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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/51

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29
THE MISTRESS

goes, is a task that comes to us but once in our existence, and some of the articles selected may have to last for a lifetime. Should money be limited, the sum that can be devoted to this purpose should be carefully fixed, and if the amount is not found sufficient for all requirements, the expenditure on all strictly necessary articles should be estimated and allowed for, before letting the fancy stray after superfluities and luxuries. This may seem a very obvious rule, but it is one often neglected. The scarcity of vile dross that prevents us from ordering all we think we need for our new establishment, may be a blessing in disguise, for many of those quaint and interesting articles that lend so much individuality and artistic charm to a dwelling can never be purchased in bulk, but must be acquired by a combination of good luck, good taste and loving search. The time required for an exciting hunt after articles of beauty, quaint ugliness, or romantic interest, will not be grudged by many young couples, for each treasure thus acquired tends to give fresh interest in the beautifying of a home. These rules considered, rival catalogues compared, and the advantages and drawbacks of old and new furniture weighed, the prospective householder will be prepared to face the allurements of Tottenham Court Road and elsewhere. Every possible information about kitchen furniture and utensils, with carefully compiled price lists, will be found in a later chapter. It is now usual for the landlord to allow the incoming tenant to choose the wall papers, and we would advise our readers not to mind taking considerable trouble in this respect. It is well to think whether the rooms require light or dark papers; the furniture and carpets with which they are to be associated should also be considered. In few things are loving care and taste better repaid than in such careful choice, and we would recommend our readers not to rest content with the sample books furnished by their landlord, but to inspect the designs of the best known and most artistic firms.

Choosing a House.—Many mistresses have experienced the horrors of house-hunting, and it is well known that "three removes are as good (or bad, rather) as a fire."

The choice of a house must depend on various circumstances with different people, and to give any specific directions on this head would be impossible and useless, yet it will be desirable to point out some of the general features as to locality, soil, aspect, etc., which all house-hunters should carefully consider.

Regarding the locality, we may say, speaking more particularly of a town house, that it is important to the health and comfort of a family that the neighbourhood of all factories producing unwholesome or offensive emanations or odours should be strictly avoided. Neither is it well to take a house in the immediate vicinity of a noisy trade, lest it should prove a constant annoyance.

Before taking a house on lease, get a competent surveyor to inspect the state of the building—drainage, walls, roof, gutters, etc. Do not