Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management/Chapter LXVIII
DOMESTIC SERVANTS AND THEIR DUTIES
General Observations on Domestic Servants, and on the Duties of the Butler, Footman, Page, Coachman, Groom, Stable Boy, Chauffeur, Valet, Lady's-maid, Parlour-maid, Housemaid, General Servant, Dairy- maid, and Laundry-maid.
Masters and Mistresses.—It is said that good masters and mistresses make good servants, and this to a great extent is true. There are certainly some men and women whom it would be impossible to train into good servants, but the conduct of both master and mistress is seldom without its effect upon these dependents. The sensible master and the kind mistress know, that if servants depend on them for their means of living, in their turn they are dependent on their servants for very many of the comforts of life; and that, using a proper amount of care in choosing servants, treating them like reasonable beings, and making slight excuses for the shortcomings of human nature, they will be tolerably well served, and surround themselves with attached domestics.
Women Servants are specially likely to be influenced by their mistress's treatment of them. In many cases mistresses do not give their servants the help which it is their duty to afford. A timely hint, or even a few words of quiet reproof, may be lacking when needed, and still more so the kind words and the deserved praise for work well and carefully done. It is a fact that we must take some trouble with our servants. There is no necessity for a mistress to be continually fussing round and superintending her servants' work, but she must make sure that they do it thoroughly and well. Also she must take time and pains to show her domestics how she likes the work done.
A strict mistress is not necessarily a harsh one, and for the sake of others as well as herself she should insist upon the daily duties of each servant being faithfully and punctually performed. Every mistress should know for herself how long it takes for each household task, and it is then easy to see whether or no time has been wasted.
Work hurried is pretty nearly sure to be work ill done; and it is a fact that cannot be too firmly impressed upon all, that time must be proportionate to labour, and that a fair amount of rest should be regular and certain. In large households with a full staff of servants it is comparatively easy to have order, regularity and comfort, but where there are but few, or it may be only one woman servant, then the mistress has much to think of and to do. There are not only so many ways in which we may assist our servants, there are twice as many in which we can save them labour, and in which we can show them how to save themselves.
They for their own part having chosen their own way of earning their livelihood should be only too ready and willing to learn to rise in an honourable calling such as service is, and where their comfort and welfare is made the care of their mistress, it should surely be their pleasure as well as their duty to serve her to the best of their ability.
The number of men-servants in a family varies according to the wealth and position of the master, from the owner of the ducal mansion, with a retinue of attendants, at the head of which is the chamberlain and house-steward, to the occupier of the house, where a single footman is the only male retainer.
To a certain extent the number of men-servants kept is regulated by the number of women-servants, this statement, of course, not applying to such out-door servants as coachman, groom, or gardener. Occasionally a parlour-maid is kept instead of a second footman, or a kitchen or scullery-maid does the work in the way of boot-cleaning, etc., that would fall to a third footman or page. A man cook is now more rarely to be found in private service than formerly, women having found it expedient to bring their knowledge of the culinary art more to the level of the chef; while in many cases those who have graduated at one of the schools for cookery have risen superior to him both in the way they flavour and serve the various dishes that call for skill and taste.
The butler is the head of the male house-servants, and his duties are the most responsible, not the least amongst them being the superintending of the men under him if there be several. To him is confided the charge of all the most valuable articles in daily use, and under his sole charge is the cellar. It is needless to say, therefore, that he should be a man whose conduct is above suspicion, as his influence for good or bad will materially affect the other male domestics,
The domestic duties of the butler are to bring in the eatables at breakfast and wait upon the family at that meal, assisted by the footman, and see to the cleanliness of everything at table. On taking away, he removes the tray with the china and plate, for which he is responsible. At luncheon, he arranges the meal, and waits un-assisted, the footman being now engaged in other duties. At dinner, he places the silver and plated articles on the table and sees that everything is in its place. Where the dishes are carved on the dinner table he carries in the first dish, and announces in the drawing-room that dinner is on the table, and respectfully stands by the door until the company are seated, when he takes his place behind his master's chair on the left, to remove the covers, handing them to the other attendants to carry out. After the first course of plates is supplied, his place is at the sideboard to serve the wines, but only when called on. The first course ended, he rings the cook's bell, and hands the dishes from the table to the other servants to carry away, receiving from them the second course, which he places on the table, removing the covers as before, and again taking his place at the sideboard.
Carving at dinner is now generally done by the butler, for even the every-day family dinner is not put upon the table, the chief man-servant carving each dish at a side table. After serving the soups the butler has time to pour out the wine taken after that course, then he returns to his post at the side table. Entrées have now so superseded the old-fashioned joints, that a skilful carver can easily manage to do all that is necessary even at a large dinner.
After dinner the butler receives the dessert from the other servants, and arranges it on the table, with plates and glasses, and then takes his place behind his master's chair to hand the wines and ices, while the footman stands behind his mistress for the same purpose, the other attendants leaving the room.
Before dinner he should satisfy himself that the lamps, candles, electric globes or gas burners are in perfect order, if not lighted, which will usually be the case. Having served every one with their share of the dessert, put the fires in order (when these are used), and seen the lights are all right, at a signal from his master, he and the footman leave the room. He now proceeds to the drawing-room, arranges the fireplace, and sees to the lights; he then returns to his pantry, prepared to answer the bell, and attend to the company, while the footman is clearing away and cleaning the plate and glasses.
At tea he again attends. At bedtime he appears with the candles; he locks up the plate, secures doors and windows, and sees that all the fires are safe.
In addition to these duties, the butler, where only one footman is kept, will be required to perform some of the duties of the valet and to pay bills. But the real duties of the butler are in the wine cellar; there he should be competent to advise his master as to the price and quality of the wine to be laid in; "fine," bottle, cork, and seal it, and place it in the bins. Brewing, racking, and bottling malt liquors belong to his office, as well as their distribution. These and other drinkables are brought from the cellar every day by his own hands, except where an under-butler is kept; and a careful entry of every bottle used, entered in the cellar book.
The Single Footman.—In households where only one footman is kept, he has to do the work that in larger establishments is allotted to the first, second and third footmen with some little assistance from the butler if one is kept; but in many cases a parlour-maid lends him help in laying the cloth and waiting at table. His duties we give in detail, these being in effect those of the three named, and it will not be difficult to determine, where several footmen are kept, which portion of the duties belongs to each. In large households the head footman usually stays at home to answer the door to visitors, and the second footman goes out with the carriage.
Footman's Morning Duties.—He is expected to rise early in order to get through his early morning work before the family are stirring. Boots and shoes, knives and forks, should be cleaned, coal scuttles filled, lamps in use trimmed, then any gentleman's clothes that require it brushed, hot water taken up and baths prepared before he tidies himself, has his own breakfast, and lays that for the family. At breakfast the footman carries up the urn and places the chief dishes upon the table. If any waiting is required, he does it assisted by parlour-maid or house-maid. During the morning his time will be occupied in cleaning plate, windows, etc., according to the rules of the house in which he is engaged, and he will have to answer the front door and look after the sitting-room fires. After these duties will come laying the table for luncheon.
Afternoon Duties.—As at breakfast, where only one man-servant is kept, but little waiting is required at luncheon after the soup or hot dishes have been served. These taken away, the footman will have his own dinner. When the family have left the dining-room, the footman clears away, washes the glass used, and cleans the plate. He then prepares himself either to go out with the carriage or to answer the door to visitors, as the case may be. When required to go out with the carriage, it is the footman's duty to see that the inside is free from dust, and he should be ready to open and close the door after his mistress. In receiving messages at the carriage door he should turn his ear to the speaker, so as to comprehend what is said, in order that he may give his directions to the coachman clearly. When the house he is to call at is reached, he should knock and return to the carriage for orders. In closing the door upon the family, he should see that the handle is securely turned, and that no part of the ladies' dress is shut in.
It is the footman's duty to carry messages or letters for his master or mistress to their friends, to the post, or to the tradespeople; and nothing is more important than despatch and exactness in doing so.
Politeness and civility to visitors is one of the things masters and mistresses should exact rigorously. When visitors present themselves, the servant charged with the duty of opening the door will open it promptly, and answer, without hesitation, if the family are "not at home," or "engaged." On the contrary, if he has no such orders, he will answer affirmatively, open the door wide to admit them, and precede them to open the door of the drawing-room. If the family are not there, he will place chairs for them, and intimate civilly that he goes to inform his mistress. If the lady is in her drawing-room, he announces the name of the visitors, having previously acquainted himself with it. In this part of his duty it is necessary to be very careful to repeat the names correctly; mispronouncing names is very apt to give offence.
When the visitor is departing, the servant should be at hand, ready, when rung for, to open the door; he should open it with a respectful manner, and close it gently when the visitors are fairly beyond the threshold.
Afternoon tea is brought in by the single footman. In many houses a small table is first brought in by him for this purpose (the butler would follow with the tray where the former is kept), then after seeing that there are sufficient cups and hot water ready at hand for his mistress, quits the room, holding himself in readiness to answer the drawing-room bell for change of cups or anything that may be required.
Evening duties. For dinner, the footman lays the cloth, arranges knives, forks, and glasses, etc. (see How to lay the table, pp. 1690-1 )and places chairs enough for the party, distributing them equally on each side of the table.
About half an hour before dinner, he rings the dinner-bell or gong, where that is the practice, and occupies himself with carrying up everything he is likely to require. At the expiration of the time, having communicated with the cook, he rings the dinner bell, and proceeds to take it up, with such assistance as he can obtain. Having ascertained that all is in order, that his own dress is clean and presentable and his gloves are without a stain, he announces in the drawing-room that dinner is served, and stands respectfully by the door until the company are seated: he places himself on the left, behind his master, who is to distribute the soup; where soup and fish are served together, his place will be at his mistress's left hand; but he must be on the alert to see that whoever is assisting him, whether male or female, are at their posts. If any of the guests has brought his own servant with him, his place is behind his master's chair, rendering such assistance to others as he can, while attending to his master's wants throughout the dinner.
While attentive to all, the footman should be obtrusive to none; he should give nothing but on a waiter, and always hand it with the left hand and on the left side of the person he serves, and hold it so that the guest may take it with ease. In lifting dishes from the table, he should use both hands, and remove them with care, so that nothing is spilt on the table cloth or on the dresses of the guests.
In opening wine, let it be done quietly, and without shaking the bottle; if crusted, let it be inclined to the crusted side, and decanted while in that position. In opening champagne, it is not necessary to discharge it with a pop; properly cooled, the cork is easily extracted without any explosion; when the cork is out, the mouth of the bottle should be wiped with a napkin.
At the end of the first course, notice is conveyed to the cook, who is waiting to send up the second, which is introduced in the same way as before; the attendants who remove the fragments carrying the dishes from the kitchen and handing them to the footmen or butler, whose duty it is to arrange them on the table. After dinner, the dessert-glasses and wines are placed on the table by the footman, who places himself behind his master's chair, to supply wine and hand round the ices and other refreshments, all other servants leaving the room.
As soon as the drawing-room bell rings for tea, the footman enters with the tray, which has been previously prepared; hands the tray round to the company, with cream and sugar, the tea and coffee being generally poured out, while another attendant hands cakes, toast, or biscuits. If it is an ordinary family party, where this social meal is prepared by the mistress, he carries the urn or kettle, as the case may be; hands round the toast, or such other eatable as may be required, removing the whole in the same manner when tea is over.
Receptions and Evening Parties.—The drawing-rooms being prepared, the card tables laid out with cards and counters, and such other arrangements as are necessary made for the reception of the company, the rooms should be lighted up. The attendant should avoid displaying an interest in his master or mistress's game.
Footman's Livery.—It is usual to allow each man two suits per year, also to find him in silk stockings, and fur capes, if they are worn.
THE SINGLE MAN-SERVANT OR PAGE
Duties of Single Man-servant.—According to the household in which either of these is employed so will his duties be, but in all or any they partake of the various ones of the servants before mentioned. In many places the single man-servant devotes most of his time to the garden, the remainder being spent in cleaning windows, boots, knives, etc., bringing in water and coal, carrying messages and such work as would fall to the under-footman in larger establishments. When this is the case, the man so employed is seldom required to wear livery or wait at table. In other establishments where a gardener is kept and no out-door work demanded of the one indoor servant, his duties are all that he can contrive to do of those of the butler and footman.
A page is supposed as a rule (that is where no man-servant is kept) to do duty, to a certain extent, for all.
THE COACHMAN, GROOM AND STABLE BOY
The Head of the Stables.—The establishment we have in view will consist of coachman, groom and stable boy, who are capable of keeping in perfect order four horses, and perhaps a pony. Of this establishment the coachman is chief. Besides skill in driving, he should possess a good general knowledge of horses; he has usually to purchase provender, to see that the horses are regularly fed and properly groomed, watch over their condition, apply simple remedies to trifling ailments in the animals under his charge, and report where he observes symptoms of more serious ones which he does not understand. He has either to clean the carriage himself, or see that the stable boy does it properly.
The groom's first duties are to keep his horses in condition. In the morning, about six o'clock, or rather before, the stables should be opened and cleaned out, and the horses fed, first by cleaning the rack and throwing in fresh hay, putting it lightly in the rack, that the horses may get it out easily; a short time afterwards their usual morning feed of oats should be put into the manger. While this is going on, the stable boy should remove the stable dung, and sweep and wash out the stables, in order to keep them sweet and clean. The real duties of the groom follow: where the horses are not taken out for early exercise, the work of grooming immediately commences. The curry-comb ought not to be necessary if a horse is in good condition, but a good strapping with a damp wisp is the principal thing requisite; the horse should be strapped so that every hair is touched and cleaned to the root. The best wisp is made from a hay band, untwisted, and again doubled up after being moistened with water; this is applied to every part of the body, as the brushing has been, by changing the hands, taking care in all these operations to carry the hand in the direction of the coat. Stains in the hair are removed by sponging, or, when the coat is very dirty by the water brush; the whole being finished off by a linen or flannel cloth. The horse cloth should be put on by taking the cloth with both hands, with the outside next you, and with your right hand to the off side, throw it over his back, placing it no farther back than will leave it straight and level, which will be a foot from the tail. Put the roller round, and the pad piece under it, about six or eight inches from the fore legs. The horse's head is now loosened; he is turned about in his stall to have his eyes and nose sponged out, his head and ears rubbed and brushed over every part, including throat, with the dusting cloth, finishing by "pulling his ears," which all horses seem to enjoy very much. This done, the mane and foretop should be combed out, passing a wet sponge over them, sponging the mane on both sides, by throwing it back to the midriff, to make it lie smooth. The horse is now turned to his head stall combed out, cleaning it of stains with a wet brush or sponge, trimming both tail and mane, and forelock when necessary, smoothing them down with a brush on which a little oil has been, dropped.
Watering usually follows dressing; but some horses refuse their food until they have drunk: the groom should not, therefore, lay down exclusive rules on this subject, but study the temper and habits of his horse. Some great authorities on stable management recommend that drinking water should always be kept in the stalls, so that the horses can drink when inclined. This arrangement however is not popular with most grooms.
Exercise.— All horses not in work require at least two hours' exercise daily, and in exercising them a good groom will put them through the paces to which they have been trained. In the case of saddle horses, he will walk, trot, canter and gallop them, in order to keep them up to their work. With draught horses they ought to be kept up to a smart walk and trot.
Feeding must depend on their work, but they require feeding three times a day, with more or less corn each time, according to their work. In the fast coaching days it was a saying among proprietors, that "his belly was the measure of his food"; but the horse's appetite is not to be taken as a criterion of the quantity of food. Horses vary very much in their appetites, as well as in their digestive powers. The following are safe signs that a horse is not being over fed: a healthy pink mouth, clearing up his food to the last oat, and healthy droppings. If the mouth be yellow, food left, or the dung loose or hard and slimy, give bran mashes for a day, afterwards include allowance of corn.
Afresh young horse can bruise its own oats when it can get them but aged horses, after a time, lose the power of masticating and bruising them, and bolt them whole: thus much impeding the work of digestion. For an old horse, bruise the oats; for a young one it does no harm and little good. Oats should be bright and dry, and not too new. Where they are new, sprinkle them with salt and water; otherwise, they overload the horse's stomach. Chopped straw mixed with oats, in the proportion of a third of straw or hay, is a good food for horses in full work; and carrots, of which horses are remarkably fond, have a perceptible effect in a short time on the gloss of the coat.
Shoeing.—A horse should not be sent on a journey or any other hard work immediately after new shoeing; the stiffness incidental to new shoes is not unlikely to bring him down. A day's rest, with reasonable exercise, will not be thrown away after this operation. Have the feet stopped at night after being shod; it will keep the feet moist, and allow the nails to better hold.
On reaching home very hot.—Should necessity cause the horse to arrive in that state, the groom should walk him about for a few minutes; this done, he should take off the moisture with the scraper, and afterwards wisp him over with a handful of straw and a flannel cloth; if the cloth is dipped in some spirit all the better. He should wash, pick, and wipe dry the legs and feet, take off the bridle and crupper, and fasten it to the rack, then the girths, and put a wisp of straw under the saddle. When sufficiently cool, the horse should have some hay given him, and then a feed of oats: if he refuse the latter, offer him a little wet bran, or a handful of oatmeal in tepid water. When he has been fed, he should be thoroughly cleaned, and his body clothes on, and, if very much harassed with fatigue, a little good ale or wine will be well bestowed on a valuable horse, adding plenty of fresh litter under the belly.
Harness.—Every time a horse is unbridled, the bit should be carefully washed and dried, and the leather wiped, to keep them sweet, as well as the girths and saddle, the latter being carefully dried and beaten with a switch before it is again put on. In washing a horse's feet after a day's work, the master should insist upon the legs and feet being washed thoroughly with a sponge until the water flows over them, and then rubbed with a brush till quite dry. Harness, if not carefully preserved, very soon gets a shabby, tarnished appearance. Where the coachman has a proper harness room and sufficient assistance, this is inexcusable and easily prevented. The harness room should have a wooden lining all round, and be perfectly dry and well ventilated. Around the walls, hooks and pegs should be placed for the several pieces of harness, at such a height as to prevent their touching the ground; and every part of the harness should have its peg or hook — one for the halters, another for the reins, and others for snaffles and other bits and metal work: and either a wooden horse or saddle-tree for saddles and pads. All these parts should be dry, clean and shining. This is only to be done by careful cleaning and polishing, and the use of several requisite pastes. The metallic parts, when white, should be cleaned by a soft brush and plate powder; the copper and brass parts burnished with rottenstone powder and oil; steel with emery powder — both made into a paste with a little oil.
DUTIES OF THE GROOM
Carriages being valuable and costly have to be most carefully dealt with. They should be carefully cleaned before putting away, and the coach-house should be perfectly dry and well ventilated, for the wood work swells with moisture; it shrinks with heat, unless the timber has undergone a long course of seasoning; it should also have a dry floor, a boarded one being recommended. It must be removed from the ammoniacal influence of the stables, from open drains and cesspools, and other gaseous influences likely to affect the paint and varnish. When the carriage returns home, it should be carefully washed and dried, and that, if possible, before the mud has time to dry on it. This is done by first well slushing it with clean water, so as to wash away all particles of sand, having first closed the sashes to avoid wetting the linings. The body is then gone carefully over with a soft mop, using plenty of clean water, and penetrating every corner of the carved work, so that not an atom of dirt remains; the body of the carriage is then raised by placing the jack under the axletree, and raising it so that the wheel turns freely; this is now thoroughly washed with the mop until the dirt is removed, using a wash-brush for corners where the mop does not penetrate. Every particle of mud and sand removed by the mop, and afterwards with a wet sponge, the carriage is wiped dry, and, as soon after as possible, the varnish is carefully polished with soft leather, using a little sweet oil for the leather parts, and even for the panels, so as to check any tendency of the varnish to crack. Stains are removed by rubbing them with the leather and sweet oil; if that fails, a little Tripoli powder mixed with the oil will be more successful.
In preparing the carriage for use, the whole body should be rubbed over with a clean leather and carefully polished, the iron work and joints oiled, the plated and brass work occasionally cleaned—the one with plate powder, or with well-washed whiting mixed with sweet oil, and leather kept for the purpose—the other with rottenstone mixed with a little oil, and applied without too much rubbing, until the paste is removed; but, if rubbed every day with the leather, little more will be required to keep it untarnished. The linings require careful brushing every day, the cushions being taken out and beaten, and the glass sashes should always be bright and clean. The wheel tires and axletree are carefully seen to, and greased when required, the bolts and nuts tightened, and all the parts likely to get out of order overhauled. These duties, however, are only incidental to the coachman's office, which is to drive; and much of the enjoyment of those in the carriage depends on his proficiency in his art—much also of the wear of the carriage and horses. He should have sufficient knowledge of the construction of the carriage to know when it is out of order—to know, also, the pace at which he can go over the road he has under him without risking the springs, and without shaking those he is driving too much.
Driving.—Having, with or without the help of the groom or stable boy, put his horses to the carriage, and satisfied himself, by walking round them, that everything is properly arranged, the coachman proceeds to the off-side of the carriage, takes the reins from the back of the horses, where they were thrown, buckles them together, and, placing his foot on the step, ascends to his box, having his horses now entirely under control. In ordinary circumstances, he is not expected to descend, for where no footman accompanies the carriage, the doors are usually so arranged that even a lady may let herself out, if she wishes to, from the inside. The coachman's duties are to avoid everything approaching an accident, and all his attention is required to guide his horses. The pace at which he drives will depend upon his orders—in all probability a moderate pace of seven or eight miles an hour; less speed is injurious to the horses, getting them into lazy and sluggish habits; for it is wonderful how soon these are acquired by some horses. Unless he has contrary orders, a good driver will choose a smart pace, but not enough to make his horses sweat; on level roads this should never be seen. The true coachman's hands are so delicate and gentle, that the mere weight of the reins is felt on the bit, and the directions are indicated by a turn of the wrist rather than by a pull; the horses are guided and encouraged, and only pulled up when they exceed their intended pace, or in the event of a stumble; for there is a strong though gentle hand on the reins.
In choosing his horses every master will see that they are properly paired that—their paces are about equal. When their habits differ it is the coachman's duty to discover how he can, with least annoyance to the horses, get that pace out of them. Some horses have been accustomed to be driven on the check, and the curb irritates them; others, with harder mouths, cannot be controlled with the slight leverage this affords; he must, therefore, accommodate the horses as he best can. The reins should always be held so that the horses are "in hand"; but he is a very bad driver who always drives with a tight rein; the pain to the horse is intolerable and causes him to rear and plunge, and finally break away, if he can. He is also a bad driver when the reins are always slack; the horse then feels abandoned to himself; he is neither directed nor supported, and if no accident occurs, it is great good luck.
The whip, in the hands of a good driver, and with well-bred cattle, is there more as a precaution than a "tool" for frequent use; if he uses it, it is to encourage, by stroking the flanks; except, indeed, he has to punish some waywardness of temper, and then he does it effectually, taking care, however, that it is done on the flank, where there is no very tender part, never on the crupper.
The duties of the Chauffeur are very similar to those of the Coachman, and a careful perusal of the preceding article will instruct him in many important matters. His foremost duty is to possess a thorough knowledge of the mechanism of the car he controls, and to acquaint himself quickly with its vagaries. After a run he should always clean the car in accordance with the instructions given to the coachman for cleaning a carriage, and before starting out again he should see that all parts of the car are properly oiled, and that the tank of a petrol-driven car has been filled, that he carries a plentiful supply of petrol and accessories for slight repairs, that the lamps are filled and in proper order, and that the metal work and the seating of the car are clean and bright. When a long trip is contemplated the Chauffeur should always thoroughly acquaint himself with the route by a study of the maps of the district before setting out.
THE VALET AND THE LADY'S-MAID
Attendants on the person.—The valet and waiting-maid are placed near the persons of the master and mistress, receiving orders only from them, dressing them, accompanying them in all their journeys, the confidants and agents of their most unguarded moments, of their most secret habits. All that can be expected from such servants is polite manners, modest demeanour, and a respectful reserve, which are indispensable. Some of the duties of the valet we have hinted at in treating of the duties of the footman. His and the lady's-maid's day commences by seeing that their employer's dressing-room is in order; that the housemaid has swept and dusted it properly; that the fire is lighted and burns cheerfully; and some time before the master or mistress is expected, they will do well to throw up the sash to admit fresh air, closing it, however, in time to recover the temperature which they know is preferred. It is their duty to air the body linen before the fire; to lay out the clothes intended to be worn, carefully brushed and cleaned. All the articles of the toilet should be in their places, the razors properly set and stropped, and hot water ready for use. A valet often accompanies his master when shooting, when he would carry the extra gun and load for him.
Shaving.—A valet should be prepared to shave his master if required; and he should, besides, be a good hairdresser. Shaving over, he has to brush the hair, beard and moustache, arranging the whole simply and gracefully, according to the style preferred. Every fortnight, or three weeks at the utmost, the hair should be cut, and the whiskers trimmed as often as required. A good valet will now present the various articles of the toilet as they are wanted; the body linen, necktie, which he will put on, if required, and afterwards, waistcoat, coat and boots, in suitable order, and carefully brushed and polished. Having thus seen his master dressed, if he is about to go out, the valet will hand him his cane, gloves and hat, the latter well brushed on the outside with a soft brush, and wiped inside with a clean handkerchief, respectfully attend him to the door, open it for him, and receive his last orders for the day. He now proceeds to put everything in order in the dressing-room, cleans the combs and brushes, and brushes and folds up any clothes that may be left about the room, and puts them away in the drawers.
Hairdressing is one of the most important parts of the lady's-maid's office. Lessons in hairdressing may be obtained, and at not an unreasonable charge, and a lady's-maid should initiate herself in the mysteries of hairdressing before entering on her duties. If a mistress finds her maid handy, and willing to learn, she will not mind the expense of a few lessons, which are almost necessary, as the fashion and mode of dressing the hair is continually changing. Brushes and combs should be kept scrupulously clean, by washing them about twice a week; to do this oftener spoils the brushes, as very frequent washing makes them so very soft.
Care of Linen.—On its return from the wash, it is very necessary to examine every piece separately, so that all missing buttons be supplied, and only articles properly washed and in perfect repair passed into the wardrobe.
The Wardrobe.—It is the valet's and lady's-maid's duty, where it is permitted, to select from the wardrobe such things as are suitable for the occasion, to see that their employer's wardrobe is in thorough repair, and to make him or her acquainted with the fact if they see that any additions to it are required.
A lady's-maid should possess a thorough knowledge of dressmaking and repairing and restoring clothes.
Dresses of tweed, and other woollen materials may be laid out on a table and brushed all over; but in general, even in woollen fabrics, the lightness of the issues renders brushing unsuitable to dresses, and it is better to remove the dust from the folds by beating them lightly with a handkerchief or thin cloth. Silk dresses should never be brushed, but rubbed with a piece of merino, or other soft material, of a similar colour, kept for the purpose. Summer dresses of barège, muslin, mohair, and other light materials, simply require shaking; but if the muslin be tumbled, it must be ironed afterwards.
If feathers have suffered from damp, they should be held near the fire for a few minutes, and restored to their natural state by the hand or a soft brush, or re-curled with a blunt knife, dipped in very hot water. Satin boots or shoes should be dusted with a soft brush, or wiped with a cloth. Kid or varnished leather should have the mud wiped off with a sponge charged with milk, which preserves its softness and polish. Furs, feathers and woollens require the constant care of the waiting-maid. Furs and feathers not in constant use should be wrapped up in linen washed in lye. From May to September they are subject to being made the depository of the moth-eggs.
The valet's and lady's-maid's attire should, in its way, be as irreproachable as their employer's on all occasions, and there being no hard or heavy work for them to perform, this is not difficult to manage. The valet has his meals served in the housekeeper's or steward's room, he and the lady's-maid taking, after the two here mentioned, precedence of the other servants.
Attendance.—It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add that it is their duty to be in waiting when the master or mistress returns home to dress for dinner, or for any other occasion, and to have all things prepared for their second dressing: Previous to this, they bring under notice the cards of visitors who may have called, deliver the messages they may have received, and otherwise acquit themselves of the morning's commissions, and receive orders for the remainder of the day. The routine of evening duty is to have the dressing-room and study, where there is a separate one, arranged comfortably, the fires lighted, candles prepared, slippers in their place, and aired, and everything in order that is required for their employer's comfort.
The valet and the lady's-maid should have a good knowledge of packing, and on them devolves the task of getting tickets, looking out routes, securing seats, carriages and berths, as the case may be: while they are also responsible for the luggage.
When travelling by rail, unless they occupy the same carriage as their master or mistress, they should, when the train stops for any length of time, be in attendance in case anything should be required. A knowledge of foreign languages is a most useful qualification.
General Observations.—The valet and lady's-maid, from their supposed influence with their master and mistress, are exposed to some temptations to which other servants are less subjected. They are probably in communication with the tradespeople who supply articles for the toilet; such as hatters, tailors, dressmakers, and perfumers. The conduct of waiting-maid and valet to these people should be civil but independent, making reasonable allowance for want of exact punctuality if any such can be made; they should represent any inconvenience respectfully, and if an excuse seems unreasonable, put the matter fairly to master or mistress, leaving it to them to notice it further, if they think it necessary. No expectations of a personal character should influence them one way or the other. Deference to a master and mistress, and to their friends and visitors, is one of the implied terms of their engagement; and this deference must apply even to what may be considered their whims.
A parlour-maid is kept in many households in place of a single footman, and in these cases her duties (indoor duties we should say) are practically the same as his, with attendance on her mistress in place of that given by him to his master.
It will be best to detail her work in a household of three servants (the other two, cook and housemaid, with, perhaps, a kitchen-maid beside). We are of course not reckoning the nursery and its attendants in speaking of the servants, as the former are, or should be, a thing apart, and the cook would be the only one to whom the existence of a nursery, properly arranged, would give any extra work.
The duties of the parlour-maid are to open the door to visitors, show them into the drawing-room, bring up afternoon tea and clear it away, lay the table for luncheon and dinner, and wait during the latter meal, with or without the assistance of the housemaid; she keeps the linen in repair, waits upon her mistress, assisting her to dress when required, also upon any lady visitor. She has often to help in bed making, and is generally required to dust the drawing-room, often to arrange the flowers for that and the dining-room, to put up fresh curtains, look after the drawing-room fire, and answer the sitting-room bell. She washes up the breakfast, tea and coffee things, and the glass and plate from dinner, and the plate is under her charge to be kept clean and in order. She does, in fact, all the lighter and less menial work of a housemaid, combining with these many little tasks that a mistress who kept only two servants would in all probability do for herself.
Everyday Dress.—As a housemaid, her morning attire should be a print gown and simple white cap, but she will not need the rough apron worn by the former, and can wear a white one, so that she is always ready to answer bells. In the afternoon her dress should be a simply-made black one, relieved by white collar, cuffs and cap, and a pretty lace-trimmed bib apron.
Waiting at Table.—The parlour-maid should move about the room as noiselessly as possible, anticipating people's wants by handing them things without being asked for them, and altogether be as quiet as possible. It will be needless here to repeat what we have already said respecting waiting at table in the duties of the butler and footman: rules that are good to be observed by them, are equally good for the parlour-maid. If there be a man-servant in attendance, he takes the butler's place and she the footman's, as already detailed; if the housemaid assists, then the parlour-maid takes the first place.
Evening Work.—Dinner over, the parlour-maid will now have to remove and wash up the plate and glass used, restoring everything to its place; next prepare the tea and take it up, bringing the tea-things down when finished with, and lastly, give any attendance required in the bedrooms.
A still-room maid—is kept in some large establishments where there is a full staff of men, and she does some few of the duties of the parlour-maid of smaller households. She washes and puts away the china, for example, from breakfast and tea, prepares the tea-trays for the drawing-room, arranges the dining-room dessert and sometimes the flowers, and generally waits on and assists the housekeeper.
We can more easily define her duties, however, by calling her what she practically is, the housekeeper's assistant.
Upper Housemaids. In large establishments there are several house-maids. and according to the number kept the actual work of the head housemaid may be determined being practically little if there be many, while her responsibilities are in inverse ratio. She has not so much to do the work as to see that it is done, reserving the lighter and more important tasks for her own share.
The best upper housemaids are those that have risen to the post, having thus had a good sound training and possessing a practical knowledge of how every household task should be performed.
The upper housemaid's duties would include, besides a general superintendence, the care of the household linen, the covering of furniture, the dusting, if not the sweeping, of the drawing-room, the helping to make the chief beds and other tasks, always making it her duty to go the round of the bedrooms, both morning and evening, to see that toilet tables, wash-hand stands, fires, etc., are in order.
The first duty of the housemaid in winter is to open the shutters of all the lower rooms in the house, and take up the hearthrugs in those rooms which she is going to "do" before breakfast. In some families, where there are only a cook and housemaid kept, and where the drawing-rooms are large, the cook has the care of the dining-room, and the house-maid that of the breakfast-room, library and drawing-rooms. After the shutters are all opened, she sweeps the breakfast-room, sweeping the dust towards the fireplace, of course previously removing the fender. She should then lay a cloth (generally made of coarse wrappering) over the carpet in front of the stove, and on this should place her housemaid's box, containing blacklead brushes, leathers, emery-paper, cloth, black-lead, and all utensils necessary for cleaning a grate, with the cinder-pail on the other side. She now sweeps up the ashes and deposits them in her cinder-pail, which is a japanned tin pail, with a wire sifter inside, and a closely-fitting top. In this pail the cinders are sifted, and reserved for use in the kitchen or under the copper, the ashes only being thrown away. The cinders disposed of, she proceeds to blacklead the grate, producing the blacklead, the soft brush for laying it on, her blacking and polishing brushes, from the box which contains her tools. The housemaid's box should be kept well stocked. Having blackened, brushed and polished every part, and made all clean and bright, she now proceeds to lay the fire. Sometimes it is very difficult to get a proper polish to black grates, particularly if they have been neglected and allowed to rust at all. But later on we give recipes for treating them that will be found useful.
Bright grates require unceasing attention to keep them in perfect order. A day should never pass without the housemaid rubbing with a dry leather the polished parts of a grate, as also the fender and fire-irons. A careful and attentive housemaid should have no occasion ever to use emery-paper for any part but the bars, which, of course, become blackened by the fire.
The several fires lighted, the housemaid proceeds with her dusting and polishing the several pieces of furniture in the breakfast parlour, leaving no corner unvisited. Before sweeping the carpet, it is a good practice to sprinkle it all over with tea-leaves, which not only lay all dust, but give a slightly fragrant smell to the room. It is now in order for the reception of the family, and where there is neither footman nor parlour-maid, she now proceeds to the dressing-room, and lights her mistress's fire if she is in the habit of having one to dress by. Her mistress is called, hot water placed in the dressing-room for her use, her clothes—as far as they are under the housemaid's charge—put before the fire, hanging a fire-guard on the bars where there is one, while she proceeds to prepare the breakfast.
The housemaid's work in summer is considerably abridged: she throws open the windows in the several rooms not occupied as bedrooms, that they may receive the fresh morning air before they are occupied; she prepares the breakfast-room by sweeping the carpet, rubbing tables and chairs, dusting mantel-shelf and picture-frames with a light brush, dusting the furniture and sweeping the rug; she cleans the grate when necessary, and re-arranges the ornaments with which it is filled when necessary, leaving everything clean and tidy for breakfast. It is not enough, however, in cleaning furniture, just to pass lightly over the surface; the rims and legs of tables, and the backs and legs of chairs and sofas, should be rubbed vigorously daily; if there is a bookcase, every corner of every pane and ledge requires to be carefully wiped, so that not a speck of dust can be found in the room.
Morning Work.—After the breakfast-room is finished, the housemaid should proceed to sweep down the stairs, commencing at the top, whilst the cook has the charge of the hall, doorstep and passages. After this she should go into the drawing-room, cover up every article of furniture that is likely to spoil, with large dusting-sheets, and put the chairs together, by turning them seat to seat, and, in fact, make as much room as possible, by placing all the loose furniture in the middle of the room, whilst she sweeps the corners and sides. When this is accomplished, the furniture can then be put back in its place, and the middle of the room swept, sweeping the dirt, as before said, towards the fireplace. The same rules should be observed in cleaning the drawing-room grates as we have just stated, putting down the cloth, before commencing, to prevent the carpet from getting soiled. In the country, a room would not require sweeping thoroughly like this more than twice a week; but the housemaid should go over it every morning with a dust-pan and broom, taking up every crumb and piece she may see. After the sweeping she should leave the room, shut the door, and proceed to lay the breakfast. Where there is neither footman nor parlour-maid kept, the duty of laying the breakfast cloth rests on the housemaid.
Laying the Cloth for Breakfast.—The heater of the tea-urn is to be first placed in the hottest part of the kitchen fire; or, where the kettle is used, boiled on the kitchen fire, and then removed to the parlour, where it is kept hot. Having washed herself free from the dust arising from the morning's work, the housemaid collects the breakfast things on her tray, takes the breakfast-cloth from the napkin-press, and carries them all on the tray into the parlour; arranges them on the table, placing a sufficiency of knives, forks and salt-cellars for the family, taking care that the salt is plentiful, and soft and dry, and takes the tray back to the pantry; gets a supply of milk, cream and bread; fills the butter-dish, and sees that hotplates and egg-cups are ready where warm meat or eggs are served, and that the butter-knife and bread-knife are in their places. And now she should give the signal for breakfast, holding herself ready to fill the urn with hot water, or hand the kettle, and take in the rolls, toast and other eatables, with which the cook supplies her, when the breakfast-room bell rings; bearing in mind that she is never to enter the parlour with dirty hands or with a dirty apron, and that everything is to be handed on a tray ; that she is to hand everything she may be required to supply on the left hand of the person she is serving, and that all is done quietly and without bustle or hurry. In some families, where there is a large number to attend on, the cook waits at breakfast whilst the housemaid is busy upstairs in the bedrooms, or sweeping, dusting and putting the drawing-room in order.
Bedroom Work. Breakfast served, the housemaid proceeds to the bedchambers, throws up the sashes, if not already done, pulls up the blinds, throwing back the curtains at the same time, and opens the beds by removing the clothes, placing them over a horse, or failing that, over the backs of chairs. She now proceeds to empty the slops. In doing this, everything is emptied into the slop-pail, leaving a little scalding-hot water for a minute in vessels that require it; adding a drop of turpentine to the water, when that is not sufficient to cleanse them. The basin is emptied, well rinsed with clean water, and carefully wiped; the ewers emptied and washed; finally, the water-jugs themselves emptied out and rinsed, and wiped dry. As soon as this is done, she should remove and empty the pails, taking care that they also are well washed, scalded and wiped as soon as they are empty. Next follows bed-making, at which one of the other servants usually assists; but, before beginning, velvet chairs, or other things injured by dust, should be removed to another room. In bed-making, the fancy of its occupant should be consulted: some like beds sloping from the top towards the feet, swelling slightly in the middle; others, perfectly flat; a good housemaid will accommodate each bed to the taste of the sleeper, taking care to shake, beat and turn it well in the process. Some persons prefer sleeping on the mattress; in which case a feather bed is usually beneath, resting on a second mattress, and a straw palliasse at the bottom. In this case, the mattresses should change places daily; the feather bed placed on the mattress shaken, beaten, taken up and opened several times, so as thoroughly to separate the feathers; if too large to be thus handled, the maid should shake and beat one end first, and then the other, smoothing it afterwards equally all over into the required shape, and place the mattress gently over it. Any feathers which escape in this process a tidy servant will put back through the seam of the tick; she will also be careful to sew up any stitch that gives way the moment it is discovered. The bed-clothes are laid on, beginning with an under blanket and sheet, which are tucked under the mattress at the bottom. The bolster is then beaten and shaken, and put on, the top of the sheet rolled round it, and the sheet tucked in all round. The pillows and other bed-clothes follow, and the counterpane over all, which should fall in graceful folds, and at equal distance from the ground all round. The curtains are drawn to the head and folded neatly across the bed, and the whole finished in a smooth and graceful manner. Where spring mattresses are used, care should be taken that the over one is turned every day. The housemaid should now take up in a dust-pan any pieces that may be on the carpet; she should dust the room, shut the door, and proceed to another room. When all the bedrooms are finished, she should dust the stairs and polish the hand-rail of the banisters, and see that all ledges, window-sills, etc., are quite free from dust. It will be necessary for the housemaid to divide her work, so that she may not have too much to do on certain days, and not sufficient to fill up her time on other days. In the country, bedrooms should be swept and thoroughly cleaned once a week ; and to be methodical and regular in her work, the housemaid should have certain days for doing certain rooms thoroughly. For instance, two bedrooms on Monday, two on Tuesday, the drawing-room on Wednesday, and so on, reserving a day for thoroughly cleaning the plate, bedroom candlesticks, etc., etc., which she will have to do where there is no parlour-maid or footman kept. By this means the work will be divided, and there will be no un-necessary bustling and hurrying, as is the case where the work is done at any time, without rule or regulation.
Weekly Work. Once a week, when a bedroom is to be thoroughly cleaned, the housemaid should commence by brushing the mattresses of the bed before it is made; she should then make it, shake the curtains, lay them smoothly on the bed, and pin or tuck up the bottom valance, so that she may be able to sweep under the bed. She should then unloop the window-curtains, shake them, and pin them high up out of the way. After clearing the dressing-table, and the room altogether of little articles of china, etc., etc., she should shake the toilet-covers, fold them up, and lay them on the bed, over which a large dusting sheet should be drawn. She should then sweep the room, clean the grate, the washing-table apparatus, removing all marks or fur round the caused by the water. The water-bottles and tumblers must also her attention, as well as the top of the washing-stand. When these are all clean and arranged in their places, the housemaid should scrub the floor where it is not covered with carpet, under the bed, and round the wainscot. She should use as little soap and soda as possible, as too free a use of these articles is liable to give the boards a black appearance. In winter it is not advisable to scrub rooms too often, as it is difficult to dry them thoroughly, and nothing is more dangerous than to allow persons to sleep in a damp room. The house-maid should now dust the furniture, blinds, ornaments, etc.; polish the looking-glass: arrange the toilet-cover and muslin; remove the cover from the bed, and straighten and arrange the curtains and counterpane. A bedroom should be cleaned like this every week. As modern furniture is now nearly always French-polished, it should often be rubbed with an old silk rubber, or a fine cloth or duster, to keep it free from smears. Three or four times a year, any of the polishes, for which we give recipes, may be applied with very great success, as any of them make French-polished furniture look very well. One precaution must be taken not to put too much of the polish on at one time, and to rub, not smear it over the articles.
Lights.—The chamber candlesticks should be brought down and cleaned, gas and electric globes cleaned, and the parlour lamps trimmed—and here the housemaid's utmost care is required. In cleaning candlesticks, as in every other cleaning, she should have cloths and brushes kept for that purpose alone; the knife used to scrape them should be applied to no other purpose; the tallow-grease should be thrown into a box kept for the purpose; the same with everything connected with the lamp- trimming; always bearing in mind, that without perfect cleanliness, which involves occasional scalding, no lamp can be kept in order. After scalding a lamp, it should be rinsed out with a little spirits; this will prevent the oil sputtering on first being lighted after the scalding.
Evening Duties.—In summer-time the windows of all the bedrooms, which have been closed during the heat of the day, should be thrown open for an hour or so after sunset, in order to air them. Before dark they should be closed, the bed-clothes turned down, and the night-clothes laid in order for use when required. During winter, where fires are required in the dressing-rooms, they should be lighted an hour before the usual time of retiring, placing a fire-guard before each fire. At the same time, the night-things on the horse should be placed before it to be aired. The upper housemaid may be required to assist her mistress to undress and put her dress in order for the morrow; in which case her duties are very much those of the lady's-maid. And now the fire is made up for the night, the fireguard replaced, and everything in the room in order for the night, the housemaid taking care to leave the night-candle and matches together in a convenient place, should they be required. On leisure days the housemaid should be able to do some needlework for her mistress such as turning and mending sheets and darning the house-linen, or assist her in anything she may think fit to give her to do. For this reason it is almost essential that a house-maid, in a small family, should be an expert needlewoman.
Spring Cleaning.— This general cleaning usually takes place in the spring or early summer, when the warm curtains of winter are replaced by the light and cheerful muslin ones. Carpets are at the same time taken up and beaten. In this case she will probably have made up her mind to try the cleaning process, and arranged with the company to send for them on the morning when cleaning commenced. It is hardly necessary to repeat that on this occasion every article is to be gone over. The same thorough system of cleaning should be done throughout the house; the walls cleaned where painted, and swept down with a soft broom or feather brush where papered; the window and bed curtains, which have been replaced with muslin ones, carefully brushed, or if, they require it, cleaned; lamps not likely to be required washed out with hot water, dried and cleaned. The several grates should be furnished with their summer ornaments. As winter approaches, this house-cleaning will have to be repeated, and the warm bed and window curtains replaced. The process of scouring and cleaning is again necessary, and must be gone through, beginning at the top, and going through the house, down to the kitchens.
Occasional Work.—Independently of these daily and periodical cleanings, other occupations will present themselves from time to time which the housemaid will have to perform. When spots show on polished furniture they can generally be restored by soap-and-water and a sponge, the polish being brought out by using a little polish, and then well rubbing it. Again, drawers which draw out stiffly may be made to move more easily if the spot where they press is rubbed over with a little soap. These are the duties of the housemaid or housemaids, and according to the number kept so will the work be divided between them, every household having different rules and management.
THE GENERAL SERVANT
The general servant's duties depend entirely upon the size of the household of which she is a member and upon the number of other domestics employed. Speaking generally her duties comprise those that are already treated of in the articles on the housemaid and the parlour maid. Often indeed she is expected to do the cooking as well. The routine of a general servant's duties depends upon the kind of situation she occupies; but a systematic servant should so contrive to divide her work, that every day in the week may have its proper share. By this means she is able to keep the house clean with less fatigue to herself than if she left all the cleaning to do at the end of the week. Supposing there are five bedrooms in the house, two sitting-rooms, kitchen, scullery, and the usual domestic offices: on Monday she might thoroughly clean two of the bedrooms; on Tuesday, two more bedrooms; on Wednesday, the other bedroom and stairs; on Thursday, the drawing-room; on Friday morning she should sweep the dining-room very thoroughly, clean the hall, and in the afternoon her kitchen tins and bright utensils. By arranging her work in this manner, no undue proportion will fall to Saturday's share, and she will then have this day for cleaning plate, cleaning her kitchen, and arranging everything in nice order. The regular work must, of course, be performed in the usual manner, as we have endeavoured to describe. Before retiring to bed she will do well to clean up plate, glasses, etc., which have been used for the evening meal, and prepare for her morning's work by placing her wood near the fire on the hob to dry, taking care there is no danger of it igniting, before she leaves the kitchen for the night. Before retiring, she will have to lock and bolt the doors, unless the master undertakes this office himself.
Home Washing.—If the washing, or even a portion of it, is done at home, it will be impossible for the general servant to do her household duties thoroughly during the time it is about, unless she have some assistance. Usually, if all the washing is done at home, the mistress hires some one to assist at the wash-tub, and sees to little matters herself, in the way of dusting, clearing away breakfast things, folding, starching and ironing, the fine things. With a little management much can be accomplished provided the mistress be industrious, energetic, and willing to lend a helping hand. Let washing-day or week be not the excuse for having everything in a muddle; and although "things" cannot be cleaned so thoroughly, and so much time spent upon them, as ordinarily, yet the house may be kept tidy and clear from litter without a great deal of exertion, either on the part of the mistress or servant.
The duties of the dairymaid differ considerably in different districts. In Scotland, Wales, and some of the northern counties women milk the cows. On some of the large dairy-farms in other parts of England, she takes her share in the milking; but in private families the milking is generally performed by the cowkeeper, and the dairymaid only receives the milk-pails from him morning and night, and empties and cleans them preparatory to the next milking, her duty being to supply the family with milk, cream and butter, and other luxuries depending on the "milky mothers" of the herd.
The Dairy.—The locality of the dairy is usually fixed near to the house; it should neither be exposed to the fierce heat of the summer's sun, nor to the equally unfavourable frosts of winter—it must be both sheltered and shaded. If it is a building apart from the house and other offices, the walls should be tolerably thick, and if hollow, the temperature will be more equable. This should range from 60 to 65 F., never exceeding the latter. The floor should slope very gently to one side or corner, where there should be an outlet for the water to escape when the floor is flushed; and the dairy should contain at least two apartments, besides a cool place for storing away butter. One of the apartments, in which the milk is placed to deposit cream, or to ripen for churning, is usually surrounded by shelves of marble or slate (perforated ones keep the milk freshest), on which the milk-dishes rest; but it will be found a better plan to have a large square or round table of stone in the centre, with a water-tight ledge all round it, in which water may remain in hot weather. Round this table the milk-dishes should be ranged, one shelf, or dresser, of slate or marble, being kept for the various occupations of the dairymaid; it will be found a better plan than putting them on shelves and corners against the wall. There should be a funnel or ventilator in the ceiling, communicating with the open air, made to open and shut as required. Double windows are recommended, but of the lattice kind, so that they may open, and with wire-gauze blinds fitted into the opening, and calico blinds, which may be wetted when additional coolness is required. The other apartment will be used for churning, washing and scrubbing in fact, the scullery of the dairy, with a boiler for hot water, and a sink with cold water laid on, which should be plentiful and good. In some dairies a third apartment, or, at least, a cool airy pantry, is required for storing away butter, with shelves of marble or slate, to hold the cream-jars while it is ripening, and where cheeses are made, a fourth becomes necessary. The dairy should be removed both from stable and cowhouse, and larder; no animal smells should come near it, and the drainage should be perfect.
The dairy utensils are not numerous churns,—milk-pails for each cow; hair-sieves, slices of tin, milk-pans, marble dishes for cream for family use, scales and weights, a portable rack for drying the utensils, wooden bowls, butter-moulds, and butter patters, and wooden tubs for washing the utensils, comprising pretty nearly everything. Pails are made of maple-wood or elm, and hooped, or of tin, more or less ornamented. One is required for each cow. The hair-sieve is made of closely-twisted horse-hair, with a rim, through which the milk is strained to remove any hairs which may have dropped from the cow in milking. Milk dishes are shallow basins of glass, of glazed earthenware, or tin, about 16 inches in diameter at top, and 12 at the bottom, and 5 or 6 inches deep, holding about 8 to 10 quarts each when full. Churns are all sorts and sizes, from that which churns 70 or 80 gallons by means of a strap from the engine, to the square box in which a pound of butter is made. The churn used for families is a square box, 18 inches by 12 or 13, and 17 deep, bevelled below to the plane of the dashers, with a loose lid or cover. The dasher consists of an axis of wood, to which the four beaters or fanners are attached; these fans are simply four pieces of elm strongly dovetailed together, forming an oblong shape, with a space left open, two of the openings being left broader than the others; attached to an axle they form an axis with four projecting blades; the axle fits into supports at the centre of the box; a handle is fitted to it, and the act of churning is done by turning the handle.
Supply of Milk.—The dairymaid receives the milk from the cow keeper, each pail being strained through the hair-sieve into one of the milk-basins. This is left in the basins from twenty-four to thirty-six hours in the summer, according to the weather; after which it is skimmed off by means of the slicer, and poured into glazed earthenware to "turn" for churning. Some persons prefer making up a separate churning for the milk of each cow, in which there is some advantage. In this case the basins of each cow, for two days, would either be kept together or labelled. As soon as emptied, the pails should be scalded and every particle of milk washed out, and placed away in a dry place till next required; and all milk spilt on the floor, or on the table or dresser cleaned up with a cloth and hot water. Where very great attention is paid to the dairy, the milk-coolers are used larger in winter, when it is desirable to retard the cooling down and increase the creamy deposit, and smaller in summer to hasten it; the temperature required being from 55° to 60°. In summer it is sometimes expedient, in very sultry weather, to keep the dairy fresh and cool by suspending clothes dipped in chloride of lime across the room.
Times for Churning.—In some dairies it is usual to churn twice, and in others three times a week; the former produces the best butter, the other the greatest quantity. With three cows, the produce should be 27 to 30 quarts a day. The dairymaid should churn every day when very hot, if they are in full milk, and every second day in more temperate weather; besides supplying the milk and cream required for a large establishment. The churning should always be done in the morning; the dairymaid will find it advantageous in being at work on churning mornings by five o'clock. The operation occupies from twenty minutes to half an hour in summer, and considerably longer in winter. A steady, uniform motion is necessary to produce sweet butter; neither too quick nor too slow. Rapid motion causes the cream to heave and swell, from too much air being forced into it; the result is a tedious churning, and soft, bad-coloured butter.
Colouring.—In spring and summer, when the cow has her natural food, no artificial colour is required; but in winter, under stall feeding, the colour is white and tallowy, and some persons prefer a high colour. This is communicated by mixing a little finely-powdered annatto with the cream before putting it into the churn; a still more natural and delicate colour is communicated by scraping a red carrot into a clean piece of linen cloth, dipping it into water, and squeezing it into the cream.
Washing the Butter.—As soon as the butter comes, the milk is poured-off, and the butter put into a shallow wooden tub or bowl, full of pure spring water, in which it is washed and kneaded, pouring off the water and renewing it until it comes away perfectly free from milk. Imperfect washing is the frequent cause of bad butter, and in nothing is the skill of the dairymaid tested more than in this process; moreover, it is one in which cleanliness of habits and person are most necessary.
Butter Milk.—The operations of churning and butter-making over, the butter-milk is disposed of: usually, in England, it goes to the pigs, but it is a very wholesome beverage when fresh, and some persons like it; the disposal, therefore, will rest with the mistress: the dairy-maid's duty is to get rid of it. She must then scald with boiling water and scrub out every utensil she has used ; brush out the churn, clean out the cream jars, which will probably require the use of a little common soda to purify; wipe all dry, and place them in a position where the sun can reach them for a short time, to sweeten them.
Devonshire Cream.—In Devonshire, celebrated for its dairy system, the milk is always scalded. The milk-pans, which are of tin, and contain from 10 to 12 quarts, after standing 10 or 12 hours, are placed on a hot plate of iron, over a stove, until the cream has formed on the surface, which is indicated by the air-bubbles rising through the milk, and producing blisters on the surface-coating of cream. This indicates its approach to the boiling-point; and the vessel is now removed to cool. When quite cool, the cream is skimmed off with the slice. It is now the clouted cream for which Devonshire is so famous and is placed in the churn, and churned until the butter comes, which it generally does in a much shorter time than by the other process. The butter so made contains more caseine than butter made in the usual way, but does not keep so long.
Cost of Dairy.—It is calculated that a good cow costs, from May 1 to October i, when well but economically kept, £5 16s. 6d.; and from October 1 to April 30, £10 2s. 6d. During that time she should produce 227 Ibs. of butter, besides the skimmed milk. Of course, if new milk and cream are required, that will diminish the quantity of butter.
Besides churning and keeping her dairy in order, the dairymaid has charge of the whole produce, handing it over to the. cook, butler, or housemaid as required ; and she will do well to keep an exact account both of what she receives, and how and when she disposes of it.
The Laundry-maid is charged with the duty of washing and getting-up the family linen a situation of great importance where the washing is all done at home; but in large towns, where there is little convenience for bleaching and drying, it is chiefly done by professional laundresses and companies, who apply mechanical and chemical processes to the purpose. These processes, however, are supposed to injure the fabric of the linen; and in many families the fine linen, cottons, and muslins are washed and got-up at home, even where the bulk of the washing is given out. In country and suburban houses,where greater conveniences exist, washing at home is more common—in country places universal.
A good laundry establishment for a large household consists of a washing-house, an ironing and drying-room, and sometimes a drying-closet heated by furnaces. The washing-house will probably be attached to the kitchen; but it is better that it should be completely detached from it, and of one story, with a funnel or shaft to carry off the steam. It will be of a size proportioned to the extent of the washing to be done. A range of tubs, either round or oblong, opposite to, and sloping towards, the light, narrower at the bottom than the top, for convenience in stooping over, and fixed at a height suited to the convenience of the women using them; each tub having a tap for hot and cold water, and another in the bottom, communicating with the drains, for drawing off foul water. A boiler and furnace, proportioned in size to the wants of the family, should also be fixed. The flooring should be York stone, laid on brick piers, with good drainage, or asphalte, sloping gently towards a gutter connected with the drain. Adjoining the bleaching-house, a second room, about the same size, is required for ironing, drying, and mangling. The contents of this room should comprise an ironing-board, opposite to the light; a strong white deal table, about twelve or fourteen feet long, about three and a half feet broad, with drawers for ironing-blankets; a mangle in one corner, and clothes-horses for drying and airing; cupboards for holding the various irons, starch, and other articles used in ironing; a hot-plate built in the chimney, with furnace beneath it for heating the irons; sometimes arranged with a flue for carrying the hot air round the room for drying. Where this is the case, however, there should be a funnel in the ceiling for ventilation and carrying off steam; but a better arrangement is to have a hot-air closet adjoining, heated by hot-air pipes, and lined with iron, with proper arrangements for carrying off steam, and clothes-horses on castors running in grooves, to run into it for drying purposes. This leaves the laundry free from unwholesome vapour.
Sorting of Linen.—The laundry-maid should commence her labours on Monday morning by a careful examination of the articles committed to her care, and enter them in the washing-book, separating the white linen and collars, sheets and body-linen into one heap, fine muslins into another, coloured cotton and linen fabrics into a third, woollens into a fourth, and the coarser kitchen and other greasy cloths into a fifth. Every article should be examined for ink or grease spots, or for fruit or wine-stains. Ink-spots are removed by dipping the part into hot water, and then spreading it smoothly on the hand or on the back of a spoon, pouring a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of sorrel over the ink-spot, rubbing and rinsing it in cold water till removed; grease spots, by rubbing over with yellow soap, and rinsing in hot water; fruit and wine spots by dipping in a solution of sal ammoniac or spirits of wine and rinsing.
Soaking.—The sheets and fine linen should be placed in a tub and just covered with lukewarm water, in which a little soda has been dissolved and mixed, and left there to soak till the morning. The greasy cloths and dirtier things should be laid to soak in another tub, in a liquor composed of ½b. of unslaked lime to every 6 quarts of water which has been boiled for two hours, then left to settle, and strained off when clear. Each article should be rinsed in this liquor to wet it thoroughly, and left to soak till the morning, just covered by it when the things are pressed together. Coppers and boilers should be filled, and the fires laid ready to light.
Washing.—Early on the following morning the fires should be lighted, and, as soon as hot water can be procured, washing commenced; the sheets and body-linen should be taken first, each article being removed in succession from the lye in which it has been soaking, rinsed, rubbed, and wrung, and laid aside until the tub is empty, when the foul water is drawn off. The tub should be again filled with lukewarm water, about 80, in which the articles should again be plunged, and each gone over carefully with soap, and rubbed. Experienced washerwomen rub one linen surface against the other, two parts being thus cleaned at once. After the first washing, the linen should be put into a second water, as hot as the hand can bear it, and again rubbed over in every part, examining every part for spots not yet removed, which require to be again soaped over and rubbed till thoroughly clean: then rinsed and wrung, the larger and stronger articles by two of the women; the smaller and more delicate articles requiring gentler treatment.
Boiling.—In order to remove every particle of soap, and produce a good colour, they should now be placed, and boiled for about an hour and a half, in the copper, in which soda, in the proportion of a teaspoonful to every two gallons of water, has been dissolved. Some very careful laundresses put the linen into a canvas bag to protect it from the scum and sides of the copper. When-taken out it should again be rinsed, first in clean hot water, and then in abundance of cold water, slightly tinged with blue and again wrung dry. It should now be removed from the washing-house and hung up to dry or spread out to bleach, if there are conveniences for it; and the earlier in the day this is done, the clearer and whiter will be the linen.
Coloured muslins, cottons, and linens require a milder treatment; any application of soda will discharge the colour, and soaking all night, even in pure water, deteriorates the more delicate tints. When ready for washing, if not too dirty, they should be put into cold water and washed very speedily, using the common yellow soap, which should be rinsed off immediately. One article should be washed at a time, and rinsed out immediately before any others are wetted. When washed thoroughly they should be rinsed in succession, in soft water, in which common salt has been dissolved, in the proportion of a handful to three or four gallons, and afterwards wrung gently, as soon as rinsed, with as little twisting as possible, then hung out to dry. Delicate-coloured articles should not be exposed to the sun, but dried in the shade, using clean lines and wooden pegs.
Woollen articles are liable to shrink unless the flannel has been well shrunk before making up. This liability is increased where very hot water is used: cold water would thus be the best to wash woollens in; but as would not remove the dirt, lukewarm water, about 85°, and yellow soap, are recommended. When thoroughly washed in this, they required a good deal of rinsing in cold water, to remove the sop. Greasy cloths, which have soaked all night in the liquid described, should be now washed out with soap-and-water as hot as the hands can bear, first in one water, and rinsed out in a second (soda will be needed in the water used), and afterwards boiled for two hours in water in which a little soda is dissolved. When taken out, they should be rinsed in cold water, and laid out or hung up to dry.
Silks and Stuffs.—Silk handkerchiefs require to be washed alone. When they contain snuff, they should be soaked by themselves in lukewarm water for two or three hours; they should be rinsed out and put to soak with the others in cold water for an hour or two; then washed in lukewarm water, being soaped as they are washed. If this does not remove all stains, they should be washed a second time in similar water, and when finished, rinsed in soft water in which a handful of common salt has been dissolved. In washing stuff or woollen dresses, the band at the waist and the lining at the bottom should be removed, and wherever it is gathered into folds; and, in furniture, the hems and gatherings. A black silk dress, if very dirty, must be washed; but, if only soiled, soaking for four-and-twenty hours will do; if old and rusty, a pint of common spirits should be mixed with each gallon of water, which is an improvement under any circumstances. The operations should be concluded by rinsing the tubs, cleaning the coppers, scrubbing the floors of the washing-house, and restoring everything to order and cleanliness.
Washing Machines.—The use of machines for washing, wringing and mangling has now become general. They can be had suitable for the smallest as well as the largest family, and materially save labour, and in a short time, their cost. According to the machines used so do the instructions vary, each maker having some specialty. It may, however, be roughly stated that stains should be rubbed out of clothes before they are put into the machines, and that care should be taken in wringing the articles that the buttons be not dragged off. An ordinary family washing machine when opened out occupies a space of about from 4 ft. to 5 ft. square (not more room than tubs would take), but when not in use it can be greatly reduced. A wringing machine is sometimes attached to a washing one, and is occasionaly a thing apart, which can be fixed to an ordinary tub. It may be said that it is of the greatest use if there is anything like heavy washing to be done, as with very little trouble the clothes are thoroughly wrung, and all the water being squeezed out, time in drying is thus saved. Wringing machines also serve for mangling ones.
Mangling.—Linen, cotton, and other fabrics, after being washed and dried, are made smooth and glossy by mangling and by ironing. The mangling process, which is simply passing them between rollers subjected to a very considerable pressure, produced by weight, is confined to sheets, towels, table linen, and similar articles which are without folds or plaits. Ironing is necessary to smooth body-linen, and made-up articles of delicate texture or gathered into folds. Starching is a process by which stiffness is communicated to certain parts of linen, as the collars and fronts of shirts, by dipping them in a paste made of starch boiled in water, mixed with a little gum Arabic, where extra stiffness is required.
When the "things to be starched" are washed, dried, and taken off the lines, they should be dipped into the hot starch made as directed, squeezed out, and then just dipped into cold water, and immediately squeezed dry. If fine things be wrung, or roughly used, they are very liable to tear, so too much care cannot be exercised in this respect. If the article is lace, clap it between the hands a few times, which will assist to clear it; then have ready laid out on the table a large clean towel or cloth, shake out the starched things, lay them on the cloth, and roll it up tightly, and let it remain for three or four hours, when the things will be ready to iron.
Ironing. The irons consist of the common flat-iron, which is of different sizes, varying from 4 to 10 inches in length, triangular in form, and from 2½ to 4½ inches in width at the broad end ; the oval iron, which is used for more delicate articles; and the box-iron, which is hollow, and heated by a red-hot iron inserted into the box. The Italian iron is a hollow tube, smooth on the outside and raised on a slender pedestal with a footstalk. Into the hollow cylinder a red-hot iron is pushed, which heats it; and the smooth outside of the latter is used, on which articles such as frills and plaited articles are drawn. Crimping and gauffering - machines are used for a kind of plaiting where much regularity is required.
To be able to iron properly requires much practice and experience. Strict cleanliness with all the ironing utensils must be observed, as, if this is not the case, not the most expert ironer will be able to make her things look clear and free from smears, etc. After wiping down her ironing table, the laundry-maid should place a coarse cloth on it, and over that the ironing-blanket, with her stand and iron-rubber; and having ascertained that her irons are quite clean and of the right heat, she proceeds with her work. It is a good plan to try the heat of the iron on a coarse cloth or apron before ironing anything fine; there is then no danger of scorching. For ironing fine things, such as collars, cuffs, muslins, and laces, there is nothing so clean and nice to use as the box-iron, the bottom being bright, and never placed near the fire. It is always perfectly clean; it should, however, be kept in a dry place, for fear of its rusting. The skirts of muslin dresses should be ironed on a skirt-board covered with flannel, and the fronts of shirts on a smaller board, also covered with flannel, this board being placed between the back and front. After things are mangled, they should also be ironed in the folds and gathers; dinner-napkins smoothed over, as also table-cloths; pillow-cases, and sometimes sheets. The bands of flannel petticoats, and shoulder-straps to flannel waistcoats, must also undergo the same process.