Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management: Commanding an Army

THE BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

 

CHAPTER 1 THE MISTRESS.

"Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to time. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and inher tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household; and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Proverbs , xxx1, 25-28.

 

1. As with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house. Her spirit will be seen through the whole establishment; and just in proportion as she performs her duties intelligently and thoroughly, so will her domestics follow in her path. Of all those acquirements, which more particularly belong in the feminine character, there are none which take a higher rank, in our estimation, than such as enter into a knowledge of household duties; for on these are perpetually dependent the happiness, comfort and well-being of a family. In this opinion we are borne out by the author of "The vicar of Wakefield", who says, "The modest virgin, the prudent wife, and the careful matron, are much more serviceable in life than petticoated philosophers, blustering heroines, or virago queens. She who makes her husband and her children happy, who reclaims the one from vice and trains up the others to virtue, is a much greater character than ladies described in romances, whose whole occupation is to murder mankind with shafts from their quiver, or their eyes."

 

2. PURSUING THIS PICTURE, we may add, that to be a good housewife does not necessarily imply an abandonment of proper pleasures or amusing recreation; and we think the more necessary to express this, as the performance of the duties of a mistress may, to some minds, perhaps seem to be

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