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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

manage her children and servants quietly, appreciates the impor* tance of system, order and tidiness, then her home will be what it ought to be, her husband will not go to the club-house, gaming-table, nor quaff the wine cup, nor her children wander in the streets, for their training is one of social respectability and earnest for business success, and in whatever positions may be allotted to them, one of efficiency and usefulness.
The time has come when all girls and boys should have some business habits, for the wheel of fortune is ever revolving, and no one knows at what turn he or she may go down. It may be by fire, extravagance, speculation, or through the treachery of a partner, and no one can tell in what form misfortunes may come.
No girl should think of throwing herself on the world for a sup­port nor quartering herself upon relatives, and no parent knows or can tell at what straits a daughter may arrive in the course of a lifetime. I once saw a lady, who my mother told me had at her father's table a gold coffee and tea service, was educated at the first female school in the land, her father owned leagues of land on one i of our famous rivers, had her French governess with her at home, the house and grounds superb (for I have often been in them), and • everything that makes a home desirable was hers. She married wealthy, and in addition to her own grand estate her husband left her a large fortune, for he lived but a short time after their marriage ; her son was also left with princely possessions; in a few years the widow mar­ried well again, a few years rolled on, when her husband, through the treachery of his partner, lost all, died of a broken heart, leaving her six little children to support. She did not even know how to do the simplest things. Her neighbors helped and encouraged her, still it amounted to nothing, when the mother and daughter were both lost to society, her thousand pounds of fine money went with the general wreck, her eldest son died a pauper. Alas! I could fill a volume of similar cases if need be, that have come under my im­mediate observation, all for want of the proper domestic training, to learn to know how to do everything, for whether married or single, we know not what a day may bring forth.
A great deal is said and written about not being able to get em­ployment, which is true, but why are persons notable to get work? Simply because they are not competent to fill the places for which there is a constant demand. Thousands could get places, with good salaries in elegant houses with board and lodgings, and with the thanks of their employers, were it known that their characters were good and they competent for their business, in the way of house girls, cooks, chambermaids, nurses and seamstresses. How many thousands of some persons' daughters for want of the means to house and feed and clothe them, sink prematurely into their graves