Letters to Persons Who Are Engaged in Domestic Service by Beecher, Catharine Esther
book was produced from scanned images of public domain material from the Google Books project.)
Transcriber’s Notes: Words in italics in the original are surrounded with _underscores_. Words in mixed case small caps are in capital letters. A row of asterisks represents a thought break. A complete list of corrections and other notes follows the text.
LETTERS TO PERSONS
WHO ARE ENGAGED IN
MISS CATHERINE E. BEECHER.
NEW YORK: PUBLISHED BY LEAVITT & TROW, 194 Broadway.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by JOHN F. TROW, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New-York.
University Press: JOHN F. TROW, PRINTER, 114 Nassau-street, New-York.
TO AMERICAN LADIES.
Will you aid me in an attempt to benefit a most useful, a most important, and yet a much neglected portion of our fellow citizens? I can accomplish little without your aid; with it, I trust much may be done.
Have you ever heard any instructions from the pulpit addressed to the class for whom I now write? Have you ever read a printed sermon, or a tract suited and designed to instruct _Americans_ of this class, on the topics presented in this book? Have you not felt how important it is that this class, who have so much influence on domestic enjoyment, and on the character of children, should be properly instructed in the duties of their station, and yet how difficult it is to address them acceptably, or to find books that answer for this purpose?
These things have been urged on my attention by benevolent ladies, who have felt these difficulties, and who complain that, while those they hire can find books enough which treat on the duties of their _employers_, they seldom find instructions in regard to the peculiar duties of their own station. I have made an attempt to remedy this deficiency, so far as my ability extends. But a great difficulty meets me. The persons for whom I write, have few opportunities to know what issues from the press, and seldom buy books. It is others, who, from a spirit of philanthropy and benevolence, must procure such advantages for them, or they will seldom be secured. I would therefore appeal to all benevolent and Christian ladies, whose eye may rest on this page, and ask if each will not secure the reading of this book to at least _one_ of those for whom it is written. If housekeepers will supply those they hire, if travellers and visitors will use this, to present as a token of good will to those who serve them, where they temporarily sojourn, if on New-Years and Christmas, this may be remembered as a suitable present to those who do so much to aid on festive occasions, then, if this book is fit for the end designed, there will be many who will be joined, in the best of all fellowship, with their friend and countrywoman,
LETTER I. PAGE
The station of domestics important, respectable, and advantageous to themselves. A story to illustrate the state of things in this country 9
A conversation between the clergyman and a domestic 27
Difficulties experienced by the shipwrecked company, and how these were remedied 36
The manner in which this story illustrates the state of things in this country 43
Reasons for regarding the station of a domestic as honourable and respectable 51
The reasons why the station of a domestic is not regarded as so honourable as it really is 62
Reasons why the station of a domestic is a desirable one, and superior to that of a sempstress, a shop girl, or a factory girl 69
The importance of raising the respectability of the station of a domestic, in public estimation, and the mode by which it can be done 78
On the duties of subordination. Rules of the Bible. Respectful manners the mark of a lady 91
On Visiting, Company, and Religious Meetings. On going out, and having company. Religious Meetings. A story to illustrate 110
Importance of health to domestics. Modes by which they injure health 126
_On Dress, Manners and Language._—Dress should be conformed to means and to occupations. Rules of good manners 142
Trials of domestics and remedy for these trials. Fault-finding. Want of comforts and conveniences, &c. 153
_On Economy._—Economy a duty to all. Modes of economizing 172
_On the Care of Children._—Patience very needful. Offering rewards. Never shame children for their faults. Never deceive them. Set an example of honesty and modesty 180
On Cooking 193
On setting tables. Washing and ironing, and other house work 213
The Way to be Happy 228
Persons engaged in Domestic Service.
The station of domestics important, respectable, and advantageous to themselves. A story to illustrate the state of things in this country.
I have travelled a good deal in various parts of this country, and by visiting in a large number of families, I have been led to feel a great interest in the welfare of persons in your situation. And as my friends think that I could write something which might be useful and interesting to you, I have concluded to try, and have, therefore, prepared this small volume for your use. I trust you will find, that I have, at least, one good qualification for writing a book for you, and that is, a real interest in those I address, and a sincere desire to do all I can to promote their usefulness and happiness.
I think that much of the trouble felt by persons in your situation of life, would be very much lessened, if a right view were taken of the respectability, usefulness, and advantages of the station you occupy. I do not think you are aware either of the good you can do to others, or of the benefits you may receive yourselves, in your employment. And I do not think you understand the real respectability which belongs to your situation. I therefore wish to give you some views on these points, that I hope may tend to make you more useful, and more contented with your lot. This I think I can do in the most agreeable way by relating the following tale.
Once there was a ship which sailed with a large company on board. There were the captain, the officers, and the sailors, and a company of soldiers. There was also a large number of gentlemen and ladies, and there were several families of children, returning from school to their parents, with the persons who had the care of them. There was also a number of servants to the gentlemen and ladies.
After they had been some time at sea, a dreadful storm came on, the ship sprung a leak, they all got into the ship’s boats, and then she sunk to the bottom with all their possessions. After a great deal of trouble, their boats succeeded in all reaching a neighbouring, unknown shore. Their misfortunes soon reached the ears of the king of that country, who was a very generous and kind man. His dominions had just been desolated by a pestilence, which in some cases had swept off whole families. The king had all these strangers conveyed to a large estate whose owner, with all his family, had perished in the pestilence. On this estate was a large and magnificent palace, with gardens, and orchards, and parks, and a great extent of fields for cultivation. Within the palace were fine furniture, and rich clothing, and a great quantity of food of all kinds. The out-houses, also, were supplied with fine horses and beautiful carriages. All this estate, with its palace and treasures, was given to these strangers, on two conditions; the first was, that they should never have any kind of intercourse with the people of the land, but take care of themselves and do all their own work. The second was, that all the company should consider and treat each other as “free and equal.” Children and servants, soldiers and sailors, were to have the same right to every thing in the palace, as any one else had, and no person was to be superior in rights to another, in any respect whatever. All were “free and equal;” all were equally entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” in any way each thought best for himself. On these two conditions, this company took possession of this noble estate, and all its treasures.
Immediately on entering the palace, they commenced ransacking the whole establishment, and every one was trying to get the best of every thing. All wanted the pleasantest rooms, and the handsomest clothes, and the best articles of food. Each person claimed that he had as good a right to the best of every thing as any one else, and no one was willing to give up his rights. The children liked to use the nicest china and cut glass to play with, and the cakes and sweetmeats for their food; the servants liked the silks and satins for dress, and the sailors and soldiers liked the fine parlours with their light carpets and silk curtains and sofas, to smoke and eat in. And if any of the company tried to control them, insult and abuse were showered down, for thus taking away the rights and liberties of others. Very soon quarrels began, and these grew worse and worse, until they came to blows, and there was constant fighting for every thing. The result was this; the servants, the soldiers and the sailors were the strongest, and so they got possession of the best of every thing. The richest clothing, the finest rooms, and the best food were all taken by them. The captain, officers and gentlemen were the next strongest, and they got the next best. The women and children were the weakest, and so they were obliged to put up with the poorest of every thing.
But after they had thus divided their possessions, the question then was, who should do the work? All wanted to sit in the parlours, and walk in the gardens, and eat their meals, and ride in their carriages; but nobody wanted to cook, or wash, or sweep, or plough, or take care of horses. And yet all this work must be done, or they would be destitute of the necessaries and comforts of life. At first, the strongest tried to force the weakest to work for them, and for a while, it seemed as if the poor women and children, who had little strength to resist, would be made slaves to the strong.
But they declared that nobody had a right to make them work, and that they would go with their complaints to the king, if their rights were thus invaded.
Thus matters went on, till all the carpets were covered with filth, all the dishes were dirty, all the clothing was soiled and torn, and every thing about the estate was fast going to destruction.
Meantime the soldiers, sailors and servants, who had the most strength, were constantly domineering over the others, and quarrelling and fighting among themselves. The children were beaten and abused, the ladies insulted, and all kinds of oppression practised. There was universal contention, fear, distress and ill will. All the decent and well meaning persons declared, that they would gladly exchange this palace for a hovel, with nothing but potatoes to eat, and straw to sleep on, if they could thus gain quiet and peace. In this company was a venerable old clergyman, with white locks, a benevolent countenance, and kind and pleasant manners. Soon after the scenes of riot and abuse commenced, he retired to a hay loft for refuge; and here he was often visited for counsel and sympathy, by the suffering and sorrowful. One day a pale and sweet looking lady came to him, in great distress. Her little Ellen, her beautiful and only child, was sick. She told the minister she could not get a comfortable bed, nor a quiet room, that her servant whom she had hired to wait on her during the voyage would do nothing to help her, that she had watched by her child day and night till her strength was all gone, that when she tried to prepare suitable food for herself and her sick child, some rude sailor or soldier would come along and snatch it away, that she was sick, hopeless and exhausted, and that she and her child must perish for want of rest and food, unless she could get some pity and help.
This good minister had long been hoping that a time would arrive, when the whole company would be brought, by their own wants and the sufferings of all around them, to feel that they must adopt another course, and he now thought the time had probably come.
By the aid of several of his friends, he succeeded in getting the whole company together. He then recounted to them all the blessings and comforts that had been bestowed on them by the benevolent king. He pointed out the waste, destruction, and misery that had followed, and painted in tender and plaintive tones, the suffering and sorrow that had come upon the weak and helpless. He described the angry and revengeful passions that had distracted those, who had by fighting gained the best of every thing, and showed them that all they had gained had never given them any peace or happiness. He then pointed out the evils that were threatening them for the future.
Their granary was fast running low, and yet nothing was done towards raising another crop. Their furniture and clothing were fast going to destruction, and yet nothing was done to repair the waste, or to provide a new supply. He told them that famine and want of all kinds were now at hand, and they must make up their minds what was to be done.
They were all greatly moved by his wisdom and eloquence, and with one consent agreed to do whatever he would recommend. He then took a Bible out of his pocket, and told them that the God who made them, wished all his creatures to be happy, that he alone knew what was best for them, and that in that blessed book he had revealed the rules to guide them in all circumstances. He then proposed that for the six months to come, until a harvest could be gathered in, they should agree to take the rules which God had given them for their guide. To this all consented, and they then appointed the minister to study the Bible for them, and to point out in all emergencies what were its rules. The minister consented to do this.
He then advised them, first to cleanse the palace, its furniture and their clothing, and to put all things, as nearly as possible, in the order in which they first found them. They followed this advice, and, when all was accomplished, came together again for farther directions.
Then the minister told them, that God required all his creatures, when living together, to act, not to gain all the good things that each one wanted, but to do that which was _for the greatest good of the whole_. He then read from the Bible all the passages he had collected, in which this grand principle was taught. He then asked them, if they would agree to take the following rule for their guide in deciding all questions of property, of labour, and of rights and privileges, viz. that _every one shall do that which will secure the most comfort, convenience and enjoyment to the whole company_. This they all consented should be the rule to guide them in every thing. The minister then told them that the first thing they must do was to provide the food and comforts necessary to life and health. For this purpose, some must plough and sow and work, day after day, in the fields. Now it was best for all the company that the strongest and healthiest should do this, for if the delicate and weak undertook it, instead of providing food by their labour, they would all become sick, and have to be nursed and waited upon by the rest. For this reason it was decided, that the men should do the out-door work, and that the women and children should do the lighter work in the house. The minister then pointed out the fact, that the king had given them a noble palace with every variety of furniture and clothing. But in the palace were some very beautiful rooms and some very plain ones; some of the furniture was costly and elegant, and some was very common; some of the clothing was of the most delicate light silks and muslins, and some was strong, dark, and fitted for hard service.
Now it was manifest that those who did the hardest and dirtiest work, needed the stoutest and darkest clothes, and that if any body wore the delicate muslins and silks, it should be those whose employments would least injure them. In regard to a choice of rooms too, it was best and most convenient, that those who did the dirty work should inhabit the rooms most convenient to their work, and those furnished so that they would be least injured by the use of persons whose feet and clothing were often soiled by their work. The most elegantly furnished rooms were those most easily soiled and injured, and therefore the general good required, that they should be occupied by those whose work and dress would least injure them. He showed them, that, if instead of this arrangement, the persons who did the hardest and most soiling work, should use the finest clothing and nicest rooms, very soon their clothing and furniture would be gone, and the company would be obliged to work to make more. As a matter of convenience and economy, therefore, he inquired whether it was not for the general good, that those who did the hardest work should take the plainest apartments and the strongest clothing. This all decided would be best, and yet, some said that it seemed hard, that those who had to do the least agreeable work, should have the least agreeable rooms and the plainest clothing too. But they all concluded that it never would do to wash dishes and cook and plough and dig, in muslin and satin dresses; and so they concluded that the arrangement which would make their clothes and furniture last the longest should be adopted.
But then the question came up, How shall we decide _who_ shall do the harvest work, and wear the plainest clothing, and take the least agreeable rooms?
In this dilemma, the minister recommended that they should appeal to God, who was the wisest Being, and a Just and Holy Judge. He told them the way to appeal to God was, by _casting lots_. To this all agreed, and so when the lots were prepared, the company all stood up and uncovered their heads, while the minister then called upon God.
“Oh Thou, who art our Father, our Judge and our King, decide for us by these lots, what our portions shall be, and when thou hast thus decided, incline our hearts to submit to thy will, and with patience and cheerfulness, to perform the duties of the station in which we are placed.”
After this prayer they all drew their lots to decide their employments, and then took the clothing, rooms and conveniences, as they had before decided, would be for the good of all.
The minister then pointed out the necessity of having overseers to each kind of work, who should direct and superintend others. He described the waste, confusion and trouble that would follow, if every one went to work on the farm where he pleased, and did his work in any way he pleased. And so in the housekeeping, he showed what discomfort and confusion would follow, if each one did her work at any time, or in any manner she liked, with no system or order, and with no one to plan or direct.
It was then concluded, that it was for the general good, that each kind of work should have an overseer, and that the overseers should spend their whole time in planning and directing others about their work, while the rest should obey their directions. Some seemed to think that it was rather hard, that some should have nothing to do but go about and see that other people kept at work, but after some talk, they all concluded that the work never would be done properly any other way, and so they consented that this arrangement should be made. Then came up the question, who should be the workers and who the overseers. On talking this over it was agreed, that _those who knew the most_, should be appointed to direct the rest. Accordingly the best cook was made overseer of the cooking, the best gardener overseer of the garden, and thus in every kind of work, the one who understood the most about it, was appointed to direct the rest.
It was then proposed, that as there would be sickness among the people, there should be some men selected to read and study about the diseases of the country, who should attend upon the sick, to see that they were properly nursed.
It was also decided, that those who were best qualified to teach and govern the children, should take charge of them, and spend their time in teaching them.
The minister then told them, that though now, after so much suffering for want of order, industry, and harmony, they were all willing to do as they had agreed, yet when they came to go to work, many would become discontented, and would not submit to these regulations. They would then declare that the king gave them this estate, on condition that all should be free and equal, that this rule was not obeyed, for that some lived without doing any hard work, and had the best rooms and the best clothes and ruled over others. They would then declare, that they would not submit to it, and would take the rooms and clothes given to others, and neglect their work. Then others would follow their example, and soon every thing would go back to the confusion and misery they had been experiencing. He told them also, that there were many cases which would arise, when they would need more particular rules than any yet agreed on.
After talking over this matter, they finally agreed to this plan. They chose out from among the company some of the best and wisest men, whose business it should be to make all the rules necessary in any emergency, and all these rules were to be written down, so that all could read them. These men also were to decide what punishment should be inflicted on any who violated these rules. They then appointed another set of men who were to be judges, when any one was accused of breaking these rules, to decide whether they deserved punishment. Another set of men were appointed as officers of justice, to see that these penalties were inflicted. After this, the whole company requested the good minister to spend his time in going around to all parts of the estate, to talk with every body, and to use all his persuasion and influence to lead all to be contented, industrious and obedient to the rules. When these arrangements were made, all went to work harmoniously and cheerfully. The fields were tilled and reaped, the food was cooked, the clothes were washed, ironed and mended, the rooms and furniture were kept clean and in order, and every thing went on pleasantly. Those who had the best rooms and clothes and the easiest work, tried to make it pleasant and comfortable to those who did the work. They felt that they had the best of every thing, not because they were better than the others, but because it was for the general good of all. And those who did the work, and had the least agreeable accommodations, felt that it was God who appointed their lot, and that it was as proper for them to be there as for any of the rest. And they all felt so pleased and thankful for having escaped from such scenes of misrule and misery, that every one was content with his lot. They felt that by submitting to rules that were made for the good of all, each one had his own situation made more comfortable than it could be by any other method. And so they went on, day after day, in comfort and peace.
A conversation between the clergyman and a domestic.
In my former letter I told you how the good minister succeeded in persuading the shipwrecked company to adopt the rules given in the Bible, and the comfort and prosperity that followed this course. I also told you that the minister was requested by the company to spend all his time in visiting every part of the estate, to converse with all who were disposed to be discontented, or indolent, or unsubmissive to the rules.
I will now tell you a little about the way this good man managed to promote peace, contentment, and industry. In the first place they all agreed to come together one day each week to hear the minister explain those rules in the Bible that taught them the duties they owed to God, to themselves and to their neighbours. Many of them had never been properly instructed in their duties, and were entirely ignorant of the Bible. So, on these days of meeting, he used to spend a part of the time in reading portions of the Bible and in proving its Divine authority. He told them when it was written, and how it was collected and preserved, and how it was safely and correctly transmitted to them. He showed them too, that it contained not only rules for making them happy in this world, but that it taught them that they were to live forever after their bodies died, and that their eternal happiness depended on the character and habits they formed in this short life. He described the character they must form in order to be happy in the eternal world, and painted all the happiness that would follow to those who formed such a character, and the dreadful miseries that would come upon all who died without forming such a character. He also took great pains, at these times, to teach them how to perform all their daily duties properly, and showed them that this was one way to form that character that fitted them to die. Sometimes he preached on the duty and advantages of industry and economy; sometimes on the ways to promote cheerfulness, and contentment; sometimes on the duties owed to overseers and rulers; sometimes on the advantages of system, order and neatness; sometimes on the duty of taking proper care of the health, and the ways in which it should be done; sometimes on the duty of kind, courteous, and respectful manners; sometimes on the duty of improving their minds by reading and study. Indeed there was no duty which he found they were in any danger of neglecting, that he did not teach them the proper way of performing it. And after teaching any of these duties, he always knelt down with them, and prayed to God to help all of them to obey the rules he had given, on all these subjects. For this good man never found that they needed instruction on any duty, when he could not find a plenty of rules and directions about the matter in the Bible.
After preaching to them thus, when all together, he used to go around, and talk with every one separately, and find out whether or not each was trying to follow his advice.
One day after he had been down in the fields, talking to some of the farmers, he came up through one of the beautiful gardens, and as he passed a white marble fountain, he found one of the girls who worked in the kitchen, sitting under the shade by it, looking discontented and sullen. So he went up to her and spoke in a kind and pleasant way, and then the following conversation took place.
“Well, Sarah,” said he, “what makes you look so displeased and uncomfortable?”
_Sarah._ It is because I do not think I am fairly treated. I cannot see, for my part, why I have not as good a right to sit up in the parlours to sew and read, when I have got my work done, as the girls who are allowed to sit there. They are no better than I am, and yet they wear fine clothes, and sit in beautiful rooms, and have nothing to do but sew on fine things. And here I have to stay in the kitchen and _work, work, work_ all day long, and wear homely clothes, and have the poorest rooms, and be ordered about by others, instead of doing as I please. And just now, when I went up to sit a little while with those who were sewing up in the parlours, the head cook came and called me down, and told me never to go up and sit in the parlours again.
_Minister._ And did she tell you any reason for what she required?
_Sarah._ Why yes, she said she wanted me to be where she could call me when she needed my help, and that my shoes and frock would dirty the stair carpet, and the parlour carpets and sofas, and that if I went up all the rest that worked in the kitchen would go up too, and this would make work and trouble, and that she never could keep things going on well in the kitchen, if this was allowed. But I cannot see why we cannot be allowed to go up sometimes, when we have no work to do—I am sure I am as nice and careful as any of the girls up stairs.
_Minister._ So you are, Sarah. But do you think Peggy and Susan are as nice as you?
_Sarah._ Mercy on us!—I guess you would not think so, if you could see their greasy frocks and aprons, and their dirty shoes.
_Minister._ Well—Sarah, don’t you suppose they think they are nice enough?
_Sarah._ Yes, I suppose so—for when I tell them to fix up and look clean and nice, they only laugh at me, and say they are not going to wash and fuss and _prink up_ as I do every day.
_Minister._ Well, suppose you were allowed to go and sit in the parlours every day, would not Peggy and Susan think they had as good a right to do so as you, and would not they be angry and discontented because the head cook was partial to you and unjust to them?
_Sarah._ Well, I suppose they would.
_Minister._ Sarah, do you not have time to sew and read, after your work is done, as much as you wish?
_Sarah._ Oh yes, we have a good deal of time for ourselves.
_Minister._ Is not your chamber a comfortable one, and do you not have all the comforts and conveniences you need?
_Sarah._ Oh yes. I am sure I never, when I was at my dear home, had such a comfortable and pleasant chamber and good bed, and all sorts of comforts.
_Minister._ And do you not have as good food as the girls who sit in the parlour?
_Sarah._ Oh yes—quite as good—I have never complained about that.
_Minister._ And who do you love most, and like to talk to the best?
_Sarah._ I like Emily who works with me the most of any one, she is so kind and obliging, and as cheerful and merry as a lark.
_Minister._ Do you like any of those who sit in the parlour and sew, as well as you like Emily?
_Sarah._ Oh no, sir—not half so well. They are all so proud because they have such nice clothes, and sit in such fine rooms, that I cannot bear them.
_Minister._ Well then, my good Sarah, it appears that you have a good and pleasant room of your own to stay in, and a good bed, and good food, and even more comforts and conveniences than you had at your own home. And you have time to read and sew, and books given you to read, and you have the friend you love best, to work with you, and all that I can find out that troubles you is, that you cannot go up and sit in fine rooms, where every body is dressed better than you, among people that you say are so proud you cannot bear them. It does not seem to me that this is any very great evil, and if you will follow my advice you will soon get over this trouble. Now I want you, first, to think over these things. _Somebody_ had got to do the work in the kitchen, or all the company would be uncomfortable and hungry. It is just as right and proper for you to do it, as for any body else. If your lot had been drawn by one of the girls in the parlour, she would have been in your place, and you perhaps in hers, and then you would not have thought about the matter as you do now.
You are doing a great deal of good in the place where you are. The head cook tells me that you are always up in good season, neat and tidy, quick and obliging, and that it is a great comfort to her to have so capable and good a girl to help her. And I do not suppose there is a person in the whole company that does more good than you do, or contributes more to the comfort and enjoyment of the whole family.
And it is God, my dear child, who put you in your lot, and he it is that requires you to be obedient to those that have rule, and to be cheerful, industrious and content with your lot. Think of these things when you feel troubled, and go and pray to God to help you put away all proud, and envious, and discontented feelings, and then I am sure you will never feel or look so troubled about this matter again.
Now Sarah was a good, and generous, and grateful girl, and when the minister talked so kindly to her, she told him she had been feeling wrong, and that she would try to follow his advice. And then when he shook hands with her, and gave her his blessing, she told him that he was the best and kindest friend she had in the world.
And so she went in to her work, and soon the good man heard her chatting and singing with her friend Emily, as cheerful and busy as a bee.
Difficulties experienced by the shipwrecked company, and how these were remedied.
In the following letter I shall tell you of some trouble that these shipwrecked persons met, in following out their new plan of life.
After they had spent several months in doing up the work which past neglect had made needful, and after the harvest was gathered in, the good minister found many evils coming upon them, for want of enough work to keep them all busy. Idleness is the parent of a thousand evils and vices, and therefore something he saw must be devised, in order to keep all hands employed.
The company came together to talk over this matter. At this meeting it was stated that their clothing and furniture were going to destruction even with careful use, and that as more must be provided soon, this might afford employment to idle hands. It was then urged by some of the company that they should take what wool they could get from their sheep, and what flax they could raise, and make a kind of coarse and strong cloth called _linsey woolsey_, and then all might dress alike, and thus there would be no more trouble about some having better clothes than others. But it soon was shown that this would not remedy the difficulty about employment. For such coarse and strong clothing would last so long, that all those who now had employment in making and mending and refitting and in doing fine sewing, would be thrown out of employ.
At length it was agreed that an embassy should be sent to the king, to request him to let the company trade with at least one store on their borders, where they might exchange the products of their lands for clothing and furniture. This request was granted, on this condition, that each individual might bring all he raised himself, and get whatever he wanted, but that no one should take any thing that he did not pay for with the fruits of his own labour.
After this arrangement was made, a great change took place in the palace. Those who were diligent, active and bright, discovered various ways of raising large crops, or of making ingenious articles, which they exchanged at the store for such furniture and clothing as they liked. But those who were dull, or lazy, or vicious, did not succeed in raising the means to buy new things, and were obliged to put up with old or very cheap ones. Sometimes those who lived in the finest rooms would agree to give up those rooms to those who were most successful, in order to share in some of their profits. And thus it came about that many who had the plainest rooms, and clothing, and furniture, by their industry and enterprise, finally came to possess the finest rooms and handsomest clothing and furniture. And so on the other hand, some of those who at first by lot had gained the best of every thing, were driven by their ignorance or indolence, to take the poorest of every thing.
These changes at first produced great discontent. But the good minister took unwearied pains to convince the discontented ones, that though some evils came from having some persons gain so much superior advantages, yet on the whole, it was far better than to have them hold property in common, and all fare alike. For, as he showed them, a great part of mankind are disposed to be careless and indolent, and would never exert themselves, unless some great advantage was to be gained by care and industry. For this reason, it is a great advantage to every body to have persons around them, who own beautiful, or convenient things that can be gained by themselves only by intelligence and industry. For thus every one will be stimulated to improve his mind, and employ his time diligently.
On the contrary, if every body dressed and ate and fared just alike, whether they were industrious or not, the stimulus to exertion would be taken away, and many would become lazy, ignorant and vicious. These teachings of the minister were effectual in most cases, so as to preserve harmony and peace.
But another difficulty arose, that caused still more trouble. The company was so large, that they could not all sit together in one parlour, nor all eat together at one table; and very often the question came up, as to who should associate together. The minister taught them that this was a point where every man had a right to consult his own taste and feelings. No person had a right to go and visit another person’s room when he was not wanted, and every one might decide for himself what company he would have visit him, and who he would not have as a friend or companion. By following this rule, it came about that persons whose tastes, pursuits, and characters were most alike, became most interested in each other, and thus they found it pleasantest to eat together and to sit in the same parlour. Thus those who, either by lot, or by their intelligence and industry, gained the finest clothes and furniture, and had similar employments and habits, formed one circle by themselves. In like manner those who worked together in the fields became best acquainted, and they formed another circle. And thus, too, those who worked in the kitchen became best acquainted and associated together.
But the good minister found many hard feelings coming up from this state of things. For those who had the most talents, and the finest clothing and furniture, began to take airs of superiority, and to treat the others with discourtesy and disrespect, while those who had less advantages grew envious, jealous and discontented. It was a very difficult matter to rectify the wrong state of feeling on both sides. Though the minister taught those who had the most advantages, that they should set an example, to all the rest, of gentleness, humility and courtesy, he could not prevent some of them from appearing haughty and proud, nor induce them to treat all persons with respect and courtesy, whatever were their employment or appearance.
And it was just as difficult to make those who were less fortunate, feel kindly towards those who were better off than themselves. They all insisted that none should visit them in their rooms, or eat with their circle, unless their company was wanted, but when other people used the same privilege and excluded them they felt grieved and offended. They were so unreasonable as to insist that nobody should treat them as they were determined to treat others. And though the minister laboured more to make them feel and act reasonably about this than for any thing else, he often sighed over his poor success.
The manner in which this story illustrates the state of things in this country.
I will now point out some respects in which you will see that the people of this nation are situated very much like the shipwrecked travellers. In the first place then, we have received from God, that great and benevolent King over all, a noble country, filled with an abundance of all kinds of treasures. And the two conditions on which we enjoy it are, first, that we shall take care of ourselves, and do our own work, and, secondly, that we shall all be “free and equal,” and all “equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in any way that each one may think best for himself.
We also are bound by the same grand rule that was adopted by the shipwrecked company, that, _every one shall do that which will secure the most enjoyment to the whole company_, and not that which each one likes best. It is according to this rule that all our laws are made, which restrain men from seeking their own pleasure by sacrificing the public good. And our laws are made by men appointed by the people for the purpose, and executed by judges and officers appointed by the people, from among themselves. In this also we resemble the company in the story.
The question as to who shall work, and what kind of work each one shall do, and who shall have the best rooms and furniture and clothes, is also settled just as it was in the story.
For by common agreement women are appointed to work in the house, and men to work out doors.
Then it is God decides what _our lot_ shall be when we are born into the world. God determines who shall be born of poor parents and who of rich, and this decides what kind of work each one shall do, and what kind of accommodations and furniture each shall possess. It was thus in the story. By casting lots, the company gave to God the business of deciding what stations and employments each should take, and this determined what clothes and accommodations each should take. But more depends on our intelligence, industry, and virtue, than on the particular lot in which we are born, so that the people in this country are in exactly the situation of the shipwrecked company after they began to trade at the store. Though some few keep the place they got by the lot of birth, almost every thing depends on intelligence, skill, industry and virtue. In this country, any man who is well educated, active, skillful and industrious can become comparatively rich. Of course, in this land, men have more inducements to become well educated, virtuous, and industrious than the people of any other nation on earth.
In like manner, each kind of work has overseers appointed to direct others. Who these overseers shall be, in most cases, also, is decided on the same plan as in the story. Those who _know the most_, generally, become overseers. In cases where persons hire laborers to work on farms, or in their families, then the master of the house, or the farm, is the overseer, and directs those he hires, because they agree, for a reward, to do as he directs. But in almost all trades and professions, it is those who _know the most_, who rise to stations where they are overseers to others.
This is a great benefit to all the community, because it is an encouragement to all persons to improve their minds, and to be industrious in acquiring skill and knowledge.
In this country too, we have men who spend all their time in studying about diseases and in attending to the sick, and others who educate the young, and others who discharge the duties performed by the good minister in the story.
And we find among us too, some people who think that it would be much better for us if every body earned money for the common stock, instead of laying it out for themselves, so that nobody should have any handsomer rooms, or furniture, or clothing than all the others have. Such persons think it would be wise to give up carpets, sofas, china, glass and all ornaments, and to have every body live very plainly, and all fare just alike.
But the great body of the people know better than this. They see that if all the manufactories of carpets, sofas, glass, china, silks, muslins and ornaments were stopped, that all the persons now employed in making, and in trading in these articles, would be thrown out of employ, and having nothing to do, would become lazy and wicked.
They, therefore, conclude that it is best that all kinds of rich and beautiful things should be made, in order to keep one set of persons busy in making them, and another set busy in earning money to buy them. This view of the subject should keep persons from complaining that so many _needless_ and _extravagant_ things are made and sold. It is true that many are thus tempted to buy more than is wise or right, yet on the whole, great good results to the community. For if nobody bought any thing but what was barely necessary to life and comfort, half the world would become lazy beggars, for want of something to do. In this country, also, we find the same trouble that the good minister in the story saw among his people. For everywhere we find persons associating together in different classes, that refuse to admit other classes to join them. Thus, domestics form one class, farmers another, mechanics another, merchants another, and literary persons another. Now, in some parts of the country, all these classes mingle together, without any distinctions of class. But this is not generally the case. For, in most places, we find various circles who consider themselves as above or below others, in certain respects, and who are very apt to feel wrong towards each other on this account. Thus domestics in a family will often feel very much above persons who are mulattos, and refuse to eat or associate with them, and yet they think it very hard if mechanics’ wives and daughters have the same sort of feelings towards them. In like manner, mechanics’ daughters and sempstresses refuse to eat or to associate with domestics, and yet they think it very wrong if merchants’ or lawyers’ daughters refuse to associate with them. And even in those circles who call themselves the very first, the same feeling is often to be met. I have been in places where there was a rich and fashionable set, that felt above every other class, and yet there was another class who called themselves _literary_, who felt quite as much above the fashionable set, whom they called the _vulgar rich_, and whom they would not associate with, even if urged to do so.
Now it cannot be denied that there often is something wrong on _both_ sides in these cases. For all should be allowed to choose who shall associate with them, and who shall not, and none should feel wronged or injured, because others do not wish to have them come into their circle. Every one should grant to others the same right as he claims for himself. No one has a right to force his company on us, when we do not wish it, and we have no right to claim that others shall admit us into their circle, unless they wish it.
But the great mischief is, that those who feel above another set, are very apt to treat those they fancy to be below them, with discourtesy or contempt, while those who feel below others, are apt to indulge in suspicious, envious, or revengeful feelings.
How has it been with you who read this? Are there not persons whom you refuse to associate with, and would you not be offended if they were set to eat at the same table with you? And yet have you not felt angry when others have used the same right in regard to you? Is not this a place where you very much need the golden rule, “Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you?”
Reasons for regarding the station of a domestic as honourable and respectable.
The preceding letters were designed to give you some general views of the state of things in this country, and of the station which you are called to occupy. I will now point out reasons for regarding your station and employment as honourable and respectable.
It is sometimes the case that persons will speak of the place of a domestic as the humblest and least desirable of any; and some young girls will go into shops and manufactories, and work much longer, and for lower wages, because they fancy that it is more respectable than the place of a domestic. And not unfrequently “shop girls” and “factory girls” will show much pride and folly, in shunning the society of domestics, and in treating them with disrespect and contempt, as if they were very much below themselves. All these things are owing to a want of correct notions as to the real usefulness and respectability of this important station in life. And I will now point out the reasons for considering your situation as far more honourable, desirable, and useful than that of a sempstress, a shop girl, or a factory girl; and even as superior in respectability to that of many persons who consider themselves as belonging to the “very first society.”
There are two things that make a station honourable; one is the _power to do good_, and the other is _using this power in the right manner_.
Why is the office of a king or queen the most honourable of any in the nation? Because it secures the most power to confer benefits and enjoyment on others? Why is the station of a president, a governor, or a judge so honourable? Because they have great power given them to use for the happiness of others. Why is the office of a minister of the gospel honourable? Because his education, character and office give him great powers to do good. Why are rich men considered more honourable than poor? Because their money gives them power to increase the happiness of others. They can give employment to the poor, can give custom to the shopkeepers and tradesmen, can bestow money on charitable objects, can secure a superior education, and many other agreeable things that make it pleasant to others to associate with them. Why are persons of talent and learning honourable? Because their talents and knowledge give them power in various ways to promote their own interest and to do good to others.
The mere possession, then, of a power to do good, is what makes one station more honourable than another. But another thing that makes a station honourable, is the actual _using of this power_ in doing good.
If kings and queens are selfish and wicked, and use their power to oppress their people, they are never as much honoured as when they use it to do good.
If presidents, governors, and judges use their power to do evil, they are not honoured like those who use it to do good. If a minister of the gospel uses his influence to do harm rather than good, he is more despised than he is honoured. If rich people spend their wealth in selfish indulgences, or in harmful vices, they are not honoured as they would be, if they spent it for useful and benevolent purposes. If persons who have talents and learning, spend their time and influence to do evil, they are not honoured or respected as they would be, if they employed them to do good.
Now I think you clearly see, that the two things which make a station honourable are, the power to do good, and the use of this power in a proper manner. If, then, I can show that domestics have great power to do good given them, and that they really use this power in doing good, I shall prove that the station of a domestic is an honourable and respectable one. And if I can show that domestics have more power, and actually do more good, than many who think themselves above them, I shall prove, too, that they have the more honourable and respectable station. I will therefore point out the power of doing good which is given to domestics. In the first place, then, they do more than any other class of persons to sustain that most important institution of God, _the family state_. How much benefit and comfort mankind receive through this institution, few of us can realize. To help you to do so, just imagine the state of things in this country, if all the _homes_ in the land were broken up, and all classes of persons herded together in common, like flocks of animals.
In this case the father and husband would have no quiet home to go to for comfort, and the mother would have no house of her own where she could train her children. Every child, too, would be turned out into the community to take care of itself, with no parents to watch over it by day and night, no brothers and sisters to sleep and play with, no regular meal to call all the children together around their kind parents.
In a cold and selfish world, without guardians, without a home, without parental restraint and tenderness, each young child would go into the common herd, to grow up selfish, unhappy, unloving and unloved.
Instead of this, God ordains that parents shall have a home of their own, where they can have their children to themselves, to train them up in love and peace and plenty. And one main support of this blessed institution of family and home is, those domestics who are hired to do the chief labours of the family. Just take away from this country all the cooks, chambermaids, waiters, washers, and house cleaners, and what would be the result? The fathers could not leave their business to do the family work, the mothers would not have strength to do it, and the family state would be broken up. And thus unnumbered miseries and crime would come in floods upon the land.
The position and the work of a domestic, then, are among the most useful, the most important and the most honourable. They have a power given them to do good and to save from evil, not surpassed by that of any other class in the community. Let any one select the class of persons that could be dispensed with _last of all_, and it would be found that lawyers, merchants, doctors, and ministers would all be given up, before every family would agree to give up all aid from cooks, washers, nurses and every kind of hired service in the family.
But, in addition to the power thus given to domestics in sustaining the family state, they have another most important position of usefulness. This relates to the power they exercise in forming the characters of young children. The period of life from infancy to twelve years old, is the time in which the foundations of future character are laid. During this time, children are in the society of domestics almost as much as they are with their parents, and in many cases, they talk with those hired to take care of them much more than they do with their parents. Children are creatures of imitation and sympathy, and they soon learn to think, and feel and act like those around them. Of course domestics are constantly exerting a powerful influence in forming the opinions, tastes, habits, and character of children, more so, probably, than any other class in the community. To estimate this power properly, we must remember that the happiness of children depends almost entirely on the character they form. If they learn to control their appetites, to be honest, truthful, benevolent, and industrious, they will be useful and happy in future life. If they do not learn to control their appetites, if they learn to be deceitful, dishonest, selfish and irritable, they certainly will be unhappy and unprosperous. And our whole nation is to be made up of children, whose happiness and prosperity will depend, to a great degree, on the influences exerted over them by domestics in early life. And the next generation is to depend, for happiness and prosperity, on the manner in which the present generation is trained. And the next after that, depends in like manner, on the one before it, so that the influence which domestics exert on one generation of children is to go down to generation after generation, for hundreds of years.
And yet, this is not half of the mighty power, which is given to domestics to use, either for good or for evil. All these children, who from generation to generation are thus influenced in character, by domestics who take care of them, are to _live forever_, and their happiness for endless ages, is to depend on the character which they form in this life! Oh eternity! eternity! who can estimate the power of those who are doing so much, in forming the character of beings who can _never, never die_!
Another particular in which domestics have great power is, the influence they exert in making home pleasant to husbands and sons. In a family where most of the work is done regularly and well, by domestics, the mother has time to take good care of her children, and her mind is cheerful and free from excessive cares. In this case, the husband and sons find a comfortable and pleasant home, and are not tempted to resort to dangerous amusements abroad. But when every thing is going wrong in the kitchen and nursery, the wife and mother is perplexed and harassed, and often is low-spirited or irritable. The father and sons, when they come home, find the house in disorder, their food ill cooked and served, their linen out of order, their beds uncomfortable, the housekeeper gloomy, the children unregulated, and every thing seems to drive them off to look for a more cheerful and comfortable resort. Many and many a husband and son has thus been driven to temptations and snares, that have drawn them and their families to misery and ruin.
Another power for doing good given to domestics is, their opportunities for comforting and relieving the sick. Sickness always makes a great deal of work, and were it not for domestics, the sick would suffer greatly for want of nursing and many comforts. No persons owe more to domestics than those who, by sickness, are deprived of all power to take care of themselves. I might point out other particulars in which domestics have it in their power to do great good, but surely enough has been presented to show, that if _great power to do good_ is what entitles persons to be called honourable, then domestics have a pre-eminent claim.
But it has been shown, that it is not only the power to do good, but the actual _use_ of this power that entitles a person to honour and respect. Here, also, domestics will be found to have a claim equal to that of any other class of persons. It will be found, that there are individuals in every class of society, who do not use their power well. There are bad kings and bad governors, bad rich men and bad learned men, and sometimes there are bad ministers of the gospel. So, also, there are bad domestics. But, as a class, I believe domestics use their power for the benefit, rather than the injury of society, as much so as any other class. Most of the work, that is necessary to sustain the family state, is actually done by them, the sick are taken care of by their help, children are nursed and taken care of by them, and the comfort of a family is promoted by their services, to a degree never realized till their help is gone.
No class in the community do more in promoting the comfort, health, and prosperity of society than domestics. It thus appears, that they are an honourable and respectable class in society, not only because they have great power to do good, but because they actually use this power beneficially, to a very great extent.
The reasons why the station of a domestic is not regarded as so honourable as it really is.
It is probable that, while reading the previous letter, you have thought to yourselves, but why, if domestics are so honourable in station and office, are they not regarded so? Why are they not treated with honour and respect? Why is their situation spoken of as one of the lowest and least honourable?
I will point out some of the reasons for this.
One reason is, the remains of _aristocratic notions_ in our country, which lead people to feel that labour is degrading, and to honour persons, rather for the kind of work they are employed in, than for their character.
I will first explain what I mean by _aristocratic notions_. We are descended from the English nation, and their plan of government is exactly opposite to ours. I have shown you that our plan of government is like that adopted by the shipwrecked company. Nobody is required to give up any thing, or to do any thing but what is for the good of _the whole community_. Though our lot in life is decided by the God of Heaven, yet we make our own rules and laws, choose our own rulers and overseers, and nobody is obliged to do any thing, which is not as necessary for his own good, as it is for the good of all the rest.
But in aristocratic lands, it is very much as it was in the story when the strongest, by fighting, got the best of every thing, while the weakest were obliged to take the poorest of every thing. In England all the power is in the hands of the queen, a few nobles, and a small portion of the richest and best educated people, and for age after age it has been so. In consequence of this, the laws and customs of that nation have been made to benefit this small portion of the nation, so that most of the wealth has been accumulated in their hands, while the great body of the people are miserably poor.
The wealth is so unequally divided, that while some receive incomes from their parents, or from the king or queen, large enough to support whole villages, thousands around them, though ever so industrious and virtuous, cannot earn more than a few cents a day by twelve or fourteen hours of hard labour.
This has been the state of things in England for hundreds of years. In consequence of this, those who have had the most wealth have lived in ease and indolence, and have considered labour as degrading. The rich and the noble have felt as if it was the business of poor and ignorant people to toil, and that living in indolence was a privilege, and the mark to distinguish the gentleman and the lady, from the vulgar and low born.
As we are descended from that nation, we have inherited a good deal of this feeling, so that even now, when a woman lives in perfect idleness, it is very common to say, that she “is living like _a lady_, with nothing to do but enjoy herself.” So we often find that a lounging, ignorant coxcomb, if he happens to have money to enable him to dress well, is called “a gentleman;” while a man of ten times the sense, education and usefulness is not so regarded, because he works with his hands for his own support. But things are gradually altering in this country, in regard to this matter, and it is becoming more and more honourable to work, and more and more discreditable to be useless and idle.
Yet a great change is to be accomplished before _all_ aristocratic notions are so shaken off, that a man or woman will be honoured for usefulness, good manners, good sense and good principles, without any regard to the _kind of work_ by which a livelihood is earned. When this time comes, if a woman has a refined education, good manners, and good principles, she will be as much honoured and respected as a domestic, as she would be in any other sphere of life.
Another reason why the station of a domestic is not regarded as honourable is, because most persons have wrong ideas about doing good and being useful.
To understand this, you will observe that when ladies have a great deal of money and leisure, they spend the greater part of their time in dressing, visiting, reading, and enjoying themselves in various ways. And yet if they take one afternoon in a week to go around and visit the poor and sick—if they distribute tracts, and give a very small portion of their income for benevolent purposes, they are spoken of as remarkably useful persons, and are honoured because they do so much good.
But if a woman goes around day after day to help mothers make up clothes for their children, or if a woman works from morning till night in the kitchen, to make a family comfortable, this is not called _doing good_. Though the sempstress and domestic spend the whole of their time in earning their own support, and at the same time, contribute more than almost any class of persons to the comfort and enjoyment of others, they are not spoken of as persons who are living to do good. But if a woman is supported by the labour of others, and spends the most of her time in occupations that merely gratify herself, and not one tenth part of her time or money, in a way that benefits others, still she is commended and admired as one who is eminent for “doing good.”
Now this is a mistaken mode of estimating usefulness. Those who are constantly doing something to promote the comfort of others should feel that they are “doing good,” as their _daily business_; while those who give only odd intervals for the benefit of others, and seek their own pleasure the rest of the time, should feel that they are the least useful part of the community. According to this, when the young ladies of a family, who have wealth, education and leisure, spend most of their time in seeking their own amusement, then those domestics, who toil all day in the kitchen for the comfort of others, are the most useful persons; and if they perform their duties properly, deserve to be the most respected and esteemed.
The last reason why the station of domestics is not regarded as honourable is, that the persons who have been in this station have, ordinarily, been persons destitute of education and good manners. This has been more their misfortune than their fault, and it is a difficulty not easily remedied. But it is very certain that a person who has a good education and good manners, is deserving of more respect, and always will receive more respect, than one who is ignorant, rude, vulgar and ill-mannered. And if all the domestics in this land were suddenly changed into refined, well bred, well educated persons, you would find that there would be as sudden a change in public feeling, and then the station of a domestic would be regarded as genteel, honourable, and respectable, far more than it now is.
This is an advantage rather than an evil, for it tends to influence domestics to improve their minds and cultivate their manners, so that they may be worthy of the respect and honour which they would thus secure.
Reasons why the station of a domestic is a desirable one, and superior to that of a sempstress, a shop girl, or a factory girl.
I will now point out some of the reasons for considering your situation in life a desirable one, and far superior in advantages to many employments usually regarded as more respectable.
To understand this properly, we must bear in mind that our happiness, here and hereafter, depends chiefly on the _character_ which we form. A woman that is selfish, irritable, proud, indolent and ambitious, can never be happy. Give her wealth and leisure, and beauty, and high standing in society, and a superior education, and all the comforts and luxuries that wealth secures, and yet she will be discontented and unhappy. She will always find some one richer, or handsomer, or better educated, or more admired than herself. She will always find something about her different from what she wishes, that will make her fretful and irritable. This, with her pride and selfishness, will lead people to dislike and talk against her, so that while she is longing for love and admiration, she will receive dislike and detraction, and this will mortify and vex her. She will be too indolent to find employment to occupy her mind, and thus time will hang heavy, and life will become a burden—a constant scene of disappointment and trouble.
But change this woman’s _character_, and make her gentle, kind, and obliging to all around her; make her active, industrious, neat and orderly; give her that piety which influences the mind to be self-denying and benevolent to others, contented with our lot, and cheerful and resigned to all that God appoints, and such a woman will be happy in any circumstances.
Let such a one become a domestic, and she will go around, kindly and patiently ministering to the wants of all in the house, keeping every thing comfortable and in order, and giving kind words, and tender sympathy to the troubles of others. Such a one will be loved and respected by all, and will constantly be receiving expressions of good will, esteem and affection. Her time, filled up with useful and benevolent deeds, will glide along, as on angels’ wings; while looking forward to Heaven as her sure and happy home, all the little troubles of life will seem light, and all its comforts will be doubled in value.
If, then, our happiness depends so much on the character we form, when we calculate the advantages of any situation, we should take into account the influence it will have on our character. Now there are some respects in which I think the situation of domestics very favourable to the formation of a good character.
In the first place, it is a situation in which persons form a habit of submitting their will to the will of another, with readiness and cheerfulness. You will always find that children who are never governed, and who therefore never learn to give up their wills readily and cheerfully, generally grow up to be forward, imperious, headstrong and reckless. They go out into a world where nobody will indulge and humour them as their parents have done. On the contrary every body is looking out for their own rights and interests, and none are disposed to put up with their imperious airs and selfish demands. In consequence of this, they are always getting into trouble, always irritated, always discontented. If they had been trained to give up their wills to others cheerfully and readily, in early life, half these troubles would have been escaped.
Besides this, we must remember that both in this life and forever, we have got to learn to be happy in giving up our wills to the Great Maker and Father of all, and the more we are trained to submission of the will, the easier this first and greatest of all duties will become.
A person, then, who goes into a family and agrees, for a suitable compensation, to do the work, under the direction of those who hire, is in a state of constant training, which has a most beneficial tendency in preparing for future life, both here and in another world. Such a person will find it far easier to give up to her fellow creatures and sincerely to pray, “Not my will but thine be done,” than one who never has been subjected to any such control.
It has often and truly been said, that those only know how to command, who have learned to obey. In proof of this, we always find that none make such hard masters, or such severe and unreasonable parents, as those who have never practised the duty of subordination themselves. In this happy country, domestics have as fair a prospect as any class of persons of becoming heads of a family, when others will have to be controlled by them. And nothing so efficiently prepares them for such a station, as having been themselves placed in the position which a domestic holds.
Another very great advantage gained in domestic service is, learning how to perform all the work of a family in a proper manner. A female domestic has a chance to observe how the mother governs children, and to take warning by her mistakes, and profit by her good example. She has a chance to be with children, and to learn how to manage their little faults, and bear with their follies.
She learns the proper modes of cooking food, of arranging a house, of taking care of furniture, and of doing all the various kinds of work which in future life she must either do herself, or else direct others to do.
She learns various modes of economizing, and of systematizing work. She acquires a habit of taking care of others, and of providing for their comforts and wants, so as to qualify her for these benevolent services when she has a family of her own.
She also has an employment that is healthful, because it demands a great deal of exercise, most of it within doors, and not in any way injurious. She also has regular daily business, and is obliged to be industrious—and a habit of industry is one of the truest sources of contentment and happiness.
Besides this, a domestic is brought into contact with a great variety of tempers, and learns to accommodate, and to govern her temper and tongue as she never could do without this kind of trial.
A domestic, too, is in a situation in which she is, all the time, called on to give up her own ease and time to promote the comfort of others, and this tends to make the duty of _self-denying benevolence_, more easy to learn. This is the great duty which Jesus Christ came to teach us by his precepts and example, and the more we can imitate him in this, the more we shall be prepared to serve and enjoy him in that world where he has gone, and where he invites us to prepare ourselves to come, by imitating him.
It thus appears that if a domestic is ever to be married, she is going through exactly the best training possible, to prepare her to conform her will and wishes to those of her husband, to train up her children well, and to become a neat, industrious and economical housekeeper. If she is not to be married, she is forming a character that is best calculated to raise up around her, in the families where she labours, sincere and valuable friends, who will make her old age easy and respectable. And whatever may be her future earthly lot, she is under the best kind of training to make her a submissive, benevolent and self denying Christian, and thus to fit her for her eternal home.
I will now show some of the reasons why the employment of a sempstress, a shop girl, and a factory girl are inferior in advantages and respectability to that of a domestic.
In all of these employments, a young woman has only one thing to do, from morning to night, and the kind of work she does in no way tends to improve her character, or to prepare her for domestic life. She is not constantly doing various kinds of work, under the direction of another, thus learning patience, submission, diligence and faithfulness. She is not learning how to economize, or keep house, or take care of children. She is not acquiring a habit of ministering to the wants and comforts of others. In most cases she has a sedentary employment, that keeps her from the exercise and fresh air, so needful to good health. She is thrown out of the circle of family friendships, and the safe asylum of domestic life, and is often brought into contact with selfish and vicious persons, whose influence tends to injure her tastes and morals, and in many cases to blast her reputation and character forever. In general, she cannot have as much time as domestics can gain, to take care of her clothes, or to read, and thus improve her mind.
I have known cases, where young girls have left the place of a domestic in a good family, to go to shops or manufactories, who, after the trial, have returned with broken down health, to mourn over those influences, which had done even more evil to the mind, than had been inflicted on the body.
If I had a young sister, who must earn her own support by the labor of her hands, I would _first_ look for a place for her as a domestic in a kind, well educated and Christian family, as the safest, the happiest, the most useful place I could find.
And I should consider the sedentary, homeless employment of a sempstress, or the still more dangerous and injurious employments, of the shop or manufactory, as every way inferior in advantages and respectability. And I trust a time will come, when all those most interested in the matter, will view this subject in the same light.
The importance of raising the respectability of the station of a domestic, in public estimation, and the mode by which it can be done.
I have in previous letters shown, that the station of a domestic is honourable and respectable; and that it is a far more desirable situation than that of many deemed superior to it. I have also shown some of the reasons why it is not regarded as so honourable and respectable as it ought to he.
I now wish to point out some of the reasons why it is very important, both to employers and to domestics, that this employment should be raised, in general estimation, to that honour and respectability which really belongs to it.
To understand the subject properly, you must bear in mind these things. This nation is now more prosperous than any other in the world, and almost any man of intelligence, industry, and honesty, can, after a few years, gain so much wealth that he can afford to hire a domestic to help his wife. Such men, when young, are frequently marrying persons who are domestics. In this way it comes about, that the number of domestics is diminishing, and the number of those who wish to hire domestics is increasing. Domestics are constantly changing to be the mistresses of families, who wish to hire domestics themselves.
At the same time, women can be hired so much cheaper than men, that it is becoming more and more common to hire women to do what in past times was done by men in shops, stores, and manufactories. And though, in many cases, no greater wages are gained than domestics secure, yet as these places are considered superior in respectability, many who would otherwise go to service in families, prefer such places, even when they work longer and for less wages. But in some cases, women have far higher wages offered than are ever given to domestics.
These causes are operating constantly to diminish the number of domestics, until, in some parts of the country, many ladies cannot hire any person to do their family work on any terms, and though they are very wealthy, they are obliged to do _all_ their own work. And the more prosperous this country grows, the more this scarcity of domestics will increase, unless something is done to remedy the difficulty.
And this will be the greater misfortune, because most young women, who have wealthy parents, are brought up in such a way, that they have a delicate constitution that cannot bear hard labour. When, therefore, they are married, not being able to hire domestics, their health and strength fail under the care and labours that come upon them; they lose their courage and spirits, life becomes a burden, and often, they drag out a weary life, or sink to an early grave. This brings anxiety, trouble, and care on husbands and fathers, and when the comforts of home are gone, the road to vice is near, while children, turned off for want of time, are still greater sufferers. Since I have travelled so much in this nation, I have been greatly distressed at the amount of care, anxiety and sorrow that oppress so many thousands, for want of proper aid from domestics. It is therefore of the greatest consequence to employers, that the station of a domestic should be so raised in comfort and respectability, that it will be regarded as a desirable situation by the thousands that are now employed in work injurious to themselves.
It is quite as important to all who must labour with their hands for a livelihood, that the station of a domestic should be regarded as a respectable and desirable one. I have shown how much superior this situation is to that of a shop or a manufactory, and it would be a great blessing to the young women of this nation, who earn their livelihood, if they so regarded it.
It is a matter, then, that equally interests all classes in society to inquire, How shall the station and employment of a domestic be raised in public estimation, so as to be regarded honourable and respectable, as much so as it deserves to be?
Now this can be accomplished only by having _both sides_ try to bring it about. On the side of employers, pains must be taken to render the situation of domestics agreeable and comfortable, and to secure for them time and means to gain a good education and a comfortable support. And many intelligent persons are now feeling the importance of this. I have heard many gentlemen say, “When we get good domestics, we must pay them so well, and treat them so well, that they will feel that they cannot improve their condition by any change.” And I have seen many sensible women acting according to this advice.
But as this book is not designed for employers, but for domestics, I will confine myself to pointing out the modes by which you can contribute to raise the respectability of your situation.
To give you my views more clearly, I will describe a domestic who does the work in a family where I have resided.
In the first place, she always dresses herself neatly, and yet in a style fitting the work she has to do, while she keeps her chamber and kitchen in such neat order, and there is such a look of comfort and respectability about her and all her concerns, that every one likes to see her in her kitchen. Then she is intelligent and well educated, at least enough so to know that it is lady-like to be respectful and polite to every body. If any person comes into her kitchen, she offers a chair, and treats them with the same politeness that is shown by the lady of the house to her visitors.
Then she _always_ does _all_ her work _well_. Her bread is always the best, her meats are well cooked, her vegetables served hot and in the neatest order. She is economical and careful, too, so that nothing is wasted by neglect. She is not _set_ in her own ways, but is always ready to do any kind of work that her employer wishes done, and to do it in the manner requested.
When the children come into the kitchen, if she has time and it is convenient, she makes it pleasant to them, but if they give her trouble, as she has authority given her to do this, she decidedly, but kindly, requires their instant departure.
She is so prudent, kind, and discreet, that the lady who employs her can, at any time, leave the care of her family and her children with her, and feel entirely at ease, knowing that every thing will be done in the best manner during her absence. And in times of sickness, she always looks to her kitchen for the tender sympathy and watchful care, which she never fails to find.
In the evenings, this domestic employs herself in the care of her own wardrobe, and finds some leisure time to read the books and papers that are abundantly supplied. In this way she stores her mind with useful and entertaining knowledge, so that this, with her native sense and shrewdness, makes her society agreeable and valued by the best educated persons.
It is true she has her frailties—for who is perfect? But these excellencies seem so to cover them over, that they are almost forgotten. Now the consequence of all this is, that more pains is taken in that family, to make this domestic comfortable and contented than is given to almost any other person. She is always treated with respect and kindness, and as she is never unreasonable in her requests, whatever she expresses a desire for, is always secured for her if possible. Her chamber, her kitchen, and all her comforts are carefully provided for, and the children would no more invade her rights, or treat her with disrespect, than they would treat their parents thus.
Now, I believe there are hundreds in this land, who, if they could get such a domestic as this, would agree to pay her almost any thing she, or any one would think of asking. Money, if it could secure such a domestic, would be of little account, with the multitudes, who now find that wealth cannot secure for them the services needed to make home comfortable.
You will now understand why I would advise, as the surest way of raising the respectability of your employment, _to raise the character of domestics_. Whenever a time comes in which such a domestic as the one I have described, is a fair picture of the _whole class_, it is very certain that the respect and regard that should be given to this employment, never will be withheld.
I have heard ladies of great good sense, and in the highest circles in our land, talk in this manner: “Now if I only could find domestics who are intelligent, well-bred, neat in dress and person, and who so understand the proprieties of their station as to set a good example to my children, I should not have the least objection to their sitting in my parlour, or at my table, whenever it was convenient, nor to treating them in all respects as the friends and companions of my children. But such domestics we cannot find.”
This single remark will show to you the reason why there often is a _necessity_ of making so much difference between the situation of employers and domestics, as is generally seen in the most wealthy and intelligent circles. Parents, in the best society, wish to have their children trained so as to appear properly in the circles in which they move. For this end they strive to make them neat in dress and person, polite and respectful in manners, particularly in the use of refined and grammatical language, and careful to observe propriety in their behaviour at table and in society. Now if they could get domestics who would set a good example before their children, in these respects, it would be very agreeable to them to have them in the parlour and at table with the children, whenever it was convenient. But if domestics neglect their person, if their dress is negligent and untidy, if they are rough and coarse in their manners, and rude and disrespectful in address, if they use incorrect language and neglect the rules of propriety at table and in society, there is a very good reason for excluding them from the table and parlour, where their example would injure children and be offensive and disagreeable to visitors.
And it is a benefit to domestics that such feelings exist, for it tends to encourage them to try to be neat, tidy, well-bred and well educated. If there were no advantages to be gained by a good education and good manners, no one would try to gain them. This is one reason why God has appointed it, that the more we improve in these respects, the more our estimation in society, and our comfort in all respects will be increased.
On the subject of having domestics sit in the parlour and eat with the family these things must be taken into consideration. There are some families who live in such a way that it is perfectly _convenient_ for them, to have the one who cooks and waits on table, eat and sit with the family. And then, if the character and manners of a domestic are suitable, there is no reason why this practice should not be adopted. But there is another class of persons, whose style of living is such, that it would be very inconvenient to have the one who cooks and waits on table sit and eat with the family. In such families one person is needed during meals to attend to matters in the kitchen, and another person to change dishes and carry food back and forth, and if these persons sat at table there would be constant disorder and confusion in jumping up from table to perform these services, while a dress suitable for kitchen work would not be suitable at a table where company is often entertained. Besides this, the master of a family often is so engaged in business that the only time he can see his wife and children together is at meals, and then he wishes to be at liberty to talk freely, as he could not do, if every stranger he hires must come to his family meal.
For these reasons, even if domestics were ever so well educated and well bred, there are reasons why it would be more agreeable and convenient to have the family eat and sit by themselves, and domestics eat and sit in the kitchen. And when domestics do become intelligent, and well educated, they will have sense enough to feel, that the place where they sit or eat, has nothing to do with their respectability. They will see that it is _most convenient_ to sit and eat in the kitchen, and they will choose to do so themselves, and never think that it is any hardship, or any thing that implies, that they are not as good and as respectable as any other members of the family.
It is because domestics do not consider these things, that they sometimes feel that it is all owing to _pride_, that their employers do not have their domestics share the parlour and family meal. Now I do not doubt that there are _some_ employers that have a foolish pride of this sort, which is as unworthy of a Christian, as it is of a republican people. But so far as I have observed, it is among those who have the least claims to be considered as well bred and well educated.
The more education and good sense a person has, the more it is seen that respectability depends not on the employment, but on the _character_ of a person. And those who put on the most airs of aristocracy and superiority, are generally those who have risen from circumstances where they had no chance to gain the education and good breeding, that would have taught them better.
But in most cases, among well educated and sensible persons, the great reason for having domestics have a separate sitting-room and tables is, that it is more convenient to the family, and in most cases, it is also most convenient and agreeable to domestics themselves.
When domestics cannot dress and appear like the family, and when their education and manners do not qualify them for the society that visits the family, in most cases, they themselves would prefer to sit and to eat in the kitchen, and would regard it as a great trial to be obliged to sit and eat with the family.
On the duties of subordination. Rules of the Bible. Respectful manners the mark of a lady.
I have shown that the chief way in which the station of a domestic is to be raised in public estimation, is by raising the character of those who occupy this situation. I have shown also, that it is by the formation of a right character, that we are to secure true happiness both in this and in a future life. You will therefore understand the propriety of my attempting to point out the course which you need to take in order to form the right character, and also the proper manner of performing your various duties in life.
In attempting this, I will first direct your attention to what are called the duties of subordination.
By this I mean those duties owed by all persons to those who have authority, or any right to control and direct them. We all of us know that no kind of work can be well done, unless there are overseers to direct those who work. For this reason, every kind of business is managed by persons, who have authority to control others. The rulers of a nation have a right to direct others in all points where the laws require them so to do. The captain of a ship has authority to command all his hands. The master of a store, or shop, has a right to control all who work in his employ. The teacher of a school has a right to command his scholars in all matters pertaining to his school. The master and mistress of a family, too, have a right to control their children, and also all those persons whom they hire to do their work, in all matters relating to this work.
In all these cases, those who are entitled to direct others should be treated with respect by those who are under their control; and in all those matters where they have a right to command, they should be cheerfully and exactly obeyed.
This duty is constantly, and often enjoined by God in his Holy Word. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” “Obey those that have rule over you.” “Render therefore to all their dues, fear to whom fear, and honour to whom honour is due.”
It is because the duties of subordination are so important to the happiness of those who are to be controlled, as well as to society at large, that God so often and so earnestly urges these duties in the Bible. And we cannot fully realize the force of these directions, unless we bear in mind the state of things that existed when they were written.
In the first place, the kings and rulers over the people, in those times when these directions were given, were not those appointed by themselves, who were to rule according to laws made by the people for their own good, as is the case in this country. Instead of this, the rulers were bad men and cruel tyrants, who by the help of their soldiers gained power and authority by mere strength. And in the family state, the domestics were not, as in this country, persons who for a reward agree to perform the work of the family. On the contrary, they were white men and women, who were forced against their will into servitude, and driven by stripes and cruelties to work for their masters. Some of these white slaves, it is probable, were from England, the land of our forefathers.
Now what were the directions given by God to subjects, and to domestics, in these circumstances? He did not tell them, that because their rulers and masters were bad men, and had gained power in a wrong way, that they might refuse to obey. On the contrary, God saw that it was best, whenever men gain the power over others, that the weaker ones should submit and obey. He teaches us that the power which men gain over each other in this way, is permitted by God. In Prov. 8: 15, 16, God says, “By me kings rule, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even _all_ the judges of the earth.” This teaches us, that in whatever way it may be, that men gain power to rule over others, so long as they really hold this power, it is by the permission of God. Though he may disapprove of the men, and of the means they use to get power, yet so long as they hold the power, He sees that it is best for all they govern, to submit and obey. Thus In Eccles. 5: 19, it is said: “Where the word of a king is, there is power, and who may say to him, what doest thou?” Again, in Daniel 2: 20, it is written, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings, and setteth up kings.” Dan. 4: 32, “The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Thus it appears that it is by God’s will and appointment, that even bad men gain power to rule over others. And when they have gained this power, the following texts show what God requires in regard to the honour and obedience to be rendered to them.
In Matt. 22: 21, when some men came to Christ asking him whether it was their duty to pay tribute to Cæsar, who was the cruel tyrant then ruling over them. To this, Christ replied, after looking at the tribute money, “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This means, render to Cæsar what he has power to require, just as you render your duties to God.
The Apostle Peter, by God’s authority, also teaches thus, 1 Peter 2: 13, 14, “Submit yourselves to _every_ ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to kings as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evil doers. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
This command teaches us that we are to submit to _every ordinance_ of man _for the Lord’s sake_. That is, when men have power to make laws, customs and ordinances, we must submit to them for the Lord’s sake—that is, in order to please and obey God. The only cases where it is right to resist is, when we are commanded to do what is sinful. It was on this principle that our forefathers, for a long time, obeyed the laws of the king of England; even when they were bad laws. But as soon as the people found they had power to make their own laws, they appointed rulers of their own, and then they ceased to obey the king of England, who had not power to force them to do it; and obeyed their own rulers, who had power given them to govern by the people. As soon, then, as it is found, that men have power given them to rule, God requires those under them to submit and obey for the Lord’s sake. This is the wisest and safest way, for it saves from constant fighting and quarrels. In the story of the shipwrecked company, we can see that it would have been better for them all, to submit to be governed by one man, even if he was a bad man, than to continue in the state of uproar, disorder and oppression that existed when there was none to rule over them.
The same sort of directions also, were given by God to domestics.
At the time these were written in the Bible, men and women were made servants by force, and their masters had power to whip, starve and murder them without punishment. God saw, that in this case, it was safest and best for servants, as well as for the whole community, that they should submit to those who had this power. Accordingly the Apostle Paul, by authority from God, gives these directions, Eph. 6: 5, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With _good will_ doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatsoever good thing a man doeth, the same shall be received of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Here, those who were held in the most cruel bondage, were required, so long as they were in the power of their masters, to submit, and not only to serve them, but to do service “_with good will_,” “as to the Lord.” That means, feel kindly to your masters, and do them good, for the sake of obeying and pleasing Jesus Christ.
Again, the same apostle writes, Col. 3: 22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Again, Paul, when teaching Titus how to perform his duties as a minister of Christ, directs thus, Titus 2: 9, “Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all things; _not answering again_; not _purloining_, but showing _all good fidelity_, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
Another Apostle thus commands, by the authority of God, 1 Peter 2: 18, 19, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, _but also to the froward_. For this is thankworthy, if a man, for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults ye take it patiently? But, if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, _this_ is acceptable to God. For even hereunto ye were called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.”
Now, consider that these directions were given to persons, taken contrary to their own wishes and the wishes of their parents, and subjected to the most degrading servitude, without any compensation. Such were required by God to “be obedient in all things,” to “please their masters well in all things;” not to answer again when reproved; not to purloin; but to show all good fidelity; to do service with _good will_, and not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; and to do all this, not for the sake of pleasing men, but to please Christ.
Now, if all this was demanded of those who were made to serve by force, what must be the duty of those who by their own will, or by the will of parents, go into a family to serve for a fair compensation previously agreed upon? They go into a family, where the house and all its furniture belong to their employers, who therefore, not only have power but a perfect right to direct how they shall be used. They put themselves freely under the direction of their employers, and agree to do their work as they wish it to be done, and they receive a reward for this service. Their employers are appointed by God, as the rulers and overseers of the family, and those they hire are under obligation to obey, in all matters relating to family work, just as a citizen is under obligations to obey rulers, when they administer the laws of the state. The master and mistress of a family are rulers of their house, just as magistrates are rulers of the people.
A gentleman of the highest standing for wealth, intelligence, and honour, obeys his rulers in all points where they have a right to direct, whether the laws are good or bad, whether the rulers are wise or foolish. So long as the people, who have the power, make such laws and appoint such rulers, he submits and obeys until he and others can get the laws and rulers changed. And every intelligent man feels that he is _honoured_ in paying this respect to laws and rulers.
It should be just so in the family state. Whether the rulers of a family are wise or foolish, whether they make good or bad rules about their work, domestics, as long as they agree to serve them, should submit to their directions. If they do not like the rulers, or the laws of the family, still they _honour themselves_ in obeying, until they can have a chance to change overseers and rules.
And all those directions, which were given to persons forced to service against their own wishes, are much more binding on those, who of their own accord put themselves under the direction of the rulers of a family. “Obey them that have the rule over you” is the law of God, given to domestics in the family state, as much as it is to subjects in the political state. And the only way to be freed from this obligation is, to give up your place and relation as a domestic in a family.
There is another duty owed to those who have rule over us, that in this country is not properly realized by any, except it may be by the most sensible and intelligent part of the community. It is the duty of treating all who are our superiors either in age, character, or station with respect. The Bible requires us to “honour our father and mother,” whether they are good or bad, wise or foolish. It requires us to “render honour to whom honour is due.” It requires us ever to “be courteous” whatever may be the situation of those we have to deal with.
Now the rulers and overseers of a family are placed in a situation where they are entitled to respectful treatment from all in their household, whatever may be their own character. It is of the utmost importance that children be trained to treat their parents, and all who have rule over them, or who are in any way their superiors, with respect, and this is the chief reason why it is so important for domestics to do the same, so as to set a proper example to children. And all well educated and intelligent persons so well understand the importance of rendering respectful language and manners to all who are their superiors, either in age, relationship, or station, that they always feel themselves _honoured_ by doing it.
See that well bred gentleman! He is the governor of the state, the most learned man at the bar, the most wealthy man in the place, one whom every one honours for his talents and virtues. He is also the head and master of his own family, in which resides his father, broken down in mind by the decay of age. The aged father enters the room, and the learned and wise politician, the master of the house and the governor of the state, rises with respect, speaks to him with the greatest reverence, gives him the first place of honour and comfort, and ever treats his opinions and wishes with deference and respect. This is because this old man is his superior in age and relationship, and every one admires the son for his good breeding and sense of propriety. This same governor goes into the street and meets a worthy and respectable man, who supports himself by the labour of his hands. The governor bows to him, and addresses him with a respectful air and manner. This is because the man has a _character_ which entitles him to respect, and all admire the governor, for his good breeding in rendering this respect.
Take another case. This governor goes out of office, and a person of small talents and little worth, by popular arts, succeeds him. There is a grand military parade, and the new governor is reviewing the troops, while the late governor is an officer under him. This former governor steps out of his ranks to the present governor and says, “Will your excellency allow me to go away a short time on some important business?” The governor replies, “Not at present, sir; I am about to order a manœuvre and shall need your aid.” The gentleman bows respectfully to the governor, returns to his place, and instead of feeling degraded, he feels honoured in thus setting an example of respectful obedience to one, who for the time is his superior, and has rule over him. And all observers honour him, far more than they would if he had looked angry, or refused to obey his superior in command. _Real_ gentlemen pride themselves on rendering strict obedience, and respectful language and manners to all, who are in any manner their superiors in office or relationship.
In like manner, real well bred ladies, feel it to be for their own credit to treat those with courtesy or respect, who have any claims either of character or relationship, or office. See that wealthy, well educated and well bred lady! A worthy, respectable woman comes into her house to bring home some work that she was hired to do. The lady salutes her with courtesy and respect, offers her a seat, and treats her with the same politeness of manner as she would render to the highest lady in the land. And every observer feels that this is one mark of her good breeding, which entitles her to the name of a “real lady.”
Look now at that young woman! Why does every one call her vulgar and ill bred? It is because she goes up with a careless and disrespectful air to all she meets, and her tone and manner seem to say, “I am as good as you, and I mean to let you know it.” She tells just what she thinks about them, and their conduct, contradicts their opinions flatly, and makes no effort to show that she has any respect for them or their notions. Look now at her young companion, whom all admire for lady-like manners. She always speaks in a modest and respectful tone, treats all with courtesy and respect, seems to be thinking of the convenience and comfort of others as much as of her own, and always avoids what will make those around her feel uneasy or uncomfortable. These are the manners of _a lady_, and if a domestic feels any ambition to be thought a well bred lady, she can gain this character in no way so surely as by adopting this style of manners.
On this point I would commend to your notice that “golden rule” so good to direct in all our pursuits: “Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.”
Now if you ever have a family yourself, and have persons to help you, would you not think it right and proper that they should do your work as you wished it done?—and would you not feel that it was proper that your children should treat you with respect, and that your domestics should set them a proper example in this particular? No doubt you would, and therefore do unto your employers as you would that others should do unto you, if your circumstances are changed and you become employer instead of domestic.
There is an advantage to yourselves in doing this, that you are not apt to realize. _A habit_ is the ease we acquire in doing any thing by frequently practising it. Now, as one of the chief indications of good breeding is polite and respectful manners, if you practise this mode of address to your employers, you are gradually forming _a habit_ that will make such a mode of address easy and natural. This will be qualifying you to appear with advantage among well bred and well educated people. Now it very often happens, in this country, that a woman who goes to service, marries a sensible, industrious and business man, who, after some years, acquires that wealth and influence that bring him and his family to associate with the best educated and best bred people in the place where he lives. In this case, a person, who in the capacity of a domestic, has cultivated the manners proper for a domestic, will find that they are exactly the manners that fit her to appear like a well bred lady, in the higher sphere to which she has risen.
On the contrary, a domestic, who is rude and disrespectful in her mode of address, and unwilling to appear as if she honoured and respected those who have the rule over a family, never can appear otherwise than as a coarse and vulgar person, however much her husband’s wealth and character may raise her in society. It is therefore as much for your own advantage, as it is for that of your employers and their children, that you cultivate a habit of respectful address, and of cheerful obedience to those who hire your services.
On Visiting, Company, and Religious Meetings. On going out, and having company. Religious meetings. A story to illustrate.
There are some particulars where domestics feel that their employers have no right to control them, and on these points I hope you will allow me, as a friend, to offer a little advice.
You perhaps may feel that it is your own concern what company you visit, and who visit you, and that, after your work is done, you have a right to go where you please without asking leave of your employers.
But here I wish you would try yourselves by “the golden rule.” Suppose you to look forward to a time when you are the mistress of a family, and hire persons to help you do the work, would you not in such a case feel thus: I have hired these persons and pay them for their time, and they have agreed to do my family work at the time and in the way I wish. Now they cannot know, without asking, when I can spare them and when I shall need their help. There are always times when, if the regular work of the day is done up, some extra work, or some sickness, or other causes, may make it needful for them to stay at home. Therefore, I think it right to expect that those I hire will not either go out, or invite company to come and see them, without first inquiring of me whether it will be convenient. Do you not think you should feel and think thus? Now, therefore, whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye the same unto them. In obedience, therefore, to this law of Christ, I would advise you never to go out anywhere, and never to invite persons to visit you, without first inquiring of the mistress of the family whether it will be convenient to her.
In regard to selecting your companions, remember the Word of God, “He that walketh with the wise shall be wise, but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.” There is nothing that so much influences our character and happiness, as the companions we associate with, and therefore it is of the utmost consequence that you find your associates among the most respectable, amiable, and conscientious persons, and that you shun the society of the gay, thoughtless and unprincipled.
There is another point where domestics feel that their employers have no right to control, and this still more demands your attention, in order that you may do what is right and best for yourselves. I refer to the frequent attendance on evening meetings, and the late hours which are sometimes the consequence of this. Now what I wish you to reflect on, in reference to this, I can best exhibit by relating another story.
Once there was a very good king, and he had a large residence at some distance from his court. At this residence there was a large household of servants, whose business it was to keep it in constant readiness, so that whenever the king wished, he could go there and find every thing in order.
Now these servants were very apt to be careless and negligent of their business, and often became so engrossed in their own amusements, that they forgot entirely the business they were placed there to do. In consequence of this, the king used often to send messengers to them, who would strive to keep them in order, and who wrote down in a book the rules that should guide them in the performance of every duty. But there still continued great havoc, waste and misrule. At last the only son of the king, who was a very tender-hearted prince, and loved these servants very much, came among them; for he feared that unless something was done, when his father arrived, they would all be turned away, and become miserably poor and wretched. So this excellent prince came and staid a long time with these servants; he worked with them himself, and showed them by his own example, the right way of doing every thing; and then he wrote down the rules in a book, and placed it so that every one could go to it and learn their duties.
But it was not a long time after the prince returned to his father’s court, before all the servants were divided up into parties about the proper way of doing the work. All agreed that the prince told them that his father would soon come, that he would come suddenly and unexpectedly—and that it was his will that every part of the house should be cleansed, and every thing put in order. There was no dispute about this.
But the parties were divided in this manner: A large portion of them maintained that the most important thing to be done was to have the water for cleaning house kept very hot, and that it must be hot all the time—and so they spent most of their time in getting fuel and blowing the fire—and they would sit up sometimes half the night to make fires and keep the water hot. And they considered themselves as the best servants in the house for their care and diligence in this respect, and upbraided their companions for allowing so much coldness to get in the water they were to use.
Then there was another portion that were very much excited about the manner in which the water was to be used.
They seemed to think it was indispensable that it should be poured on all over the floor, so as to cover every part of it, before commencing the use of the mop or floor cloth. They insisted on it that this was the way the prince directed them to use it—that he had it put on in this manner himself, and that, in the book of directions, he was very exact in stating that it must be used thus. And they insisted upon it, as one of the most important of all their duties, that the water should be used in this particular way, so that their thoughts and efforts were much taken up with this matter.
Then there was another party, and they thought that it was of the greatest consequence that the servants should understand who were to be their overseers to direct in the way the work was to be done. They maintained that the young prince had expressly directed who should be overseers and who should not, so that even if a man was well qualified to direct, and his fellow servants were willing to be directed by him, it would not do to go on so. And they spent a great deal of time and labour and feeling, in arguing with their fellow-servants to try to convince them that most of the overseers were not put in their place in the proper way, and did not direct others in the proper manner.
Then there was another large party, who insisted that it was indispensable, that their fellow servants should _believe_ every thing that was written in the Book of Directions, exactly according as they understood them. They maintained that if men did not believe right they never could work right. They were sure that they themselves did understand and believe the Book of Directions, just as the prince intended, and they spent a great deal of time in arguing and contending about what was to be believed. And they insisted, that before any man went to work in their part of the house he should declare what his belief was, and how he understood the meaning of the directions in the book.
Now all these things no doubt were important. It certainly was needful to have the water hot, and it was desirable that it should be put on the floors in the way directed by the prince, and it was important that the proper overseers should direct the rest, and that they should do it in the proper way, and it was very important that the Book of Directions should be understood and believed, in the sense intended by the young prince.
But the difficulty was, that they became so much engrossed about the particular points where they differed, that they were in danger of forgetting the great thing about which they all agreed, viz. _the cleaning of the house_. And some of them got into such contentions about these matters, that instead of cleaning the house, they really made it more disorderly and unclean.
But there was a considerable number in all these parties, who looked at these things more wisely. And they managed matters in this way. They concluded, that as it was needful to have the water hot, they would not hinder those who were heating it, but get all the warm water they could from them, or from any one else, and go to cleaning the house with it. They concluded that as they could not all agree as to the proper way of putting on the water, that each should put it on in the way he believed the prince had taught, and not quarrel with the rest, who thought another way was right. They thought it was important to have the right overseers, and to have them direct the rest in a proper manner, but as they could not bring this about, they concluded to go to any place where they could do the most work, and put themselves under the overseer who was there, and do as well as they could.
They also concluded, that though it was exceedingly important that all should understand and believe the directions written in the Book, yet as all did not agree in every thing, it was best to join together in the point where they all _did_ agree, viz. _in cleaning the house_. And they comforted themselves in thinking of the promise of the young prince, “If any man will _do_ his will he shall _know of the doctrine_.” So they concluded that the best way to satisfy their own minds and to convince others of the proper way of doing the work was, to do it so diligently, so orderly, and so well, that others would be convinced “by seeing their good works,” and so would follow their example.
And it was these servants who really cleaned the house, and, so far as they could do it, had every thing in readiness. And when their Lord and King arrived, they met him without fear, while he blessed them with a benignant smile, and said unto them, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”
Now, my friends, this story illustrates what I wish to explain to you, about religion and religious meetings.
We are placed in this world to form a character like that of God, to become holy as he is holy, for this is the only way to be happy. Jesus Christ is “God manifest in the flesh,” and “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” and one great object he had in coming into this world was, to show us what the character of God is, that we may know how to become like him.—And while here, he set us an example of the way in which we are to “cleanse our hearts” from all evil, so that he and his Father can come and make their abode with us. He did every thing which we shall be called to do, as a perfect example for us, and when he returned to his Father’s court, he left a Book of Instructions for us all to use, that we may learn how to cleanse our hearts and lives from all sin.
Now, we find that there are many parties among the servants of Christ, that differ a great deal about the best way of doing this great work. Some think it is very important to have a great many meetings, and to read and pray and sing a great deal, in order to keep our feelings warm, and this they think is more important than any thing else.
Others think it is very important that we should be baptized in the proper manner, and at the proper time. Others think it very important, that those who are rulers and overseers in the church, should be ordained in the proper manner, and that they should direct their people aright, as to the forms and rites of the church.
Others think it very important to believe in the right doctrines of religion, and that it is best to take great care, not to have any belong to their particular church, who do not believe the doctrines of the Bible as they do.
But they all agree, that the great work to be done, after all, is _to cleanse the heart and life_, by following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.—He taught us to live not for ourselves but for Him—and to make it (as he did) our meat and drink to do the will of our Father in heaven. He taught us to deny ourselves daily, by restraining all harmful passions and desires, and, as he did, to go about doing good, in the humblest sphere in which we may be placed. Now, there is no dispute at all about _this_ great duty. And all agree, that the things they differ about, are of no importance, except as they tend to promote a conformity of heart and life to the character and example of Christ. Those who spend the most time in religious exercises and meetings, consider that it is important to do so, only because it tends to make them more like Christ—and those who think so much of baptism, and ordination, and of believing the true doctrines, suppose that these things are important, only because they will lead us to become like Christ. There is not any minister of any denomination, who, if you ask him about these things, will not tell you, that I am right in all I have said about this matter. Now, if this is true, then we have a rule for judging how much it is proper to go to meetings and to attend to religious exercises.
We go to such meetings, and attend such exercises, to warm our feelings and excite our minds, in order that we may do all our duties better. There is no merit in reading and singing and hearing, nor is there any use in great enjoyment or great feeling, unless these things tend to make us more gentle, meek, humble, faithful and diligent in our duties to God and men. And if we are baptized in the right way, and have the right ministers, and the right services, and the right doctrines preached, it is all of no value to us, unless we improve them so as to become more and more like Christ. Remember, then, that your object in reading and praying and in going to meetings should be, that you may become more faithful, kind, obliging, industrious, and exemplary in all respects.
I fear a great many people pray, and read the Bible, and go to meetings and try to get up a great deal of feeling, and think that this is being religious. But this is no more being religious than heating water is cleaning a house. It is only a course of means appointed by God to enable us to accomplish the great object of life; which is to form such a character as prepares us for Heaven; or in other words, _to become like Jesus Christ_.
I would advise you, therefore, when you are deciding whether you shall go to a meeting, and how long you shall stay, to inquire, Will this best prepare me to be patient, long-suffering, meek, industrious and faithful in all my duties?
And if you think, that by going, you shall run the risk of injuring your health, and so of lessening your usefulness, or that you shall stay so late as to be tired and sleepy next morning, or unfitted in any way to perform your duties well, I pray you not to go. And if you think that religious privileges do not tend to make you more and more like Christ, I beseech you remember the dreadful condemnation of those who are exalted by privileges even to Heaven, only to be thrust down to Hell.
Now I hope you will not misunderstand what I have said. I do not say that you or any body else go to meetings too much, or think too much of religious teachings, singing and prayer. I am afraid that most of us do not value these blessed means enough. But I am afraid that there are many of you who look upon these things as religion, when in reality they are nothing but the means God has appointed, in order to lead us to become religious. A true Christian, a really converted person, is one who is making it the _chief_ interest and aim of life to become like Christ, and all these religious means are of no use, except so far as they tend to produce conformity of heart and life to the precepts and example of Christ.
If this be the case, then persons who go to meetings to meet companions, or to while away time, or to get their feelings wrought up to a high state, and do not use their religious privileges as means to make them more humble, submissive, gentle, kind, industrious and faithful in every duty, are making their blessings a curse.
And when you take time from your ordinary employments, or time from the hours usually given to sleep, I hope you will always ask yourselves this question: “Am I going to this meeting in order that I may come home and be more and more like Jesus Christ?” And if you do not find that this is your reason for going, beware lest the awful condemnation that awaits those who abuse and pervert religious privileges, fall upon your guilty head.
And here I would add, that no rule can be given as to how much we ought to attend religious exercises. Some persons are reflective, and serious, and remember and feel what they hear a great while. Others are light, trifling and forgetful, and very soon lose any serious impressions. The first class do not need such frequent instructions and opportunities as the last class. And every person must judge for herself, how much time and attention is needful for her to give to religious duties, and not be censorious on others, who think it best for them to take another course.
Importance of health to domestics. Modes by which they injure health.
Much of the ill health among persons in your employment is entirely needless. You have employments, usually, that tend to strengthen the constitution and maintain firm health, and as a class you have far more health and strength than those who do not labour.
Now, good health is the greatest of all blessings, for without it, no matter how many other blessings we have, we cannot enjoy life. Many and many a woman in this land, who has wealth, and ease, and education, and friends, and every thing that wealth can purchase, goes about gloomy and sick at heart, because disease has spread its dark shroud over all the enjoyments of life.
But it is a far greater misfortune to persons in your situation to lose health, than to persons who have wealth and a comfortable home.
When you are sick, you have no parents or family friends around you, to nurse and sympathize; you know that the family you live in have not only lost your services, but are obliged to wait upon you, and you feel that you are a burden. You may have no home to go to, or your home may be so comfortless that you had rather stay among strangers; your wages stop, and if you have any little earnings laid up, they must go to pay for medicines and a physician.
All these things make it of the utmost consequence, that you take good care of your health. And yet, I am sorry to say, that I know of no class of persons who seem to be so careless and imprudent in regard to health. We see domestics go out from the wash-tub in a profuse perspiration, to stand in the wind and hang out wet clothes, and that too, without any thing on the head, or any shawl or cloak on. We see them go out in leaky shoes and wet their feet, and then sit a whole evening in company, or a meeting, with their feet wet and cold.
We see them sleeping in close chambers, or sitting hour after hour in crowded rooms for religious worship, breathing an atmosphere that is absolutely poisonous, without knowing that they are thus injuring their health. And there are many other ways in which they are wearing down their constitutions, without being aware of it.
I do not think I can possibly make you feel the importance of the advice I am about to offer, without your understanding more than you do, about the construction of your own bodies. And I wish I could get you to read a few chapters in a book I have written called “Domestic Economy,” in which I have described how the interior of your bodies is formed, and drawn pictures to explain what I say, so that I think you could easily understand the matter. And if you ever come across that work, I hope you will read the Chapter on the Care of Health, and the five or six chapters that follow it.
But I will here tell you some things, which I think you can understand without any pictures.
You know that we take food and drink into our stomach to support and continue life. Now this food is changed into a soft mass in the stomach, and then passes through long winding intestines, that are folded up below the stomach. As it passes through these intestines, there are multitudes of little hollow tubes, small as hairs, that pump out the nourishment and carry it to a particular blood-vessel, when it is emptied into the heart, and mixes with the blood. This is the way the blood is constantly renewed. Now it is the blood that thus conveys strength and nourishment to every part of the body. There is no part of the body, within or without, that has not a vast many small blood-vessels, running in every direction, that carry the blood to nourish all parts. But there are more blood-vessels in the skin than anywhere else, so that the quantity of blood in our skin is greater than all that is to be found, in all the rest of the body put together. All the matter received from our food which is nourishing and useful, is taken up by the different parts of the body, and the rest is thrown out by the lungs, the bowels, the bladder and the skin. When we draw air into our lungs, the noxious and useless portions of the blood in the lungs, combine with it, and are then sent out of our lungs. The bowels and bladder also, eject a portion of useless matter from the body. But the chief labour of relieving the body from useless matter in the blood, is done by the skin.
If you could look at the skin through a microscope, you would see the little mouths of the blood-vessels all over the skin, which are constantly pouring out this useless matter from the blood. If, in a warm day, you bring a cool mirror near your skin, yet not so as to touch it, you will see a thin dew, or vapour, settle on the mirror. This is the invisible exhalation, which is constantly coming out from the mouths of the small blood-vessels, all over the skin. Experiments have often been made, to find out how much matter is thus thrown out of the body by the skin, and it is found that in a grown person, it is never less than a pound and a quarter in twenty-four hours, and most men that have experimented say that it is much more. But all agree, that the skin throws out more of the useless and noxious matter from the body, than the lungs, bladder and bowels all together.
You can now understand the evil done by sitting with wet feet, or going into cold and damp air without proper covering. Cold always operates to make the skin shrink up, and the little mouths of the blood-vessels are thus closed, so that the skin cannot perform its office properly. In consequence of this, the blood is not relieved of its noxious matter. The effect of this, is sometimes one thing, and sometimes another. Sometimes, stopping the action of the skin produces a fever, and then the body is tormented with restlessness, pain and heat. Sometimes, when the skin stops its labours, the other organs try to do double duty, to relieve the body. In this case, either the bowels or bladder become affected and discharge profusely, or the lungs accumulate a great quantity of this useless matter, which is coughed up in the form of phlegm. Sometimes the head and throat are affected, and water runs from the eyes and nose, while the lungs also cough up phlegm. What is commonly called a cold in the head, or a cold on the lungs, is caused by the shutting up of the blood-vessels of the skin by cold, so that the lungs, eyes, and head are obliged to perform a part of the offices that the skin ordinarily performs.
Now when a person is labouring by a fire, or at washing or ironing, the blood is made to circulate much faster, and the noxious matter is thrown out more abundantly. At such times the matter thrown out by the skin becomes visible in the form of drops of sweat. Of course the more of this matter is to be thrown out by the skin, the more dangerous it is to have the openings of the skin shrunk up by cold. Therefore, it is very important for persons who labour, to take very great care not to allow themselves to be chilled when in a state of perspiration. Wetting the feet often produces the same effect on the body, as chilling the skin in a perspiration. You understand now, why it is that I earnestly entreat you, never to go out and stand in the cold, when you are in a perspiration, and always to be careful to dress warm whenever you go out doors for any purpose, and never to sit with damp feet. One single act of carelessness in these respects, may bring on a fever, or a bowel complaint, or an affection of the lungs, or liver, or eyes, or head, that may lay you up for months, or even end your life. What I have told you about the construction of the skin, shows the importance of another piece of advice I would give you. Do you know, that we are almost the only well informed nation in the world, that do not frequently wash the body _all over_? There were some nations in old times, that knew that this was so important to health and comfort, that they always had public baths made, so that rich and poor might bathe every day without expense. And in many countries, the best informed people would not think of going two days without washing the whole of their bodies, any more than you would think of going so long, without washing your face and hands. And the reason of this is, that the skin is interrupted in its duties by any accumulation of matter upon it. The little mouths of the blood-vessels must be kept open and free, or they cannot fully perform their offices. Now, as the skin throws out at least a pound and a half a day, of this useless and noxious matter, where the clothing comes tight to the skin, it cannot all pass off freely, and a part is deposited on the skin. This ought to be washed off every day, or else the skin has its pores to some extent filled up, and its duties are impeded. In consequence of this, humours on the skin, or in the eyes, or some affection of the head, or lungs, or liver, or bowels, or some other part of the body, often ensue. Some people have such strong constitutions, that they can bear to go all their lives, and never wash their bodies properly, and yet never seem to experience any injury, but there is no doubt that many are suffering painful and troublesome affections, that never would have come upon them, if they had taken proper care of their skin. For this reason I advise you to keep a bowl and pitcher of water in your room, and to sponge your body all over when you go to bed, either in lukewarm or cold water. It will not take you more than ten minutes, and it may save you from much trouble.
I have told you, that the lungs also are employed to help purify the blood. It is done in this way. The air we breathe is made so, that when it comes into the lungs, it combines with the noxious portions of the blood in the lungs, and then is returned again, when we breathe out the air. If, therefore, a person is shut up in a small, close room for a long time, the air of the room, after a while, is filled with this injurious matter which is sent out of the lungs. In this state it is unfit to breathe. Breathing it sometimes produces drowsiness, weakness, stupidity of feelings, and sometimes sickness at the stomach, or fainting. Indeed, there is no suffering so horrible as that produced by breathing air, which is _entirely_ made of air breathed from the lungs. To illustrate this, I will mention a case of some gentlemen, who were once shut up by a cruel tyrant in a very small room, with a very little window in it. There were so many that they had not room to lie down or even sit, and in a few hours, so many breaths had filled the room entirely, with this noxious vapor. The distress thus produced was horrible. They groaned and screamed for mercy to the guard of soldiers. They begged them to shoot them and put an end to their torments. At length they began to fight, to get at the only opening there was for air, and struggled and fought for breath, and tried to strangle each other, till all were dead except the few, who could get their faces near the window; and these in the morning had not strength to stand, and looked more like corpses than like living men.
There is nothing, then, more pernicious to health, than sitting, or sleeping in rooms where the air is loaded with the air breathed out of the lungs. For this reason, I advise you never to go to bed, till you have secured a good supply of pure air. Open your door into an entry, or make a crack in your window, or contrive some other way to keep pure air in your room. If you have an open fire-place, this is sufficient, as then, the fresh air falls down the chimney from out doors. But if you have a close stove in your room, or have a room with no fire-place, be sure always to have your door open, or a small opening in your window. If you do not take this precaution, though you may not feel the evil, because it is so slow and gradual, you may be sure that your constitution is gradually growing weaker, so that diseases will more easily be induced, and thus that your life will be shortened. One other thing about the lungs. Any person who wears clothing so tight, that they cannot expand the chest as easily as they can when undressed, is doing the same sort of mischief. When the waist is constrained by tight clothing, some parts of the lungs are so impeded and compressed, that the air cannot enter the air vessels. The consequence is, the blood is not properly purified, and often, from this cause, ulcers form in the lungs. Tight dressing is one of the most frequent causes of consumption and dyspepsia, for dyspepsia is often brought on by such tightness of dress, that the stomach and the other organs around it, are impeded in their duties.
It is very important for health, that persons who labour should have enough sleep, and it is also important that they do not sleep too much. If they do not sleep enough, the strength and health slowly decay, and if they sleep too much, the same effect is produced. Seven or eight hours, is the amount of sleep that is needed by persons who labour, and none ought to sleep more than eight hours, unless they are sick.
If you will take care of your teeth, by washing them with fair water and a brush, when you go to bed and get up, you probably will save yourselves from teeth-ache, and from the early loss of teeth. Not that this care will always prevent these evils. A disordered stomach, or a weakness of the nerves, will often induce pain and decay, for which there is no prevention, or remedy. But your chances of keeping your teeth, and of escaping tooth-ache, are much increased by removing with a brush, every night and morning, the tartar which the spittle deposits on the teeth and gums, during the night and through the day. This tartar injures the gums, and tends to make the teeth decay.
There are some other causes of ill health that I will point out. One is, drinking strong tea or coffee. These drinks always stimulate the nervous system, in a way similar to the effects of intoxicating drinks, and though they are not so injurious or dangerous, yet, in many cases, they produce weak nerves, indigestion, teeth-ache, head-ache, and various nervous complaints. If, then, you use these drinks, I advise you to use them very weak. In my youth I did not love them, but after I was twenty, I learned to love them quite strong, and did not love them weak. When I was convinced that they were injurious, I began to drink them very weak; and though at first they seemed very flat, I persevered, until I learned to love them weak, and now I do not love them strong. I mention this to show that our taste can be changed. I advise you therefore to try the experiment, and after you have drank them a month or two very weak, I think you will love them as well as you now love them strong. At any rate, you will escape the dangers that always attend the use of tea and coffee, as most persons drink them. And I believe that it is _sinful_ to run any risk of injuring one’s health, for the sake of drinking what we love best, when another drink is just as good for us, and is far more safe.
In regard to eating, I believe a person in health, who labours all day, may eat almost any thing with safety. But a person in delicate health, or with a disordered stomach, ought to be careful to notice what food produces uncomfortable feelings, and avoid it. For nothing wears down health faster, than to eat food that the stomach cannot digest, and when this occurs a warning is often given by unpleasant feelings after eating.
Eating too often, is a frequent cause of disease. This is done, because people do not know how hard the stomach has to work, after food is put into it. But if we could look within us at all that is going on, we should see, that as soon as any food is put into the stomach, its muscles are all set to work to move the food about and mix it with the gastric juice which is to dissolve it, so that the stomach actually is working as hard as the arms would work, in sweeping or in hammering at the anvil. Now the stomach needs to rest awhile, after its work, and therefore, four or five hours ought to elapse after eating, before any more food is put into the stomach. This gives time for the stomach to do up its work, and have a little time to rest. But a person, who is frequently putting food into the stomach, keeps it at work all the time, and thus it becomes weak and disordered from over-working. For this reason, I advise you not to eat except at your regular meals.
If you have weak eyes, always shade them from the glare of the fire or candles in the evening, and never use them before breakfast either to read or sew. The eyes are weaker before breakfast than at any other time. The reason is, that they have been long shut up, so as to be unused to the light, and sleep always weakens the body to a certain extent, until a new supply of food gives the blood the nourishment it has lost, by the exhalations of the body during the night.
Taking food or drink very warm, is injurious to the teeth and stomach. If you should hold one of your fingers in hot water, half an hour, three times a day, you would find that it was very much weakened. The same effect is produced on the nerves of the mouth, teeth, and stomach, by the use of hot food and drinks. Pepper, mustard, and spices also tend to injure the health of the stomach, by stimulating it too much.
ON DRESS, MANNERS, AND LANGUAGE.
Dress should be conformed to means and to occupations. Rules of good manners.
I have shown you, in a former letter, that the chief reason why so much difference is made, between domestics and other members of the family, is their deficiencies in education, dress and manners. If domestics were universally well educated and well bred, and if they paid a proper attention to their dress and persons, then parents would feel that their example would be useful instead of injurious to children, while their presence would be agreeable and not offensive to visitors.
It is therefore very desirable, on your own account, and that you may raise the respectability of your station, (as well as on account of parents and children,) that you pay great attention to these particulars.
I will therefore point out some of those respects, in which you need to attend to your manners, in order to be a good example to children, and to be fitted to appear well in any society in which in after life you may appear.
_Good manners are the outward expression of kindness and good will_, by which we endeavour to promote the enjoyment of others, and to avoid all that gives needless pain. Good manners lead us to avoid every thing that offends the taste of others, and to regard all the rules of politeness and propriety. Good manners lead us to avoid all rude and coarse language or actions, and to refrain from all remarks that would trouble those about us in any way.
I will now point out some particulars. In the first place, there are rules of good manners in regard to our superiors in age, character, station or office, which demand attention. In addressing such, it is proper to speak in a respectful tone and manner, and to add “sir” and “ma’am” to “yes” and “no” when we reply to them. This should be done by young persons to older ones, by children to parents, by scholars to teachers, and by domestics to their employers, and to visitors in the family. At the same time, it is proper to offer the best accommodations of all kinds to one who is thus to be treated as a superior.
Another rule of good manners is, to return thanks to any person who does us any kindness. It is deemed very ill bred to receive a present, or any little act of attention, without any manifestation of pleasure or gratitude.
Another rule is, never to use what belongs to another without asking leave, and never to ask questions about the business or dress, or concerns of other people, unless we are on intimate terms with them. Another rule of good breeding is, never to make remarks to others on their personal defects, or dress, or faults, and never to speak in such a way of their opinions, or their friends, as to vex or mortify them.
Always, when persons speak to you, look them in the face, and reply in a courteous manner. Never laugh or whisper in company so that others cannot hear, lest they may imagine that you are ridiculing them, or speaking against them. Loud laughing and talking in company, and whispering, and smiling at church, are deemed rude and vulgar. Interrupting a person when talking, and flatly contradicting, are considered rude.
There are some _personal tricks_ which should be avoided, as vulgar and offensive, such as fingering the hair, picking the teeth, or cleaning the nails, picking the nose, spitting on the floor, snuffing, instead of using the handkerchief, or using the handkerchief in a disgusting manner, fingering the shoes, throwing about the feet, lolling on chairs, tipping chairs backward, staring at people, calling persons by nicknames, running out bareheaded into the street, calling to persons in the street, running in the street, and eating in the street, or in a public assembly.
Another branch of good breeding relates to _table manners_. When at table, avoid all these things: reaching over the plates of others; standing up to reach articles; instead of asking to have them passed to you; using your own knife for butter or salt, when it is the custom of the family to use a butter knife and salt spoon; setting dripping cups on the table cloth when cup mats, or plates, are provided; using the table cloth instead of your handkerchief; eating fast, and in a noisy manner; putting large pieces in the mouth; looking, and eating as if you were very hungry, or very anxious to get at certain dishes; sitting too far from the table, or too near to it; projecting your elbows when using the knife and fork; dropping food in your lap; laying the knife and fork on the table cloth, instead of on the bread, or your plate; putting your own knife or fork into the dishes, instead of asking to be helped; taking too large a share of some favourite article; making a noise in sipping tea, or eating soups; leaning on the table with your elbows; lolling back in your chair at table, and taking food with your own fork from the dishes, instead of asking to be helped.
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In regard to _dress_, the great rule of propriety and good taste is, _always to dress clean and tidy, and always to have your dress suited to your means, and your employment_.
This is the rule that regulates persons of good sense and good taste, in all classes and ranks. If a woman wears ever so elegant and expensive clothing, and yet her hair is in disorder and her dress untidy, every one feels that she is dressed in bad taste. If a woman has a small income, and yet appears in dresses and ornaments that are suitable only for persons of great wealth, every one pities or laughs at her for her want of taste and propriety.
If a woman puts on expensive and handsome dresses to work in, no matter how rich she is, every one feels that it looks vulgar and improper. There is nothing that more surely marks the well bred, well educated woman, than the style of her dress. If she has small means she will dress simply and economically, if she is very wealthy, she will wear rich and handsome clothing, but not tawdry finery or loads of ornaments. If she is doing work that soils clothing, she puts on dark and cheap articles, if she is going on a journey, she puts on a dress that dust will not injure, and leaves off all her ornaments. If she is going out in the cold and wet, she puts on stout and warm covering for her feet and person.
Now there is no point where domestics so often show their want of good education and good taste, as in the choice of their dress. Every one knows that the income of a domestic is very small, and that they are daily employed in work that soils a dress. When, therefore, domestics appear in dresses suitable only for persons who have wealth, and employments that do not soil dresses, every one feels, that for want of a good education, they are deficient in good taste and a sense of propriety. The same opinion is formed of _all_ persons who have small means, and who labour for a support, when they _rig out_ in showy and expensive dresses.
A domestic who has good sense and good taste, will always dress neatly, plainly, and in materials suitable to the work she performs.
There are few things more annoying to visitors, or to the master and mistress of a family, than to have food served at table, by domestics whose hands, hair, and dress are untidy. I have repeatedly known the gentleman of the house whisper to his wife to send the person waiting on table out of the room, because he had rather wait on himself, than to have such a disgusting object before his eyes.
I would therefore earnestly recommend, that _always_ before you come down in the morning, you put your hair in neat order, and that you so braid or tie it up, that it will not get out of order while you are at work. Also, that you take pains to have dark clothing for your work, and that it always be kept neat and tidy. It is a good plan, also, to keep a supply of large, clean aprons, to slip on when you cannot change your dress, and yet wish to go into the parlour.
And I pray you not to spend all your earnings in showy dresses, that, to all sensible people, make you appear foolish and ignorant of all propriety. It is far better to buy strong, and plain dresses, and lay up your earnings to buy furniture, if you ever become a housekeeper, or to support you in sickness, or old age, if you never marry. There are _Savings Banks_ in almost all our cities, where you can lay up small earnings, and receive interest for them, so as to increase their value every year; and there is less risk in putting money into these banks, than in any other way, because their business is arranged for the purpose of making them safe.
There is another point, to which I would especially urge attention, and that is, to the _improvement of your mind by reading_, and when you can do so, by study.
The greatest disadvantages domestics have to meet, are caused by their want of a good education. It is owing to the want of such advantages, that they are so apt to be untidy in appearance, rude and disrespectful in manner, and vulgar in their pronunciation and language. Now, though you may be in such a situation that you cannot go to a school, yet if you will be diligent and economical in time and dress, you can do a great deal to improve your education. There are few families where there is not some lady, who would be willing to hear you read, or recite a lesson for half an hour every day, if you expressed a wish so to do. And you would also be provided with books to read and study, at little or no expense, if you appeared to be anxious to learn, and were faithful and diligent, in order to gain time.
And the more you read and study, the more your character, manners, and habits will be likely to improve. Some persons imagine that a good education injures persons in your station, by making them proud and discontented. But this is a great mistake. The most faithful, diligent, agreeable, and respectable domestics I ever saw, were those who had the best education, while those who are ignorant, have not sense and information enough, to see the propriety of conforming to their situation and duties.
If this country were thrown into the situation in which the shipwrecked company were, and every one had to draw lots to decide who should be employers and who domestics, there would be some well educated and some very ignorant persons put together in the class of domestics. In this case I should much prefer to hire a well educated person, for I should expect that such a one would be far more likely to have respectful and courteous manners, and that she would conform to the duties of her lot with far more propriety than an ignorant and vulgar person.
I hope, therefore, that you will improve every opportunity you can gain to read and study, and I would advise you also to notice how well educated persons pronounce, and try to acquire a similar way of speaking.
In selecting books to read, get some judicious friend to choose for you, and in studying, never be so foolish as to study French, or Latin, or try to play the piano, or any such accomplishment, which is suitable only for persons who have wealth and leisure.
By following this advice about your manners, dress and language, and by faithfully endeavouring to perform all your duties to God and your fellow creatures, you will find, that every day, you will gain in the esteem and good will of all around you, and that few will be found with that silly pride which will make them shun your society because you are a domestic. On the contrary, your employers and their children, will love and respect you, and be pleased to procure for you all the comforts and advantages they can secure, consistently with the convenience and prosperity of the family.
Trials of domestics and remedy for these trials. Fault-finding. Want of comforts and conveniences, &c.
Every situation in life has its peculiar trials, and it is wise beforehand, to understand what our trials must be, and what is the best way of meeting them. God did not put us into this world to find enjoyment by gratifying all our desires, but he intended that we should _form such a character_, as will enable us to _feel happy_ in giving up our will and wishes to him and to others, whenever it is needful.
Those, therefore, are not the most fortunate, who have the fewest trials to meet, but those rather, who best learn to be patient and cheerful, whatever may be their lot, or the trials which it involves. Many are apt to suppose, that when people have beautiful houses, and fine clothes, and a plenty of money, and opportunities to read, and visit, and see the world, that they must be happy. But the most miserable persons I have known, were persons who had all these things; while some of the happiest persons I ever saw, were those whom the world call poor, and who had none of these advantages.
The rich have as many wishes and wants ungratified as the poor, for the more they get the more they want. At the same time, as they often have nothing to do but to amuse and gratify themselves, they are not so likely to form those habits of self-denial, patience, and benevolence, which are the true source of enjoyment. This is the reason why the Saviour says, “How hardly shall they that have riches, enter the kingdom of Heaven.” The kingdom of Heaven consists, not in meat and drink and costly raiment, nor in any earthly goods, but in “_righteousness and peace_.” And this righteousness and peace are much more easily found in humble life, than among the rich, the proud and the gay. It is true that it is a blessing to be rich, if we only use riches in the proper way. But riches bring such temptations, that few have strength and wisdom sufficient to stand, so that it is often that riches are a curse rather than a blessing.
Why is it so common to see the children of rich parents growing poor and vicious, while the children of the poor grow up industrious, virtuous and rich? It is because the children of the rich are brought up in ease and indulgence, while the children of the poor are brought up to industry and self-denial. If any person will count up the rich men in our country, he will find, that not one in ten had rich parents. And then if he will look at the descendants of rich families he will find, that probably more than half are very poor, and a great many are miserable vagabonds in society.
I mention these things to lead you to realize, that your happiness in this life consists not in being rich, or well dressed, or in any outward advantage, but rather _in such a character_ as enables you to meet the duties and trials of your lot with patient cheerfulness, and faithful diligence.
I will now mention some of the trials which domestics are most frequently called to endure, and point out the proper way of meeting them.
One of the greatest and most frequent trials of domestics is, the _fault-finding_ to which they are constantly exposed. Now, whether a person deserves to be blamed or not, this is a great trial to the patience. If we are to blame, we not only are pained to see the mischief we have done, but we are pained to be reproached by others, and at the same time to feel that it is indeed our own fault, and that we deserve it. If we are not to blame, it seems very hard to be upbraided, but in many cases this is not half so hard to bear, as to be blamed when we know we deserve it.
Now there are two dangers to which we are exposed from this cause. If we live with a person who finds fault a great deal, the first danger is, that we shall grow sullen, or irritable, and then show a bad temper, by disrespectful and angry words and deportment. The other danger is, that we shall become so used to it as not to care any thing about it. I have seen the children and domestics of women who find fault a great deal, look and act as if they did not care one cent about what was said to them, and sometimes they look as if they were more amused than pained at the anger and impatience displayed by those who rule over them.
Now, it is our duty, if we really have by forgetfulness, or ignorance, neglected or illy performed our duty, not only to be sorry, but to show those whom we have thus troubled, that we feel sorry. Nothing so soon ends such troubles, as for the person who has done wrong to appear as if she was really sorry for it. Whenever therefore you have your mistakes or faults pointed out, do not seek to justify yourself, and do not, if possible, show any anger. If you feel irritated, do not speak till you can speak without anger, and then say, “I am sorry,” or something else of the kind, that shows regret on your part for the trouble you have caused. After you have said this, then is the proper time to tell your excuses. If you begin to justify or excuse _before_ you have expressed any regret, in nine cases out of ten, it does more harm than good. Another thing will very much aid you in bearing this evil, and that is, trying to imagine yourself in the situation of the one you have displeased, and thinking whether you should do any differently yourself. How do you behave when you depend on some child or companion to do something, and by ignorance or carelessness the thing is left undone or is spoilt? Do you shut up your mouth and utter not a word of complaint, or fault-finding? Try for one week to go without finding fault with any body, or any thing that crosses your plans or wishes, and see how hard it is to refrain!
Now a housekeeper is constantly having things done wrong, or not done at all, which she feels anxious to have accomplished properly, and it is one of the most difficult duties in the world to bear silently and patiently all these vexations and disappointments. You should therefore try to feel kindly for these troubles of your employer, and when you see her patience fails, think how many cares and perplexities she meets, and how difficult you would find it, if you were in her place, to bear them patiently.
There is another thing you must consider, and that is, that many women think it is _their duty_ always to tell the persons whom they employ whenever they do wrong, and they do not suppose that it is wrong to show anger and impatience at such trials. At least, they talk as if it was right for them to manifest anger and impatience, if there is just cause for displeasure.
Very few persons are aware how much better it is not to speak at all, when they are angry, and how much more good it does to talk with children and domestics about their faults or mistakes, in a kind way, when neither side feels out of humour. There are a great many women who would be more considerate and careful in this matter, if they only supposed it was their duty so to do. And here you should inquire of yourselves too, “Do I feel it to be a duty not to complain, or find fault when I feel angry? Can I command my temper and tongue so as not to reply in angry and disrespectful tones when others blame me? Do I set a guard on my lips, that I sin not with my tongue? Do I every day pray to God to enable me to be patient at the faults of others, and meek in receiving rebuke for my own? Do I, when I have sinned by angry tones and language, confess my sin to Christ, and ask for his strength to enable me to follow his example of meekness and patience?” Let any of us try ourselves with these questions, and we shall be much more meek and patient, when hearing the complaints or upbraidings of those whom we have troubled.
There is another method, which, in many cases, will be of great service. Many amiable and excellent women, really do not know how much they do find fault, nor how severe and unpleasant are their tones and manner. If, therefore, you find yourself very much tried in this way, seek some opportunity of conversing with your employer, when both feel kindly to each other. And then, in a respectful manner tell her, that if she will not find fault quite so often, or will tell your faults to you, at times when neither you or she feel disturbed in mind, that it will be a great deal pleasanter to you to serve her, and that you shall be much more likely to try to do your duties well. Such a measure as this, will be far better than to speak out your mind at times when she is reproving you, when both feel angry or impatient. I think a time will come, when both parents and employers will feel it to be a duty to refrain from finding fault when they are angry, and make it an object to wait, until by calm reflection they can say the most judicious things in the most judicious manner. And if you wish to have this period arrive, remember you can do something towards hastening it, by trying to form such a habit yourself. And then, if you ever become the employer of a domestic, you will be prepared for this most important part of your duty.
Another trial, to which domestics are exposed, is a neglect of their comfort and convenience by their employers.
Sometimes domestics have not comfortable rooms and beds; sometimes, the proper conveniences for work are not provided; sometimes they have so much required that they have not time for rest, and for taking care of their clothes; sometimes they are obliged to leave their meals before they have done, to wait on the family; sometimes the children of the family vex and incommode them; sometimes they are treated harshly and rudely; sometimes the mistress of the family does not know how to plan work, and more is exacted than they can perform, or needless trouble and work are caused. Now there are two ways of preventing these evils, to a certain extent. One is, by making proper terms with an employer beforehand. It is a good plan for a domestic, always to inquire of an employer, _before she agrees to come_, respecting all these matters. It is always proper, to inquire about the conveniences in the kitchen, and to ask how much time you probably can have to do your own sewing, and whether you shall be allowed to sit undisturbed at your meals, and whether you shall be allowed to send the children out of the kitchen when they trouble you, and finally, to find out as much as you can beforehand, as to the kind of work that will be expected. Let these things all be talked over and understood beforehand, and many occasions for hard feeling and discontent will be saved on both sides.
After you come into a family, you will, in most cases, find some inconveniences and annoyances that you did not expect. In such cases, do not be angry or out of patience, but bear them quietly, till you have a good chance to talk with your employer about them. Then simply state the trouble you experience, and if it can be remedied consistently, she probably will do it, and if it cannot, then make up your mind to bear it patiently and good humouredly. I have seen domestics go on, day after day, complaining and fretting about troubles, that often would be entirely removed, if they would go, in a pleasant and respectful way, to their employers and state their wishes. It is always best to take it for granted, that your employers are kind and reasonable people, for if they are not, it is the surest way to lead them to become so.
A keeper of a prison once asked a man who had been removed from his care to another prison, what the reason was that he behaved so much better with his new keeper. His reply was, “He treats me like a man, and so I behave like a man; but you treated me like a dog, and so I behaved like a dog.”
Now this prisoner was a fair picture of us all in this respect. If people treat us as if they think that we wish and intend to do all that is generous and right, it is a strong influence to lead us to do so. But if we are treated as if it was expected that we should act unreasonably and wrong, it is a strong temptation to lead us to do so. And this anecdote contains a very important truth, that it would be wise for domestics, as well as employers, to bear in mind.
There is another trial that domestics often feel, which I have before alluded to. It is the fact that they are called “servants,” and are liable to be treated with disrespect or contempt, by persons who fancy themselves a little above them in rank. But my friends, this is a trouble which all classes have to experience, and some almost or quite as much as you. The mechanic’s daughter, or the sempstress, may call you servants, and feel above you, but some rich men’s daughters call them “only mechanics’ daughters,” or “only sempstresses,” and feel as much above them. And these rich men’s daughters find persons who will call them “_vulgar rich folks_,” and feel very much above them, because they themselves have some advantages of family or education, that those they look down upon do not possess. We find that it is common to call persons who have wealth and education, “_ladies_,” and persons who have no education, and labour for a support, “_women_.” And if a person who considered herself among the first, should hear a person say, “there is a _woman_ in the parlour,” instead of saying, “there is a _lady_ in the parlour,” she would in some cases feel offended. What is the reason of this? She _is_ a woman, why is she not pleased to be called so? Why simply because persons whom she regards as below herself are so called. Now this is exactly the case with you. You do not like to be called by the same name as is given to slaves in this land, and to the degraded servants of other countries. And it is probable every body would have something of this feeling, and therefore every well-bred person, who knew, that this name of servant was disagreeable to you, would not use it, unless from long habit it was difficult to remember to call you by another name. But you must not allow yourselves to be offended because people do not always know your feelings on this point, or do not always remember to regard your wishes.
Try to be polite yourselves to the poor Africans whom you regard as below you, and then you will find that you sometimes fail in this duty yourselves, and will learn not to judge so severely of those who fail towards you. True politeness and good breeding will lead every body to avoid whatever needlessly troubles others, however humble in life.
On this point I have felt some perplexity myself. Probably if I were in your place, I might not wish to be called _a servant_, just as many persons I associate with, choose to be called “ladies” instead of “women.”
As we must have _some_ name to give to persons in your station, I have inquired what one is suitable. Now I cannot tell what would be agreeable to you all. But I know what I should like myself. The word _domus_ signifies _home_, which is one of the dearest and pleasantest words in the world.
The word “domestic,” is made from this word _domus_, and it signifies, one employed in doing the work at home, and therefore it has a very pleasant idea connected with it. I cannot find any word in the dictionary to use for this purpose, that I should like so much myself, and therefore I have used the word in writing to you. But if there was any other that I thought you would like better, I certainly would use it.
But remember, my friends, that Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, “took upon him the form of _a servant_,” and he it was that washed his disciples’ feet, to show them that they must not feel above doing the humblest of all duties. And the word “_minister_,” means the same as “_servant_,” and this was the name taken by the Apostles of Christ.
And we shall never be fully prepared for Heaven, till we have that humble spirit, which can be contented to see others raised above us, and to take whatever name and place belongs to us. The Bible teaches, that even in Heaven, there are different grades of intellect and greatness, and this is the time of probation, when we are to learn that submissive and humble spirit, which will prepare us to go to a world, where forever, there must be many far above us in knowledge, honour and power. Do not therefore indulge such feelings of pride about the name, and duties of your station, but honour yourselves by walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
In regard to all the trials that are to be met in your situation in life, it is wisest to look at the matter in this light. There is no situation where you can go, in which you will not find some disagreeable things to try your patience, and tempt you to complain and be discontented. Therefore, it is best to make up your mind, that you will first do all you can to remedy what troubles you meet, and after that, determine to be quiet and content with your lot.
It is very unwise to be roving from one family to another. It is very much for your interest to stay in one place and become interested in the family, and to make them all feel that you are a steady, and tried, and faithful friend. I know many domestics, who have become so much attached to the family where they have long lived, that no money would tempt them to leave. They seem to feel that all that interests the family belongs to them. They share the joys, the sorrows, and the hopes of the family, and are loved and trusted by all, as kind and faithful friends, while every thing reasonable is done to make them comfortable and contented.
And I would advise every domestic to seek a place where she will be willing to stay _for life_, if she does not get a home of her own. And when she has found such a place, she should try, by her faithful services, and affectionate kindness, to make herself so necessary to the comfort of the family, that they will all feel that they cannot part with her, and will do all in their power to make her comfortable and happy.
There is one word of advice I would offer to domestics who do change their places, and that is, never to retail the private concerns of the family they leave. A great deal of trouble and ill will in society, is made by the scandal that is propagated by domestics, who go from one family to another. This ought not so to be. We have no right to talk about the faults of other persons, unless we can do some good by it. This the golden rule forbids; for we know we should not be willing to have our faults retailed about and talked over to strangers, and what we are not willing to have done to us, we should not do to others.
I beseech you, therefore, to make it a rule never to retail the faults of those with whom you have lived. And if you find persons questioning you, to find out matters relating to the family in which you have worked, just tell them that you do not think it is right to speak of the faults of those with whom you have lived. Do this, and every body will respect you for your sense of propriety, and feel reproved if they have tempted you, by questions, to so ungenerous and wrong a course. The only case when it would be right to tell the faults of those you have lived with, is when a person comes to you for information and advice about going to live in that place. In this case, it would be proper to let them know both the good and the evil of the situation they inquire about.
There is one frequent cause of difficulty between employers and domestics, that ought to be taken care of, when first making an agreement. Employers always wish to _hire the time_ of domestics, instead of hiring them to do some particular parts of family work.—But some domestics feel that they are hired to do some particular part of the work, and when this is done, that their time is their own. Now this matter ought to be understood beforehand, for all employers would prefer to _hire the time_, even if they have to pay more wages. It is a great inconvenience to have domestics who feel that their time is their own, except when they are doing certain jobs they agreed to do. It is much the best for the comfort of a family, to have domestics who can be called on to help whenever they are needed. Of course there must be an understanding, in such cases, that domestics shall have time enough to do their own sewing and mending, and also for meetings and visiting to a suitable extent. All these things should be talked over beforehand, and it will save much trouble.
Economy a duty of all. Modes of economizing.
It is the duty of all persons, in every station of life, to practise that economy, which saves from waste, all the bounties of Providence, and which contrives to make every thing useful last as long as possible. The rich have a right to buy more expensive, and more numerous articles, than the poor, but they have no right to waste _any thing_; for what they do not use themselves they should save for the comfort and enjoyment of others.
And I think, generally, persons who are well off in the world, economize much better than the poor; because they have more knowledge to aid them in the choice and use of articles. And I think that persons who go to service, often practise very little good economy.
I will point out some of the ways in which they waste much money. In the first place, they do not buy suitable dresses to work in. Dresses for work ought to be very strong and of fast colours, so that a working frock may last a great while, and yet retain a good colour. Now instead of this, they often buy common cheap calicoes, which cost as much time and money to have made up as any, and yet in a few weeks the colours will be washed out, and the stuff also soon be gone.
In buying a working dress, look for strong articles, which are of a dark colour and which will not fade badly.
In purchasing articles for dresses to wear to church, or for visiting, do not get light and expensive silks which soon soil, and become useless. In choosing a silk dress, especially a black one, which is apt to be injured by the dye, get several samples first. Then take these pieces and double them up and rub the edges of the creases against a carpet. You will find that some wear off much sooner than the rest, and the one that bears this trial best, will wear the longest.
You may be sure that every person of good taste and good judgment will admire and respect you a great deal more, if you dress neat and plain, than if you put on fine and showy articles, that are suitable only for persons who have wealth. It is only persons of weak minds, or great ignorance of propriety, who would admire such extravagant and showy articles, as I am sorry to see, often worn by persons who earn a dollar or two a week by the labour of their hands.
There is often much want of economy too, in regard to the making and mending of dresses. It is no difficult matter to learn to make a frock, and it saves a great deal of expense. To do this, get a mantuamaker to fit and baste a frock for you, and _not to sew it_. Then take this, and first rip out a sleeve, and iron it out, and cut out a newspaper pattern of it. Then baste up the sleeve and fit it just as it was before, except do not set it into the arm-hole.
Then rip out one half the back, and one half the fore body, iron them out, and cut out patterns. If the fore body has the outside gathered or pleated on to the lining, cut out a pattern, both of the outside and lining. Notice how deep the seams are, and prick them into the pattern, or make a crease to show where they should be. Restore the back and fore body to their places, and baste in the sleeve. Then take some cheap stuff, and cut out the sleeves and waist by these patterns, and fit them like the dress you are imitating, and make the skirt by the pattern also.
After this, you will find little trouble in making another dress by these patterns.
When sleeves begin to wear out, they are made to last much longer, by ripping out and changing them. So the skirt of a silk frock, will last much longer by ripping it from the waist, and moving it so that the front breadth goes to one side, and the places of all the breadths are changed. In doing this, the slit behind must be sewed up, and a new one made.
For under garments, buy unbleached cotton, which will gradually whiten, and lasts a quarter longer than the whitened. The best petticoats, for winter, are made by taking two old dresses and making a quilt. Never buy white flannel for common wear, unless you mean to colour it. This you can do very easily thus.
Take a pound of cheap black tea, and a bit of copperas as big as a large hen’s egg. Put them to two gallons of water, and boil them three quarters of an hour in an iron kettle. Then strain it off, and clean the kettle thoroughly. Then put the strained dye into it again, and after wetting the flannel in warm water, put it in and boil it fifteen minutes, lifting it up and stirring it often. Then rinse it several times in cold water, and it will be a dark lead colour. You can make a dove colour by adding water to this dye. Home-made flannel coloured thus, is good for under petticoats. Cotton and woollen stockings, coloured thus, are good for common wear. I advise you to knit coarse cotton for common wear in summer and woollen for winter. Coarse knit stockings last four times as long as any you can buy, and this saves much mending. When stockings are worn in the feet, they can be cut down and made over. Strong double-soled shoes should be worn, except in warm weather, and if you will be careful to change your shoes often, so as not to wear them long on the same foot, they will last much longer.
It is a good plan to have a particular evening every week for taking care of your clothes.
Those who cook would do well to wear either a cap, or a square muslin handkerchief, put on for a turban, while cooking. The neatest persons in the world are liable to have hairs and dandruff fall from their heads, and this is the only sure way to keep such disgusting matters out of the food.
I think it probable that some of you for whom I write, will not like the advice I give about the quality of your dress. But I can assure you it is what I should do myself were I under the necessity of labouring for a support. And if I had a sister, or any friend in your situation, I should wish to have her follow this course. _Good taste_ in dress is shown by accommodating our style of dress to our income, and when a domestic, who has not a hundred dollars a year, dresses like persons who have large incomes, every sensible and judicious person thinks it is foolish and in very bad taste.
Moreover, by using strong and durable articles you save money that you can lay up to provide for your wants, if you should have a family of your own, or if you should be sick or aged, and unabled to work.
Besides all this, it is the duty of _every person_ to give something of their possessions to promote the comfort and welfare of others.
When our Saviour saw a poor widow casting two mites into the treasury which was to support religion, he commended her, even though it was the whole of her living.
The reason of this was that _a benevolent spirit_ is of more value to us than treasures of silver and gold, and none are so poor as not to need to cultivate this spirit. Now a person who spends all she gets on herself, loses one chance to cultivate this generous and benevolent spirit, which is so precious in God’s sight, and so needful to our own best good.
I hope, therefore, you will feel a pleasure in economizing, that you may thus increase your means, not only of providing for your own future independence and comfort, but also that you may have something to give to relieve many, who are suffering for the want of the comforts of this life, and still more for want of good hope of a better life to come. Give _something_ then, every year, to promote both the temporal and spiritual good of your fellow creatures, and thus also secure the great benefit to yourself, which results from the exercise of a generous and benevolent spirit.
ON THE CARE OF CHILDREN.
Patience very needful. Offering rewards. Never shame children for their faults. Never deceive them. Set an example of honesty and modesty.
I wish you could realize the great influence which you always must exert over the character and welfare of children, for then what I am now going to write, would secure a deep interest in your minds.
Children are creatures of imitation and sympathy, and they always feel and act very much as those do about them. Thus they are daily forming their tastes, habits and character from the pattern of those who are most with them. And their happiness, for time and eternity, is decided by the good or evil that thus surrounds them.
Almost all domestics have more or less to do with the children of a family, so that though what I write is most important to those who nurse and take care of children, it should be deeply pondered by all.
The greatest and most important requisite in all who have the care of children is _patience_. Children have come into a world where every thing is new to them—where they cannot understand the mischief they make,—and more than all this, they are so thoughtless and forgetful, that they cannot remember when they do discover what is dangerous or wrong, as older minds can do.
Suppose you were suddenly put in a vast kitchen, with ten thousand new utensils to work with, and new sorts of work to do, and all the time in danger of doing something wrong—or forgetting something you were told. You would feel puzzled, and sometimes out of patience, and you would think it very hard if those who employed you had no patience, and no sympathy for you, in such difficult circumstances. You would think that you were more to be pitied than blamed, when you forgot, or made mistakes. And if your employers spoke kindly to you, and always seemed to feel for your difficulties, and to be patient with your forgetfulness, you would find it much easier to do your duty.
Now children are in just such a situation. Just observe young children for one day, and see how many times they have to be told that they are doing wrong! Poor things!—they are ignorant, and forgetful, and have a thousand things to learn and to remember. And they often are blamed and found fault with for something every hour, and a great deal more than grown persons could bear. Have patience with them, and as much as possible keep from speaking in cross and angry tones.
I know persons who make it a rule never to speak cross to children. Instead of this, they wait till their own feelings are calm, and then kindly speak to them of their faults. And when they see a child doing mischief, instead of calling out in sharp and angry tones, they go up and take hold of the child and stop its mischief—or set it up in a chair—and take care not to speak till it can be done in a calm and gentle way. Children who are managed by such persons, have an example of patience, gentleness and kindness before them that has a great influence.
And when such persons tell children that they must not act angry and speak cross, when any thing troubles them, it does far more good than it could do, if they see their advisers set them an example just contrary to their instructions.
One of the most successful ways of making children behave well is, to keep them good natured and happy. Very often, when children feel peevish, and when they get into contentions, some amusing story, or play, will make them good natured, and then all will go smooth again. Whereas, if those who take care of them fret at them, and tell them they are naughty and disagreeable, it only adds to their trouble and vexation, and makes them act worse rather than better. I have seen a person taking care of children, manage in this way.
A little boy is out of humour—he goes sullenly about, and if any one speaks to him answers in cross tones—and then he teazes some one—or strikes, or kicks some one who teazes him.
The nurse sees that the difficulty is, that the child feels irritable and unhappy, and that fault-finding will only make him feel worse. So she goes and takes him in her lap, and says, “Come here, children, and hear this story—or see this pretty thing—or hear me read something pretty to you”—so she contrives to amuse them a few minutes till all feel pleasant, and then she says to the offender, “Now, my dear little boy, you have been feeling cross and unhappy and have done wrong, but if you will try to be pleasant and speak kind for a whole hour, I will do so and so;—and you other children too, must try to make your little brother feel comfortable and happy, and not trouble him in any way.” Try such a method, and you will find it much better than fretting at the child yourself.
A person who takes care of children should _economize her favors and kindnesses_, and keep them to use for such occasions. If there are little enjoyments she can procure, or favours she can bestow, instead of giving them without any effort to gain them by the children—she should save them to use as rewards for their endeavours to be patient, kind and obedient.
And in all the management of children, it should be a maxim to regulate them by _love_ and _hope_, rather than by fault-finding and other penalties.
If you tell a child “If you try to do so and so, you shall have such an enjoyment,” then the child has something pleasant to think of whenever he is tempted to do wrong, and he is _pleased_ in trying. But if you tell him “If you do so and so, you shall be punished,” or if he feels that he shall get a scolding if he does what he wants to do—then there is nothing pleasant before the mind, while trying to do right. He sees punishment coming if he does one way—and no good comes if he does the other way, and so he has no pleasurable feeling at all to lead him to do right. There are some faults that must be cured by punishment, but these a parent must manage and not the domestics who take care of children. Let me advise you then, to manage children as much as possible by keeping them happy, and by offering them rewards for efforts to be good.
And in offering these rewards, always have _some particular thing_ that the child can try to do or not to do. Do not tell the child, “If you will _be good all day_ I will do so and so.” For “being good” is so indefinite that the child cannot tell what he is to aim at.—But tell a child, “Now if you will go a whole hour without speaking one unkind word, or if you will do such and such a thing, you shall have a favour,” and then the child has some definite thing to try to do. And be careful not to have the time of trial too long, for an hour to a child is as long as a day to older persons, and if you can get a child to govern itself a short time, it is learning to do it easier and longer the next time.
When children have faults _never try to shame them out of them_. Nothing hardens a child so much as this practice. Telling other people a child’s faults, for the purpose of curing the fault, is a sad, sad mistake. Suppose, in order to cure you of some bad habit, your employer should take visitors into the kitchen to shame you by telling them of your faults. Do you think it would be a good way to cure you? Surely not, and it is no better to treat children thus.
Instead of this, always treat children as if you thought they wished and intended to do right, and when they do wrong show sympathy and pity towards them, and try to conceal their faults from others as much as you can. This will make children love you, and try the more to do as you advise. When you have done wrong, if a person says, “It is _always_ just so—I _always expect_ you will forget, and do the wrong thing—I never can put any confidence in you”—does it not make you feel _discouraged_, as if there was no use in trying, and as if you were unjustly dealt with? But suppose your employer says, “Oh, I see you forgot this thing—or did that thing wrong—but I suppose you did not mean to. We all forget sometimes—I think you will remember better next time.” Does not such treatment make you feel as if you should try not to forget next time—far more than the first mode?
Take this same way with children. Always encourage them to try again, and make all the allowances and excuses you can, and then they will feel that you are sorry for them, and they will wish and intend to do better next time.
And the worse children are, the more danger there is of their losing all hope of improving, and all sense of shame, and all desire to gain a good character. I have had young persons come to my care, who I saw had acted so badly and been found fault with so much, that they did not expect any thing else, and so they never tried. And when they saw I expected that they would do well, and pitied or excused their defects, and praised them for every thing that was at all commendable, they began to grow encouraged. And finding how pleasant it was to be praised, and to have some one that did not dislike them all the time for doing wrong, they made very great exertions, till they really became all that they saw I expected.
I have seen great changes made in very bad children, by merely stopping finding fault, and encouraging and praising as much as truth would allow. I advise you try the same method, when you have to deal with very bad children. Stop finding fault; try to palliate and excuse as much as you can; try to convince them, you feel kindly to them; try to make them feel happy; act as if you expected they would try to do well; and every chance you can find, when they do well, commend them for it, and report their good conduct to their friends. Try this, and you will often find it will work wonders in improving bad children.
Be very careful, in talking with children, never to set an example of deceit. It often is as bad to deceive as it is to tell a direct lie, and a deceitful character is one of the worst and most disagreeable. For this reason _never deceive children in any way, or for any purpose_—and always express disgust if you see any deceitful tricks in them. Children soon learn to despise and dislike what others do, and if deceit is always spoken of as hateful and mean, they soon learn to feel so about it themselves.
Be careful to cherish feelings of strict honesty in children. Always advise them to ask leave to use each other’s things, and talk to them about the meanness and the danger of taking or using what belongs to others without knowing that the owners are willing. Remember that “_stealing, is using what belongs to others, without proper evidence that the owner is willing_.” And the evil is not so much in the thing done, as in the want of an honest character in the person who does it. And this want of honesty can be shown, as much in little matters as it is in great ones. If a child sees you go and get a needle, or thread, or a bit of tape from its mother’s work basket, and knows that its mother would not be willing, your example leads it to steal also.—Remember these things, and beware lest you are the guilty cause of training children to deceit and dishonesty.
Always endeavour to make young children modest and delicate. Avoid vulgar and indelicate words and actions, and express great disgust when you see or hear any thing immodest or indelicate in them. Nothing saves children from future dangers so much as great care in this respect.
Try to cultivate in children a habit of _industry_. This is a great preservative from bad tempers, and from mischief. Children love to be active, and they can easily be induced to be useful in one way or another. Try to contrive useful employment for them, and if you cannot secure it any other way, offer some reward for their services. But always try first, to get them to do useful things, for the pleasure of helping others, and of thus doing good. A great deal can be done in this way by trying, and thus you are helping to form habits both of industry and benevolence.
Never allow yourselves to tell young children frightful stories. Sometimes children suffer agonies of fear, from having their imaginations filled with frightful images, that haunt them in the dark, or when they go to bed. When I was very young I was told by a young girl, who did not like to stay by me, that if I cried, or made any noise, the “_bull beggars_” would come down the chimney and carry me off. And many a night I lay with my head covered up, sweating with fear and distress that I shall never forget. Probably there is no distress of childhood so great as that of _fear_, and domestics should be very careful not to excite it, and should be patient and kind to little children when they suffer from it.
Another thing I hope you will avoid, and that is, giving children good things to eat in order to coax or reward them. Remember that every time any thing is put into the stomach, all its muscles begin to work in moving it about, for an hour or two; for the stomach, in digesting food, works as hard as the hands work in kneading bread. The stomach needs time to rest after this effort, and children ought never to eat more than once between meals, and then they ought to have bread, or some other simple food.
Those, therefore, who give them cake, or candy, or nuts, and allow them to keep eating them every time they like, take a course which, unless the stomach is very strong, is sure to weaken and injure it. When children have nuts, apples, candy, or cakes, persuade them to eat them, either at their meals as a part, or else half way between a meal as a luncheon, and do not let them keep nibbling and tasting through several successive hours, thus keeping the stomach all the time labouring, and wearing out its strength.
There are plenty of receipt books in this country, that direct as to the kind of ingredients for food, and as to the proper quantities; but no knowledge of receipts can ever make a good cook.
The great art of good cooking is _taking care_. Take care that your fire is not too hot, nor too low—that your oven is not too hot, nor too cold—that your bread is not too much raised, nor too little; that your mixtures have not too much, nor too little of any particular ingredient.—It is _care, care, watch, watch_, that alone can secure the art of cooking well. And there are few persons whose business it is to cook, who view their duty on this subject in a proper light. To illustrate my meaning, I will give an example. The domestic of a family in which I have resided, was remarkable for always having good bread, at all seasons, even when the hot weather spoiled all other yeast but hers.
And such light, such sweet, such beautiful looking bread rarely is seen. Now the amount of pleasure and comfort given to this family by this one thing, few would appreciate. The master of the house always seemed to rejoice at every new baking, in seeing his family so well supplied. His wife always seemed pleased when her husband, children, and visitors praised the bread, and every member of the family, at every meal, felt a sort of satisfaction every time they looked at the bread plate. Now multiply these comfortable feelings at each meal, by the number of all the family, and then by the number of meals in a year, and what a large amount of enjoyment was thus made, simply by taking care always to have good bread! Change this bread to merely tolerable bread, and how much enjoyment would be lost!—Turn it to heavy and sour bread, and then how much discomfort would take the place of enjoyment!
Now is it not God who gives us all the common comforts of life, and do we not thank and praise him for them? And is it not worthy the aim of his creatures to follow his example, in contributing to the daily enjoyment of a family? And ought we not to dignify and ennoble all the common cares of life, by regarding ourselves, as co-workers with God in providing for the comfort and enjoyment of his creatures?
This view of the subject teaches us the true meaning of the direction: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or _whatever_ ye do, do all _to the glory of God_.” Now the glory of God consists in that _perfect benevolence_ of his character, which leads him always to find pleasure in providing for the comfort, and caring for the happiness of his creatures. And the more happiness is made, the more his glory is promoted. And the more we labour to promote the comfort and enjoyment of others, the more we are becoming like him, and are promoting his glory. Thus, in the humblest of all positions, every one of us can do something to add to the stock of happiness, which exhibits the glory of God, as the author of all being, and the source of all enjoyment.
Now it is much to be lamented, that people should fancy that there are some particular ways of doing good, that are especially acceptable to God. This is not so. It is the _temper of mind_, that God looks at and approves, and not the particular thing done.—A woman may go about and visit the poor, and give money to send education and the gospel to others, with very little self-denial, and perhaps from the mere love of the credit thus gained. And in this case, in God’s sight, the offering is of little value. But the domestic, who in her humblest employments, goes about trying to do every thing in the best manner, aiming thus to serve God, by promoting the comfort of his creatures—she is the one who receives his approving smile—she is the one who, _whatever_ she does, is doing all “for the glory of God.” I wish all who read this would thus regard their daily pursuits in the kitchen, and then they will not feel, as too many in humble circumstances are apt to do, that they have no way in which they can serve God, or do much good in the world. None of us can tell who does the most, or the least good. God appoints each one of us our lot, and requires all to do what they can, to complete the great sum of enjoyment, which He designs to secure. And the great thing for each to aim at is, not to have _some great thing_ to do, but to possess that benevolent and submissive temper of mind that will rejoice _to do_ good, wherever God appoints the place.
In the first of Corinthians, you will find a chapter in which “_charity_” is described. Now when the Bible was translated from the Greek 200 years ago, this word “charity” meant what the word _benevolence_ means now, and we should so understand it. In this chapter you find it thus written: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, (that is, _benevolence_,) I am nothing. And though I bestow _all my goods to feed the poor_, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity—it profiteth me nothing.”
Now this is the very thing I have been explaining. A person may be the most learned person in the world, and may give all he has to feed the poor, and even suffer martyrdom for the sake of religion, and yet be destitute of that temper of _true benevolence_ that makes him like God. All these _great things_ may be done from a mere love of show, or the desire of applause, and then they are nothing in the sight of God.
But that patient, humble, kind, gentle, benevolent _temper of mind_, that loves to serve God and do good to man, in all circumstances, and at all times, this is precious in the sight of God. And this temper of mind can be cherished and exhibited, as much in the kitchen as it can in the pulpit.—It can be shown, as much in providing food for a family, as it can in those schemes of benevolence which send missionaries and Bibles to heathen lands.
And though it is the duty of all Christians to feel an interest in the spread of that blessed religion, which brings so much hope and comfort to us, and though we ought all of us to contribute something from our stock for this merciful and heavenly object, yet we ought to feel that this is only _one_ way of showing our benevolent feelings, and that we can have but a few chances of this kind in a year. But it is in _every day life_ that we can _all the time_ be showing forth the temper of benevolence. And here it is that Jesus Christ looks to see, whether or not, we are gaining that self-denying, benevolent, and submissive spirit, that alone can prepare us for His heavenly kingdom.
I will now point out some particulars in your every day duties, that demand special attention.
There is no one article of cooking, that is so important as _good bread_, for this is the chief dependence for food in most families, and the health of a family very much depends upon it. Poor bread is always unhealthy. There are three things that are requisite to secure good bread, viz. _good flour_, _good yeast_, and _good care_. The best kind of flour has a very white or a yellowish tinge, and the poorest looks as if ashes were mixed with it. Good flour too packs closely, and does not fly about easily. _Grown_ flour makes bread that _runs_, and will not rise well. It is best always to try flour in one or two batches, before getting a whole barrel.
Many persons secure good yeast the year round, by making yeast cakes. There are others who have tried them and do not like them. These are made by mixing Indian meal in a quart or two of the best yeast, till it is thick enough to work up into round cakes about three quarters of an inch thick, and two or three inches in diameter. These are dried in the sun, or what is better, in a drying wind. They are then kept in a bag, in a place where it is not damp, and where they will not freeze.
In using them, take one cake for a large batch of bread, and soak it in milk and water through the night, and then use it like common yeast. This yeast is good for hot weather when yeast spoils so often. The best time for making yeast cakes is in May and October, and they will keep six months or more. Success all depends on having the best of yeast for making the cakes.
Those who have most success in making bread, are very particular in heating their oven exactly right. For this purpose they have oven wood kept in a pile by itself, and the sticks of nearly equal size. They then find out by trial, how many sticks heat the oven just right. Afterwards, they always use this number, and thus they are saved from much watching, and from many mistakes in baking.
Great care is needful also to put the bread in at just the _right time_. If the bread does not stand to rise long enough, it is too solid, either for health, or pleasure in eating. If it stands too long, it loses much of its sweetness, even if it does not become sour. A great deal of light and nice looking bread is not good, because it has lost its sweetness by being raised too much. The exactly right notch can only be found by trying, and after a while a cook will learn to know by the _looks_ of the dough when it is just right.
Always smell of the dough, and if there is the least sourness, knead some dissolved pearlash in, and it will remove it. Nothing is worse than sour bread, and it can always be remedied by pearlash. To discover sourness, open a place suddenly, and smell quickly before the gas escapes.
The following is the mode of making yeast and bread, practised by the domestic I have lived with, who makes as good bread as I ever saw.
For _yeast_, take a handful of hops, boil them in two quarts of water twenty minutes, strain off and mix in about three pints of flour, together with half a pint of distillery yeast, or a pint and a half of homemade yeast. Some molasses or sugar added, hides the bitter taste of the yeast, that sometimes is perceived in bread.
For _bread_, take a peck of flour, sift it, make a hole in the centre, and put in half a pint of distillery yeast, or nearly a pint of homemade yeast. Then wet up the flour with _warm milk_. The bread must then be kneaded for half an hour, until it is so thick and well mixed as to cleave from the hands without sticking at all. Raise it till it has cracks on the top and looks light and feathery. If sour at all, knead in a great spoonful of pearlash dissolved in a teacupful of milk. When the bread is baked, set the loaves on their ends, so that the bottom may not steam, and cover it with a cloth. Some persons dampen the cloth to make the crust soft. Some persons put salt in bread, others do not. When bread is not wet with milk it needs salt, and a bit of butter is also an improvement.
In _cooking vegetables_, much depends upon boiling them the right length of time. This is especially the case with potatoes, which next after bread are the most important item in family cooking. Success in boiling potatoes well, depends almost entirely on taking them out of the water _just as soon as they are done_ so as to be soft. If they remain after this point, they become water soaked. Therefore select the potatoes all nearly of one size, and try them often with a fork. As soon as it runs in easily, pour off the water, and hang them where they will be kept hot, keeping the cover off, to let off the steam. Even when potatoes are cooked in steam, they become water soaked, if they are kept steaming after they are cooked.
A very nice way to cook potatoes for a morning dish, is to pare them raw, and cut them in thin slices into a small quantity of boiling water, so that when they are cooked, most of the water will be evaporated. Then salt them and add some cream. If no cream is at hand, use some butter. Cold boiled potatoes are very nice cut in slices, and fried on a griddle in drippings. The common way of roasting potatoes is improved by peeling them when raw, and then roasting them in a Dutch oven or cooking stove. It gives the outside a fine crisp, of which many are fond.
In boiling all vegetables, first put salt in the water, say a great spoonful to a gallon. It is important to select all of a similar size that all may cook alike. Never let your pot stop boiling till they are done, as it makes them water soaked.
The following may serve as some guide as to time for boiling. Potatoes require from half to three quarters of an hour, according to the size. Cabbage requires from an hour and a half to two hours; turnips one hour; carrots one hour; if quite old still more time; parsnips one hour and a half; squash, when cut up, half an hour; pumpkins cut up one hour; green corn one hour; beets from two to three hours; Lima beans one hour; peas three quarters of an hour; if old, sugar and a little pearlash improve them; onions three quarters of an hour; asparagus half an hour; rice three quarters of an hour, pour off the water in _thirty_ minutes and add some milk, and be sure and salt it enough. Hommony requires two quarts of water to one quart of hommony, and it must be boiled five hours. Eggs require three minutes when there are few eggs and much water, and four or five minutes when there are many eggs and little water. Eggs cook, in a tin boiler, in five or six minutes after the boiling water is poured on them, if the boiler is first scalded. Vegetables boil much sooner when young and tender, and judgment must be used in varying time. Always try all vegetables with a fork to see when they are done.
Coffee should boil not more than ten minutes. In making tea, first scald the teapot, then put in one teaspoonful of tea for each person, and be sure that the water boils when poured on. Tea is injured by standing long to draw.
In preparing vegetables for the table, always have the dishes to receive them warmed, and never let any water remain in the bottom of the dish, and always wipe the edge of the dish clean with a damp cloth before carrying it to the table. Always contrive to have vegetables hot when carried to the table. If potatoes are old and watery, peel them before boiling; the moment they are done, pour off the water and hang them to dry a few minutes. Then empty them into a clean brown towel and shake them about in it. This makes them dry and mealy, as the towel absorbs much moisture from them. Potatoes are improved by mashing, putting in milk and butter and then baking them. Turnips when old and not sweet, are very much improved by mashing and squeezing the water out, and then adding a little white sugar. Be sure and squeeze the water thoroughly out of cabbage. Put your vegetables in nice order in the dishes, and set them on the table in a regular way.
In regard to cooking meats, very much depends, in roasting, on the size of the fire, on the heat of the weather, and on whether the meat is fresh killed or not; for meat cooks faster in warm than in cold weather, and fresh killed meat is longer cooking than meat that has been kept. Of course much depends on the care and judgment of a cook, but as some calculation must be made beforehand, as to how much time each article will require, the following may be of service as a guide. Boil a chicken twenty-five minutes; a hen forty minutes; a small turkey an hour and a half; a large one two hours; a leg of mutton of nine lbs. two hours and a half; a neck two hours; a piece of lamb weighing five lbs. two hours; a half round of salt beef three hours; pickled pork, soak six hours, and boil a piece weighing seven or eight lbs. three hours and a half. Boil two pounds of bacon one hour and a half. To cook ham, soak it through the night, then put it in cold water, heat it slowly for an hour, then let it simmer gently four or five hours, if it weighs as much as fifteen pounds. Soak tongues over night, put them in cold water and boil them slowly four or five hours. Try with a fork to see when they are done.
All boiling of meats should be done by _simmering_, for a galloping boil takes out both sweetness and tenderness. Leaving cooked meat in the water lessens its flavour and sweetness.
_Roasting_ may be regulated somewhat by the following directions. Roast a sirloin of fifteen lbs. three hours and a half. Ribs of beef the same.
_Mutton_ is very much improved by long keeping, and all meat is better when not fresh killed. Roast a leg of mutton of eight lbs. two hours; _the chine_, or _saddle_ weighing ten lbs. two and a half hours; a shoulder of seven lbs. one and a half hours; a loin, one and three quarter hours; the breast one hour and fifteen minutes; a leg and part of the loin weighing fifteen lbs. three and a half.
_Veal._ Roast the fillet weighing sixteen lbs. five hours; a stuffed loin three hours; a shoulder three hours; a neck two hours; the breast two hours.
_Lamb._ Hind quarter of eight lbs. one and three quarter hours; fore quarter of ten lbs. two hours; a leg of five lbs. one and a half hours; a shoulder one hour; ribs one and a quarter; neck one hour; breast three quarters of an hour.
_Pork._ Leg of eight lbs. three hours; sparerib of nine lbs. three hours; a thin sparerib one and a quarter; a loin of five lbs. two hours. A three weeks old pig one and three quarter hours.
_Fowls._ A turkey—let it warm for half an hour, then roast a large one three hours, a middle size two hours; a small one, one and a half hours. A large hen one and a quarter hours; a middle size hen one hour; small chicken forty minutes. A goose, from one and a half, to one and three quarters.
A duck from one half to three quarters of an hour. The more you baste in roasting the more you improve the flavour of the meat.
In _broiling_, cut the slices three quarters of an inch thick. If cut thicker they brown too much before the inside is cooked. Broiling is best, done quick, and eaten soon.
A cook has great opportunities for practising economy. For this end she should visit the cellar and pantry every day, to see that all the food is safely preserved, and that all spoilt articles are removed. She should save all small bits of butter, all drippings that can be used in cooking, and all grease that can be used for soap. She should preserve all good bits of bread, which can, when dry, be boiled in water or milk, to eat with butter and sugar—a favourite dish for children. Dry bread is also good for rusk puddings, and for stuffings.
Always use the dry bread before it becomes mouldy.
A cook also should practise economy in the use of fuel. Domestics are very apt to burn out far more fuel than is needful to keep themselves comfortable, or to do the cooking properly. This is very wrong, for we have no right to waste even our own things, far less to waste what belongs to another.
Remember that when our Saviour had power, by one word, to supply five thousand with bread, still he commanded his disciples, “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” This was done for the instruction of all who have the charge of food, or any of the bounties of his providence. Remember then, that in taking care of fragments of food you are following the example of him who thinks nothing is too small for his care and attention. In hot weather be careful always to cover meat from the flies. In preserving fresh meat, cut out all kernels, and fill the holes with salt, then rub salt all over. Always keep cheese covered closely. Cake, bread and cheese are best kept in tin boxes with tight covers.
The grand maxim for kitchen work, as well as all other work is, “A place for every thing, and every thing in its place.” Much is gained by forming a habit of putting up things and cleaning things as fast as they are used. You will see some domestics get a kitchen in fine order, and in a couple of hours every thing will be in disorder again. This is because, when they make a slop they do not wipe it, when they dirty the hearth they do not sweep it, when they use articles they never put them in their places. Instead of this a neat and orderly person not only puts things in order, but _keeps_ them so.
I have heard some housekeepers express the opinion that it was out of the question to get a domestic that was neat and orderly, and yet good tempered. It seems to be taken for granted that neat habits and a sharp temper go together.
Now this is owing to the fact, that when persons are neat and orderly, it troubles them far more than it does untidy persons, to have any matters of theirs disarranged, and so they gradually acquire a habit of fretting, or scolding.
This ought to be carefully avoided, and I hope all who read this will try and see if there cannot be _at least a few_, who can be neat, orderly, and yet good tempered domestics, so that it will not be said of them, as I have often heard of others, “Yes, she is very neat and orderly, but her temper is as sharp as a steel-trap.”
On setting tables. Washing and ironing, and other house work.
Those who are good housekeepers are generally very desirous to have their tables set neatly, and in a proper manner. Few things are more annoying to such persons, than to see the table set askew, the table cloth tumbled and put on awry, the knives, tumblers, plates, and dishes put on without any order; the pitchers soiled outside and in, the butter pitched on the plate without any care, the bread cut with a mixture of junks and thin slices and thrown on the plate carelessly, and all other matters in similar disorder. Nothing will give more satisfaction to employers than carefulness and order in this particular. The following rules will serve as a guide in this duty.
_Rules for setting Tables._
1. Lay the table rug _square_ with the room; the _right side up_, and smooth and even.
2. Set the table square with the room, and see that the leaves and legs are properly fixed, so that all will stand firm, and then put on the table cloth smooth and even, so that the creases will run straight across the table.
3. _For breakfast and tea_, set the waiter on _square_, put the cups and saucers in front, and the sugar and slop bowls, and cream cup the back side. Put a sugar spoon, or tongs, by the sugar bowl. Then set the plates around the table at regular distances with a knife in front, and a napkin on one side and a cup mat the back side of it. Put mats for dishes of food in a regular manner, and set these dishes on, square and orderly. Set the tea or coffee either on the waiter, or on a mat at the right hand.
4. _For dinner_, set the caster exactly in the middle of the table, and put the salts at two oblique corners of the table between two large spoons crossed. If more spoons are needed lay them each side the caster. Lay the salt spoons across the salt dishes, and the mustard spoon beside its cup. Place the knives and forks at regular distances, so that the knife will be at the right hand and the fork at the left. Place a tumbler and napkin so that they will be at the right hand side of each plate. In cool weather, set the plates to warm till dinner is ready. Place the two largest mats opposite the master and mistress of the family, and the others in regular order. Put the two principal dishes on these largest mats. Set the bread on a side table, or with a fork lay a piece on the napkin by each plate.
_On clearing Tables._
Always wipe the salt spoons and lay them beside the salt dishes in the cupboard. Also cleanse the mustard spoon. Fold the napkins neatly and lay them up in good order. When all the dishes are removed, fold up the table cloth so that it shall double in the same creases as were ironed in, and lay it away smoothly.
_On waiting at Table._
Always have a clean apron on, and your hands clean, and your hair in order, when waiting on table. Stand on the left side of the lady of the house, and always go to the left side of a person waited on.
In removing covers, be careful to turn them wrong side up before bearing them away, so as not to spill the steam on the table cloth, or on the dresses of those at table. In pouring out water, never fill the tumbler higher than an inch from the top. It is not considered good manners when waiting on table, to address persons at table, or join in the conversation at all, unless you are addressed by persons at the table.
_On Washing and Ironing._
Success in washing well, depends very much on the abundant use of water, and it is very important to employers, who are anxious to have their clothes well washed, that they provide easy modes of getting water and of heating it. In the work of mine on Domestic Economy, which I have before alluded to, is a plan by which, at a trifling expense, water can be raised, conducted about, and heated with far less labor than is commonly used.
_Common mode of Washing._
Assort the clothes and put the white ones in soak over night, as it loosens the dirt. Next day, wash the fine clothes first, and then rub them again in a second suds, turning all wrong side out. Put them in a bag and boil them half an hour, and no more. Then rinse them in a plenty of water and throw them into the bluing water. The nicest washers use two rinse waters before the bluing water. Starch those to be stiffened, and bang them out. Then wash the common white clothes, then the calicoes, then the flannels.
Never leave calicoes long damp, or standing in water; do not wash them in very hot water, and when the water looks dingy, change it or they will look dirty. Never rub on soap, but mix it in the water so as not to have any lumps, and use hard soap. Never let calicoes freeze in drying, and dry them wrong side out and in a shady place. All these cautions are needful to preserve the colours. Wash flannels in two suds, as hot as the hand can bear, and rinse in a hot suds. If not very dirty, two hot suds will answer.
If they are to be blued, then the rinse water must not be suds, as it makes the bluing go on in specks. Never put flannels in any but very hot water. Starch and shake them before hanging out.
This mode saves just _one half_ the work done by the common mode.
Make the soap thus: Boil six pounds of common soda with six pounds of bar soap in thirty quarts of water two hours. Then let it grow cool, and set it away for use.
In washing, put one pound of this soap to each pailful of water. After soaking the white clothes in lukewarm water over night, boil them in this mixture one hour _and no more_, or they will be injured. Then take them into a tub of cold water, and proceed just as you do in the common mode after you take them out of the boil. That is, rinse them in one or two waters and put them in blue water. The boiling in this mixture saves the rubbing in two suds, which is the common mode. If there are spots very much soiled, put on soap and rub them in the first rinse water. Flannels and calicoes cannot be washed thus. The mixture can be used twice or thrice, and then is good to wash floors with. Always wring clothes very dry the last time.
_On Sprinkling, Folding and Ironing._
Wipe the dust from the ironing board or table. Take lukewarm water and sprinkle all the articles, laying the coloured ones separately and the fine ones by themselves. Turn each article right side out. Fold and roll each piece separately, putting the fine ones in a towel and laying all in a basket, separating the white and coloured ones by a towel. Do not let the coloured clothes be damp long, but wait till you can iron them as soon after folding as will answer. Shake, stretch and fold the sheets and table linen. Iron all lace and needle work on the wrong side. Iron calicoes with an iron not very hot. Frocks are to be ironed thus; first the waist, then the sleeves, and then hang them on a chair, and iron the skirt. Keep the skirt rolled, while ironing the waist and sleeves.
Shirts are ironed thus; first the back, then the sleeves, then the collar and bosom, then the front. Iron stockings on the wrong side. Wipe the dust from the clothes frame before putting on the clothes, and remove the clothes as soon as aired, to save them from smoke or flies.
_Other Kitchen Work._
Be careful to keep your sink in order by frequent scalding. Keep a slop pail at hand to receive all refuse matter. Always keep a kettle of warm soft water over the fire.
Be very careful to _wash dishes_ properly, as this is a matter very often done amiss. I will tell you how those persons do this kind of work, who are ranked as the best domestics.
In the first place, they always keep a good supply of dish cloths. They have at least three in daily use, one for dishes that are not greasy, one for greasy dishes, and one for pots and kettles. These are put in the wash every week, and clean ones taken in their place. This prevents the musty, greasy smell that dish water so often leaves on dishes and dish towels.
When a large number of dishes are to be washed, they have two dish pans, one for hot suds and one for rinsing; also an old waiter, on which to drain the dishes when taken out of the rinsing water.
They also keep their suds hot and change it often. Before washing the dishes, they scrape all the plates and dishes clean and set them in regular piles, the largest at the bottom. Then they wash the glass, silver and other metal dishes first, wiping them while hot and rubbing them till bright and clear. Then they wash the dishes not greasy; and then take another dish cloth and wash the greasy dishes, rinsing them before putting them to drain. They keep two or three towels in use, so as to lay one aside when it becomes wet. One towel is usually kept for the dishes that are not greasy. Last of all, they take another dish cloth, and getting fresh water, wash the roasters, gridiron, pots and kettles. The metals they dry by the fire before setting away. For the nicest dishes, a swab made of stripes of linen tied to a stick like a small mop, is very convenient, and saves the hands from the hot water.
Be very careful to keep the cellar clean. Decayed vegetables in a cellar always endanger the health of a family. Many terrible fevers and epidemics have been caused by storing vegetables in cellars and leaving them to send out the poisonous gas that is always exhaled when they decay. Always remove any vegetables when they begin to decay. Watch the barrels of salt food to see that the meat keeps under the brine.
_Care of Lamps._
This matter demands far more care and neatness than is generally bestowed. This is the way I have seen it managed by those most neat and careful. An old waiter is provided to hold all the articles used, the oil pot has a small turned-up nose that will not drip and is set on a plate, the wick yarn is kept in a basket and _sharp_ scissors are kept for trimming. Great pains is taken to keep all the articles free from oil, and the rags and towels used are frequently washed and changed. After all the lamps are done, each lamp is carefully examined to see if it is _secured_ properly, and _wiped entirely clean_. Then every article used is made so clean and nice that no smell of oil will be caused by using them next time. Some housekeepers always do this job themselves, because they cannot get persons who will do it carefully.
Nothing makes work go off so easily as having some _system_ in doing it. Where the mistress of the family does not arrange your work, always try to have some plan yourself. For example, have a particular day of the week for doing particular kinds of work, and _go by the clock_ as much as you can.
On Friday or Saturday, see that your cellar, closets, pantry, are all in order. See also that you have a supply of holders, dish cloths, and all the articles you need for washing and ironing. If you will devote one day each week to examining every department and putting all in order, you will save much time and trouble.
_On the Care of Parlours and Chambers._
In sweeping the nicest parlours, it is common to cover the tables, books, sofas and chimney ornaments with old sheets. Then cleanse the fireplace and hearth and jambs. Then sweep the carpet. It saves a carpet very much to have a very large flat tin dust pan, with a handle a yard long, fixed straight up, so it will stand alone. This can be moved about without stooping, and much of the dirt swept into it with the broom, instead of sweeping all across the carpet. This saves much dust as well as wearing of the carpet.
After the dust settles, dust the articles with old silk handkerchiefs and feather brushes. Use a painter’s brush for dusting ledges. Shake and wash your dust cloths often, or they get filled with dust and soil the walls and furniture.
In dusting, be careful not to rub your duster against the wall. Set all the furniture straight and in regular order—never leave the chairs standing awry, as if dancing a jig with each other. Make them square with the wall. When doing chamber work, observe the following directions about making a bed.
_To make a bed._
Open the windows, lay off the bed covering on two chairs at the foot, and let the bed air some time before making it. When ready to make it, shake the feathers from each corner into the middle, then take up the middle part and shake it well, then push about the feathers and turn the bed over. Then push the feathers so as to make the head a little higher than the foot, and the sides as high as the middle part. Then put on the bolster, and then the undersheet so that the _marking_ shall be at the head, and the _right side_ of the sheet _upward_, tucking in all around. Then place the pillows so that the open ends shall be at the sides of the bed. Then spread on the upper sheet so that the _marking_ shall be at the head, and the _right side downward_. This arrangement of the sheets is designed to prevent the part where the feet lie from being turned so as to come to the face, and to prevent also the parts soiled by the body from touching the bed tick and blankets. Then put on the other covering, tucking in all except the outside one. Then smooth the cover and draw the hand along the side of the pillows, to make an even indentation. When the pillow cases are smooth and clean, hem over the upper sheet, and put them on the outside.
* * * * *
Sweep clean under beds, and remove all articles that can be moved, so as to sweep behind them. Wash the bowl and pitcher and tumbler on the wash stand every day. Once a week, scald all the vessels used in a chamber. Dust the doors, ledges, window sashes, and every article of furniture.
Never allow yourself to look in boxes or drawers, as it is a temptation to honesty, besides, being contrary to the wish of employers. Never allow yourself to take the most trifling article that belongs to another. Nothing is more important to a domestic than a character for _honesty_, and nothing grows so fast as habits of dishonesty. If you will steal needles, thread, pins, cord, or tapes, you will soon take more valuable things. And it is not the value of the thing taken which makes it an act of theft. Stealing is “_taking or using any thing that belongs to another, without evidence that the owner is willing_.” And no matter how small the thing is, it is theft, as much as if it were greater. And it is not the harm done to another that is most to be feared, it is the injury done _to yourself_ in forming a habit of dishonesty, and thus searing your conscience, and ruining your character. Always remember that you are committing a sin, when you are handling or using any thing that belongs to another, if you would be unwilling to have the owner suddenly appear and see you doing it.
The Way to be Happy.
Before concluding this little book, I will attempt to make one thing plain to you, which often puzzles many minds. From the pulpit, and in many other ways, you are often urged to become religious. And this duty is spoken of in a great variety of ways, so that there is a perplexity and difficulty in knowing exactly what it is that you are urged to do. You are sometimes urged “to become religious,” to “become pious,” to “become Christians;” at other times you are told, that you must “repent;” that you must “be converted;” must “submit to God;” must be “born again;” must have “a new heart;” must “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ;” must have “faith in Christ.” I have no doubt but that you sometimes feel, that you do not exactly understand what you are required to do, and that if any one would explain the matter so that you knew exactly _what to do_, you should be willing to do it. Now this is what I am going to attempt, and I think I can make it clear by a simple illustration.
Suppose a long and lingering sickness should suddenly appear in the place where you live, and the nurses and physicians could find no cure for it. At length a man appears who claims, that all who will come to him and obey his prescriptions, will be cured. Some say they believe in him, and some say they do not.—Some say they have faith in him, and some say they have not. Some come to him and get his directions, and obey them exactly; some do not even ask his advice; others ask for it, and when it is written out, lay it up in a drawer and never use it. Now, in this case, who are the persons who really believe in him, and really have faith in him? Surely it is not those who _say_ they _believe_ in him, it is only those who go to him, take his advice, and to the best of their understanding, _obey it_.
Now, suppose all who really obeyed his advice were healed, and then others who had neglected and despised him, should come to them, and ask what they should do, to be cured of that sickness. A variety of answers would be given. It would be said, you must “turn and repent” of your past neglect—you must “submit” to this physician—you must “believe” in this physician—you must “have faith” in this physician.
All these directions mean the same thing, that is, you must come to the physician for his directions, and then _you must obey them_. Merely believing that his prescriptions are good, or going to get them, without obeying them, is “faith without works, which is dead, being alone.”
Now this illustrates exactly the state of things in this world. God has created us _to be happy_, and this is the great aim of all his dealings with us. But the only way for us to be happy is, to form that holy, benevolent, self-denying character which Christ came to exhibit on earth. Such a character as this, none of us have, when we are born. On the contrary, we all form habits of living merely to seek our own selfish enjoyments. Young children find it hard to practise any self-denial, even for their own good, and we all find it hard to practise self-denial for the good of others. And yet, submission of the will to God, and self-denial in securing our own good, and in doing good to others, are habits that are indispensable to our present and eternal happiness.
Now, Jesus Christ came into the world to save it from that long, lingering disease, which will certainly end in eternal death, if not remedied before we leave this world. And he comes to creatures, who have long been living in entire neglect of his advice and requirements, and in his holy word, he teaches them how to be healed.
You now can understand that all the directions given, mean one and the same thing. We become Christians when we submit to Christ as our Lord, and set out to obey his commands. And the terms “to become pious” and “to become religious,” mean the same thing. We “repent” when we are sorry for past neglect, and show that we are sorry by our future obedience. To be “converted” means to be “turned about,” and this is done when we cease to neglect the directions of Christ and begin to obey them. To be “born again” means, to come into a new state of being, and this is true of us, when we cease to live for ourselves and begin to live for Christ. We “submit to God” when we take Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master, and submit our will in all things to his. When we are much engaged in any thing, we say we “give our _whole heart_ to it,” and when we cease to give the feelings of our hearts to our own pleasures, and become most interested in pleasing Christ, then we have “a new heart,” that is, our chief interest is entirely changed. We were most interested in pleasing ourselves, but now we are most interested in doing the will of Christ. So we “believe in Christ,” and “have faith” in him, when we not only seek to know his will, but earnestly endeavor _to do it_.
So you perceive, my friends, there is no real confusion or difficulty in this matter. You can all of you begin, _this very day_, to be the followers of Jesus Christ, and thus to walk in that path, which secures true peace in this life, and eternal happiness beyond the grave. I hope, therefore, if you have not done it before, that you will, this very day, take the Bible, which contains the directions of Christ, and go to your room and resolve to _begin immediately_ to serve Christ, and pray to him to help you to persevere. And then every day, go alone and read in this blessed book, and pray for help in trying to conform all your conduct to it. This is the way to _begin_ to be a Christian, and keeping on thus, and improving every day more and more, is the way “to grow in grace.”
But you will ask, perhaps, Can I convert myself? Is it not the Holy Spirit that changes the heart? To this I reply: No, you cannot convert yourselves, and it is the Spirit of God that changes the heart. All your determinations, and good resolutions, and continued efforts would be of no avail, without the help of God’s Spirit. But _you_ have got one part to do, and the Bible teaches us thus, on this point: “_Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God_ that worketh in you _to will and to do_, of his own good pleasure.”
This then is our great encouragement to begin to do _our_ part, and to keep on in our efforts to obey Christ. We are not left to our own unaided efforts.—While we are working out our own salvation, God is working in us “to will and to do,” and this is our grand hope for success in our efforts. But perhaps you will think, that you must wait till you feel some great distress of mind, and have convictions of sin, and such other feelings as you do not find in your own mind. But, my friends, there is no need of waiting for _any thing_. Many persons begin to be Christians, without any such previous anxiety and distress. Begin, then, this very day to serve Christ by “denying all ungodliness.” If you are inclined to be careless, or to be fretful, or to be indolent, or to be heedless and forgetful, these are the points where you are to begin to “take up your cross” and follow after Christ. It costs us a good deal of self-denial, when we have careless habits, to cure them, or when we are irritable and fretful, to become meek and patient, or when we are indolent, to become industrious, or when we are negligent and forgetful, to become thoughtful and attentive. And it is in all such matters that Jesus Christ prescribes to us, “Deny thyself _daily_, and take up thy cross and follow me.”
And we are very apt to undervalue our opportunities of doing good to others, and to forget that we can imitate Christ by “going about _doing good_.” The domestic who sets a good example to young children, and by words and acts helps to form their character aright, or who by her labours in the kitchen is contributing to the daily comfort of a household, and aiding the wife and mother to make a happy home to her husband, and to train up her children aright, she surely has a right to feel that she can imitate Christ by “going about doing good.”
Let us then, my friends, set about the duties of the lot our Saviour has appointed us, daily “looking unto him” as our pattern, our guide, and our Lord; daily praying to him for his help and protection, and then when he, who is Master of all the families of earth, shall appear, each of us shall hear his voice saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Variations in spelling and hyphenation remain as in the original.
The following corrections have been made to the original text.
Page 11: soon reached the[original has “t e”] ears
Page 16: on them by the benevolent[original has “enevolent”] king
Page 37: become lazy,[comma missing in original] ignorant[original has “gnorant”] and vicious
Page 62: twelve or fourteen[original has “orf ourteen”] hours of hard labour
Page 63: and it is[original has “it s”] becoming more and more
Page 73: become a neat[original has “eat”], industrious
Page 83: always secured for her[original has “he”] if possible
Page 85: way of raising the respectability[original has “respectablity”] of your employment
Page 85: never will be withheld[original has “witheld”]
Page 93: Eccles. 5:[original has a period] 19
Page 93: and setteth up kings.”[quotation mark missing in original] Dan. 4:[original has a period] 32
Page 134: shoot them and put an[original has “and”] end
Page 138: when this occurs a[original has extraneous comma] warning
Page 175: good plan to have a particular[original has “particalar”] evening
Page 185: you should try not to[original has “to to”] forget next time
Page 185: Always encourage[original has “enconrage”] them to try again
Page 189: would come down the[“the” missing in original] chimney
Page 190: labouring, and wearing out its[original has “ts”] strength
Page 196: all he has to feed the[original has “the the”] poor
Page 207: cut the slices three quarters of an[original has “and”] inch
Page 208: too small for his care and attention.[period missing in original]
Page 221: Where the mistress[original has misress] of the family does not arrange your work, always try[original has “alwaystry”] to have
Page 225: not the value of[original has “o”] the thing