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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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20                                              PREFACE.
by whose sweet converse his cares will be beguiled and form a striking contrast to the scenes which he has just left behind, the air of peace, love and order towards him. Who can fix a bound to woman's influence and responsibility ? When we are poor, a little kindness, even in the way of recognition by a noble woman, goes a long way, when we have been forgotten and passed over by so many.
In referring to knowing how to wait on the sick, I once visited a sick lady, a neighbor, who was suffering very much from a blister. 1 asked the cause. She told me that the " doctor had told her daughter that as soon as the blister was taken off to apply a warm poultice, which we did, and which was to be renewed once in so many hours, until his return, but it stuck so fast that her daughter could not get it off, and was waiting for the physician to come tQ show her how to remove it." I at once asked to see it, but to my great astonishment, I could not even raise the edges. I quickly asked the daughter of what she made the poultice, to which she replied that her M mother told her how, that it was made of flour and boiling water." I then called for some milk, which I warmed and applied to the horny edges of the plaster, which by much trouble and care I softened and removed from the suffering patient. Then 1 had* to pick out the pieces of paste that remained on the blister, and made one of a soothing nature, oiled the edges and applied, permitting the daughter to see me make and apply it. The poor patient was soon asleep, for she had been suffering for hours. Now the mother and daughter were both intelligent persons, in the com­mon acceptation of the term, but neither knew anything about sick­ness. The mother had never been sick before, but died from this illness, and many of this large family died in a few years, as well as the daughter referred to.
I shall ever remember the expression of the face of a sick officer of the Union army (a West Pointer), when he turned almost implor­ingly to his elegant wife and asked her to make a powder he had pro­cured into such a number of pills, her reply was that she had never made a pill and did not know how to do it, and that he ought to have got the druggist to make them for him ; he said that he was so sick that he forgot it. " Take the powder back and get him to do it." He said, beseechingly, that he was too sick to go out on the street, and might fall. 1 replied that I would make them for him, for which he seemed so thankful.
The great way to supereminent success in housekeeping can be summed up in two words, indomitable perseverance, which means accurate critical observation, persistent action, and a comprehensive judgment, and with God's blessing no one need fear a failure in the housekeeping enterprise.