The situation of a housekeeper, in almost every family, is of great importance. She superintends nearly the whole of the domestic establishment, has generally the control and direction of the servants, particularly of the female servants, has the care of the household furniture and linen, of all the grocery, dried and other fruits, spices, condiments, soap, candles, and stores of all kinds, for culinary and other domestic uses. She makes all the pickles, preserves, and sometimes the best pastry. She generally distills and prepares all the compound and simple waters, and spirits, essential and other oils, perfumery, cosmetics, and similar articles that are prepared at home, for domestic purposes. In short, she is the locum tenens [Latin, place holder], the Lady Bountiful, and the active representative of the mistress of the family; and is expected to do, or to see done, everything that appertains to the good and orderly management of the household.
She ought to be a steady middle-aged woman, of great experience in her profession, and a tolerable knowledge of the world. In her conduct she should be moral, exemplary, and assiduous, as the harmony, comfort, and economy of the family will great depend on her example; and she must know, that no occurrence can be too trifling for her attention, that may lead to these results and whereby waste and unnecessary expense may be avoided.
|The spice cabinet. These days one doesn't appreciate how expensive spices were/are. Until one calculates the price per pound or kg. Then it makes complete sense to lock them up!|
When the entire management of the servants is deputed to her, her situation becomes the more arduous and important. If servants have hardships to undergo, she will let them see that she feels for the necessity of urging them. To cherish the desire of pleasing in them, she will convince them that they may succeed in their endeavors to please her. Human nature is the same in all stations. Convince the servants that you have a considerate regard for their comforts, and they will be found to be grateful, and to reward your attention by their own assiduity: besides, nothing is so endearing as being courteous to our inferiors.
Female servants who would pursue an honest course, have numberless difficulties to contend with, and should,therefore, be treated kindly. The housekeeper in a great family, has ample means of doing good; and she will, doubtless, recollect that it is a part of her duty of protect and encourage virtue, as the best preventive from vice.
In families where there is a house-steward, the marketing will be done, and the tradesmen's bills will be collected, examined, and discharged, by him; but in many famlies, the business of marketing, and of keeping the accounts, devovles on the housekeeper. It is therefore, incumbent on her to be well informed of the prices and qualities of all articles of household consumption in general use; and of the best times..."
|Even the housekeeper had her little excesses...|