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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/53

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31
THE MISTRESS

a question best left for careful consideration in each individual case. When facing the problem of taking a new and larger house, one should bear in mind that the mere increase in rent does not represent the whole of the extra expense that will have to be borne, for besides rates, which of course increase proportionately, a larger house seems invariably to increase expenses all round. Yet it is not easy to give explicit reasons for this undoubted tendency.

The Responsibilities or Duties of the mistress of a house are, though onerous and important, by no means difficult if given careful and systematic attention. She ought always to remember that she rules the household; and by her conduct its whole internal policy is regulated. She is, therefore, a person of far-reaching importance. Her daughters model themselves on her pattern, and are directed by her counsels:—"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Therefore let each wife, remembering her responsibilities, see that her conduct is such as to earn the love and reverence of her children and her husband.

Let her remember the sincere homage paid to the good wife and mother by the great philosophers and writers of all ages. Jeremy Taylor says: "A good wife is Heaven's last best gift to man; his angel and minister of graces innumerable; his gem of many virtues; his casket of jewels. Her voice is sweet music; her smiles his brightest day; her kiss the guardian of his innocence; her arms, the pale of his safety; the balm of his health, the balsam of his life; her industry, his surest wealth; her economy, his safest steward; her lips, his faithful counsellors; her bosom, the softest pillow of his cares; and her prayers, the ablest advocates of Heaven's blessings on his head."