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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1976

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1774
 
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

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.

THE PARLOUR-MAID

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