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Title: From Kitchen to Garret - Hints for young householders
Author: Panton, J. E. (Jane Ellen)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        FROM KITCHEN TO GARRET

                              PRINTED BY

                        FROM KITCHEN TO GARRET

                    _HINTS FOR YOUNG HOUSEHOLDERS_


                             J. E. PANTON

                           _SEVENTH EDITION_


                             WARD & DOWNEY

                    12 YORK STREET, CONVENT GARDEN




                            AND MANY OTHERS

                         THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF

                        This Work is Dedicated


                              THE AUTHOR


In presenting this book in a completed and augmented form to the public,
I think a few words of explanation are necessary, lest the way in which
the chapters are written may lay me open to a charge of egotism.

About two years ago I began writing a series of short articles in the
pages of the ‘Lady’s Pictorial’ on the absorbing subject of
housekeeping, meaning to confine myself strictly to the house and home
of the British matron who begins life with little money and less
experience, never thinking anything more would come of them than a mere
temporary access of work for a few weeks; but I had not begun them for
more than a month when, through the office of the paper, a regular and
increasing mass of correspondence began to reach me, asking questions on
every subject under the sun, from the proper management of a house and
the feeding of a baby to the fearful inquiry whether I thought a wife
should leave her husband or not when she discovered all too late she
liked somebody else better than she did her lord and master. Since then
I have become a species of ‘mother confessor’ to hundreds of unknown and
valued friends in all parts of the world. I have correspondents in New
Zealand, India, America, and in all parts of the Continent, and they
have demanded of me that I shall produce a book evolved from my articles
and from the pages of ‘Answers to Correspondents,’ which have been my
work and my great pleasure since the articles on the home began; and as
they persist in asking for my experience and my opinions I am obliged to
give them, though knowing and fearing I shall be accused of speaking
everlastingly about myself; still I have never mentioned a thing I have
not tried or experienced, nor spoken of a single chair, table, or, in
fact, anything that I have not honestly and truly tried myself.

From my correspondence I have evolved quite a new profession, which I
commend to any lady who has taste and may wish to earn her living, I go
to people’s houses and advise them about their decorations, and tell
them the best places to go to for different things; I buy things for
country ladies, and write them long letters on every subject under the
sun for a set fee, and have made some of the nicest friends possible
through this means; and I feel sure that any lady who cares to take up
the ‘profession,’ and is of _sufficient social status to be above the
suspicion of taking commission or bribes from tradespeople to advertise
their wares_, and who above all possesses a quick eye and a certain
amount of taste, can make a good and steady income in a remarkably
pleasant way, while a great future would be before any gentleman
possessed of the same qualifications, for he could see to estimates for
painting, repairing, &c., and could act as a buffer between the
purchaser and the workman, and, being thoroughly acquainted with his
business, would soon become the boon and benefactor, to the ordinary
person who requires his house done up and furnished, who is much wanted,
and that no lady can be, because of the necessary fighting powers and
technical knowledge.

In connection with my work, we have now started a society for the
employment of ladies who will either decorate a house entirely, make the
chair-covers and curtains I recommend, or work at ladies’ houses at
dressmaking and upholstering, so that I may justly pride myself on the
fact that at least my particular column in the ‘Lady’s Pictorial’ has
been of some small practical good already. The address of the ‘Workers’
Guild’ is 11 Kensington Square, W.

I may mention, in conclusion, that I have revised and rewritten the
whole of the articles which appeared in the ‘Lady’s Pictorial,’ and in
some cases entirely evolved new matter out of my inner consciousness;
and if only the public extends to my book half the sympathy and
appreciation I have received from my thousands of correspondents for my
articles, I shall never regret the day when, at my editor’s request, I
seized the sceptre and became the ruling genius of many and many an
unknown home.




CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. CHOOSING A HOUSE                                                    1

II. THE KITCHEN ARRANGEMENTS                                           9

III. MEALS AND MONEY                                                  18


V. FIRST SHOPPING                                                     36

VI. THE HALL                                                          40

VII. THE DINING-ROOM                                                  49

VIII. THE MORNING-ROOM                                                69

IX. THE DRAWING-ROOM                                                  78

X. CURTAIN, CARPETS, AND LIGHTING                                     91

XI. BEDROOMS                                                         103

XII. DRESSING-ROOM                                                   135

XIII. SPARE ROOMS                                                    139

XIV. THE SERVANTS’ ROOMS                                             151

XV. THE NURSERIES                                                    160

XVI. IN RETIREMENT                                                   180

XVII. THE SCHOOLROOM                                                 192

XVIII. BOYS AND GIRLS                                                201

XIX. ENTERTAINING ONE’S FRIENDS                                      209

XX. THE SUMMING-UP                                                   223


FIGS.                                                              PAGES

1. SUGGESTION FOR DRAPING ARCH IN HALL                                42

2. SUGGESTION FOR DRAPING DOOR IN HALL                                43

3, 4. LAMPS                                                           47

5-8. CHAIRS                                                        50-53

9. SIDEBOARD                                                          55

10. DINING-ROOM AT GABLE-END, SHORTLANDS                              57

11, 12. WINDOW-SEAT                                               59, 60

13. CHAIR (WICKER)                                                    63

14. BOOKCASE                                                          72

15. DRAWING-ROOM AT GABLE-END, SHORTLANDS                             79

16. MANOR HOUSE WINDOWS                                               95

17. A CORNER IN A BEDROOM, GABLE-END, SHORTLANDS                     105

18. DRAPED ALCOVE FOR A BED                                          111

19. DRESSING-TABLE                                                   117

20, 21. WASHING-STANDS                                          124, 125

                        FROM KITCHEN TO GARRET



In the following chapters I propose to give young housekeepers, just
launching their bark on the troubled seas of domesticity, the benefit of
the experience that has been bought by me, occasionally rather dearly,
in the course of some eighteen or twenty years; for I have often been
struck with amazement at discovering how few really practical guides
there are that even profess to help newly married girls past those first
shoals and quicksands that so often wreck the little vessel, or that
spoil and waste so much that could have been usefully employed had
knowledge stood at the helm, and experience served as a lighthouse to
point out the rocks and narrows. Naturally, no one ever uses another’s
experience entirely: to do so would make life too near perfection and
too monotonous to be pleasant. Still, there are a hundred little hints
that I have constantly been asked to give, a great many helps to
household arrangement that I have bestowed on many of my young friends
starting in life; and I trust I may not be considered unduly egotistical
if I lay before my readers the result of some years of life, and a good
deal of experience obtained by looking about me generally.

I shall propose in the first two or three chapters to sketch out some
‘notions,’ as our American cousins would say, about the questions of
house-choosing and house-furnishing, I shall then pass on to the
question of servants; then babies will have their turn; education, more
especially of girls, will not be forgotten; and I shall endeavour to do
my utmost to state plainly and describe accurately, not only how a house
should be furnished, but how it should be managed and kept going,
literally from garret to basement.

As very rich people can place themselves unreservedly in the hands of a
professional decorator, and can moreover depend on their housekeepers
afterwards for all details of domestic management, I shall begin by
supposing the model couple who wish to choose a house and furnish it are
not rich; if they were they need not come to me for hints, for they
would be able to gratify every one of their own tastes, and need only
discover the best and most expensive shops, where skilled assistants
would be ready to hang expensive papers and brocades, and to fit up all
the thousand and one things that fashion calls necessary, without any of
my assistance. But neither are they very poor: they are young, happy,
and have taste, and are rather disheartened at finding out what a very
little way their money seems able to go. They have looked longingly at
Persian and Turkey carpets, at beautifully designed paper and exquisite
hangings, and have come home from a long day’s investigation of
shop-windows that has almost made Edwin forswear matrimony altogether,
and that has plunged Angelina into an abyss of despair that makes her
snappish to her brothers and sisters, and brings a sad look into her
mother’s eyes, who seems to see the first shadow ‘of the prison-house’
close in around her child, and yet is powerless to help her escape,
because, poor dear soul, she has no means of doing so herself; being as
she is the victim of the old _régime_ of flock papers and moreen
curtains and heavy mahogany, and being conscious, too, of the vast sums
it cost her to start in housekeeping. However, I refuse to hear any
grumblings at all, and demand calmly enough to know if I may see the
house that our young folks mean to inhabit. Ten chances to one that they
do not even know where it is likely to be: how then, I ask, can they
possibly know what they will want, or what is likely to suit the house
or the locality, or, indeed, any of the many things that are positively
necessary to know, before as much as a roll of wall-paper can be bought
or a chair or table purchased?

Here is hint number one. It is from not knowing and understanding the
house in which one has to live, and through purchasing furniture simply
because we like it, and not because it suits us or our domicile, that
such mistakes are made. First know your house; then, and not until then,
can you proceed to furnish it in a manner that will result in pleasure
to you and your friends for as long as you live in it.

To young people like my couple, I would strongly recommend a house some
little way out of London. Rents are less; smuts and blacks are
conspicuous by their absence; a small garden, or even a tiny
conservatory (the joys and management of which ought to have a chapter
all to themselves), is not an impossibility; and if Edwin have to pay
for his season-ticket, that is nothing in comparison with his being able
to sleep in fresh air, to have a game of tennis in summer, or a friendly
evening of music, chess, or games in the winter, without expense; and
with Angelina’s absence from the temptations of shop-windows in town,
where, if she does not know of anything she wants when she goes out for
her aimless walk, she soon sees something that she cannot resist, which
she buys just because she has the money in her pocket, and likes the
look of an article she would never have thought of had she been outside
the range of temptation.

Another reason for choosing the suburbs at the commencement of married
life is that in this case the rival mothers-in-law and the rival
families will not be running in and out perpetually; and neither will
Angelina be always contrasting the old ease, plenty, and amusements in
her sisters’ lives, and which used to be hers, with the somewhat
straitened and monotonous existence that she must put up with until
Edwin has made a mark in the world, and is able to keep his carriage and
live in style. Granted, then, that the suburbs have been selected, the
first few months of the engagement can be advantageously spent in
running down on Saturday afternoons to divers ‘Parks’ to look at houses
that sound so beautiful on paper, and are too often the very reverse in
the reality, in sauntering in the neighbourhood of each ‘eligible
residence’ and in endeavouring to discover what are the _pros_ and
_cons_ of each, and in finding out the soil and the aspect, and if there
are or are not any pretty walks to be found in the country round. Avoid
clay; let no persuasions, no arguments, persuade you that clay--at all
events suburban clay--can ever be anything save depressing and
rheumatic. You may drain, you may dig, but clay is like a ghost that
will not be laid, and that sooner or later asserts itself in the most
unpleasant and decided manner possible.

One of the prettiest suburbs we know of is utterly spoiled by its clay
soil. In warm days it depresses, in damp it chills; and in an east wind
the soil looks so dreary, so parched, that the mere sight of it is
wretched, while fog and mist hang over it all the winter, and sour the
tempers and warp the minds of the inhabitants until there is a lack of
hospitality and an amount of work for the doctors that is wonderful, if
unpleasant to contemplate.

Of course, all the S. or S.W. and S.E. suburbs are the most fashionable
and the most sought after; and although, to my mind, Penge and Dulwich
are dreary and damp, they are evidently well supported and much lived
in, but the higher parts of Sydenham are to be preferred; while Forest
Hill, the higher parts of Lordship Lane, Elmer’s End--where there are
some extremely pretty and convenient villas--and the best parts of
Bromley, Kent, are all they should be. Still, to those who do not mind
the north side of London, Finchley, Bush Hill Park--where the houses are
nice to look at and excellently arranged--and Enfield are all worthy of

Edwin’s work and its locality must, after all give the casting vote,
for, if it be at the West End, Liverpool Street Station is out of the
question, and Victoria, is a _sine quâ non_, and, of course, he may
choose to live in town. If he does, I should strongly persuade him not
to be guided by fashion, and to prefer a good-sized, old, well-built
house in an unfashionable locality, to a small, heated, stuffy, badly
put together residence in one of the parts of town that are inhabited by
those with whom he can never hope to associate.

Indeed, when I have seen the tiny hovels in Mayfair where ladies and
gentlemen crowd together, and where their servants herd under tiles or
in the damp, dark cellars, I have thought that Fashion and Folly were
two names for one thing, and have had but a small opinion of those who
could condemn themselves and their poor domestics to such an unhealthy
and miserable existence, just because Park Lane is close by and it is

Doubtless the great thing that strikes us when we are house-hunting is
that if women architects could get employment houses would be far better
planned than they are now. In each bedroom, it seems to me, that I have
inspected--and their name is legion--the male mind that designed the
rooms never took into consideration that a bed should not stand between
the windows and the door; which, by the way, is always put so that the
moment it opens the occupant of the bed has a full view of the passage
or landing; he has given us no recesses in which we can put shelves, and
by a judicious curtain arrangement do away with the necessity of buying
large and expensive wardrobes; he puts the fireplaces where, if we are
ill, we could not possibly enjoy ourselves with sitting over the fire
and warming ourselves; and he gives us far too many windows as a rule,
and almost ruins us in blinds and curtains, to prevent the neighbours
from gazing at us when we are dressing.

He forgets cupboards, and in fact insists on producing month after month
an excellent shell, but one that requires altering considerably by a
lady before it really can be lived in at all; and I would strongly
suggest that female architects for domestic architecture solely would be
a great help to all who have to live in houses planned and executed by
men who have no idea of comfort, and but small appreciation for the
trifles light as air that make all the difference between that and great

If Edwin be at all handy at carpentering he could do a great deal to
make even a builder’s design much better--he could rehang doors and
extemporise screens; but I look forward to a time when it shall be
necessary for houses to be passed by a sanitary commission before they
are allowed to be let at all; when all these discomforts will be
minimised, and when dust-bin refuse and bad drainage shall be penal if
used for foundations and put into houses; when the lesser evils of badly
placed doors, windows, and fireplaces will be looked after, as making
parts of what should be a perfect whole.

Before taking his house in the suburbs, Edwin must see he holds it on a
lease that does not include structural repairs. He must give a properly
authorised inspector, _from a distance_, a fee to inspect all the
drains; he must examine the foundations and look to soil, see that the
doors and windows really fit, and that the skirting board has not shrunk
away from the flooring. He must look to the roof and the chimneys, and,
if possible, get a character for it from the last tenant; and then, and
then only, need he and Angelina come to me and say, ‘We have settled on
our Paradise; now please come and see it and tell us what we had better
buy first, and what we must do to furnish it and make it look as pretty
as we intend it to do.’

And yet, even when Edwin and Angelina have at last settled on their
house, and have sensibly inspected it from top to bottom, I should, long
before buying any furniture, decide definitely which room was to be
dining-room, which bedroom, and which drawing-room, and, being guided by
the sunshine obtainable in each, rather than the builder’s plan, utterly
refuse to enter a shop until I had made up my mind how the rooms are to
be appropriated.

Sunshine is the very first necessary of life; without it sickness comes,
low spirits are one’s portion, and a thousand and one tiny ailments hang
about us, until we sum up a tremendous doctor’s bill, utterly ignorant
that we could have cured ourselves comfortably had we had any sense, and
dispensed with our blinds, regardless of the fading of our carpets and
curtains; or moved our morning-room into the sacred precincts of the
drawing-room, which obtains all the early sunshine, and has none at all
during the hours when we should be sitting there. But the possession of
a large and hideous, white marble mantelpiece and a tiled hearth to the
ugly, wasteful grate says ‘drawing-room’ too plainly for the ordinary
mind to rise above the builder’s dictum; and so a cheerful breakfast
table is sacrificed, for conventionalities that I, for one, never see
without longing to disregard, simply because of their family likeness to
every one else’s possessions, and gloom and low spirits seize their
victim, and work their wicked will, sending off the husband to town with
an aching head, and causing the wife a long, laborious morning of
snapping at servants and children, simply because she had not begun her
day with a proper amount of sunshine. I could fill a whole chapter with
praises of the life-giver, the mighty, beautiful sun; and whenever I see
blinds hardly raised, or carefully adjusted to save the furniture, I
know that I shall find inside those guarded windows faded cheeks, even
if the chairs are fresh, and weary, tired people, who are hardly aware
what sort of a day it is outside, and who are shivering over a fire
that would not be wanted were the fire nature has given us allowed to do
its work. Therefore, do not be guided in your choice of rooms by the
fact that the builder has made a sunless, dark-looking room the
dining-room, and a cheerful, light, and pretty chamber the drawing-room.
The white marble mantelpiece does not matter one bit.

I can soon alter that, and a tiled hearth is not such a dear or precious
luxury that one cannot afford to put in another in the drawing-room, and
it is extremely nice to have a hearth where we can put down our plates
and dishes to keep hot should any one be late; and the other details are
generally so small in their differences that I am sure there is no
reason why we should not have strength of mind to be different to our
next-door neighbour, who most probably has taken things as she found
them, and in consequence is rarely, if ever, without a headache.

Even in the smallest houses in these days there is generally a third
room, and this I should advise being kept entirely to sit in. I cannot
imagine anything nastier than to sit in a room in which one has one’s
meals; the mere worry of seeing them laid would annoy me so that I don’t
think I should be able to enjoy them afterwards; and then nothing seems
to me to quite clear away the terrible sensation, and smell of meals,
that appear to saturate the walls of any room where food is constantly
served, while the additional fire that seems the only reason that
compels people to remain all day in one atmosphere is paid for over and
over again by the extra warmth of the house itself, and the satisfactory
manner in which damps and draughts are exorcised, while no one can tell
the advantage it is to health to have a change of rooms, and to sit in a
place where food and the evil odours attending meals never can come.

And here let me impress upon you, my readers, always to be guided by
common sense, not by fashion and conventionalities; to do a thing
because it is healthy and sensible, not because Mrs. Jones next door and
Mrs. Smith over the way do it; to buy a thing because it is required,
because it is pretty and suitable to your house and your means, not
because it is ‘so very expensive,’ and so can never become ‘common,’ or
because it is the ‘very last thing out’; and, above all, do not mind
taking advice and using your eyes, being quite sure that older folks,
even if they are stupid and slow-going, have probably seen more and know
more than you do, simply because their lives have been longer by a great
many years than yours are at present. And do not be above letting other
people have the use of your talents, for the world would be much nicer
and happier altogether if we were not all so profoundly selfish and
exclusive, and were not so desperately afraid of soiling ourselves and
our garments by rubbing shoulders against anything or any one to whom we
can apply the word ‘common.’

I myself should like to see every beautiful thing common. I should love
to know that all the world saw, possessed, and cared for art colours and
art furniture, and had nice tastes, and I look forward to a time when
even our poor brethren will appreciate all the inexpensive lovelinesses
that are to be had now by those who know where to get them, and I trust
that some day free art exhibitions and lectures may teach them what real
beauty is, and so enlighten and enliven lives that at present are of the
dullest and most sober description.

In stating that life itself may be changed by sunshine and by cheerful
surroundings, and that even the bitter lot of the poor would be bettered
by art, I am aware I lay myself open to the same jeers that greeted the
Kyrle Society--that blessed society that, regardless of cold water, goes
on its way, giving of its talents to the sick and needy; but I maintain
my position for all that, and regardless of the ridicule levelled at
them, anent sunflowers and dadoes taking the place of bread and clothes,
I point to the hospital wards, transformed from bare whitewashed prisons
into artistic, charming, home-like rooms, and I should like to have the
statistics given me of all who have recovered there, and the time they
took to recover in, in the two different aspects of the walls, being
perfectly certain that there would be more and quicker recoveries in the
reign of the Kyrle Society than when the wearied, suffering creatures
had nothing to look at or think about save their own painful, cruel lot.

Or if you wish another example still, take the well-known famous
description of the sour tempers and hard days possessed and lived by
Thomas Carlyle and his wife, and then go and inspect the house in which
they lived together for some thirty-eight years. The house itself is
delightful--an old-world place, full of beautiful corners--and could be
made charming with a little money and taste, but the hideous paper and
paint still lingering behind them, the dark windows, in some cases
half-filled with ground glass to keep out the view of a building that
looks singularly like a workhouse--all accounted to me for a great deal
of Mrs. Carlyle’s ill-health and low spirits, and for a vast quantity of
Mr. Carlyle’s dyspepsia and ill-tempered behaviour; for he could be
nothing else in sunless rooms and with walls papered in the ugly,
depressing manner in which he doubtless considered them satisfactory,
or, still more likely, thought that any paper did as long as the walls
were covered.

Therefore, in selecting house and furniture, and choosing your rooms and
appropriating them, remember the first thing is to be cheerful. Dark
days will come in life to us all, but they will not be hopeless and too
dreadful to be endured if we cultivate a cheerful, contented spirit, and
insist on having cheerful surroundings.

Do you recollect, I wonder, the orthodox dining-rooms of twenty-five
years ago?--the heavy, thick curtains of red or green cloth or moreen
damask; the tremendous mahogany sideboard, generally with a cellarette
underneath it, which, I recollect, made an admirable tomb in which to
bury one’s dolls or obnoxious books, generally triumphantly taken from
the schoolroom; the chairs that required two people to lift them; the
carpet that seemed immovable, and that was too heavy to be shaken more
than once a year; and the woolly-bear hearthrug that always smelt of
dust, and that was a receptacle for all sorts of cinders, toy-bricks,
leaden soldiers, and bones dragged in and buried there by a delinquent
dog or cat? Why, the mere shaking of that rug once a week resulted in
the discovery of all sorts of treasures that had been lost, and the dust
that came out was enough to choke the neighbourhood, and doubtless would
have done so had the other inhabitants not all been engaged with their
own. Ah! if you do not all of you remember the dining-room of the past,
I do; but never without a shudder, or a wonder how we managed to live in
such a dark and dusty atmosphere, where work, reading, drawing, and
writing all had to be hustled out of sight and out of the way of the
parlour-maid, who came to ‘lay the cloth,’ and renew the foul odours,
which had only just been exorcised, which breakfast had left behind it
to poison the morning with. I should think that domestic furniture was
at its very lowest depths of despair then; but that is thirty years ago,
or perhaps forty, and nothing turned the tide for quite twenty years!

In the beginning of those evil days the graceful furniture of
Chippendale and Sheraton was pushed away and consigned to attics, or
sold cheaply at country auctions to fit up inn parlours or rooms behind
shops; and the heavy ‘handsome’ furniture of mahogany and damask bore
down upon us, and made us for a time the most depressed of people, heavy
with our ugly furnishings, and the mock of all nations that had better
taste and lighter hearts than we were possessed of.

It would take too long to trace the gradual development of taste and
cheerfulness since then, neither do I know to whom is due our present
state of emancipation and love of pretty things, but even sixteen years
ago light was only just beginning to be vouchsafed to us. Now it is
impossible to buy an ugly thing in good shops, and each person’s house
is no longer the reflection of one particular upholsterer’s shop or of
one particular style; but it is a carefully arranged shrine, cared for
and looked after, and judiciously managed by the owner, who, if she have
not taste herself, is now shamed into using some one else’s, by the
contrast she cannot help seeing her home presents to all the others into
which she enters; and one of the most hopeless people I know, who began
life with gilt legs to her chairs and a collection of family plate
(plated) on her sideboard, has become unobtrusive, even if she can
never be tasteful, simply by seeing how different her own notions were
to those of the cleverer people with whom circumstances brought her into

However, this chapter will become too long if I relate any more ‘fearful
examples,’ and, impressing on my readers the great necessity of sunshine
and cheerfulness in their scheme of furnishing, I will pass on to the
subject of the house itself, which must be most carefully chosen after
long and deliberate inspection thereof, as I remarked before; one of the
most necessary of all mottoes to be recollected in starting in life
being, ‘Do nothing in a hurry. More haste, less speed.’



The other day I was asked, as I so often am by young couples, to go with
them to look over a house they had just taken, and to give them some
advice on the decoration and management generally thereof; and when we
had thought about all the pretty colours and graceful draperies we
considered suitable, I asked to look at the kitchen department, and I
was truly horrified to discern that my young folks had only been into
the kitchen once, and had no idea of its capabilities.

I at once departed to look at it, and found all the accommodation for
the unfortunate maids consisted of a square box, one half stove, the
other half door, a couple of shelves for all the bridal glass and china,
and a larder in which one could have placed the meat, butter, and bread
without moving from the fireside, and which, useless enough in winter,
would be doubly so when summer came, and added another trial to those of
the already overburdened cook. However, the agreement was signed and the
house taken for five years, during which, I am quite certain, no servant
would remain a moment over her month, and in consequence of which that
establishment will, I know, be in a continual state of misery and

Of course one can hardly expect young people to think of these prosaic
and disagreeable details for themselves, but they are most necessary
details for persons to consider. Personally I would much rather regard
life as a smooth chariot gliding along a rose-embowered road, propelled
by some mysterious and wonderful power called Love, who is, of course,
entirely ignorant of anything save kisses and blisses. I do not want in
the very least really to know how dinner is cooked, how houses are
managed, and the very names of chairs and dusters are properly
obnoxious to me--or rather would be if we could only do without them.
But, alas! we cannot; we must be clean, we should be healthy, and it is
imperative that we should have kitchens and be warmed and fed; and, as
fairies are extinct and brownies no longer appear and do work
mysteriously and pleasantly before we are up in the morning, even a
bride must be told about these unpleasant localities, and must learn to
take an interest even in her scullery and the position of her dust-bin.
Therefore, on the principle of getting rid of our disagreeable duties
first, we will begin with hints for kitchen management before thinking
about the purchase of the rest of the furniture; for it is a very good
rule to buy what we must have first, and then keep any surplus we may
have to spend afterwards; and we will begin with the kitchen, for that
department is always the most uninteresting to the young housekeeper,
for she has only a certain amount of money to spend on everything, and
she grudges, I am sure, every pound she has to spend on pots and pans,
that she thinks would be so useful if added to the small sum she has at
her disposal, for extras and ornaments in the other rooms in her house.

If their household consist of two maids and Edwin and Angelina alone,
their _batterie de cuisine_ need be neither an extensive nor expensive
one, for after a lengthy experience of maidens and their ways I have
come to the conclusion that the fewer things they have the fewer they
will spoil, and that we are far more likely to have clean saucepans and
pots if there are none to put aside and no others to use, if, as the
maid thinks, she has not time at her disposal for the moment in which to
clean them. Now if she have only the saucepans in actual use they must
be cleaned as soon as they have been used, or the food will most
certainly tell tales of her.

The position of the kitchen in a house makes an immense amount of
difference in the work, for if it be situated underground it makes quite
one servant’s work difference. Fortunately builders are more and more
inclined to think of this, and it is now rare to find in a new house the
unpleasant and unhealthy arrangement that exists in most London houses.
First of all, the staircase to the kitchen is always a dreadful source
of worry. We must cover the stairs to deaden the noise, and the wear and
tear is so great that the covering has to be renewed well-nigh yearly if
we are in any way to preserve a tidy appearance. The best material to
use on these stairs is a species of harshly woven Dutch carpeting. It is
made in art colours, and is about 1_s._ 6_d._ a yard; or Treloar’s
pretty crimson cocoanut matting, which is a trifle less in price, and
lasts more time, when, if it should show signs of wear, it can once more
be covered with oilcloth, and then I think the stairs will look as nice
and keep as tidy as long as possible.

If there be any passages in and round the kitchen and servants’
apartments generally, I have discovered that a most excellent plan here
is to have a high dado of oilcloth, headed by a real dado-rail painted
black, and then papered above with one of the blue and white washable
papers that resemble tiles, are moderately inexpensive, and always clean
and bright. At one time my passages in those regions were my despair;
they were narrow, and bits and corners--paper, plaster, and all--were
continually knocked out in the most depressing way, especially at the
back door, where, moreover, every boy who came for orders or with
parcels solaced himself while waiting by leaning his greasy head or
putting his dirty hands on the wall-paper, until the whole place looked
disgraceful almost before the paste was well dry. I was at my wits’ end.
Cretonne and matting were decidedly out of place. At last the idea of
oilcloth came into my head, and for six years it has now been up, and is
as good as the day it was purchased. I continued this up the back
staircase, with very favourable results as regards wear and tear, for a
box knocking against it does not hurt it in the least, and any marks can
be rubbed off at once with a dry duster. The oilcloth is not stretched
too tight, and it is nailed top and bottom, then secured at the top with
the dado-rail, which, being made of what is technically called
‘scantling,’ is most inexpensive; a neat pattern is chosen in

The oilcloth made like an old Roman mosaic would of course be preferable
as far as appearance goes, but this costs double, and therefore I was
obliged to have an ordinary and commonplace-looking one instead; but
should the æsthetic eye revolt against the ugly colours of cheap
oilcloth, I may mention it can be painted any colour easily, and this
can make it at once pretty to look at.

I am of opinion that such a dado would be a great thing in the kitchen
itself, where the walls so speedily become soiled by the heat from the
hot-water pipes that the kitchen soon becomes dismal for the servants to
sit in. I do wish it would enter into the plan of even quite a small
house to have a tiny room where the servants could sit and work, or have
their meals, out of the kitchen atmosphere; and then perhaps I should
not mind the look of the kitchen quite so much; but even in a large
house there is seldom a room one can set aside for this purpose, and
often enough the only place a maid has to live in is the one in which
all the cooking is done, and where, winter and summer alike, a large
fire has to be kept going from morning until night.

But until that happy day arrives we can make the orthodox kitchen almost
a model one, with a dado of oilcloth as high as we can get it, and a
light varnished paper above the dado; the varnishing allows of constant
washing, and though this is, of course, an expensive process, it
insures cleanliness, and, the first outlay once made, it does not
require renewing for some years. The ceiling, however, should be
whitewashed, with the scullery walls and ceiling, and those of the
cellars, &c., regularly once a year--about May. Nothing should be
thought more necessary than this; and once a year, when this is done,
the mistress should overlook every single possession she has, comparing
them with a list made at the time she entered the house, which she
should never let out of her own possession, and which she should alter
from time to time, as things are broken or lost or bought.

The most important thing now to consider is the grate, and nowhere, I
think, does the ordinary landlord or builder ‘skimp’ more than in this;
and let me ask any young bride to put her pride in her pocket here, and
to consult her mother, or the last bride but four, or any one who has
had a grate in her own possession, before she passes the grate that the
landlord has provided her with. Of course I can only _hope_ any new
householder will take advice; the dear things always know so much better
from theory than we do from practice, and are never going to make the
mistakes we did, and from which sprang the knowledge we are as anxious
to give them as they are unwilling to take, that I can only humbly ask
them to see about the grate before they really put themselves in its
power, and I beg them to insist on having a new one; for on no other
portion of the house does so much of our comfort depend, a bad grate
spoiling the cook’s temper and wasting the food horribly, while a good
one is an endless treasure, of which we really cannot make too much.

If our young folks are too proud to ask advice, let them go to Steel and
Garland’s, on the Holborn Viaduct, where I have seen some most
picturesque kitcheners, which I must confess to hanker after in a manner
that perhaps is not right; but I cannot help it, they look so charming,
and are, I believe, so satisfactory in their working. They have
blue-tiled backs, and have also delightful ovens and a broad expanse
over the fire that would heat any amount of saucepans at the same time;
and if Angelina goes to live in her own house, I should certainly
recommend her to see these before buying any other kitchen grate. They
are most economical as regards coal; and if Angelina be wise enough so
to manage her cook as to impress upon her what an excellent fire can be
made and kept up in a kitchener using the small coal almost like dust,
that is so very inexpensive, and that the best Wallsend need not be
taken for the purpose, she will soon save the cost of her stove over and
over again in the difference in the price of the material she uses to
keep it going.

Of course this small coal can be burned in a kitchener that has not
blue tiles, and is a simple, ugly thing; but these are not as reliable
as a good stove is, and the ovens burn and spoil so much, owing to the
inferior iron of which they are made, that an effort is worth making to
secure a good and _reliable_ grate, else Edwin’s dinner may occasionally
not be quite as nice as could be wished for him to come home to. But,
cheap grate or dear grate, never allow for one moment that an odour
therefrom should pervade the house. This may require a battle; but it is
one to be won by the mistress if she exhibit firmness, and, above all, a
due knowledge of her business as manager of the household. The terrible
and sickening smell that so often has been known to fill a house simply
comes from grease having been allowed to fall on the oven plates inside.
This waxes hot, and then is followed by the odour, which there is
nothing like anywhere besides. To obviate this, a cook should always
carefully look after any spot or drop of grease, and if by any chance
the oven has become foul, it must be cleansed by burning some hay or
straw in it; but this need not occur at all if the cook be commonly
careful, any more than that green-water need smell, if a small crust of
bread be placed in the water while it is boiling, and then the water
should at once be emptied away into a corner of the garden, or down the
sink if there be no garden, when a little carbolic acid should be added,
which would take away the odour at once. These may appear very trivial
matters to write about, but a great deal of our comfort and, in
consequence, of our happiness depends upon these trifles. I know nothing
more disagreeable and trying than a bad smell, and if Edwin comes home
to a house reeking of dinner and the oven, what wonder that he flies to
his pipe and wishes himself back in his club; while his wife cannot
possibly smile and look pleased to see him, when she is suffering untold
miseries from the refractory grate, and a cook who would be only too
glad to save her the odours if only she knew how.

I am no advocate for mistresses spending their lives in a perpetual
harassment of their unfortunate servants, but there is one thing that
should never be left to the tender mercies even of the best servant that
ever lived; and that is the sink, or, in fact, any drain that may be in
the kitchen regions. I cannot tell how it is, but a domestic appears to
me to be born into the world bereft of any sense of smell. They never
can smell anything. You will go into the kitchen and discover an odour
enough to appal you, and you will say, ‘What is this terrible smell, I
wonder?’ but your cook will reply, ‘Smell, mum? Oh, I don’t smell
anything; perhaps it have drifted in at the window.’ But do not be
daunted by that. Do not for one moment think you are wrong and she is
right, but persevere, and hunt that smell down, and ten chances to one
you will find something that requires your immediate attention in the
sink line, or else that, despite most stringent orders, cook has
started a private dust-bin, and has put away and forgotten something
that is breeding a fever under your very nose.

Insist upon a regular flushing of every drain or sink every week, as a
matter of course; and I should advise you to see this done for yourself,
and, furthermore, that you should yourself supplement the flushing by
using liberally some disinfectant. If you do this yourself, keeping the
disinfectant locked up and labelled ‘Poison,’ there will be supplied to
your servant’s mind a reason why you should personally superintend the
flushing part of the business, and she will not then have the idea in
her mind that is so often in the mind of the ordinary servant, that you
are spying after her because you cannot trust her. The drains are far
too important a matter, you can tell her, to leave to any one, and
therefore you must see after them yourself. Sanitas in saucers is a very
good disinfectant, and smells most pleasantly; and permanganate of
potass diluted largely with water is excellent to put down the sinks and
drains themselves; but there is no smell about this, so I, personally,
prefer carbolic or chloride of lime, because then I know for certain
that something of the kind has been used, and the rather pleasant odour
from the disinfectant also seems to send away at once any disagreeable
smell that may have been hanging about. In the sinks themselves should
be kept a large lump of soda; this should weigh half a pound or more,
and be renewed every day or two; this prevents the grease from the
saucepans clogging the pipes, as such a large piece dissolves very
slowly, and all the water that passes over the soda serves to cleanse
the pipe in a most satisfactory way. It is always an excellent thing to
set aside particular days and hours for different duties. They are not
half so likely to be slurred or omitted as they are in a house where
_any time_ does for _anything_. Therefore Saturday, immediately after
the orders have been given, is an excellent time for seeing to the
drains. Saturday morning most people are at home, and a quarter of an
hour takes little out of the morning, while a good deed has been done,
and the house has been purified for Sunday.

And here let me just for one instant dwell on the great necessity of
regularity, order, and, above all, early rising, in a small household.
If you lie in bed, _Sundays_ or weekdays, things cannot possibly prosper
with you; you cannot possibly either keep beforehand with life if you
live in a muddle or breakfast late; and should you be late on Sundays
you not only hurry to church yourself, or stay away altogether--a
wretched habit--but you prevent your servants attending, or allow them
to go when the service has begun, and they are too hurried and worried
to properly appreciate the weekly rest that should be such a help to
them. Every member of the household and every visitor should be punctual
at the breakfast table, and nothing save real illness should excuse a
breakfast in bed. A headache is more often cured by getting up than by
remaining in the bedroom atmosphere; and be sure of this, lying in bed
upstairs means waste, laziness, and unsatisfactory behaviour generally
in the regions of the kitchen. Hence I feel I cannot say too much
against it, or in favour of regularity, punctuality, and early rising,
without which excellent qualities no household can get along practically
or become anything save a place of hopeless muddle.

Though it would be waste of space to write out an exact list of kitchen
utensils in these days, when every respectable firm publishes one at the
end of their catalogue, and which, by the way, may generally be halved
as regards the quantities with advantage, it may not be out of place
here to give a few general hints on the subject. And we may begin by
stating that ‘plenty makes waste,’ and that ‘enough is as good as a
feast,’ and then we will make up our minds to purchase only just
sufficient kitchen articles for the cook’s use, at all events until we
know our cook and learn if she be to be trusted; though even then I see
no reason why she should have more material at her command than she can
use; for I believe this idea of superfluity has done more harm in the
kitchen than enough, no servant being sufficiently strong-minded to
resolutely put aside anything she can do without.

In a small and, shall I say, impecunious household it is not so much
what we want as what we can do without that has to be considered; and it
is really astonishing on how little we can ‘get along,’ as far as mere
existence is concerned, if we resolutely turn our back on all that is
not positively necessary for us, although I must confess that under such
circumstances life is certainly not worth living, and has to be a very
bare and barren matter altogether; and I hope that Angelina, at all
events, will not have to live quite such a Spartan existence as this;
still, great care must be exercised, especially in the kitchen, if she
be to have a pleasant time of it among nice and pretty things.

In the first place, Angelina must show her cook that she really does
know her duties as mistress of a household, and she must be able to hold
her own when cook demands extravagant supplies; while at the same time
she must not expect a quart of milk a day to suffice for a household
consisting of a baby, two servants, the master and mistress, and last,
but not least, two cats, as a friend of mine did; but she must
diligently study beforehand quantities of divers things, so that she may
be ready when called upon to prove she really does know what she is
talking of; and a judicious selection of kitchen utensils will point out
to her cook at starting that her mistress has ideas of her own on the
subject of household management.

Now six saucepans must suffice, and this is really a most liberal
allowance, as four might be made to do; two must be nicely lined with
enamel, and must be kept entirely for milk and white sauces, such as
melted butter, for nothing else should ever be cooked in a saucepan that
is required for delicate cookery. After a long experience, I must
confess that no one’s kitchen utensils please me as much as Whiteley’s
do; they are good and reasonable, and can be relied on to be as cheap
and wear as long as any one else’s. Indeed, for these things he is
really cheaper than any one I know of, and I now buy all there that I
require for kitchen use. He supplies a list of goods suitable for
different-sized houses; but no one requires, I think, all that he
considers necessary, and a little weeding should be done from even his
smallest list, according to the number of the rooms in the house. Still,
these lists are a great assistance, and Angelina would do well to write
for one before she finally makes up her mind what to order.

There are generally three or four prices quoted for nearly all domestic
articles, such as fryingpans, gridirons, saucepans, &c., and it is safe
to make it a rule to take a medium quality. At a shop you can trust, the
very best, no doubt, must always be best, but ‘_good enough_’ for use
and wear is to be our rule, and when you have discovered that
such-and-such an establishment really tells you the truth, you may
depend that for your purpose the medium quality will answer as well as
anything, while even in some cases the lowest will occasionally be good
enough for the purpose for which you require it. There are certain
things no housekeeper should ever be without, and one is a bread-pan
with a cover, and this is sometimes quite a difficult thing to procure.
No one seems now to have time to put their bread in pans, and the milk
in those nice white-lipped basins I can never see without longing to
buy, but these two things should be insisted on in Angelina’s kitchen.
The bread taken in to-day should not be used until to-morrow, and when
received from the baker should be immediately put into the pan in the
larder and covered over. This keeps it moist and fresh, and, without
having the evil properties of new bread, is as pleasant to eat, which it
could never be if left to dry in the hot kitchen, or to become dusty and
dry, or may be even damp, on the larder shelf. The pan should be wiped
out every morning with a clean cloth, and on no account should pieces be
allowed to accumulate.

There is, I think, more bread wasted in an ordinary household than is
quite pleasant to contemplate. Crusts are cut off and put on one side in
the dining-room, and of course no one in the kitchen will look at them
after that; or double the quantity is cut at luncheon and dinner that is
required, and once more this is put on one side. Now, it is quite easy
to calculate how much bread should be used in a small household, but it
is very difficult to find out where the waste is when the establishment
increases. Still it is possible, and I do hope Angelina will begin by
impressing on her cook that she will not allow waste, nor what makes
sometimes a fearful amount of waste, i.e. the calling at the back door
of those dreadful people with carts, who want to buy bottles, or rags,
or bones, or such like trifles; for these men often tempt young servants
to thieve, and often enough, too, snatch up a spoon or fork, should one
be lying about, while the servant’s back is turned, and she is searching
for her hoard of things, none of which really belongs to her at all.

I recollect quite well one year, when I was at Bournemouth seeing these
carts going about regularly to different houses morning after morning,
and as my window faced the road, I had the curiosity to watch what they
received, more than once. Opposite to me lived a family, the mistress of
which had often enough lamented to me the fearful appetites possessed by
her servants, and one day, about 8.15, just when I was going down to
breakfast, I saw the cart arrive, and saw also half loaves of bread,
‘chunks’ of meat, and pieces of butter and bacon, all brought out in an
unappetising manner together, and shunted into the cart. My friend’s
breakfast-hour was half-past nine, so the cart had merrily gone on its
way long before her blinds were drawn up; but the very next time she
spoke of her servants’ gigantic capacities for putting away food, I ‘up
and spake’ of what I had seen in such a way that the cart never called
there again, and her bills were reduced to one-half in less time than it
takes to tell of them.

The driver of that cart once stopped at my door and descended into the
kitchen. Luckily for me, I was, as usual, writing at the window at my
desk, and, seeing him come in, I waited a few moments, and then
descended into the lower regions too, and found him eloquently
persuading my good little cook to sell bones &c. to him, but she was
refusing staunchly; and then I appeared, and though, I confess honestly,
I was shaking with fright, and was only sustained by the knowledge that
the gardener was cleaning the boots near by, I gave that man a ‘piece of
my mind,’ and, informing him that it was he and his fellows who made
young servants thieves, bade him begone, telling him that if ever I
found him on my premises again I would give him in charge; which so
alarmed him that he fled at once to other houses, doubtless vituperating
me in his mind all the time; but that I did not mind, as long as he
transferred himself and his kindly attentions somewhere else.

In a well-regulated household every morsel of food should be used; the
bones always are useful for soup, and a ‘digester’ should be one of
Angelina’s most indispensable possessions. This should always be at hand
for stock; and excellent soups, than which nothing is nicer on which to
begin one’s dinner, can be procured by aid of the digester, if Angelina
has a thoughtful cook, who uses every morsel to advantage, and never
throws away a bone, even a fish bone, all of which aid the soup, and
save buying other provisions.

Care and thought are centred in the kitchen, and once Angelina has
carefully trained her maid into nice ways, the house will go like
clockwork, and that is why I should advise any young housekeeper to take
young girls as household servants (_not on any account, by the way, as
nurses; no young nurse is worth her keep save as an under-servant_); an
‘experienced cook’ quotes her experience, and Angelina, having none to
fall back upon, trembles and is conquered; but with a bright,
intelligent girl, Mrs. Beeton’s most excellent book on household
management (as regards food), a little common-sense, and a mother who
has brought her daughter up sensibly, Angelina can start on her way,
quite certain that she and her maidens will work together in a pleasant
and satisfactory manner, and that she will never be exposed to domestic
earthquakes such as occur with ‘experienced servants,’ who, having
brought themselves up in a big establishment where nobody cared for
them, go into Angelina’s small one in order to get as much out of it as
they can, regarding all mistresses as their natural enemies!

One more subject as regards the kitchen. Never allow, on any pretext,
that a dust-bin or a ‘wash-tub’ is ever needed. With a kitchener every
morsel of _débris_ should be burned in the close grate; and a dust-bin
is never a necessity to any one who knows her business, and is
determined never to allow of the smallest waste. There is nothing a
kitchener will not burn--remember that, please! and flatly refuse to
allow a dust-bin in any part of the house; it only means that waste will
go on _ad libitum_, and that dirt and untidiness are favoured by one’s



I am going to devote this chapter entirely to the matter of money--that
is to say, to indicating how the income should be apportioned, and what
it costs to feed a small family who are content with nice plain food,
and who do not hanker after elaborate cooking and out-of-the-way dishes;
in which case they must not come to me for advice, as I have really no
information to give them; and to further indicate as far as I
can--outside the limits of a cookery book--some of the meals that can be
managed without either much fuss and worry and an undue expenditure of
money and time.

If Angelina really intends to marry on an income varying between 300_l._
and 500_l._ a year, she must sit down and weigh the _pros_ and _cons_
most carefully. Dress and house-rent are the two items that have risen
considerably during the last few years; otherwise everything is much
cheaper and nicer than it used to be before New Zealand meat came to the
front, and sugar, tea, cheese, all the thousand and one items one
requires in a house, became lower than ever they had been before; and
therefore, if she be clever and willing to put her shoulder to the
domestic wheel, she can most certainly get along much more comfortably
in the way of food than she used to do. For example, when I was married,
sugar was 6_d._ a pound, and now it is 2_d._; and instead of paying
1_s._ 1_d._ a pound for legs of mutton, I give 7½_d._ for New Zealand
meat, which is as good as the best English mutton that one can buy.
Bread, too, is 5½_d._--and ought to be considerably lower--as against
the 8_d._ and 9_d._ of seventeen years ago; and, besides this, there are
a thousand-and-one small things to be bought that one never used to see,
and fish and game are also infinitely less expensive, for in the season
salmon is no longer a luxury, thanks to Frank Buckland, while prime cod
at 4_d._ a pound can hardly be looked upon as a sinful luxury, and this
is the price we paid in the season in the Central Fish Market, where
fish is always to be obtained fresh, cheap, and in as great a variety as
at any West End shop; while of course those detestable Stores, much as I
personally dislike them, have done much for us in lowering the prices of
grocers, who are always willing to give ready-money purchasers every
advantage, the while they are civil, send the purchased articles home,
make out their own bills, and take care their customers are not worried
to death, as they are at the Stores by supercilious youths, who make the
place a rendezvous, and simper with girls who have been sent to do
shopping, and combine it with large instalments of flirtation. No, I
must say I have not one good word for the Stores; and, furthermore, I
detest them because, living as I do a little way out of town, I am
persecuted on my return journeys with enormous parcels, of all sorts and
descriptions, that jam one’s elbows, fall down incontinently on one’s
best bonnet, and are pushed under one’s feet, until the twenty minutes’
travel are rendered purgatorial by people who will shop at the Stores,
and are in consequence turned completely for the nonce into beasts of
burden, all to save a very problematic shilling or two; but as cabs to
and from the station have to be added to the fare to town, I venture to
state they would be far better served by a local grocer, or by either
Whiteley or Shoolbred, whose prices are the same as at the Stores, and
whose carts come to one’s door. But these little points are just where
the ordinary woman’s finance comes utterly to an end. She can readily
comprehend that sugar at 2_d._ a pound is cheaper than sugar at 3_d._;
but tell her to add to the cost of this the fare to town, wear and tear
of temper, gloves, and clothes, odd cabs, and the necessary luncheon,
and she is floored at once. She recognises the 2_d._ as against the
3_d._ immediately, but she cannot grasp the rest; besides which, at the
Stores she sees one hundred and one things that she buys simply because
they are cheap, and not because she requires them in the very least; so
if Angelina values her peace of mind let her eschew the Stores, and,
instead, talk to her nearest grocer on the subject, and see what can be
done with him before she goes elsewhere.

Now, I think, that 2_l._, or, at the most, 2_l._ 10_s._, should keep
Angelina, Edwin, and the model maid per week in comfort, and yet allow
of no scrimping; but in this case Angelina must put a good deal of
common-sense in her purse as well as money. Meat for three people need
not be more than 12_s._, 4_s._ for bread and flour, 2_s._ for eggs,
4_s._ for milk, half a pound of tea at 2_s._ 6_d._--if they will drink
tea--1lb. of coffee made of equal proportions of East India, Mocha, and
Plantation, comes to about 1_s._ 7_d._, sugar 6_d._, butter (2lbs.,
enough for three people) 3_s._, and the rest can be kept in hand for
fruit, fish, chickens, washing; and the thousand and one odds and ends
that are always turning up at the most unpropitious moments; such as
stamps, boot-mending (two items that have largely assisted in turning my
hair grey), ink, paper, string, and, in fact, all those things that an
unmarried girl rather fancies grow in the house, and that she is very
much surprised to find have to be purchased.

In any case, let me implore Angelina to pay her books every week
herself, and never on any account to run up bills anywhere for anything.
Let her never be tempted to have any single thing that she cannot pay
for on the spot; and she will live happily, and be able to ‘speak with
her enemies’--if she have any--‘in the gate’; that is to say, she can
boldly interview her tradespeople, knowing she owes them nothing, and
coming cash in hand can demand the best article in the market, which is,
after all, the due of those who go and buy for ready money and should
never be given to those who will have credit. There is nothing so dear
as credit--please remember that, my readers, and start as you mean to go
on by paying for everything as you have it; and, above all, know from
your husband what he can give you, and have this regularly once a month.
If you are fit to be his wife at all, you are fit to spend his money,
and to spend it, moreover, without the haggling and worrying over each
item that is considered necessary by some men to show their superiority
over their women folk, but which should never be allowed for a moment;
and should our bride have a small income of her own, this should be
retained for her dress, personal expenses, &c., and should not be put
into the common fund, for the man should keep the house and be the
bread-winner; but, alas! middle-class brides have seldom anything to
call their own, their parents thinking they have done all they need for
them, should they find them a husband and a certain amount of clothes.

I very much myself disapprove of the way middle-class parents have of
marrying off their daughters and giving them nothing beyond their
trousseaux; and I do hope that soon fathers and mothers will copy the
French more in this matter of a dowry than they do now. I maintain that
they are bound to give their daughters, beyond and over such an
education as shall allow them to keep themselves, the same sum when
married as they received when unmarried, so shall they be to a certain
extent independent and have a little something to call their own. Why,
in most cases, if Angelina wants to give Edwin a present she has to buy
it out of his own money! Can there be a more unenviable position for a
young wife, to whom very often the mere asking for money is as painful
as it is degrading? It would not hurt any father to give his daughter
50_l._ a year, and the difference it would make in that daughter’s
comfort and position is unspeakable; and would not be more than half
what she would cost him were she to remain on his hands a sour old maid.

Another thing I disapprove of is placing the household books week by
week or month by month under the husband’s inspection; it leads to
endless jars and frets, and discussions; therefore, having talked
matters over once and for all, discuss money no more until you require
additions to your allowance as the family increases; or can do with
less; only know always how matters are going in business, so as to
increase or retrench in a manner suitable, should circumstances alter.

Domestic matters must, of course, be discussed now and again between
husband and wife; but a sensible woman keeps these subjects in the
background, and no more troubles her husband with the price of butter,
or the cook’s delinquencies, than he does his wife over the more
intimate details of his office, which he keeps for his clerks and his
partners generally; while the day’s papers, the book on hand, people one
has seen, are all far more interesting things than Maria’s temper,
Jane’s breakages, or than the grocer’s bill, which, if higher than it
ought to be, is Angelina’s own fault, and can only be altered by
herself, and not by worrying Edwin.

Common-sense housekeeping can only be done if the eyes be constantly
open to see and the ears to hear. Waste must never be allowed. No
servant should be kept who wastes, and if there be no dust-bin, save for
cinders, no pig’s tub, no man calling at the door for bottles, and,
above all, if there be a mistress who is always on the alert to use
anyone else’s experience, housekeeping need be nothing of a bugbear, and
can be done at one quarter the price that it usually costs. But most
girls marry in perfect ignorance of everything save the plot of the
last novel, the music of the last opera, the fashion of the last dress,
and undertake duties they neither care for nor mean to understand,
seeing nothing beyond the wedding finery, which is far too often an
occasion of almost criminal display, and that must indeed appear a
mockery to the poor bride, who contemplates her foolish wedding dress
and wishes profoundly she had the money it cost her.

The great curse now of English households is this seeming to be what you
are not, this wretched pretending of 400_l._ to be 800_l._; the shirking
of work, domestic details, and common-sense housekeeping that
characterises the bride of this day, who only wants to enjoy herself and
spend a little more, see a little more gaiety than the last bride did,
and who sees nothing holy in the name of wife, only a mere emancipation
from the schoolroom; who wants to decorate a house, not make a home; and
who sees in her children, not human souls to train for time and for
eternity, but pretty dolls to dress, to attract attention, or tiresome
objects to be got rid of at school at the earliest opportunity.

That marriage means much more than this is gradually borne in upon the
butterfly, who either sobers down in the course of years, and becomes
faded and worn and peevish; or else, impatient of control, she breaks
all bounds, and the whole family is disgraced by an _esclandre_ that is
as terrible as it is preventible. With such women as this we have
nothing to do; but many of these poor creatures would have been saved
had they been brought up properly, so I trust, after all, my words on
the subject of common-sense housekeeping will not be considered out of

Though they are certainly a little discursive, still they have to do
with money emphatically, and that was the first part of the subject I
proposed to treat of in this chapter, so before I leave it let me say
just a few words on the best system of keeping accounts, a most
necessary portion of any woman’s business as mistress of a household.

The best authority I know on the subject of accounts is a personal
friend who began housekeeping many years ago on a very small and
uncertain income. Her husband was a literary man, and had of course that
most tiresome and extravagance-encouraging income--a fluctuating one;
yet she told me only the other day she could tell to a sixpence what she
had spent ever since she was married; that at the end of the year she
always sat down, first with her husband, then with her grown-up
daughters, and carefully went over each month’s expenditure, and in this
way she was enabled to manage well, for a glance would show her, if she
had spent too much, where she could retrench, or where, if the income
had increased, she could best ‘launch out’ in order to insure more
comforts and less forethought and worry: in consequence of her
arrangements she was always beforehand with the world, and never owed a
sixpence she could not pay. A young housekeeper is often bewildered
between account books. She buys one, of course, and then is bothered by
detail, or begins to find ‘sundries’ a most convenient entry--and so,
alas! it is. But our model housekeeper shrinks from sundries, or any of
these somewhat mean subterfuges, and boldly discovers how she has spent
her money, although I must confess I myself am such a bad hand at this
sort of thing that, could I be seen, I feel convinced I should be found
to be blushing violently at giving advice which I far too often do not
follow; indeed, I always feel inclined to imitate the old woman-servant
whose balance sheet consisted of so many ‘foggets,’ among other items,
that her master (of course he was a bachelor), confused with the idea of
having so much firewood, begged her for an explanation, when she
remarked, ‘’Taint faggots, master; _’tis forgets_.’ Fortunately her
honesty had been tried by many a long year’s service, or she might have
got into serious trouble; and I think when we too have ‘forgets’ we are
not unlikely to get into trouble when at last we have to face boldly a
day of reckoning, which must come sooner or later.

But if I am not a good hand at accounts my friend is, and I here append
a leaf from her account book, which, ruled and written by herself, is to
me a model of what it should be. Of course the columns can be added to,
to any extent, but this will show at once how to keep one’s bills before
one: in such a manner, that one sees at once how and where the money has
gone, and I can but hope this capital system will be adopted at once by
all those who are starting in life with the best resolve of all, that
nothing shall persuade them to get into debt.

And here let me say that there should always be a special column for
medical attendance; and without doubting the medical profession in the
least, let me impress upon all who have to call in a physician to note
his visits in the column set apart for the purpose. I always note a
doctor’s visits in my diary, as this often checks his accounts, for,
without meaning to be dishonest, a doctor often makes the most
astounding mistakes. For example, not long ago I saved myself 7_l._ on a
doctor’s bill by sending an exorbitant account back to my then doctor,
drawing his attention to the fact that by my diary only so many visits
had been paid, whereas so many had evidently been charged for; when the
clerk wrote back to say the error had been made in the addition, and
that of course this would have been rectified next time! I can’t say if
it would have been; all I know is, I was saved the money by always
putting down the visits; so I most strongly advise Angelina to put the
column in her account book as a reminder, even if she cannot put down in
that the exact sum; and I must say I do most heartily wish it were

  |        |                     | Greengrocer | Coal, Gas, & | Rent, Rates |
  |        |                     |             |   Lighting   |  and Taxes  |
  |        |                     +-------------+--------------+------------->
  |  1887  |                     | £  _s._ _d._| £  _s._ _d._ | £  _s._ _d._|
  | Jan. 1 | Messrs. Slater & Co.|     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “   5 | Smith               |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “   6 | Whiteley’s account  |     --      |  5   0   0   |     --      |
  |  “   7 | Income Tax          |     --      |     --       | 10   0   0  |
  |  “   8 | Water Rate          |     --      |     --       |  2   4   0  |
  |  “   9 | Poor Rate           |     --      |     --       |  5   0   0  |
  |  “  10 | Christmas Rent      |     --      |     --       | 25   0   0  |
  |  “  11 | One quarter Gas,  } |             |              |             |
  |        |  due Christmas    } |     --      |  5   0   0   |     --      |
  |  “  15 | Housemaid           |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  16 | Parlourmaid         |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  17 | Cook                |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  18 | Worth               |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  19 | Mrs. Jones          |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  20 | Potatoes            |  0  10   0  |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  25 | Fish account        |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  27 | Sundry Groceries    |     --      |     --       |     --      |
  |  “  28 | Coal                |     --      |  5   0   0   |     --      |
  |        |                     +-------------+--------------+------------->
  |        |        Total        |  0  10   0  | 15   0   0   | 42   4   0  |

  |        |                     |   Wages     |   Dress     |
  |        |                     |             |             |
  |        |                     +-------------+------------->
  |  1887  |                     | £  _s._ _d._| £  _s._ d_._|
  | Jan. 1 | Messrs. Slater & Co.|     --      |     --      |
  |  “   5 | Smith               |     --      |     --      |
  |  “   6 | Whiteley’s account  |     --      |     --      |
  |  “   7 | Income Tax          |     --      |     --      |
  |  “   8 | Water Rate          |     --      |     --      |
  |  “   9 | Poor Rate           |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  10 | Christmas Rent      |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  11 | One quarter Gas,  } |             |             |
  |        |  due Christmas    } |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  15 | Housemaid           |  5   0   0  |     --      |
  |  “  16 | Parlourmaid         |  6   0   0  |     --      |
  |  “  17 | Cook                |  7  10   0  |     --      |
  |  “  18 | Worth               |     --      | 20   0   0  |
  |  “  19 | Mrs. Jones          |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  20 | Potatoes            |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  25 | Fish account        |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  27 | Sundry Groceries    |     --      |     --      |
  |  “  28 | Coal                |     --      |     --      |
  |        |                     +-------------+------------->
  |        |        Total        | 18  10   0  | 20   0   0  |

  |        |                     |   Washing   |   Total     |
  |        |                     |             |             |
  |        |                     +-------------+-------------+
  |  1887  |                     | £  _s._ _d._| £  _s._ _d._|
  | Jan. 1 | Messrs. Slater & Co.|     --      |  5   0   0  |
  |  “   5 | Smith               |     --      |  1   0   0  |
  |  “   6 | Whiteley’s account  |     --      |  6  10   0  |
  |  “   7 | Income Tax          |     --      | 10   0   0  |
  |  “   8 | Water Rate          |     --      |  2   4   0  |
  |  “   9 | Poor Rate           |     --      |  5   0   0  |
  |  “  10 | Christmas Rent      |     --      | 25   0   0  |
  |  “  11 | One quarter Gas,  } |             |             |
  |        |  due Christmas    } |     --      |  5   0   0  |
  |  “  15 | Housemaid           |     --      |  5   0   0  |
  |  “  16 | Parlourmaid         |     --      |  6   0   0  |
  |  “  17 | Cook                |     --      |  7  10   0  |
  |  “  18 | Worth               |     --      | 20   0   0  |
  |  “  19 | Mrs. Jones          |  2   0   0  |  2   0   0  |
  |  “  20 | Potatoes            |     --      |  0  10   0  |
  |  “  25 | Fish account        |     --      |  3   0   0  |
  |  “  27 | Sundry Groceries    |     --      |  2   0   0  |
  |  “  28 | Coal                |     --      |  5   0   0  |
  |        |                     +-------------+-------------+
  |        |        Total        |  2   0   0  |110  14   0  |

etiquette for doctors to send in their bills made out in items, instead
of that business way of ‘To medical attendance, &c.,’ for I cannot see
why they should not. Even a lawyer gives items of his detestable
accounts; and what should we say to a modiste who sent in her bill, ‘To
dress and draperies to date,’ without items? I like to know what I am
paying for; and why should not my case, mentioned above, be the case of
many? One word before I leave the doctor--pay his bill at once; no one
is kept waiting longer than a doctor; no one _usually_ deserves his
money more; it is a disagreeable bill to keep about, and should be
always settled as soon as possible.

Now for one hint more, as applying both to meals and money. If you want
to save begin with the butcher and the brewer--not that I for one moment
want to run down beer--my husband being a brewer, I should not be likely
to do so; and I mention this fact to show I cannot be a rabid
teetotaler--but I do say and maintain that beer is not necessary for
women and for women servants, that young people especially do not
require stimulants--I, for one, never took either wine or beer until I
had passed the pleasant age of thirty-one or thirty-two--and that milk
is far better for both servants and children, youths and maidens, than
malt liquor of any sort or description, and that therefore milk should
be a somewhat large item in the housekeeping accounts. Angelina should
have milk for luncheon and milk instead of that odious tea after dinner;
Mary Jane should be encouraged to drink milk with her supper, and a
proportionate save is at once made in the accounts, though, after all,
one can only give general ideas on this subject, as, of course,
individual tastes have to be studied, and no one person’s expenditure is
quite a guide for another’s. Many people dislike milk, and this subject
of a pleasant beverage is one that often harasses me mentally a good
bit, for I don’t honestly think filtered boiled water pleasant
(unfiltered unboiled water is unsafe drinking), and unless we fall back
on milk and home-made lemonade, we are rather hopeless, for beer is out
of the question, as far as I am concerned, in kitchen and schoolroom,
and if some genius would invent something cheap, healthy, palatable, and
without alcohol in it, I for one will patronise him largely, and give
him honourable mention, if not a medal, all to himself.

Still, until that is done I strongly advise Angelina to pay the milkman
rather than the brewer, and by drinking milk herself to set an example
which will speak louder than any amount of argument. And general ideas,
too, can only be given on the subject of meals. Yet general ideas are
most useful as a species of foundation on which to raise the rest of the
fabric, so I will shortly sketch out now a foundation scheme that should
be of great assistance to those girls who are beginning housekeeping on
small means, and less knowledge of the subject on which depends so much
of their welfare and happiness.

It maybe of some little assistance to Angelina if I begin my short
dissertation on meals by giving her one or two hints as to what to have
for breakfast, before passing on to other subjects, as in some small
households this always appears to me to be somewhat of a stumbling-block
to a young mistress, accustomed to see a large amount of variety,
prepared for a grown-up family.

What is eaten for breakfast depends, naturally, a great deal on
individual tastes, and there are endless little dishes that require the
attention of a first-rate cook; but Angelina and Edwin must rise
superior to this, for they will not be able to afford such things even
if they desire them, and I do hope they do not, for I do not know a more
despicable way of spending one’s time or one’s money than in squandering
it over food and expensive cooks. If things are nice and are nicely sent
to table, that should suffice, and I think perhaps a few simple hints on
the subject would not be out of place, for while Angelina should, of
course, order carefully all that is required, I see no reason why she
should rack her brain and harass her cook, particularly when that damsel
will have to do a great deal besides merely cooking the breakfast.

Whatever else there is not, there should be a little fruit. Oranges,
pears, apples, and grapes are cheap enough if purchased with sense, and
as ‘dessert,’ as a rule, is unnecessary save for appearances--and we are
too sensible to think only of these--I should advise the fruit that
nobody appears to grudge the money for then; appearing at breakfast,
where it makes the table look pretty, and where it is really good for
both young and old folks, too. Then, if possible, have either honey or
marmalade, it is much healthier and cheaper than butter, and generally
try to have either a tongue (3_s._ 6_d._) or a nice ham (8_s._ 6_d._) in
cut, it is such a useful thing to have in the house; as also are
sardines (1_s._ a box, large size, 6½_d._ small), as if unexpected
folk drop in to luncheon, or supper be required instead of dinner, they
are there to ‘fall back upon’; and if they appear at breakfast some
really fresh eggs, nicely fried bacon, curried kidneys or plain kidneys,
mushrooms, a most healthy dish, and not too expensive at some times of
the year; curried eggs and rice, bloaters, and bloater-toast,
occasionally a fresh sole, a mackerel split open, peppered, and salted
and grilled, a cutlet of cod, an occasional sausage (and ever since I
can remember we always have had sausages for breakfast on Sundays), form
a list from which a single dish can be chosen, and which should suffice,
more especially when we consider the honey and fruit, both of which look
nice on the table, are more wholesome, and save the butter and meat
bill. And once the cook is trained into our ways, and she knows what to
do, there is no need to order breakfast, a great comfort for those who
have much domestic routine of food to think of before beginning the day.
Do not have hot buttered toast or hot bread. Those two items make the
butter bill into a nightmare, and are also most unhealthy, but have nice
fresh brown bread, Nevill’s hot-water bread, the nicest bread made,
oat-cake (2_s._ a large tin at any good grocer’s), and fresh, crisp, dry
toast, and then I think neither Edwin nor Angelina can complain, more
especially if a nice white cloth (freshly taken from the press, in which
all cloths should be put folded the moment they are taken from the
table), with a pretty red border, and nicely folded napkins, each in its
own ring and each embroidered with initials in red, be used, and I think
that I shall not be suspected of being a fussy old maid, if I suggest
that the crumbs should be brushed off by the maid and the cloth folded
with Angelina’s assistance, in which case it will last twice as long as
it would if, as usual, it is crumpled up and shaken out at the back door
in a manner much affected by careless servants. But these trifles save
the washing bill, which in these days is no light consideration.

At first another meal that will trouble our bride is that most necessary
of all meals--luncheon. By-and-bye, when little folks have to be thought
of, this midday dinner becomes a very easy business, but I must own that
luncheon and the servant’s dinner combined is a terrible trouble during
the first year or two of married life.

I think it was Shirley Brooks who used to say he believed that were
women left to themselves they would never have dinner at all, and that
they would either keep something in a cupboard and eat from it when
positively driven to do so by the pangs of hunger, or else they would
have a tray brought up with tea, bread-and-butter, and an egg, and think
they had done well; and I confess freely that my first idea when I hear
that the lord and master of my establishment is going out to dine is,
‘Thank goodness, there will be no dinner to order;’ but this is all very
well occasionally, albeit I don’t see why we women should not have the
same amount of food alone as when in company, but it becomes serious if
it goes on for long; therefore I once more impress upon Angelina to be
sure and have her proper luncheon, just as she used to do at home with
her sisters and mother before she was married. Another reason for the
midday meal is that no servant will ever grumble at the food prepared
for them if it has first been into the dining-room, and a good deal of
trouble of this kind would be saved. It is, I own, very difficult to
find food for three women that is economical as well as satisfactory,
but a fair arrangement would be as follows:--Of course there will be a
small piece of beef on Sunday; for a small household about 6 lbs. of the
ribs of beef is best. This should be boned (the bones coming in for
Monday night’s soup) and rolled, and sent to table with horse-radish,
placed on the meat; Yorkshire pudding, which should be cooked _under the
meat_, and sent in on a separate very hot dish, and appropriate
vegetables according to the time of year. For a large hungry family a
piece of 12 lbs. of the top side of the round should be chosen. There is
only very little bone here, and not too much fat, and besides being
cheaper than any other joint it is most economical, and as nice as
anything else. But more of this anon.

The beef can be cold for Angelina and the maids on Monday, with, say, a
lemon pudding. On Tuesday ‘dormers’ can be made, with rice and cold
beef, and sent in very hot, with nice gravy, and simple pudding; a mould
of cornflour and jam is delicious. Wednesday, a small amount of fish
could be purchased, and cold beef used if desired. Rice pudding, made
with a méringue crust, is very good indeed. Thursday, if no more beef be
left, a nice boiled rabbit could be had, with some bacon round, and a
custard pudding. Friday, 1½ lb. of the lean part of the neck of
mutton would make a delicious stew, and pancakes could follow. Saturday,
about three pounds of pork could be roasted, and sent in with a savoury
pudding and apple-sauce, and a sago pudding to conclude the repast. This
could be finished cold at Sunday’s supper. Here is variety and economy
combined. One great thing I find in housekeeping on a larger scale is to
have one or two good-sized joints, and to fill in the corners with fish,
poultry, and rabbits. Fish can always be contracted for cheaply. I pay
2_s._ a day, and get an ample supply for dinner and breakfast, and
sometimes enough for the schoolroom tea too; and poultry and rabbits can
often be bought at the London markets very inexpensively, while I
procure my chickens from delightful people in Liverpool, Messrs. Hasson
and Co., 12 Dawson Street, who sell them to me at prices varying from
4_s._ 6_d._ to 5_s._ 6_d._ the couple, according to the time of year.

Edwin’s dinner requires, of course, more consideration, and he may have
very pronounced tastes that require special studying, but in any case I
say it is well and economical to have soup and fish before the meat.
Soup made from bones and vegetables is as cheap and as nice as anything
I know, and sixpence or a shilling a day will keep you in fish, if you
set about this properly; but the great thing about all meals is to have
what you may like sent to table looking nice, and to have none of the
accessories forgotten, an elaborate and expensive meal ungracefully
served on ugly china, or without flowers, and with half the condiments
forgotten, being often enough to spoil any one’s temper, when a cheap,
well-cooked dinner, prettily and tastefully put before Edwin, will
satisfy him, more especially when the household books are equally
satisfactory when pay-day comes.

Let me conclude this chapter by once more impressing on our young
housekeepers never to allow jars and squabbles about money. At first
starting know everything about your income, and settle exactly what is
to suffice for dress and food, and have a settled day, once a month is
best, on which to receive that allowance. Should Edwin have a fixed
income this is a comparatively easy matter to settle between husband and
wife; but should it fluctuate, as the income does of a man who lives by
his pen, pencil, or even by stockbroking (a manner of living that would
drive me mad) or by rents from land, it is safe to arrange expenditure
on the basis of the _least_ sum obtained by these means, drawing an
average for the last three years, any surplus going on joyfully towards
the second year, towards procuring books, taking a holiday, or bringing
something home for the house; there being no pleasure like that of
spending money we can feel is thoroughly our own, and that may actually
be wasted if we like on something delightful, because it is not required
to pay some odious bill or replace some ugly and necessary article.



One of the very first things to be recollected, either in the kitchen or
housemaid’s pantry, is that there should be a place for everything, and
yet no holes or corners where dilapidated dusters, old glass-cloths,
bottles, and other _débris_ could be stuffed away; and another axiom to
remember is that every glass, tumbler, cup, saucer--in fact, every
possession one has--should be neatly scheduled and kept in a book, which
should be inspected and gone through twice a year, or when any change
takes place in the establishment. That disagreeable remark, that so
often completely floors a mistress, ‘’Twasn’t here when I came,’ would
in this case never be heard, as the sight of the list, duly signed and
dated by both mistress and maid, would of course be a complete answer to
any such statement; and seeing at stated intervals what glass and china
had fallen victims to the housemaid is a wonderful deterrent, and also
saves any large and sudden call upon the purse, which always comes at a
time when the exchequer is at its lowest, but which need never occur in
an appreciable manner should each article be replaced the moment it is
broken. I am no advocate for having what is called best things, holding
that one’s everyday existence should be as refined and cultured as when
one has ‘company,’ yet it is necessary in most of our households to have
best glass and a best dinner-service, and these should be kept in a
proper glass closet, under lock and key, as indeed should all spare
glass and china; for, if the most trustworthy housemaid has an unlimited
supply at her command, she will never tell of each separate smash, and
reserves the grand total for the bi-annual day of reckoning with the
book, when the mistress has often to make an outlay that is most
disheartening to her, as regards not only the cost, but the blow it is
to her to discover the carelessness and deception of, perhaps, a
favourite maid, who would have been neither careless nor deceiving had
she had to come to her mistress for every single glass over and above
the few she had at her command.

Nothing has altered more in the last twenty years, both in character and
price, than glass and china, and nothing shows the taste of the mistress
of the house more than her plates and tumblers. No one has now any
excuse for having ugly things, because good glass is as cheap as bad,
and good china can be had by any one who has the taste to choose it, and
the knowledge where to go and buy each separate thing. Granted that we
have selected our saucepans, our basins, and other necessary things
known to any one, and to be chosen from a list either sent for from
Maple or Whiteley--for Maple, I have discovered, issues these lists
too--and which, it seems to me, would only be waste of paper and time
for me to enumerate here, we must, of course, now proceed to think about
our dinner set. The best everyday one I know of is a species of plain
white china supplied by Maple, and which has the owner’s monogram on the
edge of the dish. These plates and dishes are so extremely cheap that
when I say they are 2_s._ a dozen I scarcely expect to be believed, and
even now I cannot help thinking there must be a mistake; but the rest of
the service was equally inexpensive, and I really do not think I am
making an error in giving this as the price. I invariably have my
soup-tureens, sauceboats, and vegetable dishes made without handles--a
pretty, rather oval shape, with the monogram on the side and on the top
of the cover. There is nothing makes a table look worse than chipped or
mended crockery; and how often has quite a nice service been spoiled by
the fact that either the handles were knocked off and smashed, or else
they were riveted on. Now if we have no handles or ornamental knobs to
be knocked off, the service lasts three times as long as it otherwise
would. The plain white service also insures cleanliness and absence of
greasy or black finger-marks, and one never tires of this as one does of
the elaborate patterns and colours some people prefer, and which are
extremely difficult to match once the manufacturers have broken up the

I remember some friends of mine who had a service with a whole flight of
red storks on, flying over each plate, and anything more ugly and
incongruous it is difficult to think of. I never dined there without
remembering the storks, whereas a plain service would not have been
noticed in any way. For a best dinner service we should have something
better, for of course the china I have been speaking of is not china
really; that is to say, I would not see my fingers through it if I held
it up to the strongest light that was ever made, and young people who
are asked what they would like in the shape of a wedding present should
remember that Mortlock, in Oxford Street, has quite charming designs,
but even here I should distinctly advise, buy the plain ware, with
either monogram or crest, for of this one never tires.

I once saw a charming dinner set that had been made by Mortlock; it was
a beautiful pale buff ground, with a black monogram, and the china was
of a delicious feel and touch, and as light as possible. Each vegetable
dish was an artistic shape, and, in fact, if ever my ship comes home I
shall have one like it; at present I have plain white china with a pink
and gold band, and the crest and monogram in the centre of each plate,
&c.; of course, this was a gift, and the nuisance it is is dreadful, for
when a plate is broken I have to send the bits to Staffordshire to be
copied, where they keep me waiting months for it, and charge me so
highly that I am beginning to detest the whole thing.

The glass for everyday wear and tear should be as inexpensive as
possible. I like quite plain glass; tumblers cost about 6_s._ a dozen,
and the glasses for wine are equally cheap; but for best glass Salviati
ware is lovely, and really, if bought judiciously, is not so very
expensive after all. Besides which, it allows one to have a different
set of glasses for each person. I have a dozen different sets of three
each, so that if one be broken and cannot be replaced exactly like its
predecessor it is not a set of thirty-six that is done for, but only a
set of three, which after all need not be spoiled quite, as having odd
glasses one still more odd does not make the blot on the table that it
otherwise would.

The finger-glasses should also be Salviati ware. Another suggestion for
Angelina, should she be asked to write down a list of things she is most
anxious to receive as presents--a good plan, by the way, for birthdays
and Christmas, and one we always follow, as then one is sure of
receiving something one requires, and not the endless rubbish that
accumulates when well-meaning friends send gifts _quâ_ gifts to rid
themselves of an obligation; and who crack their brains pondering what
you would like, and at last send you something you not only don’t want
but think hideous, albeit it may have cost pounds. Water bottles should
invariable be coloured. The Bohemian ware--a lovely green hue--is
particularly useful for this purpose, and there is a charming shop in
Piccadilly where all sorts of coloured glasses and bottles are to be
procured--opposite Burlington House--Douglas and Co.--and nowhere else
is this charming glass as cheap and pretty as it is there. I got a sweet
blue bottle and glass for a bedroom for 9_d._, and another, quite a
beauty, for 1_s._ 6_d._ At these prices one can well remain ‘mistress of
oneself though China fall.’ The teacups and saucers can also be white or
pale buff, but my favourite ware is Minton’s ivy patterned china. We
used to have it at home, and I have it still, as it is one of those
delightful things that one can always match. It is a little expensive,
but then it is so pretty! The cups are all white, but the handles
represent a bit of ivy, the leaves of which are in relief round the
handle, and just give a pleasant, fresh look to the breakfast table. The
plates have a wreath of ivy also in relief on them, and breakfast
dishes, cruets, and plates that stand heat are made to match; so that
all can be _en suite_, except the hot-water dishes. These are plain
white, with a double dish holding hot water, that keeps bacon &c. hot,
_not_ for late comers--these lazy people should never be considered--but
for those who may prefer fish first, or like to have a second helping.
This tea ware is good enough for best as well as everyday wear; but be
sure and avoid the species that is not raised and has a gilt edge, for
no one who has not seen the two sets together could understand how
different they can be. I do not like gilt on anything; it is always
vulgar, always suggestive of _nouveaux riches_, and on china has a way
of washing off that is most trying, unless it happens to be burnished,
when it costs a young fortune, and one’s heart is broken every time a
cup or plate receives a jar. A very good way in schoolrooms or
nurseries, of which more anon, to secure the smallest amount of
breakages is to give each child its own cup, plate, and saucer, each set
to be of a different pattern. There are some lovely specimen cups, the
set of which costs about 7_s._ 6_d._--not a bad birthday present,
especially if a silver teaspoon is added, with pale yellow, marguerite,
and brown foliage depicted upon them. The same style of cup has also a
beautiful design of blackberries, and I have also seen a pale pink daisy
that was perhaps the most charming of the lot. If a child’s own plate
&c. get broken one hears of it at once, and they are at once replaced.
The governess has her own set too, and it is a good plan to have two or
three extra sets for schoolroom visitors, for in well-regulated houses,
where the governess makes herself pleasant, schoolroom tea is a
delightful meal, and, if shared by intimate friends, makes a pleasant
break for the governess, and gives the children an opportunity of seeing
outsiders, and learning how to behave when company is present.

The best dessert service that I know of is to be bought at Hewett’s
Baker Street Bazaar. It is Oriental-looking and most uncommon. It has a
green ground, and a raised pattern of flowers, butterflies, &c., and
looks so good, no one has any idea of its cheapness; for example, a man
who set up to be a great judge of china once was dining with us, and
taking up one of my dessert plates, he began to expatiate to the lady on
his left hand on the beauty and rarity thereof. I let him go on for some
time, and at last I told him the price--2_s._ each plate; and, though he
was silent and appeared to believe me, I am certain he did nothing of
the kind. The dishes are dearer, but not too dear, and are all low and
nice shapes, and tiny plates can be obtained to match for preserved
fruits or French bonbons, all of which look nice upon a dinner-table.

Mortlock has also a plain white dessert service, of which the edges of
the plate are pierced, and the dishes are like baskets, which are
charming, and not too expensive; but these are rather colourless on a
table unless a great deal of scarlet is used too in the flowers, and I
prefer a little colour introduced myself. Still, if we avoid those
terrible swans on sham ponds, with holes in their backs, like the Elle
women, to hold flowers, that used to be sold with the white service, we
might do worse than have this one. Of course, real china, Crown Derby,
and Worcester are all nice for this purpose; but we who cannot afford
this style of property can be consoled with the idea that there are
other things quite as pretty within our reach, although, maybe, they are
neither as costly nor as precious, nor as liable to be broken.

While we are on the subject of glass and china I should like to say a
few words more about the arrangement of the glass and china, and
especially about the everyday dinner and breakfast table management, as
in a small establishment it entirely rests upon the shoulders of the
mistress whether the table presents a charming appearance or whether it
does not. I will not suppose that Angelina burdens herself with
experienced maidens, but I will think she has taken my advice and
secured a couple of bright pleasant girls, of whom she can make friends,
and who are not already spoiled for her use in some large establishment,
and this being so, she will no doubt at first have to lay her table
herself. This may be considered a hardship by our bride, but I am quite
sure she will soon cease to regard it as one. Anyhow, I beg she will try
my nice girls, and if they fail, why, she can but fall back on her
‘experienced’ ones after all, but she must not take them haphazard, but
must select them as she does her personal friends, because then she
will, knowing something about their family, their inherited tendencies
and their dispositions, be able to know how to manage them. We do not
‘make friends’ with strangers unless we know something of their
forbears, and this rule should apply to strange servants quite as much
as it does to acquaintances who do not live with us, and only come in
now and then, and are easily dropped should they prove uncongenial and

It is so easy to get your maiden into nice ways if she have no bad ones
of her own, out of which you have to take her first, and, beginning at
once to show her how you like things, you will soon be able to rely on
her, and she will take a pride in copying you, and you will soon have
your reward in service that is real, because it comes from the heart and
not from the eye.

I am a great advocate for white china, because the washing of this
cannot be scamped, and as far as possible all breakfast china should be
white, with just a pattern of ivy or daisies, as described above; and
the breakfast-table could be laid something as follows, putting the
mistress at the head of the table if she wishes, and the master _at the
side_, not at the foot--a most dreary arrangement, unless the breakfast
table is filled by others besides the host and hostess, which in
Angelina’s case is most unlikely. In front of Angelina is arranged the
breakfast equipage, and I strongly advise her to have either cocoa or
nicely made coffee, and to taboo that wretched tea that destroys so many
digestions and unstrings so many nerves. Coffee is not more expensive,
and a charming drink is made from equal parts of Mocha, East Indian, and
Plantation coffee at 1_s._ 5½_d._ a pound and 1_s._ 4½_d._ It
should be bought in the berry, and ground each morning; but as this is
too much labour in our small household, I should suggest buying half a
dozen pounds, two of each kind at a time, mixing them carefully and
keeping them in a tin biscuit-box, filling up a smaller canister that
holds a pound as required. I always do this, and the coffee is as
fragrant and good the last day I use from it as on the first. This
should be made for two people in one of Ash’s kaffee kanns, purchasable
in Oxford Street, the best coffee machine I know of anywhere, and, being
furnished with a spirit-lamp, it has always means of keeping the coffee
hot, and the cheerful song of the little lamp is very pleasant when we
come down on a cold wet morning. Of course the milk must be boiled, and
sent in very hot in a china jug to match the china, and Barbadoes raw
sugar is better with it than the ordinary lump. Very pretty basins, both
for moist and lump sugar, can be bought at the Baker Street Bazaar, in
Oriental china, for 1_s._ or 2_s._; butter-dishes at 6_d._, in blue and
white china, also marmalade and honey pots, for about 2_s._; and as the
blue harmonises with green, these pots can be used quite well with my
favourite ivy service, of which I spoke before.

In the centre of the table there should always be an art pot with a
plant in. Of course I know people _will_ consider that expensive, and
will sometimes even put another enemy of mine (a worse enemy even than
that terrible hat-stand!) in this place of honour--I mean a cruet-stand.
But let me tell you what this expensive item has cost me since this time
last year--just five shillings. I had my pot for years, naturally, and
this is not included in the outlay, but this some years ago cost 3_s._,
so no one can object on the score of expense. In this pot I had planted
a cocos palm, 3_s._ 6_d._, a most graceful plant, and the other 1_s._
6_d._ went for three tiny ferns, all of which are flourishing mightily,
and will soon have to be transplanted and make room for smaller ones
again. Any lady fond of gardening could have planted these herself, and,
naturally, cheaper plants are to be had; but the fine, graceful foliage
of the cocos is so pretty, and the plant lasts so long, that I can
heartily recommend it from long experience.

Of course, round the centre plant can be arranged three or four specimen
glasses of flowers; but this I have never time to do except on special
occasions, yet it adds much to the effect of a breakfast-table, and no
young housekeeper who has not a settled occupation, such as keeps me
employed from nine until one, should ever allow her table to be
flowerless or ugly. In front of Edwin should be placed any hot food
provided for breakfast, on nice china hot-water dishes; the bread should
be placed on a wooden bread platter, that has neither a text nor a moral
reflection carved on it--two things that always seem to me singularly
out of place on a bread-stand; and the knife should be one of those very
nice ivory-handled ones, made on purpose by Mappin and Webb, I believe,
that cost 7_s._ 6_d._, but that last years.

At the corner of the table, between Edwin and Angelina, should be neatly
arranged salt, pepper, and mustard. A tiny set of cruets for breakfast
can be bought to match the ivy festooned ware, and is as pretty as can
be. Very pretty white china salt-cellars &c. can be also purchased, with
white china spoons to serve with; and Doulton makes charming sets also,
which go with any service, and are very strong, but these have plated
mounts; and I am not nearly as fond of them as I am of plain china, as
these always look and are clean; and either plated ware or silver
tarnish very soon, and make a great deal of work for our one pair of
hands; which is one very strong reason why Angelina should put away all
the pretty silver salt-cellars she is sure to receive when she is
married; reserving these and other handsome possessions until she can
afford a butler, or until she has trained her maidens well, and is
justified in taking extra help, under the housemaid, when, if she likes,
she can bring it out and use it daily.

As in every other department, in the housemaid’s department should rules
and regulations be found. She should clean certain rooms on certain
days; she should never leave her silver in greasy, or her knives in hot
water; she should keep soda in her sink just as the cook does; and she
should be instructed how to keep her glass clean and bright, a smeared
glass or plate being at once returned to her for alteration should she
bring it up to table.

Let the housemaid, moreover, have two or three coarse dust-sheets for
covering the furniture when she is sweeping and dusting (and see she
uses them), a large piece of ‘crash’ to place in front of the fireplace,
when she is cleaning the grate, and a housemaid’s box and gloves. She
must, furthermore, have three dusters, three glass-cloths, a good
chamois leather, a set of brushes and plate-brushes, a decanter-drainer,
a wooden bowl for washing up in, which must be kept free from grease of
any kind, and she must wash out her dusters for herself. This makes them
last much longer than they otherwise would, and if she has only a
certain number she cannot waste and spoil them. Little things like these
are what almost ruin a young housekeeper, because she does not know how
to manage, and because she is too proud, as a rule, to ask any one why
dusters vanish into thin air, and why the washing bill adds up so

Silver can be kept beautifully clean if washed in clean soda water
daily, and then cleaned with a little whitening; which glass should be
always rubbed bright with a leather.

These items appear insignificant, but I am sure they will be useful
hints to many of my less experienced readers.



In life, as in everything else, it is extremely difficult to draw the
line anywhere. I want both my young people to care about their house,
and know every detail of its management, but they must not become
domestic dummies, and think of nothing save how to make a shilling do
the work of two, and how to circumvent that terrible butcher, or that
still more awful laundry-woman. Once started, the details that seem so
ugly and wearisome on paper need never be gone into again, but it is
necessary to have some plan and stick to it, else the jarring of the
wheels of the domestic car will always be heard, and life will indeed be
stale, dull, and unprofitable. People provide their own poetry, my young
friends, and life is a very good thing if you do not expect too much
from it, or if you will not refuse to accept other folks’ experience,
for she has nothing new to give you, nothing to show you she has not
shown us all before you. You are not the only young people who have
started on a diet of roses and cream, and not the only ones either who
have found this disagree with them. So buckle too manfully, and work
your way onwards, being quite sure that every fresh home started and
kept going on excellent sound principles of health and beauty does a
work little known of, less understood about, perhaps, by those who
inhabit it, but none the less beneficial to all those who come within
its influence.

But I do not mean to preach a sermon, much as I should like to do so,
but only to preface my remarks on the subject of our first shopping and
how we should begin our scheme of decoration.

It is usual for the landlord to allow a certain sum for the decoration
of a house; but rarely, if ever, does that sum allow of anything like
really artistic papering and painting. Yet, I maintain, artistic
surroundings are far more important than handsome furniture or even an
elaborate wedding dress; and I think if we have common sense, and find a
good journeyman carpenter and painter, who will work himself with his
men under our directions, we shall manage very well indeed.

Could we afford it, of course, I would employ Morris, or Smee’s people,
or Collinson and Lock, with their delicious arrangement of ‘fittings’;
but we cannot, and our first business is to find some inexpensive man
who will do as he is told. Then we can buy our papers and set to work.
There is no saving like that we can make in this first work, if we can
only put our hand on our man. And when this is done our next step is to
describe the work we shall require to be done and to ask him to send in
a contract, which is to be for everything, and is not to be departed
from on any account whatever.

_The_ great advantage to me in employing our own man is that we buy our
own wall-papers &c. just wherever we like, and can, moreover, obtain a
large discount on them if we pay cash, and insinuate that we expect the
aforesaid discount as a matter of course. Then we can start on our
shopping and to enjoy ourselves, though I question much if shopping be
quite as charming an occupation as one expects it to be. Certainly,
unless one starts with a clear conception of one’s needs, a long day’s
shopping can result in nothing save great confusion of ideas, and a
fearful consciousness that one has bought the very things one ought not
to have purchased, and entirely forgotten the very articles of which we
were most in want.

To avoid this disagreeable termination to our day, we must never start
in a hurry, never be obliged to hasten over our purchases; and once our
minds are made up on the subject of colours, we must not allow a
‘sweetly pretty’ pattern or beautiful hue to tempt us. Having made up
our minds what we want, let us buy that, and nothing else.

Therefore, before going out really to purchase, we must settle
definitely what are our requirements; and after really making the
acquaintance of our house, the next thing to do is to find out what
pretty things can be bought, at which shops, and at the most reasonable
rate; and this is only to be done by a painstaking inspection of what
the different establishments have to offer us, and by not disdaining to
look in at shop windows, keeping both ears and eyes open, and using our
senses and, if possible, other people’s experiences, as much as we can.
This is a long and tedious process, but one worth going through, if we
really want our house to be a home, and the experience we purchase with
our furniture will go a long way towards helping us to solve the problem
set before so many of us: how to live pleasantly on small means. One
axiom we can undoubtedly lay to heart and remember, and that is that no
one establishment should be resorted to for everything. Long experience
teaches me that each shop has its specialties; it may supply everything
from beds to food, from saucepans to grand pianos, still there is always
some one thing that another shop has better and cheaper, and it is as
well to find this out before we start away to buy our furniture, for I
have often been made very angry by seeing exactly the same thing I gave
5_s._ for in one shop sold at 2_s._ 6_d._ in a less fashionable but
equally accessible neighbourhood, while nothing varies as much as the
price of wall-papers. I have known the self-same paper sold at 2_s._
6_d._, 3_s._ 6_d._, and 4_s._ a piece by three different firms, all
within a stone’s throw of each other; and, naturally, patterns alter
from year to year, and we can scarcely ever match a paper unless we
purchase one designed by some well-known designer, such as Morris,
Jeffreys, Shufferey, Collinson and Lock, and Mr. E. Pither, of Mortimer
Street, W., for whose cheap artistic papers I for one can never be too
profoundly grateful.

But even more important than to find where to get the cheapest things is
it to consult the house itself on what will suit it best in the way of
furniture, and we should never allow ourselves to buy a single thing
until we have taken our house into our confidence, and discovered all
about its likes and dislikes. This sounds ridiculous, I know; but I am
convinced a house is a sentient thing, and becomes part and parcel of
those who live in it in a most mysterious way. Anyhow, to put it on the
most prosaic grounds, what would be the use of buying a corner cupboard
that would not fit into any corner, or in purchasing a sofa for which
there was no place to be found once it was bought?

It is, therefore, far better to know our house thoroughly before we
really begin to furnish; and I cannot too strongly advise all ladies to
buy merely the bare necessaries of life before they go into their houses
to live, reserving the rest of their money until they are quite sure
what the house really wants most. But here let me whisper a little hint
to our bride: a man before he is married is apt to be far more
generously minded than he is once he has his prize safe; therefore,
there should be a clear understanding that so much is to be spent really
and positively; otherwise the bridegroom may think, as many men do,
that, as things have ‘done’ for a while, they can ‘do’ for ever, and he
may button up his pockets and refuse to buy anything more than he has
already done. I have known more than one man do this; and even the best
man that ever lived--by which every woman means her own husband, of
course--never can understand either that things wear out or women
require any money to spend.

When starting out on our shopping, we should put down first of all what
we wish to buy, and then what we wish to spend, and we should never be
persuaded to spend more on one thing than the outside price we have put
down for it in our own schedule. If we do, something will have to go
short, and that may be something very important both for health and

You know individually what you can afford, so make a note of that, and
keep to it firmly, never allowing yourself to spend any more on that
particular thing, thinking you can save elsewhere, for your list should
be so exact that you cannot possibly spare anything you have set down in

And now another axiom to be remembered when shopping: never allow an
upholsterer to direct your taste or to tell you what to buy, neither
allow him to talk you out of anything on which you have settled after
mature consideration.

The best of upholsterers has only an upholsterer’s notions, and
naturally rather wishes to sell what he has, rather more than he desires
to procure you what you want. He spots an _ingénue_ the moment she
enters his shop, and he cannot help remembering that here is the person
likely to buy his venerable ‘shop-keepers,’ and he brings them forward
until, bewildered by the quantity and ashamed not to buy after all the
trouble she thinks she has given, Miss Innocence spends her money, and
regrets her stupidity for the rest of her life.

All young people starting in life are so very certain that they are
going to do better than any one else, that they invariably scoff at the
idea of an upholsterer being able to direct them, but let them start
prepared for this by my hint, and let them keep their eyes open; and if
they do not see things that have not been brought to the light of day
for ages at first, and before the man has realised he has a forewarned
damsel and no _ingénue_ to deal with, they need never believe a word I
say for the future. But I have seen and watched this little comedy too
often not to know I am really stating a fact.

Start on your shopping armed with this caution, your list, and a
determination to be content with what you can afford, and a
determination to get the prettiest things you can for your money, and
you will do well; and above all remember that your lines have fallen on
days when beauty and cheapness go hand in hand, and don’t hanker after
Turkey carpets, when the price of one would go far indeed to furnish the
whole of the room for which you would so like it, regardless of the
fact that if you purchase such an expensive luxury you will have nothing
whatever left with which to buy suitable chairs, tables, and plenishing
to match a carpet which is only fit to go where expense is no object.

And please mark carefully the word ‘suitable,’ for there is no word so
absolutely set on one side in our English language. Do not be guided by
fashion, or by what some one else has done or means to do, or by
anything at all, save the length of your purse and the house where you
are to live; and recollect cheap things are easily replaced, while
expensive ones wear one to death in taking care of them, and in marking
sorrowfully how much sooner they fade or go into holes than we can
afford to replace them.

If all this is remembered, laid to heart, and well thought over, the
first shopping can be commenced at any time, and should consist of a
careful selection of wall-papers and paints for at least the hall,
dining-room, and staircase.



Perhaps the most difficult part of a house to really make look nice is
the hall, especially in one of the small houses of the period, where
that tiresome man, the builder, appears to consider either that an
entrance to the house is not necessary at all, or that the smaller it
is, and the more the stairs are in evidence, the better and more
appropriate it is to Angelina’s lowly station in life; indeed, this
idiosyncrasy is not confined to small houses, for I know of more than
one good-sized domicile that is entirely spoiled by the manner in which
the staircase rises from the front door, scarcely allowing that room
enough to open, or which has not space even for the hat-stand and
hall-table to which the British matron is as a rule so very fondly
attached. However, there is now a distinct advance in the matter of the
hall in many of the new houses; and we will take it for granted that we
have a small space at all events that we can make the very best of, for
nothing adds so much to the appearance of a house as a nicely arranged
hall. Indeed, were I now beginning housekeeping, nothing should induce
me to take a house where there was not an appreciable distance between
the sitting-rooms and the front door, for if this latter opens direct on
them it is impossible to avoid draughts and constant catching of cold; a
nicely warmed sitting-room becoming well-nigh uninhabitable when the
front door is opened on a cold or windy night: a chill and cutting
draught enters, and in a moment a bad cold is caught. I know nothing
more important, therefore, than to consider the position of a front door
in choosing a house, as not only one’s comfort but much of one’s health
depends upon this. I have had this ‘borne in upon me,’ as the Shakers
would say, often and often, when I have been staying in a house where
there is literally not a square yard of hall, where the stairs and the
front door seem all one, and where the drawing-room literally opens out
into the place where the front door is. Even in not particularly cold
weather, nothing keeps such a house even warm, and the sudden changes of
temperature caused by this arrangement are so great that I have had to
live in a shawl and yet could not rise above freezing point; and, of
course, what it must be in the depth of winter I must leave my readers
to imagine.

The first thing to look at, then, is what we can do with our hall, when
we have it. If the front door is very near us, we must hang over it a
good thick curtain. I should advise a double curtain of serge or felt.
This could be arranged on one of those delightful rods that are, I
believe, only to be purchased of Maple, and that move with the door
itself in some mysterious way, with a bracket arrangement, and that
prevents the necessity of drawing the curtain itself when the door is
opened. Of course this would only be for winter use and for when the
delightful east wind was blowing; but over all the doors in my hall I
have curtains which remain up all the year round, because they look so
nice, and are really of a great deal of use in more ways than one. As
the doors open inwards, these are only put up on the ordinary narrow
brass poles with rings, and are tied back with Liberty silk
handkerchiefs, or in several instances looped high with cords, as in
Illustration No. 1. This allows of the curtain being dropped in one
moment should more warmth be desired. These cords and tassels are
procurable at Smee’s, while the handkerchiefs are Liberty’s. A 3_s._
6_d._ handkerchief, cut in half and hemmed, is the proper size to use
for this purpose, should they be preferred to the cords. Some of the
curtains are made of stamped velveteen at 2_s._ 3_d._ and 2_s._ 6_d._
the yard, edged round the bottom and one side with a ball fringe to
match, and others are made of serge; but I prefer the velveteen--it
wears beautifully, and can be made to look as good as new by being
re-dipped by Pullar the dyer, who lives at Perth, who is very well
known, and has agents all over the kingdom, so there is no expense,
incurred in sending the things to him. The curtains over the doorways of
the sitting-rooms are always kept tied back, and I furthermore put in
tintacks down the sides nearest the wall to keep them in place, and to
keep out the draught. This does not harm the curtains in the least if
very small bits of tape are sewn on the material, and the nail inserted
in these, not in the curtains themselves. Over the door that leads into
the kitchen departments the curtains should be in one piece, capable of
being drawn; to keep this in place it is well to put the last ring over
the end of the pole, so that it cannot be drawn on more than one side.
This saves it from looking like a rag, which it would do could it be
drawn with equal ease both sides, and also secures that it shall remain
drawn over a door that would be always revealing all sorts of domestic
secrets were it not for the friendly shield of the concealing curtain,
in the praise of which I feel I cannot really say too much.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--Suggestion for draping arch in hall.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--Suggestion for draping door in hall.]

The flooring of the hall is our next consideration. If we have tiles,
and very many houses have tiles nowadays, I think I should be inclined
to say, leave the floor just as it is. If you put down a nice rug, dirty
boots soon reduce it to a state of dirt and squalor; and nicely washed
tiles really look as well as anything. Of course a good thick mat must
be placed at the front door. This is best purchased at Treloar’s, in
Ludgate Hill, for I really do believe his mats never wear out. I have
had one for years with ‘Salve’ on in red letters, and that mat is as
good now as the day on which I purchased it, and it has had the wear of
boys to contend with, to say nothing of, first, an extremely chalky
soil, and then a clay one. Behind the door I should put a brass stand,
just to hold the wet umbrellas. Maple has very pretty brass stands
indeed for about 25_s._ 6_d._; but when dry each member of the family
should be made to take his or her umbrella into their own room, and put
them in a corner there _not_ rolled up. The life of an umbrella is quite
doubled in length if this simple rule is remembered, and, indeed, if
there be a room where the umbrella can be allowed to dry, I should
advise its being put there at once open, for umbrella stands wear out
one’s umbrella quicker than any amount of wear. Very pretty stands are
now made from drain-pipes, which are painted, and in some cases
embellished with flowers made from clay in imitation of Barbotine ware;
but these are easily broken, and I think a brass one much the best for
all purposes.

Now, on no account allow any one to hang up a coat or wrap in the hall.
First of all, a collection of coats and hats tempts a thief; and,
secondly, I cannot imagine anything more untidy-looking. The men of the
household can be easily trained to take their own especial property at
once into their own rooms, where there should be accommodation for them;
and visitors’ hats and coats can be taken possession of by the maid, and
hung up in the passage behind the curtained door that leads to the
kitchen, where they are out of sight at all events, and can be given
back to their owners quite as easily as if they were making our hall
like an old clothes shop, or filling it with water from outside. On no
account, therefore, buy a hall stand, brass hooks or a row of pegs in
some unobtrusive corner answering every purpose, as far as I can see. Of
course if the master comes in wet his garments must go straight to the
kitchen fire, anyhow; if he be dry, why should he not take his hat and
coat into his own dressing-room? We do not put on our bonnets and
jackets in the hall, or keep them there either, and I cannot myself see
why he should. But it is all a matter of management and use, and if he
be asked to begin properly by taking his property upstairs, I am quite
sure there will be no trouble about that detestable piece of furniture,
a hat-stand.

Of course, nowadays no one thinks of having imitation marble-paper in
the hall--that monstrosity is at last never now to be met with; but the
hall paper is rather a difficult business, and must be chosen especially
to suit _the_ hall for which it is intended. A soft green paper makes
almost any hall and staircase look cheerful, but my pet paper is
undoubtedly Pither’s ‘blue blossom,’ at 1_s._ 6_d._ a piece, and I
especially recommend a dado here, but not a paper one--this soon gets
shabby. Children’s little paws, boxes going up and down, a thousand
things inseparable from a staircase, in the shape of wear and tear, all
have to be considered. Therefore, either a dado of matting, with a real
wooden rail, painted the colour of the paper or else a wooden dado, or
one of really pretty cretonne, are all to be preferred, because they
stand a good many hard knocks, and remain unspoiled to the last. A
matting dado, I think myself, is the very best, and, if desired, the
stair-carpets can be saved much wear by covering them in their turn
with narrow matting too. I really think a blue hall is as pretty as any,
and then old-gold curtains over the doors look charming; but a
sage-green hall looks extremely well, and I have seen a terra-cotta
paper, with a chintz dado, using Liberty’s Mysore chintz, that had a
very pretty effect indeed. If the banisters end in a round, a good
effect is procured by placing a plant in a pot there. I had one that
never got knocked over; but, for fear of a catastrophe, a brass pot with
an aspidistra should be selected, as, if this falls, it cannot be
utterly and entirely done for, as a china one would be containing a
fragile fern or a delicate palm, neither of which, by the way, would
stand the draught as the long-suffering aspidistra invariably does. I
like pictures up the staircase, and, should there be a staircase window,
artistic jugs and pots, more especially the Bournemouth and Rebecca
ware, sold by Mr. Elliot (who lives at the top of the Queen’s Road,
Bayswater, No. 18), should stand all along the window-ledge; and if the
outlook be ugly, the entire window should be covered by a fluted muslin
curtain in art colours, using either Madras, which does not wash well,
and must always be new here, or Liberty’s artistic muslins at 1_s._ a
yard, with the appearance of which I am delighted, either for window
blinds or summer quilts, or material for throwing over sofas, instead of
guipure and muslin. It is sold in all colours, and is one of the best
things I have seen for some time.

How we furnish our hall must of course entirely depend on the room we
have. Liberty has some charming bamboo settees in black, and arm-chairs
to match. These are especially suitable for a hall, while an oak chest
with an oaken back is a most valuable possession; the chest holds
comfortably the year’s accumulation of papers and magazines until it is
time for them to go to the binder, and the top and back are charming
with heavy jugs on, made too heavy to be blown over by filling them with
sand, in which, when flowers are plentiful, blossoms can be put, and
when they are scarce, leaves and berries and pampas grasses show to
great advantage. If any small tables are about, have plants and books on
them, and above all avoid any appearance of a passage or hall--nothing
makes a house look so miserable. A good thing to bang in the hall is a
nicely illuminated card saying when the post goes out, with a box
underneath for the letters, and the time-table and a hat-brush should be
in some unobtrusive corner, whence they should never be moved on any
pretext whatever; a fixed matchbox, that should always be full, is
another institution, and a candlestick in good order should be put on
one of the tables when the hall gas is lighted. The painted
artistic-looking candlesticks sold by Liberty at 2_s._ 9_d._ are very
pretty, but a brass candlestick does not get shabby quite so soon, and
is not much if any dearer. One more axiom: never have loose mats at the
room doors outside; they only turn over with the ladies’ dresses, and
get untidy, while a piece of indiarubber tubing at the bottom of the
door keeps out far more draught than any mat possibly can. If the hall
be not tiled, I recommend it to be covered with Pither’s capital
hard-wearing drugget over felt, with one or two dhurries about, put down
carelessly, for sake of the colour; these wash beautifully and wear
excellently, and begin at 1_s._ 6_d._ each, rising in price according to
size, while one or two of the Kurd or Scinde rugs would be even better
than these, as they stand a very great deal of wear and tear.

Before passing away from the hall, I will just mention two or three
schemes of decoration that are absolutely certain to be a success, and
therefore can be adopted without any chance of a failure: No. 1 is
Pither’s invaluable red and white ‘berry’ paper at 1_s._ 6_d._ a piece;
a dado of red and white matting--Treloar, Ludgate Hill, has a capital
one at about 1_s._ a yard, and varnished paint the exact colour of the
red on the flower; blue hard wearing drugget on the floor, and red,
white, and blue striped dhurries for _portières_. No. 2.--Paper of a
good sage-green, with dado of Japanese leather paper in sage-green, and
gold all the paint varnished sage-green and Pither’s terra-cotta
hard-wearing drugget on the floor and stairs; terra-cotta and grey-blue
serge curtains would be safe here, and if there be a back staircase and
no boys in the house, the dado may be replaced by a frieze of Maple’s
grey-gold Japanese leather paper; this resembles a flight of birds among
palm branches, and this arrangement is simply a perfect hall, but not
suitable for one where there is much traffic. All the paint, on doors,
wainscot, and frieze or picture-rail alike, must be one shade of green
only, and I most strongly deprecate for any place the odious habit of
picking out styles and wainscoting with another shade of paint; this is
never needed, only adds to the work, and draws attention to the paint,
at which we do not want to look, and which would only serve as a
pleasant background to oneself and one’s belongings. The sides of the
stairs and the balustrading should all be painted to match, though the
mahogany handrail should be left alone.

Scheme No. 3 would only do where expense was no object, but would
undoubtedly make a most lovely hall. This would be in cream-coloured
varnished paint, with a high wooden dado painted cream colour, and then
embellished with sketches of birds and flowers by Mrs. McClelland’s
clever fingers; the paper could be a good gold-coloured Japanese leather
paper, and the carpets could be Oriental rugs sewn together, while the
hall should have a handsome Oriental square of carpet, and one or two
divans placed about it; the draperies could be Liberty’s beautiful
chenille material in Oriental colours too, and great care should be
taken with their arrangement. In all cases I strongly advise the
ceilings to be papered, no one who has once indulged in a coloured or
decorated ceiling ever going back to the cold, ugly whitewash, with
which we have all been so contented so long. It is generally safe to put
a blue and white ceiling paper with a yellow or red wall paper, a
terra-cotta and white with green walls, and a yellow and white with blue
walls, taking care to carry out this combination of colouring in the
carpets, draperies, &c.

Much as I dislike gas, it is a necessity in any hall, and I here produce
two sketches of beaten iron gas-lamps that would be suitable for almost
any style of decoration; these are from the designs of Messrs. Strode,
48 Osnaburgh Street, Regent’s Park, and cost respectively 5_l._ 15_s._
and 1_l._ 4_s._ each; quite simple hanging lamps are to be had from Mr.
Smee at 35_s._, in beaten iron, but these are not quite large enough by
themselves to light a hall, and two at least would be required.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

On no account, by the way, allow your front door to be disfigured with
the terrible ‘graining,’ against which I am always waging war. Painters
always beg to be allowed to ‘embellish’ at least the front door with the
hideous but orthodox arrangement of yellows and browns, scraped
mysteriously and agonisedly with a comb, or some such instrument, in a
faint and feeble attempt to deceive callers into believing that the door
is made of some highly polished wood, veined by nature, in a way that
could not deceive the veriest ignoramus; but I stoutly set my face
against such an idea, and denounce graining as the hideous and palpable
sham it undoubtedly is, advising all who come to me to have some good
deep self-colour for their front door, and generally suggesting a very
dark peacock-blue door for a ‘blue blossom’ hall, a very dark Indian red
for the red berry, and a dark sage-green for the sage-green hall, adding
brass handles and furniture; this stamps the house at once as an
artistic one, and one in which ‘graining’ will not be allowed at any

And here I will pause for a moment to beg any one who may need these
words of mine to refuse to allow any graining whatever in their houses;
it is a barbarism that should be allowed to die out as quickly as may
be; it is always ugly, always inartistic, and, being an undoubted
attempt to seem what it is not, I set my face against it always. I would
rather have deal, rubbed over with boiled oil, than the most
‘artistically’ imitated piece of walnut or mahogany ever produced by the
grainer’s tools; the one is neat, the other a vulgar sham--vulgar
because it is always vulgar to seem to be what one is not, and to
pretend to be what can be contradicted by the tiniest scratch, rather
than to be confessedly of a cheap material, and therefore graining
cannot be too strongly condemned.

Many people cling to it who dislike it as much as I do, because they are
told nothing can be done to it, unless all the paint is burned off;
there never was a greater fallacy! To paint over graining all one has to
do is to have the paint washed thoroughly with strong soda and water,
and then rubbed down with glass-paper, then apply one coat of Aspinall’s
water-paint and one coat of his enamel, and you can possess at once all
the colour you require, without any trouble at all. Of course a perfect
‘job’ is only made by burning off the paint, but no one could ever tell
this had not been done, and very particular people can themselves apply
first of all Carson’s ‘detergent,’ sold at Carson’s paint works, La
Belle Sauvage Yard, for 5_s._ a tin; this brings off the old paint in
flakes, and leaves the bare wood ready for the painter’s brush. Still
this is not necessary, and people who have kept to graining because they
dread the burning-off process need do so no longer, unless they
positively cannot afford the new paint required to cover it over.

A stone hall in the country looks much better if the stones are painted
a good red or blue, instead of being whitened daily, and Treloar’s
scarlet cocoanut matting is invaluable in back passages and on kitchen
stairs; and above all we must recollect that the hall gives the first
welcome to our guests, and that therefore the more it resembles a cosy,
comfortable, artistic room, the more likely is the rest of the house to
be a charming and successfully designed and furnished home.



In my first chapter I laid just a little stress on the word ‘suitable’;
but in looking back at it, I find I did not say half what I intended to
on the subject of making that most suggestive tri-syllable our guiding
star, as it were, in our whole scheme of life, and it may not be out of
place just to dwell upon it a little, before proceeding to lay out any
money, because if we calmly and dispassionately regulate our desires by
their appropriateness to our purse, and our standing in the social
scale, we shall find our requirements diminish sensibly, and our
purchasing powers increased in the most pleasing and comfortable way.

Therefore, in starting to buy the furniture for our modest dining-room,
let us consider not what is handsome or effective or taking to the eye,
but what is suitable to Edwin’s position, and what will be pleasant for
Angelina to possess, without having unduly to agitate herself and worry
herself to death in nervously protecting her goods and chattels from
wear and tear, which often enough is reflected on her, and wears and
tears her nerves, and takes up her time in a manner that would be
pathetic, if it were not so ridiculous and so extremely unsuitable to
her position as a British matron. Therefore, with a small income it is
the reverse of suitable to make purchases that can never be replaced
without months of anxious striving and saving; for though, of course,
incomes may increase, they seldom increase in proportion to the wants of
the household; and it is better to buy strong plain furniture, to
purchase cheap and pretty carpets and draperies that can be replaced
without a serious drain on our income, than to revel in expensive chairs
and tables which, should they be scratched and broken, can never be
matched without much more sacrifice than they are worth; and if we march
along manfully, determined to act suitably, not fashionably, we shall
enjoy life a thousand times better, and have at the same time the
pleasing consciousness that we are doing good to our fellow-creatures,
without knowing it perhaps, but most satisfactorily; for example is
worth a thousand precepts, and practising is more than a million
sermons, all the world over.

How often a well-managed house, an income carefully (not meanly, not
lavishly, but _carefully_) administered, or a pretty idea pleasantly
carried out, has shone like a bright light in this naughty world--other
people have seen our strivings, may be have noted our cheerful bright
house, and seen our small but comfortable _ménage_, and have gone on
their way cheered and refreshed by our example, and in copying it have
influenced some one else in quite another part of London or the suburbs;
and, alas! how many may we not have helped on the downward path of
extravagance and foolish lavishness by our foolishness or our needless
display, which we have repented of, most likely, long before all the
bills were paid.

Taking into consideration the fact that no one can live to themselves,
even in the purchase of chairs and tables, we may, perhaps, be forgiven
our sermon; but lest Angelina tires of our prating, and shrinks appalled
from the serious manner in which we cannot help regarding the starting
of any new home, we will leave off preaching on unsuitability, and
proceed on our journey in search of nice and suitable furniture for our
small dining-room.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

Great care must be taken in selecting our dining-room chairs, and we
earnestly advise all intending purchasers of these necessary articles of
furniture to look not so much at the appearance as to their capabilities
for affording a resting-place to a weary back; for I have often endured
a silent martyrdom at many a dinner-party, in the houses of those
amiable but mistaken people who go in for Chippendale chairs,
embellished by carvings just where one leans back, or for those other
still more agonising seats which have a round gap or space, and through
which one almost falls should one try to lean against them and so obtain
rest; and I am naturally anxious to save others from the sufferings I
have endured, either on the chairs just spoken of, or seated on one the
seat of which was so high from the ground that my legs have refused to
reach it, and I have hung suspended in mid-air, until I have hardly
known how to sit out the long and elaborate meal I was enduring,
certainly not enjoying.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

Now here are five chairs illustrated, any one of which would be quite
safe to have. No. 5 is the most expensive of all, and would cost about
3_l._ 10_s._ each. These are ebonised New Zealand pine, and are
upholstered in a dull brown morocco, which has worn splendidly. Nos. 6,
7, and 8 are Mr. Smee’s designs, and are made with a peculiar curve in
the backs, which just takes one’s shoulders, and gives one a comfortable
resting-place without appearing to be in the least a lounge. These
chairs can be had for about 32_s._ and 42_s._ respectively, No. 6 being
upholstered in a species of woollen tapestry, which wears well, and
would be singularly suitable for a small _ménage_, and is, therefore,
not out of the reach of most of us; while for folks who require
something much less expensive than even the cheapest chairs just spoken
of, there are the 3_s._ 6_d._ rush-seated black-framed chairs, sold by
Messrs. Harding Bros., Beaconsfield, Bucks, which are strong, artistic
in appearance, and infinitely to be preferred to the chairs in the
terrible ‘suites,’ that are such a temptation to the unwary, and to
those who make that most fatal of all mistakes, and do their shopping in
a hurry--than which there cannot be a greater error.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

In a small room I am much inclined to a round table; these are much more
cosy, and much more easily arranged to look nice; but, in any case, the
table need only be stained deal, with fairly good legs, for in these
days the table is always kept covered by a tablecloth, and is never
shown as it used to be in the old times, when half the occupation of the
servants, and often enough of the unfortunate mistress too, was to
polish the mahogany incubus, and bring it up to a state of perfection.
We have other and better occupations now than this constant ‘furniture
tending,’ I am glad to say; and, oh! how much prettier our houses are,
to be sure, than they used to be.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

There are two of these species of tablecloths especially to be
recommended, both for their artistic and their inexpensive merits, and
are far to be preferred to the tapestry cloths kept ready made in most
shops. Self-coloured felt or serge makes an admirable cover, especially
if a border is added of some contrasting colour. Peacock-blue serge
looks well with an old-gold border, about six inches wide; each side of
the border has a gimp combining the two colours, and the cloth itself is
edged with a tufted fringe. Two shades of red look well too; but, of
course, the cloth must be chosen to harmonise with the room in which it
is to be used, and not bought, as Englishmen all too often make their
purchases, because the thing is pretty in itself, forgetting that it
ceases to have even a claim on the score of beauty when placed among
incongruous surroundings. I may mention, now I am on the subject of
tablecloths, that I much dislike the custom of leaving the white
tablecloth on all day long; this invariably makes the room look like an
eating-house, and causes the cloth to appear messed, for dust from the
fire settles upon it; and I always insist on the white cloth being
brushed, _folded in its folds on the table by the two maids_, and then
placed at once in the press, a cloth managed like that lasting twice as
long and looking much better than the one that is left on for two or
three days at a time; for few if any of us can now afford a clean
tablecloth every day, not only on the score of the washing, but because
the washing process too often applied ruins our cloths, and results in
nothing save a series of holes, worn by chemicals and careless mangling;
therefore the white cloth must be removed, and replaced by a good art
serge or felt, made up, as suggested above, with a band of some
contrasting hue. This cloth careful people remove during meals, for no
one can be sure whether gravy or wine will not be upset; and teacups and
saucers have been known to be turned over bodily even in the
best-regulated families. These accidents do no positive damage if the
good cloth is removed; and, after all, this is a small thing to
recollect, and may save expenditure both of money and temper too.

These tiny hints are of course meant for people who are not well off,
but may not be out of place even to those richer people who are lucky
enough not to be obliged to worry after every trifle. A penny saved is a
penny gained; and even the richest among us has need to be careful. What
he saves can after all be given to some poor brother.

But however rich you are do not be persuaded to buy that ugly,
expensive, and tremendous thing a sideboard; neither waste your
substance on dinner-wagons, they spoil the appearance of everything; but
get some obliging and clever upholsterer to make you a cabinet or two,
one for each side of the fireplace, if you have recesses there, and take
care they are pretty, for much of the look of your home depends upon
what you have in the shape of armoires. I have two made in ebonised wood
from a design given me by a Royal Academician, which are illustrated
here. They have three shelves, then a broad space where are deep
cupboards, and then again an empty space, where books can be kept, or
great jars put to decorate it. On the three shelves I arrange china,
which is also arranged on the top of the part that has three cupboards.
These have brass hinges and good locks, and hold wine, dessert, dinner
napkins, and trifles, such as string, nails, and other necessary
articles, and answer every purpose of a sideboard, and, instead of being
ordinary, ugly things, are so

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

decorative that no one ever enters my room without noticing them and
asking me where they are to be procured. I have had mine some years now,
but extremely nice ones are made by Mr. Smee, the prices beginning at
6_l._ 6_s._ in plain deal ready for painting any special hue to suit any
room, to 10_l._ 10_s._ each in oak or walnut; and I very strongly
recommend them to people who really wish their home to be artistic, and
not a mere warehouse for necessary furniture, for while they answer the
same purpose as a sideboard, they are pretty to look at, and would not
be out of place in an ordinary sitting-room.

Up to this present moment I have said nothing about the colour or
arrangement of the walls of the dining-room, and so, before proceeding
to dilate on the rest of the furniture, I will here give my readers a
few hints on this subject. In the first place, then, let all people
about to furnish determine that their dining-room shall be cheerful
somehow, and let them eschew anything like dark colours or dingy papers,
refusing to listen to the voice of the charmer, who has his
‘appropriate’ designs to sell, and does not care in the least for your
ideas on the subject; and, having mentally selected the colour that
appeals to their taste, let them refuse manfully to be talked out of
their purpose by a man who has no ideas beyond the conventional ones of
dark colours for a dining and light ones for a drawing-room.

For those people who can afford it, I advise invariably a plain gold
Japanese leather paper, with a bold red and gold leather paper as a
dado. The plain paper is 4_s._ 6_d._ a piece of nine yards, _French_ or
narrow width; the dado paper is 1_s._ 6_d._ a yard. All the paint in the
room should be the exact shade of the _red_ of the ground of the paper,
and the painter should be instructed to keep entirely to one shade of
paint, to do no ‘picking out’ or embellishments at all, but to paint
wainscot, shutters, dado rail, and doors alike in one uniform shade of a
good red, mixing the last coat with varnish, or else giving one coat of
Mr. Aspinall’s invaluable enamel paint, which gives a smooth and
polished appearance, particularly suitable for this special tint of red.
The dado rail is sold by Maple ready to put up at 2¼_d._ a foot; thus
it would be easy for any one to calculate exactly how much such a scheme
of decoration would cost. Then the ceiling should be papered in pale
yellow and white. The cornice should in no case be outlined or ‘picked
out’ with colours, but should be a uniform shade of cream, thus just
shading into the paper without calling attention to itself.

Here let me pause for one moment to impress emphatically on my readers
the great necessity of recollecting that paint and paper are after all
only a background to oneself and one’s belongings, and therefore are not
to be brought unduly forward. The paint must always be kept one shade of
one colour; the cornice must always be coloured a deep cream, and the

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--Dining-room at Gable-end, Shortlands.]

relief in doors and shutters is obtained by filling the panels thereof
with a good Japanese leather paper, which at once causes the proper
decorative effect with the expenditure of a very little money, the
effect being heightened by the addition of brass locks and handles,
which cost very little, and yet just add the finishing touches to the

Should the Japanese paper be too expensive, the red effect could be
obtained by one of Pither’s papers with a bold frieze in a good floral
design. This is united to the paper by a frieze or picture rail, sold by
Maple at 2¼_d._ a foot unpainted, and from this frieze the pictures
hang on brass hooks made on purpose; these are about 2_s._ 6_d._ a
dozen; and the pictures are suspended from them on copper wires; this,
however, only answers where there is no gas, as gas corrodes the wire
rather quickly, and then cords must be used; but where there is no gas
the copper answers perfectly, and looks far better than anything else
can possibly do.

Should red be objected to altogether--and I hope it may not be--here is
another scheme of decoration; a dark sage-green paper, with a very
little gold in it; a gold and green Japanese leather dado; all the paint
one shade of sage-green, and a terra-cotta and white ceiling paper;
terra-cotta serge or damask curtains edged with ball fringe, and a
sage-green tablecloth with pale terra-cotta border. With the red
decoration the curtains &c. can be a rather faint pinky terra-cotta;
this produces an excellent effect, while in some rooms a dull blue would
harmonise most excellently with the red. Let me mention one other
trifle: always insist on that ghastly round in the centre of the
ceiling, above the gaselier, being removed. Workmen always say this is
impossible, just as they generally declare they cannot paint over
graining; but it is quite an easy business, and makes an immense
difference in the appearance of any room, and is another ‘little-thing’
the forgetting of which always annoys one, and spoils what might
otherwise be a perfect whole.

I generally advise a dado in the dining-room, because of the rubbing the
paper always receives from the backs of the chairs; but this said
rubbing can be obviated by putting all round the room on the floor
against the wainscot a two-inch border of wood. This does not show if
painted to match the wainscot, and always keeps off a great deal of the
wear and tear the wall receives. Yet sometimes, when the paper is a
really handsome one, a dado can be dispensed with for some time; the
placing of one when the paper itself has been up a few years having the
effect often of making a new room of it, and doing away with the
re-papering process; which is always such a terror by reason of the
dilatoriness and utter worthlessness of many of the British workmen we
are forced to employ, painters, as a rule, being the most unsatisfactory
of all; and I am quite sure many young men who now starve genteelly as
clerks, either in or out of place, could earn much more money, and be
constantly employed too, if they would take to honest papering and
painting, and carry out our ideas in our houses for us, giving us
honest, _sober_ work in return for honest pay. However, we must not
sermonise more than we can help; and having suggested a few ideas for
covering the walls and buying the most necessary articles of furniture,
I now proceed to dwell upon those small extras which will make the room
comfortable, should Edwin have to sit in it when he is at home and has
letters to write; or should the bride-elect be obliged sometimes to make
it her morning room, to save the fire, or the extra work caused by a
third room to a servant. A simple window-seat, as in sketch 11, can
often be placed in a suburban bow-windowed villa, and at once makes a
cosy seat. This frame costs 7_s._, and can be made by a local carpenter.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

The top is made of sacking, and takes four yards at about 1_s._ a yard;
the front is made from a deep frill of cretonne lined with unbleached
calico, and is sewn on rings (fig. 12). These are suspended on nails,
and the whole of the top is cushioned with cretonne, cretonne cushions
being sewn on rings and hung on the wall to make a back for these seats.
The description of arrangement of curtains suitable for this will be
found in the chapter on curtains; and I maintain that no girl or woman
either need consider it a hardship if she have to spend her morning
sewing or reading here, while she could write her necessary letters at
the desk prepared for her husband, and which is a necessity in any house
for a man who has accounts to keep and letters to write. Still, if Edwin
is not a very much better specimen of a husband than the ordinary smoker
of the period makes, Angelina will have to sit in her third room
sometimes, for there is nothing more trying than an atmosphere of stale
smoke, and I look forward to a time when men of the rising generation
will be a little less selfish than they are at present in their
indulgence in a habit that, so far as I can perceive, has not one merit
to recommend it.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

How often am I asked by girls how they can get rid of the disagreeable
effects of smoke after dinner! They say--and very rightly too--that they
really dread breakfast-time, and that their morning is poisoned for them
by the indescribable odour that greets them when they come down
refreshed from their night’s rest to take up their day’s work
cheerfully; that it would be worse if Edwin smoked in the drawing-room,
and they have no small room where they could allow him and his friends
to work their wicked will, and that therefore they feel hopeless. And I
cannot keep from wondering why men should smoke as they do; and
thinking over this, and remembering how terrible it has been to me to
come down to stale smoke, I should like to beg Edwin seriously to
consider whether he need indulge in this habit in his own domicile, and
whether the save of his after-dinner cigar would not conduce to his
happiness as well as to Angelina’s comfort; and really I have small
heart to describe how Edwin can have a comfortable corner in his
dining-room when I feel convinced the more comfortable he is made the
worse effect it will have on everything in any pretty room.

I often wonder if men ever reflect on what their smoke costs them--how
many delightful books, pleasant journeys, pretty engravings and
photographs, and, in fact, all sorts of pleasant and permanent
belongings, fly off into thin air by means of those pipes and cigars
that really seem part of a man at present, and, in fact, are far too
often their first thoughts.

I am not speaking for myself, gentle reader. The atmosphere of smoke is
absent from my own especial domicile, and is reserved for my atom of a
conservatory, should an occasional spoiled friend come down and look
miserable without his pipe or cigarette--for cigars I cannot have even
there; but I am writing for all the young people who are beginning life,
and who think they make their husbands happy by giving them _carte
blanche_ to do just ‘as they like in their own house.’

My dear girls, you cannot make a greater mistake with your husbands, and
later on with your sons, than to wait upon them and give in to all their
little lazinesses and selfishnesses at home. It may sound ridiculous,
but it is a fact that old coats and slippers in the home circle mean
manners to correspond; that bad manners often show a bad heart; and that
a man is far more likely to care for the wife who exacts the small
attentions that would have been lavished on the bride, than for her who
opens the door for herself, rings the bell when he is in the room, and
fetches things for him to save him steps that ought to be taken for her
and not by her; and that boys who are allowed to bully and ‘fag’ their
sisters and their mother are sure to make the selfish, inconsiderate
husbands of which we hear so much nowadays.

And this great smoke question means a great deal too. It is a selfish,
disagreeable habit, verily; and I can but hope that Edwin will think of
this when in his pretty dining-room, and confine himself to the garden
or conservatory with the door shut, even if he does not seriously
consider how many pleasures for both vanish into smoke with the fumes of
his post-prandial cigar; while the odours in which he condemns Angelina
to begin her day would be done away with, and cheerfulness reign instead
of dulness and a sense of nausea that are most trying to any one who
does not like cigars.

Hoping that these words may have due effect, we will contemplate
allowing our bridegroom to have a comfortable armchair in one corner of
the room, and a big desk in another. The armchair, of course, is rather
a serious item, and should really be made for the person who intends to
sit in it. This naturally means an expenditure of from 8_l._ to 10_l._,
according to the covering; so this may be done without until Edwin is
older, if he cannot afford it. Now, in that case, I should recommend his
buying one of those delightful low wicker-work chairs, which can be
bought anywhere for 5_s._ or 6_s._ This can be painted to match the
room, or ebonised with Aspinall’s lovely and invaluable enamel
paints--paints that have a glaze upon them and wear beautifully, and can
be applied at home, and it can be cushioned by any local upholsterer, or
even by Angelina herself, if she be clever with her fingers. The best
material for covering these chairs is undoubtedly a strong tapestry at
about 5_s._ 6_d._ a yard. Maple has the best-designed tapestries for the
money in London, and one should be carefully chosen to harmonise with
the room; the cushion should be tied in its place, or sewn in its place,
with very strong tapes or thread, and should be buttoned down. It takes
two and a quarter yards double width material and four and a half single
width to make a cushion for the sides and seat, and the seat cushion
should be finished off with a frill two inches wide. The comfort of
these chairs is much enhanced by the addition of a small square soft
cushion to fill up the hollow in the centre and stuff into one’s back.
These can be easily made either out of paper torn up and rolled into
strips and then put into a piece of twilled cotton for a case, and a
second case made from the material saved out of the chair covering
itself, or small down cushions can be bought at Whiteley’s in
Turkey-pattern materials which can be hidden in a covering like the
chair, as suggested above, or--whisper this, please--the hair-cushions
placed in the back of ladies’ skirts now can be utilised for stuffing
these cushions to far more advantage than if they were retained in the
position suggested by the dressmaker; and then the appearance of the
chair is complete, with the addition of a Turkish embroidered
antimacassar at 2_s._, which always makes any chair look nice, and even
expensive (see Illustration 13). These chairs can be bought, enamelled
any colour and cushioned complete, for 31_s._ 9_d._ at Colbourne’s, 82
Regent Street, W., made to my pattern.

If you have a more expensive chair, do not buy one with a straight back;
comfortable as they look, they are no use in practice, and every chair
should be rounded for comfort, even if our grandmothers would shake
their heads over the decadence of a generation that requires round backs
to their chairs. Then there should be solid square arms on which books
can be placed, if we like to put one down for a few moments, or even a
cup of tea allowed to stand there, should it be necessary. Mr. Smee
made me such a chair--it was 8_l._ 18_s._ 6_d._, I think--and I would
not part with it on any consideration. It is covered with a very
beautifully designed tapestry, and is trimmed with a deep woollen
fringe, knotted and headed with broad gimp, and is simply perfect; but
he took an immense amount of trouble about it, and made it to suit me,
going on the same plan as that on which the wicker chairs are formed,
only making mine higher from the ground, the lowness of the wicker
chairs being their only failing; and even this, of course, is no failing
in the eyes of a great many of our younger brothers and sisters.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

Edwin’s desk should be wide and strong, and should have good deep
drawers. This can be bought ready made for about 12_l._, but I can
provide a similarly convenient article for 2_l._ 15_s._; that is to say,
I can provide Edwin with ideas on the subject that any small carpenter
can carry out. I have had for years a writing-table made by our own
carpenter which cost me 2_l._ 5_s._, and is now doing honourable service
as a dressing-table in a boy’s room. It was made simply in deal, had
three very deep drawers on each side, and one flat long drawer at the
top; and the top was covered neatly with a piece of Japanese leather
paper, which was quite as serviceable as good leather. I then had it
nicely painted to match the room, added brass handles and locks, and had
an extremely pretty desk or dressing-table for very little money. It is
now painted a very beautiful blue, Aspinall’s hedge-sparrow’s-egg blue,
and is most useful; deep drawers in a desk or dressing-table meaning
comfort, for there is nothing more uncomfortable than having nowhere to
put one’s things. Good inkstands--indeed, the best I know is the deep
blue-and-white china one to be bought at the Baker Street Bazaar for
sixpence--should never be forgotten. Two should be bought, one for red
and one for black (there is no ink, by the way, like Stephens’
blue-black fluid; I cannot write without it, and always take it with me
wherever I go); a box for string, filled, a post-card case, a
letter-weigher, and a date-card and candlestick, and also a tray for
sealing-wax, pens, ink-eraser, &c., all should find places on the desk,
and above it, or on one side, should hang something to hold letters--a
basket at 4½_d._ does beautifully; beneath it should be a wastepaper
basket, and if Angelina be wise she will have a sack in a cupboard from
some paper works, into which all pieces of wastepaper should be put. The
sack soon fills, and from disposing of the contents there are seven
shillings, which come in handily for plants, or flowers, or any of the
many trifles that seem nothing to buy, but that run away somehow with so
very much money--trifles making up life after all. If possible, keep a
bunch of flowers on the desk. I am never without one winter or summer,
and there is ample room on the desk I describe for this and also for
dictionaries, two plants, and three brass pigs taking a walk, which I
always use as a letter-weight.

The dining-room desk should always be looked after by the mistress
herself, who should also take care that fresh ink, pens that will write,
a blotting-book, and wastepaper basket are in every room in the house
that is used, including the spare bedroom. Seeing to this often saves a
good deal of time and temper too; for I know of nothing more irritating
than to have to write a note in a hurry and have nothing handy to do it

The dining-room, or, indeed, any room, would not be complete without a
few words on the subject of the mantelpiece, which is always rather a
difficult matter to arrange; for one must have a clock there, and that
means expense, unless we are content with a very charming specimen
Oetzmann, of the Hampstead Road, used to sell for 25_s._ I have had one
three, nay, four, years in my drawing-room, and it still goes
excellently. It is blue, and in a tall slender black case. It is called
the Chippendale clock. I dare say he keeps them still. Then there should
be candles in blue and white china candlesticks, and any pretty
ornaments Angelina may have, and, if none are given her, why, 1_l._
judiciously laid out at Liberty’s or the Baker Street Bazaar will
furnish more than one mantelshelf delightfully. I could make my readers
smile over my hunt sixteen years ago for some nice candlesticks if I had
the time, and could contrast my difficulties then with the _embarras de
richesse_ now. But space does not allow of these digressions. Still,
whatever else is done without, let us be sure to have a couple of
well-filled spillcases, and a matchbox with matches in it fixed to the
wall; though, if we have the ordinary marble incubus of the orthodox
suburban residence to deal with, we shall have to think over the
mantelpiece question most seriously, for this is indeed a burning
question, and one that would daunt the stoutest heart to answer
satisfactorily, and I look forward hopefully to a time when builders
will eschew the expensive and ugly marble in favour of wooden
mantelpieces, which are, to my mind, all they ought to be.

In the first place, a wooden mantelpiece continues, as it were, the
scheme of decoration of the room, and, without being unduly prominent,
makes the necessary unobtrusive frame for the fireplace that a staring
white marble erection can never be. And, in the second, any stain from
smoke can be washed off the painted mantelpiece, while a few days’
carelessness, a smoky chimney, or a housemaid’s unclean paws can ruin a
marble mantelpiece beyond the hope of redemption; therefore on all
accounts I think a wooden one is to be preferred.

Of course, some people, even in a small house, regard the possession of
the marble in the light of a patent of nobility--it is so handsome
(odious word), so genteel; but these belong to the hopeless class, for
whom little or nothing can be done. As an illustration of what I mean, I
may tell you I once was asked by one of these individuals to come down
to her country house and give my opinion on the subject of some
wall-papers she was hesitating between; and when I entered her
drawing-room, where my lady was not, but was heard scouring about
upstairs, hastily changing her dress to be fit to be seen at four
o’clock in the afternoon, I saw just such a gorgeous marble erection,
and, in a species of compromise between the taste of the day and the
sense of proud possession given by the marble, there was a valance hung
round the edge of the shelf, supported, or rather tied on, with tapes,
so that the fact of the material of which the shelf was made was visible
to the eye of the visitor. I could not take my eyes off it, and on
learning that my opinion was asked in reference to the room in which I
was, I asked about the valance, suggesting how ridiculous it looked
suspended, poor thing, in mid-air, and hinting that a board would give
it a reason for its existence; but this was received with so much
surprise that I could not recognise how beautiful the marble was, that I
got out of the room as soon as I could, knowing that here any advice I
could give would be utterly thrown away. In a great house where
gorgeousness, not prettiness, reigns, marble is, of course, more in
place than it is with us, but I do not like it at all in our cold native
land, where our grey skies and dark atmosphere cry out for colour, and I
would relegate it to Italy, where it contrasts charmingly with the
ardent skies and glowing air inseparable from that land of sun and
flowers. I do hope some builder, who is intent on building houses for
the Edwins and Angelinas of the day, may read my humble words, and,
turning his back on the marble, may put up in the pretty residences that
are now the rule and not the exception the simple wooden mantelpiece
that lends itself so kindly to decoration, and does not assert itself
like the ‘handsomer’ one does in a small house--in a manner that
resembles a rich relation come to call, and reduce the poor connection
to a sense of his position and utter lowliness.

The mantelpiece of wood can have one or two little shelves in the comers
under the shelf itself; here can be placed cups or vases for flowers.
Then comes the shelf itself, and finally the over-mantel. In one of my
rooms where the slate mantelpiece is hopeless, I have covered the top
with a plain board, painted turquoise blue, the colour of the room. This
is edged by a goffered frill of cretonne, like the curtains, about a
foot deep. It is nailed on the front of the board, and the nails hidden
by a moulding, also painted blue. Over this I have a glass about two
feet wide with a bevelled edge, and framed in plain deal, painted blue,
and surmounted by a shelf about four inches wide, supported by two small
blue brackets. Of course the frame of the fireplace ought to be blue
too, and it is a sore subject, I can tell you, that it is not; but being
of black slate it is not so trying as it might be--not so trying, for
example, as another room would have been had I not boldly painted its
odious yellow and white marble mantelpiece black, to match my paint, and
so removed an eyesore that looked like nothing so much as poached eggs
very badly cooked and sent to table. I did go through the farce of
asking my good and indulgent landlord, who, fortunately for me, was
artistic, and gave his consent freely; but I am afraid, even if he had
not, I should have painted it quite as boldly, and trusted to ‘luck’ to
have escaped any fearful penalty when my lease was up, and I left my
decorations behind me for some one else--decorations that include
another painted mantelpiece, this time a dull grey stone thing, that is
quite lovely in a terra-cotta coat of paint, and its top covered, as I
have just described the blue covering, with a terra-cotta painted board,
and a frill of blue and white Mysore chintz.

I am always being reminded of how much a fireplace is in a room by going
into quite charming chambers where nothing is wanting save and excepting
a nice arrangement there. The whole room is spoiled, and the ugliness
there contrasts so forcibly with the rest of the room that I can never
avoid mentioning it, and begging the owner to call at Shuffery’s, in
Welbeck Street, whose cheap wooden mantelpieces and tiled hearths cannot
possibly be too widely known, and are cheaper than those of any other
firm: though, of course, a clever draughtsman can make his own designs,
and a wooden mantelpiece could be made by an ordinary carpenter, but the
‘stuff’ must be well seasoned and carefully put up, so us to have no
risk of fire.

Always, if possible, have a tiled hearth and a very simple fender. A
gorgeous fender is a mistake; if a tiled hearth is provided all one
requires is a black frame to enclose the hearth, with two brass knobs
just to brighten it up; then get some brass fire-irons and two standards
at Maple’s or else at Hampton’s, where brass things are very good and
cheap, and, if in any way obtainable, see your grates are Barnard’s.
They save their cost in coal in a very short time, and are very pretty
and simple. I have one that cost a little over 4_l._; it has a simple
black frame, enclosing some pretty blue and white tiles, and has
firebrick sides and bottom, and is as low as the hearthstone. The fire
in this grate keeps alight from about 11 A.M. until 2 P.M. in the
coldest winter weather, and I have never once during that time to ring
for coals. Another ordinary stove during the same hours has to be
continually watched and replenished, and while the blue and white room
is always hot, the other room, possessed of the all-devouring grate, is
never even warm, and sometimes one end thereof is hardly above freezing
point. I have an equally good grate in the drawing-room, and here a fire
made up at eight burns steadily until eleven at night, and often is
quite a gorgeous fire at bedtime. I believe these grates are made at
Norwich, but Shuffery sends them or similar grates equally satisfactory
with his wooden mantelpieces; which, by the way, are supplied with
Doulton ware fenders like the tiled hearths. These save needless trouble
to the servants, as they only require dusting and an occasional
wash-over to be always clean.

While we are on the subject of fires, I can tell my readers of a
comfortable manner to keep in a fire in a bedroom or drawing-room, when
a fire is wanted, but not a ‘regular blazer.’ To insure there being a
fire, line the bottom and front of the grate with a newspaper, then fill
it up, nearly to the top of the fireplace, with quite small coal, on the
top of this lay an ordinary fire, with nice lumps of bright coal, wood,
&c., and set light to it; this fire will burn downwards steadily, and
can be left to take care of itself; and then, when the room is required
for use, all that is wanted is a judicious poke, and a pretty cheerful
blaze rewards you, while you have the satisfaction of knowing your fire
is in, and no waste of fuel to any appreciable extent is going on,
should the room not be in occupation.

Before I end this chapter I may just give some few hints as to what to
do with our fireplaces when a fire is not necessary though, in my own
case, an open Japanese umbrella suffices, because the temperature in
England changes so quickly and so often that I scarcely can feel fires
are an impossibility; but quite a pretty change in the room can be made
by placing the sofa or the grand piano straight across the fireplace, of
course removing fender, &c., and so making it appear as if it had
vanished; while another nice effect is made with putting a fender made
of virgin cork instead of the ordinary one, and filling up the grate
with great ferns and flowering plants or cut flowers, frequently
changed, for nothing save the ubiquitous aspidistra lives comfortably in
this lowly and draughty situation. The cork fender should be filled with
moss, and then jam pots sunk in it full of water; in these arrange your
flowers: put a hand-basin in the grate itself, and bend large leaves of
the _Filix mas._ fern over the edges; these completely cover the bars of
the grate; then large peonies can be arranged in the basin, and the
whole looks like a bank of flowers. This can only be managed in a
country room, where flowers are plentiful; but not a bad fire-screen is
made from a wire frame with a deep flower trough in front; ivy should be
trained all over the frame, and then flowers and ferns can be arranged
in the trough at it small cost. Let this, however, be done only in one
room in the house. Never put it out of your power to have a fire
whenever you feel cold. No one knows how much illness is saved by this
small precaution.

One or two things must also be remembered before we leave the
dining-room altogether. Footstools must be provided, and by the side of
the grate should hang a bass brush to keep the hearth tidy, a pair of
bellows to coax a lazy fire, and a fan to screen any one who should
dislike the blaze in their eyes; and the wall-paper will last all the
longer if a Japanese paper fan is nailed in such a manner that the
bristles of the brush rest on it and not on the wall; just as the carpet
will last longer if the coalscuttle stands on its own small linoleum
mat, which can be painted any colour with Aspinall’s paint, and will
always wash clean, cheerfully every day.



Even in a small house I very strongly advise the third room to be set
aside emphatically for the mistress’s own room--sacred to her own
pursuits, and far too sacred to be smoked in on any occasion whatever.
And this room can hardly be made too pretty in my eyes, for undoubtedly
here will be struck the key-note of the house, for the chamber set aside
for the mistress of the house is unconsciously a great revealer of
secrets. Is she dreamy, lazy, and untidy?--her room tells of her. Is she
careful, neat, energetic?--her room brightens up and bears witness to
her own character. Does she write?--these are her pens, and her dirty
little inkstand, looking like business; or work, or paint? Well, ask the
room sacred to her use; it will tell you of her much better than I can,
and if she be only an honest English girl, anxious to rule her house
well, and to really make it ‘home,’ her room will disclose all this, and
will be always ready for her, and for any one else who will come to her
there for the help, pleasure, or counsel she in her turn will be so
happy to give once she has bought her own little experience.

Or should it happen that Angelina has no pronounced tastes, and does not
intend to plunge head-first among the bread-winners with pen or pencil,
she will have all the easier task in arranging her tiny room. On the
walls we may hang a pretty sage-green paper, taking great care there is
no arsenic in it. In the recesses of the walls beside the fireplace I
should put shelves, painted sage-green, the colour of the paint, and
edged with narrow frills of cretonne similar to that used on the
mantel-board; these are sewn on tapes, and the tapes nailed to the
shelves, and hidden by a moulding similar to the one on the board. And
should Angelina desire a cheap, useful species of cupboard, one of these
shelf-fitted recesses can be draped by a cretonne curtain, which would
look pretty, the while it hid any baskets or boxes or odds and ends
wished out of sight yet close at hand at the same time. These shelves
are put in to the height of the mantelpiece, and, the tops being wide,
hold a nice quantity of decorative china, and, being backed by fans or
large blue and white plates, bought very cheaply at almost any glass and
china warehouse, add immensely to the artistic appearance of the room,
the walls of which will, I hope, be hung with pretty photographs or
engravings, or sketches of home friends, or places, done by friends or
even by our bride herself.

If she can paint, or has any girl friend who can do so, she should now
embellish her door panels with graceful pale pink flowers, remembering
never to fall into that fatal and ugly mistake of drawing or
representing flowers in the colours that nature herself never uses for
them. There is my favourite pink flower, the flowering rush, to be
remembered, and this pictured among its own surroundings, marguerite
daisies and long grasses, would be admirable on the sage-green paint,
and doing this will occupy Angelina nicely during those long hours that
are hers when the honeymoon is over, and Edwin has once more to put his
neck into the collar and set to work to keep the little house going.

I should also like Angelina to keep round her in this her own room as
many reminiscences as she can procure of her old home. If she have a
prudent, loving mother, I think many a little imprudence may be avoided,
if a photograph of the dear face is always looking down upon her; and if
she have an honoured father, his precepts will be recalled in a similar
manner, and insensibly she will be helped on her way, as she was in her
girlhood, by the loving counsel she can never be too old to require,
live as long as ever she may.

Then there should always be something here in the shape of a desk, for
Angelina will have to write letters, if only to answer invitations,
though I trust sincerely she may have something better to do with her
time than that. And if she can copy Edwin’s writing table, she will find
it a great comfort to her, for the deep drawers will hold paper,
envelopes, and the thousand and one things she should never be without;
such as string, untied, _not cut_ off parcels, and neatly rolled up in
lengths, half-sheets of letters to be used for notes to _familiar_
friends or for tradesmen’s orders, paid bills--no _un_paid ones,
please--and brown papers also saved from parcels, elastic bands, and
answered and unanswered letters; which, if important or private, should
never be left on a desk in a letter-rack, for ‘maidens’ are but mortals,
and an open epistle is too tempting a thing for most servants to leave
untouched and unread. Be sure and have a wastepaper basket, and
somewhere in a cupboard the sack I mentioned before, in which to put the
contents of the basket _at once_, as soon as it is full; and do not keep
any letters about in your possession once they are replied to,
especially if they are chatty letters about people and their sayings and
doings, but destroy them at once. They are safe in the wastepaper bag;
but a letter is like a ghost, and turns up when least expected, often
working irreparable mischief; in fact, in these days of penny postage, a
letter is only written for the moment, and should be put beyond the
power of doing harm by any honourable person the moment it has answered
its purpose. Remember how often one’s opinion changes. One makes friends
or quarrels with an acquaintance, and writes to one’s intimates about
these tiny circumstances, and no harm is done if the letter be
immediately destroyed, besides which there is always the chance that
death may pounce upon one, and leave one’s hoards defenceless, and our
friend’s confidences at the mercy of our successors. Who re-reads old
letters? Life is too rapid now for this. Once answered, tear up these
amusing, compromising epistles, and beg your correspondents to do the
same, and then not very much harm will be done by them after all.

In Angelina’s room there should always be some sort of a sofa. Maple has
beautiful deep sofas, I think for 8_l._ 8_s._; these can be covered with
serge, or else velveteen or corduroy velvet, in a good sage-green colour
or peacock blue, and finished at either end with a square pillow or
cushion covered with the same; the velveteen is 2_s._ 6_d._ a yard, and
wears beautifully; it is preserved too, when not in use, by throwing
over it a large cover made of either guipure and muslin, costing
30_s._--rather a large item--or by two or three of the striped curtains,
joined. These cost 1_s._ 6_d._ each at Liberty’s, but I personally
prefer the guipure, or else a large square of Madras muslin, edged with
a goffered frill, or else a cheap lace. This should be folded back,
should you require to lie down much on the sofa, as otherwise it soon
crushes and becomes dirty and untidy. Remember, young people, I am no
advocate for lying about on sofas, and I abhor idleness, but a proper
amount of rest and care often saves a long illness, and there will be
times in all your lives when a sofa is not a luxury but a positive
necessity. A book can always be read, or work be done, for, properly
pushed down at the back, the cushions support the shoulders, the while
the legs are supported too, and so proper rest is obtained; and if the
sofa be in Angelina’s own room, she will use it when she would think
twice before going solemnly into the drawing-room, where she may be
disturbed by visitors, or be, perhaps, fireless, to take the repose she
may possibly have been ordered.

There should be two firm little tables, or even three, according to
space. The floor should be stained about two feet all the way round, and
the square of carpet should be as pretty as possible. Flowers and
pot-ferns should be as much used us the money will permit, as nothing
makes a room look so nice. The curtains should be cretonne and muslin
underneath, arranged as I shall describe in the chapter set apart for
curtains. There should be a work-table, a stand for newspapers with a
paper-knife attached--tied on, in fact, and re-tied when not in use, for
no possession takes quicker to its heel than does a paper-knife--and
plenty of books and magazines, obtainable from a library; or by
judicious exchanges among friends or acquaintances made by advertising;
for it is astonishing how many papers can be seen by a clever person,
who can manage to exchange the one or two she takes in for one or two
more, that in their turn go on again in exchange for others; and this is
neither extravagance nor waste of time, for every one should be as well
read in the events of the day, as most people are in the events of
bygone years; for one’s own times are, I think, quite as amusing and far
more instructive than even the events of those days when there were no
newspapers and nothing very much happened.

Let me beg of you all to remember two things: one is, that on _no_
account is this little room to have gas, or to be smoked in under any
pretext whatever, and that here all must be to hand that Angelina is
likely to want; she must have her own duster, her sticking-plaster, her
little remedies for tiny hurts, her cotton, needles, thimble, her
string, her stamps, her pins, her gum, her glue, and be able to put her
hand on brandy, the one spirit that I would allow inside the house, and
which is a most invaluable necessary medicine; and if she be wise and
her servants are tired, she will be able to give a sister or very
intimate friend her cup of afternoon tea without ringing, should they
come in on a busy day and require refreshment, when it would be unkind
to take Jane off her work to provide it. No lady was ever the worse for
making her own tea, or even washing her own teacups, and a little
thought for Jane will insure Jane thinking of and for you, in a time
when you may be _very_ dependent on her for this care and thought.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

The tea-things can be kept ‘handy’ behind one of the curtained recesses,
and a small brass kettle can also be concealed there; but there are some
rooms, alas! so evilly constructed as to be positively without recesses
for the shelves, and in this case the books that Angelina will require
in her own room must have a bookcase made especially for them, and the
recess for the teacups must be made as in the drawing of the bookcase on
this page. The best bookcases are undoubtedly the revolving American
bookcases, first introduced by Messrs. Trübner, the well-known
publishers, of Ludgate Hill. These hold a great many volumes, take up
small room, and on the top of them china can also be placed; but they
are expensive, a good-sized one costing 5_l._ 5_s._, and so, if this be
out of the question, I recommend a long plain oak bookcase that I have
had made for me from the design of a relative, for they hold a vast
quantity of literature, and only cost the comparatively small sum of
1_l._ 18_s._ 6_d._ This bookcase is about eight or nine feet long, and
consists of two rows of shelves, each wide enough to hold books the size
of a bound volume of ‘Good Words.’ The top of the last shelf has a
narrow battlement of oak just cut out in scallops to relieve the
plainness and to serve as a rail to support the china that stands on the
top of the bookcase; and the shelves are all edged with a two-inch frill
of velveteen or cretonne to harmonise with the rest of the room. The
shelves are divided into three parts, and the centre part looks very
well with a velveteen curtain over it, nailed to the top shelf, and
hanging in a straight line from top to bottom. Behind this curtain can
be placed all sorts and conditions of things, from paper-backed shilling
books, that are not in the least bit decorative, to string or gum, or
the cups and saucers spoken of above, if we have no other place to use
as a cupboard in the room. The shelves are hung on the wall, just
resting on the dado rail, and are supported with nails driven into the
wall and by the dado rail itself. On the top the big blue jugs and
coarse rod pottery Rebecca jars sold by Mr. Elliot, in the Queen’s Road,
Bayswater, should be placed, as then the bookcase is not only useful but
remarkably ornamental.

To supplement the ordinary lack of cupboard room, it is occasionally
better to have one or two low square black cupboards about. Against the
wall, where a table may be put sometimes, they look very nice, and are
of incalculable use. They cost very little, and if the panels are filled
in, either with Japanese paper or imitation tapestry, and the top
covered with a cloth and used for books, plants, or pieces of china,
scarcely any one would see they were cupboards, and so you have a useful
piece of furniture doing double duty, as cupboard and table, for the
expense of one. I have in one corner of my especial room a most
beautiful cabinet which holds all my odds and ends comfortably, and is
such a success that I cannot help describing it here, although Angelina
may not of course care to go to the expense, but it is so pretty and
withal so inexpensive, as compared to the usual run of cabinets, that I
think I may venture to recommend it to her. It fits into one corner, and
is of deal, painted sparrow’s-egg-blue to match the room. It stands
about five feet eight. The under part is a cupboard. Then come three
deep drawers, flanked by two little shelves--two each side of the
drawers. The top shelf is hidden by a small curtain of old-gold
coloured velveteen, and in the under shelf stands a blue pot that cost
sixpence. There is a flat shelf forming the top of the cabinet with
china on, and at the back, which goes into an angle to fit the corner,
is another shelf about three inches wide on which more china stands. The
drawers and cupboard have brass handles and locks, and the whole thing
complete, made to order and measure by Mr. Smee, cost me 8_l._ 8_s._,
and I often look at it and wonder how I existed, or where I put all my
papers and things generally, before I saved up money enough to buy it
for myself. The chairs here can be all the deep, low, basket-work
chairs, and these need not cost much, but these chairs must be bought
with great care and circumspection, they are all such different shapes,
and should never be purchased in a hurry--that fatal hurry that is at
the bottom of so much waste and extravagance in the world; for, remember
this, a thing obtained quickly and hastily seldom is the thing one
really requires, and then a double outlay is necessary, or else
perpetual discomfort is our portion, just because we were not judicious
enough in our behaviour to take enough time over our purchases; and
nowhere is hurry more fatal than in choosing one’s chairs. You young
people are apt to think only for the day, and do not care to remember
that a time will come when legs and backs will ache; but I know this,
and this is why I want you to be quite sure that you do not get the
basket-chairs that go back too far, or are too low, or too high, but
that the medium chairs are chosen, in which you can rest thoroughly when
they are cushioned; and furthermore supplied with an extra cushion to
fill up the gap in the back, and that are not high enough to require a
footstool, but yet are not low enough to send one’s feet to sleep,
because of the manner in which they leave no room for the length of limb
possessed by the unfortunate person who sinks into their
comfortable-looking depths to rest, and cannot understand why he is so
very uncomfortable when he has been there so short a time. Cretonne
makes pretty covers for the cushions, which should be stuffed with wool
and a little flock--all wool would make these cushions too expensive;
but cretonne is not heavy enough for a man’s wear, and either tapestry
or woollen brocade or serge should be used for cushions for Edwin’s
accommodation. If a sofa be afforded, three of these chairs, or four at
the outside, will amply furnish the little room; and they can have over
their backs, as a finishing touch, an embroidered Oriental antimacassar,
arranged to show both embroidered ends one above the other, and not tied
in bows--a most inartistic and ugly arrangement in my eyes, and one
quite useless and untidy too; for there is no doubt that a properly
arranged antimacassar saves the chair cushion a great deal of the wear
and tear and the rub of dusty shoulders, and need not be any trouble if
a little thought is given to their arrangement, both in sitting down and
rising from the chair.

If other chairs are required, higher and squarer, although I cannot
think they are necessary myself in this small room, those painted blue,
red, or black, and with cane seats, costing about 12_s._, are the best.
The cane seat should be provided with a square cushion, covered in any
odd pieces of damask or cretonne, and trimmed with a frill, and tied to
the chair by four pairs of stout black tape strings, so that the cushion
cannot slip about, as it otherwise would. These chairs would also do for
the extra chairs in the drawing-room, if even the rush-seated
Beaconsfield chairs at 3_s._ 6_d._ each are not pronounced quite good

A very good, useful table, called the Queen Anne table, can be obtained
from Oetzmann or Maple for about 25_s._ It is square, with square legs,
and has two useful shelves, and the whole is covered in art-coloured
velveteens. I have had one in very hard wear for seven or eight years,
and it is now as good as the day when I bought it. I had some charming
square stools made on the same plan for 7_s._ 6_d._ each, to hold large
blue and yellow pots purchased at Whiteley’s for 2_s._ 11_d._ each, and
filled with palms, and these standing about in odd corners or in the
centre of a bow-window add very much to the appearance of any room, for
nothing gives so Oriental or artistic an appearance as plenty of plants,
ferns, and palms; and these need not be out of the reach of any one who
cares for pretty things, because with care they last and flourish for
years; while cut flowers and flowering plants are out of the reach of
any of those for whom I am especially writing these papers--that is to
say, unless they keep their eyes very wide open, and utilise every
morsel they can beg, or pick from the hedges and fields; that even in
the suburbs are not swept quite clear of daisies, grasses, and even
occasionally primroses and anemones.

Footstools must be a _sine quâ non_ in each room, and more than one or
two should, if possible, be provided. The square Oriental-looking ones,
at 4_s._ 6_d._, purchasable at Shoolbred’s, are very nice, but big,
square, old-fashioned ones, made by the carpenter, or, better still, by
Edwin, are the best of all; they do not run away from you when you put
your feet on them, and their wear is everlasting. They are square frames
of wood, rather heavy, and stuffed a little with flock on the top, and
covered with a good stout woollen tapestry; they are quite half a yard
across each way, and serve for two people if necessary. Then there are
the ordinary round hassocks for 1_s._ 6_d._, covered in odds and ends of
old carpets. These are soon made artistic by covering them over the
carpet with artistic serges embroidered in crewels; white narcissus, or
oranges and the blossoms looking very nice indeed on a terra-cotta
serge; and yellow daisies or pomegranates on a peacock-blue serge being
also quite charming to behold. Brackets are very useful for corners, and
I especially recommend the bamboo brackets to be bought at the Baker
Street Bazaar and at Liberty’s. They are so cheap and light-looking, and
hold odds and ends of china so nicely, and if many pictures or
photographs do not adorn Angelina’s walls, quite a grand effect can be
obtained by making a bracket the centre of a scheme of decoration;
elaborated from Japanese fans, that can surround the bracket like a
halo, sending out branches or beams of colour from such a centre in all
directions, in a manner invaluable to those who have no other means of
decorating their walls.

Were I Angelina I should sit here in this tiny room, and do my work here
all the morning, having every meal in the dining-room, and resolutely
spending my evenings in the drawing-room. There is, of course, rather
more firing required, but not more than is necessary to warm the house
thoroughly, and this will save in health and spirits far more than the
house coal costs. Quite a different current to one’s thoughts is given
by a change of room, and a really dull feeling often disappears when
one’s surroundings are changed, and one goes into a fresh pure
atmosphere; for whatever the weather is, I do hope Angelina has her
windows open top and bottom, and, in fact, sleeps with them open too;
but this I shall say more about when I reach the bedrooms, and talk
about health, which will be later on; though before I describe the
papering &c. of this little room I must beg Angelina not to fall into
the habit of so many young wives, of having nothing between breakfast
and dinner save perhaps cake or a cup of tea, but to have a properly
cooked chop or morsel of meat at the orthodox hour for luncheon. For
while I know how difficult it is to do this because eating by oneself is
so dull, and it does not appear worth while to have cooking done for
oneself alone, I cannot too much impress upon my bride that she must
remember health is the first consideration, and that very bad effects
are often caused by the manner in which proper food is forgotten or gone
without in the middle of the day, a matter far too many girls never
think about at all.

It is almost impossible to lay down any hard-and-fast rules for the
decoration of a morning-room without seeing the room itself, but I am
sure no colour is so entirely satisfactory as the blue which is the
exact shade of a sparrow’s egg or an old turquoise. Mr. Smee, at my
express desire, keeps this blue paper, at 4_s._ a piece, always in
stock, and a perfect room can be made by using this paper, Aspinall’s
enamel paint, the exact shade of the ground of the paper, and a frieze
of dead gold Japanese paper at 3_s._ 6_d._ the piece of nine yards; a
frieze or picture rail painted blue unites the frieze to the ‘filling,’
and the panels of the doors, shutters, &c., should be panelled with
_red_ and gold Japanese leather paper. The painter must not be allowed
to pick out or embellish the paint at all (I cannot repeat this too
often), and the cornice must be one uniform cream colour. The ceiling of
this room should be papered yellow and white, and curtains could be
made from the yellow printed linen sold by Mr. Pither, 38 Mortimer
Street, Regent Street, at 1_s._ a yard, and edged by ball fringe sold by
Mr. Smee at 6½_d._ a yard.

Another arrangement for a room which had much sun could be from a
sage-green paper, with a broad frieze of one of the many beautiful
floral papers to be purchased nowadays, with a good deal of pink in; or
better still would it be to go to Mrs. McClelland, of 33 Warwick Road,
Maida Hill, W., and get her to paint a frieze of pale pink and dark red
roses on American cloth; this is put up with drawing pins and taken down
like a picture, and would make a most admirable wedding present; it
would certainly be a joy to any bride for all her life long, and should
therefore be considered by those who are about to make a marriage gift.

In this case all the paint must be sage-green, and we must get as much
pink--really pink--and _peacock_ blue with it as we can muster.
Therefore, on the mantelpiece we can have a cretonne with pale pink
flowers; our over-mantel and board being painted sage-green, with, if
possible, sprays of pale pink chrysanthemums or roses on. And then place
on the mantelshelf first a candlestick, choosing the pretty small
embossed brass ones that Maple used to have at 2_s._ 6_d._ each; then a
spill-case in blue and white china, always remembering to keep them full
of spills--they save a great deal of waste in winter both of matches and
temper; then a photograph frame, holding a _home_ photograph of mother,
father, or sisters in an oak frame (the plush and leather ones soon soil
and look tawdry); then a vase for flowers--a low shape; then one of the
tall sixpenny Baker Street vases, that look beautiful with a single rose
or two; marguerites or fuchsias in summer; and with grasses and ferns in
winter; and then the clock, continuing the same arrangement the other
side; and, despite the sneers levelled at them, use Japanese fans as a
background as often as you can; the colour is so invaluable a help, and,
being excellently managed, goes with anything.

The doors should be painted to match the frieze, and the over-mantel
should also be decorated in a similar manner, and the ceiling should be
papered with a good terra-cotta and white paper. Some terra-cotta or
pink should be introduced into the chair coverings, &c., but the exact
shades must be carefully chosen by some one whose eye for colour can be
trusted emphatically.

This room should be under the care of the housemaid, who should dust and
sweep it before breakfast, and should also see to the hall. The cook
will have quite enough to do with the dining-room and her own kitchen,
while the drawing-room can be left to be looked after, when the bedrooms
are done and the breakfast things washed up; though the ornaments and
flowers must be entirely looked after by the mistress, should she only
be able to begin life with two servants.



It is quite useless to attempt to have a pretty drawing-room, unless the
owner really means to have it in constant use, and intends to sit in it
regularly. I am quite convinced that rooms resent neglect like human
beings do, and that they become morose and sulky-looking if they are
kept closed, or only opened when strangers are expected.

It is no use then to bustle about to arrange this antimacassar, or to
put yonder chair just a little bit out of its constrained position, to
put flowers in the vases and books on the tables, in a spasmodic attempt
to give an air of life to the dead chamber. Something will betray you,
the chill atmosphere will inevitably chill your friends, your constraint
in an unaccustomed room will communicate itself to them, and you will
infallibly all be as stiff and unhappy as you can be, without perhaps
being able to define the cause.

Therefore, as your room is to be lived in, let me beg of you to buy
nothing for it that you cannot replace easily, to have nothing gorgeous,
or that will not stand a certain amount of careful wear and tear, for as
sure as your room is too grand to be lived in every day, so sure will
your acquaintances find you out, and put you down at once upon the list
of dull folks to be avoided, that we all of us keep somewhere mentally
or otherwise.

A light hue for a drawing-room has been found to be a necessity ever
since the days--those awful days--of white papers covered with gilt
stars. There is always something a little depressing about the evening.
One is tired with the day’s work, worried by domestic duties, or
disappointed at the very little fruit the long twelve hours have given
us; and therefore we should be careful to arrange our evening-room with
the intention of having cheerful surroundings, if we can have nothing
else, and that is why I should like to have our drawing-room in blue, or
else in yellows and whites.

I must say I still hanker after a dado, because in the drawing-room I
like to hang all sorts of odds and ends upon it, which give an original
air to the room, and also insures favourite photographs, fans, or pretty
hanging baskets with flowers in being close to one’s chair, or near
one’s eyes, should we wish to look at them. A very pretty effect is
obtained by stretching a cretonne material round the base of the wall
for a dado, hiding the nails with a dado rail of bamboo. Liberty’s blue
and white cretonnes are invaluable for this, but then it is rather
difficult to

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--Drawing-room at Gable-end, Shortlands.]

obtain a blue paper to match. Still it is to be done and we are repaid
for the trouble, I think, by the effect when it is up. A
yellow-and-white paper looks charming with a blue dado, also a
terra-cotta paper and paint are not amiss, though I confess myself
rather disappointed with this effect in a drawing-room I once had; but
then the paint was put on in my absence, and I feel convinced it was not
the shade ordered. If people are really tired of dados, and will have
none of them, the walls can be papered blue to within about two feet of
the top; then a frieze of pale yellow and white can be put on either of
paper or cretonne, the join hidden by a rail, on which are placed hooks
which hold pictures. These then are brought down to the proper level for
light, and are not suspended out of vision, as are so many paintings and
engravings in houses of people who are artistic enough by birth and
education to know better; then, too, by using these hooks the great
expense of picture-rods going all round the rooms is saved, without
damaging the walls either by hammering in brass-headed nails.

I think a panelled room painted blue for a drawing-room is perfect; but
unless the house that Angelina takes is panelled already, this is no use
for her, as panelling is expensive work, and would be the landlord’s
property, too, when the lease is up, so that is out of the question.
Still, I know of panelled rooms yet existent whose owners look at their
grained walls and wonder how they can make them less hideous, and
perhaps some of them may see this book, and may resolve to do away with
that terrible eyesore, a grained device, and set to work to paint the
walls a delicate sparrow’s-egg-blue, furthermore embellished by long
designs of rushes and grasses, either stencilled or painted on by some
one of the many girls who can paint, and who can be found always at Mrs.
McClelland’s studio, should we number not one of those useful damsels
among our acquaintances. Whatever style of decoration is adopted, I hope
we may have a blue wooden mantelpiece and over-mantel; brass bells,
brass locks and handles to the doors, and finger-plates must replace the
china abominations provided by the landlord; but these must be carefully
marked down as belonging to the tenant, and the china ones must be put
away carefully too, to replace the brass ones again when Angelina’s
lease is up, or she will have to feel that her money has gone into the
landlord’s pocket, which is never a cheerful subject for contemplation.

Now for the carpet, the style and price of which can range from 35_s._
6_d._ to almost any amount that you like to spend. The cheapest ones are
the Kidderminster squares, which can be purchased at Mr. Treloar’s, on
Ludgate Hill, or at Shoolbred’s or Maple’s. In fact, at the risk of
being vituperated by these gentlemen, I say, in low tones of caution, go
to all of these establishments, and, taking as usual plenty of time over
your choice, see all the blue carpets they have: at one or other of the
shops you will be sure to see exactly what you want. I do not think the
cheap squares are ever really artistic; but they are inoffensive, and
most wonderfully inexpensive, and wear beautifully. Still, the colours
and patterns are not quite my beau-ideal of a carpet design, but beggars
cannot, alas! be choosers, and if we must really be very economical we
can but be thankful for these carpets, because they replace the hideous
Dutch carpeting and frightful ‘Kidderminsters’ that used to be the
portion of such of our ancestors as could not afford Turkey or
Axminster, and had to fall back on these, and on the ‘best Brussels,’
the crude and frightful greens and reds of which haunt my dreams
sometimes, when I am meditating on furniture and remember the days that
are no more; being duly and sincerely thankful that they are no more, as
far as carpets and furniture in general are concerned.

Rising above the ‘squares,’ we ascend to the delightful blue carpets,
also in Kidderminster, that are sold by the yard. I once possessed one
which was the joy of my heart, which I bought at Shoolbred’s. But I took
a friend there the other day, having roused her to enthusiasm over mine,
to find no more were made; ‘for customers,’ said the polite man who
served us, ‘will insist on novelties, and grumble frightfully do they
see the same goods on show as they saw some years ago, whether or not
that they were as pretty as they can be. No, the cry is always for some
new thing.’ And so we could not buy any more of my blue carpet, and I
look at the one I have apprehensively, and cannot bear any one to walk
upon it, because I know, once gone, I can never replace it. It was about
4_s._ 6_d._ a yard, and wears beautifully. However, we were shown
another that quite put my poor carpet out of court, both in colour and
design; but then it was 5_s._ 6_d._ a yard, and though that did not
matter to my friend, fortunately, it mattered to me; and so I was left
carpetless, until I saw some beautiful self-coloured felt, which looks
very well with rugs on, but shows dirt, and what housemaids call ‘bits,’
in rather a depressing manner. However, blue carpets are to be bought, I
feel convinced, and they are certainly worth the search.[1] If money is
forthcoming for a really good carpet, I should propose, first, the blue
Kidderminster, at 5_s._ 6_d._ a yard, made into a square, and edged with
woollen fringe, put down over, first of all, brown paper, and then a
carpet-felt. This insures warmth, and trebles the chances of wear.
Secondly, a really good Oriental carpet with a good deal of white in it.
Mr. Smee has a charming one, that harmonises beautifully with blue, and
that costs about 10_l._ for rather a small room. Thirdly, one could have
a nice matting (putting this down over the brown paper) at about 1_s._
6_d._ to 2_s._ a yard, with good rugs scattered about. These are
expensive items, and would cost 8_l._ or 9_l._ to provide enough, and of
the right sort; but the wear of really good rugs is marvellous. I have
two large ones I bought at Treloar’s nearly ten years ago; they are in
the dining-room, where there is a great deal of wear and tear, and they
are as good now in appearance as the day I bought them, but I think they
cost me a little over 2_l._ 10_s._ each.

 [1] Since writing the above I have found my blue carpet at Messrs.
 Colbourne’s, 82 Regent Street, where it can always be procured.

Of course, if we spend on our carpets we must be prepared to save
elsewhere; our curtains need not cost us much. They can be either yellow
and white, or blue and white Liberty cretonne, made to the height of the
dado rail, just to draw along the windows from top to bottom to exclude
light and to hide the room from outsiders when it is lighted up, thus
saving the great and useless expense of blinds, and they can be lined
with some cheap material, or made double, and then, white ones being
fixed as described later on, last a long time without washing, and can
be either made of figured Madras, with a good deal of colour in it, at
4_s._ 6_d._ a yard, double width, or of fine muslin and guipure, which
washes beautifully--a quality I have never discovered in the many Madras
muslins that I have bought, because I could not resist their decorative
qualities, though I was angry at my own weakness all the time.

Naturally I can lay down no really hard-and-fast lines for decorating a
drawing-room, for so much depends on the style and shape of the chamber;
and what I said of the morning-room applies here equally well. Still, a
yellow and white room, made by using Pither’s yellow and white ‘berry’
paper, with a dado of Collinson and Lock’s ‘47’ cretonne, with ivory
paint, and yellow and white ceiling paper, and a blue carpet, makes a
charming room; while one of the flowery, expensive papers, with a
cretonne dado, is also safe to be charming too. In this case pink must
be used in the ceiling, and the carpet should be either Maple’s ‘golden
pine’ or a very carefully chosen carpet in shades of sage-green.

As to the furniture of the drawing-room, that must be determined on and
regulated simply by the amount of money we have to spend. If we have
plenty we can purchase as many nice deep arm-chairs and small occasional
chairs as we like--then it will only be a matter of taste; but if we are
limited and have little to spend, we must go about our work
circumspectly, and must not mind going into a great many shops before we
finally obtain what will furnish our room nicely.

Here, again, the useful wicker chairs will come in, covered with pretty
cretonnes, made in such a manner that they can have their coverings
removed to be washed; and I should also once more advise one of the
charming square sofas already described. I think I should adhere to
velveteen for the covering, unless we can procure a gold thread
tapestry sufficiently light and inexpensive for our purpose. Messrs.
Maple were the best people to apply to for these goods, but lately they
have not had the pretty ones of old days, change of fashion and need for
novelty accounting for the absence of some of the best designs I have
ever seen; but Liberty has some excellent tapestries now.

If the room have a bow-window, a cosy summer corner can be made by
putting the sofa there, with a table in front or at the side, capable of
holding books and plants; and these tables are, again, things that we
must undoubtedly choose with a great deal of care, for there is nothing
more annoying than a rickety table, or one that is knocked over easily,
should the room be fuller than usual, or should we number an awkward
friend among the members of our acquaintances.

I remember some years ago having to entertain such an individual in the
days when I did not know as much as I do now about the fitness of
things, and I really believe that unhappy man’s sufferings gave me a
lesson about tables I have never forgotten. I was always very fond of
pretty things, and then had the mistaken idea that one could not have
too many of them; so I fear that when we used to go in to dinner from
the drawing-room, our walk resembled nothing so much as Mr. Dickens’s
celebrated description of the family whose rooms were so full that they
had to ‘take a walk among furniture’ before they could get out of the

We were taking our walk among the furniture when the _contretemps_
happened. My unfortunate acquaintance had fidgeted unhappily for some
time, and he finally made a dart towards the lady he had to take in to
dinner, knocking over the chair next him, and arriving at his
destination with a fringed antimacassar neatly fastened to one of his
coat-buttons. He then backed into a small table, on which stood some
books and photographs, and only saved this, to send another spinning;
this time smashing the whole concern, and depriving me of one of my pet
flower-holders, the demolition of which I have never ceased to regret.
But worse was to come: in one heroic effort to get away from the scene
of the disaster he backed once more into a ‘whatnot’ full of china, and
I draw a veil over my feelings and his, as the most merciful thing I can

Still, when next morning I stood among the ruins, like Marius among the
ruins of Rome, I was honest enough to say, ‘This is certainly my own
fault,’ and ‘turning to,’ as the maids say, I so rearranged that long
and ugly room that when next I had a dinner party I was repaid a
thousandfold for my exertions and sacrifices by the expression of relief
on the countenances of the guests, who now saw themselves saved from the
usual dangerous promenade among my belongings that had used to be their
portion. Now fortunately we can purchase tables that are small and
safe, and I think those which are made with double trays, or rather with
one tray under the top, are perfectly safe. They are to be bought
covered with stamped velveteen, or with the pretty stuffs that imitate
Turkish saddle-bags, or with plush, but I prefer them made of plain dark
wood, and either polished or else painted ivory, and the top covered
with an ordinary cloth made from tapestry, or one of Burnett’s charming
serges edged with ball fringe; as, if plants in pots are placed upon
them, drops of water are apt soon to spoil the covering, whereas serge
will stand a good deal of water; although I am of opinion that plants
should always be watered outside the room, on a balcony or in a garden
if possible, as a little carelessness soon spoils one’s things, and I
have, alas! spoilt much by not enforcing this rule both on myself and

Another very good and useful table is the square ivory Queen Anne table,
that has four square rails as an extra support to the legs. These are
about 3_l._, and can be procured in different sizes, when, of course,
the price alters too, and are extremely handy to hold the lamp for
reading books, work, &c., and are large enough to write a note upon

I am a great advocate for corners--that is to say, for giving the
corners of the room an artistic look, and I also like to have my
favourite winter corner close to the fireplace. Naturally, it would be
intensely foolish if we all hankered after a corner. Still even then we
could be accommodated, if we do not mind screening ourselves off from
our fellows in a manner I must say I consider extremely ugly and silly.

It will hardly be believed that in a house I have heard of the mistress
has erected a series of screens in her drawing-room, which resembles now
nothing so much as a restaurant fitted up with boxes. Rather than
suggest such a fearful idea I would abolish screens altogether; yet one
round the back of the sofa is often a great comfort, and, judiciously
arranged, makes the background for a very pretty corner.

But the mistress’s corner can be arranged like this: put straight across
the corner of the wall a small black table, made safe with the
under-tray, and covered at the top with a Turkish antimacassar; this
holds a plant in the daytime and the lamp at night, and is large enough
to hold all the month’s magazines, half on each side of the centrepiece;
above this a black corner bracket for china, crowned by a big pot to
hold grasses or bulrushes, can be hung on the wall; and in front of the
table should stand a square stool, holding a large plant and pot, heavy
enough to hold its own should any one come near enough to knock it over,
were it too light. Then to the left of this, next the fireplace, put
your own particular chair, leaving room for a stool of some kind, that
is broad and low, and can hold your work-basket if you work, your
favourite book, or your newspaper-stand with the paper-knife attached;
and on the desk above and at the side of your chair hang a sabot for
flowers, your favourite photographs, and any pet piece of china or
ornaments you may fancy. One of mine consists of a mandarin’s fan and
case; the case is embroidered in silk, and gives a very pretty bit of
colour, and the fan serves as a fire-screen should any one object to the
cheerful blaze. Needless to add, I never use this screen myself.

On the other side of the fireplace I have a pair of brass bellows and a
brass-handled brush, for I think an untidy hearth disturbs me more than
anything else; and another Japanese fan, tied to a nail by a riband,
which some of my friends find most useful when the fire is hot. Here,
too, I have a really charming chair I bought at Liberty’s. I think it
was 14_s._ 6_d._, not more. It has rather a high back, and a rush seat,
and as the front legs are taller than the other two, it just tilts back,
and is most comfortable. I added a padded back cushion, tied on with
tapes, which adds much to the effect, but none is required on the seat,
as rushes make a very comfortable and easy support, and this chair is
preferred by what is rudely called ‘the master of the house,’ my pet
cat, to any other, and he is a gentleman who really knows what comfort
is. He has made it his study, during a long and honourable life, so I
think I am not wrong in quoting him as an authority.

While not emulating a good friend of mine, in whose house the putting on
of coals partakes of the character of a protracted and arduous ceremony,
I must say I dislike to see coals standing in a room, but the
receptacles made for them in brass are so pretty now that they may
almost be forgiven, though I would rather not see them in a
drawing-room. However, if one is required, the brass baskets, _without_
covers, are the best, and hold quite enough coals for the evening,
indeed more than enough if the grate is as I described before, and
moreover judiciously laid and managed. Brass fire-irons and dogs are a
necessity, but then a little black poker, price 1_s._ 6_d._, called a
‘pokerette’ in the shops, and ‘the curate’ in the drawing-room, must
supplement the brass one, or that will very soon be black and spoiled.

I do not like a rug laid down in front of the fire, for more reasons
than one. I have known a little foot catch in it, and the owner
precipitated with his poor little head on the hard fender; and it always
is an assistance to a careless or dirty housemaid, who is thus served
with a screen should she break one of the rules that should be enforced
in every household, and proceed to clean her grate without first putting
down the rough piece of material with which she should be furnished. She
is obliged to do this should there be no rug, for then every mark would
show, and she would not dare to put down black-lead in a _cracked_
saucer, fire-irons, brushes, and a thin newspaper full of ashes, as I
once discovered a girl doing in an apartment furnished with a wide rug,
that hid this, as well as a multitude of other sins.

While being lived in and used, a drawing-room is and must be essentially
a best room, and is invaluable as a teacher to the untidy or
unmethodical mistress or servant. Fine manners are a necessity, and a
certain amount of fine manners is maintained by use of a room that holds
our dearest treasures, and sees little of the seamy side of life. It is
on little things that our lives depend for comfort, and small habits,
such as a changed dress for evening wear with a long skirt, to give the
proper drawing-room air, the enforcement of the rule that slippers and
cigars must never enter there, and a certain politeness maintained to
each other in the best room, almost insensibly enforced by the very
atmosphere of the chamber, will go a long way towards keeping up the
mutual respect that husband and wife should have for each other, and
which is a surer means of happiness than anything I know--than any
amount of foolish terms of endearment, that are apt to be forgotten when
the gloss of the honeymoon is rubbed off, and life becomes too full of
anxieties and hurry for the old pet names.

Remember, please, I am not writing for votaries of fashion or for rich
people, who could tell me doubtless a great many things I do not know,
but for the ordinary educated middle-class girl who may never leave her
country home until she is married, or may have had few opportunities of
seeing the world, even in London; and she does require, I know full
well, to be reminded that home should not excuse faded finery,
down-at-heel shoes, or slovenliness of mind or body in either husband or
wife, for nothing grows so easily as untidy habits or slovenly manners,
and it is worth a little struggle to prevent oneself or one’s friends
deteriorating ever such a little bit.

The drawing-room would not be complete without a piano, and this is all
too often a very ugly piece of furniture. I am glad to say white frames
painted with beautiful flowers and designs are now being made, and these
are easy to treat, but in ordinary rooms the usual cottage piano has to
be thought of, and another corner can be made by placing the instrument
across one side of the room in such a manner that the performer could
see her audience. This naturally leaves the back of the piano exposed to
view, and, as piano manufacturers still adhere to the red flannel or
baize back, this is not a pretty object to contemplate. However, it is
one that is easily changed, as it can be replaced by either a
crewel-worked piece of art coloured serge, the useful and cheap Japanese
leather paper, or else by a square of cretonne similar to that used for
the curtains; but I prefer either the serge or paper to this. If the
serge be worked with bulrushes and iris and grasses, or with long sprays
of honeysuckle, the effect is charming. Then along the top can be
placed a piece of serge, or felt or damask, worked too, and edged with
an appropriate fringe, which thus makes an excellent shelf for odds and
ends of china and bowls of flowers, as the top of the piano is seldom,
if ever, opened by the ordinary piano player.

If a more careless arrangement be desired, a large square of drapery can
be arranged gracefully over the back, securing it with small tintacks on
the inside of the lid, or a large Japanese screen can be placed before
it; but I think the best thing to do is to replace the baize back as
suggested, not omitting to take out the crude red or green silk or
elaborate carved wood front, and treat that as you treat the back.

I have seen a very pretty front to a piano made out of sage-green silk
worked with rosebuds, or of turquoise-blue material worked in pale
yellow campanulas, or yellow Scotch roses with their brown foliage. I
have also seen a painted front put in, with dancing figures depicted on
it; and, of course, all these arrangements are much to be preferred to
the one supplied by the piano manufacturer, who is the only man, it
seems to me, who resolutely refuses to march with the times, and makes
no effort to improve the appearance of his manufactures.

The chair by the piano can be any pretty chair fancied by the owner. I
have a very nice one in white wood, with the seat covered in Indian
tapestry, which I gave a guinea for at Liberty’s. A very good plan is to
have an extra cushion, attached by ribbon to the side of the chair, for
the use of any one who may prefer a higher seat than we may happen to
care for. This should, of course, be made square, and be covered with
the same material that is used for the chair, and does away with the
necessity for a music stool with an adjustable seat--an article I cannot
endure, as it always shakes, is most unsteady, and squeaks appallingly
whenever there is to be a change in the weather. Another idea for a seat
by the piano is to have a square ottoman, made to open. Two people can
sit upon this to play duets; but I do not care for this very much, as
there is no back, but in a small room it is of great use, as it holds a
great deal of music, is cheap, and does not look badly if properly
covered with a pretty material, nailed on, and adorned with a frill that
serves a double purpose, being highly ornamental and hiding the opening
of the box at the same time. Another receptacle for music can be made
out of one of the small square black cupboards which I have spoken of
before, and which serve as tables besides, if the top be covered with
some sort of a cloth, and books and ornaments be scattered about too.

The grand piano, coffin-like as it undoubtedly is, is far more easily
made into a decorative article of furniture, and while the bend in the
structure makes a capital ‘corner,’ the whole thing can be admirably
arranged if we commence by draping the entire end with some square of
material, or, if we possess it, with a length of old brocade or an
Indian shawl. The drapery is placed so that it hangs over the end and
sides, and is secured in place by, first of all, a nice plant in a good
pot, which keeps the cloth in place, and has no effect whatever on the
tone of the piano. At the end I place Leech’s collection of sketches,
which we always call the ‘long Punches,’ in contradistinction to the
bound volumes, and then any small things that I think look
picturesque--not too many, nor any that cannot easily and comfortably be
moved, should I have to entertain a pianist who wishes to imitate
thunder, and cannot do so without having the lid opened widely. A good
arrangement in the bend is a big palm in a brass pot on a black stand.
These brass pots are to be procured at Hampton’s, in Pall Mall East, but
I fear they are very expensive. I have often looked and longed for one,
but never dared purchase it, much as I hanker after such a
possession--they are extremely decorative, and have a style of their
own. Failing that, a nice square table with more plants and books, and a
couple of low chairs, placed in a ‘conversational’ manner, are suitable,
with another plant on a square stool placed in front of the table. This
gives a very finished look to the piano, and I venture to state that
when this is done the piano is not the first thing visitors see when
they enter the room: indeed, I have once or twice been asked if I have a
piano, so little in evidence is this instrument to any one who merely
comes to make an ordinary call. Talking of calls reminds me, before we
leave the drawing-room, to make a small protest about one of the most
idiotic customs that still linger among us--that of making morning
calls; and I should like to see a good deal of reform in this matter.

Formal visiting I never will or can go in for; and I have come to the
conclusion that, if people are only known casually and in such a manner
that to call on them is an effort, to make which we are braced up by the
idea, and cherished with the hope, that the person one calls on,
card-case in hand, will be out, life is too short for such nonsense, and
that calling as per fashion ordained is more honoured in the breach than
in the observance, and that for us ordinary folk, who have work to do in
life, this fantastic waste of time can quite well be given up. I should
much like to see, at the same time, more co-operation in our lives. I
should like more freedom among us, less of the idea that an Englishman’s
house is his castle, and therefore I am always glad to note any step in
the right direction, which is not followed when we set out in our best
garments to make a round of calls.

Of course, people will say, ‘If we do not make calls, we can neither
extend our circle nor keep up our friendships,’ but I really cannot see
how cards conduce to either. That delightful institution of
five-o’clock tea has done more for us, who cannot afford to give big
entertainments, than a bushel of pasteboard; and I am convinced the idea
of calls could be done away with altogether with very little trouble,
and one way of doing this, especially in a small community, is to have
one day, or even one evening, a week, or even a fortnight, when we are
known to be at home and ready to see our friends.

I know some people scoff at the notion of an ordinary middle-class woman
‘aping her betters,’ and having her day at home; but the scoffers should
reflect before they scoff, then, perhaps, they would alter their ideas.
First of all, in a small household the servants can so manage their work
that visitors on the day being expected, are no trouble at all. The fire
would always be burning brightly in winter, the flowers and plants would
be at their best in summer, and the mistress and her room together would
be ready to see any one. I can speak from experience that my friends
always turned up in shoals in dear hospitable Shortlands when I had my
Thursdays, and came week after week to see me, secure of a cup of tea
and a chat after a walk or drive; and I know how the winter sped along
when I felt confident that So-and-so would be in any day of the week,
and that I can ‘turn into’ this or that pleasant room any hour between 4
and 5.30, and find a welcome and a cup of tea ready for me, neither
being in the least less warm because the previous Monday, and the Monday
before that too maybe, my feet took me in precisely the same direction.
In winter these informal gatherings are particularly pleasant, because I
think the hours between the end of your drive or walk and dinner are
occasionally a little depressing, and are not good preparation for the
evening, which goes off much better if we have had a chat in the
afternoon with a friend or two, which takes us out of our grooves and
gives us something to talk about over the meal; while in summer, the
fact that one is at home for certain on one day in the week brings
friends from a distance to see us, and often causes impromptu tennis
parties and little gatherings, all the pleasanter because they are
informal and almost unexpected; while in these days of ostentation and
glitter it is an excellent thing to know how to entertain well and
cheaply, and see one’s friends, without feeling each time we do so that
we are so many steps nearer the Bankruptcy Court. If we contemplate
seeing society in the way I have indicated above, a tea-table is a _sine
quâ non_ in our drawing-room. A very good sort of table is the rush and
bamboo table, with little trays for cakes, that open and close, and
therefore take up very little room in a chamber; there is a second tray
under the top one where spare cups can be placed. And still another
table is the useful little Sutherland table, that shuts up and stands
modestly and unseen in a corner when not in use, and that is brought out
in a moment, without fuss or trouble, and can be used for whist, chess,
or any ordinary game; while a small nest of four narrow tables, adapted
from an old Chippendale design, is an invaluable possession. Closed, the
‘nest’ takes up a very small space, and, opened out, the owner has four
little tables to put about beside her guests, who thus are provided with
places to put down their cups and plates upon, and are thus relieved of
what is sometimes an intolerable nuisance.

The best five-o’clock teacloth is a fine white damask edged with torchon
lace, and with a torchon lace insertion which washes beautifully, and
this should be marked with a large monogram in scarlet thread. A really
large, good monogram has an excellent effect. I purchased my cloths at
Shoolbred’s, who also procured me some one to work the monograms, as I
am unfortunately no ‘stitchist,’ as Artemus Ward would say, and cannot
sew one bit. But they are a little expensive. Still, if any one can work
themselves, the cloths are only 5_s._ 6_d._; the lace comes to about
3_s._ more; and then there is the monogram, which of course could be
saved to any one who possesses cleverer fingers than have been given to
me, but which are now worked for me at 1_s._ and 1_s._ 6_d._ each by a
lady who thus is enabled to make a perceptible addition to her income,
and who may be heard of at the Workers’ Guild, 11 Kensington Square, W.
Other tablecloths have red and blue borders; but I prefer the plain
white with the monogram to any other. A nice bright copper kettle and a
trivet should be always brought in with the tea, and a cosey should
never be forgotten, while buns (home-made buns and scones are most
excellent), biscuits, and bread and butter suffice for quite a large
party of friends, and there is neither extra trouble nor fuss of any
kind. Of course, teacups and saucers are of all sorts and conditions,
but I think small blue and white ones on a china tray are the prettiest
of all, and can generally be replaced should a misfortune happen to
them; while Liberty’s ornamental china cups and saucers are always
pretty, and can invariably be matched.

No room is bearable without, or looks ugly with, plants and flowers, so
I hope that these may always be found in the drawing-rooms, at least, of
any of those who do me the favor to read, mark, and inwardly digest the
pages of this little book.



Of course, in writing on the subject of curtains, we must begin first by
saying that a great deal depends upon the shape and size of the windows,
for all these particulars have to be carefully considered before we
start on any expedition to inspect and buy our material for our
draperies; for if a window be small or high up it requires far less
management than the large bow-windows that take so much thought, and,
alas! so much material too. Then, as there are French windows to be
arranged for, and, in fact, square windows as well, we have to spend
much time and thought over how we shall arrange, so as to suit all,
before we cast our eyes over cretonnes, damasks, plushes, and the
thousand and one materials, all more or less suited to the purpose for
which they were designed.

The ordinary window, with the two sashes and the square frame, is very
easily managed, even supposing that one has to keep out the neighbours’
eyes as well as a certain amount of sunshine. The muslin curtains should
be put up on rods like small stair-rods, fastened against the window
frame top and bottom in such a way that they do not interfere with the
free raising of the sash, which must open top and bottom; this
arrangement--illustrated in my chapter on the dining-room--insures the
curtains remaining in their place, and prevents them floating in and out
on every dust-laden breeze that blows, while it leaves no long tail of
draggled muslin to sweep the floor, and get torn and dirty almost before
they have been up a week.

The best white curtains are undoubtedly made of soft clear muslin, edged
and furthermore embellished by insertions of guipure lace--the insertion
is put in a slip close to the edge, and washes beautifully--but those
curtains, unless made at home, are undoubtedly expensive. Still, nothing
looks like them, and if they are arranged on the rods in such a manner
that the edges of the outside lace just touch, they form a complete
screen, and yet hide nothing from the owner of the house, who can see
from her windows comfortably without being spied over, and, being fixed,
last clean really a very long time indeed. And then, if the thicker
curtains are placed on a straight brass rod, as narrow as the weight
they have to support will allow, no blinds are required, for the warm
drapery draws straight over them, and either serves as a blind to keep
out the light or a screen to keep out the draughts, and so does away
with the expensive blind with its rollers, its cord eternally out of
order, and its ugly effect from both inside and outside the house.

A good ‘book’ or Swiss ‘mull’ muslin costs about 10½_d._ a yard, the
guipure edging and insertion about 1_s._ 6½_d._; therefore the cost
of these curtains is easily calculated by any one who measures her own
windows and sees what length and quantity of material is required for
them. Bedroom windows look extremely nice if treated in a similar manner
in the French checked muslin, such as the _bonnes_ use for their caps
and aprons, and of which our Sunday summer frocks used to be made in our
young days, and which costs 10½_d._ a yard. If this be used, the
curtains must be edged with a two-inch goffered frill, which must
invariably edge all the curtains that are not treated with lace edgings,
for nothing looks worse than the hard line of a curtain that is neither
frilled nor lace-trimmed.

Of the popularity of the soft and beautiful Madras muslins there is
scarcely any necessity to speak, as it is now familiar to most of us;
but despite its beauty and (in some cases) its cheapness, I must add a
word of warning on the subject of Madras, especially addressed to our
young friends with limited means, for the cheap sort of Madras does not
wash satisfactorily, and should, therefore, be avoided by all those who
have to study economy, and have not only to buy things, but to select
them in such a manner that they shall last after their first visit to
the wash-tub at the very least.

The cheap Madras washes into holes, and all the pretty colours vanish,
and a limp rag returns to us instead of the charming curtains that gave
such a style to the appearance of the outside of our house; and the
expensive ones, too, are apt to ‘run’ in the washing, and are out of the
purchasing power of any one whose means are really limited; for these
cost from 6_s._ 9_d._ to 8_s._ 9_d._ a yard, and therefore become
expensive items in our expenditure at once, although they contrast
favourably with the fine lace and embroidered curtains sold ready to put
up at 5_l._ or 6_l._ a pair, or at times even more than that. But
ready-made curtains designed with large and marvellous patterns must not
even enter a really artistic home. They mean nothing, can never be
anything save vulgar and pretentious, and are therefore to be avoided;
for if we are rich we can have the best Madras, the finest guipure and
muslin; and if we are poor we can yet have our white muslin, either
frilled or edged with guipure, as rich as our modest means will allow;
or the valuable Mysore and artistic muslins at 9¾_d._ and 3¾_d._ a
yard, which wash excellently if done at home--in water without soda and
with a few drops of vinegar in to ‘set the colours,’ as the washerwomen

A bow-window, the orthodox suburban villa bow-window, is, I own, a very
difficult subject to treat, but I have circumvented even that by an
arrangement of curtains on rods managed as described above, and in the
first-named window have two narrow white curtains meeting at the top of
the window, and gradually sloping away until they are about five inches
apart at the bottom; the wider centre sash is treated in the same manner
with wider curtains, the plain edge of which meets the edge of the
curtain that fits the narrow sash on both sides of the broader window;
for the usual bow is made of a flat sash in the middle, between two
narrow sashes that bow slightly; the muslin is ‘taut’, as sailors would
say, and is always tidy, and by using these narrow _very_ cheap rods all
expensive fitted and formed poles and valances are done away with, and a
most expensive and vexatious item in our expenditure completely swept
off our schedule of payments to be made. The muslin curtains neatly up,
a thicker rod can be fixed in three portions, each portion separate and
distinct, for the heavier curtains. Those in any dining-room can be made
of several materials. Shoolbred had a beautiful gold figured damask,
double width, at 4_s._ 9_d._, which looks like silk, though naturally it
is nothing of the kind; this drapes beautifully and looks charming, as
it falls into folds and never fades; it can be edged with a ball fringe
to match, which adds a good deal to the expense, but looks better than
anything else, or else by a frill, but this is a little heavy, as the
material is thick. This material can be had in a beautiful pale blue and
a good terra-cotta as well as in the yellow, but I have no experience of
the wear of the two former colours, and therefore cannot tell whether
they last as well and as satisfactorily as the yellow does. To make the
window look really nice, you require one breadth hung down straight at
the end of the first slip of window against the wall, edged all round
the sides and bottom with ball fringe or the frill; then another breadth
on the other side of the slip to pull halfway across the wider window to
meet a third curtain hanging straight in the middle of the other
division, and being met in its turn by a fourth, which, when undrawn,
should hang straight against the wall in the same way that curtain
number one does.

The artistic serges sold by Colbourne & Co., 82 Regent Street, at 1_s._
11½_d._ a yard, and Stephen’s Sicilienne damasks at 7_s._ 9_d._ a
yard, are excellent curtain materials also, as are the stamped jutes and
corduroy serges sold for this purpose by Mr. Smee.

But, whatever the material, in no case should the curtains be draped, or
tied up or chained as if they were wild beasts, with great gold or brass
chains (truly the very ‘foolishest’ things that were ever invented for
the purpose), and they should never come below the window sill or the
dado line, save and except in the case of a French window opening to a
garden or conservatory, when the white drapery should be fixed on rods
to the frame of the door, and the warmer curtains should be draped so as
to keep out the draughts and be drawn readily; and this is done by
sewing them to large rings that run easily on a brass pole, which must
be as small and unobtrusive as possible; and when not in use the
curtains must be drawn close to the wall and tied back, if wished, with
Liberty soft silk handkerchiefs--the 3_s._ 6_d._ size makes two of these
ties--in a colour to harmonise or contrast with that employed in the new
curtains themselves. These curtains must be about an inch longer than
the length from the pole to the floor, and must rather more than touch
the floor, because a French window means a draught to one’s toes, that
can only be circumvented by longish curtains, and a thick mat, so placed
as to be easily moved, should the window open into the room itself.

Roman sheetings are also excellent for curtains, and plush is the king
of materials, if we could afford it; the shades of colour in the folds
are perfect, and the tints in which plush is made are always lovely; but
as we cannot afford that, we must turn our eyes away from such
enchanting visions, and look out for a nice Mysore chintz for the
drawing-room, which must be lined, to make it warmer and more durable,
and trimmed with the goffered frill that always looks well in all
washing materials; the frill need not be lined. For bedrooms, there is
nothing better than the dark blue and white cretonne, the same both
sides; or Burnett’s excellent ‘marguerite’ cretonnes, in different
colours, at 9½_d._ a yard; the dark blue and white need not be lined
unless the bedroom receive the very early sun, when a lining is
necessary if blinds be done without; but I should make the curtains
double, as the material is as cheap as any lining procurable, and looks
far better than any self-colour could possibly look. These cretonnes
wash most beautifully, and begin at 9_d._ a yard. The chairs, frill to
the mantel-board, eider-down, and any bookcase edges should all be
finished with the same style of cretonne, though, of course, any other
harmonious colour can be introduced to avoid too much sameness. The
chair covers should be loose, and edged with a frill, as also should be
the eider-down cover; this spoils any room if kept in its
Turkey-patterned material, and should always be put into a cretonne
washable cover, as much for beauty as for health. But these details must
be kept for another chapter, as they do not enter into the great subject
of curtains.

It may sound ridiculous, but I here state boldly that I can invariably
make a more than shrewd guess of the character of the folks who inhabit
a house by noticing what sort of ideas they have on the subject of
draperies; and I may safely say that I have never been mistaken. The
carefully and prettily and tidily arranged curtains tell me at once of
the pleasant folk I shall find inside; just as surely as the dirty,
untidy muslin or the gorgeously patterned, expensive, and pretentious
curtains warn me against the slattern, or the vulgarian with whom I have
nothing in common, should I ever have the bad fortune to have to enter
behind those warning marks; while the soft Madras or delicate lace
indicate an artistic mistress with whom I shall, I know, spend many
pleasant hours. This being the case, do not wonder, dear readers, that I
lay much stress and write at great length on this momentous subject, for
it is one on which almost volumes could be written; for while the inside
of your houses only speak to your friends and relations, the outside
tells a great deal to strangers, and either repels or attracts,
according to the manner in which you arrange your windows.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.]

Unless your windows are very small, as in sketch 16, never be without
white curtains of some kind, for if you are the house resembles some one
who has forgotten her cuffs and collar or white frillings, but if they
are like the sketch, you cannot do better than use Pither’s
old-gold-coloured, printed linen edged with ball fringe; this serves all
purposes of blinds and curtains alike, and always looks artistic, while
the windows are not obscured and stuffed up, as are those in most of our
English houses.

And here let me say most emphatically that ordinary blinds are not
necessary, and are never useful; if the house has very much sun,
_inside_ blinds are no use at all; the heat that makes most town houses
unendurable is caused by the sun striking down on the glass of the
window, and to obviate this the glass itself must be covered _outside_.
Our summer is but a short one at best, but if we cannot bear the sun we
must put up _outside_ blinds, or hang grass mats over the glass outside;
these are the only really necessary blinds; to say the least the others
are unhealthy. The sun is the life-giver, after all, and he had better
fade our curtains and our carpets than that the lack of his beams should
fade our own and our children’s cheeks! This, too, is another reason why
we should never buy very expensive curtains or carpets; fortunately
hardly any of the materials I have spoken of cost much, while
Kidderminster squares--my favourite matting and rugs--or even stained
floors and rugs, are all within the powers of the humblest of us.

I myself prefer matting for a dining-room at 1_s._ 6_d._ a yard, and
covered here and there with rugs, put down where the greatest amount of
traffic may be expected; but this is expensive, if set against the
pretty carpets in art colours, made at Kidderminster, and sold by the
yard at about 3_s._ 6_d._ a yard, the colours of which are extremely
good. And if we cannot afford matting in the dining-room, a carpet that
would go very well with the room would be shades of very faint
sage-green, with dashes of terra-cotta in. But I much prefer the
matting, and should always advise this for any one who could afford it,
and yet could not afford the Oriental carpet that is, of course, the
carpet for a dining-room. The rugs range from 7_s._ 6_d._, but these are
Scinde rugs, and do not wear very well. Liberty, Maple, and Shoolbred
have all an excellent choice, but I think Maple’s rugs are the best for
people with a small amount of money to spend; and there is this to
consider about rugs, they can be shaken at least once a week and
continually turned about, and when too shabby for downstairs they can be
taken upstairs, finally dying an honourable death before the kitchen
fire or by the bedsides of the maids. Still, much as I like matting, I
must confess the total cost is more than three times the cost of a
Kidderminster square, which in its turn can be taken up, shaken, and
moved about, as, being square, there are no corners to consider, and no
back and front and sides to think about either. But we must put carpet
felt or paper-felt under our squares if we wish them to wear and to feel
soft and pleasant under our feet; and it is as well to put down large
sheets of brown paper before even the felt goes down. All this adds
considerably to the wear of the carpet.

There is a curious habit in some parts of Canada of making a species of
bed of hay under the carpet, and it gives a very pleasant feeling to any
one walking thereon; of course soft, fine hay is chosen, and it is most
carefully laid down, and evenly and tightly packed; and in a room on the
basement floor, as so often rooms are situated in small suburban houses,
it is a great comfort; it is very warm in winter and cool in summer, and
if the hay-bed is made about twice a year, I believe it requires no
further attention.

An old friend of mine who lived in poor circumstances in a stone-floor
cottage in Dorsetshire, who had passed some years of her life in Canada,
always stretched her carpet over such a bed, and I well remember how
delightful her floor felt, and how she never suffered, as so many of her
neighbours did, from rheumatism and other evils inseparable from the
ordinary covering to a stone or brick floor. I have more than once
recommended this in a basement kitchen or servants’ sitting-room, and
never without hearing that it was pronounced a great and unfailing
success and source of comfort to the domestics.

If, however, a Kidderminster square is chosen, the boards for about two
feet from the wainscot must be stained a good brown shade: if the boards
are pretty good, and do not require stopping with putty to keep out the
draughts, as so many of our suburban houses require ‘stopping,’ owing to
the shrinking of the green wood used, alas! for the purposes of floors,
doors, and windows, Edwin or Angelina can well manage this themselves.
Whiteley keeps Ryland’s stain ready prepared in a big tin jar, and with
the right sort of brush this is soon put on; when dry it should be well
and thoroughly polished with beeswax and turpentine, and if this is done
weekly I am sure the floor will never require staining for many years;
but if ‘stopping’ is necessary, the workmen employed can stain the
floors too; for the extra charge will be but small, and it will save a
back-ache, and insure the work being thoroughly and properly done.

These hints about carpets are perhaps a trifle prolix, but they will do
for the whole of the house--of course varying the colours to suit the
rooms, and being very careful in the selection of patterns. Mr. Morris
has some of his very best designs manufactured in Kidderminster, so the
cheap make of the mere carpet need not be sneered at; but we cannot
afford Morris, much as we should like to do so, for his Kidderminsters
are as costly as most people’s Brussels; and if we are careful, we can
get nearly as pretty patterns elsewhere at one fourth the cost, but we
must be _very_ careful, for there are some red carpets, some blue, and
some a fearful nondescript hue, suggestive of the workhouse--I know not
why--that would irretrievably and utterly spoil any room in which they
were put; but there is a royal blue with paler blue flowers, or rather
‘fan-like things,’ that is perfect; this is, however, sold by the yard,
and has to be made into a square, without a border, and just trimmed
with a woollen fringe, which is procurable at Colbourne’s, 82 Regent
Street, and which wears magnificently: I have had one down now for three
years in a room that experiences a great deal of traffic, and it is at
the moment of writing as good as ever it was, and is admired by every
one who comes in; and the sage-green carpet mentioned before is also
quite safe to suit almost any room. This is also sold by the yard, and
has to have a woollen fringe too.

If the house have bow-windows, an extra square of carpet, or else a
Scinde rug at 7_s._ 6_d._, can be laid down there; there is not much
‘traffic’ in a bow-window, and the rugs look nicer than anything, and
wear quite a reasonable time in such a locality, and these can be easily
replaced. A piece of the carpet itself always looks out of place
somehow, and spoils any room.

For a really good carpet, I like a fine Oriental carpet, with a good
deal of white in it, or a Wilton, or velvet pile; but I always like
something cheaper myself, as I do not like _old_ carpets or old
curtains. They must retain a certain amount of dust and dirt, and I
therefore infinitely prefer either a good Kidderminster, or else the
matting and rugs spoken of at first, which can be replaced when shabby
without too great an effort for a moderate income. There are just one or
two trifles that I should like to speak of here. Matting should be swept
_one way_ regularly, and by a proper matting brush. It can be washed
with soap and a little water, and it has a wonderful way of never
collecting dust that is marvellous. Oriental rugs and carpets should be
swept _one_ way only also; and the Kidderminster squares should be
shaken often, but not continually swept; the shaking gets rid of the
dirt, while sweeping wears them out much quicker than need be.

In connection with the carpets and curtains, we may just as well speak
of the lighting of the sitting-rooms before passing away from them to
the bedchambers. And here I must impress upon my readers never to have
gas anywhere where they can avoid using it, and to pray heartily for
that bright day to dawn when the electric light shall be within the
reach of all, and when Mr. Swan tells us how to light our houses as
perfectly as he has done his own; and I confess that when I recollect
that charming abode, where fairies seem to superintend the lighting, so
wonderfully is it managed, I feel consumed with rage and anger, to think
that I was not born in a time when the electric light will be as much a
matter of course as the present odious system of lighting by gas is; but
as we are still unemancipated from the thraldom of gas, we must try to
make the best of a bad job, and confine the enemy to where it can do
least harm, and be of the most good at the same time.

An oil lamp in the hall is apt to give a gloomy impression to guests,
and also is rather a difficult matter to manage. It is expensive, and is
apt to get out of order at a critical moment; so I think gas must be
adhered to here. A cathedral glass hanging lamp, square shape, and
framed in brass, and fitted with an Argand burner, is as good a thing as
one can possibly procure for gas, unless we select the more artistic
beaten iron lamps sold by Strode and Co., of 48 Osnaburgh Street, W. The
prices are about equal, I think, and quite a beautiful one can be bought
for about 4_l._ It requires no cleaning beyond the ordinary cleaning,
and gives a strong, steady light, the glass sides of the lantern or lamp
presenting any flickering when the hall door is opened suddenly. I have
occasionally seen a hall lighted from the sides, but I do not care for
this, as it does not have the genial effect of the lighting from the
top; but should this be preferred, a man at Whitechapel makes very
charming side lanterns, of cathedral glass, that go round and almost
cover in the gas bracket, thus preventing any danger of fire, and
keeping away a very great deal of the heat and burnt atmosphere that
make gas always so trying to any sensitive person. I think these
lanterns are from 5_s._ to 10_s._ each, and they are, at all events,
very artistic to look at.

Then there are beaten shields of brass, with the owner’s initials on,
from whence protrude the gas bracket, also in brass, and there are,
furthermore, those delightful revivals of the old hammered iron trade
that were to be seen in the Old London street at the Inventions, and the
use of which would almost reconcile me to burning gas. These iron
brackets and lamps are expensive, quite small brackets costing 1_l._
12_s._; but they are well worth the money if we have it to spend,
because they are so nice to look at. In our sitting-rooms we should
never for one moment allow ourselves to have gas. I always burn in a
very large drawing-room two of Mortlock’s blue and white china lamps
fitted with duplex burners. At first, when the fiat went forth that gas
was tabooed, those lamps were the bane of my life. I had a most
excellent housemaid in those days, who did her work most beautifully,
but only in her own way and in none other. True to my principles of
non-interference, I had allowed her this way of hers, because it was as
good a one as could be wished for; but when it came to suddenly cutting
off her precious privilege of lighting up the gas and drawing the
curtains, I soon saw that war was before me, and felt that now or never
was I to maintain my right to my lamps, did I prefer them to what the
gas company of the tiny town I then lived in facetiously called gas; but
that was an awful smelling compound, which burned with a feeble and
ghastly blue flame on weekdays, and which generally failed us altogether
when Sunday meant gas in the church. Of course then we had comparatively
to go without, as _that_ gas would not be in church and our houses at
the same time, and our lives bid fair to be & misery to us in the long
December afternoons and evenings; when my good genius said ‘Lamps,’ and
I then invested in those I still have, rejoiced to think we could see to
read now, whether the gracious gas company deigned to allow us any gas
(?) or no.

I had received full directions with the lamps, and knew exactly what to
do with them. They were guaranteed not to smell, my one dread, and I was
accordingly armed at every point to meet Emily’s objections. She had
work enough. Well, beyond cutting the wicks and refilling the brass
cups, there was no addition; so she took them off with a flounce and a
bang into her own particular sanctum, and looked like a walking volcano
for the rest of the day. However, to make a long story short, those
lamps were made to behave as if they were possessed by the very spirit
of mischief. They smelt, they flared, they smoked, they sang a
blood-curdling little song I feared meant explosions; but insisting on
their being taken out of the room night after night and brought back
until they did burn finally conquered Emily, and as she saw I meant to
have my lamps she gave in, and they now never smell, and never give me a
moment’s trouble.

I mention all this to guide those young people who are apt to be treated
as I was, and who, knowing paraffin _does smell_, may perhaps be
inclined to give in and return to gas, because their servant declares
she cannot manage the ‘dratted thing.’ The smell comes from some of the
oil having been dropped on the brass part of the lamp, which gets
heated, and, of course, smells abominably, and if the lamp be dull it is
because the poor thing is clogged with oil and literally cannot manage
to breathe; then drop the brass parts of the lamp, minus the wick, of
course, into some clean water, and boil them as you would an egg over
the fire. This loosens and gets away all the stale oil, which need never
be there if the housemaid is really careful, and your lamp once more
burns as brightly as ever it did. I use no screens over my lamps, as I
put them behind me in such a manner that the light falls only on my
book, and, of course, on the books and work of those who may also be in
the room; but charming screens can be made by taking a sheet of tissue
paper in such a manner in the centre that you can pass it rapidly up and
down through your hands until it is a mass of crinkles and waves; then
tear off the piece you have been holding and you have a pale pink
wavy-looking screen that is charming, and costs the fraction of a
farthing. The Germans also make beautiful lamp screens by cutting out
scalloped pieces of tissue paper, on which are placed real leaves and
coloured grasses. These are covered by another piece of tissue paper
gummed lightly round the edges, and the effect of these when nicely
arranged is really positively beautiful. About five of these scalloped
pieces of tissue paper make one shade, and they are tied together with
very narrow ribbon bows at the top, which allows of their being
regulated to the size of the lamp. And yet another still more beautiful
shade can be made by buying a wire frame made on purpose at Whiteley’s,
and covering all the divisions with thin blue silk, the palest shade
possible. Each division should be covered in such a way that the
stitches do not show. Round the edge sew a two-inch silk fringe, and
arrange fluffy ruches of the silk down each rib and round the edge of
the lamp-shade. This is not very expensive, and is the best shade
possible. By the way, red and yellow shades should always be avoided;
the first makes every one look like apoplectic fits, and the second as
if jaundice were imminent; and don’t ever buy the abominations of shades
that are meant for owls’ heads; they are monstrosities to be classed
with the Mahdi notepaper and other vulgarisms of the day. Other nice
occasional lamps are the very cheap brass lamps sold at 7_s._ 6_d._ and
10_s._ 6_d._ each. I do not think these good enough to read by, but they
are most useful for ordinary use at dinner or to write a note by, and
are also useful to put back on the buffets that do duty for sideboards
in my dining-room, to give a little more light when we have extra folk
to dinner, and I use my candelabra for lighting the larger table, but
for all everyday use at table those brass lamps are quite enough, and,
being easily lighted and kept clean, are really invaluable.

One is obliged to have gas in rooms where there are children, because
candles and lamps are so easily knocked over, and it is useful, too, in
bedrooms where a sudden light may be required, but it is a most
unhealthy, destructive thing, and, as I said before, I look forward to
Mr. Swan doing as much for us as he has done for himself.

If my readers--any of them--should doubt for one moment the truth of
what I have said about the relative values of lamps and gas, let them
for the next six months give the two things a fair trial in two separate
rooms in the same house; let them look at the ceilings in those rooms,
examine the picture-cords, and the relative cleanliness of the blinds
and draperies, and let them--no; they, poor things, will need no
examination. I was going to add, let them examine, too, their plants;
but in one of those rooms there will be none left to examine, for they
will be dead as surely as ever they were plants at all. Half the weary
headaches and lassitude we have all felt at times come from this
pernicious enemy; and there are few doctors whose first directions to an
invalid’s nurse do not contain emphatic orders to lower the gas and, in
fact, to substitute candles for it as soon as possible; but if bedroom
candles are used, they should never be allowed without a glass
shield--sold, I think, by Messrs. Field and Co., the nightlight people.
This insures that the carpets are free from being dropped upon by the
wax or composite, and furthermore insures a certain amount of safety
from fire, which is a vast consideration, for a draught, a floating
curtain, and a bare unguarded candle may often result in a serious
calamity, for, even if much damage by fire is not done, a serious fright
may be given to some who are ill able to bear anything of the kind. Gas
should never be in servants’ bedrooms--the best of them cannot help
burning it to waste; neither should they be allowed candles--they are
careless, the very best of them; and I always provide my maidens with
tiny paraffin lamps, costing 6_d._, which I can only buy in a
Dorsetshire town (Messrs. A. and A. Drew, Wareham, Dorset, is the
correct address)--even Whiteley doesn’t keep them. These have a tiny
brass cap that puts out the light, and are not in any way dangerous,
because there is nothing to spill, the sponge and wick inside absorbing
all the oil, and if they are knocked over they are so small the light
pops out at once; yet there is light enough to dress by, if not to read
novels in bed by, and the maids themselves prefer these small lamps to
anything else.

In conclusion, remember that crystal A 1 oil, at 10_d._ the gallon, is
the best, most economical oil to burn. It should be had in in a
five-gallon tin, which fills up the small tins from whence the lamps are
filled in their turn, which _must be filled by daylight_, and recollect
also that china lamps are much the cleanest, and least likely to smell
with the most careless housemaid, who must always be made to take her
lamps out of the room over and over again; the mistress never _once_
overlooking a smoking, dirty, or odoriferous lamp, until perfection is
attained. That this is possible--ay, and easy--to obtain I have, I hope,
demonstrated to all of my readers by the before-mentioned anecdote. If,
however, the housemaid is really a good one, I should prefer to use
Strode’s beautiful copper and beaten iron lamps, with tinted glasses for
shades; or else with pale blue silk shades, stretched between copper
ribs that give a wonderfully artistic look to any room. Benson, who
sells his wares at Smee’s and Liberty’s, designs perfect lamps also, and
all these should be seen by the intending purchaser before finally
deciding which to buy. Again I say, never do your shopping in a hurry:
if you do, you are sure to see something you like better--in the next
street may be, and, oh! agony, at half the price!



At first the only upstairs rooms that will have to be furnished are
Angelina’s bedroom, Edwin’s dressing-room, one spare room, and a room
for the maid or maids, leaving any others until a nursery be required;
for if our young people have only one servant it is quite impossible
that they will be able to have a constant succession of folks staying in
the house, and, therefore, one bedroom besides their own is all that
should be prudently ready for occupation. I say ‘prudently,’ for few
young housekeepers can resist at first the delights of showing off their
houses and their presents to their less fortunate relations, and, in
consequence, a stream of visitors is invited to pour into the house, to
the detriment of anything like order, and to the dismay of the servant,
who is most certainly right to grumble at all the extra work; and, by
the way, I may mention here that to this same stream is due more than
half the worry brides have at first with their domestics.

Also, the bedrooms should be kept very nice. This no one servant can do,
unless she is considered and helped, and I should strongly advise
Angelina not to be above making her own bed, even if she have a
housemaid as well as a cook, for she and the housemaid together can
shake it up and fold the blankets and sheets nicely and neatly, while
the cook is clearing away breakfast, and interviewing the tradespeople
downstairs, whose orders should be ready written out for them by the
mistress, so that there should be no loitering at the back door, wasting
time for both the cook and the men too. But before I go into the divers
methods of bed-making, and speak of the beds themselves, I should like
to describe one or two rooms, as far as paper and paint go, and give
some idea of the colours I consider fittest for a bedroom. Formerly,
anything in that way did for a room, where no one then seemed to
remember we had to spend a good part of our lives, and where we had
occasionally to be ill and miserable, and wanted as much help over our
troubles as we could obtain from our surroundings; and who does not
recollect the orthodox bedroom of her youth--the fearful paper, all blue
roses and yellow lilies, or, what was worse still, the dreary drab and
orange, or green upon green scrolls and foliage, that we used to
contemplate with horror, wondering why such frightful papers were made!
Then came the carpet, a threadbare monstrosity, with great sprawling
green leaves and red blotches, ‘made over,’ as the Yankees say, from a
first appearance in a drawing-room, where it had spent a long and
honoured existence, and where its enormous design was not quite as much
out of place as it was in the upper chambers. Indeed, the bedrooms, as a
whole, seemed to be furnished, as regards a good many items, out of the
cast-off raiment of the downstairs rooms; and curtains that had seen
better days, and chairs too decrepit to be honourable company in the
downstairs apartments, all crept up into the bedrooms, anything being
good enough for a room where ‘company’ would not be expected to enter.

I myself remember a carpet that began life quite forty years ago, for it
was over ten years old when I made its acquaintance in a country
dining-room; it was drab, and was ‘enlivened’ with spots of brown, like
enlarged ladybirds. It lived for twenty years in that room, covered in
holland in the summer, and preserved from winter wear by the most
appallingly frightful printed red and green ‘felt square’ I ever saw; it
then was altered for the schoolroom, then went up into ‘the girl‘s’
bedroom, and still exists in strips beside the servants’ beds, although
the original owner of that fearful possession has been dead over twenty
of those forty years; and when I consider the dirt and dust that has
become a part and parcel of it, I am only thankful that our pretty cheap
carpets do not last as carpets used to do, for I am sure such a
possession cannot be healthy; though the present proud possessor points
to the strips, as a proof of how much better things used to wear in her
mother’s days, than they do now, in these iconoclastic ones of ours.

I am afraid I am not an orthodox housekeeper, for I confess most frankly
I do not want my things to wear for ever, certainly not my carpets and
curtains, and that is one reason why I am so thankful for the present
style of pretty light cretonnes, mattings, and Kidderminster carpets.
They are so clean and bright, and enable us to have our bedrooms fresh,
pleasant, and new, instead of making them up out of things that have
seen their best days in another sphere; and as I want Angelina to
recollect she may have to spend some little time in the bedroom
occasionally, as years go by, I wish to impress upon her to remember all
this in the arrangement of the house, and to be sure and buy only those
colours that give her pleasure, and to have no jarring ugliness to fret
her, and add in any measure to her time of illness and convalescence;
for, as I have said before, no one knows how much we are affected
insensibly by our surroundings, and how much our spirits are affected
too by what we have to look at!

The first thing to recollect in choosing one’s paper is that there
should be nothing aggravating in it--no turns and twists that shall
bother us as we lie in bed; no squares or triangles that flatly refuse
to join; in fact, nothing special that can possibly worry us. I had once
on one of my walls a

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--A corner in a bedroom, Gable-end, Shortlands.]

charming paper of Japanese chrysanthemum design. It had little colour
about it--only a faint pink flush, that just gave the idea of warmth
without a glare. To give body to this, the dado was of Indian matting
with a dado rail and wainscot paint of a good terra-cotta; the pink
shade, not the brown. The ceiling was papered with a pale
diaper-patterned terra-cotta paper, which was most pleasant to look at,
and I had matting and rugs on the floor. A slight idea of this room can
be obtained from the illustration on the previous page.

The doors, mantelpiece, &c. were all painted to match, and the doors
were panelled with terra-cotta chintz at 9_d._ a yard at Burnett’s, and
had brass fittings, which I bought at Maple’s eleven years ago, and
which have done service in two houses, and will go with me to a third, I
hope, before long. On the mantelpiece I had a full flounce of blue and
white Lahore cretonne, which is also used for covering the eider-down,
and gave the necessary piece of blue colour there, which was repeated in
the tiles at the back of the washing-stand, and on a big settee in one
of the windows, which is a most useful possession, as it serves for a
sofa, and opens wide to hold the dresses in. Maple keeps these box
ottomans at about 2_l._ 10_s._, covered with odds and ends of cretonnes;
to cover them with anything pretty costs a few shillings more, though,
of course, occasionally the original covering may be pretty enough for
use. Mine was hideous--great pink roses and green leaves, on a black
ground; but for 10_s._ I made it quite a thing of beauty with blue and
white cretonne, properly frilled, and I also added a big square frilled
pillow, and a large drapery of gold thread tapestry, the same pattern I
use for toilet-covers and tablecloths, over my two square
cupboard-tables that serve to hold boots and odds and ends inside, and
books, &c., on the top, thus answering a double purpose.

I think these small cupboards are really the most useful things I have
ever invented, and so I will describe them fully, hoping other people
may find them as satisfactory as I have done. When I was in Dorsetshire,
I think I lived in the very awkwardest house in the whole county; and it
was so badly arranged that to have a morning-room at all I was obliged
to copy our French friends, and make what was a bedroom by night a
charming sitting-room by day. But perhaps I ought not to grumble, as it
was entirely due to this inconvenient house that I turned my mind more
especially to making the most of every room I had; and as I had to stow
away my belongings in pretty odds and ends, I thought of these small
cupboards, and they have proved the greatest success.

They are made of deal, are about three feet high, and are quite square;
they are painted some self-colour to match the room, and panelled with
Japanese leather paper, and have one shelf inside; the handle is brass
and so is the lock, and the hinges might be brass too if further
decoration were required. They hold quite a quantity of things, and I
cover them with a tapestry tablecloth, place a fern in a pot in the
middle, and dot books and photographs about them just as one would on a
table. I had them made by our own man, and I think they cost about
10_s._ or 12_s._, not more, and they are most useful, for they can be
put anywhere, and are never in the way; and this obviates any necessity
of the unsightly appearance of boots and shoes lying about the floor,
while it allows of keeping some in reserve, for boots and shoes should
never be bought and put on, but should be kept quite four months before
taking them into wear, as they wear twice as long if this very simple
precaution be taken.

The curtains to this room are short, as so often described, and are of
the terra-cotta cretonne used to panel the doors, while loose muslin
curtains that draw, of Liberty’s yellow and white printed muslin, hang
over the glass to keep off the eyes of ‘over the way’; and as I had no
blinds I supplemented these in summer by large dark blue serge curtains,
at 1_s._ 11½_d._ a yard, which hang flat against the wall, and depend
from very narrow brass rods at the top of the windows, the other
curtains being only below the cathedral glass top windows (which are
never shut winter or summer), and which, being opaque, require no
permanent shading.

I may mention, by the way, that even in the bedrooms I should always
remove the hideous china handles provided by the landlord and replace
them with brass fittings. These are undoubtedly cheaper at Maple’s than
elsewhere, and cost, the brass finger-plates 1_s._ 10½_d._ each, and
handles 1_s._ 11_d._ for two; brass bell-handles cost about 5_s._ 6_d._
each for downstairs, while very pretty brass rings are sold for about
2_s._ 6_d._ at Maple’s, to be sewn on flat straps of plush, cretonne, or
serge worked in some conventional design for bell-pulls; these are the
nicest bell-pulls possible, and last years with care. All these fittings
can be removed when the tenant leaves the house, only remember to
carefully put away the china door-fittings yourself, or they will be
mysteriously lost when you wish to replace them--a wasteful item that
can be guarded against with just a little care. Especially also would I
paper the bedroom ceilings with some cheap and pretty paper. Maple has
an ideal bedroom ceiling at 4_d._ the piece in a peculiarly charming
shade of blue, which is always pleasant to look at; and furthermore
would I insist on a real dado, either of cretonne or matting, as this
always keeps a room tidy and prevents the wall being spoiled, by the
energetic manner in which the bed is always pushed into the wall, which
is the housemaid’s idea of placing it in position.

All Mr. Pither’s papers are excellent for bedrooms, in either the
‘berry’ or the ‘blossom’ pattern; and the sage-green ‘blossom,’ with
sage-green paint, a dado of sage-green marguerite cretonne, and
terra-cotta ceiling papers and cretonnes, and ash furniture make an
excellent bedroom; while the darkest blue ‘berry,’ with yellow and white
cretonne dado and curtains, blue carpet and ceiling paper, and white, or
rather cream, paint and furniture make another charming room; the
flowery papers like old-fashioned chintzes in subdued colours, with
either a chintz or matting dado, and ivory paint can furthermore be
relied on to make a beautiful room. None of these decorations, by the
way, is expensive really, and as the dados wear as long as the walls
themselves they cannot be called a ruinous addition, and one is repaid
for the outlay over and over again by knowing that nothing can harm
one’s walls; and as I have the walls sized behind the dado material, and
have more than once taken down the dado to see if any dirt had crept
behind, and found the wall as clean as the day when the dado was put up,
I find the last objection to these dados done away with; for there are
only two that have ever been made to me--viz. expense, and possible
culture of dirt and creeping things.

And here, reminded of the enemies spoken of above, let me impress upon
my readers never to buy bedroom furniture _at least_ in sale-rooms. How
can we know we are not buying infection, or how can we guarantee that we
shall not become possessors of more than we have paid for? Therefore
avoid sales, and go to some respectable firm and buy one or two good
things, supplementing them later as money allows, and making shift for
extras, as far as one can, until one can afford good solid furniture. In
any case let the grate be seen to, and, if possible, buy one of Mr.
Shuffery’s slow-combustion stoves and pretty over-mantels, or at least
have the stove. A bedroom fire is _not_ waste or extravagance. I never
believe firing is extravagance anywhere, and the slow-combustion stove
will save its own cost in one month’s consumption of coal; while a
narrow strip of looking-glass about a foot wide, and enclosed in a
painted deal frame, makes a pretty bedroom shelf; this can be
supplemented by fans, brackets, and the ever-useful cheap and pretty
chinas to be had of Gorringe.

Expensive as it doubtless is, I cannot see how Angelina is to do without
something in the shape of a wardrobe, unless she is lucky enough to come
across a little house already provided with cupboards. Some of the new
houses, both at Bush Hill Park and at a queer, pretty little corner of
the world called Brookgreen, Hammersmith (that I stumbled upon the other
day, and was delighted with), have great receptacles that reminded me of
the good days of old, when recesses in bedrooms were part of the house,
and room-like cupboards were a portion of the structure; but I am
compelled to confess that such conveniences are few and far between.

For example, most of the modern houses, and certainly one in which I
once lived, have not one single attempt at one, and have not even deep
recesses in which hooks and a curtain on a rod could be a substitute for
a cupboard, and in consequence we were compelled to spend a small
fortune on wardrobes. I purchased some very nice cheap ones at Maple’s
made out of deal, and painted a revolting drab colour, and also grained
to imitate maple--bird’s-eye maple. I only wish you could have heard the
chorus of anger when these arrived home, you would all have been amused;
but I said nothing, sent for my friend the painter, and gave them into
his hands, and in a short time they returned, one painted a lovely
sparrow’s-egg blue, further embellished with Japanese leather panels and
brass locks; the other an equally pretty shade of terra-cotta ‘treated’
very much in the same way. I am almost afraid to say how little these
cost. One has a long glass in, and I think was 4_l._ 10_s._, and the
other 4_l._; but they have ample accommodation, and are extremely pretty
pieces of furniture, and match the dressing-tables, washing-stands, and
chairs, of which more anon. These painted wardrobes can be embellished
at home, if we use Aspinall’s invaluable enamel paints, remembering that
two coats of this make any old grained thing beautiful; all one has to
do is to scrub the old paint well with strong soda-water, rubbing it
down afterwards with glass-paper. All graining, by the way, can be
treated like this, though naturally painters much prefer to add up a
bill and insist on burning off all old paint. Should the graining be
very thick, an application of ‘Carson’s detergent’ is advisable; this
costs 5_s._ at La Belle Sauvage Yard, London, E.C., and removes the old
paint in flakes immediately--a much cheaper and far less offensive
proceeding than the burning off of the paint so dear to the soul of the
ordinary workman.

In my own room I must confess to greater extravagance, for I had a large
dressing-table in light wood, and so fancied I must have all the rest to
match, and in consequence I had to give 12_l._ or 14_l._ for my
wardrobe. This I bought of Messrs. Hampton, in Pall Mall East, and
better tradesmen I for one do not know. After I had had that wardrobe a
few months the glass suddenly cracked straight across from no reason
that I could discover, save from pure ‘cussedness,’ as the Yankees say.
However, I wrote to the firm, telling them what had occurred, and they
at once sent down an employé, who discovered a warp in the wood, and
without a word or an atom of expense to me they removed the spoiled
glass and door, and sent me a brand-new one--a perfectly fair thing to
do, of course, as the fault was in the manufacture, but one very few
people would have done, I venture to state, without acrimonious
correspondence, and an attempt to charge at any rate. Why, only the
other day I bought an umbrella at a shop I should love to ‘name,’ as
they do in the House, and when it went into holes, real holes, in less
than a month they declined altogether even to re-cover it, saying it had
not had fair wear. It was not worth a fight, but that shop will now lose
my custom, and I most certainly will never recommend it to any one. If
tradesmen knew how far a little civility and courtesy went, some of them
would, I am sure, imitate the noble conduct of the Messrs. Hampton.

My wardrobe has a deep drawer for hats, a place for hanging jackets, and
plenty of shelves and other drawers for linen and dresses, and I could
not do without it in the least, though, of course, it may be too dear
for Angelina, in which case I must strongly recommend her to buy a cheap
deal one and have it painted to match her room, putting on brass
handles--the drop handles are the best and most decorative--and filling
up any panels that there may be with Japanese paper, or tightly
stretched cretonne, like that used for the hangings.

If Edwin be a clever carpenter, he can easily make a frame to simulate a
wardrobe. The top can be formed of very tightly stretched holland (it
does not show, and the glaze resists dirt and damp, I think, better than
anything else), and the front can be hidden by a nice curtain--serge
lined with holland would be best. The sides of the frame should have
rings on, like picture rings, to fasten them to the flat surface of the
wall, and can be painted. Edwin could put in some wide shelves, but
these make-believe cupboards are best for hanging one’s dresses and
jackets in, as they will not stand much weight. A less costly thing even
than this can be made with an arrangement of curtains, rods, and
brackets, but the one suggested above should not cost 30_s._, curtain
and all, would last years, and be removable from house to house, as no
cupboard is.

The most valuable things I know, too, are Maple’s box ottomans. No one
makes them quite so cheaply as he does, and they are invaluable for
ball-dresses, spare blankets, ordinary dresses--in fact, for anything;
and, with a judicious arrangement of cushions, form sometimes an
excellent substitute for a sofa. Though, if the room be large enough, I
recommend Angelina to possess herself of what I always used to call ‘a
long chair,’ which was originally a camp bedstead, is made of iron and
sacking, lets down to a bed or rises up to an arm-chair, possesses an
extra leg for a sofa, and finally has a long cushion, covered with
cretonne or serge, that can be made to serve as a mattress if a spare
bed is wanted in a hurry. I think this curious article of furniture
costs 30_s._, and there is nothing like it for comfort. The sacking
gives with one’s weight, and never fatigues one, and it is even superior
to a deck cane chair, which is very nice, but will creak and groan under
one, and is apt to feel hard and ridgy after lying there for some time.

I do hope my readers will not think I am given to ‘lying

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--Draped alcove for a bed.]

down’; it is an action I scorn when I am well; but I know, alas! too
well how necessary it is to be ready for an ‘emergency,’ and to know one
has a place of refuge and rest if life grows too much for one, and one’s
headache is just a little too bad to bear without retiring into private
life for a while. At first, of course, Angelina will have the house to
herself, but that will not last--at least I hope for her sake it will
not--and she will then be glad to have opportunities of resting for five
or ten minutes, secure of safety from interruptions, and servants, and
children, or visitors. Besides, when she is recovering after any illness
there would be her sofa ready, and she would not be perpetually fretted
and worried by seeing the room disorganised by the sudden introduction
of a strange piece of furniture; the bringing in of which, and the
bumping and banging inseparable from this same movement, often brings on
a nervous attack, and fidgets her so much that she would rather be
without it than witness the commotion caused by the moving.

If one’s home has these little conveniences it adds immeasurably to
one’s comfort, and they are not costly; and here I may mention that I
consider a screen indispensable too, for this can be moved to circumvent
draughts or too much light, and can also be used to protect the patient
from worry when the bed is made, &c.; things that always drive me
distracted to witness, and that screened off cease to be, as far as I am

In most houses, too, the door opens confidingly on the only place where
the bed can stand, and then a screen is invaluable; it hides the bed
itself, and does not leave it exposed as it would were curtains used as
a substitute. Curtains, too, are things I always disapprove of. I do not
even like Mr. Arthur Smee’s most excellent arrangement of wing-like
brackets, to which curtains are attached, as I think people should have
as much air as possible, and I see no more reason for curtaining a bed
than there would be for curtaining one’s chair or sofa. A screen insures
privacy; curtains hide one’s head only, and cannot possibly avoid being
stuffy; if, however, the bare appearance of an uncurtained bed is
objected to, the draped alcove sketched on the previous page will be
found easy to arrange and very pretty indeed. This alcove is one of
Messrs. Collinson and Lock’s designs.

I have been very sorry to notice a very strong attempt made by those who
ought to know better to revive that truly unhealthy and impossible thing
in a properly managed house--the wooden bedstead. I hear that these
detestable things are considered artistic--that to have a heap of
feathers sunk into a carved oak box in the height of luxuriance and
æstheticism, so I must beg my readers to carefully consider what a
wooden bedstead means and used to mean.

It meant immense trouble with certain small animals that came there
mysteriously with the clothes. It meant a taking to pieces, a
scrubbing, and a putting together again continually; and, above all, it
meant a bonfire were any person with an infectious disease to sleep upon
it; and, in fact, I do not know one single thing in its favour, and yet
folks in their craving after a false sensation of antiquity are actually
thinking of going back to the wooden bedstead.

One of the worst and silliest things I know is to go back into the
middle ages for those very articles that used to make our foremothers--I
don’t think our forefathers troubled much about their houses--miserable,
and when I see tiny diamond panes of glass, for example, when invention
has given us large sheets of glass through which light comes, and by
throwing open which we can admit as much air as possible; or when I hear
of the wooden bedsteads, I feel like a Philistine entirely, and long to
uplift my testimony on the great superiority of this present nineteenth
century of ours, when we are nothing if we are not sensible, and ought
to know enough to make use of all the beauty of past days, while we
reject unconditionally the futile, unhealthy nonsense that clings to
them. Still, after this no one will be surprised to hear that I consider
a brass or iron and brass bedstead a _sine quâ non_. Nothing is so
clean, so cheerful-looking, and so healthy. There are no draperies to
catch dust or to give the sleeper a headache, and, moreover, I never
have a valance--never will allow one. Why should there be one? Not one
single thing of any sort or description should be put under the bed,
which, in a servant’s room, or the room of an untidy person, serves as a
regular hiding-place for boots, boxes, even soiled linen, and if there
be nothing to hide there is no necessity that I can see for a valance. A
brass and iron bedstead can be bought, full size, at Maple’s for 3_l._
10_s._, and, of course, very much handsomer ones can be procured; but
plain beds are much the best, for they can be rubbed free from dust in a
very few moments, and always look clean because they are so.

I do not think any one who has ever tried it can for one moment doubt
that a spring mattress made entirely of finely woven chains is the very
best and healthiest sort of bed that one can have, it never seems to get
out of order, it is quickly made softer or harder by being wound up
tighter or unwound, and, above all, it is easily kept clean, and is as
easily disinfected, should any fever or other infectious disease attack
the owner thereof.

I have had, and still possess, one of the old-fashioned spring beds that
resemble very large mattresses, and, though this is extremely
comfortable, it is not to be as highly recommended as a bed one can
brush and know is quite clean, for it is covered with a tick, and has a
mysterious internal arrangement of spiral springs that is apt at times
to get out of order, and invariably groans and squeaks in an agonising
way whenever one turns in bed, while the noise and motion are both very
trying when one’s nerves are a little unstrung and one is restless and
cannot sleep. It is expensive to have it taken to pieces and cleaned,
and the tick washed, which is not done half as often as it ought to be,
because it is costly and tiresome. There are several sorts of
chain-spring mattresses, and the ‘Excelsior,’ which is inexpensive,
answers every purpose; but I personally much prefer a very fine woven
chain, almost like chain-armour, which is expensive, but wears
splendidly, and only requires a nice hair mattress over it to be
complete. I always put over the chains themselves a square of brown
holland, tied to each of the four corners of the bedstead. This should
be washed twice, or even oftener, during the year, and it is also an
excellent plan to put the nice new hair mattresses and pillows into neat
brown holland pinafores, or cases; which can also be frequently washed
in order to keep the ticks themselves clean as long as we possibly can.
Unless this is done, the ticks become soiled and nasty-looking and
shabby, because housemaids are but mortal, and will not remember to wash
their hands and put on spotlessly clean aprons when they go up to make
the beds. If brown holland is too dear, ‘crash’ serves every purpose,
but the glaze on the holland resists dust better than anything, and
insures cleanliness.

If people suffer very much from cold, I am luxurious enough to allow
them a feather bed on the mattress. I always feel I am doing very wrong,
and that it is a most unhealthy practice, though I have one myself, for
in the winter, and indeed during most of the year, I hardly know what it
is like to be even moderately warm in bed; but I still think I should be
doing well were I to put away my feathers entirely, and only use the
springs and the hair mattress, but I am not strong-minded enough, so,
though I know feathers are unhealthy in every way, I still use them,
believing that now I am too old to change my undoubtedly evil ways.

A brass and iron bedstead furnished with the spring mattress, nice hair
mattress and bolster, and four pillows if a double, two if a single,
bedstead, is the beau-ideal of a sleeping place for health, and should
furthermore be provided with two under blankets--one in use, one in
store in case of illness--and two good pairs of nice Witney blankets,
and these should be marked in red wool with the date of purchase,
initials, and number of the room to which they belong. If the four
blankets are too much, those not in use should be very neatly folded
under the mattress, thus insuring that they are always aired and ready
for use. An eider-down quilt is also nice in winter, and should have an
extra covering made from cretonne like the window curtains, or in a
pretty contrast, edged all round with a two-inch goffered frill, and
furnished with buttons and buttonholes, in order that it can be easily
removed and sent to the wash.

Three pairs of sheets are the least that can be allowed to each bed;
the top sheet of each pair should be frilled with Cash’s patent frilling
two inches and a half wide, and should have a large red monogram in the
centre to look really well; these can be worked by Angelina, if she has
clever fingers; and as it adds so very much to the appearance of the
linen, I do hope where she can she will embellish her house-linen with
nicely embroidered initials, repeating the same in the centre of the
pillow-cases; which should be frilled and placed outside the bed during
the day to look nice, the frilled cases being removed at night and
replaced by plain ones, from motives of economy. Four plain pillow-cases
for each pillow, and two or three frilled and embroidered ones for the
top pillows, are the least that can be allowed when the linen is bought;
for if Angelina have to stay in bed--and no doubt she will--a change
from the plain pillow-case of night to the frilled one for day, and a
removal of the plain counterpane for a pretty one, is as good almost as
a change of room, and makes far more difference in one’s feelings than
can readily be believed. Now one especial word in Angelina’s ear: I have
never yet found in all my experience a servant who can really and truly
be trusted to properly air the bed. Her first idea is to cover it up and
get it made, and unless Angelina copies me I am quite certain she will
find the bed stuffy and disagreeable, because it has not had time to get
properly aired, and because it has been made up as soon almost as
Angelina got out of it.

Now there is not one single thing that should be left on the bed once
one is out of it. Do not be content with turning all the bed-clothes
over the rail; see they are all pulled out from under the mattress,
separated, and hung up, if possible. Then remove the pillows, and dot
them about on chairs and sofas; hang up separately the under sheet and
blanket where they will receive a current of air from the open window
wet or dry; and then pull off the mattress, placing it as close to the
window as it will go, which only takes about five minutes, as, of
course, Edwin will help with the mattress, and then, when dressed, open
all the windows possible. Leave the door wide open too, unless there are
torrents of rain and a windy tempest going on; and I venture to remark
that the bed will be all right and properly aired, even if Mary Jane
rushes wildly upstairs from the breakfast table and sets to work at

May I also add: don’t fold up your night attire! I used to be informed
by my governess that no lady ever left her towels on the floor--as if
any one wanted to--or went downstairs without neatly folding up her
night-garment. Now this I will not do. It should be left to air with the
beds, and should then be folded up, with the soft, woolly slippers in
attendance, and put neatly into an embroidered case provided for it. How
fussy and old-maidish all this seems, yet on these trifles depend so
very much that I feel I really cannot say too much about them. It may
seem silly of me here to tell most of my readers of things they may all
do daily, just as they have their meals, but I know a great many women
who never think of these items, and of course there may be a very great
many others who just want to be given the same sort of little hints too;
and as for the servants, I do not believe one exists who out of her own
head would air a bed daily, and who does not regard such airing as a
useless fad.

While we are on the subject of beds, I may mention that a matchbox, the
boxes of Bryant and May’s, painted with enamel paint, and embellished
with a tiny picture, nailed to the wall just above one’s head, is an
excellent thing; and so is a bracket provided with either one of Mr.
Drew’s small paraffin lamps with a chimney, or else one of Field’s
candle-lamps, also with a glass shade; and that a bed pocket made out of
a Japanese fan, covered with soft silk, and the pocket itself made of
plush, and nailed within easy reach, is also very useful to hold a
handkerchief or one’s watch; and, furthermore, that great comfort is to
be had from a table at one’s bedside, on which can stand one’s book or
anything one may be likely to want in the night.

The counterpane of the bed should be one of these nice honeycomb quilts
with a deep cotton fringe; in winter and summer both, the eider-down
should be always on the bed ready for use, for some of our English
summer nights are as cold and chilly as many of the autumn and winter
ones; and very charming-looking day coverings for the beds can be bought
for one guinea at Marshall and Snelgrove’s, and are called Madras
quilts. They have more substance than Madras muslin itself, and are
ready trimmed with a neat fringe. Guipure and lace strips make nice
quilts too, and very nice covers can be made of cretonne like the
curtains edged by the pretty nine-inch goffered frill of which I am so
fond; but if Angelina works, beautiful ones can be made from crash or
workhouse sheeting, embroidered in scrolls and pomegranates in red chain
stitch, a deep border of thicker work, also in a pomegranate pattern,
forming an appropriate and very handsome finish to it. These quilts can
be bought ready traced and begun at Francis’s, Hanway Street, Oxford
Street, W., at 30_s._; they should be lined with sateen, and finished
off by a wide border of furniture lace, turned over a band of sateen of
any colour that will harmonise with the room itself.

A careful servant should brush under the bed daily to pick up any little
bits of fluff or dust, and once a week, without fail, all the corners
should be turned out and the room thoroughly cleaned. The floor, to be
perfect, should be stained all over, polished and rubbed bright, and be
furnished with nice rugs, which can be shaken daily, for nothing keeps
so clean, and it is undoubtedly healthy, for, much as I like matting,
and largely as I use it, it must fill up the corners entirely, and dust
cannot help accumulating there, in a bedroom.

Furniture for the room itself could be had cheaply, did we know of any
man willing to work under our orders, but this seems impossible.

I do not know if there are any trades-union rules among carpenters that
prevent them working for themselves; but, if not, I am quite sure an
honest mechanic could make a large fortune if only he set himself
seriously to work, and would keep to reasonable prices.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.]

Of course, skilled cabinet-making is one thing, and the sort of work I
mean is another; but I am constrained to remark on this, because
ordinary shops, even the very cheapest, charge such terrible prices for
furniture, and I have had such useful things made from my own
descriptions by a man in our own employ, that I am sure such a man near
London would soon be of almost world-wide fame, and we should all have
useful furniture, even if it were not of polished ash and oak, elegantly
finished, and in exquisite style.

We should, of course, all prefer the very best furniture possible, if we
could afford it; but, as we cannot, I should like to find a carpenter as
good as my old one, who would work for himself and really give us honest
work at honest prices.

There are some dressing-tables which I possess which this man made for
2_l._ 10_s._ out of strong, good deal. They have three very deep drawers
each side and one in the middle, and underneath the top drawer in one
case there is a rod to hold a curtain, and in the other there is a
species of cupboard for boots. The curtain also hides boots, but I
prefer the cupboard, as it is the tidiest, and has two divisions, one
for shoes and one for boots. These were stained deal, but I soon had
them painted, one turquoise blue, one terra-cotta, and added brass
handles, and they are now not only useful but extremely pretty. The
frames of the looking-glasses were painted to match, so that all was _en

There are, of course, many different sorts of dressing-tables, but I
like mine at 2_l._ 10_s._ as much as any for use. My own happens to be
much more expensive, because I had it, in the room I spoke of before, to
serve for both a toilet-table and washing-stand in a confined space; but
this came to about 9_l._, which is not so very much when one considers
it was instead of two things. This has a very large glass in the centre,
and drawers and recesses, which hold china odds and ends, and is very
pretty too. The part that was used as a washing-stand is tiled, but now
the tiles are covered, as I have at present plenty of room for another
stand, and it no longer does double duty.

Mr. Smee has designed a charming table, and has given me the drawing,
which is produced here. This is without exception the very best style of
table for a small room, as the drawers are extremely deep, and would
hold an immense quantity of things. The looking-glass is in the centre,
the drawers extending as far back as they are in front, and the table is
provided with two brackets to hold either china or flowers. This is
painted any colour, and the handles are brass. In the very best quality
the price is 6_l._ 18_s._, but it can be made cheaper, and Mr. Smee
would no doubt tell any one who wrote to him how much cheaper it could
be made. He has not told me exactly the lowest price, but it is an
extremely charming piece of furniture, and it is as decorative as it is
undoubtedly useful.

Then there are those truly abominable dressing-tables, the deal frame
covered with muslin and lace and glazed calico, like the frock of a
ballet-dancer, or else with some serge material that resembles nothing
so much as a church altar; and that should never be used except in cases
where the others really cannot be managed on the score of expense; but,
as there are many nice sets of furniture to be bought for about 12_l._
12_s._, I think, somehow, a dressing-table can be managed by Angelina
that shall not serve as a dust-trap, a hiding hole for all sorts of
débris, or an attraction for fire; for many a death has been caused by
these flimsy petticoated things catching alight and flaring up in one

I had one once which was rather a good possession, as it was in reality
a deep square box. I believe it had once been an old wooden crib,
retired from active service and covered with a lid; and although it was
very useful, and held all my spare blankets, I never could bear the look
of it, and it was finally shorn of its legs and turned into an ottoman
with a chintz cover. But it is desperately heavy, and I never see it
without feeling cross at its unalterable ugliness.

I never use the ordinary white toilet-cover; this is another of my pet
detestations. I invariably have neat tapestry covers made to fit the
tables &c., and edged with a ball fringe to match. I use, moreover,
self-coloured felt and velveteen, also edged with furniture lace or
fringe, and this I use also to cover the box pincushions that are in
every room, and are invaluable for holding odds and ends, the gloves one
has in wear, shoestrings, and so on. For these, a large-sized cigar box
is an excellent foundation. This should be lined with wadding and glazed
lining, the top carefully wadded too, and all the outside covered with
lining; then cover it tightly with either plush, velveteen, or tapestry,
and put fringe round in such a way that the opening is hidden. Very tidy
folks tie these boxes together with ribbons. I do not; life is too
short, and I find the fringe hides any gaps, and looks very nice too.
The top part does for pins or one’s brooches, though I prefer to keep my
pins in a china Japanese dish, shaped like a fish, because I can’t bear
the pin-stuck look of a cushion; and I put my brooches away in their
boxes, because they are apt to be knocked off and lost or bent, unless
you are possessed of a maid or housemaid who is as careful as she ought
to be, and yet somehow never is! The brushes and combs live in a middle
drawer, the paper in which should be changed once a week, when the room
is properly cleaned. They should never be placed on the toilet-cover,
and, if there be no centre drawer, two cedar-wood trays covered with
tapestry covers over pieces of washing stuff should be provided, to
insure that they are not left on the toilet-covers, and that cleanliness
is duly respected. In front of the toilet-table, however the room is
covered, there should be an extra rug. Of course, if the carpet be new
the first beauty of the carpet may be used if you like, but this I do
not advise: first, because you may like to change your furniture--I
love changing mine--and in this case you could not, because the carpet
would be marked; and, secondly, because it is a pity to wear it out more
in one place than another, which you could not avoid doing if you do not
put a rug down in the place you use most. In the case of matting or
staining a rug would be imperative, and I strongly recommend one for a
carpet for the reasons mentioned above. Before we leave the
dressing-table for the washing-stand, I should like to say a few words
about the way to light it. Careful survey should be made of the room
before the gas-brackets are put in, and, if possible, one should be so
arranged as to bring the light over the centre of the glass.

In a big room a bracket each side is advisable. Long brass brackets
should be used, which should be able to be moved either to the side or
to the middle of the glass, bringing the light well over the top
whenever it is possible, thus doing away at once with any necessity for
candles and the attendant dangers. If candles are used they should be
invariably protected with Price’s candle guards; but once more I say,
have one of Messrs. A. and A. Drew’s perfect little 1_s._ 6_d._ lamps in
every room. They are quite safe, and can be carried from room to room
without the very smallest danger. They never smell, are lighted and put
out in a moment, and are invaluable to any mother who pays domiciliary
visits to her children, and puts down her light to tuck up or kiss the
little sleepers, for she can place this lamp even in a draught and at
the same time need not consider if a curtain is blowing close by, for if
it did it could do no harm. They are useful even to the reader in bed,
as they give sufficient light for that, although they do not come up to
the excellent candle lamps recently invented, but which cost a guinea,
as contrasted with our modest 1_s._ 6_d._, and have no protection for
the flame, which, however, is far back in the lamp, and not easily
reached. Another item must also be mentioned before we leave the
toilet-table subject. Every scrap of hair should be collected by
Angelina herself before she leaves the toilet-table, and be placed
somewhere out of sight, to be burned by herself in the nearest fire.
Avoid those terrible things called toilet-tidies, which make me shudder
whenever I see them hanging up; but do not leave this item near a
servant’s hands: they cannot resist combing out the brush either into
the washing basin or the toilet-pail. The drains become clogged--no one
knows why, until that miserable creature the plumber has to be called
in, when, after spoiling all that comes within his reach, he discovers
the cause, and sends in a tremendous bill, all of which need never have
happened had Angelina looked after this item herself. If the nursery
fire be handy it can be disposed of every morning; if not, a little box
could be kept in one corner of the dressing-table drawer, and the
contents burned when the room is cleaned, which should be done with the
very greatest regularity once a week, on a stated day, which should
always be rigorously adhered to, and which, if properly done, minimises
in a remarkable manner the discomfort and disagreeables of that
abomination to the male mind, and to some female minds too--the spring
clean. Whatever Angelina is, I do hope and trust she will duly
appreciate her table-drawers, and not look upon them as a store-place
for rubbish. She will, of course, have a store of gloves, handkerchiefs,
and ribbons at first in her trousseau; and I most strongly advise her to
keep in the toilet drawers the things she has in use, not her whole
store. She should never allow herself more than three pairs of gloves in
wear, one of which should be for evening wear, nor more than a dozen
handkerchiefs in use; and she should never put away her gloves unmended
or lacking buttons, nor allow a fortnight to pass without putting every
drawer she possesses tidy, and seeing her handkerchiefs are correct in
number. Tidiness and tidy habits are great helps to economy of time and
money, and are therefore highly to be recommended for Angelina’s

There is nothing so expensive as a muddle; nothing so sure to unhinge
the servants and make them cross, captious, and anxious to move on
elsewhere. Keep straight and work is easy, because it is expected and
looked out for; allow arrears to accumulate, and nothing is done.

And this also applies to the drawers in Angelina’s own wardrobe.
Unmended gloves, linen, or stockings should never for one moment be
allowed, neither should one set of linen be taken into wear until the
previous one is worn entirely out. This should be kept religiously, old
linen being invaluable for burns (if it be _linen_, not _cotton_) or
wounds, and to give away to the deserving poor who may be ill. Even in
one’s own illnesses old nightdresses are invaluable; as medicine,
poultices, and constant and daily washing soon ruins one’s nice new
things. I am no advocate for hoarding, but I do know the value of old
worn-out things, if only to have something to fall back upon if a friend
comes in, to beg for Kitty Jones’s ninth baby; or for old Mrs. Harris,
in bed and suffering agonies from rheumatic fever, when rags and old
flannel petticoats come in like a godsend for her use. If one’s servants
have good wages they do not need these things, and I do not think, in
any case, they should be given old clothes: they come to look upon them
as a right, and often enough one is prevented giving a far more
deserving object some cast-off garments because one fancies that
so-and-so will be offended; therefore I strongly advise Angelina to keep
one especial ottoman or drawer to go to for her charities. I am sure she
will find it a great help to her if she does so.

One of the palm-leafed baskets for soiled linen should be in every
room; they are a little more expensive than the ordinary soiled linen
baskets, but they stand three times the wear, and always look nice.
Albeit this is an article I always put as much as possible in very
humble retirement behind my cheval-glass, there is no choice in my mind
between the palm-leaf and the wicker-work for wear, and I strongly
recommend both the dark brown and the light-coloured ones; they are
about 5_s._ 11_d._ each.

If Angelina can possibly afford it she should buy a cheval-glass; of
course the long glass in the wardrobe shows one’s dresses pretty well,
but it cannot be moved about to suit the light like the cheval-glass
can, neither does it ever somehow act quite in its place. I dress very
hurriedly, for I have so little time generally for this operation. I am
always doing something up to the last moment before I go out either for
a drive or in the evening, so that I could not do without mine, and I
have often been saved quite fearful _contretemps_ by this faithful
friend, which truthfully points out strings and skirts out of place, and
has an unpleasant habit of suggesting that one’s hair must be done
again, by reflecting the back of one’s head in a crude, and startling
way, in the ordinary glass. Then it is of great use to visitors too, who
may not have a long glass at all in the spare-room wardrobe, and are
doubly thankful to find a cheval-glass there, lent of course out of
Angelina’s own room for the time being.

Another thing that I should like to speak of is the necessity of always
having a clean brush and comb in the toilet drawer. A friend comes in
unexpectedly to luncheon or dinner, and we are struck with dismay to
find that it is the day before our own particular brushes are to be
washed, and we have none fit to give her. If we always keep a ‘company
brush and comb’ we need never be put to confusion as we otherwise
should, for often, in dusty weather particularly, and especially if we
drive much, our brushes look black almost after once using, and are not
suitable to give a friend, without being really dirty.

This said washing of brushes is a vexed question. I have a friend who is
so particular about hers that she never uses them more than once, and
then has them washed rapidly in hot soapsuds. By holding the backs in
her hand so that they do not touch the water, and thus only immersing
the bristles, she gets them clean without spoiling them; they are dried
in the fender, and she always has six brushes in use. Now, I think if we
have three in use, and have them washed in routine, one a day, so as
always to have one clean one ready for a friend, we shall do very well.
And I think 5_s._ or 6_s._ ample to give for a brush; I have had some
excellent ones from Whiteley’s at 4_s._ 11_d._ and 4_s._ 6_d._ If we buy
extravagantly dear brushes, we grudge their wear and tear and their
numerous washings; but inexpensive ones can be kept cleaner, because we
can more easily afford to buy new ones if we do not give too much at
first. The old silver brushes at 5_l._, and beautiful ivory-backed ones
at almost any price we like to give, are delightful to possess; but
unless we can constantly renew the bristles, they soon get useless, and
as we can’t do that we must be content with ordinary ones; which same
remark applies to combs. I like a black vulcanite at 1_s._ 9_d._ or
2_s._ better than any, for a comb is difficult to keep really nice, and
one does not mind throwing a soiled or broken one away if one can easily
and cheaply replace it.

Still, if Angelina should have beautiful brushes given to her in her
collection of wedding gifts, I strongly counsel her to keep them by her
for visiting and travelling, and to get other cheaper ones for every
day; and this same remark applies to tortoiseshell combs. I like better
things for visiting myself, and I am sure Angelina should keep her best
brushes for this purpose. If the toilet-table is chosen with brackets,
cut and scented flowers should never be allowed there. A few ferns and
immortelles look nice, especially the pretty pink everlastings one can
buy in the summer, but scented flowers are bad for a bedroom, though I
much recommend a growing plant or two; they look nice, and are very
healthy; but no flowers here even; a fern, a small palm, or the
ubiquitous aspidistra being all to be preferred, because the leaves give
out a healthy atmosphere, and are therefore useful as well as
ornamental, while strongly scented blossoms poison the air and render it
heavy and unfit for a sleeper to breathe.

Without going to the outrageous lengths some lovers of fresh air
consider necessary, I strongly advise every one to try and sleep with
some little bit of window open. I always do in summer with all that I
can, in winter with one or two at the top only. The sudden change in
temperature that makes this dangerous is guarded against by having an
extra wrap handy on a chair, or thrown over the foot of the bed, which
can be drawn up if the change becomes perceptible; but I am certain that
two people in one room should never sleep with all the windows and doors
shut, and I have never slept with mine closed, since I can recollect,
without waking with a headache and a feeling of lassitude, though, of
course, when I lived in London itself the noise was very trying, yet I
became accustomed even to that; and I put down my singular immunity from
colds to this habit of mine, and also to the open windows and doors that
I always insist upon, and that for some part of the day always remain
open, winter and summer, though the moment the sun goes, or rather
begins to go, down, all windows, in the winter and autumn, should be
rigorously closed, with the exception of about a quarter of an inch at
the top.

But then, in connection with my open-air fad, I am a great advocate for
good, jolly fires, and I do believe bedroom fires save a great amount of
doctors’ bills. Open your window a little, and have a fire, if you can
possibly manage it, and I am sure you will all find a great difference
in the expense. Of course this adds to the servant’s work; but if she
objects, equalise matters by helping her with the beds, and in dusting,
and in a thousand-and-one little ways. I am sure you will not repent it.

Fires warm the whole house, take off the damp, raw feeling that is so
trying in our English atmosphere, and give a cheerful feel and look that
cannot be too highly esteemed. I would rather do without anything than a
fire, and even in the height of summer the instant it rains I have my
fires set going, with the windows open, not so much for the mere warmth
of course, but to dry the atmosphere and prevent the house-walls from
becoming chilled and damp and dangerous to health; while for three parts
of the year they are emphatically a necessity, unless we want the
doctor’s gig or brougham to be always turning in at our front gate.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.]

I could write pages about fires, I am so certain that in England nothing
is saved by scrimping the coal, but I must not dwell upon this subject.
I must pass on to the washing-stands, of which here are two drawings
from Mr. Smee’s designs, and which I consider the very perfection of
stands. I prefer the larger one of the two, not because I could for one
moment contemplate the odious notion of a double washing apparatus, but
because the smaller one does not seem to me to have room for sponge-dish
and all the etceteras one requires; but, of course, if the room were a
small one, the single washing-stand would be best, because in that case
space would be an object, and by placing a long painted shelf, or one of
those nice little hanging sets of shelves, half cupboard, half bookcase,
over it, we could obtain a place to put extra articles on. These
washing-stands in the best materials come to 5_l._ 5_s._ each. The
drawing, I think, will need but small explanation from me, as it will
show exactly the proper style for a washing-stand; but I should like my
readers to notice that the high-tiled back prevents the wall being
spoiled, and does away with the idea of a ‘splasher’ being required,
that the towels are to be hung on the round rails provided for them, and
that the deep cupboards are especially to be commended, doing away as
they do with any necessity for an extra piece of furniture, and they can
also be used for bottles of medicine, Angelina’s private duster, which
she should keep in every room, cardboard boxes, and other trifles that
are too useful to throw away and yet require to be hidden from sight.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.]

There is no doubt in my mind that the Beaufort ware sold by Maple is the
nicest and prettiest for bedroom use. It is pure white, and a most
charming shape. The jug has a double lip, and the handles are in the
centre, like a basket, simulating a twisted rope. The basin &c. have all
handles and embellishments of the same rope-like design, and the cost is
17_s._ 6_d._ The ware is most excellent, and though much cheaper ware
is, of course, to be procured, pretty blue and white sets being
purchasable at 3_s._ 11½_d._, my white set exists triumphantly, after
eleven years’ wear and two moves, while I have bought more cheap sets
for those all-devouring locusts the boys and the maids than I care to
think about. I am convinced, therefore, that very cheap china for
bedroom use is a mistake, for good ware stands rough usage much better,
and therefore is cheaper in the end.

It is well, too, to buy the ware as much alike as possible for two or
even three rooms, as nothing is so difficult to match as this. Before I
became in the least _au fait_ at these small contrivances that save so
much, I had quite a regiment of ewerless basins and basinless ewers that
had accumulated because I found it impossible to get them matched, and
having them made was almost, nay quite, as costly as a new set. Of
course, these were gradually used up, and not very gradually either,
alas! by the servants; but they were ever so much too good for their
heedless clutches, and I should have been saved a great deal had I had
the sense to buy two sets alike, instead of exercising my taste by
seeing how many different ones I could possess myself of.

Ware now is so extremely cheap that it is perhaps not of such vital
consequence as it used to be to do this; still, as I had the other day
to give 4_s._ for a jug to match a basin belonging to a set the whole of
which cost only 5_s._, I think it is still worth mentioning, as it may
save Angelina something, and every shilling is often a consideration to
young beginners. The blue and white ware at about 5_s._ a set is good
enough for any room, but, of course, Maple’s white Beaufort ware is much
prettier; and Mortlock, of Oxford Street, has or had some artistic pale
blue, yellow, and red sets that would be lovely in a room that was
furnished entirely in one of these colours. The soap-dish &c. are
included in the cheap prices, but not a sponge dish. This should always
be bought. Not only does it save the sponge from becoming sticky and
unpleasant, but it saves the wall and floor from those detestable
continuous dribbles of water that are the outcome of a sponge-basket,
that may be all very well in theory, but is worse than useless in
practice. A sponge-dish has all proper drainage, and may be more
expensive at first, but, like a great many other expensive things, saves
the whole of its cost in the long run.

The covers of the soap and toothbrush dishes should never be left on;
the soap lasts ever so much longer than when it is shut up, and, of
course, the veriest ignoramus knows the effect on one’s toothbrush if it
is kept covered over. I infinitely prefer to have a tall species of
spill-holder or a rack for tooth and nail brushes, as this allows them
to drain; and for servants’ bedrooms one can buy iron things at
6½_d._ to hold the soap and two toothbrushes as well. These are not
bad for schoolboys’ rooms, as they are not ugly, but are not suitable
for grown-up people’s rooms, who are supposed reasonably to take care of
their things; but with the Beaufort ware the ordinary dish for
toothbrushes is sent, and is therefore used, but without the cover.

I always keep on my washing-stand one of Perry’s invaluable sixpenny
sticks of ink-eraser. I sometimes ink my fingers dreadfully, but nothing
is too bad for Perry, whose delightful stick comes into use, and cleans
away the stains directly. This, too, must not be put into confinement,
as it becomes soft and melts away rapidly if it is.

For the tooth-water and glass, I most thoroughly recommend the charming
little sets we buy at Douglas’s glass-shop in Piccadilly. For 1_s._
6_d._, 2_s._, and even less (I have bought a green set there for 9_d._),
one buys the prettiest possible glass jugs and glasses, and they are
ever so much nicer than the old-fashioned glass water-bottles and
tumblers; they are charming to look at, and far more easily kept clean.
There are blue, red, green, and shades of opal; and the gas-globes
should match. The best gas-globes are the tinted green globes, pinched
in here and there in folds, which are 1_s._ 4½_d._ at Whiteley’s, and
3_s._ and 4_s._ at any other shop--why, I don’t know. The opal glasses
are prettier, but then they are dearer. A dozen towels should be allowed
to each washing-stand: four a week, or even three, are enough for most
people. One big Turkish towel is indispensable for the bath, and a clean
towel should be always on the second rail ready for the visitor, for
whom we have already provided the hairbrush.

To every room should be apportioned a hot-water jug or can. There are
none so good as the charming brass cans at 7_s._ 6_d._ The painted ones
soon become shabby, and always smell of paint directly the hot water is
put in; and not at all a bad plan is to have a brass label chained to
the handle of the can, with the room’s name on to which the can belongs.
Cheaper brass cans can be had, but they hold less water, and as they
have no cover the water very soon becomes cold. A larger oak-painted can
should be provided for the housemaid. This she should use for refilling
the ewers, and to bring larger quantities of water if a foot-bath is
required in one’s own room; but the foot-bath and also the slop-pails
should be all of white china, and intense cleanliness should be insisted
on, especially for the last-named articles, which never, even in the
smallest establishment, should be made of anything save earthenware.
These china ones cost 4_s._ 9_d._, and have a basket-work handle and a
china cover. They should be scalded out every day with hot water and a
little chloride of lime, chloride of lime being kept in any separate
place, ready for use where there are any drains.

Before passing to the dressing-room, which should open, if possible, out
of the bedroom, there are still one or two more trifles that can be
mentioned in connection with it, as on trifles after all depend a great
deal of our comfort, more especially in the upstairs department, and a
sleepless night might often be prevented were some of the commonest
precautions taken to insure rest.

One thing no dweller in the ordinary suburban residence should be
without, and that is a wedge of wood attached to a brass chain to each
window, ready to wedge the window closely together should a storm
suddenly arise in the night. Who has not risen irate at the dismal
rattling, and crammed in anything--toothbrush, comb, or what
not--sacrificing often enough one or the other in one’s rage at not
being able in a moment to put a stop to this intolerable nuisance? Now a
wedge ready to hand, nailed to the window by its chain, so that it
cannot be lost or mislaid, obviates all this, and the window is secured
at once and rest is insured simply by a little precaution and
forethought. I believe that Whiteley keeps these wedges, but I used to
buy mine of a clergyman in Dorset, who made them beautifully, and sold
them in bunches in aid of the fund for restoring his church, and so
popular were they that he made quite a nice little sum by their sale;
but then Dorset is a very windy county, and I think the windows there
rattle more than anywhere else.

Another thing should be secured, and that is a matchbox nailed to the
wall, close by the bed, and the servant should be strictly forbidden
ever to take the matches from one room to another; there should be a
match-box _nailed on_ in each room and in the passages, and Angelina
should see herself that matches are never lacking there. I buy Bryant
and May’s boxes, but not their matches, as they are expensive, but I
always have tiny boxes of Swedish matches at 5_s._ the gross, a gross
lasting me considerably over a year; naturally I keep them locked in a
store cupboard, in a room where there is sufficient warmth to keep them
dry, and the maids have to ask me for them when they are required. When
I used Bryant and May’s matches and had them in as wanted from the
grocer, I never spent less than 6_d._ and sometimes 1_s._ a week upon
them, so I consider my present plan worth mentioning, for the save is
really great, and in these small items much can be economised, if only
one has a little knowledge and keeps one’s eyes open. But the matchboxes
and wedges must be nailed on, or else they will disappear in the same
extraordinary way pins and hair-pins always contrive to do. Then, in
bedrooms and sitting-rooms alike, I have the most delightful tiny brass
hooks on which I hang a hearth-brush, for I have an immense dislike to
an untidy and dirty hearth. As my old nurse used to say, ‘These sort of
things don’t eat anything,’ and a brush lasts five times as long if it
have not to migrate from one room to another, and can instead have its
own especial hook. You can buy ugly black hearth-brushes at 1_s._ 3_d._,
but I always buy brass ones at 4_s._ 11½_d._ They last for years and
years, and then can have new bristles added at the cost of 1_s._; they
look nice too, and are always to hand when wanted.

One of the principal things to remember all through these household
arrangements surely is this: a place for everything, and everything in
its place; time, temper, wear and tear of nerves, and servants being
saved a thousand times over by this simple remedy. If the brush be in
its place there is no need for Angelina to ring up tired Mary Jane to
make a tidy hearth. The hot-water cans on their shelves in the
bath-room, or in the pantry if there be no bath-room, allow of Angelina
getting her own hot water if the maid be busy or out of the way, and so
on through all the details of domesticity, which will only dovetail in a
little house if this principle of tidiness and thought animates the
mistress. And here let me beg that Angelina will resist with her might
getting into the bad habit of putting her boots on and buttoning them on
her nice cretonne chair covers. I mean the habit of putting the foot up
on the chairs while she fastens the buttons. I once had a visitor
staying with me who cut out a whole set of chair cushions in the month
or six weeks she was with me; and I discovered she had brass tips to her
heels, and these had cut out tiny holes all over the cushions, spoiling
them utterly; all because she had acquired this very bad habit. If
Angelina cannot button her boots without this action, she should take
care never to put her heel on the chair; to keep to one for the process;
and, if possible, to put down something, if only a scrap of paper, under
the toe of the boot, which must soil the cushion, even if it do nothing

I have in my time suffered so much from careless and inconsiderate
visitors that I cannot help giving these little hints on which any newly
married girl can act if she will. Example speaks louder than precept,
and if Angelina scouts such actions herself, she influences her
servants, and suggests to her visitors tidy habits, that may benefit her
later on, if not on the first visit. I shall never forget one dreadful
visitor I had--a visitor who was possessed of the damp, unpleasant hobby
of searching in ditches and hedge-bottoms for clammy and awful things
which she insisted on bringing home and investigating by the aid of a
microscope. I should not have minded this one bit, if she had done it in
a room we had, where the boys made messes, and that nothing could hurt;
but I had just had my spare room done up, and the effect was so terrible
I have never forgotten it to this day. It was such a pretty flowery
room, too, that it deserves a word of description. The effect was purple
and green, and the paper was guelder-roses and heliotrope--not at all a
bad mixture of colour, remember, and one that lights up well; the paint
was all the dull Japanese green varnished that is _not_ arsenical; and
that is very artistic, and by great good luck I found a charming French
cretonne of the same style and almost the same pattern as the paper, and
this I used as dado fixed with a dull green rail of ‘scantling,’ and as
panels in the shutters and doors. I had a nice little brass bedstead,
with a gold and white embroidered Liberty quilt trimmed round with ball
fringe, and furniture, with gold, green, and blue and red tapestry
covers on toilet, chest of drawers, and a new pincushion box covered
with the same, and all trimmed with ball fringe. There was a nice new
box-ottoman for hats and bonnets, a most useful possession for any one,
especially if it be divided in two layers with a cheap tray, also
covered with cretonne, new matting, and nice Liberty rugs on the floor,
and several newly framed photographs on the walls; besides this there
was a pretty table covered with plush, for a writing-table, duly
furnished with blotter, inkstand, and wastepaper basket, &c.; a charming
basket-chair, and two other chairs in pretty cretonnes, and odds and
ends in the shape of ornaments. There were two gas brackets, so I did
not have any candles in the room. I never have if I can help it; the
servants are apt to light them and drop the grease about, so unless
specially desired I never put candles anywhere, and I am more than
thankful that in this case of which I am writing I did nothing of the
kind, for my excellent housemaid came to me one morning when my friend
was out ‘bog-trotting’--or whatever the word for the occupation is--and,
with a face of horror, begged me to come into the spare room before Mrs.
W. returned, as she really did not know how she was going to get it
straight again.

Shall I ever forget my anguish! On the bed, on the top of the new quilt,
were spread specimens of all the nastinesses she had collected; on the
brass rail and hanging on the dado, on nails stuck in for the purpose,
and from most of the picture-nails, were mounted ghastlinesses on sheets
of paper that were drying in a fine breeze coming straight into the
room, laden with any amount of September damp and mist; the oil from the
microscope lamp was on every chair and every table, and a perfect
regiment of muddy boots and bedraggled skirts, cast about everywhere,
spoke volumes of the extent of Mrs. W.’s wardrobe, and her ingenuity in
filling up every hole and corner of that new and once pretty room.

And all this was caused just by a little lack of thought and care for
other people’s things, for, as I said before, we had, and generally
have, a large unfurnished room, sacred to boys, where she could have
done her worst and injured no one, for she might have nailed her nails
and hung up specimens to her heart’s content, and only pleased the
legitimate owners of that chamber. I also forgot to mention that on the
newly painted mantelpiece was a row of bottles full of dirty water, all
of which either leaked or else had been put down there, wet from the
ditches from which they had been filled, and to find room for them all
my ornaments had been dislodged and were missing. We found them
afterwards in bits, more or less, at the bottom of the ottoman, the top
of which was spoiled by being used as a ‘boot-rest’ for Mrs. W. when she
either wished to button or unbutton those articles of attire. When she
had left me I simply had to do that room at the cost of 5_l._ or 6_l._,
which I did not want, naturally, to spend, but my friend has never been
to stay with me again, and she never will. I have told this long story,
which I did not mean to go in for when I began my chapter, to point out
to Angelina another caution. When ‘things’ are once nice and in order
they require incessant care, if Angelina has been carelessly brought up,
and if she has not acquired really nice habits; but if she avoids
messing and is duly careful, her possessions will last her years, and
give very little trouble. One more thing to remember is that, unless the
door be provided with a curtain suspended from one of Maple’s invaluable
7_s._ 9_d._ rods, nothing should induce Angelina to depend her dresses
from crooks fixed into the doors. It spoils them, as they are exposed
both to sun and dust, and the look of it is so unpleasantly suggestive
of Bluebeard’s wives that this is a habit that cannot, I think, be too
strongly condemned. Besides, I remember dresses being torn and spoiled
by being shut into doors and then taken down without seeing they are
shut in; which is an argument against hanging them there at all, even
covered with a curtain. Still, in a small house and with a large amount
of clothing, a door is sometimes very ‘handy’ as an overflow wardrobe,
and then a curtain arranged as suggested above is a _sine quâ non_.

One need not go to very much expense about bedroom chairs. Old worn-out
drawing-room occasional chairs can be made beautiful for bedroom use by
painting them blue to match the suite with Aspinall’s
hedge-sparrow’s-egg blue enamel paint; particularly if one buys
cushions, which are sold, I believe, both at Maple’s and Whiteley’s very
cheaply, for about 1_s._ 2_d._ These should be re-covered with odds and
ends of Liberty’s Mysore cretonne; the yellow and white, blue and white,
and terra-cotta and white being all admirable--with the particular
shade of blue paint, I mean. The best bedroom chairs are these painted
chairs, or else the black-framed Beaconsfield chairs, rush-seated, and
also supplied with cushions in frilled cases, the cases being buttoned
on so as to be easily removed for the wash, and the cushions supplied
with tapes, so that they are fixed to the chairs, and neither move about
when one is sitting upon them nor drop on when least expected.

There is no doubt that pictures should always be on a bedroom wall.
Pictures and picture-frames are so cheap nowadays that some can
generally be afforded even at first. Of course these gradually
accumulate, and in years to come the walla will doubtless be decorated
with photographs of the children at different stages; but Angelina’s
wedding photographs will be useful at first, and I cannot imagine a
nicer wedding present than some of the exquisite photographs from the
old masters that one buys ready framed at a shop close to Regent Circus,
the name of which I have forgotten, but which is between the Circus and
the meeting hall of the Salvation Army. These are not at all expensive;
for 10_s._ and 15_s._ each quite large and most beautiful photographs
can be obtained, and Angelina would have a vast amount of pleasure out
of 10_l._ spent judiciously on these lovely photographs for the
adornment of her house, especially of her bedroom. These make admirable
presents for young girls, who can none of them be taught too early to
take a great pride in their bedrooms, and to accumulate there their own
belongings in the way of pictures, books, and ornaments. I love to see a
girl ‘house-proud,’ as the Germans say; and my own house, when I married
first, was made habitable only because of the judicious manner in which
my dear mother had impressed on me to take care of, and pride in, the
many little sketches, engravings, and photographs I used to have given
me. We were exceptionally lucky in that way, as of course we had a great
many artistic friends; but still, all girls should remember they may
have houses of their own, and always must have one room of their own,
and should be taught to pride themselves on having pretty and artistic
chambers sacred to their own use.

Naturally two sisters often have to occupy one room, but this need not
alter the idea, and I would rather a girl cared for her room, and
collected pictures, books, and china for that, than see her crave for
ornaments and jewellery, which can give but very little pleasure as
contrasted with pretty and delightfully artistic surroundings.

Angelina’s task of making her bedroom pretty will be so much lightened
if she has begun collecting treasures as soon as she was promoted to a
room to herself, that I may, perhaps, be forgiven if I impress this fad
of mine on all my readers, young and old; for mothers of growing
daughters can perhaps benefit by an idea that may be useful to them,
and of which it is just possible they may not have thought themselves;
and I should let (as I do let) my daughter begin her collection as soon
as she is old enough to value having her very own things, even to the
sheets, pillow-cases, and towels, which she can embroider herself, and
to a small collection of silver and china and pictures, added to, on
birthdays and at Christmas, with an eye to a house of her own some day;
or even a couple of rooms, when she may end an honoured career of ‘old
maidism,’ made all the lighter and pleasanter by the store of pleasant
memories secured to her by her possessions, which thus serve a double
duty, and are both artistic and useful too.

If Angelina cannot afford pictures in any way, she can, no doubt, afford
brackets. These are very cheap indeed in carved wood (which can be
painted to match the room), would hold a scrap of blue and white china,
and can be made even more decorative if surrounded by a ‘trophy’ or
artistic arrangement of the ever-useful Japanese fans, one of which
should be covered with silk and plush, and made into a bed-pocket for
handkerchief, watch, or keys, although I like my watch in evidence, as
then one sees exactly what time it is, and if it is the hour to rise, or
to put out the gas, if one indulges, as I do, in the fascinating but
wrong habit of reading in bed. I have a long bookcase in my room, as
shown in the drawing on page 72, and this is full of bound magazines to
fall back upon, should my own book be exhausted before I feel inclined
to go to sleep. Even if the windows are open the serge curtains should
be drawn, I think, unless one requires to get up very early, as I do not
believe the brain ever really rests if there be much light in the room.
That is another objection to blinds; they are never _dark enough_. The
serge curtains are cheaper, and keep out the strongest sunlight there

I do not think what are generically known as ‘short blinds’ ever look
nice in any bedroom. I can remember, however, when to have white
curtains there to match, or in some measure go with those in the rest of
the house, was considered the height of reckless extravagance, and a
sure index of the bad financial position of the person who was sinful
enough to indulge in them!

Of course if we live with opposite neighbours’ eyes straight upon us we
must cover our windows, or run the risk of being seen at our toilet; but
even then we can curtain them by using the frequently advised double
fixed rods, either covering the lower sash entirely with a full fluted
blind of coloured Liberty muslin, or by draping the entire
window--always the prettiest way of setting to work--with frilled muslin
curtains meeting down the centre and almost covering the glass, at all
events covering it completely if it be necessary to do so (see page
60). And now opinion on this subject has changed so much, we can afford
to have our windows all look alike without exciting dismal prophecies
from people who really know nothing at all about us.

Remember no house can possibly look pretty where white curtains are
conspicuous by their absence, any more than a girl can look pretty if
she has neither nice frilling or spotless collar and cuffs as a finish
to her costume. And by white curtains I mean muslin curtains of almost
any colour, with some white in them. Dark _thin_ curtains are an
abomination, I think. I once lived opposite some dark green muslin ones
that made me always feel the owners were dirty people, although I knew
quite well they were not. Muslin and guipure curtains, nicely made and
fixed, are my pet curtains, and next to these come Liberty’s printed
muslins and cheap artistic muslins, though I have seen soft-hued silks
used to great advantage in town houses; but this is, I should think, far
too expensive for us, modest beginners as we are. White Madras muslin is
not economical, as it cannot be said to wash well. It shrinks, pulls
crooked, and generally loses all its colour in a most distressing manner
the first, and always the second, time it pays a visit to the laundress,
and if we cannot have guipure and muslin we must fall back on plain or
printed muslin only. Cretonne curtains for a bedroom must invariably be
lined if no blinds are used; and a very good thing to do in a very sunny
room is to put an inner lining of very dark green twill inside the
cretonne lining, so that it shall not show, thus insuring the darkness
that I consider so necessary in a sleeping-room, the brain, as I said
before, refusing absolutely to rest if much light comes across the eyes,
and this is why a bed should never face the window, as this insures
light of some sort falling on the face of the sleeper.

To sum up briefly, one’s bedroom should be pretty, tasteful, and quiet,
and should be as much thought about and kept as carefully as the
grandest sitting-room we possess; and I may further mention, for those
who cannot purchase Aspinall’s enamel in hedge-sparrow’s-egg blue, that
a very decent substitute can be made from Prussian blue, middle
Brunswick green, white lead, oil, and varnish, and just a little black
paint or ochre to tone it all down. This must be mixed until the colour
is precisely that of a hedge-sparrow’s egg or very old turquoise, and is
very troublesome to get right; therefore the above receipt will only be
really of use to those of my colonial readers who may not be able to
obtain Mr. Aspinall’s invaluable enamels for home-decoration.



There is no doubt in my mind that the proper furniture for Edwin’s
dressing-room has not yet been evolved out of the inner consciousness of
some enterprising and clever designer of dressing-tables and wardrobes.
Of course there are plenty of so-called gentlemen’s wardrobes, but I
have never yet found one that was perfectly satisfactory, and if any one
knows of one I should be very glad to hear from that happy creature.

I am quite sure gentlemen’s coats should never be suspended from hooks,
for if they are hung up there is always an unpleasant bulge in the
collar, and it is impossible to keep the wretched things in shape;
almost as impossible as it is to make a man look nice unless he has a
valet to look after his clothes, brush them, fold them, and, in fact,
turn him out respectably, with a neatly folded, clean umbrella and
decent hat--that is to say, the ordinary male, who has business
occupations, and gets up at the very last moment he can, to be able to
snatch his breakfast and then catch his train.

I have, personally, no very expensive yearnings, but when I see one who
shall be nameless in a coat that looks as if it had voyaged up the
chimney and back, nether garments that, to put it mildly, have seen
better days, and a hat that would disgrace the Sunday get-up of his own
coachman, and hear that no one is to touch the venerable accumulation in
a wardrobe upstairs, I do long for a good, strong-minded man-servant
indoors who would see to his master’s clothes, and insist on their being
worn properly and treated decently.

This sounds like straying from the subject, but it really is not, for
one unanswerable argument which puts a stop to a great deal of my
eloquence is, ‘If I had a decent place to keep my clothes in I should
always look respectable.’ Now, my readers shall give me their opinion as
to the decency, or otherwise, of the accommodation afforded to this
nameless individual.

In the first place, there is a charming-looking wardrobe in ash. The top
is embellished by a ledge, on which artistic pottery is meant to stand,
but where at this present moment repose a microscope, a lamp, very grimy
and full of dreadful-looking oil that no one may touch, several dusty
piles of lectures and reports of divers societies, and on the plain
space below are at least five paper bandboxes, containing old and
dilapidated hats, all more or less suggestive of Noah’s ark and
scarecrows; yet one and all far too precious to give away, and which no
one dare touch, on pain of instant death.

One half of this wardrobe is lined with striped calico, against the
dust, and is used for hanging up coats, dressing-gowns, &c., and where
there is quite a crowd of the most hideous old coats, all too precious
to part with--I can’t think why--and then on the other side there is a
deep space sacred to trousers, and three deep drawers besides, for
shirts and under-garments of all kinds. Now this is actually not
sufficient accommodation, and I have other drawers in the bedroom
itself, where stores of summer or winter raiment, as the case may be,
repose; and the dress things are also in yet another place; but I do
think it is rather a mistake to have so much space for spoiling coats by
hanging them up, and I am thinking of having shelves put in in that
division, and seeing if that will be any good at all, though, as it is
so much easier to hang up a coat than to fold it up, I much fear there
will be strenuous opposition to that plan--at least at the first.

A wardrobe is a necessity in a dressing-room--unless one is lucky enough
to find a good deep cupboard there already--and they can be bought at
all prices. The one described above was about 10_l._, and is certainly
very pretty, but I am sure it is nothing like as useful or as well
arranged as it ought to be, and I have one in the nursery, which is all
drawers and shelves, that cost 4_l._ 10_s._, and is hideous, which I am
thinking of having painted turquoise blue, and adding brass handles and
substituting this for the ash one, which can go nicely into the spare
room, where it will no longer be desecrated with all sorts of débris
being placed where pretty china is meant to go. There is one piece of
furniture, invented by Mr. Watts, of Grafton Street, Tottenham Court
Road, W., which is, however, perfect for a dressing-room, and therefore
deserves more than a word of mention.

It is a combination of dressing-table and washing-stand that is simply
invaluable. A long glass starts on the right-hand side from three
drawers, with a place for brushes and combs, while on the left is ample
space for washing, with a high tiled back, and a species of shelf to
hold bottles, glasses, &c. There is also a deep space under the marble
shelf on which the jug and basin stand, meant for boots, and covered in
with a cretonne curtain on a brass rod, and is altogether as charming,
artistic-looking, and useful a piece of furniture as any one would wish;
it costs 6_l._ 10_s._ in stained deal, is beautifully made, and would
not only be useful in a dressing-room, but in a young girl’s room or any
small place where there really is not sufficient accommodation for both
washing-stand and toilet-table. I have narrow tapestry mats trimmed with
ball fringe on the shelves, but I should not like to say how many have
been wanted there, for men never can remember that wet sponges should be
put in the sponge-dish and not on the new covers, or that brushes are
best in the drawers intended for them, and not for sundry bits and
scraps of paper, old soiled gloves, spoiled white ties, cartridges,
fly-books, bits of gut, string, ‘objects’ for microscopes, and other
nastinesses ‘too numerous to mention,’ as the auctioneers say when they
have come to the end of their descriptive resources.

And, _apropos_ of this, let me beg Angelina never to allow accumulations
in either small or big drawers if she can possibly help it; nothing
breeds moths or harbours dust like this, and I should advise her
occasionally to brave Edwin’s wrath, and turn out on her own account, if
he is obdurate, and will keep every scrap and shred of rubbish that has
ever come into his possession, because he cannot believe a time will not
come when the possession of a few inches of paper, string, or catgut
will be of paramount importance to him, and when a store of old clothes
will stand between him and utter and entire destitution of raiment.

Now, without emulating a silly little friend of mine, who was only saved
by the difference of a pot of snowdrops from bartering her bridegroom’s
best coat for a supply of flowers, with one of those engaging gentlemen
who frequent the suburbs with a supply of blossoms, warranted to fade
and die utterly within the space of twenty-four hours, I would strongly
suggest a little dissimulation to Angelina, should Edwin prove the
orthodox hoarder of old clothes that it appears to me, from judicious
questioning, most men are.

Angelina should make a point of remembering the date of Edwin’s coats,
and should mark them in an invisible place (on the lining of the inside
of the sleeve is the best) with the date of the purchase; and with this
triumphant proof of her accuracy should she face and utterly confound
Edwin when he meets her request for the coat to be given away, with the
remark, ‘_That_ coat! What can you be thinking of? I only bought it a
month or two ago!’ He is often so flabbergasted at learning the treasure
is at least eighteen months old that he says no more, and allows
Angelina to bear it off to gladden the heart of some old pensioner, on
whose back it somehow looks so extremely well that Edwin cannot believe
Angelina was right in her dates, and at every opportunity points out its
excellent appearance on Jones or Styles as a proof of her reckless

A little careful stealing from a husband who is an inveterate hoarder,
and will not even succumb to the uncontradictable date, can be practised
to advantage, and at the risk of exposing my own wickedness, and
believing that a male eye rarely, if ever, falls upon my words of
wisdom, I may tell Angelina in the very strictest confidence how I have
sometimes been driven to circumvent the nameless one spoken of before.

I have watched the gradual overflow of the wardrobe--ay, even on to the
floor and the three chairs, and, biding my time, have neatly arranged
the drawers, being quite sure I shall be asked immediately what I have
done with all the precious things, missed the moment the dressing-room
is entered. I disclose them arranged elsewhere, and after a week or two,
when the gardener and the coachman’s children have been scanned
surreptitiously but eagerly to see if I have already given these
valuable relics away, they become forgotten, or are only asked after
occasionally; then, as time goes on, they are quite forgotten, and if
asked for after three months cannot be found, as they are already doing
duty elsewhere, under new and altered circumstances. Old boots it is
almost impossible to get rid of without a positive battle, though how a
man’s happiness or welfare depends on knowing he has fourteen pairs of
dreadful old boots under the kitchen dresser, to say nothing of as many
more concealed in his own room and his dressing-room, is really more
than I can understand, and must be one of those problems of life we are
compelled to take as such, and leave for time to solve, if it possibly

I do not think it is of the very smallest use to give Edwin anything
pretty of his ‘very own,’ as the children say, in his dressing-room. It
is always a narrow, circumscribed spot, and brackets are apt to be
knocked askew and their contents smashed, picture-glasses also coming in
for similar hard treatment, while extra shelves for books are soon
overloaded, and come rattling down in the dead of night, taking at least
ten years off one’s life with the awful fright received.

Therefore, if Edwin have a really nice wardrobe, a chair, and a
dressing-table and washing-stand combined, as described previously, it
is really all he wants, unless, of course, the room be a good size, when
the walls can be decorated at will. Equally, of course, the wall-paper
and the dado should match the bedroom, and here more than anywhere else
should be the substantial dado of either cretonne or matting, as here
the walls get mysterious knocks and indentations even more than they do
in the passages and bedrooms.

If the bath has to be taken in the dressing-room--and sometimes even now
old houses have not bath-rooms--the bath should stand on a large square
of oilcloth, covered by a ‘bath blanket.’ This should be taken up and
dried, and the oilcloth wiped carefully, as soon as the bath is emptied,
or both will soon rot and be spoiled.

Very nice ‘bath blankets’ are made by taking the old-gold and dark brown
blankets one buys of Mansergh and Sons, Lancaster, from 3_s._ to 11_s._
6_d._ a pair, according to size, though those at 7_s._ a pair are the
best size. A piece should be cut from one end to make the blanket
square; and one of Francis’s conventional designs should be ironed off
in each corner, which is then worked over in either outline or a thick
‘rope’ or twisted chain-stitch, in double crewels, in about two or
three colours. For instance, old gold looks well with the work in two
shades of brown crewels, with a dash of dull blue; the brown blankets
with golden crewels with, perhaps, a dash of red. But as it is rather
difficult to get the design clearly on the rough, fuzzy blanket, an
easier style is in cross-stitch. The canvas must be very coarse, and
tacked to the blanket. An edging, as well as corners, looks nice, and
the canvas threads must be pulled out afterwards. I think a big
cross-stitch, monogram, or cypher looks nice. The edges of the blanket
can be either button-holed over or hemmed with a line of cross-stitch
defining the hem. These blankets are a great ornament to a bath or
dressing-room, and are invaluable in any room where the bath must be
taken in the room itself.



I think it is a most excellent plan to have the bedrooms on one floor of
a house furnished as much as possible alike; that is to say, if economy
be an object, and also if, as in several houses I know, the rooms open
out either on a square landing or into a corridor that leads past them

Of course, the papers need not be alike, neither need they all have
cretonne dados; but the paint should harmonise, and so should the
wall-coverings, while the curtains and carpets should be identically the
same; as if one have to move, or the cretonnes shrink in the wash, and
the carpets become worn in patches, one thing can be made to supplement
the other, and so a large outlay to replace old things--always the most
worrying kind of outlay, I think--is avoided.

I have been constantly much entertained at seeing the shifts people have
been put to to prevent things wearing out, but perhaps quite the most
hideous thing seen in this way was a succession of extra bits of carpet
edged all round with woolly black fringe to simulate mats, which were
arranged on every spot on the carpet where especial wear could be
expected, and these monstrosities were carefully put by each side of the
bed, and in front of the looking-glass, washing-stand, and fireplace,
with an especial tiny dab by the door. The consequence was that, when
one was dressed for dinner in a long garment, all these mats were neatly
rolled up in different corners of the room, and not only looked hideous,
but were positively useless.

Now I see no use in preparing these species of save-alls in a room that
is not always in use. If a thing be worn, then cover it; but I can’t
bear anything to be covered over to be saved. Better let all fade
decently together, and do your patching out of a second carpet or a
second material that has already done duty in another room. It is
useless, I think, to cover handsome things; much better rub down the
gorgeousness and subdue the splendour altogether, for nothing looks
worse or, in my eyes, more atrociously vulgar than a room utterly unlike
one’s usual chamber, grandly prepared for the reception of ‘company.’
Once one’s acquaintances and friends are given satin chairs to sit on,
instead of the usual cretonne, they become bores to me at least, and,
unless they can be satisfied to see me as I always am, I would rather
they stayed away. There is always a stiffness and uncomfortableness in
any gathering to entertain which we have felt it necessary to uncover
our chairs.

In the same way let us in our upper chambers wear our things out
equally. Splashers have become almost unknown since the invention of the
high tiled-backed washing-stands, and so in another way mats have ceased
to exist because bath-rooms are now almost universal possessions, and as
most people--I will not say all--know how to behave themselves in one’s
house, there is no need even to put down the conventional square by the
washing-stand that really was necessary when a washing-stand was one’s
only chance of properly performing one’s ablutions.

Now most people have bath-rooms; but, if they have not, the bath can be
prepared in the same way in the bedroom as described in our last chapter
for the dressing-room.

I think every one who possibly can should possess something in the shape
of a spare room, although, as I remarked in one of my former chapters, I
have suffered so much from my visitors that I approach the subject
feeling as if I at least could not have very much sympathy with it. And
in no case will I advise any one to set apart for the use of the
occasional visitor one of the best rooms in the house, as is far too
often the case in those houses where the spare room should be either the
nursery itself or a room for some of the children of the house! I have
once or twice been literally so horrified at finding the room I should
have at once given for the children set apart for visitors as a matter
of course, and quite without a second thought, that I am compelled to
speak rather more emphatically, perhaps, on this subject than I
otherwise should do; but, after all, the house is the children’s home,
and for their sake I must beg attention from those who, as a matter of
course, take the best rooms themselves, the second and third best for
visitors, and then any rooms that may be over for the little ones,
keeping the worst of all for ‘the boys,’ as if boys were raging beasts,
to be put out of sight and hearing as far as ever the limits of the
house would allow. Whilst recognising that a spare room is a necessary
and pleasant thing, at once, so as to disarm criticism, I must ask my
kind, good readers to ponder for a moment on what putting aside the very
best room for one’s friends means in an ordinary building where there
are at the most three or four rooms on the floor above the ‘reception’
rooms, to use a house-agent’s term, which said term means a great deal
more than perhaps meets the eye at first.

It means keeping empty, perhaps, three parts of the year the brightest
and most cheerful apartments, and it means relegating the children to
inferior rooms, which, with a little taste and common-sense, can be made
pretty, comfortable, and charming for your friends, who come presumably
to see you, and not to spend the best part of their time in their
bedrooms, for if they do they may just as well have stopped at home.

Now there is a great deal, to my mind, that can be written about the
ethics of visiting that insensibly calls for attention, when we ponder
over that problem of a spare room, and that may perhaps not be out of
place, so I dwell for a few moments upon them before going into the
decorative details of this particular chamber. One of the latest fads of
social life is to do away with introductions at parties, and another is
to ask people to stay with us, and, from the moment they enter our doors
to the moment they leave them, to go on with our own occupations and
engagements, exactly as if we had no friends staying with us; or rather
as if we kept an hotel, and the comings in and goings out of our guests
had no more to do with us than have those of the people staying in an
inn to the people who keep it.

Perhaps the position and the luxurious comfort of the chamber prepared
for their reception--half sitting-room, half bedroom as it is--suggests
to the guest more than it is meant to do, and therefore should be
altered before hospitality has ceased from the face of the earth and
become a mere empty mockery.

I have often enough seen all sorts and descriptions of ideas for writing
tables and other conveniences in a spare room, but of this I will have
none; if I ask people to come and see me I want them to be with me, and
not in their own rooms half the time; and letters can surely be written
either in my company, or in the dining-room, should I be occupied in my
own sanctum: while work of all sorts can be brought down after
breakfast, when the members of the male sex have gone off to business,
and there need be no reason for secluding oneself in one’s bedroom to do
one’s mending.

I maintain that guests staying in one’s house should be treated to what
servants call company manners, and that we should make a difference for
them, and try and make their visits pleasant to them, considering that
they have come to us for a holiday; that leaving them to themselves, and
going our own way while they go theirs, is distinctly averse to all the
laws of old-fashioned and true hospitality; and that by making the spare
room into a species of boudoir we appear to hint to them that we do not
want them with us, except after dinner or for the afternoon drive, or
really on any occasion when we can possibly do without them.

I should take as nice a room as I could for my guests after my
children’s convenience has been thought of--I like mine as near me as
possible, and if possible on the same floor, with a schoolroom upstairs,
a most invaluable possession in childish ailments, when change of room
is wanted without any risks of draughts run by going downstairs--and
though, of course, our proverbial bride and bridegroom will not have to
think of all this for some years to come, I find I have had so many
readers beside the bride for whom I meant to write this book that I
cannot help being a little discursive for their sakes, the while I beg
Angelina not to take the best room in the house for her guests, because
she will hesitate so very much more, if she does, over dismantling the
pretty room when the ‘king comes’ to his kingdom, and Miss or Master
Baby arrives to rule the household with an iron rod.

Some of the charming painted suites of furniture are as nice as anything
for the spare room, and take a great deal of raiment, and I strongly
advise Angelina always to ask her guests if the boxes may be removed
from the room. As soon as they are unpacked they can be put in the
box-room until required, even if the visit is only for a few days, for a
dirty travelling trunk can do a great deal of mischief, and, if put
against the wall, has often enough ruined the paper, and dug holes in
the plaster by being continually opened and shut as things were taken in
and out. The paper and paint of the spare room should be a matter for
great and careful consideration, too, and here I very strongly advise a
dado of some kind or other. I always advise a dado in a bedroom of
cretonne or matting, however the bed is placed, as nothing saves the
walls so long from the tender mercies of the housemaid, and so keeps the
room looking nice.

I heard of a bedroom in the country the other day that seemed to me the
very ideal bedroom for a guest. The paint was white, and the paper was
the very faintest possible shade of eau-de-Nil. There was a dado of
eau-de-Nil and white chintz, with, I believe, a pattern of
lilies-of-the-valley on, and the curtains were of the same. The bed had
an eider-down quilt in green silk--rather extravagant this--and the
furniture was all in white wood, with green and white mats &c. about.
The effect in summer was simply perfect. I am, however, afraid in
winter the effect would be too cold; but to be equally pleasant then,
however, the cold effect could be obviated by putting pink cretonne
curtains instead of the green chintz, and putting pink mats and a pink
cover to the eider-down; but the pink must be very carefully chosen, and
be either very faint or else almost terra-cotta, or it would look
tawdry, I am sure.

The eider-down should always have a cover made of cretonne, like that
used for the curtains, or else of a contrasting hue. The usual cover for
an eider-down in turkey red would spoil any room, and as a motive of
economy, if not of beauty, an extra cover is a very good thing; it makes
the eider-down wear twice as long, and is able to be washed, a great
advantage to anything that has to do with a bed.

There should always be four pillows and four or five good blankets to
the spare-room bed, three pairs of sheets, the top one edged with Cash’s
patent frilling two inches wide, and a large red monogram on the centre
of the top sheet, and at least twelve pillow-cases, with four extra ones
frilled, and with monograms in the centre, which should be removed at
bedtime and folded up. The counterpane should be a honeycomb one, with a
deep fringe all round, and these are the only counterpanes that should
be bought for real use. They always look very much better than any
others, and look as well after they are washed as they do before. A
Madras muslin quilt thrown over the bed in summer looks very nice; in
winter the eider-down is all that is required, though I dare say I shall
shock my readers by telling them that I never put away my eider-downs
anywhere through the house in summer. I rarely find it warm enough at
night, sleeping as I do with my windows open, to do without them.

If we can only afford one spare room, that room should have a double bed
in, as often married folk would like to come to us for a night or two,
and I have found it very awkward myself, never being able to take in any
one, save a girl or a young man, because I personally have in my present
house no such accommodation, and a small room does not matter for one
night, if the bed be comfortable and large enough.

Maple’s brass or black and brass bedsteads and ‘Excelsior’ mattresses
are the most inexpensive bedsteads I know; a brass one should be chosen
if one can afford this possibly, but a very nice black and brass one can
be bought for 2_l._ 5_s._; mattress (‘Excelsior’) at 2_l._ 9_s._; hair
mattress at 3_l._ 10_s._; bolster at 17_s._ 6_d._, and good pillows at
5_s._ each. A room can be nicely and entirely furnished for 34_l._ 9_s._
8_d._ in good furniture that will wear, though, of course, cheaper and
less reliable furniture may be purchased. I actually hear that at
Cardiff excellent suites of furniture in walnut can be bought for
12_l._, but I must believe these are simply veneered, and will fall to
pieces at the least move or the smallest amount possible of wear and
tear. There is no doubt that a great deal of thought has to be expended
on a spare room, but there is not the smallest doubt that it ought to
look as nice without (please forgive me for being insistent on this)
suggesting a sitting-room, that our guests should feel at home in it at
once. A flowery paper, like the old-fashioned chintzes, is bright and
pleasant, but must not be too scrawly, or it will not be nice should
sickness overtake our guest; but it should be lively and charming, and
suggestive of pleasant thoughts, and then I am sure we shall be repaid
by hearing our friends exclaim, ‘Oh, what a sweet room! Why, I feel
rested already.’

And now let me whisper one or two little sentences in Angelina’s ear,
suggested by what I have let slip above about possible sickness
overtaking a guest, for very few people ever contemplate this side of
the guest-chamber question.

It may be terribly bad for such a thing to happen in our new sweet room,
but, however horrid it is for us, let us all recollect it is just one
thousand times worse for the unfortunate ‘sick and ill,’ as the children
say; for, in addition to his or her own pain and sufferings, he has the
mental agony of knowing he has committed the one unpardonable sin, and
that he has dared to fall sick in some one else’s house, that he is some
miles from his own doctor (and who believes, I should like to know, in
any one’s doctor except one’s very own?), and that servants, hostess,
and host are all vowing vengeance on him for his untoward behaviour.

But it is on such occasions as this that the hostess rises to the
occasion, shows her real self, and demonstrates the true lengths to
which a hospitable soul will go. She laughs his apologies to scorn,
declares she loves nursing, and so manages that the convalescent blesses
the hour when he fell ill under such tender handling, and in consequence
improves twice as soon as he otherwise would have done, had he fretted
and worried over the bother he was giving, and had he been shown plainly
he was as great a nuisance as he undoubtedly is.

I am not writing on this subject ‘without book,’ as the saying is.
Naturally we should all exclaim indignantly, We should all do our very
best for any one who falls ill under our care; and you, most of you,
smile at me, doubtless, for daring to insinuate you would not; but I
know cases where, especially to relatives, the hostess’s conduct was so
chillingly all it ought to be, so freezingly polite, so intent on
perpetually telling the unfortunate he was no trouble at all, in a
martyr’s voice, that disclosed all her words sought to conceal, that I
must be forgiven if I say it needs real Christian charity, and the heart
and temper of a saint, to show real hospitality when sickness happens;
and it will not do any harm for any of us to contemplate circumstances
in which we may all of us some day be placed.

One other special thing to remember as regards the spare room is that it
must always be in such order that, if necessary, it can be ready for
occupation in half an hour. I knew a most excellent housekeeper who,
scarcely before the last box of her friend had been carried downstairs,
had put her room into ‘curl-papers’ as it were, carefully banishing
everything from the light of day until such times as it was necessary to
prepare the chamber once more, with much ceremony, for a new-comer.

Now I much object to this sort of thing. When I have brought a pleasant
visit to an end in a friend’s house, it gives me a positive pang to see
the pillows bereft of their cases and the bed of its sheets, and all
covered over with a species of holland pinafore. I hate to see the
toilet-covers taken off and folded up; and though this may be done when
I am not there to see, it gives me such an unpleasant feeling that I
never have the courage to put my spare room to bed; a room shrouded,
gloomy, and unoccupied in a house always seeming to me like the
unpleasant corpse of bygone pleasure, and as such to be strenuously

Then another reason, besides the mere sentimental one of disliking to
see that one’s visit is really over and done with, is that such a
dismantling of the room often puts it out of one’s power to entertain a
sudden or unexpected guest, who comes down perhaps to dinner, and would
be glad to spend the night, that may have turned out wet or cold, or
that pleasantest of all pleasant visits, the Saturday to Monday sojourn,
becomes impossible too, for it is not worth while to get the room ready
for such a short time, when so much of Saturday would be taken up in
airing the beds, and unpinning and putting up curtains, and shaking out
toilet-covers, &c.

Now if the room be always straight, and requires nothing but the sheets
on the bed, there is no trouble in the matter, and we are neither
flurried ourselves nor allow our guests to be uncomfortably conscious
that their arrival has made any difference to our domestic arrangements
at all. I am quite sure, too, that it is a most excellent thing for most
people to have some one staying in the house with them occasionally;
much, secretly, as I dislike it myself, excusing myself to myself for my
boorishness by saying my work prevents me being really able to entertain
my visitors, still I never part with a guest without quite as secretly
acknowledging that it has done us all an immense amount of good to be
shaken out of our grooves--ay, even if our own special chair has been
taken, and the newspapers read and the magazines cut before I have
looked at them, another fad of mine, for, _entre nous_, nothing tries my
otherwise angelic temper more than for some one to read out choice bits
of news before I have seen them myself, or to read all the magazines
before I have carefully gone over them, peeping at the pictures, and
reading here and there a scrap, before settling down to them regularly
one after the other.

One cannot help recognising these evil habits even in one’s own self,
and knowing that nothing makes a person more selfish, and therefore more
unendurable, than to have no one to interfere with one’s puerile little
fancies and equally puerile little rules and regulations! In a small
household rules and regulations that touch the servants, of course, must
be simply ‘Median and Persian,’ or the house would never get along at
all; but it puts no one out except ourselves, should we have to take the
left side of the fireplace instead of the right, and it does us more
good than I can say to have to control our small irritations at having
our routine of life broken into, and to be shown that the world will not
stop if we do go out in the morning instead of the afternoon, and that
nothing appalling will happen should we be obliged to talk at breakfast,
instead of, as usual, burying ourselves in our letters and our papers

A constant supply of guests for the night, or on the Saturday-to-Monday
principle, insures a constant change in our ideas and thoughts, and does
away with that ‘Englishman’s house is his castle’ notion that is so very
pernicious, and that puts a stop to so much inexpensive and common-sense
hospitality; while a new, cheerful face at the dinner-table relieves the
strain of domesticity between husband and wife, and often insures a game
of chess, or music, instead of the books and silence which would
otherwise, perhaps, have been the order of the day.

Another thing also to recollect about the spare room, too, is, not to
get into the habit of using the shelves and drawers in the wardrobe as a
species of store-place. I know nothing more enraging than to be shown
into a charming-looking room, with a beautiful great cupboard, and a
gallant chest of drawers, that seem to promise us ample breathing-room
for one’s things, and to discover half the space we were so very
gleefully looking forward to appropriating is already taken up by all
sorts and conditions of household plenishing, or of last year’s
garments, or even the garments of the year before. I remember quite well
once having such a receptacle turned out for me; and I saw carried away,
the hostess’s wedding dress and veil of some ten years back, all the
long clothes and short clothes of the babies, small and great, several
venerable opera-cloaks and fans, and, finally, a store of old linen put
by against emergencies. You can all of you imagine what I endured. Not
that I should have asked for this to be done, by the way, but the maid
came in to take my boxes, and I was obliged to say I could not part with
them, because if I did I should have nowhere to put my belongings. Of
course this insured the shelves being cleared, with the uncomfortable
result to me described above. I never dared ask what had become of all I
had turned out, but I cut my visit short and went on somewhere else, I
felt so unhappy at thinking of all the unfortunate garments bereft of
their usual resting-place.

The spare room should be a cheerful, flowery-looking room, as, indeed,
should all bedrooms if possible, and, if a sofa cannot be squeezed in,
one of Maple’s charming sofa-ottomans should be put there, and also an
arm-chair and small table for books &c., for one’s guests sometimes have
headaches, and, especially if we live in town and have up our country
cousins, require occasionally half an hour’s rest after a long day’s
sight-seeing; or after the drive in the sleepy country air, if the cases
are reversed, and we, in our turn, are country cousins entertaining our
London friends with our own special sights and sounds.

No matter where the house is situated, every bedroom window should open
at the top. This in London obviates a great many blacks flying in, as
they do when the sash is thrown wide open at the bottom; an inch at the
top seems to do more good than a yard anywhere else, and in the country
prevents the deluges and spoiled paint and carpets caused by a sudden
storm in the night, or, indeed, in the daytime, when the open window
allows the tempest to enter bodily, as it were--unrecognised in the
night, of course, unless one is awakened by any specially violent gust;
and unseen by the housemaid in the day, who, whoever she may be, never
seems to remember that such weather means that the windows should be
immediately closed.

Every single thing belonging to the spare room should be religiously
kept for its own use: the brass can for hot water, the palm-leaf
soiled-linen basket, the little black cupboard for boots, which also
serves as a table, the pin-trays, and the pincushion--all should never
be allowed to stray away, and matches in a box nailed to the wall should
also never be forgotten any more than the candles in their fixed stands,
and the various little ornaments upon the mantelpiece, which should
include a very regularly wound and most trustworthy clock.

If possible, I should have some pretty framed photographs on the wall,
and, above all, a small bookcase, with a cupboard below for medicine and
toilet bottles. I cannot bear the look of bottles standing about, and,
besides that, medicine bottles are apt to be put down after the medicine
is poured out, and sundry drops run down, and a sticky ring is left on
the new toilet-cover as a reminder of one’s guest, which is not as nice
as one could wish. The medicine cupboard conveys a hint the most obtuse
must take, and, as they only cost about 6_s._ 9_d._, are within the
reach of almost every one. A few judiciously chosen amusing novels and
good poetry can well be spared for the spare room, and often are of
considerable service to guests who may not go about provided with their
own literature. Reading often will lure back sleep, or pass away an hour
profitably; and should we breakfast later or go to bed earlier than our
guest is accustomed to at home, he takes a book and forgets he is
waiting, and blesses instead of ‘cusses’ the difference in our household

It seems to me even now that I have not said half as much on the mere
relation of guest to host and hostess as I could have done, though I
have hardly yet mentioned the word ‘furniture,’ so a few more hints may
be dropped here. Never should any one be allowed to come to stay without
the hostess herself seeing that a new nice square of soap is in the
newly-washed soap-dish; that the towels are folded right, the water
fresh and pure in the ewer, and also in the artistic jug, bought, if she
be wise, at Douglas’s, in Piccadilly, in tints to match the ewer; and
making sure all is perfectly clean and in order. A small glass of
flowers should stand on the toilet-table as a special greeting to one’s
friend, and all should suggest that personal thought and care has been
given to the special shrine set apart for his or her reception.

I wonder who ever forgets their first visit from home, or who can cease
to remember the sense of importance given to us, who once were brides,
when our first guest arrived to stay with us, and inspect our new home,
which we were then perfectly convinced was far prettier, neater,
brighter, and more redolent of love and perfection than any place had
ever been before, or could possibly be in the future. Ah! thank Heaven
for memory! _Tout lasse, tout passe, tout casse_, but memory never dies;
and if we in our first start in life have charming surroundings and
pleasant homes, even if they only are of the simplest nature, as long as
we live they are ours, and none can ever take them away from us.

Then another thing in the spare room to be particularly looked to is the
arrangement for lighting it. Here gas is a _sine quâ non_. Candles are
most dangerous; a careless guest drops the grease about, or maids cannot
resist taking them about too, and more harm is done by candles in a
house than almost anything else. At the same time, if gas be not laid on
anywhere, the useful brass fixed brackets for candles are necessary; but
they should be fixed one or two above the looking-glass, one above the
bed, and one above the washing-stand, all the candles guarded by glass
shields, and none loose, able to be carried about in a careless or
heedless way. If there be no gas, a nightlight should always be
provided, with a bracket for its reception, for there are some people
who cannot sleep without a light, and nothing is so disagreeable as to
have to ask for these little things, and to find that by making such a
request we have upset the whole house; though, if a guest be
thoughtful, and has these little fads, she should take nightlights &c.
about with her. A quite model guest of mine the other day arrived with
her own hot-water bottle. Could thoughtfulness go further than this?

If gas be in the house, there should always be a bracket as near the bed
as possible. It cannot hurt any one to read in bed if there be no danger
of setting the house on fire; and I am so fond of this pernicious habit,
and feel so unhappy myself if I cannot indulge in it, that I always, if
possible, make provision for my guests to read too, if they are ‘so
minded,’ as the people in Dorsetshire always say.

So, before I describe one or two other arrangements of colours that
might be tried in the spare room, I may mention two things that should
never be lacking there. One is a clock; the other a list of the hours of
the household and the postal arrangements--two things that will go some
way to insure punctuality.

I could at once sit down and write a chapter all to itself on the
inestimable blessings of punctuality, and the extreme rudeness of being
unpunctual in the house of a friend.

In a small, or indeed in any ordinary, house, unpunctuality means
disorder and waste of time, and, in consequence, of money. It means loss
of temper both for mistress and servants, and it means throwing out all
the little rules and routine on which so much depends. If a clock be
provided in the spare room the two pet excuses, ‘Oh! I forgot to wind my
watch,’ or ‘My watch lost an hour in the night,’ are done away with;
while the hours of breakfast &c. contain a hint that cannot well be lost
on the most obtuse person possible.

What does being late for breakfast mean? Let all lie-a-beds think over
that problem, and if they cannot solve it for themselves, if they apply
to me I will do so for them.

After all is said and done, I think blue and some shades of green (not
arsenical shades--pray remember that) are the most restful colours for
bedrooms, though terra-cotta can be used to great advantage in rooms
where there is not much sun, and, while I like ivory paint if
judiciously used with a brilliant paper, I cannot imagine anything more
wretched than the little white bedroom old-time heroines used to rush up
to, and cast themselves down in, when their lovers proved faithless and
they wished to be alone. Nothing is colder-looking and more _un_restful
than white, and I do not like for a bedroom these white-enamelled suites
of furniture that one can buy. I much prefer them enamelled turquoise
blue. Nothing is so pretty as this for a spare room, or the room set
apart for the daughter of the house, except, of course, good ash
furniture with brass fittings. This I should always have, were I able to
afford it, in all my rooms, for I do not, and never shall, like dark
woods or dark furniture in a bedroom, or indeed, as far as that goes, in
any room, but a really good light wood is always pleasant to look at,
and in consequence is to be preferred to enamelled furniture, which
shines terribly somehow, and rather annoys me on the whole. I am now
speaking about bedroom furniture not about drawing-room furniture, where
the enamelled chairs and cabinets look charming and are all that they
ought to be, but simply of the bedroom furniture I would have if one
could afford it; but if one cannot afford really beautiful wood, I then
much prefer to paint the things a charming colour, than to see common
wood or the grained and stained horrors one used to be obliged to put up
with, before Aspinall’s came to our aid and suggested blue or white,
instead of the yellow streaks that were our portion in those unhappy

Now here is, I consider, one of the prettiest rooms I have yet succeeded
in doing. It has Maple’s floral paper, a design that is just as pretty
as ever it can be; the paint is all cream-coloured and ‘flatted,’ so
that it washes just as a boarded floor does; there is a red and white
matting dado, a dado rail painted cream-colour, and the cretonne, also
Maple’s, at 1_s._ 4½_d._ a yard, almost matches the paper, and looks
really charming. The floral paper has a sort of flowery scroll all over
it, and at first I was rather afraid it would turn out to be fidgety. I
feared the flowers would run after each other over the walls, and refuse
to be peaceable and quiet, but they are just what they ought to be, and
never seem to move at all, while the cheerful effect of the blues, reds,
and creams, that appear to make up the design without interfering with
each other in the least, is really wonderful. I have had the ceiling
papered with a very pretty blue and white paper, and on the walls I have
a great many pictures, and have surrounded the dark over-mantel with
Japanese fans and brackets, while the stove and mantelpiece came from
Mr. Shuffery, and are, in consequence, all that they ought to be.

I have matting and rugs about the floor, and have light ash furniture,
which I think looks better in a bedroom than anything else, and is to be
preferred to all enamelled or painted suites, on which I fall back as a
_pis aller_, when I cannot afford really good light wood, as I remarked

This would make a charming room for the best spare room, particularly if
quilt and toilet-cover and pincushion box were covered with Russian
embroideries in red and blue; in this case, the towels and sheets and
pillow-cases should be worked with red and blue monograms too; in all
cases should the towels be worked to match the pillow-cases. This does
not take long, and at once gives an air of culture that nothing else

Perhaps a few words on the subject of a spare room set apart for
bachelors would not be out of place; for young men, as a rule, are so
careless that they require special legislating for. A quite charming and
very cheap room can be made by using a delightful little blue and white
paper sold by Messrs. Chappell and Payne, 11 Queen Street, Cheapside, at
10½_d._ a piece--it is 1,044; with this a dado of the willow-pattern
cretonne could be used, and the paint could be all cream, or the
grey-blue of the paper; the ceiling should be terra-cotta, and the floor
should be stained, and some dhurries put about; the curtains could be
dhurries too, or else terra-cotta ‘Queen Anne’ cretonne, sold by
Burnett, and the furniture simply enamelled grey or terra-cotta. The
hours of the household should be prominently displayed over the
mantelpiece, while the gas should be placed near the bed to allow of
reading, and no candles allowed, else may we run the risk of being
burned in our beds; one of Drew’s handy little 1_s._ 6_d._ lamps with
shades being quite enough light should anything be forgotten downstairs,
and it should be thought necessary to keep a light in a room, that we
can carry about. Candles do an immense amount of damage, and are very
costly: two excellent reasons why we should impress upon ourselves and
our readers never to use them unless we cannot positively avoid doing



Before I proceed to touch on the most important question of all, that of
the nurseries, I will say a few words on the subject of the servants’
bedrooms, for these are far too seldom seen by the mistress, who ought
to have a regular time for visiting them, and for seeing that all the
bedding and furniture generally is in a proper hygienic condition; for,
notwithstanding the School Board and the amount of education given
nowadays to the poorer classes, I am continually astonished at the
careless disregard of the simplest rules of health and cleanliness shown
by girls who ought to know a great deal better, and who will keep their
kitchens &c. beautifully, yet will heedlessly allow their bedrooms to
remain in a state that _ought_ to disgrace a resident, nowadays, in
Seven Dials.

In the first place, the ceilings of all servants’ rooms should be
whitewashed once a year, and the walls colour-washed, unless these are
papered with the washable sanitary wall-papers that are really hygienic,
and which would look well, and are rather nicer than the colour-wash,
which is apt to come off on one’s clothes; and the floor should be bare
of all covering, and should simply have dhurries laid down by each bed,
and by the washing-stands &c. Those wash splendidly, and always keep
clean and nice, while the curtains at the window should be some cheap
cretonne that would wash nicely, and draw and undraw easily, or else
they will soon be rendered too shabby for use.

Each servant should have a separate bed, if possible, and that bed
should be as comfortable as can be, without being unduly luxurious. The
perfection of a bed for a servant, as for any one else, is the chain or
wooden-lath mattress arrangement, with a good mattress on it, a pillow
or two, and a bolster. No valances or curtains of any kind should be
allowed, neither should their own boxes be kept in their rooms. One can
give them locks and keys to their chests of drawers and wardrobes; but
if their boxes are retained in the room, they cannot refrain somehow
from hoarding all sorts of rubbish in them.

I should like myself to give each maid a really pretty room, but at
present they are a little hopeless on this subject--as witness the
smashed china and battered furniture that greets our alarmed sight at
the inspection that should take place at least twice a year--but, alas!
it is impossible. No sooner is the room put nice than something happens
to destroy its beauty; and I really believe servants only feel happy if
their rooms are allowed in some measure to resemble the homes of their
youth, and to be merely places where they lie down to sleep as heavily
as they can.

The simpler, therefore, a servant’s room is furnished the better, and,
if possible, a cupboard of some kind should be provided for them where
they can hang up their dresses; this will enable them to keep them nice
longer than they otherwise would were chairs or a hook on the door the
only resting-place provided for the gowns. But, if this be impossible, a
few hooks must supplement the chest of drawers, washing-stand, bedchair,
and toilet-table with glass, which is all that is required in the room
of a maid-servant, whose sheets, pillows, blankets, and other ‘portable
property’ should all be marked with her name, and should be in her
individual care as long as she is in your service--that is to say, that
the property should be marked ‘Cook,’ ‘Housemaid,’ ‘Parlourmaid,’ &c.;
this individualises each single thing, and makes the temporary owner
responsible for it, and her alone. The sheets should be changed once in
three weeks, also the pillow-cases, while three towels to each maid a
week are none too much to allow them to use, do we desire them to be
clean. If two or more servants share one room, the washstands and chests
of drawers must be as many in number as the inmates of the room; this
will save endless discussions and disagreeables, for after all maids are
but mortal, and squabbles will arise out of small matters like these,
which, ridiculous as they sound, are very often at the bottom of the
troubles of those who are constantly changing their servants.

And, while we are on the subject of servants’ rooms, I will just make a
few remarks on this most intricate subject of domestic management, and
will whisper what I really think is at the bottom of a good many of the
troubles anent servants that undoubtedly exist. In the first place,
mistresses are all too often like the parents of grown-up sons and
daughters, who cannot remember that the curled and frilled darlings of
the nurseries have become young men and women, and are exchanging the
control of the schoolroom for the kindly advice that should never be out
of place between parent and children, who, grow as tall as they will,
can _never_ be as old as those to whom they owe their existence. And
inasmuch as parents all too often exercise this control when advice
would be so much more in place, so do mistresses control and fret the
maids, who would not fret at all were the silk chain, ‘Don’t you think?’
used instead of the arbitrary command, ‘I insist on the work being done
as I order it.’ Then, too, we are all apt to forget how dull the
ordinary routine of a servant’s life is. True, she has the joy of her
morning gossip with the tradesman, and her few hours on Sunday; but that
is not much for a young healthy girl, who appreciates pleasure as well
as do our tennis-playing, ball-going daughters, and it is much better to
try and give her some amusement oneself, instead of winking at the
‘evenings out’ and furtively stolen absences which most mistresses
allow, because, otherwise, their maids would not stay. This can easily
be done in these days by any one who lives in or near town; while even
in the country there are always excursions to be made, or the county
town to be visited, even if there are no picture-galleries or
exhibitions as there are in London.

Besides which, servants like to know what is going on, even if they
cannot go to things themselves. They fully appreciate being told of what
one has seen oneself, and a cheerful account of a visit to London or to
the theatre, &c., is as much appreciated by a maid as by the friends we
regale with our experiences, who no doubt do not care for the account at
all, and only wonder at our foolishness in wasting our time and money.

We have to face a great fact, also: in olden days our mothers as well as
their maids were content with very much less than we are. They may have
been, and no doubt were, much happier, but that is beside the question,
more especially as we cannot return to the ‘good old days’ even if we
would; but the fact remains the same. We have advanced, so have our
servants; and when they can beat us at sums and geography, stand too
much on our level to be thought of merely as the servants, who are to be
content with anything we may choose to give them, and therefore must be
treated in an entirely different manner to the old style.

Realise this, and domestic management is much simplified, because if we
treat our maids just as we treat ourselves we shall find our trouble
almost disappear. I invariably leave my maids a good deal to themselves
about their work; and once they know what has to be done, I find it _is_
done without my constantly being after them to see whether they have
finished what I have told them to do or not; and it is well also to
carefully consider what one’s housekeeping bills ought to be once and
for all, and if the books are less than that, praise the cook; if more,
_at once_ and firmly demonstrate that this is not right; but be prepared
with your facts, and let her see that you really do understand your
business, which is to carefully administer your income, and to see that
no waste is allowed. It is impossible for one person to tell another
what sum she ought to spend per week on her household, as one can only
make a guess; individual tastes must be consulted, and people do not eat
alike--for example, two or three people in my household never touch
butter, one or two never use sugar or tea, and therefore what does for
us does not do for the world at large; but for a household of ten
persons, including washing, and allowing for a constant flow of
visitors, the bills should never exceed 6_l._, and can very often be
very much less. It is not well to ‘allowance’ servants, it is not a nice
way of managing, and is no real save; honest servants do not require
allowancing, and dishonest ones will not refrain from taking your
property because they are only supposed to use just so much, on

To insure good servants, it is imperative that we should make real
friends of those who live under our roof. We may be deceived once now
and then; we may even be tricked and cheated, and be tempted to say in
our haste that ‘the poor in a loomp is bad’; but we must take courage
and go on again, being quite sure that sooner or later we shall be
rewarded by the love and care of one, if not more, of those who, while
dwelling in our midst, too often are quite strangers to us, and are no
more to us than the chairs on which we sit, and the tables at which we

How often, for example, do we understand the feelings with which a
servant enters a new place? Do we recollect that she comes a stranger to
strangers; that we have no idea of the hopes and fears, the thoughts and
dreads, with which she enters our portals; that she is wondering whether
we shall be distrustful or unkind or fairly sympathetic; and that she
may spend her first night in tears by the side of a girl who was a
complete stranger to her a few hours before, but with whom she will be
obliged to spend most of her days and nights, whether she be nice or
nasty, clean or the reverse?

We may not be able to save our new maid from this, but we can help her
over a very ‘tight place’ if, when she arrives, we are at home to
welcome her, to point out her place in the domestic routine, and to give
her a few hints about those with whom she will have to live for the

If we had a guest coming among us on equal terms, free of all our
pleasures and amusements, would not this be done? Much more, then,
should we hold out a welcoming hand to those on whom so very much of our
pleasure and comfort depend.

To know how much this is, we must, once now and then, be left without
one of our staff--which is, of course, not a very extensive one, or
those remarks would not apply. In an extensive staff the relations
between mistress and maid are only represented by a housekeeper, who has
all on her shoulders, and who must replace the missing maid in the
household or do the necessary work herself.

Let, for example, our housemaid be laid aside by illness, or go home for
one of her well-earned holidays, and straightway we are miserable. A
thousand and one small omissions show us how much she remembered for us.
And as we gaze at our dusty writing-table, our chair put in exactly the
angle that most offends our eye, our breakfast-table laid in an
unaccustomed manner, our letters put just where they never are in
ordinary, we feel inclined to count the days that stretch unendingly, it
seems to us, between now and her return to work, and we wonder what is
before us when that ‘young man’ claims his bride, who, we are certain,
cannot be half as much wanted by him as by us.

Or our cook may suddenly fall out of the ranks, and we get in temporary
help. Oh dear! chaos then has most certainly come again. Butter flees,
and is conspicuous for its vanishing powers; things have to be told in
detail, and we have not succeeded in getting the ‘help’ into our ways
before our own domestic comes back, to show us on what trifles depends
the easy-going roll of the chariot wheels of life, that never seem to go
so easily as after the jar occasioned by a temporary change of

Looking back over a long stretch of life covered by many years of
domestic duties, and calmly and dispassionately thinking over the
mistakes--how many!--and the successes that have characterised it, I
freely confess that when I have failed with our servants (and thankful
am I to chronicle only two failures and one of these has since been
redeemed by an early marriage), it has been entirely my own fault. A
keener insight into character than I possess would have prevented our
engaging a girl spoiled for us by a too careless mistress and a wicked
master; and more judicious watchfulness would have saved a false step
that, as it happened, was discovered in time, but not before the
consequences were too apparent to be passed over, and which said false
step was entirely due to the evil influence of a fellow-servant, from
which we of course should have shielded her. We may accept it as an
axiom that we cannot have nice, good servants unless we take the trouble
of either training them ourselves, or get them from a mistress who has
had an eye over the well-being of her maidens. It is impossible to
obtain nice service from those who have never been taught how to serve,
who come to us from careless or bad mistresses, and of whom we know no
more than they do of us, and our likes and dislikes. If we, when
requiring a servant, take the first, or even the second, that applies to
us, not heeding where she was born, what her parents are, and knowing
still less of her disposition, how can we expect success? We may be
lucky enough to hit upon a good servant like this, but we very much
doubt that it is likely we should. If mistresses have a large
acquaintance it is possible to have a continual supply of good servants
without applying to the registry offices; but they themselves must have
as good a character as the required domestic, or else they will not be
easily suited.

‘As good a character, indeed! What is the world coming to?’ says one
indignant reader.

It is coming, we reply, to a better state of things--ay, even returning
to the time when servants were of the household, and in consequence
remained years in one place, when nowadays as many months are irksome to

Why? Because they like change. And so do we. Do we not go about from
place to place, entertaining and being entertained, when the presence of
a friend in the kitchen results in a reprimand and a pointing out of
some duty, neglected, say we, that the friend may be entertained?

Are we never dull--we who have our music and our books? And are they
never to be dull, whose work is always going on, and who have no
relaxation unless we provide it for them?

We are no advocates for spoiling servants, any more than we should be
for spoiling children, yet we are anxious that they should be happy; and
that they may be happy it is necessary that we have a set of rules that
must be kept, and that they should gradually learn that we wish to stand
in the same relation to them, while they are in our house, as their
parents would were they still in their care.

Rule the first is, that no young servant should be out alone after dark,
giving reasons for this rule that are easily understood. Rule the
second, that no one comes to the back door after a certain hour, because
their friends are quite welcome to come to the front door, and once it
is dark bad characters are about, and young girls are easily frightened;
and rule the third, in which all the rest are comprehended, is that they
must learn that we are always ready to hear all their hopes and fears,
to help them choose their hats and dresses, to assist them in every way
they wish, and to give them sympathy and kindness, which we will take
from them in our turn should we be ill or in trouble.

How much more cheerfully will the cook help you to retrench if, instead
of scolding about the waste, you ask her to help you to save what would
otherwise be given or thrown away. And much more pleasantly will your
housemaids help you when ‘company comes,’ if you tell them to look out
for this or that celebrity, to listen if Miss Smith sings or if Mr.
Brown plays; and how much they will do should you leave one or two of
the pleasanter parts of preparing in their hands, preferring rather an
ill-arranged flower vase than the idea that all the rough and none of
the smooth falls to their share of the work. It will not hurt us to do a
little dusting for once, or even to wash the china, and indeed it will
do us good, for it will teach us how monotonous and wearisome is the
work by which our ‘maidens,’ the dear old Dorset expression for our
servants, earn their daily bread, but that ceases to have half its
monotony and irksomeness should we help occasionally, when work is
pressing, and there is more than usual to do. To have good and loving
servants, then, it is necessary to have them tolerably young, to be
firm, kind, and, above all, sympathetic, to know as much about their
home life as is possible; and without telling them much, yet, when it is
advisable, to take them into our confidence, secure in our turn of
receiving sympathy, which is always precious, no matter from whom it is

Of course, this is not such an amusing life as the one lived by a
mistress who is always enjoying herself, and thinking of little save her
own garments, and the arrangement of the _menu_ and that of the
dinner-table, but it is a far more satisfactory one. We all have duties;
it rests with ourselves whether or not we shall neglect them or do them.
Still, if they are not done, if our servants turn out ‘thieves, liars,
and wretches,’ as they were characterised by one female writer the other
day, it were well to pause, and ask who should be blamed for such a
dreadful state of things. Surely not those who come to us for training
and care, but rather those who do nothing to earn the right to live, and
who, taking but a low view of life, look upon it as a playground instead
of regarding it as a field for work--a place where we can do as much
good as in us lies.

Sympathy is the bond that binds men together--sympathy is the bond that
should unite mistress and maid; on the lowest ground it is politic, on
the highest it is ordained in a code of life given to all; and we shall
none of us regret treating our servants well, for, speaking from
experience, I can boldly state that, in trouble, sickness, and sorrow,
one can rely implicitly for help on the maids whom we have trained
ourselves, and whom we have treated exactly as we should wish them to
treat us, and that I have found in a time when Fortune appeared to have
turned her back on us, owing to matters on which we need not touch, that
the servants stuck manfully to the ship, and did their best to help us
weather a storm that, though sharp, was short, yet that might have
stranded us hopelessly on a lee shore.

The only fault I cannot overcome at present is this bedroom question,
and the breaking of the china &c. provided for their use, hence my
advice about the simple furniture given to them; but I find daily
improvement here, and I hope that the next generation will be able to
give their servants pretty rooms as safely as they can at present give
them healthy ones.

There is just one other point to touch upon, that of the meals of the
kitchen. It is quite enough to allow an ordinary middle-class household
good bread and butter, oatmeal porridge, and tea, coffee, or cocoa for
breakfast; the kitchen dinner should be the same as the dining-room
luncheon; tea might be supplemented by jam or an occasional home-made
cake; and supper should be presumably bread and cheese, but any soup
made from the receipts in the chapter on ‘entertaining,’ or odds and
ends left at the late dinner, can be consumed if you can trust your
cook; if you cannot, you must lay down a hard-and-fast rule of bread and
cheese, and insist on its being kept, otherwise you will find yourselves
in the case of a friend of mine, who went into her larder after an
enormous dinner-party, expecting to find herself free from the necessity
of ordering more food for at least a week, and discovered it empty,
swept, and garnished, because, the cook informed her, they always had
for their suppers any little thing ‘as was’ left over.

Never be afraid to praise your servants, as one lady is I know of, for
fear they may think she cannot do without them: we _can’t_ do without
them--why should we pretend we can? They are far more likely to remain
where they are appreciated and cared for than where they know they are
only looked upon as so much necessary furniture; and do not be afraid to
blame them, emulating another friend of mine, who saw her servant
reading her letters at her desk, and stepped out of the room unobserved
because she shrank from the disagreeable but emphatically necessary task
of telling the maid of her odious and dishonourable fault; but say
straight out to the delinquent servant herself what you have in your
mind against her, never sending the message by another servant, nor
nagging, but remarking firmly what you have to say yourself in such a
way that she cannot avoid perceiving you mean emphatically what you

Let your maids have good books to read, and let them see newspapers, but
do not keep a kitchen bookshelf. This they distrust at once, and look
out for their own literature, which is generally pernicious; but if you
yourself have read a good story, recommend it to them, and talk to them
about it. You can always get a servant to read proper books by taking
care to read them yourself, and by letting them see you are sharing your
literature with them; even if they spoil or soil the book, books are
cheap, and they had better do this than soil their minds by the rubbish
they might buy, revolting naturally against ‘Lizzy, or a Parlourmaid’s
Duties, described in a story,’ or ‘Grace, or How to Clean Silver,’ or
the similar charming works which one generally finds in the houses of
those who keep ‘kitchen bookshelves,’ regardless of the fact that Ouida
and other exquisite feminine novelists are the favourite food of the
drawing-room, and that they could not read one page of the ‘books’
themselves provided for the maid’s entertainment.

If you have a garden, encourage the servants to walk and sit and work in
it; and, above all, take interest in their clothes, lend them patterns,
and, in fact, do all in your power to raise them to your station. The
lower classes, thanks to education, are rapidly climbing; they will rise
whether we like it or not, and we had better, on the lowest grounds,
assist them to share the place they will take and push us from, should
they find we are antagonistic and jealous instead of helpful and

I have had twenty years’ experience of household management. I have had
three cooks in the time, and have never had a maid give me ‘warning’;
and though, no doubt, some day I shall find servants a ‘bother,’ because
they will get married, and I cannot expect to keep mine all their lives,
I think my twenty years of success entitle me to lay down the law on the
subject of the management of one’s maids just a little. But, lest my
readers should tire of the subject, I will pass on to the nurseries,
which, after all, are much more interesting to the young housekeeper.



There are several things of course to be considered in the first choice
of a nursery, and, unfortunately, in far too many cases economy has to
be considered even before what is really and actually good for a child’s
health. ‘Economy: how I dislike that word!’ remarked a plaintive friend,
actually of the sterner sex, and how I agree with him only my own soul
knows; but economy is a stern, a hard fact, and above all has it to be
considered when expenses begin to advance by ‘leaps and bounds,’ and
Edwin regards the future, across the berceaunette, most dolefully; and
thinking over school bills and doctors’ bills, much in the distance yet,
but steadily advancing towards him, begins to wonder how two hands are
to do it all, and whether he had not better at once look up all the
papers he can possess himself of that relate to State emigration. It is
hard for me to keep the ‘juste milieu,’ for I am really possessed by the
idea of good nurseries; and when I recollect how much money is wasted on
keeping up appearances, and also in retaining that ‘spare room,’ I
almost feel inclined to throw prudence to the winds, and declare that
two good nurseries are as imperative for one child as I believe in my
heart they are. And, really, even in the orthodox suburban villa, with
its four or five bedrooms, this accommodation can be found, if only
Angelina uses her senses, and really desires to do her best for her
little ones. But this is not always the case, I am sorry to say, and
there is no doubt that in most houses the position of the nurseries is a
subject of very small interest. So long as it is tolerably out of the
way, and, in fact, ‘far from humanity’s reach,’ most parents are quite
satisfied, and ask little else than that their ears may not be assaulted
by cries, and their china shaken to its very foundations by little feet
rushing and jumping overhead in a way that is undoubtedly trying to the
nerves, but is very delightful to those who see in such noises ample
evidence of the health and good spirits of the small folk who are making

Perhaps, however, the ‘demon builder,’ the cause of so very many of our
domestic woes and worries, is as much to blame as the people who take
the houses he runs up for us. Still, demand creates supply, and I cannot
help thinking that, if the British matron insisted on nurseries as well
as the regulation ‘three reception-rooms’ of the house-agents’ lists, in
time we should be provided with large airy chambers, as much a matter of
course as the bath-room of recent years, that, once conspicuous by its
absence, in now a _sine quâ non_ in even tiny houses built for clerks,
and rented at about 30_l._ a year.

I am very much divided in in my mind as to the manner in which to write
this chapter, as I cannot determine whether to describe an ideal
nursery--the nursery in which we were all brought up--or the orthodox
nursery, made out of the worst bedroom in the house, the one farthest
away from the sitting-rooms, and where nothing is considered save how to
prevent any visitors’ ears being assailed with shouts, and their nerves
tried by sudden bangs immediately overhead. I am not in the least
exaggerating when I say that, especially in London, the very top rooms
in a tall house are those set aside for the little ones, Pass along any
of our most fashionable squares and thoroughfares, and look up at the
windows. Where are the necessary bars placed that denote the nurseries?
Why, at the highest windows of all. My readers can notice this for
themselves, and can say whether I am right or wrong. And how often do we
not find an excellent spare room in a house where two, or perhaps even
more, children are stuffed into one room that is day and night nursery
combined, while half the year the best chamber is kept empty, sacred to
an occasional guest, whose presence should never be courted at all in a
house not large enough to allow of there being two nurseries for the
children’s own use. I am the very last person in the world to make
children into miniature tyrants; I do not allow mine to engross the
conversation or to be in evidence at all hours of the day. They do not
behave as if they were grown up at an early age, neither do they go out
to luncheon or tea perpetually, thus becoming _blasé_ before their time.
They are frankly children, and are treated as such, and I feel it rather
necessary to say this at the outset, for fear my readers may feel
constrained to write and tell me (after what I have said above) I have
fallen into the prevailing error of the day, and make my children a
nuisance to themselves and every one else by spoiling them; for, despite
the usual position of the nursery, there is no doubt that children will
soon cease to exist at all, and will become grown-up men and women
before they have changed their teeth.

Despite the position of the nurseries, did I say? Nay, surely rather
should I write because of the position of the nurseries, which are so
far off that the mother scarcely ever climbs up to them, and in
consequence has her children downstairs with her in and out of season,
until they gradually absorb the grown-up atmosphere and become little
prigs who care nothing for a romp, and object to going into the country
for the summer because the country is so very dull, and have their own
opinions, pretty freely expressed too, about their clothes and the
cooking at their own or their friends’ houses.

I feel I may perhaps be accused of being hard on the child of the
period, but I confess openly the child of the period is my pet
detestation--poor little soul!--not because of its personality as a
child, but because it is such a painful subject for contemplation. I
cannot bear to see poor innocent babies dressed out to imitate old
pictures, with long skirts sweeping the ground, because they are
picturesque, with bare arms and wide lace collars, and manners to match;
who go out perpetually to luncheon and tea-parties, and who, do they
happen to be passably good-looking, are worshipped by a crowd of foolish
women until the conversation is engrossed by the child, who very soon
becomes an intolerable nuisance; who cannot play because of its absurd
skirt, and will grow up the useless, affected, selfish, ball-loving girl
that is the terror of every mother who recognises that life has duties
as well as pleasures, and hopes that her daughters will do some good
work in a world where the harvest is indeed plenteous and the labourers

To have good and healthy children it is positively necessary to have
good and healthy nurseries, and as soon as Angelina becomes the proud
possessor of her first baby she should seriously and soberly consider
the great nursery question. Of course she will have thought of it before
the tyrant arrives, but so much depends on different small things that
she will not seriously and definitely determine what to do until she
sees what her nurse is like, and whether she is to have the baby at
night or to hand it over to somebody else.

I could write pages about people’s first babies, poor little things!
What experiments are tried on them in the way of hygienic and stupid
clothes, the patent foods, the ghastly tins of milk, and the fearful
medicines! I do not believe one young mother exists who has not her own
special theories about babies, and who does not scorn proudly the
experience so freely offered her by her mother, who has brought up a
family, and may therefore be supposed to know something of children, or
by her numerous friends who have all made a more or less successful
effort in the same direction. And, between ourselves, I have often
wondered how any first child ever grows up, so wonderful are the trials
it goes through, so marvellous are the plans tried, to insure that
perfection that each Angelina in turn thinks lies latent in the small
red squalling person that makes such a remarkable change in all the
household arrangements all at once.

The first danger that assails Angelina when baby arrives is that Edwin’s
life shall be made a burden to him because all his little comforts are
forgotten, the hours of meals altered, and Angelina herself is off
upstairs every two minutes, because the dear infant is howling, or
because she fancies he is howling. Even so, the nurse should be capable
of quelling the rage, unassisted by her mistress, or she is not worth
her wages, and had better go.

I hope I shall not be considered hard-hearted if I tell Angelina quite
in confidence, that, if she can depend upon her cow, baby becomes a
pleasure instead of a nuisance, if he or she and the cow are introduced
at a very early stage of his or her career. In these days of ours few
women are strong enough or have sufficient leisure to give themselves up
entirely to the infant’s convenience; and I maintain that a woman has as
much right to consider herself and her health, and her duties to her
husband, society at large, and her own house, as to give herself up body
and soul to a baby, who thrives as well on the bottle, if properly
looked after, as on anything else.

I know quite well that by saying this I may lay myself open to all sorts
of medical opinions, and I am sure to be told I am disgracing my sex.
But, as I have done all through my book, I am speaking from experience,
and only on subjects of which I have personal knowledge.

For had I not beautiful theories too when my eldest daughter arrived on
the scene? We were living in one of the dullest, stupidest, nastiest
little country towns in the world in those days, and there were few
claims of society on me then. I had no particular occupations, and I was
going to devote my energies to that poor child. I did. She howled
remorselessly morning, noon, and night. The doctor, my dear old doctor,
old-fashioned, too, in his notions, said my ways were correct, and he
could not make out her shrieks at all. I confess I have struggled with
her until I have wept with exhaustion, and at last a blessing in the
shape of a good nurse arrived, and solved the mystery. The unfortunate
infant was starved, and her shrieks were shrieks of hunger. She was
introduced to a particularly nice Alderney cow; and from that day to
this her cries ceased, and she has grown and thrived, and become an
almost grown-up member of society, and a decidedly healthy one.

Despite my experience with Muriel, I honestly attempted to ‘do my duty’
with the two next; there were no shrieks this time, but there were all
sorts of other things, and the cow had soon to be called into
requisition; and my two youngest children, who are stronger and far less
liable to small ailments and colds than the other three, never had
anything else, and were as good and prosperous a pair of babies and
children as one may wish to see, for after No. 3 had proved to me my
theories were very beautiful as theories, but rather unworkable in
practice, I gave them up, trusted a great deal to my good nurse, and
clung to the cow. Naturally, Londoners are at the mercy of their
milkman, but the Alderney Dairy, for example, possesses a conscience and
good milk; and no one will ever convince me that milk out of tins can
ever come up to the fresh, nice, clean milk given by a properly managed
and constituted cow; and, of course, in the country one has one’s own
cows and sees exactly what is going on, and knows one has the same
milk, until the child is old enough to bear the change.

The great things for young children are quiet and regularity, and these
are insured by having good nurseries and a good nurse. The nurse chosen
for a first baby should never be less than twenty-five. Your young
nurses are the most fearful mistakes for young mothers; they do not
understand handling or dressing a baby, and they send off for the doctor
at every moment, when an older woman would have the sense to know what
to do, thus spending on the physician what would have paid good wages
over and over again. They think of nothing save their own pleasure and
amusement, and have no real love either for the child, who wearies them,
or for the mistress, who, tired of their incapacity, is continually
scolding without making any real change in the conduct, that is bad
because the girl lacks what can only be given her by age, and a much
longer experience than she can ever possibly possess. A perfect nurse is
often obtained from a friend’s nursery where she has lived for some time
as second nurse in a good establishment. She should have some four or
five years’ character, and when found should be clung to, until
Angelina’s nursery is transformed into the ‘girls’’ sitting-room, when
nurse has often become so precious she stays on and on until transferred
to the nursery of the first girl who is married and requires her help.
What a comfort such a woman is to all in the house no one save the happy
mistress can ever know! She is delightful in sickness and trouble, ‘her’
children are her first thought, their trials and joys are hers, and she
helps, as only a good nurse can, the overworked mother should any
special trials come, that are made bearable only because some one else
shares them too.

But the perfect nurse presupposes the perfect nursery, and, as all young
mothers should strive for the first at all events, so I do not see why I
should not take it for granted that the baby is considered more than an
occasional visitor, and describe at once how a nursery ought to be
furnished and decorated, because I do not believe any child ought to be
in the room in the day in which he _and his nurse_ have slept all night;
nor that a child should sleep all night in a room where his nurse has
had her meals all day, and where he has been most of the twelve waking
hours; any more than I consider a child’s day nursery should be his
mother’s sitting-room, where visitors come, and all sorts of
irregularities are practised in the way of draughts, heat, light, &c.,
that should never be allowed.

The day nursery should be as roomy a room as can be had, and the window
should be able to be opened top and bottom; no blinds should be allowed,
but the nice muslin and serge, or rather cretonne, curtains should be
arranged here as elsewhere, to temper the light and make the room look
cheerful and pretty.

Cheerfulness and prettiness should be the twin guardian angels of
Angelina’s nurseries; a bright paper of either a faint pink or blue
should be on the walls with a scarcely perceptible pattern; there should
be a cretonne dado with a painted rail; and all the paint should be
varnished to allow of its being frequently washed. That the cretonne
dado cannot be washed does not matter one bit; it can be brushed
frequently, and it always looks tidy, and defies the kickings of little
feet and the pickings of small fingers, that so soon make chaos in the
very smart rooms, unless particular care is taken that the children
shall respect these rooms in a way they can easily be taught to do with
very little trouble. I most successfully cured a young person of five,
whose depredations were something awful, by making him pay up all his
available cash towards a new paper. I never had to complain again, for
he seemed to realise very quickly that if mischief cost money it was not
worth the candle, and had better be given up.

But with a cretonne dado half the temptation to tear tempting morsels
off corners is done away with, and the rail keeps off chairs from the
paper, and gives a reason for the short-frilled curtains, that are in no
one’s way and are never trailing on the ground, a trap for the unwary
and a regular home for dust. The ceiling should be whitewashed, and
should be done at least once every two years (it should really be done
every spring); and if a little blue is put into the wash one gets a hint
of colour, and does away with the utter ugliness and glare of the
orthodox ceiling, which is always trying, and, in my eyes, spoils any

The floor should be stained two feet from the wall, wiped every day with
a damp cloth to take up all the dust and fluff, and polished every
Saturday regularly with beeswax and turpentine, the clean smell of which
is always so nice and wholesome, I think, and makes a house pleasant at
once; but before the staining is done great care should be taken, to see
that the boards are planed, and that no splinters are in evidence, and
that any gaps that there may be are properly stopped to keep out the
draughts, then the staining may safely be done. A nice square of
Kidderminster can then be chosen, and put down over the warm carpet
felt, without which a thin carpet does not do for a nursery, because of
itself it is not warm enough.

The walls and paint being of a pink, like the pink, say, of the inside
of a rose, or of the lighter shade of coral, with no distinct and
distracting pattern on the wall, a pretty flowery cretonne could be
chosen for the dado and window curtains. I have seen one in a pale green
shade, with fluffy balls of guelder-roses on, and groups of pinks which
would be perfect; but this was so long ago that I fear it could not be
had now, though, of course, others equally pretty are sure to be easily
procurable. The doors where this cretonne was used were painted with the
same flowers, which were also to be found on the cupboard doors, with
small bright English birds poised here and there among them. It had a
most cheerful effect, and a baby who lived there used to be contented
for a long time by himself if he could only lie and ‘talk’ to the birds
and flowers in a curious language all his very own.

But, if a blue room is preferred to the pink, that can be managed very
cheaply, for I have lately discovered an almost perfect blue and white
paper, sold by Pither and Co., of Mortimer Street, that is all it should
be for a day nursery. The colour is clear and clean, and the pattern
cheerful without fussily calling attention to itself, while its
cheapness, 1_s._ a piece, would allow of its being renewed every now and
then should it become shabby, and the paint can be blue, and a blue and
white cretonne to harmonise with it can be had at Burnett’s for
9½_d._ a yard. It has a sort of pattern of daisies overlapping each
other on it, and is very pretty indeed. The rail should be painted blue,
and no little fingers can do any harm to this, while it would take years
to make the cretonne dirty, if it be brushed now and then and
occasionally cleaned with dry bread. The curtains to the windows can be
made of the same cretonne lined and frilled, and would do away with the
necessity of blinds if made as I so often recommend; and this would be
really a great economy in any nursery, for I know well how often tassels
are torn off and spoiled, the blind-cords broken, and the springs
rendered quite unworkable, not only by the children, but by the
under-nurses, who can never learn that a blind does not require the
putting forth of immense strength to make it move; and will not realise
that both bells and blinds answer to gentle handling as well as to the
fiercer tug, which often enough brings the blind down on one’s head, and
leaves the bell hanging out with its neck broken.

If we use the blue arrangement we could panel the doors and cupboards
with cretonne, which always looks nice, and makes a wonderful difference
at once in the look of a room.

If there are proper recesses by the fireplaces these should at once be
utilised for cupboards, flush to the wall, so that no little heads can
be banged against those cruel corners. These cupboards are most useful.
The lower shelves can be used for rubbish--the delicious rubbish that is
so much nicer than expensive toys; and the upper shelves can be used for
the work in hand and better toys, kept for Sundays and holidays and
those grand occasions when nursery company comes, and visitors may
arrive who have no imaginativeness, or only see old bits of wood once
sacred to cotton, shankless buttons, fir-cones, and scraps of silk and
paper, where other bolder folk perceive strings of diamonds and pearls,
and libraries of fairies, and wardrobes sacred to unknown but
much-beloved friends; whose houses are the fir-cones, and who dress
themselves magnificently in sweepings begged from the maid, or even from
that proud lady, the dressmaker, whose occasional visits, with her ‘own
machine,’ are something to look forward to by any small mother who has
an army of dolls, and very little indeed to clothe them in.

Who amongst us cannot remember the intense bliss of our nursery
cupboard, the delicious joy of having one place all our own, where we
could hoard unchecked those thousand and one trifles that no
drawing-room could be expected to give house-room to--where even nurse
did not interfere, because our rubbish (rubbish, indeed!) kept us so
delightfully quiet? Ay, and who amongst us who does recollect this can
grudge a day nursery to even one child who requires it--all the more
because it is a solitary little girl, and can make its own companions
out of trifles, when otherwise its mother would be making it grown-up
before its time, by never leaving it alone for a moment to those devices
and play that keep it a child, and don’t allow it to grow up an ‘old
person’ almost before it can stand steadily on its fat legs?

Given the blessed refuge of a nursery, with its appealing cupboard, and
very little other furniture is required. A nice solid round table, with
(please don’t faint, all ye æsthetic folk) oilcloth sewn strongly over
it as a cover, because then no tablecloth is needed, save at meals, and
there are no draperies to be caught hold of; and because this rubs clean
every morning, because nothing stains it, and even milk can be washed
off; a comfortable deep chair for nurse, low enough for her to hold baby
comfortably and easily; a chair for each child, and one for company; and
a delightful sofa, and nothing more is really required.

Why a sofa, say you? Because no one who has not one in a nursery can
know how invaluable such a possession is. Children have often tiny
ailments that are not bad enough for bed, and bed should never be
resorted to in the daytime unless positively necessary. An aching head,
a ‘stuffy’ cold, all these are much more bearable if a broad cosy sofa
is available, while an occasional rest for a growing child is a great
thing always to be able to secure; a child, recollect, who ever
complains of being ‘so tired’ being a child that requires watching,
_not_ coddling, and to whom that sofa may prove little else but

This need not cost much either, for the beau-ideal of a nursery sofa is
one that no fashionable person would look at now; it stands square on
its feet, has a high square back and arms, no springs, only two big
square cushions, and has some pillows of soft feathers, to mitigate the
severity of the details, which--O shades of all my long-lost
youth!--were the best things I ever had in all my life for ammunition,
either at the sacking of a town or the defence of some Scottish castle;
when, arrayed in a broad plaid sash brought back from Scotland by some
one who knew how I adored the ‘Days of Bruce,’ and other works of the
kind, the very names of which I have forgotten, I became in a moment Sir
William Wallace himself, and was happier then, I dare say, than I have
ever been since.

For there is another aspect to the nursery sofa that is not to be
despised, besides its great use in illness or fatigue; it is a
never-failing source of inspiration for regularly good games--it is a
fortress, a whole city, a ship at sea, an elephant--in fact, anything
any one likes to imagine it is. The broad square cushions are rafts to
put off to sea in when the ship itself is destroyed; they are
fire-escapes or desert islands, or icebergs at will; while no one who
has not had them can possibly tell the joy it is to throw the soft
pillows about, when nurse has put away the ornaments on the
chimneypiece, and retired with her chair and her baby into the next
room, where she is near enough to check unseemly revels, and yet not too
near to come in for a share of the fray, which waxes fast and furious
when the sofa and all its capabilities are fully appreciated, and where
the coverings are warranted not to hurt.

I could write pages both about the nursery cupboards and the sofa, but
will mercifully refrain, because I have other things to say about the
furnishing of the walls, and the emphatic necessity of a high guard for
the fire fastened into the wall, so that it cannot be taken, as we took
ours once, for the gratings before a lion in an imaginary ‘Zoo,’ also
furnished by the sofa; while we have also to consider the night
apartment, for naturally the perfect nursery of which I would like to
think we were all possessed has its night apartment leading out of it.
This should be painted and papered _en suite_ with the day room, and
have very dark serge curtains to draw over the windows, so that all
light may be excluded, thus enabling the sense of darkness and quiet to
be obtained that is so very necessary for a small child. I do not think
I have mentioned what I should like to impress very much on my readers,
that on no account, _on no pretext whatever_, should that most
pernicious gas be allowed in any nursery, either day or night. There is
nothing more harmful for small lungs than the vitiated atmosphere caused
by gas, nothing worse for small brains and eyes than the glitter and
harsh glare of the gas, that a servant invariably turns up to its
height, and very often drags down, regardless that an escape of gas is
pouring out of the top of the outraged chandelier or bracket. There is
no reason, either, why gas should be allowed; a good duplex lamp gives
quite sufficient light to work by, and must be kept clean, or it will
smell and also give out no light at all, and all danger is done away
with if it be set well in the centre of the nursery table, which has,
remember, no cloth to drag off suddenly, and which should stand square
against the wall, or in a recess by the fire when not actually in use
for nursery meals. Or a really strong, good bracket, painted the colour
of the wall, just high enough to be out of the reach of little hands,
might be provided on purpose for the lamp, and the nurse could either
have a wicker-work table provided for her, or could put her wicker-work
covered basket on a chair by her side, and sit close under her lamp to
work; or it might even stand on the mantelpiece on a broad shelf, where
also it would be equally well out of the little folks’ way. You have
nothing to do, as I said in one of my former chapters, but to notice the
effect gas has on plants, and then notice how these same plants live on
and flourish without gas, to understand that my theory about the
unhealthiness of gas is a right one; and I think all will agree with me
in saying that directly one is ill one recognises for oneself how
disturbing gas is, and the first demand of a restless invalid is to have
the gas put out, and a candle given instead. I shall never forget one
case of illness I once had the unpleasantness of seeing. The wife, who
had constituted herself nurse, and who knew about as much of nursing as
an ordinary cat would, asked me to look in on the invalid and see what I
thought of him. I went into the dressing-room, and even there the evil
was apparent. A hot gust of air met me, and, to my horror, I saw no less
than three gas jets, in a small room, flaring away, because the lady
wanted plenty of light, and thought it would cheer the restless, fevered
creature whose uneasy head was tossing on the pillow, and whose wild
eyes looked in vain for relief; so out went all that gas, the windows
were opened at the top, two wax candles, provided with shades, were
lighted, and in less than an hour the room became cool, and the poor man
was asleep for the first time for--I had almost written days; and it was
certainly days since he had had any deep or restful sleep at all.

I do not think, even, when we are grown up, we at all realise the
necessity or even the possibility of complete rest; but a baby does,
poor little thing, and is very often never allowed to have it. There is
no sense of peace in most houses, and I want dreadfully to impress upon
all my readers that they must ‘seek peace and ensue it’ for their
children, if they utterly refuse to do it for themselves, and,
therefore, the nursery should be quiet, and should even be a haven of
rest to the mother herself, when she is overdone with her unpaid-for,
never-ceasing work; and where she has her especial chair and footstool,
and where she comes not only to see the babies, but to have the quiet,
confidential talk with nurse, who should be able to have confidence
reposed in her; or she is most certainly not fit for her place, which,
if it be not a confidential one in the very highest sense of the word,
is positively nothing at all.

The night nursery should, of course, have a fireplace and a ventilator.
The fire should not be a matter of course, unless the room is far from
the day nursery, when a fire should be lighted in cold weather as a
matter of course. A room for children should never be overheated in any
way; but no one should fall into the foolish idea that a fireless
bedroom is hardening, and a fire makes people tender, for it does
nothing of the sort; it simply makes life bearable to the chilly, and
prevents all those dreadful lung troubles that used to be the scourge of
so many English families, but that since the almost entire disappearance
of those foolish, wicked low frocks and short sleeves in our nurseries,
and the appearance of more fires, have well nigh been stamped out; and
will be stamped out entirely when the Queen, so sensible in all other
ways, puts a stop to the order she has given about low dresses, and
recognises that people can be quite as full dressed with their clothes
on as they are almost stripped to the waist and exposed, in the most
delicate part of the human frame, to the bitter winds from which we
English people are never entirely free.

I hope I shall not be considered a hopeless faddist with my theories;
but at all events I have common-sense on my side, and most people who
think at all will, I am sure, see that I am right in all I say, and that
I speak from experience; and as a baby’s education begins quite as soon
as the mite is washed and dressed for the first time, I may be forgiven,
perhaps, if I insist on peace, quiet, rest, proper clothes, and absence
of gas, even as soon as a nursery is required at all. Of course for the
first few weeks the baby does not require a room all to itself, but it
should be ready for it, for sometimes it is just as well that it should
go into its own premises, thus giving its mother time and quiet to be
restored to her proper state of health again, which I do not think she
is allowed to do when she is wearied by hearing the infant howl when it
is dressed, and when she may be aroused any moment, even from most
necessary sleep, by the small tyrant, who cannot be relied on for
anything in certainty--at all events, at that early stage. If the
nursery has been properly aired and got ready for the baby, and a nurse
engaged to come on after the monthly nurse leaves, there is no reason
why the baby should not go there whenever his mother wants to get rid of
him; and I maintain that often far too much is sacrificed for the
infant, who, in his turn, suffers from too much kindness and
consideration, and who does not require half the fuss and trouble he
causes in a house where he is a first arrival, and, in consequence, is
something too precious and amusing--and, in fact, is almost treated like
a phenomenon, or at least like a very precious fragile new toy.

Now, a baby is nothing of the kind, and here, then, common-sense must
act as a supplementary nurse, and come to the rescue. She must firmly
insist on the small person becoming used from the very first to take
his rest in his own berceaunette. She may look aside should the frilled
pillow be warmed, because, despite the flannel on the head, a cold
pillow is always an unpleasant surprise, and one promptly resented by a
baby; but she must insist on his neither being cuddled up by his mother
nor allowed to sleep with the nurse, just as much as she must frown on
his going to sleep with a full bottle (like a drunkard) by his side,
because if he does he will wake a little and suck, and then sleep a
little more, and so on, getting neither sleep nor food in a manner that
can possibly be of the smallest use to him.

And now I should like to say a few words--_for ladies only,
please_--about the great necessity of having everything down to the
nurseries, or nursery, ready before the young person expected makes his
_début_ in a troublesome world. I have been astounded often by the
manner in which young matrons put off making the most necessary
preparations, until often enough, just at the last, the expectant mother
sets to all in a hurry to do what should have been done ages
before--wearies and agitates herself to death almost in her endeavours
to make up for lost time, and very often causes such a state of things
that danger to herself ensues; and at the best great trouble is caused,
simply because she would not listen to other people, and be a little
beforehand with the world.

Do you know, I quite secretly think some of these young ladies believe,
that if no encouragement is given to the baby in the way of having a
pretty room and nice wardrobe ready for it, it may not, after all,
arrive in the world at all, and that this is the reason why so much is
left to do until very much too late; but though I dare say it is very
hard to realise that an infant can really and truly come to the small,
perfect house, where such an event has never happened before, I can
assure you all that, once it has given a hint of its intentions, its
arrival is only a matter of time, and that come it most undoubtedly and
certainly will, and therefore, under these circumstances, it is much
better to be ready for its arrival, and not have to distract yourself
and others at a critical time, by telling a strange nurse fetched in a
hurry where she may be able to borrow clothes that should have been
ready months before; or to know things are not aired, or that there is
not a room where nurse and baby can retire safely when you want to be
quite quiet; or to have half an hour’s talk either with your husband or
your familiar friends who are admitted to your room, where thus you can
have the freedom from supervision for a short time; or the perfect rest
I for one can never have with a nurse and baby perpetually in evidence.

But all too often one is compelled to have the infant in one’s room
because of the absurd way in which our houses are arranged, and I do
wish architects and builders (to return to another old grievance, like
the gas subject) would consult a jury of matrons, even if they will not
consult their wives alone, before they set to work to give us any more
houses, for really they are one and all ignorant of the commonest
principles of their art as regarded from a purely feminine point of
view. Why won’t they recollect that one or two rooms should lead out of
each other? Why won’t they remember nurseries are wanted in most houses?
and why will they not arrange their plans with a memory of some of the
most common events of domestic life? If they did, the first floors of
most habitations would be very different to what they are now, and
domestic life would be much easier. I can only hope that the
conscientious male, whose eye of course ceased to fall on this page when
he read the warning words _For ladies only_, will take up the thread of
my discourse where it ceased to be private, and will read, mark, and
inwardly digest as much of this last paragraph of mine as he possibly

Of course, one of the first things to be provided is a bed for the small
infant, as from the very earliest dawn of its existence there is no
doubt in my mind that it ought to be taught to sleep in its own cot, and
that without any of the pernicious petting, patting, and putting to
sleep that mothers and nurses are so fond of, and that brings about its
own revenges in the forming speedily of a most unruly tyrant, who
promptly makes their lives a burden to them, refusing to go to his
slumbers without an attendant nymph.

People fondly imagine that babies do not know in the least what their
caretakers do until they are, at the smallest computation, three months
old, and have begun, in nursery parlance, to ‘take notice.’ Now, let any
one who has ever seen an infant taken by some one who is ignorant of its
ways contrast the picture with that of this same baby taken by a ‘past
mistress’ of the art, and they will at once understand what I mean when
I declare solemnly that a child is never too small, too tiny, to feel
and know whether it has to deal with some one who knows its ways, and
means it to be brought up decently and properly, or with a well-meaning
idiot, who allows herself to be conquered and enslaved by a long-clothes
slobberer, who the more it is given in to the more it immediately exacts
from its worshippers.

To hear some people with a baby is really quite enough to make one
forswear a nursery for ever; the talk, the abject drivel, that is poured
out like incense before it, the foolish petting, and the silly
humouring, all being as vexatious to listen to as it is bad for the
child itself, the ‘pigeon English’ provided for its entertainment often
resulting in the baby talk that makes the ordinary two-year-old a
perfect terror to any one who entertains it with conversation; while
the sense of super-importance given to it in its cradle makes it a
tyrant for the rest of its young life, until it goes to school or mixes
with other people, and is intensely miserable because then, and then
only, is it taught its real worth in the world.

Therefore, on every ground, it is better to begin at the very beginning
and continue as one means to go on, and so I strongly advise the
berceaunette to be ready with the nursery, and that the first sleep be
taken in that sheltered spot.

There are a variety of these articles, but to my mind only one to be
recommended, and that is the delightful hammock berceaunette to be
obtained of Mrs. S. B. Garrard, in Westbourne Grove, and these have such
a world-wide reputation now that I suppose all the world knows of them,
and therefore no description is necessary; but for fear there may be
folks who have not seen them, I may mention that the bed portion is
quilted and hung on four strong legs, exactly like a hammock is hung,
and that curtains are arranged in such a way that the light can be
excluded without at the same time unduly excluding a proper amount of
fresh air.

There are innumerable ways of trimming and making these berceaunettes. I
have seen the hammock portion of quilted satin and silk and sateens of
all colours, covered with fine muslins and trimmed real lace; but,
honestly, even if we could afford such vanities as these, I do not
consider them suitable for a small baby, who should never have any
garments that cannot be properly washed constantly, and should not have
any belongings that cannot share the same fate; and I have discovered
that nothing looks, wears, and washes so well as plain white or figured
cambric, edged with torchon lace; the hammock part made of cambric too,
washable by any good nurse; and curtains tied back with
old-gold-coloured ribbons, bows of which can be used as decorations,
whenever this may be considered necessary. Terra-cotta ribbons look nice
too, but I prefer the old gold to anything else, and it is newer than
the everlasting pink or blue, which was all our foremothers ever halted
between; though a sweet arrangement of palest pink, palest blue, and
butter colour looks very French and uncommon. The only objection I have
ever had made to me about these hammock berceaunettes is that they are
easily knocked over. Well, all I can say is that I have never known them
to be knocked over, while I have seen a ‘good old-fashioned’ wicker-work
cradle, with the deep hood and flowery chintz, daisy-fringed flounces,
of our own infancy, prostrated by some one knocking against and
displacing one of the chairs, on two of which it was always necessary to
place it, and this catastrophe has occurred to my certain knowledge more
than once. The basket, which is such a necessary addition to baby’s
trousseau, should match the berceaunette; and these too can be
purchased of the hammock kind, and fold flat in a box for travelling.
But before we describe this and speak of the contents we must complete
our sketch of the bed, which would be incomplete without just a word
about the necessary bedding.

One light hair mattress goes into the hammock part with a nice piece of
blanket, and then, instead of the universal mackintosh sheet, we always
have a thick piece of what country people call ‘blanket sheeting’; it is
not a blanket nor yet a sheet, but something between the two, and
invaluable for nursery use, as it can be washed daily--of course three
or four pieces should be in use--and is quite as useful as mackintosh
without being in the least bit unhealthy. Small pillows, very soft, and
shaped in to the neck, are sold with the berceaunettes, and these should
be provided with very fine cotton pillow-cases, edged with a tiny
cambric frill--linen is too cold--and the cotton, if fine enough, gives
no chill, and yet does not scrub the tender skin; the sheet should be
for appearance only at first, and should be simply a piece of cotton or
longcloth frilled, and tacked on the blanket, and folded over to look
nice, but only, as I said before, for appearance’ sake, for the warmth
of the blankets is most important for the infant, and should be
supplemented by a miniature eider-down quilt in a washing cover of
figured cambric edged with torchon, and, if fancied, embellished in its
turn with some pretty bows.

Another thing: though I would always have an infant kept as quiet as
possible, utterly and strenuously forbidding long railway journeys, much
changing of nurseries, much seeing of company, I yet do say that to some
noises the baby must be early accustomed. I have been in young married
people’s households where the magic words, ‘Oh, if you please, mum,
nurse says baby is asleep, have brought about a state of things that
reminds one of the Sleeping Beauty’s palace. The canary bird is hustled
under an antimacassar, the piano is closed, and conversation is carried
on in whispers, until a shrill cry sets us free from bondage and the
spell is removed. In such a household Edwin’s song has been brought to
an abrupt conclusion, his cheery whistle announcing his home-coming
received with chill reprimand, and we have gone about the passages on
tiptoe, echoing in our souls Edwin’s hasty but understandable mutter of
‘Confound baby!’ which is a sentiment which should be on no one’s lips
for one moment, of course.

Now if, when the young person first arrives, he is taught his proper
place in the economy of the household, we shall have none of this.
Precious, perfect, and beautiful as no doubt he is, the world is full of
others just exactly like him, and while we all of us, I hope, recognise
and believe in the serious and solemn side of maternity, while we know
and feel that here is an immortal soul committed to our charge to train
in the best way possible--for time and for eternity too, if we can--I do
maintain that the lives of the parents are to be considered too, and
that Edwin and Angelina have no right to sink themselves and their
identity in that terrible middle-class ‘pa’ and ‘ma’ which seems to
swallow, like some all-devouring serpent, the prettinesses and good
taste of so many of our young married people, and that causes more
unhappiness, I venture to state, than almost anything else.

The cry of an infant is soon interpreted by his nurse, who easily
discriminates between hunger and temper, and the shrieks of temper must
be stopped at once, or else our lives will be made a burden to us. How
often have the untamed shrieks of children embittered my existence! and
I am sure hundreds of people have suffered as I do. Now, unless
something really has happened, I go so far as to say children can fall
and hurt themselves without announcing the fact to the neighbours. I
always make my own children try and exercise self-control, and the small
troubles that are the fate of all cease to be the terror of the
household when little ones bear them manfully, and have their wounds
dressed without roaring all the time, and the wounds cease to be
terrible to the children themselves, and pain becomes bearable, if the
sufferer sees that there is nothing so serious after all, and that
nothing terrible results from it; but this training must begin at the
very beginning--it cannot begin too early. Children must learn that they
can help their elders, who have so much an their shoulders already, and
babies must be taught to be decent members of society, so will their
coming be a pleasure, and not the torment and upsetting it all too often
is in a household.

With a first baby the danger of this is always immense, and Angelina
requires almost superhuman courage to prevent it being otherwise. It is
a temptation to her to give herself airs to her friends, and to snub her
own and Edwin’s mothers, who, having brought up children, may be
presumed to know something about the subject, and to make Edwin’s life a
burden to him too; while some Edwins are worse than their wives, and
insist on dragging the poor child out of its bed at all seasons of the
day and night to exhibit it, being, of course, bitterly indignant when
the infant resents such treatment, and becomes crabbed and puny and
miserable in consequence.

Therefore I consider I can hardly say too much or repeat too often the
axiom that both bed and nursery should be ready for the baby, and that
from the first he should be accustomed to both in that perfect house
which shall be built some day when my ship comes home, and I have time
to learn to draw. The nurseries shall lead past dressing-room and
bath-room from the mother’s bedroom itself--that is to say, that the
bedroom shall have all this leading out of it, and that the night
nursery shall be so close to the mother’s room that she can reach it at
once should she desire to do so, while the children, when old enough,
should run in and out when they like--a bolt being shot, of course, when
dressing goes on--and shall feel that they and their parents are always
within touch of each other.

Here would, of course, come in once more the need of training, but why
should children rise at early dawn, and make grown-up people’s lives a
burden to them? They will not if properly trained, and this training
becomes possible when the nurseries are on the same floor as their
mother’s room, though a good big room can and _should_ be had in our
perfect house for tournaments, steeplechases, and theatrical
performances when the elders begin to grow up and learn duly how to
amuse themselves, while it is not necessary for Angelina to be always in
and out of her nurseries, worrying her nurse to death, when our prize
arrangement is possible, because she will be near enough to know nothing
goes wrong; which, if she be sharp and acute, she will discover quite
quickly enough for herself from the looks of the children and the
general atmosphere without always ‘poking about,’ as the servants call
it, to see how matters are. But all this must be begun at the beginning,
and with No. 1, if she wishes to be really happy; therefore she should
be quite sure of her monthly nurse, and be ready with her facts at her
fingers’ ends for this worthy, who, like every one else nowadays, has so
improved in her ways and manners as to be a real comfort and pleasure,
and can teach Angelina lessons of patience, neatness, and excellent
management that will be worth a Jew’s eye if she is lucky enough to get
a good nurse; but forewarned is forearmed, and so let the berceaunette
be ready, and let Angelina insist on this being used if she wishes to
have peace in her nursery after the monthly nurse has departed, and the
ordinary routine of life begins once more.

But, before I touch upon the subject of the monthly nurse, I want to
impress upon my readers that, though the nursery is undoubtedly a
kingdom, where the children can do pretty much as they like providing
they do not get into mischief, and that they remember that, being ladies
and gentlemen in embryo, they must behave as ‘sich,’ they yet must look
upon the nursery as a lesson-ground, where good seed can be sown, and
one of the first lessons to teach any one, child or small maid, is to be
gentle and quiet. I never could understand why children cannot be happy
without yelling at the top of their voices, and servants without
stamping about in heavy boots, slamming doors, and shouting to each
other; and one of the first things I always impress on all my household
is that loud shrieks and strident voices are not allowed from any one. I
have actually had my life rendered a burden to me sometimes by
neighbours’ offspring, whose one end and aim in life seemed to me to
see who could scream loudest (I don’t mean cry, by the way, but simply
yell at the top of their voices, for the pleasure of hearing them, I
suppose); and remembering that we as children never were allowed to
indulge in a pastime that would have seriously impaired our father’s
powers of working--that we were perfectly happy, although we were not
permitted to shriek--I have had none of this elegant amusement in my
nursery, and we have found ourselves extremely comfortable without it;
and this same discipline of gentleness and quiet is also valuable in
keeping a room nice and being able to have pretty things in it.

Why should children be destructive and untidy? A good nurse soon sees
they are not, and by giving the dear things nice surroundings you do
your best to insure nice tastes, though, of course, some untidy,
tasteless ancestor may crop out suddenly and utterly confound all one’s
theories, by giving us a child who will not learn the proper colours to
harmonise with each other, the while he or she puts boots on the beds,
and leaves a room looking as if hay had just been made therein.

But with children, as with everything else, one can but do one’s best
and utmost for them, never relaxing one’s care and trouble--and one can
do no more. They are sure to come right in the end somehow, although we
cannot quite see how. And so, regardless of the ravages of boys and
small maids, I go on making my house pretty, and hope by silent example
to do yet more than I have already done towards humanising both of these
riotous elements in one’s household; for boys should not be the tyrants
they undoubtedly are, and should learn easily that things have a right
to respect as well as people.

I am a great advocate for the silent teaching, too, of really good
pictures on the nursery walls. I do not like the idea of any rubbish
being good enough for there, any crudely coloured, badly designed
Christmas number atrocity being pinned up with pins or small nails, and
called ‘pretty, pretty’ to some baby, who, I am thankful to say, not
unseldom pulls it down and soon reduces it to the end it so richly
deserves. Often a good picture is full of teaching to a thoughtful
child. Excellent photographs can now be bought very cheaply, and some
etchings are not too dear, but all should be carefully selected, either
for the lesson or pleasant story they tell, for no one knows how much
early impressions do for children, save those who vividly remember the
small things that influenced themselves in their extreme youth, and are
thus enabled to use their experience for their own or other people’s
children; a lovely photograph of moonlight on the sea, for example,
having given me personally more pleasure as a child, than any amount of
dolls ever did, although I was heartily attached to them, and loved them
as few children do now in these highly educated days of ours.

Why, I remember we had quite a serious revolt in our schoolroom once,
over this very picture subject. We as children were exceptionally lucky
in our surroundings, and our schoolroom was hung with really good
engravings of excellent pictures, many of them proofs of Sir Edwin
Landseer’s, while many of our father’s works were there too, at which we
were never tired of looking. I don’t think any one, save an artist’s
children, could ever feel towards these said engravings quite as we did,
for, being in a good many of them at all sorts of stages, we felt really
the proprietorship in them that only the author is supposed to feel,
while we were never tired of remembering the odds and ends of stories
connected with the progress of each picture; and made other histories,
too, for ourselves out of the motionless creatures that we were once,
but out of whose knowledge we had so quickly grown: and then to hear
that all these sources of our inspiration were to be torn from us, and
what for? why, because in an educational frenzy maps were supposed to be
better for us, and more in keeping in the schoolroom; and therefore our
beloved pictures were to be put elsewhere to give place, forsooth, to
glazed monstrosities, the very colours of which, crude greens and pinks
and yellows, were enough to cause an æsthetic fever; although in those
days æstheticism was a thing unknown, undescribed too, in any

But an appeal to a higher power brought the pictures back, and the maps
were rolled up above them, and only allowed to fall over them at such
times as they were required to show their ugly faces to us in a
geography lesson; a subject I have detested, I am sorry to say, simply
because, I verily believe, of the rage we were in when we heard our dear
pictures were to be taken from us!

I cannot help digressing, dear readers, when I think how happy children
may be, and how miserable they are too often made by their over-kind,
very foolish parents. We were let alone a great deal as children,
mercifully, and taught that if we wanted amusement we must find it in
ourselves; and I can never be too thankful for an education that has
enabled me, with only a small cessation, to be happy always in my own
company, without the everlasting craving for information as to ‘What
shall I do?’ If we used to make this most aggravating inquiry, we did
not do it twice, and soon discovered that we could make occupations for
ourselves without driving our elders nearly mad in the process. Children
cannot too early learn to amuse themselves, and therefore great care
should be taken by parents that they have the means for this, the while
the children do not know much care is taken, and are shown--what
children are so seldom shown nowadays--that they are not the head and
front of the household, and that something is due to the bread-winners
and managers of the establishment, as well as to themselves.

I am sure good pictures are, therefore, or ought to be, indispensable in
all nurseries, while the moment a child is old enough to inhabit a
separate room, he or she should be encouraged to the utmost to begin to
care for the surroundings, and to carefully collect pretty things around
them, for in after life each thing so collected will be as a link to a
precious past, and serve to remind them of happy times, that may
influence their whole life if properly remembered and looked back upon.
This is another hint for parents, especially for young parents. A
child’s mind is a curious thing (or at least mine was, and I am
speaking, as I always speak, from actual experience), and receives
certain memories in the shape of pictures. My memory always seems to me
like a room hung round with paintings, and I recollect each incident of
my life as one remembers a picture one has once seen and never
forgotten. I have but to think for a moment, and I see--don’t faint,
please, I was only three; I am not quite a Methuselah, though it will
sound like it--I see the Duke of Wellington riding along with bowed
shoulders, and putting his hand, or rather his fingers, up to his hat
every few seconds in answer to every one’s respectful bows. I see flash
by from our play-place on ‘the leads’--the best play-place in the world;
now, alas! no more--the royal carriage with four grey horses and the
scarlet-jacketed riders, and I see the Queen in a hideous plaid-flounced
frock and large bonnet, and the Prince Consort, and two big boys, drive
by to look at some one’s pictures in our neighbourhood; and I remember
seeing two ‘Bloomers,’ followed by jeering boys, turn round the corner
by our house, and remember quite well how sorry I felt for the stupid
women, although I had profound contempt for their louder assertions of
women’s rights. Now I remember a great deal more than this, of course,
but I mention these three things to illustrate what I mean about the
pictures memory can paint; and to show that it is a parent’s duty to
provide the children with such mental pictures as shall always be a
pleasure and, if possible, a profit to contemplate. Let the children see
in reason all they possibly can. You can influence a child’s present,
but, once it is grown up, you cannot touch its future. You can see your
children have a pleasant series of pictures connected with their
childhood at any rate, and by making your child observe, and by showing
it pleasant things, you will give it a richer store of wealth than
anything else could do. Whenever we went out with our mother she always
did this. ‘Remember,’ she said to me, ‘that you have seen the Duke of
Wellington,’ and, though I was three only, I have never forgotten him.
Look at that beautiful colour; see yonder field of wheat; look at the
sea. No preaching here--but somehow the words stay by one, and
insensibly one learns to notice, and from this pass to the possession of
mental treasures nothing takes from us.

But we must have a certain amount of enterprise, and never, never
neglect an opportunity, and we must see all we can, either as children
or grown-up people. Why, I have known people go to the seaside for six
weeks, and sit on the beach, morning after morning, because every one
else did, regardless of the fact that all round the place itself lay
lovely scenery and marvellously interesting country, into which they
actually had not the energy to penetrate. Think of the opportunities
wasted by them--the opportunities we all waste if we allow a day to pass
by while we shut our eyes and will not see for ourselves the new things
that come every morning for the observant ones among us! And do not let
your children exist ignorant of the thousand and one throbbing
historical events by which they are surrounded. Better spend your money
on showing them good pictures, beautiful scenery, celebrated men and
places, than on aimless gaiety, idiotic balls, and smart clothes and
expensive food; and above all let them have a bright, happy childhood
among charming surroundings. Believe me, you will give them a better
inheritance than if you had fed them and dressed them luxuriously, and
had laid up a large fortune for them.

Let beauty and simplicity, honesty and frankness, be your guide in your
nurseries, and then you will not have very much trouble with your



There comes a time in most households when the mistress has perforce to
contemplate an enforced retirement from public life; and I wish to
impress upon all those who may be in a similar plight that the time will
pass much more quickly and agreeably if the room selected for the
temporary prison is made as pretty, convenient, and as unlike the
orthodox sick-room as can be managed.

Naturally these times are looked forward to with dread by all young
wives. They are fully convinced that they must die, and in fact make
themselves perfectly wretched and miserable because of their ignorance,
and of their not unnatural dislike to speak of their dreads and fears;
and though, of course, I can only lightly touch on these matters in a
book which I trust may be widely used and read, I want to whisper a few
words to reassure all those who may be contemplating the arrival of No.
1. If girls are brought up in a proper, healthy manner, if they do not
rush about from ball to party or from one excitement to the other, if
they realise their condition, and dress and rest themselves properly
beforehand, in nine cases out of ten the illness, being a natural one,
has no attendant dangers, and should therefore be looked upon in an
entirely different manner than it is at present. There is a most
excellent little book published by Messrs. Churchill, and written by Dr.
Chevasse, which all young wives should procure. It is called ‘Advice to
a Wife,’ and is a really necessary possession. This can be supplemented
later by ‘Advice to a Mother’ (same author and publisher); and,
possessed of these books, any young matron can manage herself most
successfully without the constant harassment of continually seeing the
doctor. But, besides the purely medical aspect of the case, there are
matters that can and must be arranged early, and by the expectant mother
herself alone; and one of these, and the most important of all, is
undoubtedly the choice of the nurse, who should be engaged as early as
possible, for most good nurses are secured as soon as it is probable
their services will be required later on. And as, to my mind, a good
nurse is ‘all the battle,’ this once secured the worst is over, and
Angelina may contemplate the future, if not with absolute calmness, at
all events with a brave and trustful heart. I do not think too much
stress can be laid upon this looking after a nurse. And though girls may
indeed congratulate themselves on their position to-day as regards the
orthodox monthly nurse, as contrasted with their mothers’ and
grandmothers’ accounts of all they suffered at the hands of the old-time
Mrs. Gamp, with whose vagaries we are all so familiar, still great care
must be exercised in the choice, as nothing is so important, especially
for No. 1, as to have a really good, kind woman in the nurse, and one
who will neither unduly coddle the patient nor allow her to do rash
things, of which she will most certainly repent unto her dying day; and
I should like to implore any one who is contemplating the arrival of
King Baby not to trust entirely to the doctor’s recommendation, but to
rely for once, at least, on her mother’s advice, and to employ some one
who is personally known to some member of the family.

I have known, and still know, a nurse who is simply perfect. She is of
no use to the general public, as ‘her ladies’ keep her well employed
among themselves and their friends, but I shall write a little about her
here, as a guide to those who may be likely to require some one in a
similar capacity.

But before I do this let me say a few words about the extreme folly,
from my point of view, of engaging what is called a lady-nurse. ‘She is
so companionable, so delightful, so much nicer than any mere working
woman can possibly be,’ say those who have friends they wish to find
places for; but I must declare I have never, in all my large experience,
found them in the very least bit satisfactory or of the very least use

As a theory they are all they ought to be; but in practice they are a
most dismal failure! They will keep the room pretty with flowers, and
will forget to remove them at night; and they will do what I may term
the decorative parts of nursing, leaving all the more practical ones to
any of the already overworked servants who can be pressed into the
service, and who of course resent this immensely, and generally give
warning at a most inconvenient time; but I have really found them do
very little besides this!

Thinking of my good nurse causes me to remember other things in
connection with these events, on which I will touch for one moment; the
while I maintain strenuously that, as a rule, not half enough loving
thought is bestowed upon the mother, who, I insist, should be the first
object of every one’s care until she has been for at least a fortnight
over her trouble; and I trace a good deal of my own nervous irritability
and ill-health to the fact that after my last baby arrived I had an
enormous quantity of small worries that the presence in the house of a
careful guard would have obviated, and to the fact that wearisome
details of an illness of a relative were carried to me as usual, and I
had to see to matters that should never have been even whispered about
before me, but the arrangement of all of which was left entirely to me;
and the only rest I obtained during all that weary time was literally
snatched for me, from the jaws of all those who are accustomed to depend
on me, by nurse, who was my one bright gleam of hope, and to whose
never-failing energy and thoughtfulness I always look back most
gratefully and thankfully.

Speaking as I do from experience only, perhaps I may be forgiven if I
repeat myself, and beg for far more consideration for the mother than
she ever gets. I hope I shall not be considered a monster if I whisper
quite low that I do not believe a new baby is anything but a profound
nuisance to its relations at the very first. It howls when peace is
required, it demands unceasing attention, and it is thrust into
Angelina’s arms, and she has to admire it and adore it at the risk of
being thought most unnatural, when she really is rather resenting the
intrusion, and requires at least a week to reconcile herself to her new
fate. My nurse never allows _her_ baby to be a torment. Somehow she has
such a pleasant way with her that babies cannot be a trouble where she
is. She turns them out always as if they had just come out of a
band-box, and one never realises a baby can be unpleasant so long as she
has the dressing of them, and the seeing to them generally; but then she
is so very methodical, so clean, so bright, so cheerful, that somehow I
find, when I come to write down her method, I cannot remember so much
what she did as how she did it, and that I cannot recall her routine of
work half as easily as I can each detail of her neat form and _jolly_
face, and the perfect joy it was to me to have about me a woman who
never fussed, never kept me waiting, always did to-day what she did
yesterday at the same time, and, above all, presented me with a nice
bright-looking baby to look at just when that infant was wanted, and not
at inopportune moments, or just at the special moment when she would
have been a worry.

And oh, what a contrast she was to the good old-fashioned nurse who came
to me with No. 1! who had a routine and who kept to it, and who regarded
all new ideas and thoughts as dangerous and ‘flying in the face of
Providence,’ yet who was goodness and trustworthiness itself; but she
was too old to learn that people differ, and what is one man’s meat is
another man’s poison, and so made my life a burden to me because she
could not understand that I was really and truly different in my tastes
and likings to most of her other ladies, who loved to be fed constantly
and be as constantly ‘waited on’ and looked after, while all I required
was to be let alone in peace and quiet and fed rather less than most
people. Still she was a dragon of watchfulness, and kept away all those
small bothers which men can never refrain from bringing to their wives,
regardless that at such times the smallest worry becomes gigantic, and
assumes proportions that would be ludicrous, were they not really and
truly very real; and have real effects too on the nerves and temper of
the unfortunate invalid. And here let me say sternly, and as forcibly as
I can, that the life of the ordinary house-mother has never been
properly appreciated by the male sex; and, if at no other time can we
obtain consideration and thought, it is imperative that for at least
three weeks after the arrival of a baby the wife should have mental as
well as bodily rest, and that she should be absolutely shielded from all
domestic cares and worries. And every husband should be taught by the
doctor and nurse combined that there is real and great need for the wife
to be carefully kept from _little_ worries and bothers, until she has
regained her usual balance of health, and is able to hear with more
equanimity of the death of some dear friend, maybe, than she was a few
weeks before; to simply be told that cook had had a soldier to tea; and
that there had been so much butter used in the kitchen that the
Bankruptcy Court is in the near future.

Husbands are far too apt to say and think that the life of a woman is a
mere giddy whirl of frocks and gaiety, that all the time he is ‘toiling
in the City,’ or doing the equivalent of that in some other walk in
life, she is airily fluttering from flower to flower, extracting all the
sweetness she can out of it, and bitterly resents it should she be tired
in the evening, or require a little lively talk, instead of hours of
contemplation of a sleeping countenance, at which perchance she looks
sadly, and wonders if she ever really did think it so good-looking, as
she seems to remember she once did, in some far-off existence long since
dead. But have men the smallest idea of what a never-ceasing,
uninteresting work a woman’s far too often is? Men never can be
acquainted with or realise--bless them!--the thousand worries a woman
knows all too well; the abject fears for her children that always haunt
her, the dread that Tommy’s whine may mean scarlet fever, or that
Trixy’s temper indicates measles; the impatience with which she would
fain greet the daily details of food and drink, and which she has to
smother; the sordid arrangements with butcher and baker, and the endless
trouble she has to keep the house nice, the children well, and the
expenses down to the lowest sum she can possibly manage with, and all
this is done within the walls of one house. A man’s work takes him far
afield; he rubs his intellect against those of hundreds of other people
daily. He goes to his ‘toil’ through amusing streets which always vary,
and he has the grand excitement of being paid for his ‘toil,’ while the
ordinary woman works on and on ceaselessly without pay, sometimes
without thanks; and handicapped by indifferent health and nervous dread
for her babies that no man--no _man_, I repeat, with a fine accent of
scorn on the noun--can ever comprehend, much less appreciate in the
least; gets through an amount of real positive labour, an account of
which might astonish the husband, but which he would most certainly not
believe in were it written out in plain words for his perusal, and
placed before him. Of course, I am not writing about the ‘upper ten,’
about whose domestic arrangements I know nothing, and which, judging
from the papers, are not always as successful as they might be. Here, no
doubt, ladies spend their days in the ‘fluttering’ spoken of above, and
may not earn their keep--to put the matter a little coarsely--but we
ordinary folk cannot do much fluttering, even if we would; and I can but
hope that men will realise what a woman’s work means for the future, and
will take care she is really nursed and guarded, in a manner the husband
alone can see is done, at a time when the brain should be allowed to
rest, as well as the rest of the body.

A man cannot realise that a woman ever can have ambition--that she can
sicken at the dusters and pudding-cloths that are supposed to be her
proper occupation, that she does sometimes feel even a little bit better
educated or cleverer than the clever creature who makes the money; and
if only I can get one of the male sex to believe that we do sometimes
want a little of his freedom, a little of his powers of money-making, a
little of his ability to take a holiday unhaunted by never-ceasing
dreads and fears of what awful ends the children are coming to at home
in our absence, I shall not have lived in vain, particularly if at the
same time he takes the double burden on his own shoulders, when his wife
has presented him with a small son or daughter, and takes care that not
even a whisper of the cook’s wickedness passes the bedroom door, until
Materfamilias is able to bring her mind to bear upon a matter that can,
no doubt, be explained as soon as the feminine intellect grapples with

And one more very serious word for the last on this subject: let Edwin
bear in mind that much more care is needed with No. 5 or No. 6 than was
ever bestowed at the time when No. 1 put the house in a stir, and
altered all the domestic arrangements. Angelina is not so young as she
was, dear soul; she is very tired. She is quite sure such a numerous
family must bring her to the workhouse, and unless Edwin is goodness
itself he may so depress and harass his wife by his depression that she
may slip out of his fingers altogether, and leave him to himself, that
most utterly to be pitied person on earth, a widower with young
children, to find out what he has lost, and to realise all too late what
he might have saved, had he remembered how desperately hard women do
work, and how unending and never-ceasing is their toil; which has
dulness as a background and utter sameness as a rule, as a drawback to
its being satisfactorily performed.

Once let the nurse be secured for as early a date as one can
conveniently do with her, there are the small garments to be seen to.
These consist of very fine lawn shirts (12), long flannels (6 for day,
of fine Welsh flannel; 4 for night, of rather a thicker quality), fine
long-cloth petticoats (6), monthly gowns of cambric and trimmed with
muslin embroideries on the bodices only (8), and nightgowns (8); besides
this 4 head-flannels will be required, and a large flannel shawl to wrap
the child in as it is taken from room to room; about six dozen large
Russian diapers and six good flannel pilches. Three or four pairs of
tiny woollen shoes complete the outfit, which may furthermore have added
to it four good robes; but these I strongly advise no one to buy until
it is time to talk about the christening, for relatives often present
the baby with smart frocks; and as they are really worn very little, and
cost a great deal of money, are not necessary, especially in the
country, where really nice monthly gowns are good enough for any baby;
and the smart robes tempt young mothers to adopt the pernicious custom
of low necks and short sleeves, making these even shorter by tying them
up on the small shoulders with gay ribbons, that soon find their way
into the little mouths. Even in smart low-necked frocks I always had a
species of long-sleeved, extra high bodice tacked; for, apart from the
appearance of the small skinny arms and necks of most young babies, I
consider it suicidal of any mother to condemn her children to a style of
dress that is about as unsuitable to our climate as anything well can
be. I should put even a tiny baby into a high fine flannel vest. I
always make the long flannel barra-coats with three pleats in the
bodices back and front, and line the stay bodices with flannel, thus
reducing the chance of colds greatly; and I live in hopes of seeing in a
very short time the total disappearance of low dresses everywhere; for
to my mind this is a custom as foolish and indecent as any we still
retain from our savage ancestors. Besides the clothes enumerated above,
four or five strips of flannel about six inches wide, herring-boned each
side, and about eighteen inches long, will be required, and six swathes
to roll round the infant and give support to the back; this,
new-fashioned doctors try to dispense with, but from long experience I
am convinced these binders are a most important portion of a young
baby’s attire.

The basket should contain a complete set of baby’s things ready aired,
and furthermore a skein of whitey-brown thread, a _new_ pair of
scissors, a pot of cold cream, pins, safety pins, and some old pieces of
linen; and the young mother will do wisely if she has the long pieces of
Russian diaper used as hand-towels for some three or four months before
taking them for the baby, as this softens them and makes them much
better for the nurse’s use. All these things should be in readiness
quite two months before they are required, and should be placed, with a
large mackintosh sheet, two old blankets, and three coarse
‘blanket-sheets,’ where, should they be required in a hurry, they can be
found at once. Attention to these particulars and directions saves fuss
and worry and often prevents danger.

These matters seen to, the young wife may now turn her mind to the
arrangement of her own chamber, which she should do her very best to
make as pretty as she can; or she should carefully look at the rooms at
her disposal and see which will be the nicest and most cheerful for her
to occupy; for there is really no need, unless we like, for the event to
take place in the room usually occupied, and, if preferred, a pretty
room might be got ready beforehand; but, if this be impossible, at least
all the washing and toilet apparatus might depart, and some tables and
low pretty chairs and a sofa, books and plants, replace the
washing-stand and toilet-table, that can be relegated to another room
until Angelina is herself again. Taking into consideration that, as an
enterprising advertiser remarks, one half one’s time is spent in one’s
bedroom, we cannot possibly take too much care about them to have them
nice and pretty; for I am convinced one comes down to one‘s day’s work
far better tempered from a pretty and convenient room, than one does
from an ugly, inconvenient place, where we have worn ourselves out in
hunting for our properties, or been worried by contemplating hideous
papers and draperies, and ugly conventional walls without pictures or
decoration of any kind; while if one has to be ill, and, what is more,
has to contemplate a long period of convalescence in one spot, one
cannot too carefully select one’s surroundings, for there is no doubt
that one’s mind acts insensibly on one’s body, and that one’s
convalescence is a great deal more advanced or retarded, as the case may
be, than we think for by our surroundings; therefore, I am sure we shall
not be wasting our time if we think a good deal about the arrangement
of a room where the young mother will have to spend at least three
weeks, and where she will remain a much more willing prisoner, if she is
not harassed and worried by a bedroom where she cannot have any of her
usual surroundings, and where the bedroom aspect of the chamber
predominates over everything else, so preventing any visitors to her,
save of the most intimate and personal kind possible. I do hope that the
queer notion that nurse ought to sleep in the room with her patient has
almost, if not quite, died out. I never could make out why this was
considered necessary, unless in very severe cases, where sitting up is
thought of consequence; and even then (though it sounds Irish I can’t
help saying it) the nurse could take her rest in another room, leaving
some one else to sit up in turn; for I know nothing more truly
irritating than to see a second bed in the room, and to feel the eternal
presence of a stranger, who might just as well be snugly resting in the
adjacent dressing-room, where she could be reached quite as well by
ringing a small bell, that could stand on the table by the side of the
bed, as she is by a call from the patient, whose voice is sure to be
none of the strongest.

I have often marvelled at the way people bear these small worries, and
never turn their minds towards relieving themselves of them. I suppose
we are most of us too conventional, and cannot get out of our grooves
easily, but I am quite sure from experience that no one requires a nurse
during the night in an ordinary case, and that one’s comfort is mightily
increased by seeing her depart into the dressing-room, with or without
the baby, as fires or other matters are arranged, and to know she will
not return until the next morning unless she has been rung for; and then
her departure leaves room for far more decoration than would otherwise
be possible, for, if the house is conveniently built, and the
dressing-rooms or nurseries are near enough to be available, I should
turn out all the bedroomy furniture into other rooms, and replace this
with some of the sitting-room furniture, only retaining the bed, which
in its turn can retire behind a screen when the sofa, is taken to, and
convalescence has really and truly begun.

To do this satisfactorily, the bed must be specially thought about, and
should be provided with an extra lot of frilled and monogramed
pillow-cases; these are removed at night, and their presence, and that
of a nice piece of linen, frilled and worked too, and fashioned in such
a way that it appears like a frilled sheet, in the morning, is almost as
good as a complete change of linen, without any bustle. The eider-down
should be removed, and placed in another room to be aired, and the bed
should be covered with one of the beautiful embroidered quilts which
should be in every one’s possession.

These quilts are copies of old work done by our grandmothers; or else
are embroidered in the red and blue ‘Russian-work,’ and are lined with a
coloured sateen or Bolton sheeting; they can be edged with lace, worked
with coloured threads to match, or by a band of the sateen over which a
coarse lace is turned; these quilts make any couch ornamental at once.
Of course the toilet-covers must correspond, and the towels should be
marked in similar colours, and should in some measure repeat the
prevailing tints of the bedroom itself, which is not complete without
both books and growing plants in pots, nor without some convenient
light. A good lamp can be placed on a bracket, if gas is disliked; or a
good bracket lamp in beaten iron can be fixed in the wall just above the
bed, or to one side thereof; and great comfort is found from either a
wall-pocket made from a Japanese fan and plush, or a big bag of plush
strung from the brass end of the bed, to contain one’s handkerchief,
keys, pencil, letters from the post, and the odds and ends that will
accumulate, and, furthermore, will lose themselves in a most peculiar
and aggravating manner, unless one has a distinct place to put them in
from whence they cannot possibly stray; while I again repeat that no
‘bedroomy’ atmosphere must be allowed, and that every medicine bottle,
towel, basin, sponge, &c., must be taken away out of the room the moment
they are done with, and that the sick-room must be looked upon for the
time being as much as possible in the light of a sitting-room, where
friends can come, and where life can go on smoothly and pleasantly,
without being reminded every five minutes that one is laid aside, and
unable to feel or look pleasant and like oneself. I wonder, too, if
other people know how useful a good heliotrope shade is for one’s
dressing-gown, and the short flannel jacket that should be one’s day
attire until the dressing-gown can be put on and one can lie on the
sofa? These dressing-jackets, or more properly ‘bed-gowns,’ are simply
invaluable--in winter especially, when one’s arms do get so cold in the
ordinary nightdress, and when the dressing-gown proper is a distinct
nuisance; and they should be wadded, and of fine heliotrope cashmere
with a soft fall, and frill of either torchon or yak lace, and are most
becoming to any one. The arms should be lined with wadding too; and, in
fact, they are just what one requires before one gets up, as they save
the dressing-gown from the inevitable crushing that is its portion if we
wear it in bed, while we have the required warmth over the chest, which
would not otherwise be ours, for reading or writing or using one’s arms
at all always disturbs the bedclothes in a most tiresome manner, which
does not trouble us when we are possessed of the proper short jacket.

The bother I have had, too, to find a really comfortable way of reading
in bed. How one’s book does flop over just when one doesn’t wish it to,
and how tired one does get of holding it! And I have now discovered
that the only way is to have a couple of cushions or pillows, and to
shake them into a good position oneself, finally resting the volume
luxuriously upon them.

Then, too, remember always to have some _fresh_ sweet flowers in your
room all day, and if your dinner leaves an odour of food behind it, burn
two of the joss-sticks sold at the Baker Street Bazaar at 6_d._ a
packet--those make your room at once like an Eastern palace, and are
simply delightful; and insist mildly but forcibly on your windows being
opened whenever the sun shines, and in the dressing-room when it
doesn’t; for there is, I am convinced after long experience, nothing
like fresh air for any and every one; and though I have been perpetually
told I should catch my death of cold at such times, I have never had a
suspicion of one, and am remarkably free from this tiresome ailment.

Summer babies must be legislated for rather differently to winter ones;
they must be washed and dressed out of their mother’s room for one
thing, as they always require the fire, that would be cruelty itself in
the bedroom. They can often be taken out earlier, and are much easier to
manage. Still, I think all these details can be safely left to the
nurse, who should always be engaged for two months certain, and for
three if you know your woman and can afford it; for until a baby is
three months old it flourishes far better in the care of the monthly
nurse than in that of even one’s own nurse, who has grown a little
‘rusty’ in her knowledge of infants most likely, and who can never be as
_au fait_ with them as is any one who has a constant succession of these
tiny creatures always under her care.

It is imperative in the case of a first baby that the monthly nurse
remains until the stationary nurse arrives, so that she can find out if
she has really been trained in nice ways, and can really handle a baby.
She can tell at once if she knows what she is about, and, if she does
not, can at once put her right, and tell her the ‘ways’ the child has
been used to.

A general rule should be the daily bath in tepid water, using a high
standing bath in a wooden case; the child is washed all over quickly on
the nurse’s lap; protected by a large flannel apron, with a soft sponge,
and the best soap to be found; it is then floated gently into the bath,
and the water merrily and quickly dashed over the limbs, while the nurse
talks brightly and cheerfully to it; after about three or four minutes
of this it is taken out, and dried rapidly with an extremely soft towel,
powdered all over in every tiny crease and fold of fat, its flannel
binder is sewn on again, and its garments arranged with the flannel
petticoat and shirt tacked together, put on very swiftly; it should then
be fed and put into its bed warm, and there it should stop until time
for feeding again, when it can be taken out for an airing in the
garden, or in some sheltered spot according to the time of year and the
means at command.

Regularity, quiet, and its own nurseries and nurse are the things to
keep a baby well and make it grow up strong; and for this one must
depend partly on one’s nurse, who should be a superior woman, possessed
of the real religion which caused the little maid who was converted to
sweep _under_ the door-mats, a duty she had not fulfilled before she saw
the error of her ways, and not a humbug, who would insist on leaving an
ailing or sick infant because it was her night for church or chapel; but
she must be a real friend too, and be treated as such, if we wish to
have peace and a well-ordered household, for in these hurrying days of
ours we must depend a good deal on our nurses if we are to keep bright
and strong, and be companions to our husbands, and later on to the boys
and girls, who will require so much more from us than the mere infant,
whose well-being we must, of course, superintend and legislate for
ceaselessly, but for whom we need not turn ourselves into domestic
animals merely, incapable of aught, because of our slavedom to the baby,
who in nine cases out of ten does far better with a really good nurse
than it can with us.

I may, of course, have been exceptionally lucky with my nurse, and,
judging from what I hear of other people’s experiences, I suppose I must
have been; but during all my many years of being dependent on them I
have never had one selfish woman in my house, nor one who would not at
any moment sacrifice her own interests and comforts to mine. I cannot
account for this any more than I can account for other people’s
miseries; but I honestly say here that I never cease to wonder at the
cries that rend the air about the wickedness of domestics, for I have
never found one who has not honestly and _according to her lights_ done
her best to help me on my way; and I owe more than I can say now to my
friends in the kitchen, who will do anything to save me trouble, and
will when I am busy, as I generally am, do all in their power to assist
me; while no words of mine could express the unselfish care given by my
nurses both to me and the children during years that are past now, I
hope for ever, but that, while they lasted, would have driven a bad or
selfish woman away from us. Real, true, good friends are, I am sure, far
more often found among what we call the ‘lower classes’ than in those
ranks from whence we generally take our acquaintances! Of course, this
is all digression, but yet it really does relate to the nursery after
all, for there, if anywhere in her household, must our bride look for
her helpmate; and this should be all arranged and thought out with the
help of the monthly nurse in the time of retirement, for this first
arrival changes all the household arrangements entirely, and in such a
manner that the greatest tact and care is necessary to readjust the
establishment, or else misery and discomfort will be rampant, in the
once happy and well-managed home.

Above all, let the young wife remember that her baby and her experience
are not either wonderful or unique; that she only possesses what
millions of women possess and know of; and let her rely just a little on
her own mother, who may have old-fashioned notions, but who has brought
her up successfully, and so doubtless has that best of all gifts,
experience, to hand on to her daughter, who cannot do better than listen
to her; the while she recovers her strength, keeps calm, and does her
best to get well, and looks out for all the assistance she can obtain
from her nurse, and further on from her own experience of what her
children are.

Just one other thing: it is absolutely necessary in legislating for our
children to remember what they are likely to inherit in the way of

We have long ceased to regard either the souls or the brains of our
children as strictly new and original compositions, as clean white paper
over which we and time can write exactly what we wish; for science has
taught us all about ‘heredity,’ and convinced us that we are all of us
bundles of odds and ends, or scraps of this grandparent, with curious
‘sports’ of that uncle or aunt suddenly cropping up; and so, if we
remember tendencies to consumption, or fevers, or gout, or, in fact,
anything that we or our forefathers have shown a tendency for, we shall
be able to manage our children much better than we otherwise should; for
those children who are constantly ‘catching’ things, or meeting with
accidents because of the brittleness of bone, or careless heedlessness
inherited from some ancestor, must be more carefully watched and looked
after than those who, coming of a healthy, splendidly constituted stock,
are rarely ill, and only require water, air, and a pure, good diet to
grow up splendid specimens of humanity, enjoying their lives thoroughly,
and fully appreciating every day they live.

Heredity is a great, a most important fact; and if only this could be
taught in schools, if young men and women would recognise the wickedness
of cousins marrying, and of passing on sickly or vicious tendencies to
their children, we should look forward more and more hopefully to a
future, when health should be demonstrated as the best possession a man
can have--the best inheritance he can demand of his parents; for health
means happiness and beauty and pleasure, and without health we cannot be
either happy, good-tempered, or prosperous, or succeed in a world where
life is one constant procession of beauty and surpassing interest, to
those whose hearts are in the right place, and whose pure, wholesome
blood courses vigorously through the veins and arteries of the whole



In the selection of the schoolroom there are several things to be
thought of; but if the nursery be done away with, and there should be no
upstairs sitting-room, I strongly advise the schoolroom being on the
bedroom floor. This is often a most useful institution, for sometimes it
serves as a refuge to invalids who are well enough to leave their
bedrooms, but not well enough to run the risks of draught on the stairs,
while the children are out of the way of visitors, and are not always
running up and down the passages in a distracting and untidy manner.

Let me urge on all mothers of families to cling to either a day nursery
or a schoolroom until the children are really too old to be glad of some
place where they can do actually and positively as they like; that is to
say, of course, unless they like to behave like savages, but this rarely
happens in a household where the little ones have been accustomed to
nice surroundings, and to be treated like human beings from their

It is most important that children should be let a great deal alone, and
to insure this it is perfectly necessary that some room should be set
apart for their use entirely, furnished in such a way that one is not
constantly obliged to be saying ‘Don’t do this’ and ‘Don’t do that,’ and
yet in a manner that shall foster every nice taste and encourage every
good habit possible; and great care should be also taken to insure
sufficient sunshine, for sunshine is life and health, and a dark and
sunless room often fosters a dark and sunless nature.

I should strongly advise the floor of the schoolroom to be covered with
Indian matting, if expense be no object, with rugs about at intervals:
this is always clean and fresh, and can be changed often. Next to Indian
matting comes the stained edge to the floor so often recommended, with
the nice square of Kidderminster carpet laid down over carpet felt, and
edged with a woollen fringe; the best carpets of this particular make
are called ‘three-ply,’ and are sold by the yard, and are infinitely
superior in every way to the ‘squares’ sold ready made in different
sizes, and edged by a border, which is generally far too large a pattern
to look nice. The carpets sold by the yard are much better designs and
colours, and wear three times as long as the cheaper makes; but under
_no_ circumstances should the schoolroom be the refuge for half-worn
costly carpets, which want wearing out, and yet are too shabby for the
downstairs apartments. These had far better be got rid of in some sale;
for an old carpet is nothing but a dust-bin on a small scale, and can
never be fresh enough to pat in a room where there are children.

The walls could be covered with one of the washable sanitary papers, if
one can be procured in a sufficiently pretty pattern; but it is
emphatically necessary that the walls should have a real dado, either of
oilcloth painted some good artistic shade--four coats are necessary to
eliminate the pattern--of cretonne, or matting, which would be best of
all. This keeps the lower part of the wall tidy always; and if the
sanitary paper can be obtained in a self-colour, the plainness of this
can be done away with by a good selection of pictures, than which
nothing is more necessary in a schoolroom; and the children had far
better be plainly dressed and fed than have bad pictures provided for
them, or ugly drawings only relating to their work.

In these days of cheap art there is no reason why we should be without
pictures of some kind everywhere, and they should be chosen carefully,
either for their beauty or for the lesson they teach. Having a positive
horror of gambling, horse-racing, or betting in any shape or form
myself, I cannot regard any house satisfactorily furnished without
autotypes of my father’s pictures of ‘The Road to Ruin.’ These admirable
pictures have pointed a moral over and over again in my house, and will,
I hope, point many another; for the children are always ready to look at
them and make out for themselves the dismal o’er-true tale. If, however,
these pictures should be objected to, I should advise autotypes of some
of Sir Joshua’s lovely child-pictures, Leader’s ‘At evening time it
shall be light,’ ‘Chill October,’ any of the etchings after Burton
Barber’s amusing dog-pictures, and those equally entertaining
fox-terrier sketches of Mr. Yates Carrington, Waller’s ‘The Day of
Reckoning,’ and, in fact, any of the beautiful etchings done of late
years, and that average 5_l._ each; these purchases being infinitely
more necessary in a house where there are children than diamonds or
plate or smart furniture and expensive decorations, and should be
bought, as soon as ever they can be afforded, by any householder who
really has the welfare of his family at heart.

The ceiling should be papered in some bright blue and white paper, and
should have a good ventilator somewhere in the centre. No gas should be
allowed, and light should be furnished by two good hanging lamps
conveniently placed; while each child who is old enough to do its work
after tea in the winter should have its own shaded Queen’s reading lamp,
and should be taught to keep it clean and bright for itself; thus the
servants would not be troubled on this subject unduly, though, should
there be a schoolroom maid, she could take the lamps under her charge
with the rest of the schoolroom belongings.

There should be two good cupboards in the room, which could be placed in
the recesses on each side of the fireplace, should there be any; these
could be simply made with shelves in the recesses and with wooden doors
to fasten over them; these could be painted some self-colour to match
the prevailing colour of the room, and the panels could be filled in
either with the ever-useful Japanese leather paper, or be embellished by
Mrs. McClelland’s clever brush with studies of some lovely flowers;
brass handles should be added, and while one cupboard should be set
apart for the governess and the schoolroom books, the other should be so
arranged that, if possible, each child should have its own shelf. The
top of these cupboards could form an excellent receptacle for toys and
games, while some of the hanging bookshelves spoken of before could
supplement the shelves should there not be room for the extra books. The
windows must open top and bottom, and should have short muslin and
cretonne curtains; no blinds, of course, but, should the situation be as
sunny as it ought to be, outside blinds should be provided, and,
furthermore, window-boxes for flowers should never be wanting; the
children learn a great deal looking after them, and lessons are far less
trying on a hot day if the room is kept cool by sun-blinds, while what
air there is blows in over a sweet scent caused perhaps by that best of
all mixtures, mignonette and ten-week stocks.

Great care must be taken in selecting the proper tables and chairs;
these latter must be wide and comfortable, and the table _must_ be solid
and stand on good strong legs while lessons go on. I strongly advise the
tablecloth to be removed for fear of accidents with ink, and if oilcloth
is sewn over the top this is not as tiresome to write on as is a deal
surface, and though it may not look petty it is decidedly clean and
remarkably useful, and can be covered with the cloth when lessons are
over. Footstools should never be wanting, and a good broad window-seat,
that could be made to open and hold books &c., is very useful also, as
it will contain a great many odds and ends; while no schoolroom could be
complete in my eyes without kittens and puppies, the training and care
of which are often of the greatest service to the young masters and
mistresses, who, teaching their pets obedience and good behaviour,
insensibly learn quite as much as they are themselves teaching.

Though I maintain that education of a certain kind is begun the moment a
baby learns to cry for what it wants, and that, no matter how small a
child is, it is never too small to be taught obedience, of course its
real education begins when it learns its letters. I could read at two,
and have read ever since, never being able to be happy without a book or
paper; and I am of opinion that the sooner a child can pick up its
letters the better, for the moment it can read it is independent, and
can amuse itself without always hankering after companionship and
entertainment. The best way to teach a child to read is to give it a
small wooden frame, made in compartments, and a box of red and black
letters; these it picks up one by one, and soon learns to slip them into
the frame, making small words. From this it passes easily to a book, and
becomes master of a store of amusement that will last all its life;
while the governess should be asked to read aloud as much as she can to
the children, taking care, of course, to select good and amusing
stories, the while she does not bore them with a too forcibly impressed
moral tag at the end.

One cannot, of course, lay down any hard-and-fast rules for other
people’s children, and can only, after all, give very general hints as
to schoolroom arrangements and management, for each household is so
different that what suits one family is not of much use to another.
Still there are general hints on education that may be of assistance to
those who may be about to set up a schoolroom, and, though I feel rather
diffident about speaking as much about myself as I must, I think I must
tell just a little more of the way in which I have managed that most
important part of the establishment.

To begin with: great cleanliness, order, regularity, and punctuality
must be insisted on and maintained by the dining-room example. The
children’s breakfast should be at eight, and should consist, if
possible, of oatmeal porridge every other day, followed by either an
egg, bacon, or some fish. I say advisedly ‘if possible,’ for some
children cannot touch porridge; and though I am no advocate for
pampering appetite, and scorn rich and elaborate cooking, which in
England all too often engulfs the money that would buy pictures or allow
of excursions and travel, I do protest most solemnly against the petty
tyranny of making children eat food that is actually and positively
nauseous to them: and, furthermore, without consulting the child, and so
making him unduly of consequence in his own eyes, it is imperative that
a judicious parent should notice likes and dislikes, and so legislate
that something should be provided that all the children can eat; and no
breakfast should pass without fruit of some kind being provided.
Children crave for fruit and sweet things, and a careful parent gives
enough, without allowing the excess that is so harmful, and that only
occurs in families, as a rule, where sweets are ignored, and fruit
handed round as a rarity after the conclusion of a large and expensive

In winter lessons could be from nine until twelve, when the walk should
be taken, or some games indulged in. Luncheon should be at one, and
should far oftener include fish or chicken than it usually does. Tea,
with jam or cake, should be at five, and each child should be encouraged
to have milk and a biscuit before it goes to bed. A few pure sweets
should be given always after luncheon, and no punishment should ever be
inflicted through the appetite. This makes food too prominent a matter
in the small mind, and I have always found a few stern and forcible
words of more effect than any punishment could be after the first
struggle for authority, which invariably occurs once in the lifetime of
every child. In two or three cases in my own schoolroom one whipping has
been found quite sufficient; while two of the children have never
required anything more serious than an early retirement for reflection
in bed,] and a few serious sentences that were to the purpose, and did
not go beyond it. I am quite aware that in these days it is considered
abominable even to suggest a child shall be ‘smacked,’ but in the case
of deliberate obstinacy or unbridled howling there is nothing else for
it, and, this once done, trouble ceases--the child has found its master,
and then there is peace.

I am so convinced that if one has a happy childhood one’s whole life is
sweetened by it, no matter whatever happens afterwards, that I cannot
impress too much upon my readers the absolute necessity of securing
this, at any rate, for their boys and girls. This, however, is not to be
had by dressing them finely, and dragging them about from drawing-room
to drawing-room, from late party to late party, or by pampering them and
considering them until one cannot call the house one’s own, neither does
it consist in leaving them to themselves altogether. Apparently,
children should be left greatly to themselves, but much in the same
manner that--I speak in all sincerity--a higher Power manages us and our
affairs. Let the free-will be there, but let the guiding hand, unseen
though it should be, never be lacking, and we shall find the children
happy and good, because they are surrounded with clean good air, and are
brought up in an atmosphere absolutely free from taint of any kind.

The instant the schoolroom is started, that instant both mothers and
fathers should become in a measure omniscient and omnipresent; and,
above all, they should remember the clear sight and hearing of the
children, and should, furthermore, recollect that what they say and do
means a great deal more now than it ever did. Let them see their own
lives are full of interest, and are of good aim and intent, and they
will find example is greater than precept, and that they have succeeded
by unconscious example where everything else would have failed.

Of course, it is absolutely necessary that all girls should learn to
sew, to cook, and to play the piano; and all boys should have some way
of employing their fingers, and no household should be complete without
its hospital box; into this the girls can collect all the frocks and
petticoats they can make, while the boys can make scrapbooks, paint
pictures with water-colours over prints from ‘Punch’ or the ‘Illustrated
London News,’ or cut out ships or wooden dolls; and while they are doing
this they could be read to from Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, or Miss
Yonge--a strange mixture, may be, but to those four writers the world
can never be grateful enough, try hard as it may, while the schoolroom
contingent brought up on these splendid people’s brains will be worth a
hundred of the present-day children, fostered on such idle rubbish as
Rider Haggard produces, and others that shall be nameless. And here let
me beg and pray the parents to make a stand for Dickens and Thackeray,
even if they will not for the other two authors of whom I have spoken.
Dickens has become neglected, I know, and Oxford undergraduates, taking
to Thackeray late, fall asleep over ‘Esmond’ and ‘The Virginians’; but
let these books be in the schoolroom, and boys and girls take to them
naturally, like ducks take to water, and are at once made happier by
them than they can be by anything else.

Sewing must be learned by girls, because they never know how they may be
placed; but, once learnt, I trust no girl may be condemned to sew
because it is feminine, for unless she really and truly likes the
occupation--and most women do--there is no greater cruelty possible to
inflict on a young girl than to make her sew when her fingers are
itching to draw, practise, or even write a book. Never prevent her doing
this; the greatest happiness I have ever had is when I can get perfect
peace and quiet and take my pen in hand, and, even if I never succeed in
making a name for myself and startling a world that is over-full of
writers already, I can never feel I have lost the time I have spent in
writing, for then I have been perfectly contented, and then for me the
world has ceased to be--outside Nature--beloved Nature!--and my desk.
And then, harming no one, I trust, and helping just a few, I have passed
away entirely from all worries incidental to the life of any woman who
marries, and has children and a household always on her mind, and have
ceased to think of anything save the work on hand at the moment. Girls
must learn also to cook, because thus they become mistress of all the
details of the household expenditure; and they must learn music, because
they can be useful either to accompany songs and glees, or to play
dance-music to the little ones; but if no distinct taste is shown, hours
should not be wasted on an accomplishment that is most useless, save and
except as a mere background, unless decided talent is displayed, when,
of course, music should be encouraged as much as possible, for nothing
keeps a household more together than does music, and if the boys and
girls can only play and sing together there is small difficulty about
finding them occupation and keeping them happy at home.

I am always sorry that the power to make music and the capacity for
enjoying games were left out of my composition, and in consequence are
conspicuous by their absence from our household; but reading has taken
their place, and not one of us is unhappy as long as books are to be
had; but one tires sometimes of this, and I could wish heartily we all
loved games or went in for music, for these tastes are most excellent
safeguards against _ennui_ and the craving for excitement and going
about that all modern folks seem to possess.

Now one word about Sunday in the schoolroom, and we will pass on to
other matters. Whatever you do, never let Sunday be a day of dulness and
penance, but make it as bright and happy as you can. Let the household
rise as early as on a weekday, be regular at some bright, good service,
and make it altogether a bright and pleasant day; let the children see
the ‘Graphic’ and ‘Illustrated London News,’ and read their ordinary
books. If a book is fit for a weekday it is fit for Sunday. Dine early,
because the servants want a little rest, and as a culminating treat have
a nice supper about eight, and let the children share it. Don’t tease
them with strict rules and sad faces, but let them learn on this day to
appreciate rest and to learn something of a higher life, that need not
be kept for Sunday alone, but that one has more time to think of on
Sunday than on any other day of the week.

I do not myself like to see tennis played or boating or driving for
pleasure indulged in, simply, I think, because of old-time prejudice,
and because of the noise made or the work given to one’s coachman and
horses; but logically there is not half as much harm in these pursuits
as there is in the spiteful gossip so many people indulge in after
church, or the wasted hours spent in sleep after a heavy dinner eaten
under protest and grumbled at everlastingly; and I would much rather my
boys played tennis than that they lounged about smoking and sleeping, or
wasted their time reading the ‘Sporting Times,’ and longing after their
far less harmful rackets. But I at present can manage without this, and
prefer to do so, for at present inspecting the animals and wandering
about the garden with them seems to suffice, while newspapers and books
come in on wet days; while we are all so busy during the week, that the
holiday comes as a blessed oasis for which we are all truly thankful.
And the children love the illustrated papers--a storehouse of knowledge
no parent should be without; and the money spent on them is never
wasted, though an Englishman, as a rule, will grudge a few shillings a
week for papers, while he never hesitates for a moment to spend double
the amount on his dinner, or on that Moloch of English households, the

Above all encourage your own and your children’s friends to come in to
tea and talk on Sunday afternoons. This gives no work to the servants,
and always makes a nice break. The tea can be set ready before the maids
go out, and if many cups are wanted they can be washed up early; and any
guest should be made welcome, and sometimes asked to remain for the
early supper, which, being cold, and prepared on Saturday, is again of
no trouble to the maids. I am very fond of Sunday visitors, and as few
English houses open their doors, especially in the country and more
distant suburbs, on that day, visitors are often glad to drop in when
they can be sure of a welcome and a cup of tea.

Tea in the schoolroom is often, too, a very good institution, for thus
the governess sees a little more of life, and acts as hostess; and each
child should have its own cup and saucer and plate. This is a great
safeguard against breakages, for if one is smashed it must be spoken of
at once, and extra cups can be kept for the visitors; but all should be
different, so that any breakage may be seen at once, as generally the
schoolroom-maid is but young, and apt to conceal any small depredations
among the crockery. Now the two great difficulties in a schoolroom are
the governess and the schoolroom-maid, and infinite care must be taken
in the selection of both. Of course the governess is the first care,
and, though she should be mistress in the schoolroom, she yet must only
be a viceroy, and must act for the mother entirely, and not at all on
her own responsibility unless she is expressly desired to do so. No
governess should be engaged who cannot be in some measure a companion to
the mother, to whom and with whom she should be in perfect accord; for
there are endless ways in which the governess can save a mother of a
household, does she make herself really pleasant, if only in conveying
the children to the dentist--a necessary business, but one that need not
harrow the mother’s feelings if the governess is as good and useful as
she ought to be; for the governess does not feel, as a mother does, that
all her teeth are being taken out bodily the moment Tommy opens his
mouth for inspection, and endures none of the vicarious pangs that make
any fanciful mother’s life a burden to her, even though nothing happens.
The governess must be healthy, strong-minded, good-tempered, and, above
all, must have some nice hobbies, and be fond of teaching them; then the
schoolroom will indeed be the heart of the house, and will send out a
series of healthy, happy children into the great world. Make the
governess one with the household; let your interests be hers, the
children for the time being a mutual possession. Take any amount of
trouble to procure a really nice girl of a good family, and then you may
breathe freely; while if the schoolroom-maid comes young too, and is
carefully trained, you will then have a perfectly managed schoolroom,
and feel you can rest awhile should you desire it, secure that your
place is well filled by a competent minister, who will rule in your
place until you return both well and wisely.

Never discuss your governess either with or before the children, and
take care that her life is as much as possible a fac-simile of yours.
Let her have books and papers and share in any gaiety that is going; and
above all try and make her think that she becomes part of the family,
should she really stay some time with you, and that your interest in
her will last as long as life itself. I can imagine nothing more wicked
than to cast off old governesses or servants, and to decline to keep
those who have helped us so much, and in a manner no amount of money
will repay.

The schoolroom would not be complete in my eyes without just a few
sentences on the subject of the children’s dress. This would, in the
case of the girls, consist of good warm underclothing; in two sets of
combination garments, one in wool, the other in long-cloth; a
stay-bodice--never stays on any pretext whatever--made of ribbed
material, on which a flannel skirt should be sewn in winter; then
another skirt, also sewn on a bodice; and finally that invaluable
costume, the ‘smock-frock,’ the skirt trimmed with three rows of tucks,
the sleeves full, and the full bodice drawn in with either a loose band
or a soft sash of Liberty silk. From the day a baby is put into short
clothes until the girl of fifteen becomes too lanky for such a plain
dress, there is no other costume as suitable for all times of the year.
In summer very thin cashmere is enough, with perhaps a soft silk
handkerchief underneath for outdoor wear; in winter a long coat of
cashmere and soft cap make admirable outdoor garments, and are put on in
a very few moments, while all Liberty’s soft silks and cashmeres are
warm without an undue amount of weight, and are all of such lovely
colours that no one thinks of the plainness of the material used for a
moment. Until girls are fifteen they should always wear pinafores of
some kind. I use a very large white diaper pinafore tied with Liberty
sashes, and they should furthermore have shoes with straps and low wide
heels; while for boys nothing is so sensible as the much-copied Jack Tar
suit, with its serge trousers and wide loose shirts, though I personally
prefer the Scotch kilt; the sailor suits are soon shabby and generally
untidy, while the kilts always look well, wear for ever almost, and
there are no knees either of stockings or trousers always giving out and
requiring to be mended every moment or so. After the kilts boys can take
to jackets and trousers, which in perfection can only be bought of
Swears and Wells, Regent Street, W., whose charges are, of course,
rather awful to contemplate, but whose clothes undoubtedly outwear three
suits of any one else’s; and I speak from the experience of my three
boys, for whom I have often tried to go elsewhere, but have always had
to return to Swears, for nowhere else can I buy things that to a certain
extent will defy the rough usage given to them. The sailor suits can be
bought best of Redfern, at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight; the kilts of
Swears also.

To conclude: the eye of the mother should really never be taken from the
children, as long as they are growing. Weak backs should be detected at
once, and allowed to rest on a proper sofa and carefully bathed with
salt water; weak ankles should be treated the same; cuts should be
dressed with calendula and soft rags; a supply of both and of
sticking-plaster should be in every schoolroom cupboard. Camphor is also
a good thing to keep ready; it stops many an incipient cold. A good
supply of fruit and jam and fresh air and regular exercise stop many an
illness and save many a doctor’s bill, and, in fact, a doctor should
indeed rarely be required nowadays in a house where mother, governess,
and nurse really know their business and really look after the children;
for, unless in real illness, doctors seldom are of any use in a
schoolroom, and only add up accounts that are really accounts of the
mother’s ignorance or selfishness or neglect.

Naturally, when children inherit disease--and that people who inherit
diseases or are related should marry is nothing more or less than a
crime in my eyes, and should be to the world at large--or are
susceptible by inheritance to colds, fevers, &c., the above does not
apply; then skilled attention is necessary, and in real cases of need a
doctor should be consulted as early as possible; but all girls, and
indeed boys, should be taught always something about themselves and
their formation, and they should learn early those marvellous,
unchangeable laws of health which, once broken, render not only
themselves but future generations miserable and wretched for ever; but,
of course, great care must be taken here, as indeed everywhere else, to
keep the _via media_, else will the children become self-conscious
prigs, always anxious about themselves and their well-being.



There is yet a more critical time for the parents, I think, than even
the schoolroom time, and that is, first of all, when the boys go off to
school; and, secondly, when we have to realise that the small nursery
toddlers are grown up, and really as capable of taking care of
themselves as we are ourselves. Let me speak of the boys first, as,
after all, that terrible wrench is the worst experience of all, and one,
I hope most truly and sincerely, which will be saved for future mothers,
and that before many years have passed; for I maintain, and always shall
maintain most strenuously, that there never was a worse system of
education than the general education that present-day lads must go
through, or be entirely different to the rest of the male sex, though
even that would be a good thing in my eyes, for I cannot allow that the
male half of the world is so good or so perfect at present that it
cannot be improved, neither can I allow that the result of education as
at present given is in any way as perfect as it might be; and as an
example of what I mean it would be well to consider, I think, why the
return of the boys from school is as the letting loose of a horde of
barbarians on a peaceful land; and why, after the first week at all
events, the urchins cease to be regarded as returned angels, and one and
all are spoken of as ‘those dreadful boys.’

As an example of what I mean, I may speak of one household where the
girls are gently ruled and delicately brought up by their dead mother’s
bridesmaid, who gave up her own one chance of wedded happiness because
of her most romantic attachment to her girlhood friend, and who, when
father and mother died within a few years of each other, leaving a young
and turbulent household to ‘Aunt Mary and Providence,’ came to live
among the children, loving them all, but instinctively looking upon the
boys as just one remove from wild animals.

At least the preparations for their return from Rugby would suggest as
much, for in the big country-house drawing-room the beautiful Indian
carpet is rolled up and replaced by a time-worn drugget, the little
brother’s best hat and coat are relegated from the hall to Aunt Mary’s
own room, covers are put on everything that can be covered, and lace
curtains are moved; and, in fact, when prepared for the holidays, the
whole house appears as if ready to stand a heavy and protracted siege.

Even the garden and greenhouses are rigorously locked; wire shades and
iron hurdles protect tender seedlings and grass edges; the head gardener
wears a countenance of mingled dread and determination; and in the
stables nothing is left get-at-able save the boys’ own ponies, a
venerable ‘four-wheel,’ and sundry odds and ends of ancient harness,
which no one could hurt because its condition is quite hopeless already.

And in a town house, when the holidays are within appreciable distance,
over and over again have I not seen similar preparations, though on a
smaller scale? Have I not noted how nurse puts away the children’s best
toys; how the girls in the schoolroom, aided by their agitated
governess, conceal all their beloved possessions, and train their pets
to ‘lie low,’ as ‘Brer Fox’ would say? Does not Paterfamilias rehearse a
long code of laws, all to be enforced, he says, the moment the boys come
home? And is not Materfamilias, after all, the only creature in the
whole establishment who has not one _arrière pensèe_, and who finds
nothing in the least to spoil the rapture of the return of those who
have never for one moment been out of her thoughts since the last time
she saw them off, through her tears, on their return to Dr. Swishey’s
academy for young gentlemen?

Ah, the boys little know what they cause that tender soul to suffer when
an extra hour’s cricket excuses them for forgetting their weekly letter
home; how the omission makes her turn pale when a sudden ring at the
bell comes, lest it should be a telegram summoning her to the bedside
of the dear things, who are most likely rioting in the playground at the
very moment; and how she is only withheld by dread of ridicule and the
largeness of the railway fare from rushing off at once to see for
herself that all is well; and she has to content herself with writing a
loving letter of expostulation, doubtless characterised as ‘a jaw,’ and
thrown aside half read through.

And when they are at home under her own roof she naturally looks forward
to peace, at all events, and safety from dreads and fears such as these;
but, poor soul, she soon finds out her mistake.

Her days are spent in wondering where the boys have gone to, in
painfully concealing the marks of their ravages in library and staircase
and hall from the paternal eye, and in propitiating the outraged
schoolroom and nursery establishments, who do not see, as she does, that
the fact of its being holiday time accounts for all, and that all should
be forgiven those who are only at home for so short a period in the

But even mother begins to tire of acting as a buffer between her sons
and her husband and the other members of the family. And by the time
cook has given warning--heedless that she is the only woman who can cook
the dinner to suit the master--because Reggie will melt lead in her
spoons or playfully drop gunpowder in the fire, or because some pounds
of butter mysteriously disappeared and followers were hinted at--though
the state of her saucepans and George’s trouser pockets pointed out that
toffee, not the policeman, was at the bottom of the loss--Materfamilias
finds herself wondering how Dr. Swishey manages to look so well at the
end of the term, and begins to think that perhaps after all she will not
be quite as sorry as usual when the cab comes round and the boys go off,
leaving her free to go out to dinner without dreading to see flames
issuing out of the drawing-room windows when the carriage turns the
corner of the Square on her return home, or fearing a summons from the
festive board to bid her go back at once because one or other of the
boys has done something dreadful either to himself or some other member
of the family.

Now, granted that this is not an isolated case--and, judging from a
large personal experience of ‘other folks’ children,’ I venture boldly
to state that this is the rule and not the exception--I as boldly remark
that the present manner of dealing with the _genus homo_ as expressed in
the schoolboy is entirely a wrong one, and, waxing bolder yet, I say
that the grown-up youth evolved from such an education as most lads
obtain nowadays is so emphatically unsatisfactory that I am quite sure
some radical change should be made in the way we bring up our boys.

Born into a home where their sisters are sheltered and cared for until
they leave it for one of their own, from their very birth they are
treated in an entirely different manner. As little mites they govern the
house, because they are of the superior sex, and they are finally sent
away from home into the great world of school, where, neither by age nor
experience, can they be in the least fitted for the warfare, or enabled
by careful and judicious training to hold their own, or to choose
between the good and evil that is so freely offered them there. Small
boys are herded with big ones, who alternately bully and confide in
them; tender and sentimental fancies are derided; and the word ‘manly’
is made to express ferocity, cruelty, uncleanness, and a thousand and
one awful things that, when we discover our children are aware of, we
wonder feebly when and how they have acquired their knowledge.

What wonder the return of the boys is dreaded, when they come as
strangers into a home where God placed them for the careful training,
the unceasing supervision, of body and mind? How can a boy join in and
make part of a circle that for half or even three parts of the year is
complete without him? How can he respect and appreciate laws and routine
that are entirely different to all he has been accustomed to more than
two thirds of his time? And how can he help being spoiled, selfish, and
tyrannical, when the very shortness of his residence under the home-roof
is made an excuse for pampering him and making every one, man, woman,
and child, give way to him, because, poor dear lad, he is only at home
for the holidays, while the others are always there?

There is no doubt in my mind that boys ought to go more into the world
and see more of human nature than girls need do; but with all my
strength I would maintain that the ordinary boarding-school plan is a
great and hideous mistake. By all means let them go to school all day;
but let them at night return home, where the mother’s eye can see how
they are, and how they progress with their lessons, and to insure them
that best of all feeling for any one--the certain knowledge that home is
home to them in the fullest sense of the word; and that, far from being
outsiders or honoured guests, feared as well as honoured, they are part
and parcel of the family, and bound to give and take, sharing the rough
with the smooth, and helping in every way they can to aid the weaker
vessels of the family, and becoming gentlemen in the widest sense of the

Of course, parents who keep their boys at home have little time for
rest, and cannot be incessantly in the very middle of society’s whirl;
but is any price too large to pay for the souls of our children--any
sacrifice too great to insure that one’s boys are to the fullest degree
given the benefit of our knowledge and our shielding care? And shall we
not be repaid for anything it may cost us in the wear-and-tear of our
brain-power if, instead of the stage-door-haunting, toothpick-gnawing
‘masher’ of the present day, we rear a race of manly, God-fearing,
home-loving youths, who may restore the age of chivalry and the strong,
pure, tender-hearted men that were once England’s boast?

Like most problems presented to our minds as we go through the world,
there are here other sides to contemplate beyond the one we have just
attempted to sketch. For there are homes where the boy’s one chance of
salvation is given by a good training at school; where the vanity of the
mother and the evil example of the father are worse than anything else
can possibly be; and where the atmosphere is so pernicious that an
honest and true-hearted schoolmaster dreads to send his pupils home, for
they may once more acquire habits that he is only just beginning really
to eradicate. There are also intensely weak and foolish parents who, not
able to refuse themselves any gratification, cannot debar their children
from having their own way, and who, not having been trained themselves,
cannot train others; and there are yet others who send off their
children to rid themselves of the clear-eyed tormentors who ask such
tiresome questions, and will follow the example of their parents, not
content to be put off with the trite remark that grown-up folks can do
and say things little people would be severely punished and reprimanded
for doing and saying.

Still, notwithstanding these sides to the picture, we can boldly state
that if boys were invariably part of a household, if their parents
accept their responsibilities and see they have no right to pay some
careless person--any one, in fact, who wants to make money by
teaching--to take their responsibilities off their hands, we should very
soon have a different state of things as regards the male sex as a
whole; and at all events we should cease to dread the holidays and speak
of our sons as ‘those dreadful boys.’

But the selfishness of the ordinary parent, and the cupidity of the
orthodox schoolmaster, whose real profits are made from the boarders,
and who, therefore, discourages to the best of his power the idea of
home-boarders, are twin giants in the way of those who only ask to be
allowed to bring up their own children in their own way, and I can but
look forward and hope for other mothers all that I have only been able
to demand for myself in part, and that a very small part of all I would
have wished for the boys, who, once given over to school, only return
for good for a few moments, as it were, on their way to the real battle
of life, which soon engulfs them entirely, and so we never really have
our boys our own, nor are allowed to train them for ourselves at a time
when we alone should be able to do it satisfactorily, because we alone
should understand them best and know what they inherit mentally and
bodily; in fact, the nursery and schoolroom once passed through, we have
lost our children, and have only now to think how we can make home
happy for them until they leave us for their own homes, which will
depend on our early training whether they are happy ones or not.

And indeed one of the most abstruse of all our numerous domestic
problems is shadowed forth in the words ‘quite grown-up,’ for there are
few fathers and mothers who realise, it seems to me, that their children
have actually passed through nursery and schoolroom, and are in deed and
truth quite grown-up, and in consequence of this the domestic relations
become strained, and home ceases to be the pleasant retreat it used to
be from the throng and turmoils of the outside world.

There are most certainly households where the relations are more than
strained, where open hostility replaces the old-time affection, and from
whence sons rush to ‘the bad,’ and daughters marry the first man that
asks them, simply because they wish for freedom and to be able to do as
they like.

Naturally, they often enough discover they have exchanged King Log for
King Stork, and wish themselves at home once more over and over again;
but that such cases are not only possible, but are continually occurring
around us, seems to me so sad, that I should like to say a few words on
the subject of ‘The Proper Relations between Parents and Children,’
hoping in some measure to propose a solution to the problem.

In the first place, we are in some measure suffering from the rebound
that has taken place when the severe bonds that bound our parents were
removed. They suffered themselves so greatly from the petty tyrannies
that were considered the right thing in their youth, that, in desiring
to save their children from similar misery, they have gone to the other
extreme, and allowed such laxity of manner that children rule the house,
as in America, and barely condescend in their grown-up stage to consult
their parents at all about their engagements, their occupations, or even
their friendships or their marriages.

Surely there is a medium between the discipline that enforced silence on
the child until all originality was crushed out of him, that thought
severe strictures on the dress and personal appearance of one’s
daughters the sole way of checking vanity, and that refused confidence
because it was lowering oneself from the awful height occupied by a
parent, and that which is conspicuous by its absence, and that results
in an independent race of young people, who respect nothing, and are
certainly not going to make an exception in the case of their father and
mother, who are either ready to go as great lengths as their children,
or else suddenly assert an authority that only exists in their own
imaginations, and that causes a turmoil because opposition is as
unexpected as it is arbitrary.

If we would have authority we must have it from the very beginning, and
I am old-fashioned enough myself to be a great believer in the nursery
and nursery frocks for very little children. I am always angry, I
confess, when I see a small lady of four or five dressed up to the eyes
in a fantastic frock designed to attract attention to the tiny wearer,
of which she is all too conscious, and carried about from this luncheon
to that tea, to the weariness of herself and all who are not connected
with her; and indeed do well to be angry, for did not she, as one of
those specimens, refuse to go into the country because she found it so
extremely dull; and also because I know it is from such a bringing-up as
this that we obtain the emancipated female or the fast girl, who thinks
of nothing but ‘dress’ and ‘the service,’ and which results, all too
often, in making home miserable for the elder folk, who only see in the
pretty child a plaything flattering to their vanity, and do not
recognise the fact that, much sooner than we expect it, she in her turn
will be quite grown-up.

The nursery stage should emphatically be a time for shabby clothes and
dolls and noise, and for healthy natural play. The midday meal should be
the only one taken with the mother, who, however, should make a point of
knowing all about the others, and should also contrive to be often in
the nursery, and have the children with her for not less than an hour or
two a day.

To insure happiness with a grown-up family these tiny beginnings should
be well studied. The mother’s influence should be so much felt, and so
indispensable to the house, that when withdrawn for a while it should
indeed be something more than missed. But familiarity in early childhood
breeds contempt in youth; and it is well known that a child who is
always with grown-up people never knows what childishness is, and never
becomes as healthy-minded as one who has had a little wholesome neglect
from society and from perpetual supervision of its elders.

When we as parents begin to see the children growing up, we should, I
maintain, then carefully see that our own immediate friends are those
whose society and conversation can do our girls no harm. When I have
occasionally heard talk that has brought blushes to my checks at my
mature age, and seen the young girls not only listening but joining in
it, I have almost been tempted to declare my girls shall never go into
society at all; but as I know this is impossible, I have made up my mind
whose houses they shall go to, reserving to myself the right to tell
them boldly why such and such a one is not a desirable acquaintance.

Then, too, their own friends, made at school or at the homes of mutual
acquaintances, should be welcomed emphatically whenever they like to
come. I remember too well feeling much aggrieved at not being able to
ask an occasional friend to tea to refuse this privilege. But if the
friends become too numerous, it is easy to point out that either you
cannot afford such indiscriminate visiting, or to restrict the number of
visitors to a certain number; only let it be understood that their
friends are always welcome in moderation, and that, though you are
delighted to see them, you do not expect them thrown on your hands for
entertainment, and that you assume the right to point out to your
children the desirability or the reverse of any of their acquaintances,
and that you expect them to give due weight to your opinion.

It is more than necessary, in my mind, to keep perpetually before one’s
children that the home into which they were born is their inheritance
that nothing can take from them. And by this I do not mean that I
consider a parent bound to provide fortunes for either sons or
daughters. I have too often seen the great harm of this to advocate it
for one moment; but that they should always not only be welcome there,
but claim as a right the shelter and counsel and affection that are
their due, no matter what they have done or how grievously they have
sinned. For _no_ cause should a father or mother refuse to see their own
child, and they should a thousand times more never allow the unmarried
daughter to feel herself a burden, whose food and shelter are grudged
her, any more than they should continually hint that marriage is a
woman’s only destiny, refusing to the girls the ample education lavished
on the sons, and so depriving them of every means of making their own

But grown-up daughters, in my eyes, are a most precious possession, if
properly brought up. They at last take some of the heavy burdens a
mother has always to bear alone off her shoulders; and if she be
moderately intelligent, and has intelligently brought up the girls,
there is no reason why they should not be a thousand times more valuable
in her eyes than they were as pretty babies and engaging little girls.

But then we must remember that they are grown-up, that they have an
opinion more or less valuable, and that they have idiosyncrasies to be
respected, the while they respect ours, remembering our position towards
them, our fuller experience, and our affectionate care for them. As long
as the parents live, they should be master and mistress in the house;
but the children should be as viceroys, helping their parents in every
way that they can in their social duties and in the routine of the
house. It is trying, we know, to have the piano going and billiard-balls
rolling when we want to read Jones’s speech on Home Rule, or Gladstone’s
latest statements; but it is far more trying not to know where one’s
children are, and to feel they are happier anywhere else than in their
own homes.

It is their home as much as it is ours, and it will be home indeed if by
judicious training in their youth we have made friends of our children,
if we have given them our confidence, our affection, and our best days,
and have not become strangers to them by being perpetually in society
when they were as perpetually sent to school; the while we have not
become too familiar, and make them old before their time, by taking them
with us to gatherings in smart frocks when they ought to have been
disreputably shabby in pinafores in the nursery. Then we shall discover
that our grown-up sons and daughters are not so many cuckoos pushing us
out of the old nest, but intelligent friends and companions--all the
more delightful to us because they are quite grown-up.



In a small house entertaining one’s friends is too often a most arduous
and tiresome business, because we will one and all of us attempt to do a
great deal too much, and appear to be able to afford all kinds of
luxuries that we cannot possibly manage, and I strongly advise any young
bride with small means and a smaller _ménage_ to confine herself
entirely to afternoon teas, which require no waiting and cost extremely
little, and to refuse on her part to go out to large dinners, which she
cannot return, and for which she can neither afford the necessary dress,
gloves, flowers, nor cabs, asking her friends to invite her to simpler
entertainments boldly, and giving her reasons, which, of course, will be
received kindly and in good faith by her friends. I am convinced that
this absurd striving after society is at the bottom of the falseness of
most of our English entertainments, and I trust some day to see
‘parties’ on a much broader and more satisfactory basis than they are at
present, and I therefore beg all young householders to pause before they
begin the same old round of costly gaiety, and to consider if they at
least cannot bring about a better state of things. I have often in
different houses seen with amazement how invitations are issued, and
wondered if I am the only person who is thus taken behind the scenes and
shown how hollow such invitations often are. Surely I must be, or else
the great crushes I read of would never come off, and the dinners I hear
about would lack guests, for I have rarely heard invitations talked over
without listening to some such conversation as this: ‘Ask the Joneses,
Gertrude.’ ‘Oh no, mother! she _is_ such a dowdy, and their last garden
party was maddening.’ ‘I can’t help it, my dear. I went to their party,
and we must pay them back. And then there are the Brownes; don’t forget
the _e_--ridiculous creatures! It’s astonishing how some people creep
up and others go down.’ ‘And he is dreadful, mother;’ and, in fact, I
could go on for pages, while other pages could be occupied with
descriptions of how the invitation is received at the Joneses’ and the
Brownes’, who all go expecting to be bored or starved, and who return
home to comment spitefully on an entertainment which, if successful,
carries in their minds the donors half-way to the Bankruptcy Court, and,
if a failure, is the cause of a good deal of violent abuse and unkind
sneers levelled at their hosts. And then the conversation at these
entertainments: ‘Have you seen the So-and-so’s lately?’ ‘Oh no; they
never go anywhere now. Didn’t you hear about her and So-and-so?’ But
really, when it comes to the talk I overhear at balls, dinners,
at-homes, or in the Park, I lose my temper, and so will turn at once to
other matters altogether.

Afternoon teas, tennis-parties, and little dinners are all possible to
the young housekeeper, but the little dinners to be inexpensive must be
in the winter, and for them I have written out half a dozen menus which
may be of use in the ordinary household, with the ordinary plain cook of
the period, whose wages are about 20_l._ These will be found at the end
of the chapter, but to insure even such a modest dinner as one of these
makes being a success the mistress must see herself that her glass and
silver are spotless, the table well laid, and the flowers charmingly
arranged by herself.

The very last fashion (which, however, may change next week, but is
worth mentioning because of its simpleness and sense) for table
arrangements is to have no dessert whatever on the table, which has a
piece of embroidery in the centre of the cloth, and then in the middle
of this place a large flat wide-open wicker basket, which you should
cover entirely with moss; border it with ivy or berberis leaves, and
stand any flowers you may be able to procure in such a way that they
appear growing; low groups of flowers are arranged in vases all over the
table with growing ferns in pots, and, in fact, the table is made to
look as much like a bank of flowers as possible. Candles with shades to
match the prevailing hue of the flowers should stand on the table, and
the dessert should be handed round after dinner, and should consist of
one dish of good fruit and one of French sweetmeats, thus simplifying
matters very much indeed.

Flowers should never be mixed; daffodils and brown leaves look lovely
together, so do scarlet geraniums and white azaleas, pink azaleas, and
brown leaves; wisteria and laburnum, Maréchal Niel roses and lilacs, are
all good contrasts, but clumps of yellow tulips, or narcissi or roses,
all one colour, are undoubtedly more fashionable than even the small
contrasts just spoken of, while Salviati glass is beautiful on a table,
and the specimen glasses of that make hold flowers far better than
anything else: and should flowers be scarce the centrepiece could be
all brown ivy and mosses and evergreens, with just a few flowers in the
Salviati glasses only.

But neither food nor flowers, nor, indeed, anything else, will make a
party successful if the mistress does not make a good hostess, and exert
herself to see her quests are happy. She should take care the right
people meet, and nothing should induce her to refrain from introducing
her guests; this is a most ridiculous practice, and is simply laziness.
A hostess is bound to see all her guests are amused, and this can only
be done by personally noticing who is talking to whom, and whether all
the people present have some one with whom to converse.

This absence of introductions makes conversation almost a lost art, and
has made the ordinary ‘society’ nothing more or less than a bore and a
trouble; while, as the ambition of most people is to know more folks
than their neighbours and to go to more balls in one night than our
foremothers used to see in their lifetimes, entertaining has become a
farce and bids fair to die of its own immensity.

Therefore, as these are undoubtedly hard times, and many people are not
‘entertaining’ at all because they cannot now afford to outdo their
neighbours, let me beg any young beginner to start well and simply,
confining herself to those friends she really wishes to see, and to
giving parties that are not above her modest means, and that do not
entail hiring extra help, who smash her crockery and cost a month’s
wages for a few hours’ work, and agitate her so by their vagaries that
she cannot talk sensibly to her neighbour; and let her furthermore ask
people sometimes who cannot ask her again, but who can talk amusingly,
and she will, I am sure, have much more out of her little dinners than
most people do out of a whole London season’s fatigue and expense, both
of which often ruin the health and the future of many a girl, who traces
back to the severe ‘pleasures’ of town the lassitude and suffering that
render the latter half of a woman’s life all too often hours of
suffering and sorrow; for she has used up in the year or two of her
girlhood all the strength and health that should have sustained her all
through her days, and repents at leisure the stupidity and culpable
weakness of the mother who allowed her to sacrifice the possessions for
a lifetime in a few months.

To enable our young housekeeper to manage so that her housekeeping bills
will not overwhelm her after one of her little dinners, I have appended
to each of the menus the exact cost of each, and I strongly advise any
one to whom economy is an object to use New Zealand lamb or mutton. If
properly warmed through and gently thawed close to the fire before
putting it down to roast, the meat is simply delicious and as good as
the best English; but it must be treated carefully, or else it will not
be nice, but when properly thawed no one can tell it from English meat,
and I think housekeepers would be a little astonished if they knew how
often the ‘best English’ meat of the butcher’s book was really and truly
the New Zealand meat they speak of with such horror.

                              MENU NO. I.

                              White Soup.
                     Soles, Sauce Maître d’hôtel.
                           Stuffed Pigeons.
                    Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding.
                              Wild Duck.
                              Mince Pies.
                           French Pancakes.
                        Cauliflower au gratin.

_White Soup._--A quart and a pint of milk, a dozen fine potatoes, piece
of butter size of a walnut, two onions, salt and pepper to taste.
_Simmer_ all together for two hours, then rub through fine hair sieve,
add two tablespoonfuls of sago, and bring all gradually to a boil. Serve
very hot, with dice of bread fried. Cost of soup for six persons, 1_s._

_Fried Soles._--A fine pair at 3_s._ Garnish with lemon and parsley, fry
in _lard_; serve with melted butter, with fine chopped parsley in,
flavoured with lemon. Cost, 3_s._ 6_d._

_Stuffed Pigeons._--Three pigeons at 10_d._ each. Bone them; make a
stuffing of thyme, parsley, crumbs of bread, small piece of ham, a
couple of mushrooms, one egg, salt and pepper to taste; chop altogether
and mix with egg; stuff pigeons and sew them up; put them into a
saucepan, with a small piece of bacon and any stock that may be in the
digester. Stew for half an hour, take them out, divide them into neat
portions, and put them in a hot dish ready for serving. Add a
teaspoonful of flour mixed with water to thicken the gravy they are
stewed in, and strain it through a sieve on the pigeons; then serve.
_Outside_ cost, 3_s._ 6_d._

_Rolled Ribs of Beef._--Six pounds, the bones from which can be used for
stock for the gravy for the pigeons. The beef is rolled by the butcher
ready for roasting. Serve with horse-radish neatly arranged about it,
mashed potatoes, stewed celery; and Yorkshire pudding--half a pint of
milk, six large tablespoonfuls of flour, three eggs, and a tablespoonful
of salt. Put the flour into a basin with the salt, and stir gradually to
this enough milk to make it into a stiff batter; when quite smooth add
the rest of the milk, and the eggs well beaten; beat well together, and
then pour into a shallow tin which has been rubbed with beef dripping;
bake an hour in the oven, and then put under the meat for half an hour.
Meat, 6 lbs. of New Zealand at 10_d._, 5_s._; pudding, 6_d._;
vegetables, 1_s._--6_s._ 6_d._

_Wild Duck_, 4_s._ 6_d._--Plainly roasted; served with cayenne pepper,
lemons cut in halves, and fried potatoes. 5_s._

_Mince Pies._--Make some good puff paste by allowing one pound of butter
to each pound of flour; line small patty pans and bake; fill with
mincemeat (which can be bought ready-made and excellent for 10_d._ a
jar, which is sufficient for a dozen pies), cover with thin paste, and
put into a brisk oven for twenty-five minutes; serve with sifted sugar
over them.

_French Pancakes._--Take two eggs, and their weight in sugar, flour, and
butter; mix well together; add quarter of a teacupful of milk; mix well
together; bake in saucer for twenty minutes, filling each saucer only
half full; take out; spread small quantity of jam, then fold over; dust
sifted sugar over the top, and serve very hot. Cost, 8_d._

_Cauliflower au gratin._--Fine cauliflower nicely boiled; then grate a
quarter of a pound of cheese over it, and place small atoms of butter
about the top of it; add a little cayenne and salt to taste; put in the
oven to brown, and serve very hot. Cost altogether, about 8_d._

_Complete cost of dinner._--Soup, 1_s._; fish, 3_s._ 6_d._; entrée,
3_s._ 6_d._; beef, 6_s._ 6_d._; game, 5_s._; mince pies, 1_s._ 6_d._;
pancakes, 8_d._; cheese, 8_d._--1_l._ 2_s._ 4_d._

                             MENU NO. II.

                              Clear Soup.
                        Turbot, Lobster Sauce.
                         Cutlets à la Réforme.
                      Turkey, Stuffed Chestnuts.
                            Pears in Jelly.
                       Prince Albert’s Pudding.
                             Cheese Fondu.

_Clear Soup._--Sixpennyworth of bones, three carrots, three onions,
sprig of thyme, two sprigs of parsley, one blade of mace, a dozen
peppercorns, head of celery. Simmer whole day in three quarts of water,
let it stand all night, remove fat in the morning, boil it again next
day, let it come to boiling point, throw in the whites and shells of two
eggs, whip it altogether when it boils, remove from fire, then skim it,
and pass it through a jelly-bag; put a little macedoine in the bottom of
a hot tureen and pour soup over, add a glass of sherry and serve.
Outside cost, 1_s._

_Half a Turbot._--Tinned lobster, cut in dice, put into melted butter,
and flavoured with anchovy. Turbot, about 3_s._; sauce, 9_d._

_Cutlets à la Réforme._--Three pounds of the loin of pork cut into
cutlets and fried; make about a gill of melted butter, add to it two
tablespoonfuls of the liquor from a bottle of piccalilly and six or
eight pieces of the pickle cut small. When very hot put on your dish,
arrange cutlets in round, and put the pickle-sauce in the middle.
Outside cost, 3_s._

_Small Turkey._--Stuffed with ordinary stuffing, with about two dozen
chestnuts boiled soft and added to the stuffing, sausages, bread-sauce,
Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes. Turkey, 6_s._; stuffing &c., 2_s._
more; outside cost, 8_s._

Three teal at 1_s._ each, plainly roasted, and sent in on slices of
toast; lemons and cayenne pepper. 3_s._ 6_d._

_Eclairs._--Bought at any confectioner’s at 2_d._ each. 1_s._

_Pears in Jelly._--Six stewing pears, 2 oz. sugar, 2 oz. butter, one
pint water, half an ounce gelatine soaked in water; stew the pears until
they are soft, turn out into a basin, and add the gelatine when hot;
place pears when _comparatively_ cold round buttered mould, pour in
syrup, turn out when set, serve cold. 8_d._

_Prince Albert’s Pudding._--Quarter of a pound of bread-crumbs, quarter
of a pound of butter, 2 oz. sugar, two tablespoonfuls of raspberry jam,
two eggs, mixed thoroughly, placed in mould, and boiled for two hours
and a half; serve hot with sifted sugar over. Outside cost, 1_s._

_Cheese Fondu._--Two eggs, the weight of one in Cheddar cheese, the
weight of one in butter; pepper and salt to taste, separate the yolks
from the whites of the eggs, beat the former in a basin, and grate the
cheese, break the butter into small pieces, add it to the other
ingredients with pepper and salt, beat all together thoroughly, well
whisk the whites of the eggs, stir them lightly in, and bake the fondu
in a small cake tin, which should be only half filled, as the cheese
will rise very much; pin a napkin round the tin and serve very hot and
quickly, as if allowed to stand long it would be quite spoiled. Average
cost, 5_d._

Soup, 1_s._; fish, 3_s._ 9_d._; cutlets, 3_s._; turkey, 6_s._; teal,
3_s._ 6_d._; éclairs, 1_s._; pears, 8_d._; pudding, 1_s._--cheese,
5_d._--1_l._ 0_s._ 4_d._

                             MENU NO. III.

                              Hare Soup.
                  Filleted Soles à la Maître d’hôtel.
                            Mutton Cutlets.
                           Sirloin of Beef.
                        Peaches, whipped cream.
                           Cabinet Pudding.
                            Toasted Cheese.

_Hare Soup._--Sprig of thyme, sprig of parsley, three onions, three
carrots, two turnips, one head celery, twelve peppercorns, half a dozen
cloves, three quarts of water, sixpennyworth of bones, a small hare cut
up into joints; simmer all together for about three hours. Take out the
meat of the hare and put bones back. Keep the soup simmering the whole
day, set aside at night; skim off fat next morning. When wanted thicken
with one tablespoonful of flour mixed with a little of the stock; put in
meat, rub all through sieve into a _hot_ tureen; serve with dice of
fried bread. Cost, 5_s._

_Soles._--Three small soles, filleted, plain boiled, each piece rolled
and placed on a small skewer, which is removed when the fish is sent to
table, served covered with sauce made as follows:--Half a pint of milk,
tablespoonful of flour, mixed to smooth paste with a little milk, piece
of butter size of walnut, salt and pepper to taste, two teaspoonfuls of
parsley, teaspoonful of lemon juice. Average cost, 2_s._ 9_d._

_Mutton Cutlets._--Two pounds best end of the neck of mutton (New
Zealand, 6½_d._ per lb.) cut thin, egged and bread-crumbed, fried in
boiling lard to a light brown, arranged in a crown with fried parsley in
centre, fried in same lard. 1_s._ 6_d._

Six pounds of the sirloin, at 10_d._, nicely roasted, and sent to table
garnished with horse-radish, Brussels sprouts, and fried potatoes;
Yorkshire pudding, as per receipt in menu. 6_s._ 6_d._, outside cost.

_Ptarmigan._--Plainly roasted, sent in on to toast, basted _well_ with
dripping, or else they are very dry, bread-sauce, with a very little
cayenne pepper added, mashed potatoes. About 4_s._

Tin of American peaches, sweetened to taste, arranged round cream,
sixpennyworth whipped well, any whites of eggs can be added; flavour
with four drops essence of vanille; the cream must be heaped up in the
centre of the peaches. Tin of peaches, 10½_d._; cream, 6_d._; extras,
3_d._ Average cost, 1_s._ 7½_d._

_Cabinet Pudding._--Four sponge-cakes, 2 oz. raisins, currants, and
sultanas mixed, small piece of lemon-peel, nutmeg to taste, two eggs,
sufficient milk to soak cakes, 1 oz. sugar, teacupful of milk, in which
the two eggs should be beaten and poured over the sponge-cakes; set all
to soak for an hour; place the currants &c. first in a buttered mould,
then slices of sponge-cake, then more currants, and then sponge-cakes,
until the mould is three parts full; then mix eggs, milk, sugar, and
nutmeg all together, beat well, pour it over the pudding, set it for an
hour to swell, then tie tightly down, boil for two hours and a half;
serve very hot with melted butter poured over, flavoured with two
tablespoonfuls of brandy and a little sugar. 9_d._

_Toasted Cheese._--Grate a quarter of a pound of cheese on lightly
toasted bread, pepper and salt to taste, tiny piece of butter on each
square; put in the oven for a few moments to melt cheese, add cayenne,
serve very hot. Cost about 9_d._

Soup, 5_s._; fish, 2_s._ 9_d._; cutlets, 1_s._ 6_d._; beef, 6_s._ 6_d._;
ptarmigan, 4_s._; peaches, 1_s._ 7½_d._; pudding, 9_d._; cheese,
9_d._--1_l._ 2_s._ 10½_d._

                             MENU NO. IV.

                             Carrot Soup.
                    Cutlets of Cod. Anchovy Sauce.
                           Curried Kidneys.
                    Rolled Loin of Mutton, stuffed.
                    Boiled Pheasant, Celery Sauce.
                      Plum Pudding, Brandy Sauce.
                           Chocolate Cream.
                           Cheese Soufflés.

_Carrot Soup._--Three pints of stock, made of threepennyworth of bones
cracked, and put in about two quarts of water; add three carrots, three
onions, and a head of celery, a little thyme and parsley. Simmer the
whole day; allow the fat to rise during the night, removing every scrap
of it the next morning, when proceed as follows:--Put two onions and one
turnip into the stock and simmer for three hours; then scrape and cut
thin six large carrots; strain the soup on them, and stew altogether
until soft enough to pass through a hair sieve; then boil all together
once more, and add seasoning to taste; add cayenne. The soup should be
red, and about the consistency of pease soup. Serve hot with fried dice
of bread. Outside cost, 1_s._

_Cutlets of Cod._--About 4 lbs. of cod, at 4_d._, cut into large
cutlets; fry them, having previously covered them with egg and
bread-crumbs. Serve with plain melted butter, flavoured nicely with
anchovy. Cost, 1_s._ 8_d._

_Curried Kidneys._--Three nice-sized kidneys, cut and skinned and put
into any stock; one apple, one onion. Thicken all with a teaspoonful of
flour and a teaspoonful of curry powder; small piece of butter, pepper,
and salt. Stew for half an hour; add plain boiled rice, carefully done,
and serve very hot. Average cost, 10_d._

Six pounds of loin of mutton at 9_d._ a pound--New Zealand, bone, and
then prepare a stuffing with thyme, parsley, bread-crumbs, and about 2
oz. of suet, all chopped very fine; add salt and pepper to taste, mix
with one egg. Put this thickly inside the mutton; roll it, and secure
with skewers. Serve with currant jelly (3½_d._ a pot), mashed
potatoes, and nice cauliflower. Outside cost, 6_s._

_Boiled Pheasant._--One quite sufficient for six people, plain boiled,
and covered with celery sauce, made as follows:--Half a pint of milk,
two teaspoonfuls of flour mixed to a smooth paste with a little milk.
Stew one head of celery in the milk until tender, then add a piece of
butter size of a walnut, and pepper and salt to taste. Pass all through
fine sieve into a hot tureen, and then serve. Pheasant, 2_s._ 6_d._;
sauce, 6_d._

_Plum Pudding._--Three-quarters of a pound of raisins, ¾ lb. of
currants, ¼ lb. of mixed peel, ¼ lb. and half a ¼ lb. of
bread-crumbs, same quantity of suet, four eggs, half a wineglassful of
brandy. Stone and cut the raisins in halves, do not chop them; wash and
dry the currants, and mince the suet finely; cut the candied peel into
thin slices and grate the bread very fine. Mix these dry ingredients
well, then moisten with the eggs (which should be well beaten) and the
brandy; stir well, and press the pudding into a buttered mould, tie it
down tightly with a floured cloth, and boil for five or six hours. Cost,
2_s._ Special sauce.--Two ounces of butter beaten to a cream, 2 oz. of
sugar, three parts of a glass of sherry and brandy mixed, beaten all
together to a stiff paste. Cost, 10_d._

_Chocolate Cream._--One and a half ounce of grated chocolate, 2 oz. of
sugar, ¾ of a pint of cream, ¾ oz. of Nelson’s gelatine, and the
yolks of three eggs. (N.B.--If the whites of the eggs are added to the
cream, and all well mixed, less cream can be used.) Beat the yolks of
the eggs well, put them in a basin with the grated chocolate, the sugar,
and rather more than half the cream, stir all together, pour into a jug,
set jug in a saucepan of boiling water, and stir all one way until the
mixture thickens, but do not allow it to boil, or it will curdle; strain
all into a basin, stir in the gelatine and the other portion of cream,
which should be well whipped; then pour into a mould which has been
previously oiled with the very purest salad oil; turn out when cold.
Outside cost, 2_s._

_Cheese Soufflés._--Quarter of a pound of cheese grated, two
tablespoonfuls of flour, piece of butter size of walnut, two eggs, half
a teacupful of milk, cayenne and salt to taste; mix well together, and
put in a saucepan over fire for about five minutes, stirring all the
time to prevent burning; drop a tablespoonful of the mixture into
buttered patty-pans; put in a steamer until set; then take them out and
put on a sieve to cool; cover with egg and bread-crumb, and fry in
boiling lard; serve hot. Cost, about 8_d._ Half this quantity sufficient
for six people.

_Cost of Dinner._--Soup, 1_s._; fish, 1_s._ 8_d._; curried kidneys,
10_d._; meat, 6_s._; game, 3_s._; pudding and sauce, 2_s._ 10_d._;
cream, 2_s._; cheese, 4_d._--17_s._ 9_d._

                              MENU NO. V.

                          Mulligatawny Soup.
                         Cod and Oyster Sauce.
                        Croquettes of Chicken.
                     Leg of Mutton à la Bretonne.
                         Méringues à la crême.
                            Cheese Straws.

_Mulligatawny Soup._--Three pints of stock, made by taking
threepennyworth of bones, breaking them small, and putting them to
simmer on one side of the fire for the whole of the day before it is
required, with three carrots, three onions, one head of celery, and one
clove, and a small piece of bacon; stand all night in larder; remove fat
next morning. Boil a rabbit, cut it in dice, and fry; then add it, with
a small amount of lemon juice and two tablespoonfuls of curry powder
mixed smooth with stock separately, to the stock. Serve very hot, with
plain boiled rice on separate dish. Cost of soup, 2_s._ 4_d._--rabbit,
1_s._ 6_d._; bones, 3_d._; vegetables, 3_d._; rice, 1_d._; bacon, 1_d._;
curry powder, 2_d._

Three pounds of cod at 6_d._ a pound, plain boiled; eight oysters cut in
half for sauce, which is made of the liquor of the oysters; teacupful of
milk, piece of butter size of walnut, salt, and two teaspoonfuls of
flour. Cod, 1_s._ 6_d._; oysters, 8_d._; milk, butter, &c., 3_d._--2_s._

_Croquettes of Chicken._--Take the two legs of a nicely cooked chicken
(the bones of which can be added to those for soup); mince the meat
small, then pound smooth in a mortar. Make a sauce with a piece of
butter size of a walnut, one onion chopped fine and browned, and half a
teacupful of milk; when at boiling point add one teaspoonful of flour,
mixed smooth with milk, salt, and pepper to taste, add the yolks of two
eggs, then put in the chicken and stir all together until thoroughly
mixed, remove from fire; when cold make up the mixture into croquettes,
cover with egg and bread-crumbs, and fry in dripping from leg of mutton;
serve very hot garnished with parsley. Any remains of cold chicken will
do for this dish. Portion of chicken, 9_d._; eggs (3), 2½_d._,
sometimes 3_d._; total cost, 1_s._ 2½_d._

_Leg of Mutton à la Bretonne._--Choose a leg of Welsh mutton about 6
lbs. in weight, get four cloves of garlic, make an incision with the
point of a knife in four different parts round the knuckle and place the
garlic in it, hang it up for a day or two, and then roast it for an hour
and a half. Take a quart of French haricots and place them in a saucepan
with half a gallon of water. Add salt, half an ounce of butter, and set
them to simmer until tender, when the liquor must be poured into a
basin. Keep the haricots hot, peel and cut two large onions into thin
slices, put some of the fat from the dripping-pan into the fryingpan,
put in the onions, and fry a light brown. Add them to the haricots, with
the fat &c. that the mutton has produced in roasting, season with salt
and pepper, toss them about a little, and serve very hot on a large dish
on which the mutton is put, garnished with a frill. Serve with mashed
potatoes, Brussels sprouts, currant jelly. Cost, with best Welsh mutton,
8_s._; with New Zealand, _just as good_, 5_s._

_Roasted Pheasant_, 2_s._ 6_d._--Plainly and nicely roasted, sent in on
a bed of bread-crumbs made from crusts and pieces of bread dried in the
oven and rolled small with the rolling-pin. Potatoes plainly boiled and
rubbed through a sieve, with a very small piece of butter. 2_s._ 9_d._

_Méringues._--Use the three whites of the eggs the yolks of which you
have used for the croquettes; whisk them to a stiff froth, and with a
wooden spoon stir in quickly a quarter and half a quarter of a pound of
white sifted sugar. Put some boards in the oven thick enough to prevent
the bottom of the méringues from acquiring too much colour. Cut some
strips of paper about two inches wide, put this on the board, and drop a
tablespoonful at a time of the mixture on paper, giving them as nearly
as possible the shape of an egg, keeping each méringue about two inches
apart. Strew over some sifted sugar, and bake in a moderate oven for
half an hour. As soon as they begin to colour remove them; take each
slip of paper by the two ends and turn it gently on the table, and with
a small spoon take out the soft part. Spread some clean paper, turn the
méringues upside down, and put them into the oven to harden; then fill
with whipped cream just flavoured with vanilla and sweetened with sugar;
put two halves together and serve. Threepennyworth of cream is _quite_
enough for six people, so this dish would cost about 4_d._, as the eggs
were charged for in the croquettes. 4_d._

_Turret Puddings._--Take two eggs, add their weight in flour, sugar, and
butter; beat the eggs thoroughly first, then add sugar and flour and the
butter melted; beat all together to a cream; fill small tins, bake for
twenty minutes; add sauce, made from milk, two teaspoonfuls of flour,
and a tablespoonful of brandy; serve hot. Outside cost, 1_s._

_Cheese Straws._--Two ounces of butter, 2 oz. of flour, 2 oz. of
bread-crumbs, 2 oz. of cheese grated, half a small saltspoon of mixed
salt and cayenne; mix all together to a paste, and roll it out a quarter
of an inch in thickness; cut it into narrow strips, lay them on a sheet
of paper, and bake for a few minutes; arrange them in a pyramid on a
napkin, and serve hot. Cost, 6_d._

_General cost of dinner._--Soup, 2_s._ 4_d._; fish, 2_s._ 5_d._; entrée,
1_s._ 2½_d._; mutton, 8_s._; game, 2_s._ 9_d._; sweets (2), 1_s._
4_d._; cheese, 6_d._--18_s._ 6½_d._ Very excellent thick cream can be
had from the Gloucester Dairy Company, Gloucester, who send 16 oz. for
1_s._ postage paid. This is invaluable for méringues. The Gloucester
Dairy Company’s little Gloucester cheeses for 2_s._ 6_d._ are also very
useful for dinner-parties.

                             MENU NO. VI.

                             Almond Soup.
                         Salmon, Caper Sauce.
                             Beef Olives.
                          Grilled Mushrooms.
                           Saddle of Mutton.
                              Tipsy Cake.
                           College Pudding.
                             Apple Jelly.
                           Macaroni Cheese.

_White Soup._--Two pounds of veal, two quarts of water, one onion,
quarter of a pint of cream, an ounce of butter, two dozen sweet almonds
pounded to paste, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Boil the veal,
water, and onion slowly all the previous day, take off all the fat,
strain, add other ingredients, thicken with one pennyworth of arrowroot,
and serve very hot. 2_s._ 10_d._

_Salmon._--Three pounds, nicely boiled, plain melted butter; add a small
amount of liquor from a bottle of capers, a teaspoonful of the capers
chopped fine, and half a teaspoonful of lemon juice. Fish, 7_s._ 6_d._;
sauce, 6_d._

_Beef Olives._--One pound of beefsteak, cut in squares about three
inches and half an inch thick, chopped thyme and parsley, pepper and
salt sprinkled over the beef, roll each piece, place on small skewer,
stew in stock for an hour, thicken stock with a little flour and butter,
pour over the olives, and serve very hot. 1_s._ 2_d._

_Grilled Mushrooms._--Wipe a dozen mushrooms carefully, place on tin in
front of fire with a small piece of butter, salt and pepper to taste on
each, have ready twelve little pieces of toasted bread, and when done
put a mushroom on each piece; serve very hot. Outside cost, 2_s._ 6_d._

_Small Saddle of Mutton_ (_about 8 lbs._).--Currant jelly, potatoes put
through sieve after well boiling, stewed celery covered with melted
butter, currant jelly. Outside cost of all, 10_s._

_Widgeon._--Plainly roasted, sent in very hot with their own gravy,
lemon juice, and cayenne; potato shavings--potatoes to be cut in thin
strips, fried a light brown in boiling lard, then placed on blotting
paper to remove grease, placed in _hot_ vegetable dish and served. 3_s._

_Tipsy Cake._--Take a sixpenny Madeira cake, cut it in three rounds,
spread the rounds with raspberry jam, scoop out the middle of the top
slices, soak it in a quarter of a pint of sherry until tender; fill up
centre with preserved fruit, and cover with whipped cream. Outside cost,

_College Pudding._--Butter a shape, stick it all round with split
raisins, line with brown cut from a sally lunn, cut the rest in slices,
and put it with a few ratifias and macaroons into the mould; beat two
eggs in enough milk to cover the pudding; add a tablespoonful of sugar,
cover it with a buttered paper and a cloth; boil it for an hour. Cost,

_Apple Shape._--Two pounds of apples, boiled to a pulp in half a
teacupful of water, juice of one lemon, two ounces of sugar, half an
ounce of gelatine, soaked in quarter of a pint of water; mix well
together, and rub together through a hair sieve whilst hot; butter a
mould, pour in, leave until cold. Serve with custard made as
follows:--Quarter of a pint of milk, one egg, teaspoonful of corn-flour,
sugar to taste; bring the milk to boiling point, and add other
ingredients; stir until thick, remove from fire, set to cool; when cold
pour it over the shape. 10_d._

_Macaroni Cheese._--Quarter of a pound of macaroni, two ounces of
butter, three ounces of Cheddar cheese, pepper and salt to taste, half a
pint of milk, one pint of water, bread-crumbs. Boil the macaroni until
tender in the milk and water, sprinkle cheese and some of the butter
among it, then season with the pepper, and cover all with finely grated
bread-crumbs. Warm the rest of the butter and pour it over the
bread-crumbs; brown it before a fire, and serve very hot. Cost, 9_d._

Soup, 2_s._ 10_d._; fish, 8_s._; beef olives, 1_s._ 2_d._; mushrooms,
2_s._ 6_d._; mutton, 10_s._; widgeon, 3_s._; sweets, 3_s._ 10_d._;
cheese, 10_d._ Total cost, 1_l._ 12_s._ 2_d._

       *       *       *       *       *

I think the receipts given above would form the nucleus for any amount
of moderate entertainment, but I may speak of two capital books which
would assist any young housekeeper, and which have done me so much good
I should be ungrateful not to mention them. One is Mrs. de Salis’s
‘Entrées à la Mode,’ published by Longmans at 1_s._ 6_d._, and the other
is Mrs. Beeton’s ‘Household Management,’ a 7_s._ 6_d._ book, but one no
mistress of a household should ever think of being without.

Though naturally invalids’ cooking does not come in properly when one
should be thinking of nothing but pleasant matters, cooking reminds me
of a valuable piece of information given to me by a friend, and at the
risk of being called to order I must just give one hint in regard to
beef-tea, the making of which is often very wasteful and tiring to an
invalid’s patience, and which can be made most successfully by taking a
nice juicy beefsteak and cutting off all the superfluous fat; then this
should be salted and peppered to taste, and floured on both sides; then
the bottom of a stew-pan should be covered with just enough water to
keep the meat from sticking, and the meat should be allowed to stew by
the side of the fire from one hour and a quarter, according to size. The
gravy is excellent rich beef-tea, while the steak itself is beautifully
tender and fit to be sent to table. One or two allspice berries put in
with the meat give a flavour of wine, and thus we have good pleasant
beef-tea for an invalid and luncheon for ourselves, with none of the
waste that often accompanies the making of what is all too often a
tasteless, greasy, and disagreeable compound.

Another dish for a convalescent is made by treating a chop in the same
way as a steak as regards the pepper, salt, and flour. It is then put on
a plate with a tablespoonful of water, covered with another plate
exactly the same size, and put into a slow oven for more than an hour.
When cooked, the top plate should be turned down to the bottom, so the
chop is hot to the last, and has not been disturbed, and is so tender
and thoroughly cooked it does not need masticating, and it is also so
nice that many clergymen are glad to find this ready for them after
leaving church, instead of the orthodox cold supper. It literally cooks
itself, and is therefore no trouble on Sundays; while for a country
doctor, whose hours are uncertain, and who all too often subsists on
either sodden or scorched-up food, it is a perfect dish, and should be
recollected by all those good housewives who are often enough at their
wits’ end to find something nice for the bread-winner when he returns
home after a long and fatiguing drive over country roads and open moors.

So, that I may not be utterly condemned for dragging in my invalids, I
will just mention that a very nice dish for a small evening party is
made by simply grating raw chestnuts up very finely into a dish, and
covering them thickly with whipped cream, sweetened and flavoured to
taste; while tins of American peaches, placed in a deep dish and
sweetened to taste and covered with good whipped cream, are also things
most useful to the country housewife, who is often called upon to
provide a good _extra_ dish in a hurry, despite her distance from shops
and the impossibility of getting anything decent in her village; while
Edwards’ desiccated soup is an excellent ‘standby’ in any country house,
for with its aid soup is always forthcoming; and with soup and a
pretty-looking sweet the simplest dinner may be made to pass off with
sufficient _éclat_ to satisfy a guest who may have been cajoled into
sharing pot-luck, despite the fact that the nearest butcher is four
miles off and that it is not the game season--a species of entertaining
most trying to any one, especially in the country, but which even there
can be faced with equanimity if we have sense, a few tinned provisions
in our store-cupboards, and a cook who does not become flurried and who
has her stockpot always going. A very good dinner can be extemporised by
adding some of Edwards’ desiccated soup to the ordinary soup; a
side-dish can be made from poached eggs on spinach, from tinned lobsters
made into cutlets, from any remains of cold meat made into croquettes;
while pancakes and tinned peaches and cream add sufficient variety to
whatever had been prepared for the late dinner, which can be
furthermore supplemented and helped out by some of the cooked cheese
prepared in one of the ways given in the menu receipts; but a welcome
must be forthcoming too, else no amount of dinner will make the
unexpected guest feel as if he were being entertained.

One last hint: always, unless you live in London, keep two or three new
toothbrushes and a clean brush and comb in the house; then, should your
guest be willing to remain until the next morning unexpectedly, you will
even be ready for that emergency, and will not have one tiny flaw left
to be found in your simple but most complete system of entertaining.



I have been so continually asked what is the very smallest possible sum
of money that will suffice to furnish a little house for a young couple
beginning life, that I have drawn up from actual bills a short schedule
of the cost of furnishing the ordinary villa residence in the suburbs.
But to this must be added quite another 50_l._ should the householder
have literally every single thing to buy; for in this special house, as
will be seen from the list, several rather important items were already
procured, and wedding presents made a great and perceptible difference
in the appearance of the modest _ménage_, as is fortunately generally
the case with all young couples starting in life, who, if they are wise,
will only purchase necessaries at first, saving their money until they
are actually married, and know not only what their friends have given
them, but also what the house itself really requires. There is no doubt,
if this be done, the following will suffice at first; and on 150_l._ the
house will not only look nice but artistic too.


    Bought of                                                £ _s._ _d._
  A. and R. Smee  Six oak-framed rush-seated chairs at 25_s._  7  10   0
  Maple           Mahogany table                             3   5   0
   “              Kidderminster square carpet                1  17   6
  Burnett         Felt for curtains                          1   4   9
  Whiteley        Fender                                     0   7   6
    “             Fireirons                                  0   9   6
                                                           £14  14   3

There were two deep cupboards in this special room, which rendered the
purchase of a sideboard unnecessary; if one be imperative, I recommend
the purchase of Maple’s ‘Vicarage’ suite of furniture at 20_l._ It is
both pretty and good, I _hear_; I have not actual personal experience of


    Bought of                                              £ _s._ _d._
  Shoolbred           Two squares of carpet                3  15   0
  Maple               Sofa and pillows, covered velveteen  9   2   6
  Whiteley            Fenders                              1   5   6
     “                Fireirons                            0  15   0
  Smee                Walnut octagonal table               5   0   0
    “                 Stuffed arm-chair                    5  18   0
    “                 Sutherland table                     2   0   0
    “                 Low chair                            0  16   6
    “                 Arm-chair in rush &c.                1   2   6
    “                 Walnut and rush easy chair           2   5   0
  Whiteley            Two low basket chairs                1   0   0
      “               Cushions made at home                0  12   0
  Burnett             Cretonne for curtains &c.            1  10   0
  Holroyd and Barker  Muslin for second curtains           0  10   6
                                                         £35  12   6

I strongly advise in addition to this one of Messrs. Trübner’s excellent
revolving bookcases, of which a drawing was made in my dining-room
sketch. I consider no lover of books should be without one of these
invaluable bookcases.


    Bought of                                              £ _s._  _d._
  Maple               Black and brass bedstead             3   5   0
    “                 Excelsior spring mattress            2   9   0
    “                 Hair mattress                        3  10   0
    “                 Bolster                              0  17   6
    “                 Four pillows (5_s._ each)            1   0   0
  Smee                Washing-stand                        5   5   0
    “                 Dressing-table and glass             5   5   0
  Maple               Kidderminster square                 1  14   0
  Smee                Two pretty chairs (5_s._)            0  10   0
  Maple               Box ottoman                          2  15   0
  Smee                Chest of drawers                     6  10   0
  Burnett             Cretonne for curtains                0  15   0
  Smee                Muslin for ditto (4½_d._)         0   6   0
  Whiteley            Fender                               0   4   3
     “                Fireirons                            0   3  11
                                                         £34   9   8

Ware was in the possession of the young people, but a nice set can be
bought for 7_s._ 6_d._, and even a little less; glass jug and glass for
1_s._ 6_d._, at Douglas’s, the artistic glass-shop in Piccadilly.


    Bought of                                              £ _s._ _d._
  Treloar    Rug on floor                                  0  12   0
  Whiteley   Bath                                          1   1   0
  Watts      Dressing-table and washing-stand combined     6   5   0
  Maple      Wardrobe                                      5   0   0
    “        Set of ware &c.                               0   8   6
                                                         £13   6   6


    Bought of                                              £ _s._ _d._
  Maple      Five-foot bedstead                            2   5   0
    “        Excelsior mattress                            2   9   0
    “        Hair mattress                                 3  10   0
    “        Bolster and pillows (4)                       1  17   6
  Smee       Washing-stand                                 5   5   0
    “        Dressing-table and glass, very deep drawers   5   5   0
    “        Two chairs (5_s._)                            0  10   0
    “        Chest of drawers                              4  10   0
  Burnett    Cretonne for curtains                         0  15   0
  Smee       Muslin    “    “                              0   6   0
  Treloar    Kidderminster square                          1   1   0
  Whiteley   Fender                                        0   4   3
    “        Fireirons                                     0   3  11
    “        Set of ware                                   0   5   0
                                                         £28   6   8


    Bought of                                              £ _s._ _d._
  Maple      Japanned bedstead                             0  13   6
    “        Palliasse                                     0   6   9
    “        Mattress                                      0  10   0
    “        Bolster and pillow                            0   9   0
    “        Dressing-table                                0   4   9
    “        Toilet-glass                                  0   5   0
    “        Set of ware                                   0   3   9
    “        Chair                                         0   2   0
    “        Washing-stand                                 0   5   0
    “        Dhurries for bedside                          0   3  10
                                                          £4   5   1


    Bought of                                              £ _s._ _d._
  Shoolbred  Kalmuc stair-carpet                           2  15   0
  Maple      Umbrella-stand                                0  12   0
    “        Hooks and rails for hats                      0  15   0
                                                          £4   2   0


(Whiteley for all.)

                                    £  _s._  _d._
  Deal Table                        1  1  6
  Two Chairs (3_s._ 9_d._)              0  7  6
  Three cups and saucers (2¾_d._)  0  0  8¼
  Three plates (2¼_d._)            0  0  6¾
  One bread-and-butter plate        0  2  4¾
  Two bowls                         0  0  4½
  Set of jugs                       0  1  6
  Bread-pan                         0  1  6½
  Four brown jars                   0  2  11
  Two pie-dishes                    0  1  1½
  Hot-water jug                     0  2  6
  Slop-pail                         0  4  9
  Knife-tray                        0  1  6
  Egg-whisk                         0  0  7½
  Fish-slice                        0  0  10½
  Mincing-knife                     0  1  4½
  Sugar-tin                         0  2  3
  Weights and scales                0  8  11
  Pestle and mortar                 0  3  3
  Copper kettle                     0  7  3
  Two wire covers                   0  1  3½
  Sweep’s brush for stove           0  1  1½
  Two stove-brushes                 0  3  4
  Banister brush                    0  2  0
  Scrubbing-brushes                 0  1  3½
  Broom                             0  2  11
  Carpet-broom                      0  2  11
  Knifeboard                        0  1  1½
  Two plate-brushes                 0  1  9½
  Plate-polisher                    0  1  6½
  Salt-box                          0  1  3½
  Leather                           0  1  1½
  Housemaid’s box                   0  2  3½
  One fork-tin                      0  0  6½
  Colander                          0  1  4½
  Spice-box                         0  1  11½
  Cake-tin                          0  0  7½
  Tart-tins                         0  0  5¾
  Patty-pans                        0  0  6½
  Meat-saw                          0  1  11½
  Meat-chopper                      0  1  11½
  Coalscuttle                       0  4  6
  Coal-hammer                       0  0  10¾
  Coal-shovel                       0  2  3
  Toast-fork                        0  0  6½
  Pepper-box                        0  0  4¾
  Tea-tray                          0  1  11½
  Paste jagger                      0  1  11½
  Two flat irons                    0  1  9½
  Pail                              0  1  4½
  Brass water-jug                   0  5  6
  Japanned can                      0  5  11
  Two saucepans                     0  9  6
  One saucepan                      0  2  3
  One saucepan                      0  1  9½
  ‘Digester’                        0  12  0
  Basting-ladle                     0  0  11½
  Two tin moulds                    0  3  6
  Oval fryingpan                    0  1  2½
  Gridiron                          0  1  9½
  Fish-kettle                       0  3  11
  Tea-kettle                        0  4  11
  Knives                            0  0  8¾
  Dustpan                           0  0  10¾
  Bread-grater                      0  0  7¾
  Gravy-strainer                    0  1  0½
  Flour-dredger                     0  0  7¾
  Pasteboard                        0  1  11½
  Rolling-pin                       0  1  9½
  Steps                             0  5  3
  Set of dinner-ware                1  1  0
  Set of tea-ware                   0  12  6
                                  £11  2  1½


                         £  _s._ _d._
  Dining-room           14  14  3
  Two drawing-rooms     35  12  0
  Best bedroom          34  9  8
  Spare room            28  6  8
  Servant’s room         4  5  1
  Staircase              4  2  0
  Kitchen things        11  2  1½
  Dressing-room         13  6  6
                      £145  18  3½

Besides this we spent about 5_l._ on blankets and odds and ends; but all
house linen was given, and several other things. However, the above will
demonstrate how it is possible to furnish a small house on 150_l._, and
have for this good, well-made furniture that will wear, and is not mere
cheap rubbish stuck together to sell, and not meant to last.

To manage this satisfactorily it is necessary to keep one’s eyes open
and know precisely where to buy everything, for locality makes an
enormous difference, and different shops have always some one thing
cheaper than any other establishment; and while Whiteley will ask 1_s._
4½_d._ for the glass globes that cost 3_s._ 6_d._ at Shoolbred’s,
Shoolbred will sell for 3_s._ 6_d._ a brass can that costs 4_s._ 6_d._
or 5_s._ everywhere else. To furnish cheaply and satisfactorily,
therefore, one’s eyes must be kept open, and one must know exactly where
to go for everything. And I may mention here, as a short and succinct
guide, that cretonnes are cheaper and better at Burnett’s, King Street,
Covent Garden, and at Colbourne’s, 82 Regent Street, than anywhere else;
that Maple’s Oriental rugs and carpets, matting, wall-papers, and
brasses are also the cheapest in the market. Wicker chairs are to be had
at Colbourne’s for 31_s._ 9_d._, painted any colour with Aspinall’s
enamel, and cushioned and covered with cretonne or printed linen; that
artistic and beautiful draperies are to ha procured at Liberty’s and
Collinson and Lock’s, whose dearer cretonnes are unsurpassed; that Mr.
Arthur Smee’s furniture is the best and most artistic, in my opinion, in
London; that Stephens, 326 Regent Street, has the best and cheapest
Turkish embroidered antimacassars, and also possesses some beautiful and
inexpensive materials for curtains--notably a cheap brocade that is made
in exquisite colours and called Sicilian damask; that the brass rods and
ends for windows are to be had cheaper of Whiteley and Colbourne than
anywhere else, and are quite as good as the more expensive makes;
artistic pottery is to be had of Mr. Elliott, 18 Queen’s Road,
Bayswater; cheap chairs of Messrs. Harding Bros., Beaconsfield, Bucks;
and for all gas-fittings I strongly recommend Mr. Strode, 48 Osnaburgh
Street, Regent’s Park, N.W. I have tried all these firms for years, and
am speaking of them from experience entirely.

It may not be out of place in my last chapter to mention the exact cost
of setting up and keeping a carriage; for by the time my readers have
come as far on their life’s journey as I have, they may reasonably
expect to have the great comfort and luxury of a modest equipage of
their own, than which there is no greater blessing in the world, and
which I would rather cling to than anything else I possess, and which
really does not cost half as much as the constant hiring of flys and
driving in cabs which are so dear to the heart of the orthodox British
matron, who goes on her weary round of society gaieties which she does
not really enjoy, little thinking how much happier she would be spending
her money in a thousand different ways.

But one must keep one’s carriage with common-sense, like everything
else, and must not be under the thumb of one’s coachman, who must not be
allowed for one moment to buy his own corn &c., as no class receives
higher percentages than does the coachman who is allowed his own sweet
will in matters appertaining to the stable. A widow lady who cannot well
battle with tradesmen herself had much better apply to some good firm
like Withers and Co., of Oxford Street, who for a certain sum a year,
which varies according to the style of horse and man desired, will
provide everything, down to a safe place for the carriages, which can be
left unhesitatingly in their charge. But for a couple who desire to set
up their carriage and do not quite know how to do it, I think the
following will be sufficient guide for them:--


                                                            £  _s._ _d._
  Good horse (should be bought in the country if possible)  50   0   0
  Set of good single harness (Stores)                        7   0   0
  Brushes, leathers, sponges, &c. (Shoolbred)                2   0   0
  Rugs, rollers, &c. (Shoolbred)                             3   0   0
  Brougham or victoria (Holland and Holland)               175   0   0
  Coachman’s livery (Goodall and Graham, Conduit Street)    10  11   0
  Boots--less discount (Thierry, Regent Street)              3   0   0
  Stable suit (Goodall and Graham)                           3   0   0
  Mackintosh (Goodall and Graham)                            1  10   0
  Mackintosh rug (Whiteley)                                  1  10   0
  Mats (Holland and Holland)                                 1  10   0
  Carriage rugs (Swears and Wells)                           3   0   0
                                                          £261   1   6

Of course the carriage need not cost as much; but, if possible, a new
carriage is to be preferred to a second-hand one. Still, at Holland and
Holland’s, Oxford Street, W., one can often, especially at the end of
the season, pick up a second-hand carriage very cheaply, and at such a
place as this one can be sure that no rubbish is being bought; but sales
should be avoided, as should advertisements, and if a second-hand
carriage is necessary I strongly advise intending purchasers to go to
Holland and Holland and ask them to keep their eyes open, remembering,
likewise, that at the end of the season one is far more likely to do a
good stroke of business in this way than at any other time of the year.
In our climate, if only one carriage can be kept, a brougham is to be
preferred to any other; this makes one independent of weather entirely,
and one’s garments do not become as dusty and spoiled as they invariably
do in an open vehicle. Once the carriage is purchased, we have to
consider the cost of keeping it up, which, of course, varies
considerably in every locality, but I think the account given below
strikes the average, and allows the outside cost of everything. Of
course, very often the rent of the stables is covered in the rent of the
house, which includes also a place for the coachman.


                                                  £ _s._ _d._
  Coachman’s wages (from 23_s._ to 25_s._, say)  62   8   0
  Livery                                         13   0   0
  Corn, straw, hay, &c.                          40   0   0
  Shoeing                                         3   0   0
  Repairs &c.                                    26   0   0
  Rent of stable &c.                             20   0   0
                                               £164   8   0

‘Repairs &c.’ include ‘depreciation,’ which is calculated on 20 per
cent. of estimated value of whole, less livery, otherwise provided for.
Of course, a second horse could be added for about 40_l._ a year more,
good double harness being procurable at from 18_l._ to 20_l._

Passing from the carriage to dwell for a moment on the great dress
question, which is a most serious one in these days of ours, I find I
can really lay down no laws on this subject, but I strongly advise all
young brides who cannot afford a maid to learn dressmaking for
themselves, or to search out some place where, for a reasonable cost,
the renovating of dresses and simple making can be carried on for her,
or else she will soon find herself in difficulties. Her under-linen in
her trousseau should last her ten or twelve years at least, and with
ordinary care her trousseau dresses should, with judicious management,
last her quite two years; this gets over the worst part of one’s life as
regards pecuniary bothers, as a rule; but the less she can spend on
dress the better, always allowing herself enough to look nice and be
tidy on. A man can dress himself well on 30_l._ a year, and a woman can
do likewise on 50_l._, but this requires, in both cases, the most
careful management, while the average cost of a child is from 10_l._ to
15_l._ Women with small means will do much better if they confine
themselves to one colour, and would look much nicer at a far less cost
if they would only purchase things to match; but English people, as a
rule, only buy things because they like them, never considering whether
they possess already any garment at home with which the new possession
will harmonise or agree entirely. Brown and red are good colours for
winter nowadays when so many people have seal-skins; greys are good
shades for summer, the ever-useful serge and washing silks looking
always delightfully cool and ladylike.

Our book, now rapidly coming to a conclusion, would not be complete
without one word about the ‘garret’--otherwise the box-room--which, all
too often, is a storehouse for all sorts and conditions of rubbish, put
up there in a desperate hope that, sooner or later, the odds and ends
will come in usefully. There cannot be a greater mistake than hoarding,
and I strongly advise my readers never to allow this to be done. If
one’s clothes when worn out are not fit for one’s poorer friends, I
suggest some respectable dealer should be applied to, and that they
should be sold. I am aware this sounds an awful proposition to most
people, but how rarely are our dresses suitable for those who would wear
cast-off raiment? while, if we sell them, we can give the money in
charity, or buy pictures or flowers for our rooms. Still, if this should
be repugnant to the feelings of my readers, they can always send all
their rubbish to the Kilburn Orphanage of Mercy, the good sisters there
being able to use to the veriest fragment all they receive, and which
does then immediate good.

Let the box-room or garret be thoroughly turned out and investigated
once every three months; keep there all pieces of paper similar to the
papers on your walls for mending purposes, and any travelling trunks or
boxes that may be wanted; but do not accumulate rubbish of any kind.
Even sentimental rubbish should be destroyed at once; when we die it
will be done by hands which are not as tender as ours are, and no good
is done by hoarding all sorts and kinds of letters and flowers, or even
babies’ first shoes. They may mean life itself to us; they will be
nothing but the veriest rubbish to our successors.

Standing as it were in the garret, our long work of revising and writing
this book at last drawing to a conclusion, and feeling sad, as one
always feels when parting with an occupation that has been on one’s mind
for many a month, I should like to say a few words on that saddest of
all subjects, a death in the house--only a few words; but a house that
has never known a death is indeed an almost impossible thing to
contemplate, and so our record would not be complete without this. Thank
Heaven, we look out with brighter eyes on the other country than did our
ancestors, but we have still many customs to leave off, many others we
could adopt with benefit from the relics of past days.

I would advocate great cheerfulness about our dead. They should never be
left alone, and candles and bright flowers should fill the room; where,
had I my way, the blessed sunshine should stream in always, gloom should
be discouraged, and the service with its music and the coloured pall
should suggest not our grief but the gain of those who, even to the
agnostic of the period, appear at rest, and can most certainly never
weary or hunger any more; while to us who hope to look beyond these
shadows their happiness should overshadow our grief entirely. Still,
whichever way we look on the silence that surrounds our little life,
there are certain things that I would urge on the survivors. Let all the
personal linen and garments of the dead friend be at once sent to
Kilburn, or to Miss Hinton’s, A. F. D. Society, 4 York Place, Clifton.
These garments are distributed at once among the families of poor
clergymen, and so immediately benefit a most deserving class. Do not
permit any hoarding (I once knew a whole valuable wardrobeful of clothes
consumed by the moth, because the widow’s feelings did not allow of the
garments being disturbed, though they were not too acute to prevent her
becoming engaged to be married before the year was out); and, above all,
burn all letters that may be left _unread_; this will save endless
mischief, and should be done at once. No one knows who may be the next
to depart and be no more seen, and so this should not be delayed any
longer than is possible.

It is far better to do these things at once. If we close the room in
which our beloved have passed away, and think time will enable us to
face the task with more boldness, we shall find we are grievously
mistaken; the longer we put it off the worse it will be, and we shall
not forget them any quicker because their own possessions have been
given to those who can benefit by them. Each thing in life should always
be in use; hoarding of any kind in a garret is useless, and wicked too.

And now I have come to the last hint, I think, I have to give my young
householders. Of course, the subject is practically inexhaustible, and
enlarges itself for one every day we live; but I have given you all my
own experience up to the present date, and if it should save one young
couple the mistakes I made in my first start in life, or give them the
help I should have been so glad of myself twenty years ago, I shall feel
I have not spent my time in vain; while let no one despise the homely
subject, for it is our first duty in life to try and make our homes so
bright and beautiful and pleasant that they may shed radiance on all in
their immediate neighbourhood, setting the example that is worth so very
much precept, and be like good deeds, ‘shining like a candle in this
naughty world.’ Let love, beauty, carefulness, and economy rule your
lives, O young householders! and then you will find that life is the
most interesting thing possible, and is always, to the very last day of
it, well worth the trouble of living.


Absurd arrangement of our houses, 171, 172

Account book, leaf from an, 24

Accounts, 23-25

A. F. D. Society, Miss Hinton’s, 231

Afternoon teas, 209, 210

Airing bedroom, 115, 116

-- beds, 116

-- nursery, 170

‘Allowancing’ servants, 154

American cloth, 77

Angelina’s bedroom, 103

-- private duster, 125

-- wardrobe, 121

Antimacassars, 74

-- Stephens’, 227

-- Turkish, 84

A place for everything, 129

Apple shape, 220

Arm-chair, 62-64

Arm-chairs, Colbourne’s, 62

-- tapestry for covering, Maple’s, 62

Arsenic in wall-paper, 69

Art and the bitter lot of the poor, 7

-- colours, 7

-- furniture, 7

Artistic corners, 84

Aspinall’s paint, 68, 76

Babies, baths for, 189

-- clothing, 185, 186

-- cow’s milk for, 163

-- garments, 185

-- special theories about, 162

Babies, their berceaunettes, 170, 171, 173, 174

Baby-talk, stupid, 172

Back of piano exposed, remedy for, 86, 87

Baker Street vases, 77

Bamboo brackets (Liberty’s, and at Baker Street Bazaar), 75

Basket chairs, 74

Baskets for soiled linen, palm-leaved, 121

Bath and bath blankets, 138, 139

Beaconsfield chairs, 75, 132

Beaufort ware, 126

Beautiful things, making them common, 7

Bed airing, 115

-- gowns, 188

-- making, 103

-- pocket, 116

Bedroom brackets, 120

-- carpet, 103, 104

-- chairs, 131

-- cupboards, 106-107

-- curtains, 107

-- door fittings, 107

-- match-boxes, 116

-- paper, 46, 105, 106, 107, 108

-- -- colour for, 104, 106

-- screen, 112

-- ware, 126

-- windows, muslin for, 92

-- -- too many, 4

Bedrooms, 4, 5

-- colour for, 103

-- papering ceilings of, 107

Beds for servants, 152

Bedside, table near, 116

Bedstead, brass or iron, the best, 113

-- wooden, 112

Beef, cold, 28

-- olives, 220

Beer, 25

Beginning housekeeping, 25, 26

Bellows for dining-room, 68

Benson’s lamps, 102

Berceaunettes, 173, 174

‘Berry’ paper, 46

Bills, regular payment of, 20, 22, 23

Biscuit-box, 34

Black-lead, 85

Blankets, Witney, 114

Blinds and their rollers, doing away with, 91, 95

Blue and white paper for bachelor’s spare room, Chappel & Payne’s, 151

Boarding-school plan a mistake, 204

Bohemian ware, 31

Boiled rabbit, 28

Bolton sheeting, 188

Bookcase, bedroom, 133

-- velveteen cover, 73

Bookcases, revolving American, 72, 73

Books for spare rooms, 147, 148

Boudoir, spare room made into, 142

Bow-windowed villas, window-seats in, 59, 92

Bow-windows, curtains for, 92, 93

Box ottomans for bedrooms, 106, 110

-- -- -- -- Maple’s, 106

-- -- -- hats and bonnets, 130

-- pincushions, 119

-- room, 142

Brackets, 133

Brandy the one spirituous liquor that should be kept in a house, 72

Brass brush for dining-room, 68

-- door handles best, 80

-- fire-irons, 85

-- fittings for bedroom doors, Maple’s 106, 107

-- headed nails, 80

-- kettle, 72

Brass pots, 88

-- pots for palms, Hampton’s, 88

Bread, 19

-- brown, 27

-- knives, Mappin & Webb’s, 35

-- price of, 20

-- stands, 35

-- wasted, 16

Bread-pan with cover, 16

Breakfast, 26, 27, 34

-- table, 32, 35

-- -- gloomy, 5

-- -- punctuality, 14, 15

Brewers, 25

Bromley, 3

Brooks, Shirley, 27

Brougham, cost of, 228

Brushes and combs, 122, 123, 223

Brushing under beds, 116

Buckland, Frank, 19

Burnett, address of, 227

Burnett’s ‘Marguerite’ cretonne curtains, 34

-- serges, 84

Bush Hill Park, 3

Butchers, 25

Butter, cost of, 20

Buyers of bottles, rags, &c., 17

Cabinet pudding, 216

Cabinets, 73, 74

-- made by Smee, 74

‘Calls,’ doing away with, 89

Canadian custom respecting carpets, 96, 97

Candle shields, 101, 120

Candlesticks, Liberty’s, 45, 64

Carbolic acid, 13

Careless housemaid, 85

-- servants, 29

Carlyle, Mr. and Mrs., 7

Carpentry, amateur, 4, 110

Carpet designs, Mr. Morris’s, 97

-- for drawing-room, 80, 81, 82

-- royal blue, Colbourne’s, 97

Carpets, 4, 5

-- hints about, 96, 97

-- Oriental, 98

-- Wilton, 98

Carriage, cost of keeping a, 227, 228, 229

-- rugs, rollers, &c., cost of, 228

Carrot soup, 216

Carson’s ‘detergent,’ 49, 109

Cauliflower _au gratin_, 213

Centre-piece, 34, 35

Chairs, bedroom, 131

-- dining-room, 5, 51

-- embellished by carvings, 51

-- Harding Bros.’, 52

-- Liberty’s, 85

-- New Zealand pine, for dining-room, 51

-- (rush-seated, black-framed) for dining-room, 52

-- Smee’s, 52

Chambers, large, airy, 160

Chappel & Payne, address of, 151

Charming chair for drawing-room (rush-seated), 85

Checked muslin for bedroom windows, 92

Cheerful surroundings, 7

Cheese fondus, 214

-- soufflés, 217

-- straws, 219

Cheval glass, 122

Chickens, 20, 28

Child of the period, the, 162

Children and inherited tendencies, 191

-- amusing themselves, 178

-- authors for, 197

-- collecting pretty things around them, 179

-- destructive and untidy, 177

-- diet for, 195

-- grown-up, 206, 207

-- helping their elders, 175

-- hour for rising, 176

-- hours for studying, 195, 196

-- importance of quiet and regularity for, 164

-- -- -- sunshine for, 192

-- punishing, 196

-- spoiling them, 161

-- teaching them self-control, 175

-- the home they were born in, 208

Children’s breakfast, 195

-- dress, 200

-- education, 195

Chimneys, 5

China, Crown, Derby, and Worcester, 33

-- gilt on, 32

China, Minton’s ivy-patterned, 32

-- Oriental, 34

-- real, 33

Chippendale chairs, 51

-- furniture, 8

Chocolate cream, 217

Choosing rooms, 7

Cigars in drawing-room, 86

Clean brush and comb in toilet drawer, 122

Clear soup, 213

Clock, necessity for, in spare rooms, 147, 149

Clocks, Oetzmann’s, 64

Coachman’s livery, cost of, 228

Coats hanging in rooms, 85

Coffee, 34

-- cost of, 20

Colbourne, Messrs, address of, 62

College pudding, 220

Colours for bedrooms, 149

Combination dressing-table and washing-stand, Watts’s, 136

Common sense, 6

‘Confound baby!’, 124

Conservatory, tiny, 2

Cook, overburdened, 9

-- thoughtful, 17, 18

Cooks, ‘experienced,’ 18

Cost of dinner, 217, 219

Cottage piano, 86

Counterpanes, 116

Cradles, 173, 174

Credit, nothing so dear as, 20

Cretonne, 47, 82

-- curtain, 69, 71, 94

-- on mantelpiece, 77

Croquettes of chickens, 218

Cruet-stands, 34

Cupboards forgotten, 4

-- small, 106, 107

Curried kidneys, 216

Curtain, bedroom, 134

-- rods, bedroom, 131

-- -- Maple’s, 41

Curtains, 4, 5, 82

-- _v._ screens, 112

Cutlets _à la réforme_, 213

-- of cod, 216

Dado, Collison and Lock’s, 82

-- in dining-room, 58

-- in drawing-room, 78

-- leather paper for, 56

Dado rail, Maple’s, 56

-- Treloar’s, 46

Damasks, Stephens’ ‘Sicilienne,’ 93

Day nursery, 164

Deal dressing-tables, 118

Decorating drawing-room, 82

‘Demon builder,’ the, 160

Dessert service, Hewett’s, 32

-- -- Mortlock’s, 33

‘Digesters,’ 17

Dining-room, 5, 6, 7, 8, 27, 49-68

-- mantelpiece, 64, 65, 66

-- walls, 56

Dining-rooms, orthodox, 7

Dinner, complete cost of, 213

-- service, best, 29

-- sets, Mortlock’s, 31

-- waggons, 54

Disagreeable details, 9

Dishes, 30

Disinfectants, 14

Doctors’ bills, 23, 25, 201

Domestic problems, 206

‘Do nothing in a hurry,’ 9

Door front, 47, 48

-- -- brass stand behind, 42

-- -- double curtains for, 41, 42

Double tray tables, 84

Dr. Chevasse, 181

-- -- books by, for young mothers, 181

Drain disinfectant, 14

Drainage, 4

Drains, 13, 14

-- time for seeing to, 14

Draped alcove, Collison & Lock’s design, 112

Drawing-room, 5, 60, 67, 71, 76, 77

-- blue wooden mantelpiece for, 80

-- carpet, Colbourne’s, 81

-- -- Maple’s, 80

-- -- Shoolbred’s, 80

-- -- Smee’s, 81

-- -- Treloar’s, 80, 82

-- colour for, 78, 80, 82

-- curtains, 93

-- essentially a best room, 86

-- mistress’s corner, 84

-- tea-table for, 89

Dress and personal appearance of daughters, 206

-- cost of, for man and wife, 229

Dress, wife’s, 20

Dressing jackets invaluable, 188

-- gown, 188

-- room, 128

-- table and washing-stand combined, 136

-- tables, price of, 118

-- -- should not be dust-traps, 119

-- -- Smee’s, 118

Drugget, hard-wearing, Pither’s, 46

Dulwich, 3

Duplex burners, 99

Dustbin, 4, 10, 14

-- not a necessity, 18

Dusters, 36

Dust-sheets for furniture, 36

Dyeing, Pullar’s, 41

Eclairs, 214

Edwin’s dressing room, 135

-- -- substantial dado for, 138

Eider-down quilts, 114

Eggs, 30

Electric light, 98

‘Eligible residences,’ 3

Elliot, Mr., 73

-- -- address of, 45

Enamel paints, 62

Enfield, 3

‘Excelsior’ mattresses for spare rooms, 143

-- spring mattress, 114, 143

Exhibiting baby, danger of, 175

Fashion and folly, 4

Feather beds, 114

Ferns and immortelles for toilet-table, 123

Field & Co.’s candle shields, 111

Finchley, 3

Finger-glasses, 31

Fire-keeping, recipe for, 67

Fireplaces, 5, 68

-- misplaced, 4

Fires, benefit from, in winter and summer, 124

-- in bedrooms, benefit of, 124

First babies, 162, 175

-- -- washing them, 189

Fish, 20

-- contracts for, 28

Fish Market, Central, 19

-- markets, 19

Fittings, 37

Five o’clock tea, 89

Flannel pilches, 185

Flock papers, 2

Floor (bedroom), staining all over, 116

Floral paper for spare room, 150

-- -- Maple’s, 150

Flour, 20

Flowers in bedrooms, 123

Foot-baths, 127

Footstools for dining-room, 68

-- -- morning-room, Whiteley’s and Shoolbred’s, 75

Forest Hill, 3

Formal visiting, 88

Fowl, 20

French pancakes, 213

-- parents, 21

-- windows and curtains, 91

Fresh air, 2

-- flowers in sick-room, 189

Friezes, 80

-- Mrs. McClelland’s, 77

Frilling for sheets, Cash’s, 115

Fruit, 20

Frying-pans, 16

Furnishing, schedule of cost of, 223, 224, 225, 226, 277

Furniture, fearful expense of, 171

Garden, small, 2

Gardening, 35

Garrard, Mrs. S. B. (beds, &c., for infants), 173

Garret, 229, 230

-- regular investigation of, 230

Gas, best for spare rooms, 148

-- effect of, on plants, 169

-- fittings, Strode’s, 227

-- in bedrooms, evil of, 101

-- -- rooms where there are children, necessity for, 101

-- -- sitting-rooms, 99

-- _v._ paraffine, 100

Gentlemen’s wardrobes, 135

German lamp screens, 100

Gilt legs to chairs, 8

Glass, 31

-- best, 29

Glass cloths, 32

Glasses and bottles, coloured, Douglas & Co.’s, 31, 32

Going off to school, 201, 202

Good hostess, 211

-- monthly nurses all the battle, 181, 182

-- servants, insuring them, 154

Gossip, spiteful, 198

Governess, 199

‘Graining,’ a barbarism, 47, 48, 80

Grand piano, 87

-- -- made a decorative piece of furniture, 87

Grate, wasteful, 5

Grates, Barnard’s, 67

Green water, 13

Gridirons, 16

Grilled mushrooms, 220

Groceries, 19, 20

Grown-up daughters, 208

-- families, 207

Guests, making them comfortable, 145

Guipure lace for curtains, 91

Hall, 41

-- candlesticks, 45

-- ceilings papered, 47

-- flooring, 43

-- gas-lamps, 47

-- lighted from the sides, 99

-- -- -- -- top, 99

-- oil lamp unsuited for, 89

Halls, stone, 48

Happy childhood, 196

Harding Bros., address of, 52

Hare soup, 214

Harness for carriage, price of, 228

Hassan and Co.’s chickens, 28

Healthy children, 162

Heavy mahogany, 2

Hewett’s bazaar, 32

-- dessert services, 32

Hoarding in garrets, 230

-- old clothes, 137

Honest mechanic, prospect for an, 117

Honeycomb quilts, 116

Horse, price of, for carriage, 228

Hot-water cans for bedrooms, 127

-- dishes, 35

House decoration and the landlord, 37

-- -- Collison & Lock’s, 37

-- -- Morris’s, 37

-- -- Smee’s, 37

-- hunting, 4

-- inspection, preliminary, 5

-- rent, 19

Household books, 21

-- economy, 20

-- servants, young girls as, 18

Housekeeping bills, 154, 211

Housemaid’s duties, 35

-- pantry, 29

House-mother, life of, not appreciated, 183

Ideal and real nurseries, 161

Indian matting for schoolroom floors, 192

-- tapestry, Liberty’s, 87

Infant and nurse, 175

Infants, knowingness of, 172

Informal gatherings, 89

Inherited tendencies, 201

Ink-erasers for hand cleaning (Perry’s), 192

Inkstands purchased at Baker Street Bazaar, 64

Invalids, cooking for, 221, 222

Inventions Exhibition, 99

Iron brackets and lamps, 99

Jack Tar suit, 200

Jackets and trousers for boys, 200

Japanese fan, 76, 77

-- -- for fireside, 85

-- leather paper, 56, 58

-- -- -- for the hall, 46, 86

-- paper for wardrobe panels, 110

-- screen for piano, 87

Joss-sticks, 189

Judicious watchfulness regarding servants, 156

Jugs and pots, Elliot’s, 45

Jury of matrons, 172

Kidderminster squares, 80, 81

Kilburn Orphanage, 230

Kitchen arrangements, 9

-- capabilities of, 9

Kitchen ceilings, annual white-washing of, 12

-- dado in, 11

-- dinner, 158

-- dismal, 11

-- grates skimped, 12

-- -- smells from, 13

-- management, 10

-- passages, 11

-- position of, 10

-- staircase a cause of worry, 10

-- underground, 10

-- utensils, 15

-- wash-tub not needed for, 18

Kitcheners, Steel & Garland’s, 12

Koffee Kanns, Ashe’s, 34

Kurd rugs, 46

Kyrle Society, 7

Ladies’ chamber in retirement, 186, 187

Lahore cretonne, 106

Lamp brackets, 99

-- screens, German, 100

-- -- selecting colour of, 101

Lamps, beaten iron, 47, 99, 102

-- Benson’s, 102

-- brass, 111

-- china, 99

-- duplex, for nursery, 168

-- glass hanging, 99

-- Mortlock’s, 99

-- paraffine, Drew’s, 102, 116

-- Smee’s, 47

-- Strode’s, 47, 99, 102

Landing, the, 4

Landseer, Sir Edwin, 178

Leases and structural repairs, 4

Legs of mutton, 19

-- -- -- à la Bretonne, 218

Lemon pudding, 28

Liberty’s cretonnes, 78

-- sashes, 200

-- silk handkerchiefs, 41

-- -- -- for curtains, 94

-- tapestries, 83

Lighting bedrooms, 120

-- of sitting-rooms, 98, 99

Linen marking, 115

-- old-gold colour printed, Pither’s, 95

Linoleum mat for dining-room, 68

London markets, 28

-- north side of, 3

Lordship Lane, 3

Low frocks and short sleeves for children, disappearance of, 170

Luncheon, 27

-- hour (orthodox) for young wives, 76

Macaroni cheese, 220

Madras muslin, 71, 82, 92

Mahogany sideboard, old, 8

Making a bedroom pretty, 132

Managing servants, 146

Mantelpieces, cheap wooden, Shuffery’s, 67

Maple, 30, 43

Maple’s bedsteads, 113

-- box ottomans, 110

-- Golden Pine carpet, 82

Marble mantelpiece, white, 5

Marguerite cretonnes, Burnett’s, 94, 108

Mats, 4, 5, 46

Matting for dining-room, 96

-- price of, 96

-- sweeping in one way, 98

-- Treloar’s, 46

Mattresses, cases for, 114

Mayfair, tiny hovels in, 4

McClelland, Mrs., 77

Meal odours in rooms, 6

Meals and money, 13

Meat, ‘best English,’ often New Zealand, 212

-- New Zealand, 19

-- price of, 20

Medical attendance, 25

Menus, cost of, 211-221

Meringues, 219

Midday meal, 27

Middle-class parents, 21

Milk, 20, 25

Milkmen, Londoners at the mercy of, 163

Mince pies, 213

Minton’s china, 32

Monograms on cloths, 90

Monthly nurse, 176

Moreen curtains, 2

-- damask, 8

Morning-room, books and magazines for, 71

-- chairs, 74, 75

Morning-room decoration, 76

-- desk for, 70

-- embellishing door-panels of, 70

-- no gas in, 72

-- paper for, Smee’s, 96

-- sage-green paper for, 69

-- sofa, 71

-- stand for papers, 71

-- under care of housemaid, 77

-- work-table, 71

Morocco, dull brown, 51

Morris, Mr., 97

Mortlock’s china, 31, 32, 33

-- -- lamps, 99

--  ware, 126

Mulligatawny soup, 218

Music, receptacle for, 87

Muslin curtains, 91, 92

Muslins, Liberty’s, 45

Mutton cutlets, 215

Mysore chintz, Liberty’s, 45

-- muslin, 72

Neck of mutton, 28

Nevill’s hot-water bread, 27

New babies, making ready for, 186

-- baby a profound nuisance, 182

Night garments, 115

-- -- embroidered case for, 115

-- nursery, 170

-- -- management of fire in, 170

Nurseries, 32

-- bright paper for, 165

-- cretonne, dado, and painted rail for, 165

-- gas in, 168, 169

-- good duplex lamp for, 168, 169

-- pictures on walls of, 177-179

-- position of, 161

-- strong guard for fires in, 168

-- two in a house, 160

-- _v._ spare rooms, 161

Nursery a children’s kingdom, 176

-- blue and white paper for, 166

-- ceiling, 165

-- chair for each child in, 167, 168

-- choice of a, 160

-- cretonne cleaned with dry bread, 166

Nursery cupboards, 166, 167, 168

-- doors, 166

-- floor, 165

-- furnishing the walls of, 168

-- made out of worst bedroom, 161

-- sofa, 167

-- table, 167

-- walls, 165

Nursing, 169

Occasional visitor, 140

Oetzmann, 64

Oilcloth, cheap, 11

-- for walls, 11

-- resembling old mosaic, 11

Old London lamps, 99

-- night-dresses invaluable, 121

Oriental carpets for dining-room, 96

-- -- Smee’s, for drawing-room, 81

-- rugs and carpets, sweeping them one way, 98

-- -- for hall, 46

Our dead, 230, 231

Ovens, cleansing, 13

Painted suites of furniture, 142

Painting, 37

-- spare rooms, 142

Palm-leaved baskets for soiled linen, 121

Panelled drawing-room, 80

Panes, of glass, tiny, 113

Pantry, housemaid’s, 29

Paper for day nursery, Pither’s, 166

-- stand, 85

Papering, 37

Pears in jelly, 214

Penge, 3

Persian and Turkey carpets, 2

Personal expenses, wife’s, 20

Petty tyrannies, 206

Pheasant, boiled, 216

-- roasted, 219

Photographs for bedrooms, where to buy, 132

-- -- nursery, 177

Piano back, draping, 87

-- chair, 87

-- drapery for back, 86, 87

Piano, drawing-room, 86

-- front, 87

-- grand, 87

-- stool unendurable, 87

Picture rail, Maple’s, 58

-- teaching for children, 167

Pictures for bedrooms, 132

-- hooks for, 80

-- in schoolroom, 193

Pigeons, stuffed, 212

Pinafores, 200

Pincushions, 119

Pither, address of, 38

Pither’s papers, 58, 82, 109

-- printed linen, 77, 95

Plain cook, wages of, 210

Plantation coffee, 34

Plants and flowers for rooms, 90

Plates, 30

Plum pudding, 216

Plumber, &c., 120

Pokerette, 85

‘Portable property,’ servants’, 152

Pretence of wealth, 22

Pretty room for each servant, 152

Prince Albert’s pudding, 214

Printed muslin, Liberty’s, 107

Professional decorator, 1

Ptarmigan, 215

Purchasing furniture, 2

Putting the feet on chairs, 129

Queen Anne cretonne (terra cotta), 151

-- -- table, 75, 84

-- -- tables, Oetzmann’s, 75

Quilts, cretonne covering for, 114

-- eider-down, 114

-- Francis’s, 116

Rabbits, buying them, 28

Reading in bed, 188, 189

Rebecca jars, 73

-- -- Elliot’s, 73

Reception-rooms, the regulation, 3, 360

Recipes for menus, 202

Rents less out of London, 2

Rest, necessity of complete, 169

Returning from school, 202

Ribs of beef, 27

Rice pudding, 28

Rider Haggard, 197

Rolled ribs of beef, 212

Roman sheeting for curtains, 94

Room for children, heating properly, 170

Rooms, appropriation of, 5

Round tables, 52

Rugs, good, 82

-- in front of fires, danger from, 85

Rush _v._ bamboo table, 89

Russian diapers, 185

-- embroideries, 150

Rylands’ stain for floors, 97

Saddle of mutton, small, 220

Salmon, 220

Salt-cellars, 35

-- Doulton’s, 35

Salviati glass, 210

-- ware, 31

Sanitary papers for children’s schoolroom, 193

Sanitas in saucers, 14

Satin chairs, 140

Saucepans, 16

-- cleaning them, 10

-- number of, 15

-- Whiteley’s, 16

School training for boys, 205

Schoolboys, dealing with, 203-205

Schoolmaster, orthodox, 205

Schoolroom ceiling, 193, 194

-- dresses, 200

-- Indian matting for, 192

-- Kidderminster carpet for, 192

-- maid, 199

-- papering walls of, 193

-- position of, in house, 199

-- tables and chairs, 194

Schoolrooms, 32

Scinde rugs, 46, 96

-- -- price of, 98

Screens, 4

-- in bedrooms, 112

Scullery, 10

-- ceiling, 12

-- walls, 12

Second-hand carriages, 228

-- -- where sold, 228

Selfishness of parents, 205

Separate beds for servants, 152

Serge curtains, 107

Serges, Burnett’s, 84

-- Colbourne & Co.’s, 93

Servants, 4, 33, 34

-- apartments, 11

-- bedrooms, 151

-- clothes of, 159

-- encouraging them to walk and work in the garden, 159

-- feelings of new, 154

-- giving them good books to read, 159

-- harassing them, 13

-- pretty furniture for, 158

-- wasteful, 21

Sets of bedroom furniture, price of, 119

Settees (bamboo), Liberty’s, for the hall, 45

Sewing for girls, 197

Sheets, bed, 114, 115

Shelves for morning-room, 69

-- recesses for, 4

Sheraton furniture, 8

Shoolbred, 19

Shoolbred’s curtains, 93

Shop specialties, 38

Shopping, judicious, 39

Short blinds in bedrooms, 133

Side lanterns, 99

Sideboards, 8, 54

Sink, 13

-- regular flushing of, 14

Sinks, disinfecting, 14

Sitting-room and workroom for servants, 11

Sketches, Mrs. McClelland’s, 46

Slamming doors, 176

Sleeping with window open, 123

Slop-pails, 127, 128

Slovenly manners, 86

Small girls, 185

-- house, price of furnishing, 227

-- infant, bed for, 172

Smuts and blacks, 2

Soap, 127

Sofa-ottomans for spare rooms, 147

Sofas, 74, 82, 112

-- covering for, 71

-- Maple’s, 71

-- nursery, 168

-- striped curtains for, 71

-- substitute for, 110

Soles, boiled, 215

-- fried, 212

Soup from bones and vegetables, 28

Soups, excellent, 17

Spare glass and china, 30

-- room beds, 143

-- -- floor, 150

-- -- furniture, 142, 148

-- -- -- cost of, 143

-- -- readiness for occupation, 145

Spring mattress best for beds, 113, 114

Squabbles about money, 29

Square black cupboards, receptacles for music, 87

-- ottoman for piano, 87

Stained floors, 96

Stair carpets, 44

Staircases, 40

Stamped velveteen, 84

Stephens, address of, 227

Stores, 19, 20

Straight backed chairs, Smee’s, 62

Strange nurse, 171

Strode, address of, 227

Strode’s iron lamps, 102

Suburban clay, 3

Suburbs of London, 3

Sugar, 10

-- price of, 20

Summer babies, 189

Sunday in the schoolroom, 198

Sunday’s supper, 28

Sundries, 23

Sunless rooms, 7

Sunshine, first necessity of, 5

Sutherland table for drawing-room, 89

Swiss ‘mull’ muslin, cost of, 92

Table drawers, bedroom, 121

Tablecloths, 53, 54, 106

Tables, Chippendale design, 90

-- rickety, 83

Tapestry, drawing-room, 83

-- imitation, 73

-- tablecloth, 107

-- toilet covers, 119

Tea after dinner odious, 25

-- cost of, 20

-- in the schoolroom, 199

Tea cloth, five o’clock, 90

Tea-table in drawing-room, 89

Tea-things in morning-room, 72

Teetotallers, 25

Temporary ‘help’ for cook, 155

Tennis, 198

-- parties, afternoon, 210

Terra-cotta chintz for bedroom doors, Burnett’s, 106

-- paper, 106

Third room to sit in, 6

Tiled hearth, 5, 6, 67

Toasted cheese, 215

Tobacco, 59, 60, 61, 69, 72

Toilet covers, 106, 119

-- drawers, 121

-- ‘tidies’ to be avoided, 120

Tooth-brushes, 127, 223

Tooth water-glasses, 127

Treatment of servants, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 159

Treloar, 43, 46

Treloar’s matting, 10

Trübner & Co., 72

Tumblers, 30

Turbot, half a, 213

Turkey carpets, 39

-- small, 214

Turret puddings, 219

Umbrella stands, 44

-- -- Maple’s, 43

Umbrellas, wet, 43

Unhealthiness of gas, 168, 169

Unpunctuality, effects of, 149

Upholsters, 39

Upholstering chairs, 51

Varnished wall-paper, 11

Vases, 77

Vegetable dishes, 31

Visiting, ethics of, 141

Wall-paper, 2

Wall-papers, E. Pither’s, 38

Wardrobe, Edwin’s dressing-room, 135, 136

-- making, amateur, 110

Wardrobes, 4, 10, 109

-- Hampton’s, 109

Washable papers, 11

Washing brushes, 122

-- -- Whiteley’s, 19

-- cost of, 20

Washing stand, 124, 125

Waste-paper bags, 70

Water-bottles, 31

Watts, Mr., address of, 136

Wedding finery, excessive display of, 22

White curtains, 134

-- soup, 212, 220

Whiteley, 16, 19, 30

Wicker chairs for drawing-room, 82

Widgeon, 220

Wild duck, 213

Window-blinds, 4, 5

Windows, 4, 5

-- cathedral glass top, 107

-- open at the top, 147

Window wedges, 128

Winter babies, 189

Withers & Co., address of, 228

Witney blankets, 114

Women architects, 4

Wooden bedsteads, 112, 113

-- mantelpieces, 66, 80

Woollen tapestry, 52, 75

Worrying the nurse to death, 176

Writing-desk for the dining-room, 62, 63

Yorkshire pudding, 28

Young couples, 9

-- -- decoration of house for, 9

-- -- management of house for, 9

-- nurses a mistake, 18, 164

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "From Kitchen to Garret - Hints for young householders" ***

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