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 mother teaches her children that employment is dignified, and should be sought, as it strengthens the mind and body, and matures the character that will shine bright and lovely in moral excellence and active beauty. "The Author of every good and perfect gift v gave us six days to perform our own work, and the seventh day for rest. He whose tender mercies are over all His works would not have so ordained, had He not known that labor was best for us, as it would enable us to resist the temptations of our great adversary, who ever finds mischief for idle hands to perform. Teach your children to work for some good, let it be ever so lowly, cherish some flower, that labor is noble and holy, that there is a dread responsi­bility hanging over their existence, that God created them in His own image, and stamped on both their soul and body the sense of duty.
We, as mothers, should teach our daughters the duty and practice of self-denial in some little things, in order to give to the poor around them, to administer a little to their comfort and happiness in sick­ness and in health. Should bring before them and the other child­ren the sin of being wasteful, that such and such things will make a nice soup or pudding for such a one who is sick, and that they may assist in making the dish and you will go with them to take it, and that the poor on their beds of sickness, often crave things which they are unable to get. I have seen the face of little ones lighted up with joy, and their eyes sparkle with gladness at such teaching, and these instructions will be more prized than if you had given an empire of wealth while the mantle of a mother's virtues have fallen on them, " for blessed is he that considereth the poor." The duty to the poor should be one of the first lessons to the young. We should teach them never to deny bread or charity at our own door, that their means, be it ever so small can do some good, we should instill in their young hearts the love of good deeds, the love of hap­piness arising from having done a good action, of their duty to God, their neighbor and all mankind. Every person whose wants are brought to our knowledge is our neighbor.
Our Parlors are designed and expected to be always in readiness to receive visitors, where the dim of domestic matters will not reach their ears while the pleasure of entertainment goes on. The present mode of keeping the parlors dark in small country towns plays well into the hands of housekeepers, who perform the work of cleaning once a week. Where no child is admitted, but by a chance call, and to the children of the family it is almost a ("terra incogni-