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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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another day, do it with your own hands, or direct, and it will be bet­ter ; then another the next day, and thus continue daily, you will soon gain confidence in yourself, as well as your cook, your culinary lore will soon be greatly enlarged, and in a few years will be a walking encyclopedia of culinary knowledge, a living magazine, which may be consulted at all times. Never suffer your husband to be dissatisfied even with the first meal, or even a dish, without conferring with him directly, watch his likes, and prepare by varying the dishes of which he seems most fond. Let him never have a dish before him that will offend his eye, olfactories, or palate. Pleasantly, but without seem­ing to, watch the expression of his face while partaking of his food. On the subject of bread making, butter making, and coffee, and in­numerable subjects, I have treated in their proper place, which may be consulted at pleasure.
Let the approbation of your husband be the great design of your life, to keep it, for with your maiden simplicity you gained it, let him not realize, when brought in direct contact with your disposition and principles (after the man of God pronounced you one) the senti­ment of the poet, " 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view." Let these be to him like pure untried gold, that they become purer, more refined, when tried in the crucible of domestic life, and brighter from the abrasion of the household duties; though it has been a yoke, yet was easy and the burden light, and you have not been all the day idle. I know that your husband will think that he has the best wife and sweetest home on earth.
Dr. Johnson says, to be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution. Though man governs, yet woman reigns, her throne is at the fireside, her seat in the heart, her empire the world, her household is her sanctuary, her place of worship and service. Her silver-toned voice, so full of gen­tleness, tenderness, and sensibility will send back the furious tide that boils and surges in the veins of her liege lord and master, soothe and calm down his passion, and stifle and assuage his rage, by reasoning and prayerful suasion, reduce the crimson tide back to its natural channel.
Though a man's motto may be "excelsior" yet he may never be able to go up higher on account of the domestic clogs that may hang to him in the way of a thriftless wife. Whenever he attempts to rise he falls back on account of their weight.
If woman has truly learned to keep house (for it is the "house­hold surroundings which affect most largely the happiness or the misery of domestic life), how to repair clothing, which can be altered, renovated or modernized, learns how to turn everything to the best advantage, and to make her supplies go farthest and longest, to