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common-place affair, shared with upholsterers and cabinetmakers; it is decorating the place where I am to meet a friend or lover. To order dinner is not merely arranging a meal with my cook; it is preparing refreshment for him whom I love. These necessary occupations, viewed in this light by a person of strong attachment, are so many pleasures, and afford her far more delight than the fancies and shows which constitute the amusements of the world.'
In the last century, too, and to our time, carving was performed by the mistress of the house ; for the lady was not only to invite—that is, urge and tease—her company to eat more than human throats could conveniently swallow, but to carve every dish, when chosen, with her own hands. The greater the lady, the more indispensable the duty : each joint was carried up, in its turn, to be operated upon by her, and her alone; since the peers and knights on either hand were so far from being bound to offer their assistance, that the very master of the house had to circulate the wine. There were then professed carving-masters, who taught young ladies the art scientifically ; from one of whom Lady Mary Wortley Montague took lessons three times a week, that she might be perfect on her father's days ; when, in order to perform her functions without interruption, she was forced to eat her own dinner alone an hour or two beforehand.
The qualifications for housekeeping may be thus specified. To be a good manager without an ostentatious display of it. To be elegantly neat, without being a slave to dress or furniture. Everything to stand in its right place. To be easy and affable with your servants; and to allow of no scolding in the kitchen or servants' hall. The family business to go on as regularly as a good clock, that keeps time without being set always faster or slower. Every one to
look easy and contented, and the housework to be done with regularity. To keep a good and plentiful table, but not covered with incitements to over-eating. Let the food be plain and in season, and well dressed. When company is asked, a few well-chosen luxuries may be introduced. This is the criterion of a small but well-regulated family.
Mrs. Hamilton, in her admirable stories of the Cottagers of Glenburnie, gives three simple rules for the regulation of domestic affairs, which, if carried into practice, would be the means of saving time, labour, and patience, and of making every house a well-ordered one. They are as follows: 1. Do everything in its proper time. 2. Keep everything to its proper use. 3. Put everything in its proper place. This is a little system of domestic economy, which consists in the management of a family and the government of a household, and is nowhere better understood than in England. One of her authors has truly observed : ‘The practical knowledge of the domestic duties is the principal glory of a woman ;' a fact happily illustrated in every well-regulated circle, and in the daily experience of every peaceful family.
It is, however, most important that ladies should apply themselves in their youth, or in their early married life, to the study of household management; that they may at once know what to require, and obtain the respect of their domestics, by proving that they are mistresses of the art, as well as those who are to practise it. The mistresses who are annoyed by the inability of their domestics for their service, should consider, not only whether they have ever taken any measures to teach or train anybody to household work, but whether they themselves know how to direct such service. There is certainly some reason to believe that a large proportion of the complaints exchanged among ladies may be dismissed as groundless, because they do not know what to require, and are unreasonable accordingly. We may, often have observed the peculiarity in persons who have lost their sight, that they think everybody unconscionably slow in writing a letter, going an errand, making a garment, etc.
Not seeing how the affair advances, they go over it in imagination, and expect a result long before it can be had. Just the same mistake is made by an ignorant housewife ; and especially if she has passed her youth in the midst of indulgences which came to her like the light or the scent of flowers. When her time comes for ruling a household, she orders all manner of impossible things in an impossible time. They heartily wish she would, for once, try to do herself the tasks which she fancies herself proper for a single day or hour. The wonder seems to be that servants have so much forbearance as we see, and the allowance they can make for the inexperience of a mistress. However, the remedy, or what is better, the preventive, is to learn in youth whatever is most likely to be useful in after-life-the management of a household.
PROGRESS OF COOKERY AND
HE passion for feasting had so greatly increased
in England in the fourteenth century, that a severe law was passed by Edward III. to re
strain certain ranks to proportionate banquets. He himself, however, gave an entertainment of thirty courses, the fragments of which fed one thousand persons. The art of cookery now required considerable skill : the making of blanc-manger, tarts, pies, preparing rich soups of the brawn of capons, with other duties of a cook, are to be found in records of this period. French cooks were employed by the nobility, and even by merchants, who, an old writer tells us, when they gave a feast, rejected butchers’-meat as unworthy of their tables, having jellies of all colours, and in all figures, representing flowers, trees, beasts, fish, fowl, and fruits.' The wines, according to a phrase then used, consisted of a collection of spiced liquors and delicate cakes, taken by persons of rank just before retiring to rest. Spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, grains of paradise, ginger, and others, were eaten for dessert. Magnificent presents were sometimes made between each course; and in the castles the court gates were shut during meals.
Cookery flourished in the reign of Richard 11., who, according to old Stow, feasted ten thousand persons in Westminster Hall; and when he kept Christmas here in 1399, the daily consumption is stated at 28 oxen and 300 sheep, besides fowl without number. We are also told that Richard kept 2000 cooks (?). They were learned in their art, and have left to the world their cookery book, entitled The Form of Cury; or a Roll of English Cookery, compiled about the year 1390 by the Master Cooks of Richard II. The mention of breakfasts occurs about this time : the items were bread and wine, boiled beef, beer, wine, salt fish, butter, sprats, herrings, brawn, mustard, and malmsey. And in the books of the Salters' Company is a receipt for making a game pie, such as was made in the seventeenth year of the reign of Richard 11. It consisted of a pheasant, hare, and capon; two partridges, two pigeons, and two rabbits; all boned, and put into paste in the shape of a bird, with the livers and hearts; two mutton kidneys, forced meat, and egg-balls; seasoning, spices, catsup, and pickled mushrooms, filled up with gravy made from the various birds. In the year 1836 the Salters' Company had a pie made from this receipt, and it was found excellent. This is perhaps the best evidence we have of the excellence of olden cookery, in a receipt at least 442 years old. Edward iv. had bread made into manchets, or rolls; almond biscuits and ale for breakfasts.
The costliness of banquets to kings and queens, and persons of rank, continued to increase in the fifteenth century. Hence arose devices, or subtleties, made of paste, jelly, or blanc-manger, placed in the middle of the table, with labels describing them in verse. Shapes of animals were frequent; and on a saint's day, angels, prophets, and patriarchs were set upon the table in plenty. Among the most celebrated dishes was the peacock for the feast royal, which was directed to be dressed as follows: "Take and flay off the skin, with the feathers, tail, and the neck and