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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/30

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all. A woman's home should be first and foremost in her life, but if she allow household cares entirely to occupy her thoughts, she is apt to become narrow in her interests and sympathies, a condition not conducive to domestic happiness. To some overworked women but little rest or recreation may seem possible, but, generally speaking, the leisure to be enjoyed depends upon proper methods of work, punctuality, and early rising. The object of the present work is to give assistance to those who desire practical advice in the government of their home.

Early Rising contributes largely to good Household Management; she who practises this virtue reaps an ample reward both in health and prosperity. When a mistress is an early riser, it is almost certain that her house will be orderly and well managed. On the contrary, if she remain in bed till a late hour, then the servants, who, as we have observed, invariably acquire some of their mistress's characteristics, are likely to become sluggards. To self-indulgence all are more or less disposed, and it is not to be expected that servants are freer from this fault than the heads of houses. The great Lord Chatham gave this advice:— "I would have inscribed on the curtains of your bed, and the walls of your chamber, 'If you do not rise early, you can make progress in nothing.'" Cleanliness is quite indispensable to Health, and must be studied both in regard to the person and the house, and all that it contains. Cold or tepid baths should be employed every morning. The bathing of children will be treated of under the heads of "The Nurse" and "The Doctor." Many diseases would be less common than they are if the pores of the skin were kept open.

Frugality and Economy are Virtues without which no household can prosper. The necessity of economy should be evident to every one, whether in possession of an income barely sufficient for a family's requirements, or of a large fortune which seems to put financial adversity out of the question. We must always remember that to manage well on a small income is highly creditable. "He is a good waggoner," says Bishop Hall, "that can turn in a little room. To live well in abundance is the praise of the estate, not of the person. I will study more how to give a good account of my little than how to make it more." In this there is true wisdom, and it may be added that those who can manage small things well are probably fitted for the management of greater. Economy and frugality must never, however, be allowed to degenerate into meanness.

A Judicious Choice of Friends is most essential to the happiness of a household. An acquaintance who indulges in scandal about her neighbours should be avoided as a pestilence. While ever attending to the paramount claims of home, a lady should not altogether neglect social duties. The daily round of work is much more pleasant if cheered by intercourse with friends, who are often able to give, or pleased to receive, help in the little difficulties that may occur in everyday life. Another point of view is that most women look forward to some