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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/40

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to inspect, and needlework to be done. Time should also be allotted for reading and harmless recreation.

If a lady does much plain needlework a sewing-machine is indispensable. With its help she can make and mend many articles used by her children and herself, and this without undue fatigue. The assistance of such an appliance is invaluable in every home, especially to a mother of daughters. Hand-sewing is slow and laborious, and unless provided with a sewing-machine, there is little inducement for any one to practise home-dressmaking. Apart from the valuable experience gained in cutting-out, fitting, altering and re-making, a great saving may be effected.

Luncheon.—In establishments where an early dinner is served, that meal will, of course, take the place of the luncheon. In many houses, where a nursery dinner is provided for the children about one o'clock, the elder members of the family usually make their luncheon at the same time. If circumstances are not strongly against the arrangement, the children of the house should take their dinner with their mother. It is far better for children to have their principal meal in the company of their mother and other members of the family, as soon as they are able to feed themselves properly. Many little vulgar habits and faults of speech and manner are avoided by this companionship. The mother can thus better watch over her children's health, and see that their food is properly cooked, served, and suited to them. Children who are accustomed to the society of their seniors at their meals will not be awkward or shy with visitors, or when they are staying from home. The nurse, likewise, by this plan is released, for a short period, from the care of her little charges, and, while she enjoys her dinner with her fellow-servants, "waiting on the nurse," a great objection with many housemaids, is avoided.

Visiting.—After luncheon, morning calls and visits may be made and received. These may be divided under three heads; those of ceremony, friendship, and congratulation or condolence. Visits of ceremony or courtesy, which occasionally merge into those of friendship, are to be paid under various circumstances. Thus, they are uniformly required after dining at a friend's house, or after a ball, picnic, or any other party. These visits should be short, a stay of from fifteen to twenty minutes being quite sufficient.

When other visitors are announced, it is well to leave as soon as possible, taking care not to give the impression that your departure has been hastened by the arrival of the new guest. When they are quietly seated, and the bustle of their entrance is over, rise from your chair, taking a kind leave of the hostess, and bowing politely to the guests. Should you call at an inconvenient time, not having ascertained the luncheon hour, or from any other inadvertence, retire as soon as possible without, however, showing that you feel yourself an intruder. It is not difficult to make suitable excuses on such an