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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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PREFACE.                                               19
through the wiles of seducers—fiends in human shape, that walk the earth, and whose very breath contaminates the air of heaven. Girls that would never have done wrong, had they not been driven to in­famy by the stress of poverty which would not have been, had they possessed knowledge enough of some calling to have saved them from such a dire calamity. Let every mother make note of this, for this great evil must alone be remedied by mothers ^ for it is a duty they owe to their own children, to society, to a common humanity, to bring up their daughters to be competent to do anything, whether in the capacity of chambermaids, dressmakers, washerwomen, as nurses or cooks. A good nurse will command from two to six or eight dollars a day for the sick when it is known that they are fully competent, faithful, trustworthy, conscientious, with the necessary tact and intelligence.
If girls were taught how to gain a living, our large asylums if not entirely closed, would be greatly contracted, vice, crime and dis­ease, which seem to come together as by inheritance, would in a great degree, cease. Immense sums of money which go to support institutions for foundlings and paupers, would or might be appropri­ated to better purposes, and for the general good of the country. Let every girl learn some trade or housework, as though she might soon become poor, then she will have a life insurance in full, that she will never come to want unless through sickness. Then will the moral desolation of our large cities cease, their waste places be built up, and the wilderness of sin, misery and sorrow, no longer blos­som as the rose.
Let the great, noble-minded, large-hearted, benevolent, intel­lectual women of our thrice blessed and happy country, with their example, and open purses,-step forward and dignify labor, raise as best they can the fallen, and stay the wavering, tottering steps of those ready to fall into the vortex of infamy Let the wealthy show by their own household and daughters that labor is no disgrace, for by it they will be much more likely to keep their wealth. For they will know how to keep who have kept their homes. What a blessed guarantee knowledge would be in such cases.
Young men and women would marry, for then they would not be afraid to do so, lest one should hang as a dead weight and con­sume his hard earnings in doing nothing, or in hired wasteful help— nor the wife on the other hand of her husband being a spendthrift and bringing her to want.
I once knew an old lady who had been immensely wealthy and was then in comfortable circumstances, but she often said that her grand-children would serve the grand-children of those in her em­ployment, and which did come to pass.
The husband should find in his wife and home a friend and sweet retreat, where he should find a gentle welcome, soothing sympathy,