The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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The introduction to the work is written by Rev. W. A. Scott, D. D, L. L. D, whose experience and well-known views on the subject of home and its various influences are too well known to need repe­tition here.
In the preparation of this useful and valuable book, my interest has never for a moment flagged. It has been indeed to me a labor of love, for my thoughts have rapidly pressed forward to the time when the book will not only be hailed and welcomed as a friend and able counsellor and adviser in the many cases of emergency and doubt in households, when dishes or meals must be prepared at once, or remedies applied as with telegraph quickness until the medi­cal healing man is sent for and arrives, which in many sparsely pop­ulated and newly settled portions of the country is hard to be ob­tained and often impossible, for the medical profession must have something to support it; it cannot subsist on stones, nor exist by breathing the air, no matter how exhilarating or wholesome; unless there is constant fuel applied to the fires of vitality, it will soon be re­duced to ashes, the hearthstone grow cold, domestic cheer be silenced, and the voices of song be heard no more as in many other important professions.
The receipts and suggestions for housekeeping are suited to the cottage as well as to the palace. The wife of the poor man working for his daily bread, will find many directions for preparing cheap and savory dishes for her family, as well as simple directions for taking care of them when sick and out of the reach of medical advice. The rich, with unlimited means, will find directions for pre­paring the most luxurious dishes, and many valuable suggestions for getting up dishes for the sick and helpless invalid, which of all luxu­ries I consider the greatest—a happiness so closely allied to heaven that it seems scarcely to find a lodgment on earth, and surely none but the pure in heart can testify to what it is; for it descended from regions of love, and dwells in the bosom of those who are closely allied to Him (who was self-annihilation) who has pronounced them blessed, who aided the helpless poor, visited the sick, clothed the destitute, took care of the stranger, fed the hungry, etc., as doing these to Him in person. Because they can do no more, even a cup of cold water given in His name does not go unrewarded, and even a willing mind is accepted of Him who is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
I do not believe that it was the design of an always benefi­cent Providence that there should be so much suffering in the world, but He has made man a free agent, endowed him with reason and not without some foresight into worldly matters, for the wise man tells us that the " prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself." But good men often, fall into the hands of wicked, deceitful men, as