The duties of house maids are differently defined by every mistress; but as a rule the woman who is not a chamber maid is a waitress and usually devotes her time and interests to the care of the drawing-room floor. If there is no butler or page boy, she also does a butler's duty, answering the door bell, waiting at table, cleaning the silver and washing the dishes. Sometimes a parlor maid is the butler's assistant in place of a second man, and then she does the heavier work of the drawing-room floor, and at meals assists the butler in the pantry. She can also aid him very efficiently in waiting on the table. The hair of a parlor maid or waitress should be the pink of neatness; and from the time she appears in the morning until the time she goes to her own room at night she must wear a cap made in the form of a coronet, of lace-edged gophered Swiss frills, with or without streamers, and a small black bow of narrow velvet or ribbon.
In the morning, a plainly made gown of percale and a large white apron, with bib and shoulder straps, are the proper costume. In the afternoon, an equally plain dress of black woolen goods, with a wide white linen collar and turn-over cuffs, and apron as directed above, are the appropriate livery. Jewelry, bright ribbons, and ornamental hair pins are never permitted to the well-regulated house maid when on duty. A chamber maid dresses in the same fashion as a parlor maid or waitress.
A Book of Manners for Everyday Use, by Emily Holt
The terms housemaid and chamber-maid are often used interchangeably. Either title belongs to a woman whose duties are principally connected with the private apartments and suites occupied by the family and guests in a private house. A competent and ambitious housemaid will be found early at her work. This is a necessity, if she would retain her post in a well-managed house. It is customary to assign to one woman the entire charge of a floor, with its hall.
Sometimes also a flight of the main staircase is included in her department of work. This is done when the entire staircase is not given into the care of some one servant. If a house be of unusual size, of course more than one chamber-maid will be needed on each floor; the assignment of duties being then made so that only a fair proportion of the care shall devolve upon each woman. By this arrangementy all work may be done thoroughly, because without hurry.
In houses of the character under present consideration no slighting of work can be tolerated. Each housemaid is held responsible for the order and cleanliness of her own department - window-cleaning excepted. This is done by a man. But the housemaid sees daily to all of her window-sills, and permits no accumulation of dust beyond that of one day upon any of them. The observance of this rule makes interior dusting less formidable. It is a case proving "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Millionaire Households By Mary Elizabeth Carter
Duties of Waitress, Parlor Maid, Chambermaid, Second Chambermaid, Third Chambermaid
A parlour-maid is kept in many households in place of a single footman, and in these cases her duties (indoor duties we should say) are practically the same as his, with attendance on her mistress in place of that given by him to his master. It will be best to detail her work in a household of three servants (the other two, cook and housemaid, with, perhaps, a kitchen-maid beside). We are of course not reckoning the nursery and its attendants in speaking of the servants, as the former are, or should be, a thing apart, and the cook would be the only one to whom the existence of a nursery, properly arranged, would give any extra work.
The duties of the parlour-maid are to open the door to visitors, show them into the drawing-room, bring up afternoon tea and clear it away, lay the table for luncheon and dinner, and wait during the latter meal, with or without the assistance of the housemaid; she keeps the linen in repair, waits upon her mistress, assisting her to dress when required, also upon any lady visitor. She has often to help in bed making, and is generally required to dust the drawing-room, often to arrange the flowers for that and the dining-room, to put up fresh curtains, look after the drawing-room fire, and answer the sitting-room bell. She washes up the breakfast, tea and coffee things, and the glass and plate from dinner, and the plate is under her charge to be kept clean and in order. She does, in fact, all the lighter and less menial work of a housemaid, combining with these many little tasks that a mistress who kept only two servants would in all probability do for herself.
As a housemaid, her morning attire should be a print gown and simple white cap, but she will not need the rough apron worn by the former, and can wear a white one, so that she is always ready to answer bells. In the afternoon her dress should be a simply-made black one, relieved by white collar, cuffs and cap, and a pretty lace-trimmed bib apron.
Waiting at Table
The parlour-maid should move about the room as noiselessly as possible, anticipating people's wants by handing them things without being asked for them, and altogether be as quiet as possible. It will be needless here to repeat what we have already said respecting waiting at table in the duties of the butler and footman: rules that are good to be observed by them, are equally good for the parlour-maid. If there be a man-servant in attendance, he takes the butler's place and she the footman's, as already detailed; if the housemaid assists, then the parlour-maid takes the first place.
Dinner over, the parlour-maid will now have to remove and wash up the plate and glass used, restoring everything to its place; next prepare the tea and take it up, bringing the tea-things down when finished with, and lastly, give any attendance required in the bedrooms.
A still-room maid is kept in some large establishments where there is a full staff of men, and she does some few of the duties of the parlour-maid of smaller households. She washes and puts away the china. for example, from breakfast and tea, prepares the tea-trays for the drawing-room, arranges the dining-room dessert and sometimes the flowers and generally waits on and assists the housekeeper. We can more easily define her duties, however, by calling her what she practically is, the housekeeper's assistant.The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton
Duties of Parlor Maid
In smaller establishments the parlor maid is at work at six-thirty. She opens up the lower rooms, sweeps and dusts the halls and parlors, brushes the overcoat and hat required by the master and lays out his gloves. On the day the waitress cleans the silver the parlor maid helps her wash dishes in the pantry and helps generally with the silver. She answers the front door-bell. She assists at luncheon when there are guests, and always at dinner. She keeps her parlors in good order, attends to the flowers, lights the gas and lamps, sees that the morning and evening papers are laid out and that fires burn brightly. In fact she does the duties of second man.
Where one man is kept, the parlor maid and he work together. She has charge of the drawing room, butler's pantry, washing of glass, china, and silver. She serves breakfast and waits on the door.
When two or more men are kept, her work varies. She has the drawing, reception and sitting rooms, main stairs and lavatories on the parlor floor to dust every morning. When the drawing room and sitting rooms are thoroughly swept the second footman or useful man should help, because the furniture is too heavy for a woman to lift. If they begin the work at six in the morning, their assisting does not interfere with the pantry work.
The parlor maid washes dishes and keeps clean the drawers, closets, and refrigerators of the pantry. The cleaning of brass in the pantry is done by one of the pantry men. She should see that towels are in abundance and are washed every day. She sweeps and puts the pantry in order every day, and washes it up once or twice a week.
Her dress is the same as that of the chambermaid.
Duties of Chambermaid
She should commence sweeping halls at six-thirty. After breakfast she dusts halls, draws baths, calls the family or visitors, and opens up shutters in bedrooms. She also assists the lady's maid in brushing the dresses.
After the family have gone to breakfast, she opens their bedroom windows, takes clothes off the beds, one by one, placing them across two chairs to air, and turns the mattress across the foot of the bed to air. She then puts away any clothing, dressing-gowns, slippers, etc., washes out soap-dishes and other toilet articles, going through each bedroom in her care, and opening up each bed to air in each room. She then commences to make, at the first she opened for refreshing. Every day she should sweep up pieces and thoroughly dust not only the furniture but woodwork of the room. Once a week every room should be thoroughly swept, and plumbing fixtures and silver toilet articles cleaned. One room a day should be done in this manner, the useful man cleaning the windows and brasses, and, on a ladder, wiping over tops of doors, pictures, etc. All work should be finished in the bedrooms before lunch. If there is not time to accomplish all before lunch, then she cleans the silver articles after, and brings them back to their places.
One chambermaid is expected to assist in the pantry the nights of dinner parties, and, where two chambermaids are kept, they take evenings about. When dusk comes, the chambermaid draws down the shades and lights the gas. Where there are open fireplaces, she builds up a bright fire. If guests are staying in the house, she sees that they have everything they require. After the family and guests go to dinner she removes and carefully folds the lace spreads, etc., of the beds. She then turns the bed down nicely and lays the nightgown on it. Dressing-gowns and slippers are placed on or by chairs. She removes soiled towels and puts out fresh ones, tidies washstand, lowers gas, and sees that drinking water is put in all bedrooms not later than nine o'clock in winter; ten will do in summer. If gentlemen are staying in the house, and have no valet with them, the chambermaid in charge of their rooms either herself (or sees that the useful man) puts out the evening suit, a clean shirt with studs, etc., and, after the guest has gone to dinner, that the suit of clothes and boots he has worn through the day are taken away, cleaned and brought back ready for the next morning.
One of the first things for a chambermaid to learn is how properly to make a bed. Every bed which has been occupied should, to preserve the health of its occupant and the hygiene of the house, be thoroughly aired both in bed-clothes and mattress every time it is used. The first chambermaid has charge of all bedrooms and bath-rooms on the second floor and one stairway. She also assists in the linen room.
All beds are changed on Saturday so that the soiled clothes can go to the laundry that morning.
The chambermaid's dress for morning wear should always be of light print material, waist and skirt to match. In the afternoon she wears waist and skirt of bUxck cashmere or serge, white collar and cuffs. She wears cap and apron at all times.
Duties of Second Chambermaid
The second chambermaid has charge of the bedrooms on the third floor and third hall and stairs. These should be taken care of with as scrupulous cleanliness and care as any other. If on this floor there is a playroom, it should be cleaned and put in order before the hall, early in the morning. The chambermaid gives this room its first daily cleaning. The nurses keep it in order for the day.
Duties of Third Chambermaid
The third chambermaid brushes and dusts the sewing room early every morning in order not to disturb the ladies' maids when they are busy. She has charge of servants' bed and bath-rooms, hall and stairs. Sometimes nurses make their own beds; but the chambermaid does their cleaning in their rooms.
She makes the beds of the men, cooks, kitchen maids and laundresses, etc., and sweeps, dusts, and tidies their rooms - keeping them in perfect order.
She keeps the servants' hall in order and cleans silver for its table. In fact she takes care of this dining hall, except its windows. Mrs. Seely's Cook Book & Manual on Domestic Servants, By Mrs. L. Seely, 1902
GENERALLY RECOGNIZED DUTIES IN THE AVERAGE WELL-APPOINTED HOUSEHOLD OF SIX SERVANTS. DUTIES OF COOK, WAITRESS, PARLOR MAID, CHAMBERMAID, LAUNDRESS, USEFUL MAN.
Duties of Parlor Maid
The parlor maid is at work at six o'clock. She opens up the parlors and sitting room, and dusts and puts in order the rooms on that floor. She then takes her breakfast. After breakfast she brushes the overcoats and hats, and lays out the gloves required by the gentlemen of the house.
She also waits on the mistress, keeping in order, laying out, dusting, and putting away her clothes. She helps the waitress at lunch, if there are guests, and always at dinner, taking her place every other Sunday afternoon and evening, also one evening in the week. She answers the front door-bell the day the waitress cleans the silver.
She is dressed at three o'clock to attend the front door, and generally mends, hems dusters and floor-cloths which she uses for that floor. She cleans the parlors thoroughly once a month, oftener if used very much, but dusts them thoroughly every day, taking care of her own broom, brushes, chamois, dusters, pails, etc., and washing dusters daily to keep them sweet and clean. She draws the shades, lights the gas and lamps, sees that the morning and evening papers are ready, attends to the flowers, sees that the fires burn brightly, and closes up her part of the house. In fact she has the duties of a second man. Every other Sunday afternoon and evening she has out, and one evening in the week, but she must be home at ten- thirty.
Duties of Chambermaid
The chambermaid rises and is downstairs at six o'clock. She sweeps and dusts the halls and stairs, draws baths, calls the family or visitors, and has her breakfast. After breakfast she goes to the servants' rooms, and after making their beds and tidying the rooms, she goes to the family rooms and opens bedroom windows, takes clothes off the beds, one by one, placing them on two chairs, being careful not to let the clothes touch the floor, and turns the mattress across the foot of the bedstead to air. She puts away dressing-gowns, slippers, washes out soap-dishes, and attends to the toilet articles. She goes through each bedroom in her care, opening up beds to air in each room. She begins at the first she exposed to the air, and makes the others in turn. Every day she sweeps up pieces, and thoroughly dusts not only the furniture, but the woodwork of the room.
Once a week she should thoroughly sweep every bedroom, clean globes and bath-room fixtures, and silver toilet articles. One room a day should be done, the useful man cleaning the windows, brasses, wiping over tops of pictures, windows, doors, etc. All work should be finished in the bedrooms before luncheon.
The chambermaid is dressed by four o'clock, in black dress, white apron, cap, collar, and cuffs. She does the darning and mending, hemming of dusters and floor-cloths. At dusk, she draws down the shades, lights the gas or lamps, and where there are open fireplaces, builds up a bright fire. If guests are staying in the house she sees that they have everything they require. After the family and guests go to dinner, she turns down the beds and removes and carefully folds the lace spreads, etc. The nightgowns are then laid on the bed, and slippers are placed on the floor. She removes soiled towels and puts out fresh ones, tidies wash-stands, lowers gas, puts ice water in all the bedrooms not later than ten o'clock.
The chambermaid has every other Sunday afternoon and evening off until ten-thirty, the parlor maid or waitress taking her place. She has brooms, brushes, dusters, chamois, pails, and everything to work with, and must wash her dusters each day, taking good care of each article.
Duties of Waitress
The duties of waitress are those which fall to a butler, where one is kept. She has entire charge of the dining room and pantry, cleans silver and takes charge of the cooling and warming of wines, and serves all meals, assisted by the parlor maid. She serves any refreshment required in the evening, carries coffee after dinner to the parlor - in fact, her duties are those of a butler.
She must always have on her black dress, white apron and cap before lunch is served. She takes turns with the parlor maid at answering front door-bell and seeing that all windows and doors on the parlor floor are fastened for the night. She puts out all gas, lamps, etc.
In some houses she combines with her own work the duties of a parlor maid. In such arrangements she is expected to rise at six or six-thirty at the latest, open the parlor floor, and brush up and dust the dining room before breakfast. After breakfast she washes china, glass, and silver and puts the dining room in order. She also has charge of and keeps clean the hall, library, and entire parlor floor, and she cleans brass and the front door-knobs.Living London ([19--?])
Vol. II - Section II
Author: George Robert Sims, (1847-1922)
Article by: By N. Murrell Marris
|Hover to Exand|
In large establishments there are several house-maids and according to the number kept the actual work of the head house-maid may be determined being practically little if there be many, while her responsibilities are in inverse ratio. She has not so much to do the work as to see that it is done, reserving the lighter and more important tasks for her own share.
The best upper housemaids are those that have risen to the post, having thus had a good sound training and possessing a practical knowledge of how every household task should be performed.
The upper housemaid's duties would include, besides a general superintendence, the care of the household linen, the covering of furniture, the dusting, if not the sweeping, of the drawing-room, the helping to make the chief beds and other tasks, always making it her duty to go the round of the bedrooms, both morning and evening, to see that toilet tables, wash-hand stands, fires, etc., are in order.
The first duty of the housemaid in winter is to open the shutters of all the lower rooms in the house, and take up the hearthrugs in those rooms which she is going to "do" before breakfast. In some families, where there are only a cook and housemaid kept, and where the drawing-rooms are large, the cook has the care of the dining-room, and the house-maid that of the breakfast-room, library and drawing-rooms. After the shutters are all opened, she sweeps the breakfast-room, sweeping the dust towards the fireplace, of course previously removing the fender. She should then lay a cloth (generally made of coarse wrappering) over the carpet in front of the stove, and on this should place her housemaid's box, containing blacklead brushes, leathers, emery-paper, cloth, black-lead, and all utensils necessary for cleaning a grate, with the cinder-pail on the other side. She now sweeps up the ashes and deposits them in her cinder-pail, which is a japanned tin pail, with a wire sifter inside, and a closely-fitting top. In this pail the cinders are sifted, and reserved for use in the kitchen or under the copper, the ashes only being thrown away. The cinders disposed of, she proceeds to blacklead the grate, producing the blacklead, the soft brush for laying it on, her blacking and polishing brushes, from the box which contains her tools. The housemaid's box should be kept well stocked. Having blackened, brushed and polished every part, and made all clean and bright, she now proceeds to lay the fire. Sometimes it is very difficult to get a proper polish to black grates, particularly if they have been neglected and allowed to rust at all. But later on we give recipes for treating them that will be found useful.
Bright grates require unceasing attention to keep them in perfect order. A day should never pass without the housemaid rubbing with a dry leather the polished parts of a grate, as also the fender and fire-irons. A careful and attentive housemaid should have no occasion ever to use emery-paper for any part but the bars, which, of course, become blackened by the fire.
The several fires lighted, the housemaid proceeds with her dusting and polishing the several pieces of furniture in the breakfast parlour, leaving no corner unvisited. Before sweeping the carpet, it is a good practice to sprinkle it all over with tea-leaves, which not only lay all dust, but give a slightly fragrant smell to the room. It is now in order for the reception of the family, and where there is neither footman nor parlour-maid, she now proceeds to the dressing-room, and lights her mistress's fire if she is in the habit of having one to dress by. Her mistress is called, hot water placed in the dressing-room for her use, her clothes as far as they are under the housemaid's charge put before the fire, hanging a fire-guard on the bars where there is one, while she proceeds to prepare the breakfast.
The housemaid's work in summer is considerably abridged: she throws open the windows in the several rooms not occupied as bedrooms, that they may receive the fresh morning air before they are occupied; she prepares the breakfast-room by sweeping the carpet, rubbing tables and chairs, dusting mantel-shelf and picture-frames with a light brush, dusting the furniture and sweeping the rug; she cleans the grate when necessary, and re-arranges the ornaments with which it is filled when necessary, leaving everything clean and tidy for breakfast. It is not enough, however, in cleaning furniture, just to pass lightly over the surface; the rims and legs of tables, and the backs and legs of chairs and sofas, should be rubbed vigorously daily; if there is a bookcase, every corner of every pane and ledge requires to be carefully wiped, so that not a speck of dust can be found in the room.
After the breakfast-room is finished,, the housemaid should proceed to sweep down the stairs, commencing at the top, whilst the cook has the charge of the hall, doorstep and passages. After this she should go into the drawing-room, cover up every article of furniture that is likely to spoil, with large dusting-sheets, and put the chairs together, by turning them seat to seat, and, in fact, make as much room as possible, by placing all the loose furniture in the middle of the room, whilst she sweeps the corners and sides. When this is accomplished, the furniture can then be put back in its place, and the middle of the room swept, sweeping the dirt, as before said, towards the fireplace. The same rules should be observed in cleaning the drawing-room grates as we have just stated, putting down the cloth, before commencing, to prevent the carpet from getting soiled. In the country, a room would not require sweeping thoroughly like this more than twice a week; but the housemaid should go over it every morning with a dust-pan and broom, taking up every crumb and piece she may see. After the sweeping she should leave the room, shut the door, and proceed to lay the breakfast. Where there is neither footman nor parlour-maid kept, the duty of laying the breakfast cloth rests on the housemaid.
Laying the Cloth for Breakfast.
The heater of the tea-urn is to be first placed in the hottest part of the kitchen fire; or, where the kettle is used, boiled on the kitchen fire, and then removed to the parlour, where it is kept hot. Having washed herself free from the dust arising from the morning's work, the housemaid collects the breakfast things on her tray, takes the breakfast-cloth from the napkin-press, and carries them all on the tray into the parlour; arranges them on the table, placing a sufficiency of knives, forks and salt-cellars for the family, taking care that the salt is plentiful, and soft and dry, and takes the tray back to the pantry; gets a supply of milk, cream and bread; fills the butter-dish, and sees that hotplates and egg-cups are ready where warm meat or eggs are served, and that the butter-knife and bread-knife are in their places. And now she should give the signal for breakfast, holding herself ready to fill the urn with hot water, or hand the kettle, and take in the rolls, toast and other eatables, with which the cook supplies her, when the breakfast-room bell rings; bearing in mind that she is never to enter the parlour with dirty hands or with a dirty apron, and that everything is to be handed on a tray; that she is to hand everything she may be required to supply on the left hand of the person she is serving, and that all is done quietly and without bustle or hurry. In some families, where there is a large number to attend on, the cook waits at breakfast whilst the housemaid is busy upstairs in the bedrooms, or sweeping, dusting and putting the drawing-room in order.
Breakfast served, the housemaid proceeds to the bedchambers, throws up the sashes, if not already done, pulls up the blinds, throwing back the curtains at the same time, and opens the beds by removing the clothes, placing them over a horse, or failing that, over the backs of chairs. She now proceeds to empty the slops. In doing this, everything is emptied into the slop-pail, leaving a little scalding-hot water for a minute in vessels that require it ; adding a drop of turpentine to the water, when that is not sufficient to cleanse them. The basin is emptied, well rinsed with clean water, and carefully wiped; the ewers emptied and washed; finally, the water-jugs themselves emptied out and rinsed, and wiped dry. As soon as this is done, she should remove and empty the pails, taking care that they also are well washed, scalded and wiped as soon as they are empty. Next follows bed-making, at which one of the other servants usually assists; but, before beginning, velvet chairs, or other things injured by dust, should be removed to another room. In bed-making, the fancy of its occupant should be consulted: some like beds sloping from the top towards the feet, swelling slightly in the middle; others, perfectly flat; a good housemaid will accommodate each bed to the taste of the sleeper, taking care to shake, beat and turn it well in the process. Some persons prefer sleeping on the mattress; in which case a feather bed is usually beneath, resting on a second mattress, and a straw palliasse at the bottom. In this case, the mattresses should change places daily; the feather bed placed on the mattress shaken, beaten, taken up and opened several times, so as thoroughly to separate the feathers; if too large to be thus handled, the maid should shake and beat one end first, and then the other, smoothing it afterwards equally all over into the required shape, and place the mattress gently over it. Any feathers which escape in this process a tidy servant will put back through the seam of the tick; she will also be careful to sew up any stitch that gives way the moment it is discovered. The bed-clothes are laid on, beginning with an under blanket and sheet, which are tucked under the mattress at the bottom. The bolster is then beaten and shaken, and put on, the top of the sheet rolled round it, and the sheet tucked in all round. The pillows and other bed-clothes follow, and the counterpane over all, which should fall in graceful folds, and at equal distance from the ground all round. The curtains are drawn to the head and folded neatly across the bed, and the whole finished in a smooth and graceful manner. Where spring mattresses are used, care should be taken that the over one is turned every day. The housemaid should now take up in a dust-pan any pieces that may be on the carpet; she should dust the room, shut the door, and proceed to another room. When all the bedrooms are finished, she should dust the stairs and polish the hand-rail of the banisters, and see that all ledges, window-sills, etc., are quite free from dust. It will be necessary for the house-maid to divide her work, so that she may not have too much to do on certain days, and not sufficient to fill up her time on other days. In the country, bedrooms should be swept and thoroughly cleaned once a week; and to be methodical and regular in her work, the housemaid should have certain days for doing certain rooms thoroughly. For instance, two bedrooms on Monday, two on Tuesday, the drawing-room on Wednesday, and so on, reserving a day for thoroughly cleaning the plate, bedroom candlesticks, etc., etc., which she will have to do where there is no parlour-maid or footman kept. By this means the work will be divided, and there will be no unnecessary bustling and hurrying, as is the case where the work is done at any time, without rule or regulation.
Once a week, when a bedroom is to be thoroughly cleaned, the housemaid should commence by brushing the mattresses of the bed before it is made; she should then make it, shake the curtains, lay them smoothly on the bed, and pin or tuck up the bottom valance, so that she may be able to sweep under the bed. She should then unloop the window-curtains, shake them, and pin them high up out of the way. After clearing the dressing-table, and the room altogether of little articles of china, etc., etc., she should shake the toilet-covers, fold them up, and lay them on the bed, over which a large dusting sheet should be drawn. She should then sweep the room, clean the grate, the washing-table apparatus, removing all marks or fur round the aused by the water. The water-bottles and tumblers must also her attention, as well as the top of the washing-stand. When these are all clean and arranged in their places, the housemaid should scrub the floor where it is not covered with carpet, under the bed, and round the wainscot. She should use as little soap and soda as possible, as too free a use of these articles is liable to give the boards a black appearance. In winter it is not advisable to scrub rooms too often, as it is difficult to dry them thoroughly, and nothing is more dangerous than to allow persons to sleep in a damp room. The house-maid should now dust the furniture, blinds, ornaments, etc.; polish the looking-glass: arrange the toliet cover and muslin; remove the cover from the bed, and straighten and arrange the curtains and counterpane. A bedroom should be cleaned like this every week. As modern furniture is now nearly always French-polished, it should often be rubbed with an old silk rubber, or a fine cloth or duster, to keep it free from smears. Three or four times a year, any of the polishes, for which we give recipes, may be applied with very great success, as any of them make French-polished furniture look very well. One precaution must be taken not to put too much of the polish on at one time, and to rub, not smear it over the articles.
The chamber candlesticks should be brought down and cleaned, gas and electric globes cleaned, and the parlour lamps trimmed and here the housemaid's utmost care is required. In cleaning candlesticks, as in every other cleaning, she should have cloths and brushes kept for that purpose alone ; the knife used to scrape them should be applied to no other purpose ; the tallow-grease should be thrown into a box kept for the purpose ; the same with everything connected with the lamp- trimming ; always bearing in mind, that without perfect cleanliness, which involves occasional scalding, no lamp can be kept in order. After scalding a lamp, it should be rinsed out with a little spirits; this will prevent the oil sputtering on first being lighted after the scalding.
In summer-time the windows of all the bedrooms, which have been closed during the heat of the day, should be thrown open for an hour or so after sunset, in order to air them. Before dark they should be closed, the bed-clothes turned down, and the night-clothes laid in order for use when required. During winter, where fires are required in the dressing-rooms, they should be lighted an hour before the usual time of retiring, placing a fire-guard before each fire. At the same time, the night-things on the horse should be placed before it to be aired. The upper housemaid may be required to assist her mistress to undress and put her dress in order for the morrow ; in which case her duties are very much those of the lady's-maid. And now the fire is made up for the night, the fireguard replaced, and everything in the room in order for the night, the housemaid taking care to leave the night-candle and matches together in a convenient place, should they be required. On leisure days the housemaid should be able to do some needlework for her mistress such as turning and mending sheets and darning the house-linen, or assist her in anything she may think fit to give her to do. For this reason it is almost essential that a house-maid, in a small family, should be an expert needlewoman.
This general cleaning usually takes place in the spring or early summer, when the warm curtains of winter are replaced by the light and cheerful muslin ones. Carpets are at the same time taken up and beaten. In this case she will probably have made up her mind to try the cleaning process, and arranged with the company to sepd for them on the morning when cleaning commenced. It is hardly necessary to repeat that on this occasion every article is to be gone over. The same thorough system of cleaning should be done throughout the house; the walls cleaned where painted, and swept down with a soft broom or feather brush where papered; the window and bed curtains, which have been replaced with muslin ones, carefully brushed, or if, they require it, cleaned; lamps not likely to be required washed out with hot water, dried and cleaned. The several grates should be furnished with their summer ornaments.
As winter approaches,
Independently of these daily and periodical cleanings, other occupations will present themselves from time to time which the housemaid will have to perform. When spots show on polished furniture they can generally be restored by soap-and-water and a sponge, the polish being brought out by using a little polish, and then well rubbing it. Again, drawers which draw out stiffly may be made to move more easily if the spot where they press is rubbed over with a little soap.
These are the duties of the housemaid or housemaids, and according to the number kept so will the work be divided between them, every household having different rules and management.The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton
Published Originally By S. O. Beeton in 24 Monthly Parts, 1859-1861. First Published in a Bound Edition 1861.
The Housemaid will also be particularly under the inspection of the housekeeper; but still a great deal will depend upon her own cleanliness and exertions: the beds not in use should be every day aired by shaking them, and the blankets nicely folded and placed between the bed and mattress: the curtains and hangings should be slightly shaken and dusted with a proper brush, and replaced in their former order. Before sweeping the rooms, they should be sprinkled with tea-leaves, and the carpets swept with a proper whisk-brush. Domestic Economy, by John Farley, 1811