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

OUR PARLORS AND OUR CHILDREN.                      2$
ta") land unknown to them. But I do not think that this should be the case. How often do mothers or an older sister lead out of this consecrated place the unfortunate little or larger member of the household, who had seized the opportunity of going to see the pic­tures, works of art, and to smell the sweet flowers from beautiful vases brought from distant lands, and to handle the curiosities on the etagere. All of this is perfectly natural to them, and even to grown people, and handle the large and elegantly gilt bible, with its gay bindings, and other books on the centre table, to trace out the beautiful figures of the rich parlor carpets, and the handsome de­signs of the albumens embroidered by their mother, and sometimes they may mount the piano stool and begin to thump on the keys of the piano, or to pull the harp strings. Now all of this could be prevented by not making these things strange to them, by letting them go in with the older members of the family at pleasure. It would be no more a treat for them to enter it than any other room of the house. In doing this their manners would become more refined and easy, and there would not be that shyness and awk­wardness that we often see in mothers. Entering the parlor with care and grace speaks volumes in the mother's praise. Mothers or the older members of the family should explain all the family or histori­cal pictures, and where everything in the parlor is made, if at home or in foreign lands, to their eager minds, listening ears, and bright, sparkling, and soul-drinking eyes. Let them see and feel that noth­ing is too good for them, a spirit of enquiry is created, and they are consequently fitted to fill any place in society. For the hearts of children are pliant and tender as wax to receive the impressions made on them. In the beginning God designed woman as a help meet for man, to divide his cares and to lighten his toils, and not as a glittering toy or an expensive luxury, or a mere appendage to his household, or to add a long list to his expenses. No; the whole domestic economy, as it existed in the divine mind, goes to show that the only true happiness realized in this relation is a mutual de­pendence on each other, a love unknown but to the pure in heart, a union of kindred spirits where each strives to lighten the burden and heat of each day for the other. Yet the entire happiness of the home circle, as well as the present and future welfare of the ""little ones" is totally dependent upon the management of the woman, the mother. How very careful ought she to be in dealing out to them the good things of her house in the way of brandied fruits, wines, juleps, cordials, brandied and wine sauces, etc. Drunkards have been heard to say that their taste for strong drink was excited by these things, the flame of desire kindled by her own hands which often leads and entails misery on her sons and others in this world