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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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28                                    LOCATION OF A HOUSE.
come fertile sources of evil. The side of a hill is not always a heal­thy spot, unless the herbage is scanty and is free from woods, or unless the surface water is uninterrupted by a break or drain con­siderably above the level of the proposed site and carried off in a different direction. No spot, in most cases, is more suited for a house than a slight rise or knoll which looks down on all the sur­rounding land, for here there is no chance for any annoyance from water courses belonging to other parties; and malaria arising lrom stagnant water. Quickly running streams, so long as they are not subject to extensive floods, are never in any way injurious and may be made the means of carrying off all the unhealthy accumulations of a country residence. But dammed waters of all kinds, unless there is a good stream through them, especially stagnant ponds, should be carefully avoided near a house, however ornamental they * may be.
It may be gathered from what has been remarked, that the writer has a horror of water, and so she has, if in the wrong place. Water, like Are, is a good friend but a fatal enemy, and should be as carefully sought for in the one capacity, as it should be es­chewed in the other. It has already been said that gravel or sand in certain situations is highly desirable, that is, when well drained, and with these may be coupled sand-stone or lime-stone subsoils, chalk" and also primary rocks, these all give good air and some of them good water ; on the other hand, are high, dry and bracing. In the high-lands, health beams in every eye, and the step is elastic and firmer, if not always graceful. But in low districts the cheeks are pallid, the eye sunken and dull, and the step is inelastic, while the real heighth is apparently reduced to a stoop which amounts in many cases to a crouch. Spirits are drank in incredible quantities without those ill effects which follow their use in more healthfull districts. Though we have hitherto discussed the presence of water as a foe, it must now be looked upon as a friend which cannot well be dispensed with, and whose place, when absent, cannot be supplied by any other substitute. In some of the most healthy districts in other respects, water is a desideratum which can scarcely be obtained on any terms in dry summers, and the want of it is felt as a sore evil by its inhab­itants, and severe losses often are sustained by them in sheep and cattle for want of this fluid. Much here will depend upon the pecul­iar circumstances of the individual, as for instance, his occupation or pursuits, his family or professional connections ; the facility of ac­cess or the susceptibility of the neighborhood to his position in society. The district which will suit one man, may be either too aris­tocratic or too low for another. The frequent passing of omnibuses or street cars would be an annoyance to many individuals, while