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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/54

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Duties and Responsibilities.

As Second in Command in the House, except in large establishments, where there is a house-steward, the housekeeper must consider herself as the immediate representative of her mistress, and bring to her work all the qualities of honesty, industry, and vigilance which would be expected of her if she were at the head of her own family. Constantly striving to promote the prosperity of the household, she should oversee all that goes on in the house, that every department is thoroughly attended to, and that the servants are comfortable, at the same time that their various duties are properly performed.

Cleanliness, punctuality, and method are essentials in the character of a good housekeeper. Without these qualities, no household can be well managed. Order again, is indispensable; by it we provide that "there should be a place for everything, and everything in its place."

Accounts.—A necessary qualification for a housekeeper is that she should thoroughly understand accounts. She will have to write in her books an accurate account of all sums paid for any and every purpose, the current expenses of the house, tradesmen's bills, wages, and many miscellaneous items. As we have mentioned in the previous chapter, a housekeeper's accounts should be periodically examined and checked by the head of the house. Nothing tends more to the satisfaction of both employer and employed than this arrangement. "Short reckonings make long friends" stands good in this case, as in others.

The housekeeper should make a careful record of every domestic purchase whether bought for cash or not. This record will be found a useful check upon the bills sent in by the various tradesmen, so that any discrepancy can be inquired into and set right. An intelligent housekeeper will by this means be able to judge of the average consumption of each article in the household; and to prevent waste and carelessness.

The following table of expenses, income, or wages, shows what any sum, from £1 to £100 per annum, is, when reckoned per quarter, calendar month, week, or day:—