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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/39

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17
THE MISTRESS

garden renders his services imperative. One should not forget that when heavy expenses such as those of education have to be incurred for a family, this outlay must be carefully allowed for, before committing oneself in other directions. Similarly, where two servants are kept, and a nurse is required for young children, it will probably be deemed wise to dispense with the services of the housemaid, and arrange for the nurse to give some help to the cook.

When one is considering if an extra servant is necessary or not, it is well to remember that assistance may sometimes be profitably arranged by engaging a lad for two or three hours a day to do such rough work as cleaning boots and shoes, working in the garden, etc.; and, when uncertain whether to engage a gardener, one should not forget that a man not coming more than four days a week does not render an employer liable to the duty on man servants.

About £1,000 a year. Cook, housemaid, and perhaps a man-servant.

From £750 to £500 a year. Cook, housemaid.

About £300 a year. General servant.

About £200 a year. Young girl for rough work.

Daily Duties.—Having thus indicated the general duties of a mistress in the moral government of her household, we will now give a few instructions on practical details. To do this more clearly, we will begin with the earliest duties, and set forth the occupations of the day.

Before Breakfast.—Having risen early and attended to the toilet, see that the children receive proper care, and are clean and comfortable. The first meal of the day, breakfast, will then be served, at which all the family should be punctually present, unless illness, or other circumstances, prevent. After breakfast is over, the mistress should make a round of the kitchen and other offices, to see that all is in order, and that the early morning's work has been properly performed by the various domestics. The orders for the day should then be given; and any questions which the domestics may ask should be answered, and any articles they require given out. Where a housekeeper is engaged, she will of course perform the above-named duties.

Prompt notice should be taken of the first appearance of slackness, neglect, or any faults in domestic work, so that the servant may know that her mistress is quick to detect the least disorder, and will not pass unsatisfactory work. Small faults allowed to pass unreproved quickly increase. A failing easily cured if promptly dealt with, is almost hopeless when it has been allowed to develop into a habit.

After this General Superintendence of her servants, the mistress will probably have a certain number of letters to write, possibly some marketing or shopping to do, besides numberless small duties which are better done early in the day, such as arranging the flowers for drawing-room and dinner-table, etc. If she be the mother of a young family there may be some instruction to give them, or some of their wardrobes