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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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LOCATION OF A HOUSE.                                   31
The aspect of the house should be well considered, and it should be borne in mind that the more sunlight that comes into the house with a south and southeast aspect, is lighter, warmer, dryer, and consequently more healthy, than one facing the north or northeast. . The close, fetid air which assails us is assigned to the want of light, and consequently more unhealthy than one facing the north or north­east. One of the most essential points to be observed in reference to a house is its "drainage." Bad or defective drainage, as it has been proved in an endless number of cases, is certain to destroy health, as the taking of poison. This arises from its injuriously affecting the atmosphere, thus rendering the air we breathe un­wholesome and deleterious. Let it be borne in mind that, unless a house is effectually drained, the health of its inhabitants is sure to suffer, and they will be susceptible of ague, rheumatism, diarrhoea, fevers and cholera. An all-important point, that of the water sup­ply. The value of this necessary article has also been lately more and more recognized in connection with the question of life and health, and most houses are well supplied with every convenience connected with water. Let it, however, be well understood that no house, however suitable in other respects, can be desirable if this grand means of health and comfort are in the slightest degree scarce or impure. No caution in that can be too great to see that it is pure and good, as well as plentiful; for, knowing as we do, that not a single dish of our daily food is prepared without it, the importance of its influence on the health of the inmates of a house cannot be over-rated.
Ventilation is another matter which must not be overlooked. In a general way, enough air is admitted by the cracks around the doors and windows ; but if this is not the case, the chimneys will smoke, and other plans, such as the placing of a plate of finely perforated zinc or wire gauze in the uppermost part of the window, must be used. Cold air should never be admitted under the doors, at the .bottom of a bed-room, unless it be close to the fire or stove, for it will flow along the floor toward the fire-place, and thus leaving the foul air in the upper part of the room unpurified, cooling at the same time, unpleasantly and injuriously, the feet and legs of the inmates. The* rent of a house, it has been said, should not exceed one-eighth of the whole income of its occupants, and we are disposed to assent to this estimate as a general rule.
Every House Should Have a Bath-Room.—What luxury is superior to a good bath ! Immersing, showering or throwing the water over the body with the hand, it cheers, soothes, refines and elevates both soul and body. Keeping the body clean is only dis­charging out first duty to ourself. It produces such a happy feeling.