Beetons Book of Household Management - Duties of the Ladys Maid, 1860



on her mistress prevents it, if the rooms are carpeted, she should sweep them carefully, having previously strewed the room with moist tea-leaves, dusting every table and chair, taking care to penetrate to every corner, and moving every article of furniture that is portable. This done satisfactorily, and having cleaned the dressing-glass, polished up the furniture and the ornaments, and made the glass jug and basin clean and bright, emptied all slops, emptied all slops, emptied the water-jugs and filled them with fresh water, and arranged the rooms, the dressing-room is ready for the mistress when she thinks proper to appear.


2261. The dressing-room thoroughly in order, the same thing is to be done in the bedroom, in which she will probably be assisted by the housemaid to make the bed and empty the slops. In making the bed, she will study her lady’s wishes, whether it is to be hard or soft, sloping or straight, and see that it is done accordingly.


2262. Having swept the bedroom with equal care, dusted the tables and chairs, chimney-ornaments, and put away all articles of dress left from yesterday, and cleaned and put away any articles of jewellery, her next care is to see, before her mistress goes out, what requires replacing in her department, and furnish her with a list of them, that she may use her discretion about ordering them. All this done, she may settle herself down to any work on which she is engaged, this will consist chiefly in mending; which is first to be seen to; everything, except stockings, being mended before washing. Plain work will probably be one of the lady’s-maid;s chief employments.


2263. A waiting-maid, who wishes to make herself useful, will study the fashion-books with attention, so as to be able to aid her mistress’s judgment in dressing, according to the prevailing fashion, with such modifications as her style of countenance requires. She will also, if she has her mistress’s interest at heart, employ her spare time in repairing and making up dresses which have served one purpose, to serve another also; or turning many things, unfitted for her mistress to use, for the younger branches of the family. The lady’s-maid may thus render herself invaluable to her mistress, and increase her own happiness in so doing. The exigencies of fashion and luxury are such, that all ladies except those of the very highest rank, will consider themselves fortunate in having about them a thoughtful person, capable of diverting their finery to a useful purpose.


2264. Among other duties, the lady’s-maid should understand the various processes for washing, and cleaning, and repairing laces; edging of collars; removing stains and grease-spots from dresses, and similar processes, for which the following recipes will be found very useful. In washing –


2265. Blonde, fine toilet-soap is used; the blonde is soaped over very slightly, and washed in water in which a little fig-blue is dissolved, rubbing it very gently; when clean, dry it. Dip it afterwards in very thin gum-water, dry it again in linen, spread it out as flat as it will lie, and iron it. Where the blonde is of better quality, and wider, it may be stretched on a hoop to dry after washing in the blue-water, applying the gum with a sponge; or it may be washed finally in water in which a lump of sugar has been dissolved, which gives it more the appearance of new blonde.


2266. Lace collars soil very quickly when in contact with then neck; they are cleaned by heating the edge of the collar between the folds of a fine linen cloth, then washing the edges as directed above, and spreading it out on an ironing-board, pinning it at each corner with fine pins; then going carefully over it with a sponge charged with water in

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