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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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Custom entitles you to be considered the "lord and master' over your household; but do not assume the master and sink the lord. Remember that noble generosity, forbearance, amiability and integrity are among the more lordly attributes of man. As a hus­band, therefore, exhibit the true nobility of man, and seek to govern your own household by the standard of high moral excellence. A domineering spirit, a fault-finding petulance, impatience at triflng delays and the exhibition of unworthy passions at the slightest prov­ocation can add no laurels to your own lordly brow, impart no sweet­ness to home and call forth no respect from those by whom you may be surrounded. It is one tiling to be a master—another thing to be a man. The latter should be the husband's aspiration, for he who cannot govern himself is illy qualified to govern another.
When once a man has established a home his most important duties have fairly begun. The errors of youth may be overlooked; want of purpose, and even of honor, in his earlier days, may be for­gotten ; but from the moment of his marriage he begins to write his indellible history ; not with pen and ink, but by actions by which he must ever afterwards be reported and judged. His conduct at home; his solicitude for his family; the training of his children; his devotion to his wife ; his regard for the great interests of eter­nity— these are the tests by which his worth will ever afterwards be estimated by all who think or care about him. These will determine his position while living and preserve his memory when dead. He uses well or ill the brief space allotted to him, out of all eternity, to build up a fame founded on the most solid of foundations—private worth—and God and man will judge him accordingly.
Don't imagine when you have obtained a husband that your per- ' sonal neatness and deportment may be relaxed. Then, in reality, is the time for you to exhibit superior taste and excellence in the cultivation of your dress and the becoming elegance of your ap­pearance. If it required some little care to foster the admiration of a lover, how much more requisite it is to keep yourself lovely in the eyes of him to whom there is no privacy or disguise — your hourly companion ! And as it was due to your lover that you should al­ways present to him who proposed to wed and cherish you a neat and ladylike appearance, how much more is he entitled to a similar mark of respect, who has kept his promise with honorable fidelity