, and soft and dry, and that hot plates and egg-cups are
ready where warm meat or eggs are served, and that butter-knife and
bread-knife are in their places. And now she should give the signal for
breakfast, holding herself ready to fill the urn with hot water, or hand
the kettle, and take in the rolls, toast, and other eatables, with which
the cook supplies her, when the breakfast-room bell rings; bearing in
mind that she is never to enter the parlour with dirty hands or with a
dirty apron, and that everything is to be handed on a tray; that she is
to hand everything she may be required to supply, on the left hand of
the person she is serving, and that all is done quietly and without
bustle or hurry. In some families, where there is a large number to
attend on, the cook waits at breakfast whilst the housemaid is busy
upstairs in the bedrooms, or sweeping, dusting, and putting the
drawing-room in order.

2304. Breakfast served, the housemaid proceeds to the bed-chambers,
throws up the sashes, if not already done, pulls up the blinds, throwing
back curtains at the same time, and opens the beds, by removing the
clothes, placing them over a horse, or, failing that, over the backs of
chairs. She now proceeds to empty the slops. In doing this, everything
is emptied into the slop-pail, leaving a little scalding-hot water for a
minute in such vessels as require it; adding a drop of turpentine to the
water, when that is not sufficient to cleanse them. The basin is
emptied, well rinsed with clean water, and carefully wiped; the ewers
emptied and washed; finally, the water-jugs themselves emptied out and
rinsed, and wiped dry. As soon as this is done, she should remove and
empty the pails, taking care that they also are well washed, scalded,
and wiped as soon as they are empty.

2305. Next follows bedmaking, at which the cook or kitchen-maid, where
one is kept, usually assists; but, before beginning, velvet chairs, or
other things injured by dust, should be removed to another room. In
bedmaking, the fancy of its occupant should be consulted; some like beds
sloping from the top towards the feet, swelling slightly in the middle;
others, perfectly flat: a good housemaid will accommodate each bed to
the taste of the sleeper, taking care to shake, beat, and turn it well
in the process. Some persons prefer sleeping on the mattress; in which
case a feather bed is usually beneath, resting on a second mattress, and
a straw paillasse at the bottom. In this case, the mattresses should
change places daily; the feather bed placed on the mattress shaken,
beaten, taken up and opened several times, so as thoroughly to separate
the feathers: if too large to be thus handled, the maid should shake and
beat one end first, and then the other, smoothing it afterwards equally
all over into the required shape, and place the mattress gently over it.
Any feathers which escape in this process a tidy servant will put back
through the seam of the tick; she will also be careful to sew up any
stitch that gives way the moment it is discovered. The bedclothes are
laid on, beginning with an under blanket and sheet, which are tucked
under the mattress at the bottom. The bolster is then beaten and shaken,
and put on, the top of the sheet rolled round it, and the sheet tucked
in all round. The pillows and other bedclothes follow, and the
counterpane over all, which should fall in graceful folds, and at equal
distance from the ground all round. The curtains are drawn to the head
and folded neatly across the bed, and the whole finished in a smooth and
graceful manner. Where spring-mattresses are used, care should be taken
that the top one is turned every day. The housemaid should now take up
in a dustpan any pieces that may be on the carpet; she should dust the
room, shut the door, and proceed to another room. When all the bedrooms
are finished, she should dust the stairs, and polish the handrail of the
banisters, and see that all ledges, window-sills, &c., are quite free
from dust. It will be necessary for the housemaid to divide her work, so
that she may not have too much to do on certain days, and not sufficient
to fill up her time on other days. In the country, bedrooms should be
swept and thoroughly cleaned once a week; and to be methodical and
regular in her work, the housemaid should have certain days for doing
certain rooms thoroughly. For instance, the drawing-room on Monday, two
bedrooms on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, and so on, reserving a day for
thoroughly cleaning the plate, bedroom candlesticks, &c. &c., which she
will have to do where there is no parlour-maid or footman kept. By this
means the work will be divided, and there will be no unnecessary
bustling and hurrying, as is the case where the work is done any time,
without rule or regulation.

[Illustration: SCRUBBING-BRUSH.]

2306. Once a week, when a bedroom is to be thoroughly cleaned, the
house-maid should commence by brushing the mattresses of the bed before
it is made; she should then make it, shake the curtains, lay them
smoothly on the bed, and pin or tuck up the bottom valance, so that she
may be able to sweep under the bed. She should then unloop the
window-curtains, shake them, and pin them high up out of the way. After
clearing the dressing-table, and the room altogether of little articles
of china, &c. &c., she should shake the toilet-covers, fold them up, and
lay them on the bed, over which a large dusting-sheet should be thrown.
She should then sweep the room; first of all sprinkling the carpet with
well-squeezed tea-leaves, or a little freshly-pulled grass, when this is
obtainable. After the carpet is swept, and the grate cleaned, she should
wash with soap and water, with a little soda in it, the washing-table
apparatus, removing all marks or fur round the jugs, caused by the
water. The water-bottles and tumblers must also have her attention, as
well as the top of the washing-stand, which should be cleaned with soap
and flannel if it be marble: if of polished mahogany, no soap must be
used. When these are all clean and arranged in their places, the
housemaid should scrub the floor where it is not covered with carpet,
under the beds, and round the wainscot. She should use as little soap
and soda as possible, as too free a use of these articles is liable to
give the boards a black appearance. In the country, cold soft water, a
clean scrubbing-brush, and a willing arm, are all that are required to
make bedroom floors look white. In winter it is not advisable to scrub
rooms too often, as it is difficult to dry them thoroughly at that
season of the year, and nothing is more dangerous than to allow persons
to sleep in a damp room. The housemaid should now dust the furniture,
blinds, ornaments, &c.; polish the looking-glass; arrange the
toilet-cover and muslin; remove the cover from the bed, and straighten
and arrange the curtains and counterpane. A bedroom should be cleaned
like this every week. There are times, however, when it is necessary to
have the carpet up; this should be done once a year in the country, and
twice a year in large cities. The best time for these arrangements is
spring and autumn, when the bed-furniture requires changing to suit the
seasons of the year. After arranging the furniture, it should all be
well rubbed and polished; and for this purpose the housemaid should
provide herself with an old silk pocket-handkerchief, to finish the

[Illustration: LONG HAIR-BROOM.]

2307. As modern furniture is now nearly always French-polished, it
should often be rubbed with an old silk rubber, or a fine cloth or
duster, to keep it free from smears. Three or four times a year any of
the following polishes may be applied with very great success, as any of
them make French-polished furniture look very well. One precaution must
be taken,--not to put too much of the polish on at one time, and _to
rub, not smear_ it over the articles.


2308. INGREDIENTS.--1/4 pint of linseed-oil, 1/4 pint of vinegar, 1 oz.
of spirits of salts, 1/2 oz. of muriatic antimony.

_Mode_.--Mix all well together, and shake before using.


2309. INGREDIENTS.--Equal proportions of linseed-oil, turpentine,
vinegar, and spirits of wine.

_Mode_.--When used, shake the mixture well, and rub on the furniture
with a piece of linen rag, and polish with a clean duster. Vinegar and
oil, rubbed in with flannel, and the furniture rubbed with a clean
duster, produce a very good polish.


2310. INGREDIENTS.--3 oz. of common beeswax, 1 oz. of white wax, 1 oz.
of curd soap, 1 pint of turpentine, 1 pint of boiled water.

[Illustration: FURNITURE BRUSH.]

_Mode_.--Mix the ingredients together, adding the water when cold; shake
the mixture frequently in the bottle, and do not use it for 48 hours
after it is made. It should be applied with a piece of flannel, the
furniture polished with a duster, and then with an old silk rubber.

2311. The chambers are finished, the chamber candlesticks brought down
and cleaned, the parlour lamps trimmed;--and here the housemaid's utmost
care is required. In cleaning candlesticks, as in every other cleaning,
she should have cloths and brushes kept for that purpose alone; the
knife used to scrape them should be applied to no other purpose; the
tallow-grease should be thrown into a box kept for the purpose; the same
with everything connected with the lamp-trimming; the best mode of doing
which she will do well to learn from the tradesman who supplies the oil;
always bearing in mind, however, that without perfect cleanliness, which
involves occasional scalding, no lamp can be kept in order.

2312. The drawing and dining-room, inasmuch as everything there is more
costly and valuable, require even more care. When the carpets are of the
kind known as velvet-pile, they require to be swept firmly by a hard
whisk brush, made of cocoanut fibre.

2313. The furniture must be carefully gone over in every corner with a
soft cloth, that it may be left perfectly free from dust; or where that
is beyond reach, with a brush made of long feathers, or a goose's wing.
The sofas are swept in the same manner, slightly beaten, the cushions
shaken and smoothed, the picture-frames swept, and everything arranged
in its proper place. This, of course, applies to dining as well as
drawing-room and morning-room. And now the housemaid may dress herself
for the day, and prepare for the family dinner, at which she must

2314. We need not repeat the long instructions already given for laying
the dinner-table. At the family dinner, even where no footman waits, the
routine will be the same. In most families the cloth is laid with the
slips on each side, with napkins, knives, forks, spoons, and wine and
finger glasses on all occasions.

[Illustration: BUTLER'S TRAY AND STAND.]

2315. She should ascertain that her plate is in order, glasses free from
smears, water-bottles and decanters the same, and everything ready on
her tray, that she may be able to lay her cloth properly. Few things add
more to the neat and comfortable appearance of a dinner-table than
well-polished plate; indeed, the state of the plate is a certain
indication of a well-managed or ill-managed household. Nothing is easier
than to keep plate in good order, and yet many servants, from stupidity
and ignorance, make it the greatest trouble of all things under their
care. It should be remembered, that it is utterly impossible to make
greasy silver take a polish; and that as spoons and forks in daily use
are continually in contact with grease, they must require good washing
in soap-and-water to remove it. Silver should be washed with a soapy
flannel in one water, rinsed in another, and then wiped dry with a dry
cloth. The plate so washed may be polished with the plate-rags, as in
the following directions:--Once a week all the plate should receive a
thorough cleaning with the hartshorn powder, as directed in the first
recipe for cleaning plate; and where the housemaid can find time, rubbed
every day with the plate-rags.

2316. Hartshorn, we may observe, is one of the best possible
ingredients for plate-powder in daily use. It leaves on the
silver a deep, dark polish, and at the same time does less
injury than anything else. It has also the advantage of being
very cheap; almost all the ordinary powders sold in boxes
containing more or less of quicksilver, in some form or another;
and this in process of time is sure to make the plate brittle.
If any one wishes to be convinced of the effect of quicksilver
on plate, he has only to rub a little of it on one place for
some time,--on the handle of a silver teaspoon for instance, and
he will find it break in that spot with very little pressure.

To Clean Plate.

_A very excellent method._

[Illustration: PLATE-BRUSH.]

2317. Wash the plate well to remove all grease, in a strong lather of
common yellow soap and boiling water, and wipe it quite dry; then mix as
much hartshorn powder as will be required, into a thick paste, with cold
water or spirits of wine; smear this lightly over the plate with a piece
of soft rag, and leave it for some little time to dry. When perfectly
dry, brush it off quite clean with a soft plate-brush, and polish the
plate with a dry leather. If the plate be very dirty, or much tarnished,
spirits of wine will be found to answer better than the water for mixing
the paste.

Plate-rags for daily use.

2318. Boil soft rags (nothing is better for the purpose than the tops of
old cotton stockings) in a mixture of new milk and hartshorn powder, in
the proportion of 1 oz. of powder to a pint of milk; boil them for 5
minutes; wring them as soon as they are taken out, for a moment, in cold
water, and dry them before the fire. With these rags rub the plate
briskly as soon as it has been well washed and dried after daily use. A
most beautiful deep polish will be produced, and the plate will require
nothing more than merely to be dusted with a leather or a dry soft
cloth, before it is again put on the table.

2319. For waiting at table, the housemaid should be neatly and cleanly
dressed, and, if possible, her dress made with closed sleeves, the large
open ones dipping and falling into everything on the table, and being
very much in the way. She should not wear creaking boots, and should
move about the room as noiselessly as possible, anticipating people's
wants by handing them things without being asked for them, and
altogether be as quiet as possible. It will be needless here to repeat
what we have already said respecting waiting at table, in the duties of
the butler and footman: rules that are good to be observed by them, are
equally good for the parlour-maid or housemaid.

2320. The housemaid having announced that dinner is on the table, will
hand the soup, fish, meat, or side-dishes to the different members of
the family; but in families who do not spend much of the day together,
they will probably prefer being alone at dinner and breakfast; the
housemaid will be required, after all are helped, if her master does not
wish her to stay in the room, to go on with her work of cleaning up in
the pantry, and answer the bell when rung. In this case she will place a
pile of plates on the table or a dumbwaiter, within reach of her master
and mistress, and leave the room.

[Illustration: CRUMB-BRUSH].

2321. Dinner over, the housemaid removes the plates and dishes on the
tray, places the dirty knives and forks in the basket prepared for them,
folds up the napkins in the ring which indicates by which member of the
family it has been used, brushes off the crumbs on the hand-tray kept
for the purpose, folds up the table-cloth in the folds already made, and
places it in the linen-press to be smoothed out. After every meal the
table should be rubbed, all marks from hot plates removed, and the
table-cover thrown over, and the room restored to its usual order. If
the family retire to the drawing-room, or any other room, it is a good
practice to throw up the sash to admit fresh air and ventilate the room.

2322. The housemaid's evening service consists in washing up the
dinner-things, the plate, plated articles, and glasses, restoring
everything to its place; cleaning up her pantry, and putting away
everything for use when next required; lastly, preparing for tea, as the
time approaches, by setting the things out on the tray, getting the urn
or kettle ready, with cream and other things usually partaken of at that

2323. In summer-time the windows of all the bedrooms, which have been
closed during the heat of the day, should be thrown open for an hour or
so after sunset, in order to air them. Before dark they should be
closed, the bedclothes turned down, and the night-clothes laid in order
for use when required. During winter, where fires are required in the
dressing-rooms, they should be lighted an hour before the usual time of
retiring, placing a fire-guard before each fire. At the same time, the
night-things on the horse should be placed before it to be aired, with a
tin can of hot water, if the mistress is in the habit of washing before
going to bed. We may add, that there is no greater preservative of
beauty than washing the face every night in hot water. The housemaid
will probably be required to assist her mistress to undress and put her
dress in order for the morrow; in which case her duties are very much
those of the lady's-maid.

2324. And now the fire is made up for the night, the fireguard replaced,
and everything in the room in order for the night, the housemaid taking
care to leave the night-candle and matches together in a convenient
place, should they be required. It is usual in summer to remove all
highly fragrant flowers from sleeping-rooms, the impression being that
their scent is injurious in a close chamber.

2325. On leisure days, the housemaid should be able to do some
needlework for her mistress,--such as turning and mending sheets and
darning the house linen, or assist her in anything she may think fit to
give her to do. For this reason it is almost essential that a housemaid,
in a small family, should be an expert needlewoman; as, if she be a good
manager and an active girl, she will have time on her hands to get
through plenty of work.

2326. _Periodical Cleanings_.--Besides the daily routine which we have
described, there are portions of every house which can only be
thoroughly cleaned occasionally; at which time the whole house usually
undergoes a more thorough cleaning than is permitted in the general way.
On these occasions it is usual to begin at the top of the house and
clean downwards; moving everything out of the room; washing the
wainscoting or paint with soft soap and water; pulling down the beds and
thoroughly cleansing all the joints; "scrubbing" the floor; beating
feather beds, mattress, and paillasse, and thoroughly purifying every
article of furniture before it is put back in its place.

2327. This general cleaning usually takes place in the spring or early
summer, when the warm curtains of winter are replaced by the light and
cheerful muslin curtains. Carpets are at the same time taken up and
beaten, except where the mistress of the house has been worried into an
experiment by the often-reiterated question, "Why beat your carpets?" In
this case she will probably have made up her mind to try the cleaning
process, and arranged with the company to send for them on the morning
when cleaning commenced. It is hardly necessary to repeat, that on this
occasion every article is to be gone over, the French-polished furniture
well rubbed and polished. The same thorough system of cleaning should be
done throughout the house; the walls cleaned where painted, and swept
down with a soft broom or feather brush where papered; the window and
bed curtains, which have been replaced with muslin ones, carefully
brushed, or, if they require it, cleaned; lamps not likely to be
required, washed out with hot water, dried, and cleaned. The several
grates are now to be furnished with their summer ornaments; and we know
none prettier than the following, which the housemaid may provide at a
small expense to her mistress:--Purchase two yards and a half of
crinoline muslin, and tear it into small strips, the selvage way of the
material, about an inch wide; strip this thread by thread on each side,
leaving the four centre threads; this gives about six-and-thirty pieces,
fringed on each side, which are tied together at one end, and fastened
to the trap of the register, while the threads, unravelled, are spread
gracefully about the grate, the lower part of which is filled with paper
shavings. This makes a very elegant and very cheap ornament, which is
much stronger, besides, than those usually purchased.

[Illustration: CORNICE-BRUSH.]

[Illustration: HOUSE-PAIL.]

[Illustration: DUSTING-BRUSH.]

2328. As winter approaches, this house-cleaning will have to be
repeated, and the warm bed and window curtains replaced. The process of
scouring and cleaning is again necessary, and must be gone through,
beginning at the top, and going through the house, down to the kitchens.

2329. Independently of these daily and periodical cleanings, other
occupations will present themselves from time to time, which the
housemaid will have to perform. When spots show on polished furniture,
they can generally be restored by soap-and-water and a sponge, the
polish being brought out by using a little polish, and then well rubbing
it. Again, drawers which draw out stiffly may be made to move more
easily if the spot where they press is rubbed over with a little soap.

2330. Chips broken off any of the furniture should be collected and
replaced, by means of a little glue applied to it. Liquid glue, which is
sold prepared in bottles, is very useful to have in the house, as it
requires no melting; and anything broken can be so quickly repaired.

2331. Breaking glass and china is about the most disagreeable thing that
can happen in a family, and it is, probably, a greater annoyance to a
right-minded servant than to the mistress. A neat-handed housemaid may
sometimes repair these breakages, where they are not broken in very
conspicuous places, by joining the pieces very neatly together with a
cement made as follows:--Dissolve an ounce of gum mastic in a quantity
of highly-rectified spirits of wine; then soften an ounce of isinglass
in warm water, and, finally, dissolve it in rum or brandy, till it forms
a thick jelly. Mix the isinglass and gum mastic together, adding a
quarter of an ounce of finely-powdered gum ammoniac; put the whole into
an earthen pipkin, and in a warm place, till they are thoroughly
incorporated together; pour it into a small phial, and cork it down for

2332. In using it, dissolve a small piece of the cement in a silver
teaspoon over a lighted candle. The broken pieces of glass or china
being warmed, and touched with the now liquid cement, join the parts
neatly together, and hold in their places till the cement has set; then
wipe away the cement adhering to the edge of the joint, and leave it for
twelve hours without touching it: the joint will be as strong as the
china itself, and if neatly done, it will show no joining. It is
essential that neither of the pieces be wetted either with hot or cold


To clean Marble.

2333. Mix with 1/4 pint of soap lees, 1/2 gill of turpentine, sufficient
pipe-clay and bullock's gall to make the whole into rather a thick
paste. Apply it to the marble with a soft brush, and after a day or two,
when quite dry, rub it off with a soft rag. Apply this a second or third
time till the marble is quite clean.

Another method.

2334. Take two parts of soda, one of pumice-stone, and one of
finely-powdered chalk. Sift these through a fine sieve, and mix them
into a paste with water. Rub this well all over the marble, and the
stains will be removed; then wash it with soap-and-water, and a
beautiful bright polish will be produced.

To clean Floorcloth.

2335. After having washed the floorcloth in the usual manner with a damp
flannel, wet it all over with milk and rub it well with a dry cloth,
when a most beautiful polish will be brought out. Some persons use for
rubbing a well-waxed flannel; but this in general produces an unpleasant
slipperiness, which is not the case with the milk.

To clean Decanters.

2336. Roll up in small pieces some soft brown or blotting paper; wet
them, and soap them well. Put them into the decanters about one quarter
full of warm water; shake them well for a few minutes, then rinse with
clear cold water; wipe the outsides with a nice dry cloth, put the
decanters to drain, and when dry they will be almost as bright as new

To brighten Gilt Frames.

2337. Take sufficient flour of sulphur to give a golden tinge to about
1-1/2 pint of water, and in this boil 4 or 5 bruised onions, or garlic,
which will answer the same purpose. Strain off the liquid, and with it,
when cold, wash, with a soft brush, any gilding which requires
restoring, and when dry it will come out as bright as new work.

To preserve bright Grates or Fire-irons from Rust.

2338. Make a strong paste of fresh lime and water, and with a fine brush
smear it as thickly as possible over all the polished surface requiring
preservation. By this simple means, all the grates and fire-irons in an
empty house may be kept for months free from harm, without further care
or attention.

German Furniture-Gloss.

2339. INGREDIENTS.--1/2 lb. yellow wax, 1 oz. black rosin, 2 oz. of oil
of turpentine.

_Mode_.--Cut the wax into small pieces, and melt it in a pipkin, with
the rosin pounded very fine. Stir in gradually, while these two
ingredients are quite warm, the oil of turpentine. Keep this composition
well covered for use in a tin or earthen pot. A little of this gloss
should be spread on a piece of coarse woollen cloth, and the furniture
well rubbed with it; afterwards it should be polished with a fine cloth.


2340. The general servant, or maid-of-all-work, is perhaps the only one
of her class deserving of commiseration: her life is a solitary one, and
in, some places, her work is never done. She is also subject to rougher
treatment than either the house or kitchen-maid, especially in her
earlier career: she starts in life, probably a girl of thirteen, with
some small tradesman's wife as her mistress, just a step above her in
the social scale; and although the class contains among them many
excellent, kind-hearted women, it also contains some very rough
specimens of the feminine gender, and to some of these it occasionally
falls to give our maid-of-all-work her first lessons in her multifarious
occupations: the mistress's commands are the measure of the
maid-of-all-work's duties. By the time she has become a tolerable
servant, she is probably engaged in some respectable tradesman's house,
where she has to rise with the lark, for she has to do in her own person
all the work which in larger establishments is performed by cook,
kitchen-maid, and housemaid, and occasionally the part of a footman's
duty, which consists in carrying messages.

2341. The general servant's duties commence by opening the shutters (and
windows, if the weather permits) of all the lower apartments in the
house; she should then brush up her kitchen-range, light the fire, clear
away the ashes, clean the hearth, and polish with a leather the bright
parts of the range, doing all as rapidly and as vigorously as possible,
that no more time be wasted than is necessary. After putting on the
kettle, she should then proceed to the dining-room or parlour to get it
in order for breakfast. She should first roll up the rug, take up the
fender, shake and fold up the table-cloth, then sweep the room, carrying
the dirt towards the fireplace; a coarse cloth should then be laid down
over the carpet, and she should proceed to clean the grate, having all
her utensils close to her. When the grate is finished, the ashes cleared
away, the hearth cleaned, and the fender put back in its place, she must
dust the furniture, not omitting the legs of the tables and chairs; and
if there are any ornaments or things on the sideboard, she must not dust
round them, but lift them up on to another place, dust well where they
have been standing, and then replace the things. Nothing annoys a
particular mistress so much as to find, when she comes down stairs,
different articles of furniture looking as if they had never been
dusted. If the servant is at all methodical, and gets into a habit of
_doing_ a room in a certain way, she will scarcely ever leave her duties
neglected. After the rug is put down, the table-cloth arranged, and
everything in order, she should lay the cloth for breakfast, and then
shut the dining-room door.

2342. The hall must now be swept, the mats shaken, the door-step
cleaned, and any brass knockers or handles polished up with the leather.
If the family breakfast very early, the tidying of the hall must then be
deferred till after that meal. After cleaning the boots that are
absolutely required, the servant should now wash her hands and face, put
on a clean white apron, and be ready for her mistress when she comes
down stairs. In families where there is much work to do before
breakfast, the master of the house frequently has two pairs of boots in
wear, so that they may be properly cleaned when the servant has more
time to do them, in the daytime. This arrangement is, perhaps, scarcely
necessary in the summer-time, when there are no grates to clean every
morning; but in the dark days of winter it is only kind and thoughtful
to lighten a servant-of-all-work's duties as much as possible.

[Illustration: BLACKING-BRUSH BOX.]

2343. She will now carry the urn into the dining-room, where her
mistress will make the tea or coffee, and sometimes will boil the eggs,
to insure them being done to her liking. In the mean time the servant
cooks, if required, the bacon, kidneys, fish, &c.;--if cold meat is to
be served, she must always send it to table on a clean dish, and nicely
garnished with tufts of parsley, if this is obtainable.

2344. After she has had her own breakfast, and whilst the family are
finishing theirs, she should go upstairs into the bedrooms, open all the
windows, strip the clothes off the beds, and leave them to air whilst
she is clearing away the breakfast things. She should then take up the
crumbs in a dustpan from under the table, put the chairs in their
places, and sweep up the hearth.

2345. The breakfast things washed up, the kitchen should be tidied, so
that it may be neat when her mistress comes in to give the orders for
the day: after receiving these orders, the servant should go upstairs
again, with a jug of boiling water, the slop-pail, and two cloths. After
emptying the slops, and scalding the vessels with the boiling water, and
wiping them thoroughly dry, she should wipe the top of the wash-table
and arrange it all in order. She then proceeds to make the beds, in
which occupation she is generally assisted by the mistress, or, if she
have any daughters, by one of them. Before commencing to make the bed,
the servant should put on a large bed-apron, kept for this purpose only,
which should be made very wide, to button round the waist and meet
behind, while it should be made as long as the dress. By adopting this
plan, the blacks and dirt on servants' dresses (which at all times it is
impossible to help) will not rub off on to the bed-clothes, mattresses,
and bed furniture. When the beds are made, the rooms should be dusted,
the stairs lightly swept down, hall furniture, closets, &c., dusted. The
lady of the house, where there is but one servant kept, frequently takes
charge of the drawing-room herself, that is to say, dusting it; the
servant sweeping, cleaning windows, looking-glasses, grates, and rough
work of that sort. If there are many ornaments and knick-knacks about
the room, it is certainly better for the mistress to dust these herself,
as a maid-of-all-work's hands are not always in a condition to handle
delicate ornaments.

2346. Now she has gone the rounds of the house and seen that all is in
order, the servant goes to her kitchen to see about the cooking of the
dinner, in which very often her mistress will assist her. She should put
on a coarse apron with a bib to do her dirty work in, which may be
easily replaced by a white one if required.

2347. Half an hour before dinner is ready, she should lay the cloth,
that everything may be in readiness when she is dishing up the dinner,
and take all into the dining-room that is likely to be required, in the
way of knives, forks, spoons, bread, salt, water, &c. &c. By exercising
a little forethought, much confusion and trouble may be saved both to
mistress and servant, by getting everything ready for the dinner in good

2348. After taking in the dinner, when every one is seated, she removes
the covers, hands the plates round, and pours out the beer; and should
be careful to hand everything on the left side of the person she is
waiting on.

2349. We need scarcely say that a maid-of-all-work cannot stay in the
dining-room during the whole of dinner-time, as she must dish up her
pudding, or whatever is served after the first course. When she sees
every one helped, she should leave the room to make her preparations for
the next course; and anything that is required, such as bread, &c.,
people may assist themselves to in the absence of the servant.

2350. When the dinner things are cleared away, the servant should sweep
up the crumbs in the dining-room, sweep the hearth, and lightly dust the
furniture, then sit down to her own dinner.


2351. After this, she washes up and puts away the dinner things, sweeps
the kitchen, dusts and tidies it, and puts on the kettle for tea. She
should now, before dressing herself for the afternoon, clean her knives,
boots, and shoes, and do any other dirty work in the scullery that may
be necessary. Knife-cleaning machines are rapidly taking the place, in
most households, of the old knife-board. The saving of labour by the
knife-cleaner is very great, and its performance of the work is very
satisfactory. Small and large machines are manufactured, some cleaning
only four knives, whilst others clean as many as twelve at once. Nothing
can be more simple than the process of machine knife-cleaning; and
although, in a very limited household, the substitution of the machine
for the board may not be necessary, yet we should advise all
housekeepers, to whom the outlay is not a difficulty, to avail
themselves of the services of a machine. We have already spoken of its
management in the "Duties of the Footman," No. 2177.

2352. When the servant is dressed, she takes in the tea, and after tea
turns down the beds, sees that the water-jugs and bottles are full,
closes the windows, and draws down the blinds. If the weather is very
warm, these are usually left open until the last thing at night, to cool
the rooms.

2353. The routine of a general servant's duties depends upon the kind of
situation she occupies; but a systematic maid-of-all-work should so
contrive to divide her work, that every day in the week may have its
proper share. By this means she is able to keep the house clean with
less fatigue to herself than if she left all the cleaning to do at the
end of the week. Supposing there are five bedrooms in the house, two
sitting-rooms, kitchen, scullery, and the usual domestic offices:--on
Monday she should thoroughly clean the drawing-room; on Tuesday, two of
the bedrooms; on Wednesday, two more; on Thursday, the other bedroom and
stairs; on Friday morning she should sweep the dining-room very
thoroughly, clean the hall, and in the afternoon her kitchen tins and
bright utensils. By arranging her work in this manner, no undue
proportion will fall to Saturday's share, and she will then have this
day for cleaning plate, cleaning her kitchen, and arranging everything
in nice order. The regular work must, of course, be performed in the
usual manner, as we have endeavoured to describe.

2354. Before retiring to bed, she will do well to clean up glasses,
plates, &c. which have been used for the evening meal, and prepare for
her morning's work by placing her wood near the fire, on the hob, to
dry, taking care there is no danger of it igniting, before she leaves
the kitchen for the night. Before retiring, she will have to lock and
bolt the doors, unless the master undertakes this office himself.

2355. If the washing, or even a portion of it, is done at home, it will
be impossible for the maid-of-all-work to do her household duties
thoroughly, during the time it is about, unless she have some
assistance. Usually, if all the washing is done at home, the mistress
hires some one to assist at the wash-tub, and sees to little matters
herself, in the way of dusting, clearing away breakfast things, folding,
starching, and ironing the fine things. With a little management much
can be accomplished, provided the mistress be industrious, energetic,
and willing to lend a helping hand. Let washing-week be not the excuse
for having everything in a muddle; and although "things" cannot be
cleaned so thoroughly, and so much time spent upon them, as ordinarily,
yet the house may be kept tidy and clear from litter without a great
deal of exertion either on the part of the mistress or servant. We will
conclude our remarks with an extract from an admirably-written book,
called "Home Truths for Home Peace." The authoress says, with respect to
the great wash--"Amongst all the occasions in which it is most difficult
and glorious to keep muddle out of a family, 'the great wash' stands
pre-eminent; and as very little money is now saved by having
_everything_ done at home, many ladies, with the option of taking
another servant or putting out the chief part of the washing, have
thankfully adopted the latter course." She goes on to say--"When a
gentleman who dines at home can't bear washing in the house, but gladly
pays for its being done elsewhere, the lady should gratefully submit to
his wishes, and put out anything in her whole establishment rather than
put out a good and generous husband."

2356. A bustling and active girl will always find time to do a little
needlework for herself, if she lives with consistent and reasonable
people. In the summer evenings she should manage to sit down for two or
three hours, and for a short time in the afternoon in leisure days. A
general servant's duties are so multifarious, that unless she be quick
and active, she will not be able to accomplish this. To discharge these
various duties properly is a difficult task, and sometimes a thankless
office; but it must be remembered that a good maid-of-all-work will make
a good servant in any capacity, and may be safely taken not only without
fear of failure, but with every probability of giving satisfaction to
her employer.


2357. The duties of the dairy-maid differ considerably in different
districts. In Scotland, Wales, and some of the northern counties, women
milk the cows. On some of the large dairy farms in other parts of
England, she takes her share in the milking, but in private families the
milking is generally performed by the cowkeeper, and the dairy-maid only
receives the milkpails from him morning and night, and empties and
cleans them preparatory to the next milking; her duty being to supply
the family with milk, cream, and butter, and other luxuries depending on
the "milky mothers" of the herd.

2358. _The Dairy._--The object with which gentlemen keep cows is
to procure milk unadulterated, and sweet butter, for themselves
and families: in order to obtain this, however, great
cleanliness is required, and as visitors, as well as the
mistress of the house, sometimes visit the dairy, some efforts
are usually made to render it ornamental and picturesque. The
locality is usually fixed near to the house; it should neither
be exposed to the fierce heat of the summer's sun nor to the
equally unfavourable frosts of winter--it must be both sheltered
and shaded. If it is a building apart from the house and other
offices, the walls should be tolerably thick, and if hollow, the
temperature will be more equable. The walls inside are usually
covered with Dutch glazed tiles; the flooring also of glazed
tiles set in asphalte, to resist water; and the ceiling, lath
and plaster, or closely-jointed woodwork, painted. Its
architecture will be a matter of fancy: it should have a
northern aspect, and a thatched roof is considered most
suitable, from the shade and shelter it affords; and it should
contain at least two apartments, besides a cool place for
storing away butter. One of the apartments, in which the milk is
placed to deposit cream, or to ripen for churning, is usually
surrounded by shelves of marble or slate, on which the
milk-dishes rest; but it will be found a better plan to have a
large square or round table of stone in the centre, with a
water-tight ledge all round it, in which water may remain in hot
weather, or, if some attempt at the picturesque is desired, a
small fountain might occupy the centre, which would keep the
apartment cool and fresh. Round this table the milk-dishes
should be ranged; one shelf, or dresser, of slate or marble,
being kept for the various occupations of the dairy-maid: it
will be found a better plan than putting them on shelves and
corners against the wall. There should be a funnel or ventilator
in the ceiling, communicating with the open air, made to open
and shut as required. Double windows are recommended, but of the
lattice kind, so that they may open, and with wire-gauze blinds
fitted into the opening, and calico blinds, which may be wetted
when additional coolness is required. The other apartment will
be used for churning, washing, and scrubbing--in fact, the
scullery of the dairy, with a boiler for hot water, and a sink
with cold water laid on, which should be plentiful and good. In
some dairies a third apartment, or, at least, a cool airy
pantry, is required for storing away butter, with shelves of
marble or slate, to hold the cream-jars while it is ripening;
and where cheeses are made, a fourth becomes necessary. The
dairy utensils are not numerous,--_churns_, _milk-pails_ for
each cow, _hair-sieves_, _slices of tin_, milk-pans, marble
dishes for cream for family use, scales and weights, a portable
rack for drying the utensils, _wooden bowls_, butter-moulds and
butter-patters, and _wooden tubs_ for washing the utensils,
comprising pretty nearly everything.

2359. _Pails_ are made of maple-wood or elm, and hooped, or of
tin, more or less ornamented. One is required for each cow.

2360. The _Hair-Sieve_ is made of closely-twisted horse-hair,
with a rim, through which the milk is strained to remove any
hairs which may have dropped from the cow in milking.

2361. _Milk-Dishes_ are shallow basins of glass, of glazed
earthenware, or tin, about 16 inches in diameter at top, and 12
at the bottom, and 5 or 6 inches deep, holding about 8 to 10
quarts each when full.

2362. _Churns_ are of all sorts and sizes, from that which
churns 70 or 80 gallons by means of a strap from the engine, to
the square box in which a pound of butter is made. The churn
used for families is a square box, 18 inches by 12 or 13, and 17
deep, bevelled below to the plane of the _dashers_, with a loose
lid or cover. The dasher consists of an axis of wood, to which
the four beaters or fanners are attached; these fans are simply
four pieces of elm strongly dovetailed together, forming an
oblong square, with a space left open, two of the openings being
left broader than the others; attached to an axle, they form an
axis with four projecting blades; the axle fits into supports at
the centre of the box; a handle is fitted to it, and the act of
churning is done by turning the handle.

2363. Such is the temple in which the dairy-maid presides: it
should be removed both from stable and cowhouse, and larder; no
animal smells should come near it, and the drainage should be

2364. The dairy-maid receives the milk from the cowkeeper, each pail
being strained through the hair-sieve into one of the milk-basins. This
is left in the basins from twenty-four to thirty-six hours in the
summer, according to the weather; after which it is skimmed off by means
of the slicer, and poured into glazed earthenware jars to "turn" for
churning. Some persons prefer making up a separate churning for the milk
of each cow; in which there is some advantage. In this case the basins
of each cow, for two days, would either be kept together or labelled. As
soon as emptied, the pails should be scalded and every particle of milk
washed out, and placed away in a dry place till next required; and all
milk spilt on the floor, or on the table or dresser, cleaned up with a
cloth and hot water. Where very great attention is paid to the dairy,
the milk-coolers are used larger in winter, when it is desirable to
retard the cooling down and increase the creamy deposit, and smaller in
summer, to hasten it; the temperature required being from 55 deg. to 50 deg., In
summer it is sometimes expedient, in very sultry weather, to keep the
dairy fresh and cool by suspending cloths dipped in chloride of lime
across the room.

2365. In some dairies it is usual to churn twice, and in others three
times a week: the former produces the best butter, the other the
greatest quantity. With three cows, the produce should be 27 to 30
quarts a day. The dairy-maid should churn every day when very hot, if
they are in full milk, and every second day in more temperate weather;
besides supplying the milk and cream required for a large establishment.
The churning should always be done in the morning: the dairy-maid will
find it advantageous in being at work on churning mornings by five
o'clock. The operation occupies from 20 minutes to half an hour in
summer, and considerably longer in winter. A steady uniform motion is
necessary to produce sweet butter; neither too quick nor too slow. Rapid
motion causes the cream to heave and swell, from too much air being
forced into it: the result is a tedious churning, and soft, bad-coloured

2366. In spring and summer, when the cow has her natural food, no
artificial colour is required; but in winter, under stall-feeding, the
colour is white and tallowy, and some persons prefer a higher colour.
This is communicated by mixing a little finely-powdered arnotto with the
cream before putting it into the churn; a still more, natural and
delicate colour is communicated by scraping a red carrot into a clean
piece of linen cloth, dipping it into water, and squeezing it into the

2367. As soon as the butter comes, the milk is poured off, and the
butter put into a shallow wooden tub or bowl, full of pure spring water,
in which it is washed and kneaded, pouring off the water, and renewing
it until it comes away perfectly free from milk. Imperfect washing is
the frequent cause of bad butter, and in nothing is the skill of the
dairy-maid tested more than in this process; moreover, it is one in
which cleanliness of habits and person are most necessary. In this
operation we want the aid of Phyllis's neat, soft, and perfectly clean
hand; for no mechanical operation can so well squeeze out the sour
particles of milk or curd.

2368. The operations of churning and butter-making over, the butter-milk
is disposed of: usually, in England, it goes to the pigs; but it is a,
very wholesome beverage when fresh, and some persons like it; the
disposal, therefore, will rest with the mistress: the dairy-maid's duty
is to get rid of it. She must then scald with boiling water and scrub
out every utensil she has used; brush out the churn, clean out the
cream-jars, which will probably require the use of a little common soda
to purify; wipe all dry, and place them in a position where the sun can
reach them for a short time, to sweeten them.

2369. In Devonshire, celebrated for its dairy system, the milk
is always scalded. The milk-pans, which are of tin, and contain
from 10 to 12 quarts, after standing 10 or 12 hours, are placed
on a hot plate of iron, over a stove, until the cream has formed
on the surface, which is indicated by the air-bubbles rising
through the milk, and producing blisters on the surface-coating
of cream. This indicates its approach to the boiling point: and
the vessel is now removed to cool. When sufficiently, that is,
quite cool, the cream is skimmed off with the slice: it is now
the clouted cream for which Devonshire is so famous. It is now
placed in the churn, and churned until the butter comes, which
it generally does in a much shorter time than by the other
process. The butter so made contains more _caseine_ than butter
made in the usual way, but does not keep so long.

2370. It is a question frequently discussed, how far it is economical
for families to keep cows and make their own butter. It is calculated
that a good cow costs from May 1 to October 1, when well but
economically kept, L5. 16s. 6d; and from October 1 to April 30, L10. 2s.
6d. During that time she should produce 227 lbs. of butter, besides the
skimmed milk. Of course, if new milk and cream are required, that will
diminish the quantity of butter.

2371. Besides churning and keeping her dairy in order, the dairy-maid
has charge of the whole produce, handing it over to the cook, butler, or
housemaid as required; and she will do well to keep an exact account
both of what she receives and how and when she disposes of it.


2372. The laundry-maid is charged with the duty of washing and
getting-up the family linen,--a situation of great importance where the
washing is all done at home; but in large towns, where there is little
convenience for bleaching and drying, it is chiefly done by professional
laundresses and companies, who apply mechanical and chemical processes
to the purpose. These processes, however, are supposed to injure the
fabric of the linen; and in many families the fine linen, cottons, and
muslins, are washed and got-up at home, even where the bulk of the
washing is given out. In country and suburban houses, where greater
conveniences exist, washing at home is more common,--in country places

2373. The laundry establishment consists of a washing-house, an ironing
and drying-room, and sometimes a drying-closet heated by furnaces. The
washing-house will probably be attached to the kitchen; but it is better
that it should be completely detached from it, and of one story, with a
funnel or shaft to carry off the steam. It will be of a size
proportioned to the extent of the washing to be done. A range of tubs,
either round or oblong, opposite to, and sloping towards, the light,
narrower at the bottom than the top, for convenience in stooping over,
and fixed at a height suited to the convenience of the women using them;
each tub having a tap for hot and cold water, and another in the bottom,
communicating with the drains, for drawing off foul water. A boiler and
furnace, proportioned in size to the wants of the family, should also be
fixed. The flooring should be York stone, laid on brick piers, with good
drainage, or asphalte, sloping gently towards a gutter connected with
the drain.

2374. Adjoining the bleaching-house, a second room, about the same size,
is required for ironing, drying, and mangling. The contents of this room
should comprise an ironing-board, opposite to the light; a strong white
deal table, about twelve or fourteen feet long, and about three and a
half feet broad, with drawers for ironing-blankets; a mangle in one
corner, and clothes-horses for drying and airing; cupboards for holding
the various irons, starch, and other articles used in ironing; a
hot-plate built in the chimney, with furnace beneath it for heating the
irons; sometimes arranged with a flue for carrying the hot air round the
room for drying. Where this is the case, however, there should be a
funnel in the ceiling for ventilation and carrying off steam; but a
better arrangement is to have a hot-air closet adjoining, heated by
hot-air pipes, and lined with iron, with proper arrangements for
carrying off steam, and clothes-horses on castors running in grooves, to
run into it for drying purposes. This leaves the laundry free from
unwholesome vapour.

2375. The laundry-maid should commence her labours on Monday morning by
a careful examination of the articles committed to her care, and enter
them in the washing-book; separating the white linen and collars, sheets
and body-linen, into one heap, fine muslins into another, coloured
cotton and linen fabrics into a third, woollens into a fourth, and the
coarser kitchen and other greasy cloths into a fifth. Every article
should be examined for ink- or grease-spots, or for fruit- or
wine-stains. Ink-spots are removed by dipping the part into hot water,
and then spreading it smoothly on the hand or on the back of a spoon,
pouring a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of sorel over the ink-spot,
rubbing and rinsing it in cold water till removed; grease-spots, by
rubbing over with yellow soap, and rinsing in hot water; fruit- and
wine-spots, by dipping in a solution of sal ammonia or spirits of wine,
and rinsing.

2376. Every article having been examined and assorted, the sheets and
fine linen should be placed in one of the tubs and just covered with
lukewarm water, in which a little soda has been dissolved and mixed, and
left there to soak till the morning. The greasy cloths and dirtier
things should be laid to soak in another tub, in a liquor composed of
1/2 lb. of unslaked lime to every 6 quarts of water which has been
boiled for two hours, then left to settle, and strained off when clear.
Each article should be rinsed in this liquor to wet it thoroughly, and
left to soak till the morning, just covered by it when the things are
pressed together. Coppers and boilers should now be filled, and the
fires laid ready to light.

2377. Early on the following morning the fires should be lighted, and as
soon as hot water can be procured, washing commenced; the sheets and
body-linen being wanted to whiten in the morning, should be taken first;
each article being removed in succession from the lye in which it has
been soaking, rinsed, rubbed, and wrung, and laid aside until the tub is
empty, when the foul water is drawn off. The tub should be again filled
with luke-warm water, about 80 deg., in which the articles should again be
plunged, and each gone over carefully with soap, and rubbed. Novices in
the art sometimes rub the linen against the skin; more experienced
washerwomen rub one linen surface against the other, which saves their
hands, and enables them to continue their labour much longer, besides
economizing time, two parts being thus cleaned at once.

2378. After this first washing, the linen should be put into a second
water as hot as the hand can bear, and again rubbed over in every part,
examining every part for spots not yet moved, which require to be again
soaped over and rubbed till thoroughly clean; then rinsed and wrung, the
larger and stronger articles by two of the women; the smaller and more
delicate articles requiring gentler treatment.

2379. In order to remove every particle of soap, and produce a good
colour, they should now be placed, and boiled for about an hour and a
half in the copper, in which soda, in the proportion of a teaspoonful to
every two gallons of water, has been dissolved. Some very careful
laundresses put the linen into a canvas bag to protect it from the scum
and the sides of the copper. When taken out, it should again be rinsed,
first in clean hot water, and then in abundance of cold water slightly
tinged with fig-blue, and again wrung dry. It should now be removed from
the washing-house and hung up to dry or spread out to bleach, if there
are conveniences for it; and the earlier in the day this is done, the
clearer and whiter will be the linen.

2380. Coloured muslins, cottons, and linens, require a milder treatment;
any application of soda will discharge the colour, and soaking all
night, even in pure water, deteriorates the more delicate tints. When
ready for washing, if not too dirty, they should be put into cold water
and washed very speedily, using the common yellow soap, which should be
rinsed off immediately. One article should be washed at a time, and
rinsed out immediately before any others are wetted. When washed
thoroughly, they should be rinsed in succession in soft water, in which
common salt has been dissolved, in the proportion of a handful to three
or four gallons, and afterwards wrung gently, as soon as rinsed, with as
little twisting as possible, and then hung out to dry. Delicate-coloured
articles should not be exposed to the sun, but dried in the shade, using
clean lines and wooden pegs.

2381. Woollen articles are liable to shrink, unless the flannel has been
well shrunk before making up. This liability is increased where very hot
water is used: cold water would thus be the best to wash woollens in;
but, as this would not remove the dirt, lukewarm water, about 85 deg., and
yellow soap, are recommended. When thoroughly washed in this, they
require a good deal of rinsing in cold water, to remove the soap.

2382. Greasy cloths, which have soaked all night in the liquid
described, should be now washed out with soap-and-water as hot as the
hands can bear, first in one water, and rinsed out in a second; and
afterwards boiled for two hours in water in which a little soda is
dissolved. When taken out, they should be rinsed in cold water, and laid
out or hung up to dry.

2383. Silk handkerchiefs require to be washed alone. When they contain
snuff, they should be soaked by themselves in lukewarm water two or
three hours; they should be rinsed out and put to soak with the others
in cold water for an hour or two; then washed in lukewarm water, being
soaped as they are washed. If this does not remove all stains, they
should be washed a second time in similar water, and, when finished,
rinsed in soft water in which a handful of common salt has been
dissolved. In washing stuff or woollen dresses, the band at the waist
and the lining at the bottom should be removed, and wherever it is
gathered into folds; and, in furniture, the hems and gatherings. A black
silk dress, if very dirty, must be washed; but, if only soiled, soaking
for four-and-twenty hours will do; if old and rusty, a pint of common
spirits should be mixed with each gallon of water, which is an
improvement under any circumstances. Whether soaked or washed, it should
be hung up to drain, and dried without wringing.

2384. Satin and silk ribbons, both white and coloured, may be cleaned in
the same manner.

2385. Silks, when washed, should be dried in the shade, on a
linen-horse, taking care that they are kept smooth and unwrinkled. If
black or blue, they will be improved if laid again on the table, when
dry, and sponged with gin, or whiskey, or other white spirit.

2386. The operations should be concluded by rinsing the tubs, cleaning
the coppers, scrubbing the floors of the washing-house, and restoring
everything to order and cleanliness.

2387. Thursday and Friday, in a laundry in full employ, are usually
devoted to mangling, starching, and ironing.

2388. Linen, cotton, and other fabrics, after being washed and dried,
are made smooth and glossy by mangling and by ironing. The mangling
process, which is simply passing them between rollers subjected to a
very considerable pressure, produced by weight, is confined to sheets,
towels, table-linen, and similar articles, which are without folds or
plaits. Ironing is necessary to smooth body-linen, and made-up articles
of delicate texture or gathered into folds. The mangle is too well known
to need description.

2389. _Ironing_.--The irons consist of the common flat-iron,
which is of different sizes, varying from 4 to 10 inches in
length, triangular in form, and from 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches in
width at the broad end; the oval iron, which is used for more
delicate articles; and the box-iron, which is hollow, and heated
by a red-hot iron inserted into the box. The Italian iron is a
hollow tube, smooth on the outside, and raised on a slender
pedestal with a footstalk. Into the hollow cylinder a red-hot
iron is pushed, which heats it; and the smooth outside of the
latter is used, on which articles such as frills, and plaited
articles, are drawn. Crimping- and gauffering-machines are used
for a kind of plaiting where much regularity is required, the
articles being passed through two iron rollers fluted so as to
represent the kind of plait or fold required.

2390. Starching is a process by which stiffness is communicated to
certain parts of linen, as the collar and front of shirts, by dipping
them in a paste made of starch boiled in water, mixed with a little gum
Arabic, where extra stiffness is required.


2391. INGREDIENTS.--Allow 1/2 pint of cold water and 1 quart of boiling
water to every 2 tablespoonfuls of starch.

_Mode_.--Put the starch into a tolerably large basin; pour over it the
cold water, and stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon until it is
perfectly free from lumps, and quite smooth. Then take the basin to the
fire, and whilst the water is _actually boiling_ in the kettle or
boiler, pour it over the starch, stirring it the whole time. If made
properly in this manner, the starch will require no further boiling; but
should the water not be boiling when added to the starch, it will not
thicken, and must be put into a clean saucepan, and stirred over the
fire until it boils. Take it off the fire, strain it into a clean basin,
cover it up to prevent a skin forming on the top, and, when sufficiently
cool that the hand may be borne in it, starch the things. Many persons,
to give a shiny and smooth appearance to the linen when ironed, stir
round two or three times in the starch a piece of wax candle, which also
prevents the iron from sticking.

2392. When the "things to be starched" are washed, dried, and taken off
the lines, they should be dipped into the hot starch made as directed,
squeezed out of it, and then just dipped into cold water, and
immediately squeezed dry. If fine things be wrung, or roughly used, they
are very liable to tear; so too much care cannot be exercised in this
respect. If the article is lace, clap it between the hands a few times,
which will assist to clear it; then have ready laid out on the table a
large clean towel or cloth; shake out the starched things, lay them on
the cloth, and roll it up tightly, and let it remain for three or fours,
when the things will be ready to iron.

2393. To be able to iron properly requires much practice and experience.
Strict cleanliness with all the ironing utensils must be observed, as,
if this is not the case, not the most expert ironer will be able to make
her things look clear and free from smears, &c. After wiping down her
ironing table, the laundry-maid should place a coarse cloth on it, and
over that the ironing-blanket, with her stand and iron-rubber; and
having ascertained that her irons are quite clean and of the right heat,
she proceeds with her work.

2394. It is a good plan to try the heat of the iron on a coarse cloth or
apron before ironing anything fine: there is then no danger of
scorching. For ironing fine things, such as collars, cuffs, muslins, and
laces, there is nothing so clean and nice to use as the box-iron; the
bottom being bright, and never placed near the fire, it is always
perfectly clean; it should, however, be kept in a dry place, for fear of
its rusting. Gauffering-tongs or irons must be placed in a clear fire
for a minute, then withdrawn, wiped with a coarse rubber, and the heat
of them tried on a piece of paper, as, unless great care is taken, these
will very soon scorch.

2395. The skirts of muslin dresses should be ironed on a skirt-board
covered with flannel, and the fronts of shirts on a smaller board, also
covered with flannel; this board being placed between the back and

2396. After things are mangled, they should also be ironed in the folds
and gathers; dinner-napkins smoothed over, as also table-cloths,
pillow-cases, and sometimes sheets. The bands of flannel petticoats, and
shoulder-straps to flannel waistcoats, must also undergo the same


2397. The nursery is of great importance in every family, and in
families of distinction, where there are several young children, it is
an establishment kept apart from the rest of the family, under the
charge of an upper nurse, assisted by under nursery-maids proportioned
to the work to be done. The responsible duties of upper nursemaid
commence with the weaning of the child: it must now be separated from
the mother or wet-nurse, at least for a time, and the cares of the
nursemaid, which have hitherto been only occasionally put in
requisition, are now to be entirely devoted to the infant. She washes,
dresses, and feeds it; walks out with it, and regulates all its little
wants; and, even at this early age, many good qualities are required to
do so in a satisfactory manner. Patience and good temper are
indispensable qualities; truthfulness, purity of manners, minute
cleanliness, and docility and obedience, almost equally so. She ought
also to be acquainted with the art of ironing and trimming little caps,
and be handy with her needle.

2398. There is a considerable art in carrying an infant
comfortably for itself and for the nursemaid. If she carry it
always seated upright on her arm, and presses it too closely
against her chest, the stomach of the child is apt to get
compressed, and the back fatigued. For her own comfort, a good
nurse will frequently vary this position, by changing from one
arm to the other, and sometimes by laying it across both,
raising the head a little. When teaching it to walk, and guiding
it by the hand, she should change the hand from time to time, so
as to avoid raising one shoulder higher than the other. This is
the only way in which a child should be taught to walk;
leading-strings and other foolish inventions, which force an
infant to make efforts, with its shoulders and head forward,
before it knows how to use its limbs, will only render it
feeble, and retard its progress.

2399. Most children have some bad habit, of which they must be
broken; but this is never accomplished by harshness without
developing worse evils: kindness, perseverance, and patience in
the nurse, are here of the utmost importance. When
finger-sucking is one of these habits, the fingers are sometimes
rubbed with bitter aloes, or some equally disagreeable
substance. Others have dirty habits, which are only to be
changed by patience, perseverance, and, above all, by regularity
in the nurse. She should never be permitted to inflict
punishment on these occasions, or, indeed, on any occasion. But,
if punishment is to be avoided, it is still more necessary that
all kinds of indulgences and flattery be equally forbidden.
Yielding to all the whims of a child,--picking up its toys when
thrown away in mere wantonness, would be intolerable. A child
should never be led to think others inferior to it, to beat a
dog, or even the stone against which it falls, as some children
are taught to do by silly nurses. Neither should the nurse
affect or show alarm at any of the little accidents which must
inevitably happen: if it falls, treat it as a trifle; otherwise
she encourages a spirit of cowardice and timidity. But she will
take care that such accidents are not of frequent occurrence, or
the result of neglect.

2400. The nurse should keep the child as clean as possible, and
particularly she should train it to habits of cleanliness, so
that it should feel uncomfortable when otherwise; watching
especially that it does not soil itself in eating. At the same
time, vanity in its personal appearance is not to be encouraged
by over-care in this respect, or by too tight lacing or
buttoning of dresses, nor a small foot cultivated by the use of
tight shoes.

2401. Nursemaids would do well to repeat to the parents
faithfully and truly the defects they observe in the
dispositions of very young children. If properly checked in
time, evil propensities may be eradicated; but this should not
extend to anything but serious defects; otherwise, the intuitive
perceptions which all children possess will construe the act
into "spying" and "informing," which should never be resorted to
in the case of children, nor, indeed, in any case.

2402. Such are the cares which devolve upon the nursemaid, and it is her
duty to fulfil them personally. In large establishments she will have
assistants proportioned to the number of children of which she has the
care. The under nursemaid lights the fires, sweeps, scours, and dusts
the rooms, and makes the beds; empties slops, and carries up water;
brings up and removes the nursery meals; washes and dresses all the
children, except the infant, and assists in mending. Where there is a
nursery girl to assist, she does the rougher part of the cleaning; and
all take their meals in the nursery together, after the children of the
family have done.

2403. In smaller families, where there is only one nursemaid kept, she
is assisted by the housemaid, or servant-of-all-work, who will do the
rougher part of the work, and carry up the nursery meals. In such
circumstances she will be more immediately under the eye of her
mistress, who will probably relieve her from some of the cares of the
infant. In higher families, the upper nurse is usually permitted to sup
or dine occasionally at the housekeeper's table by way of relaxation,
when the children are all well, and her subordinates trustworthy.

2404. Where the nurse has the entire charge of the nursery, and the
mother is too much occupied to do more than pay a daily visit to it, it
is desirable that she be a person of observation, and possess some
acquaintance with the diseases incident to childhood, as also with such
simple remedies as may be useful before a medical attendant can be
procured, or where such attendance is not considered necessary. All
these little ailments are preceded by symptoms so minute as to be only
perceptible to close observation; such as twitching of the brows,
restless sleep, grinding the gums, and, in some inflammatory diseases,
even to the child abstaining from crying, from fear of the increased
pain produced by the movement. Dentition, or cutting the teeth, is
attended with many of these symptoms. Measles, thrush, scarlatina,
croup, hooping-cough, and other childish complaints, are all preceded by
well-known symptoms, which may be alleviated and rendered less virulent
by simple remedies instantaneously applied.

2405. _Dentition_ is usually the first serious trouble, bringing many
other disorders in its train. The symptoms are most perceptible to the
mother: the child sucks feebly, and with gums hot, inflamed, and
swollen. In this case, relief is yielded by rubbing them from time to
time with a little of Mrs. Johnson's soothing syrup, a valuable and
perfectly safe medicine. Selfish and thoughtless nurses, and mothers
too, sometimes give cordials and sleeping-draughts, whose effects are
too well known.

2406. _Convulsion Fits_ sometimes follow the feverish restlessness
produced by these causes; in which case a hot bath should be
administered without delay, and the lower parts of the body rubbed, the
bath being as hot as it can be without scalding the tender skin; at the
same time, the doctor should be sent for immediately, for no nurse
should administer medicine in this case, unless the fits have been
repeated and the doctor has left directions with her how to act.

2407. _Croup_ is one of the most alarming diseases of childhood; it is
accompanied with a hoarse, croaking, ringing cough, and comes on very
suddenly, and most so in strong, robust children. A very hot bath should
be instantly administered, followed by an emetic, either in the form of
tartar-emetic, croup-powder, or a teaspoonful of ipecacuanha, wrapping
the body warmly up in flannel after the bath. The slightest delay in
administering the bath, or the emetic, may be fatal; hence, the
importance of nurses about very young children being acquainted with the

2408. _Hooping-Cough_ is generally preceded by the moaning noise during
sleep, which even adults threatened with the disorder cannot avoid: it
is followed by violent fits of coughing, which little can be done to
relieve. A child attacked by this disorder should be kept as much as
possible in the fresh, pure air, but out of draughts, and kept warm, and
supplied with plenty of nourishing food. Many fatal diseases flow from
this scourge of childhood, and a change to purer air, if possible,
should follow convalescence.

2409. _Worms_ are the torment of some children: the symptoms are, an
unnatural craving for food, even after a full meal; costiveness,
suddenly followed by the reverse; fetid breath, a livid circle under the
eyes, enlarged abdomen, and picking the nose; for which the remedies
must be prescribed by the doctor.

2410. _Measles_ and _Scarlatina_ much resemble each other in their early
stages: headache, restlessness, and fretfulness are the symptoms of
both. Shivering fits, succeeded by a hot skin; pains in the back and
limbs, accompanied by sickness, and, in severe cases, sore throat; pain
about the jaws, difficulty in swallowing, running at the eyes, which
become red and inflamed, while the face is hot and flushed, often
distinguish scarlatina and scarlet fever, of which it is only a mild

2411. While the case is doubtful, a dessert-spoonful of spirit of nitre
diluted in water, given at bedtime, will throw the child into a gentle
perspiration, and will bring out the rash in either case. In measles,
this appears first on the face; in scarlatina, on the chest; and in both
cases a doctor should be called in. In scarlatina, tartar-emetic powder
or ipecacuanha may be administered in the mean time.

2412. In all cases, cleanliness, fresh air, clean utensils, and frequent
washing of the person, both of nurse and children, are even more
necessary in the nursery than in either drawing-room or sick-room,
inasmuch as the delicate organs of childhood are more susceptible of
injury from smells and vapours than adults.

2413. It may not be out of place if we conclude this brief notice of the
duties of a nursemaid, by an extract from Florence Nightingale's
admirable "Notes on Nursing." Referring to children, she says:--

2414. "They are much more susceptible than grown people to all
noxious influences. They are affected by the same things, but
much more quickly and seriously; by want of fresh air, of proper
warmth; want of cleanliness in house, clothes, bedding, or body;
by improper food, want of punctuality, by dulness, by want of
light, by too much or too little covering in bed or when up."
And all this in health; and then she quotes a passage from a
lecture on sudden deaths in infancy, to show the importance of
careful nursing of children:--"In the great majority of
instances, when death suddenly befalls the infant or young
child, it is an _accident_; it is not a necessary, inevitable
result of any disease. That which is known to injure children
most seriously is foul air; keeping the rooms where they sleep
closely shut up is destruction to them; and, if the child's
breathing be disordered by disease, a few hours only of such
foul air may endanger its life, even where no inconvenience is
felt by grown-up persons in the room."

2415. Persons moving in the beat society will see, after
perusing Miss Nightingale's book, that this "foul air," "want of
light," "too much or too little clothing," and improper food, is
not confined to Crown Street or St. Giles's; that Belgravia and
the squares have their north room, where the rays of the sun
never reach. "A wooden bedstead, two or three mattresses piled
up to above the height of the table, a vallance attached to the
frame,--nothing but a miracle could ever thoroughly dry or air
such a bed and bedding,"--is the ordinary bed of a private
house, than which nothing can be more unwholesome. "Don't treat
your children like sick," she sums up; "don't dose them with
tea. Let them eat meat and drink milk, or half a glass of light
beer. Give them fresh, light, sunny, and open rooms, cool
bedrooms, plenty of outdoor exercise, facing even the cold, and
wind, and weather, in sufficiently warm clothes, and with
sufficient exercise, plenty of amusements and play; more
liberty, and less schooling, and cramming, and training; more
attention to food and less to physic."


2416. All women are likely, at some period of their lives, to be called
on to perform the duties of a sick-nurse, and should prepare themselves
as much as possible, by observation and reading, for the occasion when
they may be required to perform the office. The main requirements are
good temper, compassion for suffering, sympathy with sufferers, which
most women worthy of the name possess, neat-handedness, quiet manners,
love of order, and cleanliness. With these qualifications there will be
very little to be wished for; the desire to relieve suffering will
inspire a thousand little attentions, and surmount the disgusts which
some of the offices attending the sick-room are apt to create. Where
serious illness visits a household, and protracted nursing is likely to
become necessary, a professional nurse will probably be engaged, who has
been trained to its duties; but in some families, and those not a few
let us hope, the ladies of the family would oppose such an arrangement
as a failure of duty on their part. There is, besides, even when a
professional nurse is ultimately called in, a period of doubt and
hesitation, while disease has not yet developed itself, when the patient
must be attended to; and, in these cases, some of the female servants of
the establishment must give their attendance in the sick-room. There
are, also, slight attacks of cold, influenza, and accidents in a
thousand forms, to which all are subject, where domestic nursing becomes
a necessity; where disease, though unattended with danger, is
nevertheless accompanied by the nervous irritation incident to illness,
and when all the attention of the domestic nurse becomes necessary.

2417. In the first stage of sickness, while doubt and a little
perplexity hang over the household as to the nature of the sickness,
there are some things about which no doubt can exist: the patient's room
must be kept in a perfectly pure state, and arrangements made for proper
attendance; for the first canon of nursing, according to Florence
Nightingale, its apostle, is to "keep the air the patient breathes as
pure as the external air, without chilling him." This can be done
without any preparation which might alarm the patient; with proper
windows, open fireplaces, and a supply of fuel, the room may be as fresh
as it is outside, and kept at a temperature suitable for the patient's

2418. Windows, however, must be opened from above, and not from below,
and draughts avoided; cool air admitted beneath the patient's head
chills the lower strata and the floor. The careful nurse will keep the
door shut when the window is open; she will also take care that the
patient is not placed between the door and the open window, nor between
the open fireplace and the window. If confined to bed, she will see that
the bed is placed in a thoroughly ventilated part of the room, but out
of the current of air which is produced by the momentary opening of
doors, as well as out of the line of draught between the window and the
open chimney, and that the temperature of the room is kept about 64 deg..
Where it is necessary to admit air by the door, the windows should be
closed; but there are few circumstances in which good air can be
obtained through the chamber-door; through it, on the contrary, the
gases generated in the lower parts of the house are likely to be drawn
into the invalid chamber.

2419. These precautions taken, and plain nourishing diet, such as the
patient desires, furnished, probably little more can be done, unless
more serious symptoms present themselves; in which case medical advice
will be sought.

2420. Under no circumstances is ventilation of the sick-room so
essential as in cases of febrile diseases, usually considered
infectious; such as typhus and puerperal fevers, influenza,
hooping-cough, small- and chicken-pox, scarlet fever, measles, and
erysipelas: all these are considered communicable through the air; but
there is little danger of infection being thus communicated, provided
the room is kept thoroughly ventilated. On the contrary, if this
essential be neglected, the power of infection is greatly increased and
concentrated in the confined and impure air; it settles upon the clothes
of the attendants and visitors, especially where they are of wool, and
is frequently communicated to other families in this manner.

2421. Under all circumstances, therefore, the sick-room should be kept
as fresh and sweet as the open air, while the temperature is kept up by
artificial heat, taking care that the fire burns clear, and gives out no
smoke into the room; that the room is perfectly clean, wiped over with a
damp cloth every day, if boarded; and swept, after sprinkling with damp
tea-leaves, or other aromatic leaves, if carpeted; that all utensils are
emptied and cleaned as soon as used, and not once in four-and-twenty
hours, as is sometimes done. "A slop-pail," Miss Nightingale says,
"should never enter a sick-room; everything should be carried direct to
the water-closet, emptied there, and brought up clean; in the best
hospitals the slop-pail is unknown." "I do not approve," says Miss
Nightingale, "of making housemaids of nurses,--that would be waste of
means; but I have seen surgical sisters, women whose hands were worth to
them two or three guineas a week, down on their knees, scouring a room
or hut, because they thought it was not fit for their patients: these
women had the true nurse spirit."

2422. Bad smells are sometimes met by sprinkling a little liquid
chloride of lime on the floor; fumigation by burning pastiles is also a
common expedient for the purification of the sick-room. They are useful,
but only in the sense hinted at by the medical lecturer, who commenced
his lecture thus:--"Fumigations, gentlemen, are of essential importance;
they make so abominable a smell, that they compel you to open the
windows and admit fresh air." In this sense they are useful, but
ineffectual unless the cause be removed, and fresh air admitted.

2423. The sick-room should be quiet; no talking, no gossiping, and,
above all, no whispering,--this is absolute cruelty to the patient; he
thinks his complaint the subject, and strains his ear painfully to catch
the sound. No rustling of dresses, nor creaking shoes either; where the
carpets are taken up, the nurse should wear list shoes, or some other
noiseless material, and her dress should be of soft material that does
not rustle. Miss Nightingale denounces crinoline, and quotes Lord
Melbourne on the subject of women in the sick-room, who said, "I would
rather have men about me, when ill, than women; it requires very strong
health to put up with women." Ungrateful man! but absolute quiet is
necessary in the sick-room.

2424. Never let the patient be waked out of his first sleep by noise,
never roused by anything like a surprise. Always sit in the apartment,
so that the patient has you in view, and that it is not necessary for
him to turn in speaking to you. Never keep a patient standing; never
speak to one while moving. Never lean on the sick-bed. Above all, be
calm and decisive with the patient, and prevent all noises over-head.

2425. A careful nurse, when a patient leaves his bed, will open the
sheets wide, and throw the clothes back so as thoroughly to air the bed;
She will avoid drying or airing anything damp in the sick-room.

2426. "It is another fallacy," says Florence Nightingale, "to suppose
that night air is injurious; a great authority told me that, in London,
the air is never so good as after ten o'clock, when smoke has
diminished; but then it must be air from without, not within, and not
air vitiated by gaseous airs." "A great fallacy prevails also," she
says, in another section, "about flowers poisoning the air of the
sick-room: no one ever saw them over-crowding the sick-room; but, if
they did, they actually absorb carbonic acid and give off oxygen." Cut
flowers also decompose water, and produce oxygen gas. Lilies, and some
other very odorous plants, may perhaps give out smells unsuited to a
close room, while the atmosphere of the sick-room should always be fresh
and natural.

2427. "Patients," says Miss Nightingale, "are sometimes starved in the
midst of plenty, from want of attention to the ways which alone make it
possible for them to take food. A spoonful of beef-tea, or arrowroot and
wine, or some other light nourishing diet, should be given every hour,
for the patient's stomach will reject large supplies. In very weak
patients there is often a nervous difficulty in swallowing, which is
much increased if food is not ready and presented at the moment when it
is wanted: the nurse should be able to discriminate, and know when this
moment is approaching."

2428. Diet suitable for patients will depend, in some degree, on their
natural likes and dislikes, which the nurse will do well to acquaint
herself with. Beef-tea is useful and relishing, but possesses little
nourishment; when evaporated, it presents a teaspoonful of solid meat to
a pint of water. Eggs are not equivalent to the same weight of meat.
Arrowroot is less nourishing than flour. Butter is the lightest and most
digestible kind of fat. Cream, in some diseases, cannot be replaced.
But, to sum up with some of Miss Nightingale's useful maxims:--Observation
is the nurse's best guide, and the patient's appetite the rule. Half a
pint of milk is equal to a quarter of a pound of meat. Beef-tea is the
least nourishing food administered to the sick; and tea and coffee, she
thinks, are both too much excluded from the sick-room.


2429. The choice of a monthly nurse is of the utmost importance; and in
the case of a young mother with her first child, it would be well for
her to seek advice and counsel from her more experienced relatives in
this matter. In the first place, the engaging a monthly nurse in good
time is of the utmost importance, as, if she be competent and clever,
her services will be sought months beforehand; a good nurse having
seldom much of her time disengaged. There are some qualifications which
it is evident the nurse should possess: she should be scrupulously clean
and tidy in her person; honest, sober, and noiseless in her movements;
should possess a natural love for children, and have a strong nerve in
case of emergencies. Snuff-taking and spirit-drinking must not be
included in her habits; but these are happily much less frequent than
they were in former days.

2430. Receiving, as she often will, instructions from the doctor, she
should bear these in mind, and carefully carry them out. In those
instances where she does not feel herself sufficiently informed, she
should ask advice from the medical man, and not take upon herself to
administer medicines, &c., without his knowledge.

2431. A monthly nurse should be between 30 and 50 years of age,
sufficiently old to have had a little experience, and yet not too old or
infirm to be able to perform various duties requiring strength and
bodily vigour. She should be able to wake the moment she is called,--at
any hour of the night, that the mother or child may have their wants
immediately attended to. Good temper, united to a kind and gentle
disposition, is indispensable; and, although the nurse will frequently
have much to endure from the whims and caprices of the invalid, she
should make allowances for these, and command her temper, at the same
time exerting her authority when it is necessary.

2432. What the nurse has to do in the way of cleaning and dusting her
lady's room, depends entirely on the establishment that is kept. Where
there are plenty of servants, the nurse, of course, has nothing whatever
to do but attend on her patient, and ring the bell for anything she may
require. Where the number of domestics is limited, she should not mind
keeping her room in order; that is to say, sweeping and dusting it every
morning. If fires be necessary, the housemaid should always clean the
grate, and do all that is wanted in that way, as this, being rather
dirty work, would soil the nurse's dress, and unfit her to approach the
bed, or take the infant without soiling its clothes. In small
establishments, too, the nurse should herself fetch things she may
require, and not ring every time she wants anything; and she must, of
course, not leave her invalid unless she sees everything is comfortable;
and then only for a few minutes. When down stairs, and in company with
the other servants, the nurse should not repeat what she may have heard
in her lady's room, as much mischief may be done by a gossiping nurse.
As in most houses the monthly nurse is usually sent for a few days
before her services may be required, she should see that all is in
readiness; that there be no bustle and hurry at the time the confinement
takes place. She should keep two pairs of sheets thoroughly aired, as
well as night-dresses, flannels, &c. &c. All the things which will be
required to dress the baby the first time should be laid in the basket
in readiness, in the order in which they are to be put on; as well as
scissors, thread, a few pieces of soft linen rag, and two or three
flannel squares. If a berceaunette is to be used immediately, the nurse
should ascertain that the mattresses, pillow, &c. are all well aired;
and if not already done before she arrives, she should assist in
covering and trimming it, ready for the little occupant. A monthly nurse
should be handy at her needle, as, if she is in the house some time
before the baby is born, she will require some work of this sort; to

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