Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1975

This page has been validated.
 
1773
DOMESTIC SERVANTS AND THEIR DUTIES

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