2153. It is the custom of “Society” to abuse its servants,—a façon de parler, such as leads their lords and masters to talk of the weather, and, when rurally inclined, of the crops,—leads matronly ladies, and ladies just entering on their probation in that honoured and honourable state, to talk of servants, and, as we are told, wax eloquent over the greatest plague in life while taking a quiet cup of tea. Young men at their clubs, also, we are told, like to abuse their “fellows,” perhaps not without a certain pride and pleasure at the opportunity of intimating that they enjoy such appendages to their state. It is another conviction of “Society” that the race of good servants has died out, at least in England, although they do order these things better in France; that there is neither honesty, conscientiousness, nor the careful and industrious habits which distinguished the servants of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers; that domestics no longer know their place; that the introduction of cheap silks and cottons, and, still more recently, those ambiguous “materials” and tweeds, have removed the landmarks between the mistress and her maid, between the master and his man.
2154. When the distinction really depends on things so insignificant, this is very probably the case; when the lady of fashion chooses her footman without any other consideration than his height, shape, and tournure of his calf, it is not surprising that she should find a domestic who has no attachment for the family, who considers the figure he cuts behind her carriage, and the late hours he is compelled to keep, a full compensation for the wages he exacts, for the food he wastes, and for the perquisites he can lay his hands on. Nor should the fast young man, who chooses his groom for his knowingness in the ways of the turf and in the tricks of low horse-dealers, be surprised if he is sometimes the victim of these learned ways. But these are the exceptional cases, which prove the existence of a better state of things. The great masses of society among us are not thus deserted; there are few families of respectability, from the shopkeeper in the next street to the nobleman whose mansion dignifies the next square, which do not contain among their dependents attached and useful servants; and where these are absent altogether, there are good reasons for it. The sensible master and the kind mistress know, that if servants depend on them for their means of 962 living, in their turn they are dependent on their servants for very many of the comforts of life; and that, with a proper amount of care in choosing servants, and treating them like reasonable beings, and making slight excuses for the shortcomings of human nature, they will, save in some exceptional case, be tolerably well served, and, in most instances, surround themselves with attached domestics.
2155. This remark, which is applicable to all domestics, is especially so to men-servants. Families accustomed to such attendants have always about them humble dependents, whose children have no other prospect than domestic service to look forward to; to them it presents no degradation, but the reverse, to be so employed; they are initiated step by step into the mysteries of the household, with the prospect of rising in the service, if it is a house admitting of promotion,—to the respectable position of butler or house-steward. In families of humbler pretensions, where they must look for promotion elsewhere, they know that can only be attained by acquiring the goodwill of their employers. Can there be any stronger security for their good conduct,—any doubt that, in the mass of domestic servants, good conduct is the rule, the reverse the exception?
2156. The number of the male domestics in a family varies according to the wealth and position of the master, from the owner of the ducal mansion, with a retinue of attendants, at the head of which is the chamberlain and house-steward, to the occupier of the humbler house, where a single footman, or even the odd man-of-all-work, is the only male retainer. The majority of gentlemen’s establishments probably comprise a servant out of livery, or butler, a footman, and coachman, or coachman and groom, where the horses exceed two or three.
2157. The domestic duties of the butler are to bring in the eatables at breakfast, and wait upon the family at that meal, assisted by the footman, and see to the cleanliness of everything at table. On taking away, he removes the tray with the china and plate, for which he is responsible. At luncheon, he arranges the meal, and waits unassisted, the footman being now engaged in other duties. At dinner, he places the silver and plated articles on the table, sees that everything is in its place, and rectifies what is wrong. He carries in the first dish, and announces in the drawing-room that dinner is on the table, and respectfully stands by the door until the company are seated, when he takes his place behind his master’s chair on the left, to remove the covers, handing them to the other attendants to carry out. After the first course of plates is supplied, his place is at the sideboard to serve the wines, but only when called on.
2158. The first course ended, he rings the cook’s bell, and hands the dishes from the table to the other servants to carry away, receiving from them the 963 second course, which he places on the table, removing the covers as before, and again taking his place at the sideboard.
2159. At dessert, the slips being removed, the butler receives the dessert from the other servants, and arranges it on the table, with plates and glasses, and then takes his place behind his master’s chair to hand the wines and ices, while the footman stands behind his mistress for the same purpose, the other attendants leaving the room. Where the old-fashioned practice of having the dessert on the polished table, without any cloth, is still adhered to, the butler should rub off any marks made by the hot dishes before arranging the dessert.
2160. Before dinner, he has satisfied himself that the lamps, candles, or gas-burners are in perfect order, if not lighted, which will usually be the case. Having served every one with their share of the dessert, put the fires in order (when these are used), and seen the lights are all right, at a signal from his master, he and the footman leave the room.
2161. He now proceeds to the drawing-room, arranges the fireplace, and sees to the lights; he then returns to his pantry, prepared to answer the bell, and attend to the company, while the footman is clearing away and cleaning the plate and glasses.
2162. At tea he again attends. At bedtime he appears with the candles; he locks up the plate, secures doors and windows, and sees that all the fires are safe.
2163. In addition to these duties, the butler, where only one footman is kept, will be required to perform some of the duties of the valet, to pay bills, and superintend the other servants. But the real duties of the butler are in the wine-cellar; there he should be competent to advise his master as to the price and quality of the wine to be laid in; “fine,” bottle, cork, and seal it, and place it in the binns. Brewing, racking, and bottling malt liquors, belong to his office, as well as their distribution. Those and other drinkables are brought from the cellar every day by his own hands, except where an under-butler is kept; and a careful entry of every bottle used, entered in the cellar-book; so that the book should always show the contents of the cellar.
2164. The office of butler is thus one of very great trust in a household. Here, as elsewhere, honesty is the best policy: the butler should make it his business to understand the proper treatment of the different wines under his charge, which he can easily do from the wine-merchant, and faithfully attend to it; his own reputation will soon compensate for the absence of bribes from unprincipled wine-merchants, if he serves a generous and hospitable master. Nothing spreads more rapidly in society than the reputation of a good wine-cellar, and all that is required is wines well chosen and well cared for; and this a little knowledge, carefully applied, will soon supply.
2165. The butler, we have said, has charge of the contents of the cellars, and it is his duty to keep them in a proper condition, to fine down wine in wood, bottle it off, and store it away in places, suited to the sorts. Where 964 wine comes into the cellar ready bottled, it is usual to return the same number of empty bottles; the butler has not, in this case, the same inducements to keep the bottles of the different sorts separated; but where the wine is bottled in the house, he will find his account, not only in keeping them separate, but in rinsing them well, and even washing them with clean water as soon as they are empty.
2166. There are various modes of fining wine: isinglass, gelatine, and gum Arabic are all used for the purpose. Whichever of these articles is used, the process is always the same. Supposing eggs (the cheapest) to be used,—Draw a gallon or so of the wine, and mix one quart of it with the whites of four eggs, by stirring it with a whisk; afterwards, when thoroughly mixed, pour it back into the cask through the bunghole, and stir up the whole cask, in a rotatory direction, with a clean split stick inserted through the bunghole. Having stirred it sufficiently, pour in the remainder of the wine drawn off, until the cask is full; then stir again, skimming off the bubbles that rise to the surface. When thoroughly mixed by stirring, close the bunghole, and leave it to stand for three or four days. This quantity of clarified wine will fine thirteen dozen of port or sherry. The other clearing ingredients are applied in the same manner, the material being cut into small pieces, and dissolved in the quart of wine, and the cask stirred in the same manner.
2167. To Bottle Wine.—Having thoroughly washed and dried the bottles, supposing they have been before used for the same kind of wine, provide corks, which will be improved by being slightly boiled, or at least steeped in hot water,—a wooden hammer or mallet, a bottling-boot, and a squeezer for the corks. Bore a hole in the lower part of the cask with a gimlet, receiving the liquid stream which follows in the bottle and filterer, which is placed in a tub or basin. This operation is best performed by two persons, one to draw the wine, the other to cork the bottles. The drawer is to see that the bottles are up to the mark, but not too full, the bottle being placed in a clean tub to prevent waste. The corking-boot is buckled by a strap to the knee, the bottle placed in it, and the cork, after being squeezed in the press, driven in by a flat wooden mallet.
2168. As the wine draws near to the bottom of the cask, a thick piece of muslin is placed in the strainer, to prevent the viscous grounds from passing into the bottle.
2169. Having carefully counted the bottles, they are stored away in their respective binns, a layer of sand or sawdust being placed under the first tier, and another over it; a second tier is laid over this, protected by a lath, the head of the second being laid to the bottom of the first; over this another bed of sawdust is laid, not too thick, another lath; and so on till the binn is filled.
2170. Wine so laid in will be ready for use according to its quality and age. Port wine, old in the wood, will be ready to drink in five or six months; but if it is a fruity wine, it will improve every year. Sherry, if of good quality, will be fit to drink as soon as the “sickness” (as its first condition after bottling is called) ceases, and will also improve; but the cellar must be kept at a perfectly steady temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, but about 55° or 60°, and absolutely free from draughts of cold air.
2171. Where a single footman, or odd man, is the only male servant, then, whatever his ostensible position, he is required to make himself generally useful. He has to clean the knives and shoes, the furniture, the plate; answer the visitors who call, the drawing-room and parlour bells; and do all the errands. His life is no sinecure; and a methodical arrangement of his time will be necessary, in order to perform his many duties with any satisfaction to himself or his master.
2172. The footman only finds himself in stockings, shoes, and washing. Where silk stockings, or other extra articles of linen are worn, they are found by the family, as well 965 as his livery, a working dress, consisting of a pair of overalls, a waistcoat, a fustian jacket, with a white or jean one for times when he is liable to be called to answer the door or wait at breakfast; and, on quitting his service, he is expected to leave behind him any livery had within six months.
2173. The footman is expected to rise early, in order to get through all his dirty work before the family are stirring. Boots and shoes, and knives and forks, should be cleaned, lamps in use trimmed, his master’s clothes brushed, the furniture rubbed over; so that he may put aside his working dress, tidy himself, and appear in a clean jean jacket to lay the cloth and prepare breakfast for the family.
2174. We need hardly dwell on the boot-cleaning process: three good brushes and good blacking must be provided; one of the brushes hard, to brush off the mud; the other soft, to lay on the blacking; the third of a medium hardness, for polishing; and each should be kept for its particular use. The blacking should be kept corked up, except when in use, and applied to the brush with a sponge tied to a stick, which, when put away, rests in a notch cut in the cork. When boots come in very muddy, it is a good practice to wash off the mud, and wipe them dry with a sponge; then leave them to dry very gradually on their sides, taking care they are not placed near the fire, or scorched. Much delicacy of treatment is required in cleaning ladies’ boots, so as to make the leather look well-polished, and the upper part retain a fresh appearance, with the lining free from hand-marks, which are very offensive to a lady of refined tastes.
2175. Patent leather boots require to be wiped with a wet sponge, and afterwards with a soft dry cloth, and occasionally with a soft cloth and sweet oil, blacking and polishing the edge of the soles in the usual way, but so as not to cover the patent polish with blacking. A little milk may also be used with very good effect for patent leather boots.
2176. Top boots are still occasionally worn by gentlemen. While cleaning the lower part in the usual manner, protect the tops, by inserting a cloth or brown paper under the edges and bringing it over them. In cleaning the tops, let the covering fall down over the boot; wash the tops clean with soap and flannel, and rub out any spots with pumice-stone. If the tops are to be whiter, dissolve an ounce of oxalic acid and half an ounce of pumice-stone in a pint of soft water; if a brown colour is intended, mix an ounce of muriatic acid, half an ounce of alum, half an ounce of gum Arabic, and half an ounce of spirit of lavender, in a pint and a half of skimmed milk “turned.” These mixtures apply by means of a sponge, and polish, when dry, with a rubber made of soft flannel.
2177. Knives are now generally cleaned by means of Kent’s or Masters’s machine, which gives very little trouble, and is very effective; before, however, putting the knives into the machine, it is highly necessary that they be first washed in a little warm (not hot) water, and then thoroughly wiped: if put into the machine with any grease on them, it adheres to the brushes, and consequently renders them unfit to use for the next knives that may be put in. When this precaution is not taken, the machine must come to pieces, so causing an immense amount of trouble, which may all be avoided by having the knives thoroughly free from grease before using the machine. Brushes are also used for cleaning forks, which facilitate the operation. When knives are so cleaned, see that they are carefully polished, wiped, and with a good edge, the ferules and prongs free from dirt, and place them in the basket with the handles all one way.
2178. Lamp-trimming requires a thorough acquaintance with the mechanism; after that, constant attention to cleanliness, and an occasional entire clearing out with hot water: when this is done, all the parts should be carefully dried before filling again with oil. When lacquered, wipe the lacquered parts with a soft brush and cloth, and wash occasionally with weak soapsuds, wiping carefully afterwards. Brass lamps may be cleaned with oil and rottenstone every day when trimmed. With bronze, and other ornamental lamps, more care will be required, and soft flannel and oil only used, to prevent the removal of the bronze or enamel. Brass-work, or any metal-work not lacquered, is cleaned by a little oil and rottenstone made into a paste, or with fine emery-powder and oil mixed in the same manner. A small portion of sal ammoniac beat into a fine powder and moistened with soft water, rubbed over brass ornaments and heated over a charcoal fire, and rubbed dry with bran or whitening, will give to brass-work the brilliancy of gold. In trimming moderator lamps, let the wick be out evenly all round; as, if left higher in one place than it is in another, it will cause it to smoke and burn badly. The lamp should then be filled with oil from a feeder, and 966 afterwards well wiped with a cloth or rag kept for the purpose. If it can be avoided, never wash the chimneys of a lamp, as it causes them to crack when they become hot. Small sticks, covered with wash-leather pads, are the best things to use for cleaning the glasses inside, and a clean duster for polishing the outside. The globe of a moderator lamp should be occasionally washed in warm soap and-water, then well rinsed in cold water, and either wiped dry or left to drain. Where candle-lamps are used, take out the springs occasionally, and free them well from the grease that adheres to them.
2179. French polish, so universally applied to furniture, is easily kept in condition by dusting and rubbing with a soft cloth, or a rubber of old silk; but dining-tables can only be kept in order by hard rubbing, or rather by quick rubbing, which warms the wood and removes all spots.
2180. Brushing clothes is a very simple but very necessary operation. Fine cloths require to be brushed lightly, and with rather a soft brush, except where mud is to be removed, when a hard one is necessary, being previously beaten lightly to dislodge the dirt. Lay the garment on a table, and brush it in the direction of the nap. Having brushed it properly, turn the sleeves back to the collar, so that the folds may come at the elbow-joints; next turn the lappels or sides back over the folded sleeves; then lay the skirts over level with the collar, so that the crease may fall about the centre, and double one half over the other, so as the fold comes in the centre of the back.
2181. Having got through his dirty work, the single footman has now to clean himself and prepare the breakfast. He lays the cloth on the table; over it the breakfast-cloth, and sets the breakfast things in order, and then proceeds to wait upon his master, if he has any of the duties of a valet to perform.
2182. Where a valet is not kept, a portion of his duties falls to the footman’s share,—brushing the clothes among others. When the hat is silk, it requires brushing every day with a soft brush; after rain, it requires wiping the way of the nap before drying, and, when nearly dry, brushing with the soft brush and with the hat-stick in it. If the footman is required to perform any part of a valet’s duties, he will have to see that the housemaid lights a fire in the dressing-room in due time; that the room is dusted and cleaned; that the washhand-ewer is filled with soft water; and that the bath, whether hot or cold, is ready when required; that towels are at hand; that hairbrushes and combs are properly cleansed, and in their places; that hot water is ready at the hour ordered; the dressing-gown and slippers in their place, the clean linen aired, and the clothes to be worn for the day in their proper places. After the master has dressed, it will be the footman’s duty to restore everything to its place properly cleansed and dry, and the whole restored to order.
2183. At breakfast, when there is no butler, the footman carries up the tea-urn, and, assisted by the housemaid, he waits during breakfast. Breakfast over, he removes the tray and other things off the table, folds up the breakfast-cloth, and sets the room in order, by sweeping up all crumbs, shaking the cloth, and laying it on the table again, making up the fire, and sweeping up the hearth.
2184. At luncheon-time nearly the same routine is observed, except where the footman is either out with the carriage or away on other business, when, in the absence of any butler, the housemaid must assist.967
2185. For dinner, the footman lays the cloth, taking care that the table is not too near the fire, if there is one, and that passage-room is left. A tablecloth should be laid without a wrinkle; and this requires two persons: over this the slips are laid, which are usually removed preparatory to placing dessert on the table. He prepares knives, forks, and glasses, with five or six plates for each person. This done, he places chairs enough for the party, distributing them equally on each side of the table, and opposite to each a napkin neatly folded, within it a piece of bread or small roll, and a knife on the right side of each plate, a fork on the left, and a carving-knife and fork at the top and bottom of the table, outside the others, with the rests opposite to them, and a gravy-spoon beside the knife. The fish-slice should be at the top, where the lady of the house, with the assistance of the gentleman next to her, divides the fish, and the soup-ladle at the bottom: it is sometimes usual to add a dessert-knife and fork; at the same time, on the right side also of each plate, put a wine-glass for as many kinds of wine as it is intended to hand round, and a finger-glass or glass-cooler about four inches from the edge. The latter are frequently put on the table with the dessert.
2186. About half an hour before dinner, he rings the dinner-bell, where that is the practice, and occupies himself with carrying up everything he is likely to require. At the expiration of the time, having communicated with the cook, he rings the real dinner-bell, and proceeds to take it up with such assistance as he can obtain. Having ascertained that all is in order, that his own dress is clean and presentable, and his white cotton gloves are without a stain, he announces in the drawing-room that dinner is served, and stands respectfully by the door until the company are seated: he places himself on the left, behind his master, who is to distribute the soup; where soup and fish are served together, his place will be at his mistress’s left hand; but he must be on the alert to see that whoever is assisting him, whether male or female, are at their posts. If any of the guests has brought his own servant with him, his place is behind his master’s chair, rendering such assistance to others as he can, while attending to his master’s wants throughout the dinner, so that every guest has what he requires. This necessitates both activity and intelligence, and should be done without bustle, without asking any questions, except where it is the custom of the house to hand round dishes or wine, when it will be necessary to mention, in a quiet and unobtrusive manner, the dish or wine you present.
2187. Salt-cellars should be placed on the table in number sufficient for the guests, so that each may help themselves, or, at least, their immediate neighbours.
2188. In some houses the table is laid out with plate and glass, and ornamented with flowers, the dessert only being placed on the table, the dinner itself being placed on the sideboard, and handed round in succession, in courses of soup, fish, entrées, meat, game, and sweets. This is not only elegant but economical, as fewer dishes are required, the symmetry of the table being made up with the ornaments and dessert. The various dishes are also handed round when hot; but it involves additional and superior attendance, as the wines are also handed round; and unless the servants are very active and intelligent, many blunders are likely to be made. (See p. 954.)
2189. While attentive to all, the footman should be obtrusive to none; he should give nothing but on a waiter, and always hand it with the left hand and on the left side of the person he serves, and hold it so that the guest may take it with ease. In lifting dishes from the table, he should use both hands, and remove them with care, so that nothing is spilt on the table-cloth or on the dresses of the guests.
2190. Masters as well as servants sometimes make mistakes; but it is not expected that a servant will correct any omissions, even if he should have time to notice them, although with the best intentions: thus it would not be correct, for instance, if he observed that his master took wine with the ladies all round, as some gentlemen still continue to do, but stopped at some one:—to nudge him on the shoulder and say, as was done by the servant of a Scottish gentleman, “What ails you at her in the green gown?” It will be better to leave the lady unnoticed than for the servant thus to turn his master into ridicule.
2191. During dinner each person’s knife, fork, plate, and spoon should be changed as soon as he has done with it; the vegetables and sauces belonging to the different dishes presented without remark to the guests; and the footman should tread lightly in moving round, and, if possible, should bear in mind, if there is a wit or humorist of the party, whose good things keep the table in a roar, that they are not expected to reach his ears.
2192. In opening wine, let it be done quietly, and without shaking the bottle; if crusted, let it be inclined to the crusted side, and decanted while in that position. In opening champagne, it is not necessary to discharge it with a pop; properly cooled, the cork is easily extracted without an explosion; when the cork is out, the mouth of the bottle should be wiped with the napkin over the footman’s arm.
2193. At the end of the first course, notice is conveyed to the cook, who is waiting to send up the second, which is introduced in the same way as before; the attendants who remove the fragments, carrying the dishes from the kitchen, and handing them to the footman or butler, whose duty it is to arrange them on the table. After dinner, the dessert-glasses and wines are placed on the table by the footman, who places himself behind his master’s chair, to supply wine and hand round the ices and other refreshments, all other servants leaving the room.
2194. As soon as the drawing-room bell rings for tea, the footman enters with the tray, which has been previously prepared; hands the tray round to the company, with cream and sugar, the tea and coffee being generally poured out, while another attendant hands cakes, toast, or biscuits. If it is an ordinary family party, where this social meal is prepared by the mistress, he carries the urn or kettle, as the case may be; hands round the toast, or such other eatable as may be required, removing the whole in the same manner when tea is over.969
2195. After each meal, the footman’s place is in his pantry: here perfect order should prevail—a place for everything and everything in its place. A sink, with hot and cold water laid on, is very desirable,—cold absolutely necessary. Wooden bowls or tubs of sufficient capacity are required, one for hot and another for cold water. Have the bowl three parts full of clean hot water; in this wash all plate and plated articles which are greasy, wiping them before cleaning with the brush.
2196. The footman in small families, where only one man is kept, has many of the duties of the upper servants to perform as well as his own, and more constant occupation; he will also have the arrangement of his time more immediately under his own control, and he will do well to reduce it to a methodical division. All his rough work should be done before breakfast is ready, when he must appear clean, and in a presentable state. After breakfast, when everything belonging to his pantry is cleaned and put in its place, the furniture in the dining and drawing rooms requires rubbing. Towards noon, the parlour luncheon is to be prepared; and he must be at his mistress’s disposal to go out with the carriage, or follow her if she walks out.
2197. Glass is a beautiful and most fragile article: hence it requires great care in washing. A perfectly clean wooden bowl is best for this operation, one for moderately hot and another for cold water. Wash the glasses well in the first and rinse them in the second, and turn them down on a linen cloth folded two or three times, to drain for a few minutes. When sufficiently drained, wipe them with a cloth and polish with a finer one, doing so tenderly and carefully. Accidents will happen; but nothing discredits a servant in the drawing-room more than continual reports of breakages, which, of course, must reach that region.
2198. Decanters and water-jugs require still more tender treatment in cleaning, inasmuch as they are more costly to replace. Fill them about two-thirds with hot but not boiling water, and put in a few pieces of well-soaped brown paper; leave them thus for two or three hours; then shake the water up and down in the decanters; empty this out, rinse them well with clean cold water, and put them in a rack to drain. When dry, polish them outside and inside, as far as possible, with a fine cloth. To remove the crust of port or other wines, add a little muriatic acid to the water, and let it remain for some time.
2199. When required to go out with the carriage, it is the footman’s duty to see that it has come to the door perfectly clean, and that the glasses, and sashes, and linings, are free from dust. In receiving messages at the carriage door, he should turn his ear to the speaker, so as to comprehend what is said, in order that he may give his directions to the coachman clearly. When the house he is to call at is reached, he should knock, and return to the carriage for orders. In closing the door upon the family, he should see that the handle is securely turned, and that no part of the ladies’ dress is shut in.
2200. It is the footman’s duty to carry messages or letters for his master or mistress to their friends, to the post, or to the tradespeople; and nothing is more important than dispatch and exactness in doing so, although writing even the simplest message is now the ordinary and very proper practice. Dean Swift, among his other quaint directions, all of which are to be read by contraries, recommends a perusal of all such epistles, in order that you may be the more able to fulfil your duty to your master. An old lady of Forfarshire had one of those odd old Caleb Balderston sort of servants, who construed the Dean of St. Patrick more literally. On one occasion, when dispatch was of some importance, knowing his inquiring nature, she called her Scotch Paul Pry to her, opened the note, and read it to him herself, saying, “Now, Andrew, you ken a’ aboot it, and needna’ stop to open and read it, but just take it at once.” Probably most of the notes you are expected to carry might, with equal harmlessness, be communicated to you; but it will be better not to take so lively an interest in your mistress’s affairs.970
2201. Politeness and civility to visitors is one of the things masters and mistresses have a right to expect, and should exact rigorously. When visitors present themselves, the servant charged with the duty of opening the door will open it promptly, and answer, without hesitation, if the family are “not at home,” or “engaged;” which generally means the same thing, and might be oftener used with advantage to morals. On the contrary, if he has no such orders, he will answer affirmatively, open the door wide to admit them, and precede them to open the door of the drawing-room. If the family are not there, he will place chairs for them, open the blinds (if the room is too dark), and intimate civilly that he goes to inform his mistress. If the lady is in her drawing-room, he announces the name of the visitors, having previously acquainted himself with it. In this part of his duty it is necessary to be very careful to repeat the names correctly; mispronouncing names is very apt to give offence, and leads sometimes to other disagreeables. The writer was once initiated into some of the secrets on the “other side” of a legal affair in which he took an interest, before he could correct a mistake made by the servant in announcing him. When the visitor is departing, the servant should be at hand, ready, when rung for, to open the doer; he should open it with a respectful manner, and close it gently when the visitors are fairly beyond the threshold. When several visitors arrive together, he should take care not to mix up the different names together, where they belong to the same family, as Mr., Mrs., and Miss; if they are strangers, he should announce each as distinctly as possible.
2202. Receptions and Evening Parties.—The drawing-rooms being prepared, the card-tables laid out with cards and counters, and such other arrangements as are necessary made for the reception of the company, the rooms should be lighted up as the hour appointed approaches. Attendants in the drawing-room, even more than in the dining-room, should move about actively but noiselessly; no creaking of shoes, which is an abomination; watching the lights from time to time, so as to keep up their brilliancy. But even if the attendant likes a game of cribbage or whist himself, he must not interfere in his master or mistress’s game, nor even seem to take an interest in it. We once knew a lady who had a footman, and both were fond of a game of cribbage,—John in the kitchen, the lady in her drawing-room. The lady was a giver of evening parties, where she frequently enjoyed her favourite amusement. While handing about the tea and toast, John could not always suppress his disgust at her mistakes. “There is more in that hand, ma’am,” he has been known to say; or, “Ma’am, you forgot to count his nob;” in fact, he identified himself with his mistress’s game, and would have lost twenty places rather than witness a miscount. It is not necessary to adopt his example on this point, although John had many qualities a good servant might copy with advantage.971
2203. The Horse is the noblest of quadrupeds, whether we view him in his strength, his sagacity, or his beauty. He is also the most useful to man of all the animal creation; but his delicacy is equal to his power and usefulness. No other animal, probably, is so dependent on man in the state of domestication to which he has been reduced, or deteriorates so rapidly under exposure, bad feeding, or bad grooming. It is, therefore, a point of humanity, not to speak of its obvious impolicy, for the owner of horses to overlook any neglect in their feeding or grooming. His interest dictates that so valuable an animal should be well housed, well fed, and well groomed; and he will do well to acquire so much of stable lore as will enable him to judge of these points himself. In a general way, where a horse’s coat is habitually rough and untidy, there is a sad want of elbow-grease in the stable. When a horse of tolerable breeding is dull and spiritless, he is getting ill or badly fed; and where he is observed to perspire much in the stables, is overfed, and probably eats his litter in addition to his regular supply of food.
2204. Stables.—The architectural form of the stables will be subject to other influences than ours; we confine ourselves, therefore, to their internal arrangements. They should be roomy in proportion to the number of stalls; warm, with good ventilation, and perfectly free from cold draughts; the stalls roomy, without excess, with good and well-trapped drainage, so as to exclude bad smells; a sound ceiling to prevent the entrance of dust from the hayloft, which is usually above them; and there should be plenty of light, coming, however, either from above or behind, so as not to glare in the horse’s eye.
2205. Heat.—The first of these objects is attained, if the stables are kept within a degree or two of 50° in winter, and 60° in summer; although some grooms insist on a much higher temperature, in the interests of their own labour.
2206. Ventilation is usually attained by the insertion of one or more tubes or boxes of wood or iron through the ceiling and the roof, with a sloping covering over the opening, to keep out rain, and valves or ventilators below to regulate the atmosphere, with openings in the walls for the admission of fresh air: this is still a difficulty, however; for the effluvium of the stable is difficult to dispel, and draughts must be avoided. This is sometimes accomplished by means of hollow walls with gratings at the bottom outside, for the exit of bad air, which is carried down through the hollow walls and discharged at the bottom, while, for the admission of fresh air, the reverse takes place; the fresh by this means gets diffused and heated before it is discharged into the stable.
2207. The Stalls should be divided by partitions of wood-work eight or nine feet high at the head and six at the heels, and nine feet deep, so as to separate each horse from its neighbour. A hay-rack placed within easy reach of the horse, of wood or iron, occupies either a corner or the whole breadth of the stall, which should be about six feet for an ordinary-sized horse. A manger, formerly of wood, but of late years more generally of iron lined with enamel, occupies a corner of the stall. The pavement of the stall should be nearly level, with a slight incline towards the gutter, to keep the bed dry, paved with hard Dutch brick laid on edge, or asphalte, or smithy clinkers, or rubble-stones, laid in strong cement. In the centre, about five feet from the wall, a grating should be firmly fixed in the pavement, and in communication with a well-trapped drain to carry off the water; the gutter outside the stall should also communicate with the drains by trapped openings. The passage between the stall and the hall should be from five to six feet broad at least; on the wall, opposite to each stall, pegs should be placed for receiving the harness and other things in daily use.
2208. A Harness-room is indispensable to every stable. It should be dry and airy, and furnished with a fireplace and boiler, both for the protection of the harness and to prepare mashes for the horses when required. The partition-wall should be boarded where the harness goes, with pegs to hang the various pieces of harness on, with saddle-trees to rest the saddles on, a cupboard for the brushes, sponges, and leathers, and a lock-up corn-bin.
2209. The furniture of a stable with coachhouse, consists of coach-mops, jacks for raising the wheels, horse-brushes, spoke-brushes, water-brushes, crest and bit-brushes, dandy-brushes, currycombs, birch and heath brooms, trimming-combs, scissors and pickers, oil-cans and brushes, harness-brushes of three sorts, leathers, sponges for horse and carriage, stable-forks, dung-baskets or wheelbarrow, corn-sieves and measures, horse-cloths and stable pails, horn or glass lanterns. Over the stables there should be accommodation for the coachman or groom to sleep. Accidents sometimes occur, and he should be at hand to interfere.
2210. The Establishment we have in view will consist of coachman, groom, and stable-boy, who are capable of keeping in perfect order four horses, and perhaps the pony. Of this establishment the coachman is chief. Besides skill in driving, he should possess a good general knowledge of horses; he has usually to purchase provender, to see that the horses are regularly fed and properly groomed, watch over their condition, apply simple remedies to trifling ailments in the animals under his charge, and report where he observes symptoms of more serious ones which he does not understand. He has either to clean the carriage himself, or see that the stable-boy does it properly.
2211. The Groom’s first duties are to keep his horses in condition; but he is sometimes expected to perform the duties of a valet, to ride out with his master, on occasions, to wait at table, and otherwise assist in the house: in these cases, he should have the means of dressing himself, and keeping his clothes entirely away from the stables. In the morning, about six o’clock, or rather before, the stables should be opened and cleaned out, and the horses fed, first by cleaning the rack and throwing in fresh hay, putting it lightly in the rack, that the horses may get it out easily; a short time afterwards their usual morning feed of oats should be put into the manger. While this is going on, the stable-boy has been removing the stable-dung, and sweeping and washing out the stables, both of which should be done every day, and every corner carefully swept, in order to keep the stable sweet and clean. The real duties of the groom follow: where the horses are not taken out for early exercise, the work of grooming immediately commences. “Having tied up the head,” to use the excellent description of the process given by old Barrett, “take a currycomb and curry him all over the body, to raise the dust, beginning first at the neck, holding the left cheek of the headstall in the left hand, and curry him from the setting-on of his head all over the body to the buttocks, down to the point of the hock; then change your hands, and curry him before, on his breast, and, laying your right arm over his back, join your right side to his left, and curry him all under the belly near the fore-bowels, and so all over from the knees and back upwards; after that, go to the far side and do that likewise. Then take a dead horse’s tail, or, failing that, a cotton dusting-cloth, and strike that away which the currycomb hath raised. Then take a round brush made of bristles, with a leathern handle, and dress him all over, both head, body, and legs, to the very fetlocks, always cleansing the brush from the dust by rubbing it with the currycomb. In the curry-combing process, as well as brushing, it must be applied with mildness, especially with fine-skinned horses; otherwise the tickling irritates them much. The brushing is succeeded by a hair-cloth, with which rub him all over again very hard, both to take away loose hairs and lay his coat; then wash your hands in fair water, and rub him all over while they are wet, as well over the head as the body. Lastly, take a clean cloth, and rub him all over again till he be dry; 973 then take another hair-cloth, and rub all his legs exceeding well from the knees and hocks downwards to his hoofs, picking and dressing them very carefully about the fetlocks, so as to remove all gravel and dust which will sometimes lie in the bending of the joints.” In addition to the practice of this old writer, modern grooms add wisping, which usually follows brushing. The best wisp is made from a hayband, untwisted, and again doubled up after being moistened with water: this is applied to every part of the body, as the brushing had been, by changing the hands, taking care in all these operations to carry the hand in the direction of the coat. Stains on the hair are removed by sponging, or, when the coat is very dirty, by the water-brush; the whole being finished off by a linen or flannel cloth. The horsecloth should now be put on by taking the cloth in both hands, with the outside next you, and, with your right hand to the off side, throw it over his back, placing it no farther back than will leave it straight and level, which will be about a foot from the tail. Put the roller round, and the pad-piece under it, about six or eight inches from the fore legs. The horse’s head is now loosened; he is turned about in his stall to have his head and ears rubbed and brushed over every part, including throat, with the dusting-cloth, finishing by “pulling his ears,” which all horses seem to enjoy very much. This done, the mane and foretop should be combed out, passing a wet sponge over them, sponging the mane on both sides, by throwing it back to the midriff, to make it lie smooth. The horse is now returned to his headstall, his tail combed out, cleaning it of stains with a wet brush or sponge, trimming both tail and mane, and forelock when necessary, smoothing them down with a brush on which a little oil has been dropped.
2212. Watering usually follows dressing; but some horses refuse their food until they have drunk: the groom should not, therefore, lay down exclusive rules on this subject, but study the temper and habits of his horse.
2213. Exercise.—All horses not in work require at least two hours’ exercise daily; and in exercising them a good groom will put them through the paces to which they have been trained. In the case of saddle-horses he will walk, trot, canter, and gallop them, in order to keep them up to their work. With draught horses they ought to be kept up to a smart walk and trot.
2214. Feeding must depend on their work, but they require feeding three times a day, with more or less corn each time, according to their work. In the fast coaching days it was a saying among proprietors, that “his belly was the measure of his food;” but the horse’s appetite is not to be taken as a criterion of the quantity of food under any circumstances. Horses have been known to consume 40 lbs. of hay in twenty-four hours, whereas 16 lbs. to 18 lbs. is the utmost which should have been given. Mr. Croall, an extensive coach proprietor in Scotland, limited his horses to 4½ lbs. cut straw, 8 lbs. bruised oats, and 24 lbs. bruised beans, in the morning and noon, giving them at night 25 lbs. of the following; viz., 560 lbs. steamed potatoes, 36 lbs. barley-dust, 40 lbs. cut straw, and 6 lbs. salt, mixed up together: under this the horses did their work well. The ordinary measure given to a horse is a peck of oats, about 40 lbs. to the bushel, twice a day, a third feed and a rack-ful of hay, which may be about 15 lbs. or 18 lbs., when he is in full work.
2215. You cannot take up a paper without having the question put, “Do you bruise your oats?” Well, that depends on circumstances: a fresh young horse can bruise its own oats when it can get them; but aged horses, after a time, lose the power of masticating and bruising them, and bolt them whole; thus much impeding the work of digestion. For an old horse, then, bruise the oats; for a young one it does no harm and little good. Oats should be bright and dry, and not too new. Where they are new, sprinkle them with salt and water; otherwise, they overload the horse’s stomach. Chopped straw mixed with oats, in the proportion of a third of straw or hay, is a good food for horses in full work; and carrots, of which horses are remarkably fond, have a perceptible effect in a short time on the gloss of the coat.974
2216. The water given to a horse merits some attention; it should not be too cold; hard water is not to be recommended; stagnant or muddy water is positively injurious; river water is the best for all purposes; and anything is preferable to spring water, which should be exposed to the sun in summer for an hour or two, and stirred up before using it: a handful of oatmeal thrown into the pail will much improve its quality.
2217. Shoeing.—A horse should not be sent on a journey or any other hard work immediately after new shoeing;—the stiffness incidental to new shoes is not unlikely to bring him down. A day’s rest, with reasonable exercise, will not be thrown away after this operation. On reaching home very hot, the groom should walk him about for a few minutes; this done, he should take off the moisture with the scraper, and afterwards wisp him over with a handful of straw and a flannel cloth: if the cloth is dipped in some spirit, all the better. He should wash, pick, and wipe dry the legs and feet, take off the bridle and crupper, and fasten it to the rack, then the girths, and put a wisp of straw under the saddle. When sufficiently cool, the horse should have some hay given him, and then a feed of oats: if he refuse the latter, offer him a little wet bran, or a handful of oatmeal in tepid water. When he has been fed, he should be thoroughly cleaned, and his body-clothes put on, and, if very much harassed with fatigue, a little good ale or wine will be well bestowed on a valuable horse, adding plenty of fresh litter under the belly.
2218. Bridles.—Every time a horse is unbridled, the bit should be carefully washed and dried, and the leather wiped, to keep them sweet, as well as the girths and saddle, the latter being carefully dried and beaten with a switch before it is again put on. In washing a horse’s feet after a day’s work, the master should insist upon the legs and feet being washed thoroughly with a sponge until the water flows over them, and then rubbed with a brush till quite dry.
2219. Harness, if not carefully preserved, very soon gets a shabby tarnished appearance. Where the coachman has a proper harness-room and sufficient assistance, this is inexcusable and easily prevented. The harness-room should have a wooden lining all round, and be perfectly dry and well ventilated. Around the walls, hooks and pegs should be placed, for the several pieces of harness, at such a height as to prevent their touching the ground; and every part of the harness should have its peg or hook,—one for the halters, another for the reins, and others for snaffles and other bits and metal-work; and either a wooden horse or saddle-trees for the saddles and pads. All these parts should be dry, clean, and shining. This is only to be done by careful cleaning and polishing, and the use of several requisite pastes. The metallic parts, when white, should be cleaned by a soft brush and plate-powder; the copper and brass parts burnished with rottenstone-powder and oil,—steel with emery-powder; both made into a paste with a little oil.
2220. An excellent paste for polishing harness and the leather-work of carriages, is made by melting 8 lbs. of yellow wax, stirring it till completely dissolved. Into this pour 1 lb. of litharge of the shops, which has been pounded up with water, and dried and sifted through a sieve, leaving the two, when mixed, to simmer on the fire, stirring them continually till all is melted. When it is a little cool, mix this with 1½ lb. of good ivory-black; place this again on the fire, and stir till it boils anew, and suffer it to cool. When cooled a little, add distilled turpentine till it has the consistence of a thickish paste, scenting it with any essence at hand, thinning it when necessary from time to time, by adding distilled turpentine.
2221. When the leather is old and greasy, it should be cleaned before applying this polish, with a brush wetted in a weak solution of potass and water, washing afterwards with soft river water, and drying thoroughly. If the leather is not black, one or two coats of black ink may be given before applying the polish. When quite dry, the varnish should be laid on with a soft shoe-brush, using also a soft brush to polish the leather.
2222. When the leather is very old, it may be softened with fish-oil, and, after putting on the ink, a sponge charged with distilled turpentine passed over, to scour the surface of the leather, which should be polished as above.
2223. For fawn or yellow-coloured leather, take a quart of skimmed milk, pour into it 1 oz. of sulphuric acid, and, when cold, add to it 4 oz. of hydrochloric acid, shaking the bottle gently until it ceases to emit white vapours; separate the coagulated from the liquid part, by straining through a sieve, and store it away till required. In applying it, clean the leather by a weak solution of oxalic acid, washing it off immediately, and apply the composition when dry with a sponge.
2224. Wheel-grease is usually purchased at the shops; but a good paste is made as follows:—Melt 80 parts of grease, and stir into it, mixing it thoroughly and smoothly, 20 parts of fine black-lead in powder, and store away in a tin box for use. This grease is used in the mint at Paris, and is highly approved.975
2225. Carriages in an endless variety of shapes and names are continually making their appearance; but the hackney cab or clarence seems most in request for light carriages; the family carriage of the day being a modified form of the clarence adapted for family use. The carriage is a valuable piece of furniture, requiring all the care of the most delicate upholstery, with the additional disadvantage of continual exposure to the weather and to the muddy streets.
2226. It requires, therefore, to be carefully cleaned before putting away, and a coach house perfectly dry and well ventilated, for the wood-work swells with moisture; it shrinks also with heat, unless the timber has undergone a long course of seasoning: it should also have a dry floor, a boarded one being recommended. It must be removed from the ammoniacal influence of the stables, from open drains and cesspools, and other gaseous influences likely to affect the paint and varnish. When the carriage returns home, it should be carefully washed and dried, and that, if possible, before the mud has time to dry on it. This is done by first well slushing it with clean water, so as to wash away all particles of sand, having first closed the sashes to avoid wetting the linings. The body is then gone carefully over with a soft mop, using plenty of clean water, and penetrating into every corner of the carved work, so that not an atom of dirt remains; the body of the carriage is then raised by placing the jack under the axletree and raising it so that the wheel turns freely; this is now thoroughly washed with the mop until the dirt is removed, using a water-brush for corners where the mop does not penetrate. Every particle of mud and sand removed by the mop, and afterwards with a wet sponge, the carriage is wiped dry, and, as soon after as possible, the varnish is carefully polished with soft leather, using a little sweet oil for the leather parts, and even for the panels, so as to check any tendency of the varnish to crack. Stains are removed by rubbing them with the leather and sweet oil; if that fails, a little Tripoli powder mixed with the oil will be more successful.
2227. In preparing the carriage for use, the whole body should be rubbed over with a clean leather and carefully polished, the iron-work and joints oiled, the plated and brass-work occasionally cleaned,—the one with plate-powder, or with well-washed whiting mixed with sweet oil, and leather kept for the purpose,—the other with rottenstone mixed with a little oil, and applied without too much rubbing, until the paste is removed; but, if rubbed every day with the leather, little more will be required to keep it untarnished. The linings require careful brushing every day, the cushions being taken out and beaten, and the glass sashes should always be bright and clean. The wheel-tires and axletree are carefully seen to, and greased when required, the bolts and nuts tightened, and all the parts likely to get out of order overhauled.
2228. These duties, however, are only incidental to the coachman’s office, which is to drive; and much of the enjoyment of those in the carriage depends on his proficiency in his art,—much also of the wear of the carriage and horses. He should have sufficient knowledge of the construction of the carriage to know when it is out of order,—to know, also, the pace at which he can go over the road he has under him, without risking the springs, and without shaking those he is driving too much.976
2229. Having, with or without the help of the groom or stable-boy, put his horses to the carriage, and satisfied himself, by walking round them, that everything is properly arranged, the coachman proceeds to the off-side of the carriage, takes the reins from the back of the horses, where they were thrown, buckles them together, and, placing his foot on the step, ascends to his box, having his horses now entirely under control. In ordinary circumstances, he is not expected to descend, for where no footman accompanies the carriage, the doors are usually so arranged that even a lady may let herself out, if she wishes it, from the inside. The coachman’s duties are to avoid everything approaching an accident, and all his attention is required to guide his horses.
2230. The pace at which he drives will depend upon his orders,—in all probability a moderate pace of seven or eight miles an hour; less speed is injurious to the horses, getting them into lazy and sluggish habits; for it is wonderful how soon these are acquired by some horses. The writer was once employed to purchase a horse for a country friend, and he picked a very handsome gelding out of Collins’s stables, which seemed to answer to his friend’s wants. It was duly committed to the coachman who was to drive it, after some very successful trials in harness and out of it, and seemed likely to give great satisfaction. After a time, the friend got tired of his carriage, and gave it up; as the easiest mode of getting rid of the horse, it was sent up to the writer’s stables,—a present. Only twelve months had elapsed; the horse was as handsome as ever, with plenty of flesh, and a sleek glossy coat, and he was thankfully enough received; but, on trial, it was found that a stupid coachman, who was imbued with one of their old maxims, that “it’s the pace that kills,” had driven the horse, capable of doing his nine miles an hour with ease, at a jog-trot of four miles, or four and a half; and now, no persuasion of the whip could get more out of him. After many unsuccessful efforts to bring him back to his pace, in one of which a break-down occurred, under the hands of a professional trainer, he was sent to the hammer, and sold for a sum that did not pay for the attempt to break him in. This maxim, therefore, “that it’s the pace that kills,” is altogether fallacious in the moderate sense in which we are viewing it. In the old coaching days, indeed, when the Shrewsbury “Wonder” drove into the inn yard while the clock was striking, week after week and month after month, with unerring regularity, twenty-seven hours to a hundred and sixty-two miles; when the “Quicksilver” mail was timed to eleven miles an hour between London and Plymouth, with a fine of £5 to the driver if behind time; when the Brighton “Age,” “tool’d” and horsed by the late Mr. Stevenson, used to dash round the square as the fifth hour was striking, having stopped at the half-way house while his servant handed a sandwich and a glass of sherry to his passengers,—then the pace was indeed “killing.” But the truth is, horses that are driven at a jog-trot pace lose that élan with which a good driver can inspire them, and they are left to do their work by mere weight and muscle; therefore, unless he has contrary orders, a good driver will choose a smart pace, but not enough to make his horses perspire: on level roads this should never be seen.
2231. In choosing his horses, every master will see that they are properly paired,—that their paces are about equal. When their habits differ, it is the coachman’s duty to discover how he can, with least annoyance to the horses, get that pace out of them. Some horses have been accustomed to be driven on the check, and the curb irritates them; others, with harder mouths, cannot be controlled with the slight leverage this affords; he must, therefore, accommodate the horses as he best can. The reins should always be held so that the horses are “in hand;” but he is a very bad driver who always drives with a tight rein; the pain to the horse is intolerable, and causes him to rear and plunge, and finally break away, if he can. He is also a bad driver when the reins are always slack; the horse then feels abandoned to himself; he is neither directed nor supported, and if no accident occurs, it is great good luck.
2232. The true coachman’s hands are so delicate and gentle, that the mere weight of the reins is felt on the bit, and the directions are indicated by a turn of the wrist rather than by a pull; the horses are guided and encouraged, and only pulled up when they exceed their intended pace, or in the event of a stumble; for there is a strong though gentle hand on the reins.977 3R
2233. The Whip, in the hands of a good driver, and with well-bred cattle, is there, more as a precaution than a “tool” for frequent use; if he uses it, it is to encourage, by stroking the flanks; except, indeed, he has to punish some waywardness of temper, and then he does it effectually, taking care, however, that it is done on the flank, where there is no very tender part, never on the crupper. In driving, the coachman should never give way to temper. How often do we see horses stumble from being conducted, or at least “allowed,” to go over bad ground by some careless driver, who immediately wreaks that vengeance on the poor horse which might, with much more justice, be applied to his own brutal shoulders. The whip is of course useful, and even necessary, but should be rarely used, except to encourage and excite the horses.
2234. Attendants on the Person.—“No man is a hero to his valet,” saith the proverb; and the corollary may run, “No lady is a heroine to her maid.” The infirmities of humanity are, perhaps, too numerous and too equally distributed to stand the severe microscopic tests which attendants on the person have opportunities of applying. The valet and waiting-maid are placed near the persons of the master and mistress, receiving orders only from them, dressing them, accompanying them in all their journeys, the confidants and agents of their most unguarded moments, of their most secret habits, and of course subject to their commands,—even to their caprices; they themselves being subject to erring judgment, aggravated by an imperfect education. All that can be expected from such servants is polite manners, modest demeanour, and a respectful reserve, which are indispensable. To these, good sense, good temper, some self-denial, and consideration for the feelings of others, whether above or below them in the social scale, will be useful qualifications. Their duty leads them to wait on those who are, from sheer wealth, station, and education, more polished, and consequently more susceptible of annoyance; and any vulgar familiarity of manner is opposed to all their notions of self-respect. Quiet unobtrusive manners, therefore, and a delicate reserve in speaking of their employers, either in praise or blame, is as essential in their absence, as good manners and respectful conduct in their presence.
2235. Some of the duties of the valet we have just hinted at in treating of the duties of the footman in a small family. His day commences by seeing that his master’s dressing-room is in order; that the housemaid has swept and dusted it properly; that the fire is lighted and burns cheerfully; and some time before his master is expected, he will do well to throw up the sash to admit fresh air, closing it, however, in time to recover the temperature which he knows his master prefers. It is now his duty to place the body-linen on the horse before the fire, to be aired properly; to lay the trousers intended to be worn, carefully brushed and cleaned, on the back of his master’s chair; while 978 the coat and waistcoat, carefully brushed and folded, and the collar cleaned, are laid in their place ready to put on when required. All the articles of the toilet should be in their places, the razors properly set and stropped, and hot water ready for use.
2236. Gentlemen generally prefer performing the operation of shaving themselves, but a valet should be prepared to do it if required; and he should, besides, be a good hairdresser. Shaving over, he has to brush the hair, beard, and moustache, where that appendage is encouraged, arranging the whole simply and gracefully, according to the age and style of countenance. Every fortnight, or three weeks at the utmost, the hair should be cut, and the points of the whiskers trimmed as often as required. A good valet will now present the various articles of the toilet as they are wanted; afterwards, the body-linen, neck-tie, which he will put on, if required, and, afterwards, waistcoat, coat, and boots, in suitable order, and carefully brushed and polished.
2237. Having thus seen his master dressed, if he is about to go out, the valet will hand him his cane, gloves, and hat, the latter well brushed on the outside with a soft brush, and wiped inside with a clean handkerchief, respectfully attend him to the door, and open it for him, and receive his last orders for the day.
2238. He now proceeds to put everything in order in the dressing-room, cleans the combs and brushes, and brushes and folds up any clothes that may be left about the room, and puts them away in the drawers.
2239. Gentlemen are sometimes indifferent as to their clothes and appearance; it is the valet’s duty, in this case, where his master permits it, to select from the wardrobe such things as are suitable for the occasion, so that he may appear with scrupulous neatness and cleanliness; that his linen and neck-tie, where that is white or coloured, are unsoiled; and where he is not accustomed to change them every day, that the cravat is turned, and even ironed, to remove the crease of the previous fold. The coat collar,—which where the hair is oily and worn long, is apt to get greasy—should also be examined; a careful valet will correct this by removing the spots day by day as they appear, first by moistening the grease-spots with a little rectified spirits of wine or spirits of hartshorn, which has a renovating effect, and the smell of which soon disappears. The grease is dissolved and removed by gentle scraping. The grease removed, add a little more of the spirit, and rub with a piece of clean cloth; finish by adding a few drops more; rub it with the palm of the hand, in the direction of the grain of the cloth, and it will be clean and glossy as the rest of the garment.
2240. Polish for the boots is an important matter to the valet, and not always to be obtained good by purchase; never so good, perhaps, as he can make for himself after the following recipes:—Take of ivory-black and treacle each 4 oz., sulphuric acid 1 oz., best olive-oil 2 spoonfuls, best white-wine vinegar 3 half-pints: mix the ivory-black and treacle well in an earthen jar; then add the sulphuric acid, continuing to stir the mixture; next pour in the oil; and, lastly, add the vinegar, stirring it in by degrees, until thoroughly incorporated.979
2241. Another polish is made by mixing 1 oz. each of pounded galls and logwood-chips, and 3 lbs. of red French wine (ordinaire). Boil together till the liquid is reduced to half the quantity, and pour it off through a strainer. Now take ½ lb. each of pounded gum-arabic and lump-sugar, 1 oz. of green copperas, and 3 lbs. of brandy. Dissolve the gum-arabic in the preceding decoction, and add the sugar and copperas: when all is dissolved and mixed together, stir in the brandy, mixing it smoothly. This mixture will yield 5 or 6 lbs. of a very superior polishing paste for boots and shoes.
2242. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add, that having discharged all the commissions intrusted to him by his master, such as conveying notes or messages to friends, or the tradesmen, all of which he should punctually and promptly attend to, it is his duty to be in waiting when his master returns home to dress for dinner, or for any other occasion, and to have all things prepared for this second dressing. Previous to this, he brings under his notice the cards of visitors who may have called, delivers the messages he may have received for him, and otherwise acquits himself of the morning’s commissions, and receives his orders for the remainder of the day. The routine of his evening duty is to have the dressing-room and study, where there is a separate one, arranged comfortably for his master, the fires lighted, candles prepared, dressing-gown and slippers in their place, and aired, and everything in order that is required for his master’s comforts.
2243. The duties of a lady’s-maid are more numerous, and perhaps more onerous, than those of the valet; for while the latter is aided by the tailor, the hatter, the linen-draper, and the perfumer, the lady’s-maid has to originate many parts of the mistress’s dress herself: she should, indeed, be a tolerably expert milliner and dressmaker, a good hairdresser, and possess some chemical knowledge of the cosmetics with which the toilet-table is supplied, in order to use them with safety and effect. Her first duty in the morning, after having performed her own toilet, is to examine the clothes put off by her mistress the evening before, either to put them away, or to see that they are all in order to put on again. During the winter, and in wet weather, the dresses should be carefully examined, and the mud removed. Dresses of tweed, and other woollen materials, may be laid out on a table and brushed all over; but in general, even in woollen fabrics, the lightness of the tissues renders brushing unsuitable to dresses, and it is better to remove the dust from the folds by beating them lightly with a handkerchief or thin cloth. Silk dresses should never be brushed, but rubbed with a piece of merino, or other soft material, of a similar colour, kept for the purpose. Summer dresses of barège, muslin, mohair, and other light materials, simply require shaking; but if the muslin be tumbled, it must be ironed afterwards. If the dresses require slight repair, it should be done at once: “a stitch in time saves nine.”980
2244. The bonnet should be dusted with a light feather plume, in order to remove every particle of dust; but this has probably been done, as it ought to have been, the night before. Velvet bonnets, and other velvet articles of dress, should be cleaned with a soft brush. If the flowers with which the bonnet is decorated have been crushed or displaced, or the leaves tumbled, they should be raised and readjusted by means of flower-pliers. If feathers have suffered from damp, they should be held near the fire for a few minutes, and restored to their natural state by the hand or a soft brush.
2245. The Chausserie, or foot-gear of a lady, is one of the few things left to mark her station, and requires special care. Satin boots or shoes should be dusted with a soft brush, or wiped with a cloth. Kid or varnished leather should have the mud wiped off with a sponge charged with milk, which preserves its softness and polish. The following is also an excellent polish for applying to ladies’ boots, instead of blacking them:—Mix equal proportions of sweet-oil, vinegar, and treacle, with 1 oz. of lamp-black. When all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, rub the mixture on the boots with the palm of the hand, and put them in a cool place to dry. Ladies’ blacking, which may be purchased in 6d. and 1s. bottles, is also very much used for patent leather and kid boots, particularly when they are a little worn. This blacking is merely applied with a piece of sponge, and the boots should not be put on until the blacking is dry and hardened.
2246. These various preliminary offices performed, the lady’s-maid should prepare for dressing her mistress, arranging her dressing-room, toilet-table, and linen, according to her mistress’s wishes and habits. The details of dressing we need not touch upon,—every lady has her own mode of doing so; but the maid should move about quietly, perform any offices about her mistress’s person, as lacing stays, gently, and adjust her linen smoothly.
2247. Having prepared the dressing-room by lighting the fire, sweeping the hearth, and made everything ready for dressing her mistress, placed her linen before the fire to air, and laid out the various articles of dress she is to wear, which will probably have been arranged the previous evening, the lady’s-maid is prepared for the morning’s duties.
2248. Hairdressing is the most important part of the lady’s-maid’s office. If ringlets are worn, remove the curl-papers, and, after thoroughly brushing the back hair both above and below, dress it according to the prevailing fashion. If bandeaux are worn, the hair is thoroughly brushed and frizzed outside and inside, folding the hair back round the head, brushing it perfectly smooth, giving it a glossy appearance by the use of pomades, or oil, applied by the palm of the hand, smoothing it down with a small brush dipped in bandoline. Double bandeaux are formed by bringing most of the hair forward, and rolling it over frizettes made of hair the same colour as that of the wearer: it is finished behind by plaiting the hair, and arranging it in such a manner as to look well with the head-dress.
2249. Lessons in hairdressing may be obtained, and at not an unreasonable charge. If a lady’s-maid can afford it, we would advise her to initiate herself in the mysteries of hairdressing before entering on her duties. If a mistress finds her maid handy, and willing to learn, she will not mind the expense of a few lessons, which are almost necessary, as the fashion and mode of dressing the hair is so continually changing. Brushes and combs should be kept scrupulously clean, by washing them about twice a week: to do this oftener spoils the brushes, as very frequent washing makes them so very soft.981
2250. Dissolve a piece of soda in some hot water, allowing a piece the size of a walnut to a quart of water. Put the water into a basin, and, after combing out the hair from the brushes, dip them, bristles downwards, into the water and out again, keeping the backs and handles as free from the water as possible. Repeat this until the bristles look clean; then rinse the brushes in a little cold water; shake them well, and wipe the handles and backs with a towel, but not the bristles, and set the brushes to dry in the sun, or near the fire; but take care not to put them too close to it. Wiping the bristles of a brush makes them soft, as does also the use of soap.
2251. If it can be avoided, never wash combs, as the water often makes the teeth split, and the tortoiseshell or horn of which they are made, rough. Small brushes, manufactured purposely for cleaning combs, may be purchased at a trifling cost: with this the comb should be well brushed, and afterwards wiped with a cloth or towel.
2252. Ingredients.—1 pennyworth of borax, ½ pint of olive-oil, 1 pint of boiling water.
Mode.—Pour the boiling water over the borax and oil; let it cool; then put the mixture into a bottle. Shake it before using, and apply it with a flannel. Camphor and borax, dissolved in boiling water and left to cool, make a very good wash for the hair; as also does rosemary-water mixed with a little borax. After using any of these washes, when the hair becomes thoroughly dry, a little pomatum or oil should be rubbed in, to make it smooth and glossy.
2253. Ingredients.—¼ lb. of lard, 2 pennyworth of castor-oil; scent.
Mode.—Let the lard be unsalted; beat it up well; then add the castor-oil, and mix thoroughly together with a knife, adding a few drops of any scent that may be preferred. Put the pomatum into pots, which keep well covered to prevent it turning rancid.
2254. Ingredients.—8 oz. of olive-oil, 1 oz. of spermaceti, 3 pennyworth of essential oil of almonds, 3 pennyworth of essence of lemon.
Mode.—Mix these ingredients together, and store away in jars for use.
2255. Ingredients.—1 oz. of gum-tragacanth, ¼ pint of cold water, 3 pennyworth of essence of almonds, 2 teaspoonfuls of old rum.
Mode.—Put the gum-tragacanth into a wide-mouthed bottle with the cold water; let it stand till dissolved, then stir into it the essence of almonds; let it remain for an hour or two, when pour the rum on the top. This should 982 make the stock bottle, and when any is required for use, it is merely necessary to dilute it with a little cold water until the desired consistency is obtained, and to keep it in a small bottle, well corked, for use. This bandoline, instead of injuring the hair, as many other kinds often do, improves it, by increasing its growth, and making it always smooth and glossy.
2256. Ingredients.—1½ lb. of lard, ½ pint of olive-oil, ½ pint of castor-oil, 4 oz. of spermaceti, bergamot, or any other scent; elder-flower water.
Mode.—Wash the lard well in the elder-flower water; drain, and beat it to a cream. Mix the two oils together, and heat them sufficiently to dissolve the spermaceti, which should be beaten fine in a mortar. Mix all these ingredients together with the brandy and whatever kind of scent may be preferred; and whilst warm pour into glass bottles for use, keeping them well corked. The best way to liquefy the pomatum is to set the bottle in a saucepan of warm water. It will remain good for many months.
2257. Ingredients.—Equal quantities of olive-oil and spirit of rosemary; a few drops of oil of nutmeg.
Mode.—Mix the ingredients together, rub the roots of the hair every night with a little of this liniment, and the growth of it will very soon sensibly increase.
2258. Our further remarks on dressing must be confined to some general advice. In putting on a band, see that it is laid quite flat, and is drawn tightly round the waist before it is pinned in front; that the pin is a strong one, and that it is secured to the stays, so as not to slip up or down, or crease in the folds. Arrange the folds of the dress over the crinoline petticoats; if the dress fastens behind, put a small pin in the slit to prevent it from opening. See that the sleeves fall well over the arms. If it is finished with a jacket, or other upper dress, see that it fits smoothly under the arms; pull out the flounces, and spread out the petticoat at the bottom with the hands, so that it falls in graceful folds. In arranging the petticoat itself, a careful lady’s-maid will see that this is firmly fastened round the waist.
2259. Where sashes are worn, pin the bows securely on the inside with a pin, so as not to be visible; then raise the bow with the fingers. The collar is arranged and carefully adjusted with brooch or bow in the centre.
2260. Having dressed her mistress for breakfast, and breakfasted herself, the further duties of the lady’s-maid will depend altogether upon the habits of the family, in which hardly two will probably agree. Where the duties are entirely confined to attendance on her mistress, it is probable that the bedroom and dressing-room will be committed to her care; that, the housemaid, will rarely enter, except for the weekly or other periodical cleaning; she will, therefore, have to make her mistress’s bed, and keep it in order; and as her duties are light and easy, there can be no allowance made for the slightest approach to uncleanliness or want of order. Every morning, immediately after her mistress has left it, and while breakfast is on, she should throw the bed open, by taking off the clothes; open the windows (except in rainy weather), and leave the room to air for half an hour. After breakfast, except her attendance 983 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 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 the neck; they are cleaned by beating 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 984 which some gum-dragon and fig-blue have been dissolved, to give it a proper consistence. To give the collar the same tint throughout, the whole collar should be sponged with the same water, taking care not to touch the flowers.
2267. A multiplicity of accidents occur to soil and spot dresses, which should be removed at once. To remove—
2268. Grease-spots from cotton or woollen materials of fast colours, absorbent pastes, purified bullock’s-blood, and even common soap, are used, applied to the spot when dry. When the colours are not fast, use fuller’s-earth or pulverized potter’s-clay, laid in a layer over the spot, and press it with a very hot iron.
2269. For Silks, Moires, and plain or brocaded Satins, begin by pouring over the spot two drops of rectified spirits of wine; cover it over with a linen cloth, and press it with a hot iron, changing the linen instantly. The spot will look tarnished, for a portion of the grease still remains: this will be removed entirely by a little sulphuric ether dropped on the spot, and a very little rubbing. If neatly done, no perceptible mark or circle will remain; nor will the lustre of the richest silk be changed, the union of the two liquids operating with no injurious effects from rubbing.
2270. Fruit-spots are removed from white and fast-coloured cottons by the use of chloride of soda. Commence by cold-soaping the article, then touch the spot with a hair-pencil or feather dipped in the chloride, dipping it immediately into cold water, to prevent the texture of the article being injured.
2271. Ink-spots are removed, when fresh applied to the spot, by a few drops of hot water being poured on immediately afterwards. By the same process, iron-mould in linen or calico may be removed, dipping immediately in cold water to prevent injury to the fabric.
2272. Wax dropped on a shawl, table-cover, or cloth dress, is easily discharged by applying spirits of wine.
2273. Syrups or Preserved Fruits, by washing in lukewarm water with a dry cloth, and pressing the spot between two folds of clean linen.
2274. Essence of Lemon will remove grease, but will make a spot itself in a few days.
2275. Ingredients.—½ pint of gin, ½ lb. of honey, ½ lb. of soft soap, ½ pint of water.
Mode.—Mix the above ingredients together; then lay each breadth of silk upon a clean kitchen table or dresser, and scrub it well on the soiled side with the mixture. Have ready three vessels of cold water; take each piece of silk at two corners, and dip it up and down in each vessel, but do not wring it; and take care that each breadth has one vessel of quite clean water for the last dip. Hang it up dripping for a minute or two, then dab it in a cloth, and iron it quickly with a very hot iron.
2276. If the fabric will bear it, sharp rubbing will frequently entirely discharge a newly-made paint-stain; but, if this is not successful, apply spirit of turpentine with a quill till the stains disappear.
2277. Place a little water in a teakettle, and lot it boil until there is plenty of steam from the spout; then, holding the crape in both hands, pass it to and fro several times through the steam, and it will be clean and look nearly equal to new.985
2278. Linen.—Before sending linen to wash, the lady’s-maid should see that everything under her charge is properly mended; for her own sake she should take care that it is sent out in an orderly manner, each class of garments by themselves, with a proper list, of which she retains a copy. On its return, it is still more necessary to examine every piece separately, so that all missing buttons be supplied, and only the articles properly washed and in perfect repair passed into the wardrobe.
2279. Ladies who keep a waiting-maid for their own persons are in the habit of paying visits to their friends, in which it is not unusual for the maid to accompany them; at all events, it is her duty to pack the trunks; and this requires not only knowledge but some practice, although the improved trunks and portmanteaus now made, in which there is a place for nearly everything, render this more simple than formerly. Before packing, let the trunks be thoroughly well cleaned, and, if necessary, lined with paper, and everything intended for packing laid out on the bed or chairs, so that it may be seen what is to be stowed away; the nicer articles of dress neatly folded in clean calico wrappers. Having satisfied herself that everything wanted is laid out, and that it is in perfect order, the packing is commenced by disposing of the most bulky articles, the dressing-case and work-box, skirts, and other articles requiring room, leaving the smaller articles to fill up; finally, having satisfied herself that all is included, she should lock and cover up the trunk in its canvas case, and then pack her own box, if she is to accompany her mistress.
2280. On reaching the house, the lady’s-maid will be shown her lady’s apartment; and her duties here are what they were at home; she will arrange her mistress’s things, and learn which is her bell, in order to go to her when she rings. Her meals will be taken in the housekeeper’s room; and here she must be discreet and guarded in her talk to any one of her mistress or her concerns. Her only occupation here will be attending in her lady’s room, keeping her things in order, and making her rooms comfortable for her.
2281. The evening duties of a lady’s-maid are pretty nearly a repetition of those of the morning. She is in attendance when her mistress retires; she assists her to undress if required, brushes her hair, and renders such other assistance as is demanded; removes all slops; takes care that the fire, if any, is safe, before she retires to rest herself.
2282. Ironing is a part of the duties of a lady’s-maid, and she should be able to do it in the most perfect manner when it becomes necessary. Ironing is often badly done from inattention to a few very simple requirements. Cleanliness is the first essential: the ironing-board, the fire, the iron, and the ironing-blanket should all be perfectly clean. It will not be necessary here to enter into details on ironing, as full directions are given in the “Duties of the Laundry-maid.” A lady’s-maid will have a great deal of to do; such as light evening dresses, muslin dresses, &c., which 986 are not dirty enough to be washed, but merely require smoothing out to remove the creases. In summer, particularly, an iron will be constantly required, as also a skirt-board, which should be covered with a nice clean piece of flannel. To keep muslin dresses in order, they almost require smoothing out every time they are worn, particularly if made with many flounces. The lady’s-maid may often have to perform little services for her mistress which require care; such as restoring the colour to scorched linen, &c. &c. The following recipe is, we believe, a very good one.
2283. Ingredients.—½ pint of vinegar, 2 oz. of fuller’s-earth, 1 oz. of dried fowls’ dung, ½ oz. of soap, the juice of 2 large onions.
Mode.—Boil all these ingredients together to the consistency of paste; spread the composition thickly over the damaged part, and if the threads be not actually consumed, after it has been allowed to dry on, and the place has subsequently been washed once or twice, every trace of scorching will disappear.
2284. Furs, Feathers, and Woollens require the constant care of the waiting-maid. Furs and feathers not in constant use should be wrapped up in linen washed in lye. From May to September they are subject to being made the depositary of the moth-eggs. They should be looked , and shaken and beaten, from time to time, in case some of the eggs should have been lodged in them, in spite of every precaution; laying them up again, or rather folding them up as before, wrapping them in brown paper, which is itself a preservative. Shawls and cloaks, which would be damaged by such close folds, must be looked to, and aired and beaten, putting them away dry before the evening.
2285. Place pieces of camphor, cedar-wood, Russia leather, tobacco-leaves, bog-myrtle, or anything else strongly aromatic, in the drawers or boxes where furs or other things to be preserved from moths are kept, and they will never take harm.
2286. Jewels are generally wrapped up in cotton, and kept in their cases; but they are subject to tarnish from exposure to the air, and require cleaning. This is done by preparing clean soap-suds, using fine toilet-soap. Dip any article of gold, silver, gilt, or precious stones into this lye, and dry them by brushing with a brush of soft badgers’ hair, or a fine sponge; afterwards with a piece of fine cloth, and, lastly, with a soft leather.
2287. Epaulettes of gold or silver, and, in general, all articles of jewellery, may be dressed by dipping them in spirits of wine warmed in a bain marie, or shallow kettle, placed over a slow fire or hot-plate.
2288. The valet and lady’s-maid, from their supposed influence with their master and mistress, are exposed to some temptations to which other servants are less subjected. They are probably in communication with the tradespeople who supply articles for the toilet; such as hatters, tailors, dressmakers, and perfumers. The conduct of waiting-maid and valet to these people should be civil but independent, making reasonable allowance for want of exact punctuality, if any such can be made; they should represent any inconvenience respectfully, and if an excuse seems unreasonable, put the matter fairly to master or mistress, leaving it to them to notice it further, if they think 987 it necessary. No expectations of a personal character should influence them one way or the other. It would be acting unreasonably to any domestic to make them refuse such presents as tradespeople choose to give them; the utmost that can be expected is that they should not influence their judgment in the articles supplied—that they should represent them truly to master or mistress, without fear and without favour. Civility to all, servility to none, is a good maxim for every one. Deference to a master and mistress, and to their friends and visitors, is one of the implied terms of their engagement; and this deference must apply even to what may be considered their whims. A servant is not to be seated, or wear a hat in the house, in his master’s or mistress’s presence; nor offer any opinion, unless asked for it; nor even to say “good night,” or “good morning,” except in reply to that salutation.
2289. A bouquet of freshly-cut flowers may be preserved alive for a long time by placing them in a glass or vase with fresh water, in which a little charcoal has been steeped, or a small piece of camphor dissolved. The vase should be set upon a plate or dish, and covered with a bell-glass, around the edges of which, when it comes in contact with the plate, a little water should be poured to exclude the air.
2290. Plunge the stems into boiling water, and by the time the water is cold, the flowers will have revived. Then cut afresh the ends of the stems, and keep them in fresh cold water.
2291. Housemaids, in large establishments, have usually one or more assistants; in this case they are upper and under housemaids. Dividing the work between them, the upper housemaid will probably reserve for herself the task of dusting the ornaments and cleaning the furniture of the principal apartments, but it is her duty to see that every department is properly attended to. The number of assistants depends on the number in the family, as well as on the style in which the establishment is kept up. In wealthy families it is not unusual for every grown-up daughter to have her waiting-maid, whose duty it is to keep her mistress’s apartments in order, thus abridging the housemaid’s duties. In others, perhaps, one waiting-maid attends on two or three, when the housemaid’s assistance will be more requisite. In fact, every establishment has some customs peculiar to itself, on which we need not dwell; the general duties are the same in all, perfect cleanliness and order being the object.988
2292. “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” saith the proverb, and “order” is in the next degree; the housemaid, then, may be said to be the handmaiden to two of the most prominent virtues. Her duties are very numerous, and many of the comforts of the family depend on their performance; but they are simple and easy to a person naturally clean and orderly, and desirous of giving satisfaction. In all families, whatever the habits of the master and mistress, servants will find it advantageous to rise early; their daily work will thus come easy to them. If they rise late, there is a struggle to overtake it, which throws an air of haste and hurry over the whole establishment. Where the master’s time is regulated by early business or professional engagements, this will, of course, regulate the hours of the servants; but even where that is not the case, servants will find great personal convenience in rising early and getting through their work in an orderly and methodical manner. The housemaid who studies her own ease will certainly be at her work by six o’clock in the summer, and, probably, half-past six or seven in the winter months, having spent a reasonable time in her own chamber in dressing. Earlier than this would, probably, be an unnecessary waste of coals and candle in winter.
2293. 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 hearth-rugs of those rooms which she is going to “do” before breakfast. In some families, where there is only a cook and housemaid kept, and where the drawing-rooms are large, the cook has the care of the dining-room, and the housemaid 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 fire-place, 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 black-lead brushes, leathers, emery-paper, cloth, black lead, and all utensils necessary for cleaning a grate, with the cinder-pail on the other side.
2294. 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 black-lead the grate, producing the black lead, the soft brush for laying it on, her blacking and polishing brushes, from the box which contains 989 her tools. This 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. Brunswick black, which is an excellent varnish for grates, may be prepared in the following manner:—
2295. Ingredients.—1 lb. of common asphaltum, ½ pint of linseed oil, 1 quart of oil of turpentine.
Mode.—Melt the asphaltum, and add gradually to it the other two ingredients. Apply this with a small painter’s brush, and leave it to become perfectly dry. The grate will need no other cleaning, but will merely require dusting every day, and occasionally brushing with a dry black-lead brush. This is, of course, when no fires are used. When they are required, the bars, cheeks, and back of the grate will need black-leading in the usual manner.
2296. Fire-lighting, however simple, is an operation requiring some skill; a fire is readily made by laying a few cinders at the bottom in open order; over this a few pieces of paper, and over that again eight or ten pieces of dry wood; over the wood, a course of moderate-sized pieces of coal, taking care to leave hollow spaces between for air at the centre; and taking care to lay the whole well back in the grate, so that the smoke may go up the chimney, and not into the room. This done, fire the paper with a match from below, and, if properly laid, it will soon burn up; the stream of flame from the wood and paper soon communicating to the coals and cinders, provided there is plenty of air at the centre.
2297. A new method of lighting a fire is sometimes practised with advantage, the fire lighting from the top and burning down, in place of being lighted and burning up from below. This is arranged by laying the coals at the bottom, mixed with a few good-sized cinders, and the wood at the top, with another layer of coals and some paper over it; the paper is lighted in the usual way, and soon burns down to a good fire, with some economy of fuel, as is said.
2298. 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. (Some mistresses, to save labour, have a double set of bars, one set bright for the summer, and another black set to use when fires are in requisition.) 990 When bright grates are once neglected, small rust-spots begin to show themselves, which a plain leather will not remove; the following method of cleaning them must then be resorted to:—First, thoroughly clean with emery-paper; then take a large smooth pebble from the road, sufficiently large to hold comfortably in the hand, with which rub the steel backwards and forwards one way, until the desired polish is obtained. It may appear at first to scratch, but continue rubbing, and the result will be success. The following is also an excellent polish for bright stoves and steel articles:—
2299. Ingredients.—1 tablespoonful of turpentine, 1 ditto of sweet oil, emery powder.
Mode.—Mix the turpentine and sweet oil together, stirring in sufficient emery powder to make the mixture of the thickness of cream. Put it on the article with a piece of soft flannel, rub off quickly with another piece, then polish with a little dry emery powder and clean leather.
2300. 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 to air, hanging a fire-guard on the bars where there is one, while she proceeds to prepare the breakfast.
2301. In summer the housemaid’s work is considerably abridged: she throws open the windows of 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 beating and sweeping the rag; she cleans the grate when necessary, and replaces the white paper or arranges the shavings with which it is filled, 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 book-case, 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.
2302. 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, door-step, and passages. After this she should go into the drawing-room, cover up every article of furniture that is likely to spoil, with 991 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.
2303. Before laying the cloth for breakfast, the heater of the tea-urn is to be 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, and takes the tray back to the pantry; gets a supply of milk, cream, and bread; fills the butter-dish, taking care that the salt is plentiful, and soft and dry, and that hot plates and egg-cups are ready where warm meat or eggs are served, and that 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.
2304. Breakfast served, the housemaid proceeds to the bed-chambers, throws up the sashes, if not already done, pulls up the blinds, throwing back curtains at the same time, and opens the beds, by removing the clothes, 992 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 such vessels as 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.
2305. Next follows bedmaking, at which the cook or kitchen-maid, where one is kept, usually assists; but, before beginning, velvet chairs, or other things injured by dust, should be removed to another room. In bedmaking, 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 paillasse 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 bedclothes 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 bedclothes 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 top one is turned every day. The housemaid should now take up in a dustpan 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 handrail of the banisters, and see that all ledges, window-sills, &c., are quite free from dust. It will be necessary for the housemaid 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, the drawing-room on Monday, two bedrooms on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, and so on, reserving a day for thoroughly cleaning the plate, 993 3S bedroom candlesticks, &c. &c., 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 any time, without rule or regulation.
2306. 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, &c. &c., she should shake the toilet-covers, fold them up, and lay them on the bed, over which a large dusting-sheet should be thrown. She should then sweep the room; first of all sprinkling the carpet with well-squeezed tea-leaves, or a little freshly-pulled grass, when this is obtainable. After the carpet is swept, and the grate cleaned, she should wash with soap and water, with a little soda in it, the washing-table apparatus, removing all marks or fur round the jugs, caused by the water. The water-bottles and tumblers must also have her attention, as well as the top of the washing-stand, which should be cleaned with soap and flannel if it be marble: if of polished mahogany, no soap must be used. When those are all clean and arranged in their places, the housemaid should scrub the floor where it is not covered with carpet, under the beds, 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 the country, cold soft water, a clean scrubbing-brush, and a willing arm, are all that are required to make bedroom floors look white. In winter it is not advisable to scrub rooms too often, as it is difficult to dry them thoroughly at that season of the year, and nothing is more dangerous than to allow persons to sleep in a damp room. The housemaid should now dust the furniture, blinds, ornaments, &c.; polish the looking-glass; arrange the toilet-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. There are times, however, when it is necessary to have the carpet up; this should be done once a year in the country, and twice a year in large cities. The best time for these arrangements is spring and autumn, when the bed-furniture requires changing to suit the seasons of the year. After arranging the furniture, it should all be well rubbed and polished; and for this purpose the housemaid should provide herself with an old silk pocket-handkerchief, to finish the polishing.994
2307. 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 following polishes 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.
2308. Ingredients.—¼ pint of linseed-oil, ¼ pint of vinegar, 1 oz. of spirits of salts, ½ oz. of muriatic antimony.
Mode.—Mix all well together, and shake before using.
2309. Ingredients.—Equal proportions of linseed-oil, turpentine, vinegar, and spirits of wine.
Mode.—When used, shake the mixture well, and rub on the furniture with a piece of linen rag, and polish with a clean duster. Vinegar and oil, rubbed in with flannel, and the furniture rubbed with a clean duster, produce a very good polish.
2310. Ingredients.—3 oz. of common beeswax, 1 oz. of white wax, 1 oz. of curd soap, 1 pint of turpentine, 1 pint of boiled water.
Mode.—Mix the ingredients together, adding the water when cold; shake the mixture frequently in the bottle, and do not use it for 48 hours after it is made. It should be applied with a piece of flannel, the furniture polished with a duster, and then with an old silk rubber.
2311. The chambers are finished, the chamber candlesticks brought down and cleaned, 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; the best mode of doing which she will do well to learn from the tradesman who supplies the oil; always bearing in mind, however, that without perfect cleanliness, which involves occasional scalding, no lamp can be kept in order.
2312. The drawing and dining-room, inasmuch as everything there is more costly and valuable, require even more care. When the carpets are of the kind known as velvet-pile, they require to be swept firmly by a hard whisk brush, made of cocoanut fibre.
2313. The furniture must be carefully gone over in every corner with a soft cloth, that it may be left perfectly free from dust; or where that is beyond reach, with a brush made of long feathers, or a goose’s wing. The sofas are 995 swept in the same manner, slightly beaten, the cushions shaken and smoothed, the picture-frames swept, and everything arranged in its proper place. This, of course, applies to dining as well as drawing-room and morning-room. And now the housemaid may dress herself for the day, and prepare for the family dinner, at which she must attend.
2314. We need not repeat the long instructions already given for laying the dinner-table. At the family dinner, even where no footman waits, the routine will be the same. In most families the cloth is laid with the slips on each side, with napkins, knives, forks, spoons, and wine and finger glasses on all occasions.
2315. She should ascertain that her plate is in order, glasses free from smears, water-bottles and decanters the same, and everything ready on her tray, that she may be able to lay her cloth properly. Few things add more to the neat and comfortable appearance of a dinner-table than well-polished plate; indeed, the state of the plate is a certain indication of a well-managed or ill-managed household. Nothing is easier than to keep plate in good order, and yet many servants, from stupidity and ignorance, make it the greatest trouble of all things under their care. It should be remembered, that it is utterly impossible to make greasy silver take a polish; and that as spoons and forks in daily use are continually in contact with grease, they must require good washing in soap-and-water to remove it. Silver should be washed with a soapy flannel in one water, rinsed in another, and then wiped dry with a dry cloth. The plate so washed may be polished with the plate-rags, as in the following directions:—Once a week all the plate should receive a thorough cleaning with the hartshorn powder, as directed in the first recipe for cleaning plate; and where the housemaid can find time, rubbed every day with the plate-rags.
2316. Hartshorn, we may observe, is one of the best possible ingredients for plate-powder in daily use. It leaves on the silver a deep, dark polish, and at the same time does less injury than anything else. It has also the advantage of being very cheap; almost all the ordinary powders sold in boxes containing more or less of quicksilver, in some form or another; and this in process of time is sure to make the plate brittle. If any one wishes to be convinced of the effect of quicksilver on plate, he has only to rub a little of it on one place for some time,—on the handle of a silver teaspoon for instance, and he will find it break in that spot with very little pressure.
2317. Wash the plate well to remove all grease, in a strong lather of common yellow soap and boiling water, and wipe it quite dry; then mix as much hartshorn powder as will be required, into a thick paste, with cold water or spirits of wine; smear this lightly over the plate with a piece of soft rag, 996 and leave it for some little time to dry. When perfectly dry, brush it off quite clean with a soft plate-brush, and polish the plate with a dry leather. If the plate be very dirty, or much tarnished, spirits of wine will be found to answer better than the water for mixing the paste.
2318. Boil soft rags (nothing is better for the purpose than the tops of old cotton stockings) in a mixture of new milk and hartshorn powder, in the proportion of 1 oz. of powder to a pint of milk; boil them for 5 minutes; wring them as soon as they are taken out, for a moment, in cold water, and dry them before the fire. With these rags rub the plate briskly as soon as it has been well washed and dried after daily use. A most beautiful deep polish will be produced, and the plate will require nothing more than merely to be dusted with a leather or a dry soft cloth, before it is again put on the table.
2319. For waiting at table, the housemaid should be neatly and cleanly dressed, and, if possible, her dress made with closed sleeves, the large open ones dipping and falling into everything on the table, and being very much in the way. She should not wear creaking boots, and 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 or housemaid.
2320. The housemaid having announced that dinner is on the table, will hand the soup, fish, meat, or side-dishes to the different members of the family; but in families who do not spend much of the day together, they will probably prefer being alone at dinner and breakfast; the housemaid will be required, after all are helped, if her master does not wish her to stay in the room, to go on with her work of cleaning up in the pantry, and answer the bell when rung. In this case she will place a pile of plates on the table or a dumbwaiter, within reach of her master and mistress, and leave the room.
2321. Dinner over, the housemaid removes the plates and dishes on the tray, places the dirty knives and forks in the basket prepared for them, folds up the napkins in the ring which indicates by which member of the family it has been used, brushes off the crumbs on the hand-tray kept for the purpose, folds up the tablecloth in the folds already made, and places it in the linen-press to be smoothed out. After every meal the table should be rubbed, all marks from hot plates removed, and the table-cover thrown over, and the room restored to its usual order. If the family retire to the drawing-room, or any other room, it is a good practice to throw up the sash to admit fresh air and ventilate the room.997
2322. The housemaid’s evening service consists in washing up the dinner-things, the plate, plated articles, and glasses, restoring everything to its place; cleaning up her pantry, and putting away everything for use when next required; lastly, preparing for tea, as the time approaches, by setting the things out on the tray, getting the urn or kettle ready, with cream and other things usually partaken of at that meal.
2323. 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 bedclothes 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, with a tin can of hot water, if the mistress is in the habit of washing before going to bed. We may add, that there is no greater preservative of beauty than washing the face every night in hot water. The housemaid will probably 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.
2324. 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. It is usual in summer to remove all highly fragrant flowers from sleeping-rooms, the impression being that their scent is injurious in a close chamber.
2325. 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 housemaid, in a small family, should be an expert needlewoman; as, if she be a good manager and an active girl, she will have time on her hands to get through plenty of work.
2326. Periodical Cleanings.—Besides the daily routine which we have described, there are portions of every house which can only be thoroughly cleaned occasionally; at which time the whole house usually undergoes a more thorough cleaning than is permitted in the general way. On these occasions it is usual to begin at the top of the house and clean downwards; moving everything out of the room; washing the wainscoting or paint with soft soap and water; pulling down the bods and thoroughly cleansing all the joints; “scrubbing” the floor; beating feather beds, mattress, and paillasse, and thoroughly purifying every article of furniture before it is put back in its place.998
2327. 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 curtains. Carpets are at the same time taken up and beaten, except where the mistress of the house has been worried into an experiment by the often-reiterated question, “Why beat your carpets?” In this case she will probably have made up her mind to try the cleaning process, and arranged with the company to send 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 French-polished furniture well rubbed and polished. 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 are now to be furnished with their summer ornaments; and we know none prettier than the following, which the housemaid may provide at a small expense to her mistress:—Purchase two yards and a half of crinoline muslin, and tear it into small strips, the selvage way of the material, about an inch wide; strip this thread by thread on each side, leaving the four centre threads; this gives about six-and-thirty pieces, fringed on each side, which are tied together at one end, and fastened to the trap of the register, while the threads, unravelled, are spread gracefully about the grate, the lower part of which is filled with paper shavings. This makes a very elegant and very cheap ornament, which is much stronger, besides, than those usually purchased.
2328. As winter approaches, this house-cleaning will have to be repeated, and the warm bed and window curtains replaced. The process of scouring and cleaning is again necessary, and must be gone through, beginning at the top, and going through the house, down to the kitchens.
2329. 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 999 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.
2330. Chips broken off any of the furniture should be collected and replaced, by means of a little glue applied to it. Liquid glue, which is sold prepared in bottles, is very useful to have in the house, as it requires no melting; and anything broken can be so quickly repaired.
2331. Breaking glass and china is about the most disagreeable thing that can happen in a family, and it is, probably, a greater annoyance to a right-minded servant than to the mistress. A neat-handed housemaid may sometimes repair these breakages, where they are not broken in very conspicuous places, by joining the pieces very neatly together with a cement made as follows:—Dissolve an ounce of gum mastic in a quantity of highly-rectified spirits of wine; then soften an ounce of isinglass in warm water, and, finally, dissolve it in rum or brandy, till it forms a thick jelly. Mix the isinglass and gum mastic together, adding a quarter of an ounce of finely-powdered gum ammoniac; put the whole into an earthen pipkin, and in a warm place, till they are thoroughly incorporated together; pour it into a small phial, and cork it down for use.
2332. In using it, dissolve a small piece of the cement in a silver teaspoon over a lighted candle. The broken pieces of glass or china being warmed, and touched with the now liquid cement, join the parts neatly together, and hold in their places till the cement has set; then wipe away the cement adhering to the edge of the joint, and leave it for twelve hours without touching it: the joint will be as strong as the china itself, and if neatly done, it will show no joining. It is essential that neither of the pieces be wetted either with hot or cold water.
2333. Mix with ¼ pint of soap lees, ½ gill of turpentine, sufficient pipe-clay and bullock’s gall to make the whole into rather a thick paste. Apply it to the marble with a soft brush, and after a day or two, when quite dry, rub it off with a soft rag. Apply this a second or third time till the marble is quite clean.
2334. Take two parts of soda, one of pumice-stone, and one of finely-powdered chalk. Sift these through a fine sieve, and mix them into a paste with water. Rub this well all over the marble, and the stains will be removed; then wash it with soap-and-water, and a beautiful bright polish will be produced.1000
2335. After having washed the floorcloth in the usual manner with a damp flannel, wet it all over with milk and rub it well with a dry cloth, when a most beautiful polish will be brought out. Some persons use for rubbing a well-waxed flannel; but this in general produces an unpleasant slipperiness, which is not the case with the milk.
2336. Roll up in small pieces some soft brown or blotting paper; wet them, and soap them well. Put them into the decanters about one quarter full of warm water; shake them well for a few minutes, then rinse with clear cold water; wipe the outsides with a nice dry cloth, put the decanters to drain, and when dry they will be almost as bright as new ones.
2337. Take sufficient flour of sulphur to give a golden tinge to about 1½ pint of water, and in this boil 4 or 5 bruised onions, or garlic, which will answer the same purpose. Strain off the liquid, and with it, when cold, wash, with a soft brush, any gilding which requires restoring, and when dry it will come out as bright as new work.
2338. Make a strong paste of fresh lime and water, and with a fine brush smear it as thickly as possible over all the polished surface requiring preservation. By this simple means, all the grates and fire-irons in an empty house may be kept for months free from harm, without further care or attention.
2339. Ingredients.—¼ lb. yellow wax, 1 oz. black rosin, 2 oz. of oil of turpentine.
Mode.—Cut the wax into small pieces, and melt it in a pipkin, with the rosin pounded very fine. Stir in gradually, while these two ingredients are quite warm, the oil of turpentine. Keep this composition well covered for use in a tin or earthen pot. A little of this gloss should be spread on a piece of coarse woollen cloth, and the furniture well rubbed with it; afterwards it should be polished with a fine cloth.1001
2340. The general servant, or maid-of-all-work, is perhaps the only one of her class deserving of commiseration: her life is a solitary one, and some places, her work is never done. She is also subject to rougher treatment than either the house or kitchen-maid, especially in her earlier career: she starts in life, probably a girl of thirteen, with some small tradesman’s wife as her mistress, just a step above her in the social scale; and although the class contains among them many excellent, kind-hearted women, it also contains some very rough specimens of the feminine gender, and to some of these it occasionally falls to give our maid-of-all-work her first lessons in her multifarious occupations: the mistress’s commands are the measure of the maid-of-all-work’s duties. By the time she has become a tolerable servant, she is probably engaged in some respectable tradesman’s house, where she has to rise with the lark, for she has to do in her own person all the work which in larger establishments is performed by cook, kitchen-maid, and housemaid, and occasionally the part of a footman’s duty, which consists in carrying messages.
2341. The general servant’s duties commence by opening the shutters (and windows, if the weather permits) of all the lower apartments in the house; she should then brush up her kitchen-range, light the fire, clear away the ashes, clean the hearth, and polish with a leather the bright parts of the range, doing all as rapidly and as vigorously as possible, that no more time be wasted than is necessary. After putting on the kettle, she should then proceed to the dining-room or parlour to get it in order for breakfast. She should first roll up the rug, take up the fender, shake and fold up the tablecloth, then sweep the room, carrying the dirt towards the fireplace; a coarse cloth should then be laid down over the carpet, and she should proceed to clean the grate, having all her utensils close to her. When the grate is finished, the ashes cleared away, the hearth cleaned, and the fender put back in its place, she must dust the furniture, not omitting the legs of the tables and chairs; and if there are any ornaments or things on the sideboard, she must not dust round them, but lift them up on to another place, dust well where they have been standing, and then replace the things. Nothing annoys a particular mistress so much as to find, when she comes down stairs, different articles of furniture looking as if they had never been dusted. If the servant is at all methodical, and gets into a habit of doing a room in a certain way, she will scarcely ever leave her duties neglected. After the rug is put down, the table-cloth arranged, and everything in order, she should lay the cloth for breakfast, and then shut the dining-room door.
2342. The hall must now be swept, the mats shaken, the door-step cleaned, and any brass knockers or handles polished up with the leather. If the family breakfast very early, the tidying of the hall must then be deferred till 1002 after that meal. After cleaning the boots that are absolutely required, the servant should now wash her hands and face, put on a clean white apron, and be ready for her mistress when she comes down stairs. In families where there is much work to do before breakfast, the master of the house frequently has two pairs of boots in wear, so that they may be properly cleaned when the servant has more time to do them, in the daytime. This arrangement is, perhaps, scarcely necessary in the summer-time, when there are no grates to clean every morning; but in the dark days of winter it is only kind and thoughtful to lighten a servant-of-all-work’s duties as much as possible.
2343. She will now carry the urn into the dining-room, where her mistress will make the tea or coffee, and sometimes will boil the eggs, to insure them being done to her liking. In the mean time the servant cooks, if required, the bacon, kidneys, fish, &c.;—if cold meat is to be served, she must always send it to table on a clean dish, and nicely garnished with tufts of parsley, if this is obtainable.
2344. After she has had her own breakfast, and whilst the family are finishing theirs, she should go upstairs into the bedrooms, open all the windows, strip the clothes off the beds, and leave them to air whilst she is clearing away the breakfast things. She should then take up the crumbs in a dustpan from under the table, put the chairs in their places, and sweep up the hearth.
2345. The breakfast things washed up, the kitchen should be tidied, so that it may be neat when her mistress comes in to give the orders for the day: after receiving those orders, the servant should go upstairs again, with a jug of boiling water, the slop-pail, and two cloths. After emptying the slops, and scalding the vessels with the boiling water, and wiping them thoroughly dry, she should wipe the top of the wash-table and arrange it all in order. She then proceeds to make the beds, in which occupation she is generally assisted by the mistress, or, if she have any daughters, by one of them. Before commencing to make the bed, the servant should put on a large bed-apron, kept for this purpose only, which should be made very wide, to button round the waist and meet behind, while it should be made as long as the dress. By adopting this plan, the blacks and dirt on servants’ dresses (which at all times it is impossible to help) will not rub off on to the bed-clothes, mattresses, and bed furniture. When the beds are made, the rooms should be dusted, the stairs lightly swept down, hall furniture, closets, &c., dusted. The lady of the house, where there is but one servant kept, frequently takes charge of the drawing-room herself, that is to say, dusting it; the servant sweeping, cleaning windows, looking-glasses, grates, and rough work of that sort. If there are many ornaments and knick-knacks about the room, it is certainly better for the mistress to 1003 dust these herself, as a maid-of-all-work’s hands are not always in a condition to handle delicate ornaments.
2346. Now she has gone the rounds of the house and seen that all is in order, the servant goes to her kitchen to see about the cooking of the dinner, in which very often her mistress will assist her. She should put on a coarse apron with a bib to do her dirty work in, which may be easily replaced by a white one if required.
2347. Half an hour before dinner is ready, she should lay the cloth, that everything may be in readiness when she is dishing up the dinner, and take all into the dining-room that is likely to be required, in the way of knives, forks, spoons, bread, salt, water, &c. &c. By exercising a little forethought, much confusion and trouble may be saved both to mistress and servant, by getting everything ready for the dinner in good time.
2348. After taking in the dinner, when every one is seated, she removes the covers, hands the plates round, and pours out the beer; and should be careful to hand everything on the left side of the person she is waiting on.
2349. We need scarcely say that a maid-of-all-work cannot stay in the dining-room during the whole of dinner-time, as she must dish up her pudding, or whatever is served after the first course. When she sees every one helped, she should leave the room to make her preparations for the next course; and anything that is required, such as bread, &c., people may assist themselves to in the absence of the servant.
2350. When the dinner things are cleared away, the servant should sweep up the crumbs in the dining-room, sweep the hearth, and lightly dust the furniture, then sit down to her own dinner.
2351. After this, she washes up and puts away the dinner things, sweeps the kitchen, dusts and tidies it, and puts on the kettle for tea. She should now, before dressing herself for the afternoon, clean her knives, boots, and shoes, and do any other dirty work in the scullery that may be necessary. Knife-cleaning machines are rapidly taking the place, in most households, of the old knife-board. The saving of labour by the knife-cleaner is very great, and its performance of the work is very satisfactory. Small and large machines are manufactured, some cleaning only four knives, whilst others clean as many as twelve at once. Nothing can be more simple than the process of machine knife-cleaning; and although, in a very limited household, the substitution of the machine for the board may not be necessary, 1004 yet we should advise all housekeepers, to whom the outlay is not a difficulty, to avail themselves of the services of a machine. We have already spoken of its management in the “Duties of the Footman,” No. 2177.
2352. When the servant is dressed, she takes in the tea, and after tea turns down the beds, sees that the water-jugs and bottles are full, closes the windows, and draws down the blinds. If the weather is very warm, these are usually left open until the last thing at night, to cool the rooms.
2353. The routine of a general servant’s duties depends upon the kind of situation she occupies; but a systematic maid-of-all-work should so contrive to divide her work, that every day in the week may have its proper share. By this means she is able to keep the house clean with less fatigue to herself than if she left all the cleaning to do at the end of the week. Supposing there are five bedrooms in the house, two sitting-rooms, kitchen, scullery, and the usual domestic offices:—on Monday she should thoroughly clean the drawing-room; on Tuesday, two of the bedrooms; on Wednesday, two more; on Thursday, the other bedroom and stairs; on Friday morning she should sweep the dining-room very thoroughly, clean the hall, and in the afternoon her kitchen tins and bright utensils. By arranging her work in this manner, no undue proportion will fall to Saturday’s share, and she will then have this day for cleaning plate, cleaning her kitchen, and arranging everything in nice order. The regular work must, of course, be performed in the usual manner, as we have endeavoured to describe.
2354. Before retiring to bed, she will do well to clean up glasses, plates, &c. which have been used for the evening meal, and prepare for her morning’s work by placing her wood near the fire, on the hob, to dry, taking care there is no danger of it igniting, before she leaves the kitchen for the night. Before retiring, she will have to lock and bolt the doors, unless the master undertakes this office himself.
2355. If the washing, or even a portion of it, is done at home, it will be impossible for the maid-of-all-work to do her household duties thoroughly, during the time it is about, unless she have some assistance. Usually, if all the washing is done at home, the mistress hires some one to assist at the wash-tub, and sees to little matters herself, in the way of dusting, dealing away breakfast things, folding, starching, and ironing the fine things. With a little management much can be accomplished, provided the mistress be industrious, energetic, and willing to lend a helping hand. Let washing-week be not the excuse for having everything in a muddle; and although “things” cannot be cleaned so thoroughly, and so much time spent upon them, as ordinarily, yet the house may be kept tidy and clear from litter without a great deal of exertion either on the part of the mistress or servant. We will conclude our remarks with an extract from an admirably-written book, called “Home Truths for Home Peace.” The authoress says, with respect to the 1005 great wash—“Amongst all the occasions in which it is most difficult and glorious to keep muddle out of a family, ’the great wash’ stands pre-eminent; and as very little money is now saved by having everything done at home, many ladies, with the option of taking another servant or putting out the chief part of the washing, have thankfully adopted the latter course.” She goes on to say—“When a gentleman who dines at home can’t bear washing in the house, but gladly pays for its being done elsewhere, the lady should gratefully submit to his wishes, and put out anything in her whole establishment rather than put out a good and generous husband.”
2356. A bustling and active girl will always find time to do a little needlework for herself, if she lives with consistent and reasonable people. In the summer evenings she should manage to sit down for two or three hours, and for a short time in the afternoon in leisure days. A general servant’s duties are so multifarious, that unless she be quick and active, she will not be able to accomplish this. To discharge these various duties properly is a difficult task, and sometimes a thankless office; but it must be remembered that a good maid-of-all-work will make a good servant in any capacity, and may be safely taken not only without fear of failure, but with every probability of giving satisfaction to her employer.
2357. The duties of the dairy-maid differ considerably in different districts. In Scotland, Wales, and some of the northern counties, women milk the cows. On some of the large dairy farms in other parts of England, she takes her share in the milking, but in private families the milking is generally performed by the cowkeeper, and the dairy-maid only receives the milkpails from him morning and night, and empties and cleans them preparatory to the next milking; her duty being to supply the family with milk, cream, and butter, and other luxuries depending on the “milky mothers” of the herd.
2358. The Dairy.—The object with which gentlemen keep cows is to procure milk unadulterated, and sweet butter, for themselves and families: in order to obtain this, however, great cleanliness is required, and as visitors, as well as the mistress of the house, sometimes visit the dairy, some efforts are usually made to render it ornamental and picturesque. The locality is usually fixed near to the house; it should neither be exposed to the fierce heat of the summer’s sun nor to the equally unfavourable frosts of winter—it must be both sheltered and shaded. If it is a building apart from the house and other offices, the walls should be tolerably thick, and if hollow, the temperature will be more equable. The walls inside are usually covered with Dutch glazed tiles; the flooring also of glazed tiles set in asphalte, to resist water; and the ceiling, lath and plaster, or closely-jointed woodwork, painted. Its architecture will be a matter of fancy: it should have a northern aspect, and a thatched roof is considered most suitable, from the shade and shelter it affords; and it should contain at least two apartments, besides a cool place for storing away butter. One of the apartments, in which the milk is placed to deposit cream, or to ripen for churning, is usually surrounded by shelves of marble or slate, on which the milk-dishes rest; but it will be found a better plan to have a large square or round table of stone in the centre, with a water-tight ledge all round it, in which water may remain in hot weather, or, if some attempt at the picturesque 1006 is desired, a small fountain might occupy the centre, which would keep the apartment cool and fresh. Round this table the milk-dishes should be ranged; one shelf or dresser of slate or marble, being kept for the various occupations of the dairy-maid: it will be found a better plan than putting them on shelves and corners against the wall. There should be a funnel or ventilator in the ceiling, communicating with the open air, made to open and shut as required. Double windows are recommended, but of the lattice kind, so that they may open, and with wire-gauze blinds fitted into the opening, and calico blinds, which may be wetted when additional coolness is required. The other apartment will be used for churning, washing, and scrubbing—in fact, the scullery of the dairy, with a boiler for hot water, and a sink with cold water laid on, which should be plentiful and good. In some dairies a third apartment, or, at least, a cool airy pantry, is required for storing away butter, with shelves of marble or slate, to hold the cream-jars while it is ripening; and where cheeses are made, a fourth becomes necessary. The dairy utensils are not numerous,—churns, milk-pails for each cow, hair-sieves, slices of tin, milk-pans, marble dishes for cream for family use, scales and weights, a portable rack for drying the utensils, wooden bowls, butter-moulds and butter-patters, and wooden tubs for washing the utensils, comprising pretty nearly everything.
2359. Pails are made of maple-wood or elm, and hooped, or of tin, more or less ornamented. One is required for each cow.
2360. The Hair-Sieve is made of closely-twisted horse-hair, with a rim, through which the milk is strained to remove any hairs which may have dropped from the cow in milking.
2361. Milk-Dishes are shallow basins of glass, of glazed earthenware, or tin, about 16 inches in diameter at top, and 12 at the bottom, and 5 or 6 inches deep, holding about 8 to 10 quarts each when full.
2362. Churns are of all sorts and sizes, from that which churns 70 or 80 gallons by means of a strap from the engine, to the square box in which a pound of butter is made. The churn used for families is a square box, 18 inches by 12 or 13, and 17 deep, bevelled below to the plane of the dashers, with a loose lid or cover. The dasher consists of an axis of wood, to which the four beaters or fanners are attached; these fans are simply four pieces of elm strongly dovetailed together, forming an oblong square, with a space left open, two of the openings being left broader than the others; attached to an axle, they form an axis with four projecting blades; the axle fits into supports at the centre of the box; a handle is fitted to it, and the act of churning is done by turning the handle.
2363. Such is the temple in which the dairy-maid presides: it should be removed both from stable and cowhouse, and larder; no animal smells should come near it, and the drainage should be perfect.
2364. The dairy-maid receives the milk from the cowkeeper, each pail being strained through the hair-sieve into one of the milk-basins. This is left in the basins from twenty-four to thirty-six hours in the summer, according to the weather; after which it is skimmed off by means of the slicer, and poured into glazed earthenware jars to “turn” for churning. Some persons prefer making up a separate churning for the milk of each cow; in which there is some advantage. In this case the basins of each cow, for two days, would either be kept together or labelled. As soon as emptied, the pails should be scalded and every particle of milk washed out, and placed away in a dry place till next required; and all milk spilt on the floor, or on the table or dresser, cleaned up with a cloth and hot water. Where very great attention is paid to the dairy, the milk-coolers are used larger in winter, when it is desirable to retard the cooling down and increase the creamy deposit, and smaller in summer, to hasten it; the temperature required being from 55° to 50°. In summer it is sometimes expedient, in very sultry weather, to keep the dairy fresh and cool by suspending cloths dipped in chloride of lime across the room.1007
2365. In some dairies it is usual to churn twice, and in others three times a week: the former produces the best butter, the other the greatest quantity. With three cows, the produce should be 27 to 30 quarts a day. The dairy-maid should churn every day when very hot, if they are in full milk, and every second day in more temperate weather; besides supplying the milk and cream required for a large establishment. The churning should always be done in the morning: the dairy-maid will find it advantageous in being at work on churning mornings by five o’clock. The operation occupies from 20 minutes to half an hour in summer, and considerably longer in winter. A steady uniform motion is necessary to produce sweet butter; neither too quick nor too slow. Rapid motion causes the cream to heave and swell, from too much air being forced into it: the result is a tedious churning, and soft, bad-coloured butter.
2366. In spring and summer, when the cow has her natural food, no artificial colour is required; but in winter, under stall-feeding, the colour is white and tallowy, and some persons prefer a higher colour. This is communicated by mixing a little finely-powdered arnotto with the cream before putting it into the churn; a still more natural and delicate colour is communicated by scraping a red carrot into a clean piece of linen cloth, dipping it into water, and squeezing it into the cream.
2367. As soon as the butter comes, the milk is poured off, and the butter put into a shallow wooden tub or bowl, full of pure spring water, in which it is washed and kneaded, pouring off the water, and renewing it until it comes away perfectly free from milk. Imperfect washing is the frequent cause of bad butter, and in nothing is the skill of the dairy-maid tested more than in this process; moreover, it is one in which cleanliness of habits and person are most necessary. In this operation we want the aid of Phyllis’s neat, soft, and perfectly clean hand; for no mechanical operation can so well squeeze out the sour particles of milk or curd.
2368. The operations of churning and butter-making over, the butter-milk is disposed of: usually, in England, it goes to the pigs; but it is a very wholesome beverage when fresh, and some persons like it; the disposal, therefore, will rest with the mistress: the dairy-maid’s duty is to get rid of it. She must then scald with boiling water and scrub out every utensil she has used; brush out the churn, clean out the cream-jars, which will probably require the use of a little common soda to purify; wipe all dry, and place them in a position where the sun can reach them for a short time, to sweeten them.
2369. In Devonshire, celebrated for its dairy system, the milk is always scalded. The milk-pans, which are of tin, and contain from 10 to 12 quarts, after standing 10 or 12 hours, are placed on a hot plate of iron, over a stove, until the cream has formed on the surface, which is indicated by the air-bubbles rising through the milk, and producing blisters on the surface-coating of cream. This indicates its approach to the boiling point: and the vessel is now removed to cool. When sufficiently, that is, quite 1008 cool, the cream is skimmed off with the slice: it is now the clouted cream for which Devonshire is so famous. It is now placed in the churn, and churned until the butter comes, which it generally does in a much shorter time than by the other process. The butter so made contains more caseine than butter made in the usual way, but does not keep so long.
2370. It is a question frequently discussed, how far it is economical for families to keep cows and make their own butter. It is calculated that a good cow costs from May 1 to October 1, when well but economically kept, £5. 16s. 6d.; and from October 1 to April 30, £10. 2s. 6d. During that time she should produce 227 lbs. of butter, besides the skimmed milk. Of course, if new milk and cream are required, that will diminish the quantity of butter.
2371. Besides churning and keeping her dairy in order, the dairy-maid has charge of the whole produce, handing it over to the cook, butler, or housemaid as required; and she will do well to keep an exact account both of what she receives and how and when she disposes of it.
2372. The laundry-maid is charged with the duty of washing and getting-up the family linen,—a situation of great importance where the washing is all done at home; but in large towns, where there is little convenience for bleaching and drying, it is chiefly done by professional laundresses and companies, who apply mechanical and chemical processes to the purpose. These processes, however, are supposed to injure the fabric of the linen; and in many families the fine linen, cottons, and muslins, are washed and got-up at home, even where the bulk of the washing is given out. In country and suburban houses, where greater conveniences exist, washing at home is more common,—in country places universal.
2373. The laundry establishment consists of a washing-house, an ironing and drying-room, and sometimes a drying-closet heated by furnaces. The washing-house will probably be attached to the kitchen; but it is better that it should be completely detached from it, and of one story, with a funnel or shaft to carry off the steam. It will be of a size proportioned to the extent of the washing to be done. A range of tubs, either round or oblong, opposite to, and sloping towards, the light, narrower at the bottom than the top, for convenience in stooping over, and fixed at a height suited to the convenience of the women using them; each tub having a tap for hot and cold water, and another in the bottom, communicating with the drains, for drawing off foul water. A boiler and furnace, proportioned in size to the wants of the family, should also be fixed. The flooring should be York stone, laid on brick piers, with good drainage, or asphalte, sloping gently towards a gutter connected with the drain.1009 3T
2374. Adjoining the bleaching-house, a second room, about the same size, is required for ironing, drying, and mangling. The contents of this room should comprise an ironing-board, opposite to the light; a strong white deal table, about twelve or fourteen feet long, and about three and a half feet broad, with drawers for ironing-blankets; a mangle in one corner, and clothes-horses for drying and airing; cupboards for holding the various irons, starch, and other articles used in ironing; a hot-plate built in the chimney, with furnace beneath it for beating the irons; sometimes arranged with a flue for carrying the hot air round the room for drying. Where this is the case, however, there should be a funnel in the ceiling for ventilation and carrying off steam; but a better arrangement is to have a hot-air closet adjoining, heated by hot-air pipes, and lined with iron, with proper arrangements for carrying off steam, and clothes-horses on castors running in grooves, to run into it for drying purposes. This leaves the laundry free from unwholesome vapour.
2375. The laundry-maid should commence her labours on Monday morning by a careful examination of the articles committed to her care, and enter them in the washing-book; separating the white linen and collars, sheets and body-linen, into one heap, fine muslins into another, coloured cotton and linen fabrics into a third, woollens into a fourth, and the coarser kitchen and other greasy cloths into a fifth. Every article should be examined for ink- or grease-spots, or for fruit- or wine-stains. Ink-spots are removed by dipping the part into hot water, and then spreading it smoothly on the hand or on the back of a spoon, pouring a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of sorel over the ink-spot, rubbing and rinsing it in cold water till removed; grease-spots, by rubbing over with yellow soap, and rinsing in hot water; fruit- and wine-spots, by dipping in a solution of sal ammonia or spirits of wine, and rinsing.
2376. Every article having been examined and assorted, the sheets and fine linen should be placed in one of the tubs and just covered with lukewarm water, in which a little soda has been dissolved and mixed, and left there to soak till the morning. The greasy cloths and dirtier things should be laid to soak in another tub, in a liquor composed of ½ lb. of unslaked lime to every 6 quarts of water which has been boiled for two hours, then left to settle, and strained off when clear. Each article should be rinsed in this liquor to wet it thoroughly, and left to soak till the morning, just covered by it when the things are pressed together. Coppers and boilers should now be filled, and the fires laid ready to light.
2377. Early on the following morning the fires should be lighted, and as soon as hot water can be procured, washing commenced; the sheets and body-linen being wanted to whiten in the morning, should be taken first; each article being removed in succession from the lye in which it has been soaking, rinsed, rubbed, and wrung, and laid aside until the tub is empty, when the foul water is drawn off. The tub should be again filled with lukewarm water, about 80°, in which the articles should again be plunged, and 1010 each gone over carefully with soap, and rubbed. Novices in the art sometimes rub the linen against the skin; more experienced washerwomen rub one linen surface against the other, which saves their hands, and enables them to continue their labour much longer, besides economizing time, two parts being thus cleaned at once.
2378. After this first washing, the linen should be put into a second water as hot as the hand can bear, and again rubbed over in every part, examining every part for spots not yet moved, which require to be again soaped over and rubbed till thoroughly clean; then rinsed and wrung, the larger and stronger articles by two of the women; the smaller and more delicate articles requiring gentler treatment.
2379. In order to remove every particle of soap, and produce a good colour, they should now be placed, and boiled for about an hour and a half in the copper, in which soda, in the proportion of a teaspoonful to every two gallons of water, has been dissolved. Some very careful laundresses put the linen into a canvas bag to protect it from the scum and the sides of the copper. When taken out, it should again be rinsed, first in clean hot water, and then in abundance of cold water slightly tinged with fig-blue, and again wrung dry. It should now be removed from the washing-house and hung up to dry or spread out to bleach, if there are conveniences for it; and the earlier in the day this is done, the clearer and whiter will be the linen.
2380. Coloured muslins, cottons, and linens, require a milder treatment; any application of soda will discharge the colour, and soaking all night, even in pure water, deteriorates the more delicate tints. When ready for washing, if not too dirty, they should be put into cold water and washed very speedily, using the common yellow soap, which should be rinsed off immediately. One article should be washed at a time, and rinsed out immediately before any others are wetted. When washed thoroughly, they should be rinsed in succession in soft water, in which common salt has been dissolved, in the proportion of a handful to three or four gallons, and afterwards wrung gently, as soon as rinsed, with as little twisting as possible, and then hung out to dry. Delicate-coloured articles should not be exposed to the sun, but dried in the shade, using clean lines and wooden pegs.
2381. Woollen articles are liable to shrink, unless the flannel has been well shrunk before making up. This liability is increased where very hot water is used: cold water would thus be the best to wash woollens in; but, as this would not remove the dirt, lukewarm water, about 85°, and yellow soap, are recommended. When thoroughly washed in this, they require a good deal of rinsing in cold water, to remove the soap.
2382. Greasy cloths, which have soaked all night in the liquid described, should be now washed out with soap-and-water as hot as the hands can bear, 1011 first in one water, and rinsed out in a second; and afterwards boiled for two hours in water in which a little soda is dissolved. When taken out, they should be rinsed in cold water, and laid out or hung up to dry.
2383. Silk handkerchiefs require to be washed alone. When they contain snuff, they should be soaked by themselves in lukewarm water two or three hours; they should be rinsed out and put to soak with the others in cold water for an hour or two; then washed in lukewarm water, being soaped as they are washed. If this does not remove all stains, they should be washed a second time in similar water, and, when finished, rinsed in soft water in which a handful of common salt has been dissolved. In washing stuff or woollen dresses, the band at the waist and the lining at the bottom should be removed, and wherever it is gathered into folds; and, in furniture, the hems and gatherings. A black silk dress, if very dirty, must be washed; but, if only soiled, soaking for four-and-twenty hours will do; if old and rusty, a pint of common spirits should be mixed with each gallon of water, which is an improvement under any circumstances. Whether soaked or washed, it should be hung up to drain, and dried without wringing.
2384. Satin and silk ribbons, both white and coloured, may be cleaned in the same manner.
2385. Silks, when washed, should be dried in the shade, on a linen-horse, taking care that they are kept smooth and unwrinkled. If black or blue, they will be improved if laid again on the table, when dry, and sponged with gin, or whiskey, or other white spirit.
2386. The operations should be concluded by rinsing the tubs, cleaning the coppers, scrubbing the floors of the washing-house, and restoring everything to order and cleanliness.
2387. Thursday and Friday, in a laundry in full employ, Are usually devoted to mangling, starching, and ironing.
2388. Linen, cotton, and other fabrics, after being washed and dried, are made smooth and glossy by mangling and by ironing. The mangling process, which is simply passing them between rollers subjected to a very considerable pressure, produced by weight, is confined to sheets, towels, table-linen, and similar articles, which are without folds or plaits. Ironing is necessary to smooth body-linen, and made-up articles of delicate texture or gathered into folds. The mangle is too well known to need description.
2389. Ironing.—The irons consist of the common flat-iron, which is of different sizes, varying from 4 to 10 inches in length, triangular in form, and from 2½ to 4½ inches in width at the broad end; the oval iron, which is used for more delicate articles; and the box-iron, which is hollow, and heated by a red-hot iron inserted into the box. The Italian iron is a hollow tube, smooth on the outside, and raised on a slender pedestal with a footstalk. Into the hollow cylinder a red-hot iron is pushed, which heats it; and 1012 the smooth outside of the latter is used, on which articles such as frills, and plaited articles, are drawn. Crimping- and gauffering-machines are used for a kind of plaiting where much regularity is required, the articles being passed through two iron rollers fluted so as to represent the kind of plait or fold required.
2390. Starching is a process by which stiffness is communicated to certain parts of linen, as the collar and front of shirts, by dipping them in a paste made of starch boiled in water, mixed with a little gum Arabic, where extra stiffness is required.
2391. Ingredients.—Allow ½ pint of cold water and 1 quart of boiling water to every 2 tablespoonfuls of starch.
Mode.—Put the starch into a tolerably large basin; pour over it the cold water, and stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon until it is perfectly free from lumps, and quite smooth. Then take the basin to the fire, and whilst the water is actually boiling in the kettle or boiler, pour it over the starch, stirring it the whole time. If made properly in this manner, the starch will require no further boiling; but should the water not be boiling when added to the starch, it will not thicken, and must be put into a clean saucepan, and stirred over the fire until it boils. Take it off the fire, strain it into a clean basin, cover it up to prevent a skin forming on the top, and, when sufficiently cool that the hand may be borne in it, starch the things. Many persons, to give a shiny and smooth appearance to the linen when ironed, stir round two or three times in the starch a piece of wax candle, which also prevents the iron from sticking.
2392. When the “things to be starched” are washed, dried, and taken off the lines, they should be dipped into the hot starch made as directed, squeezed out of it, and then just dipped into cold water, and immediately squeezed dry. If fine things be wrung, or roughly used, they are very liable to tear; so too much care cannot be exercised in this respect. If the article is lace, clap it between the hands a few times, which will assist to clear it; then have ready laid out on the table a large clean towel or cloth; shake out the starched things, lay them on the cloth, and roll it up tightly, and let it remain for three or , when the things will be ready to iron.
2393. To be able to iron properly requires much practice and experience. Strict cleanliness with all the ironing utensils must be observed, as, if this is not the case, not the most expert ironer will be able to make her things look clear and free from smears, &c. After wiping down her ironing-table, the laundry-maid should place a coarse cloth on it, and over that the ironing-blanket, with her stand and iron-rubber; and having ascertained that her irons are quite clean and of the right heat, she proceeds with her work.
2394. It is a good plan to try the heat of the iron on a coarse cloth or apron before ironing anything fine: there is then no danger of scorching. For ironing fine things, such as collars, cuffs, muslins, and laces, there is nothing 1013 so clean and nice to use as the box-iron; the bottom being bright, and never placed near the fire, it is always perfectly clean; it should, however, be kept in a dry place, for fear of its rusting. Gauffering-tongs or irons must be placed in a clear fire for a minute, then withdrawn, wiped with a coarse rubber, and the heat of them tried on a piece of paper, as, unless great care is taken, these will very soon scorch.
2395. The skirts of muslin dresses should be ironed on a skirt-board covered with flannel, and the fronts of shirts on a smaller board, also covered with flannel; this board being placed between the back and front.
2396. After things are mangled, they should also be ironed in the folds and gathers; dinner-napkins smoothed over, as also table-cloths, pillow-cases, and sometimes sheets. The bands of flannel petticoats, and shoulder-straps to flannel waistcoats, must also undergo the same process.
2397. The nursery is of great importance in every family, and in families of distinction, where there are several young children, it is an establishment kept apart from the rest of the family, under the charge of an upper nurse, assisted by under nursery-maids proportioned to the work to be done. The responsible duties of upper nursemaid commence with the weaning of the child: it must now be separated from the mother or wet-nurse, at least for a time, and the cares of the nursemaid, which have hitherto been only occasionally put in requisition, are now to be entirely devoted to the infant. She washes, dresses, and feeds it; walks out with it, and regulates all its little wants; and, even at this early age, many good qualities are required to do so in a satisfactory manner. Patience and good temper are indispensable qualities; truthfulness, purity of manners, minute cleanliness, and docility and obedience, almost equally so. She ought also to be acquainted with the art of ironing and trimming little caps, and be handy with her needle.
2398. There is a considerable art in carrying an infant comfortably for itself and for the nursemaid. If she carry it always seated upright on her arm, and presses it too closely against her chest, the stomach of the child is apt to get compressed, and the back fatigued. For her own comfort, a good nurse will frequently vary this position, by changing from one arm to the other, and sometimes by laying it across both, raising the head a little. When teaching it to walk, and guiding it by the hand, she should change the hand from time to time, so as to avoid raising one shoulder higher than the other. This is the only way in which a child should be taught to walk; leading-strings and other foolish inventions, which force an infant to make efforts, with its shoulders and head forward, before it knows how to use its limbs, will only render it feeble, and retard its progress.
2399. Most children have some bad habit, of which they must be broken; but this is never accomplished by harshness without developing worse evils: kindness, perseverance, and patience in the nurse, are here of the utmost importance. When finger-sucking is one of these habits, the fingers are sometimes rubbed with bitter aloes, or some equally disagreeable substance. Others have dirty habits, which are only to be changed by patience, 1014 perseverance, and, above all, by regularity in the nurse. She should never be permitted to inflict punishment on these occasions, or, indeed, on any occasion. But, if punishment is to be avoided, it is still more necessary that all kinds of indulgences and flattery be equally forbidden. Yielding to all the whims of a child,—picking up its toys when thrown away in mere wantonness, would be intolerable. A child should never be led to think others inferior to it, to beat a dog, or even the stone against which it falls, as some children are taught to do by silly nurses. Neither should the nurse affect or show alarm at any of the little accidents which must inevitably happen: if it falls, treat it as a trifle; otherwise she encourages a spirit of cowardice and timidity. But she will take care that such accidents are not of frequent occurrence, or the result of neglect.
2400. The nurse should keep the child as clean as possible, and particularly she should train it to habits of cleanliness, so that it should feel uncomfortable when otherwise; watching especially that it does not soil itself in eating. At the same time, vanity in its personal appearance is not to be encouraged by over-care in this respect, or by too tight lacing or buttoning of dresses, nor a small foot cultivated by the use of tight shoes.
2401. Nursemaids would do well to repeat to the parents faithfully and truly the defects they observe in the dispositions of very young children. If properly checked in time, evil propensities may be eradicated; but this should not extend to anything but serious defects; otherwise, the intuitive perceptions which all children possess will construe the act into “spying” and “informing,” which should never be resorted to in the case of children, nor, indeed, in any case.
2402. Such are the cares which devolve upon the nursemaid, and it is her duty to fulfil them personally. In large establishments she will have assistants proportioned to the number of children of which she has the care. The under nursemaid lights the fires, sweeps, scours, and dusts the rooms, and makes the beds; empties slops, and carries up water; brings up and removes the nursery meals; washes and dresses all the children, except the infant, and assists in mending. Where there is a nursery girl to assist, she does the rougher part of the cleaning; and all take their meals in the nursery together, after the children of the family have done.
2403. In smaller families, where there is only one nursemaid kept, she is assisted by the housemaid, or servant-of-all-work, who will do the rougher part of the work, and carry up the nursery meals. In such circumstances she will be more immediately under the eye of her mistress, who will probably relieve her from some of the cares of the infant. In higher families, the upper nurse is usually permitted to sup or dine occasionally at the housekeeper’s table by way of relaxation, when the children are all well, and her subordinates trustworthy.
2404. Where the nurse has the entire charge of the nursery, and the mother is too much occupied to do more than pay a daily visit to it, it is desirable that she be a person of observation, and possess some acquaintance with the diseases incident to childhood, as also with such simple remedies as may be useful before a medical attendant can be procured, or where such attendance is not considered necessary. All these little ailments are preceded by symptoms so minute as to be only perceptible to close observation; such as twitching of the brows, restless sleep, grinding the gums, and, in some inflammatory diseases, even to the child abstaining from crying, from fear of the increased pain produced by the movement. Dentition, or cutting the teeth, is attended 1015 with many of these symptoms. Measles, thrush, scarlatina, croup, hooping-cough, and other childish complaints, are all preceded by well-known symptoms, which may be alleviated and rendered less virulent by simple remedies instantaneously applied.
2405. Dentition is usually the first serious trouble, bringing many other disorders in its train. The symptoms are most perceptible to the mother: the child sucks feebly, and with gums hot, inflamed, and swollen. In this case, relief is yielded by rubbing them from time to time with a little of Mrs. Johnson’s soothing syrup, a valuable and perfectly safe medicine. Selfish and thoughtless nurses, and mothers too, sometimes give cordials and sleeping-draughts, whose effects are too well known.
2406. Convulsion Fits sometimes follow the feverish restlessness produced by these causes; in which case a hot bath should be administered without delay, and the lower parts of the body rubbed, the bath being as hot as it can be without scalding the tender skin; at the same time, the doctor should be sent for immediately, for no nurse should administer medicine in this case, unless the fits have been repeated and the doctor has left directions with her how to act.
2407. Croup is one of the most alarming diseases of childhood; it is accompanied with a hoarse, croaking, ringing cough, and comes on very suddenly, and most so in strong, robust children. A very hot bath should be instantly administered, followed by an emetic, either in the form of tartar-emetic, croup-powder, or a teaspoonful of ipecacuhana, wrapping the body warmly up in flannel after the bath. The slightest delay in administering the bath, or the emetic, may be fatal; hence, the importance of nurses about very young children being acquainted with the symptoms.
2408. Hooping-Cough is generally preceded by the moaning noise during sleep, which even adults threatened with the disorder cannot avoid: it is followed by violent fits of coughing, which little can be done to relieve. A child attacked by this disorder should be kept as much as possible in the fresh, pure air, but out of draughts, and kept warm, and supplied with plenty of nourishing food. Many fatal diseases flow from this scourge of childhood, and a change to purer air, if possible, should follow convalescence.
2409. Worms are the torment of some children: the symptoms are, an unnatural craving for food, even after a full meal; costiveness, suddenly followed by the reverse; fetid breath, a livid circle under the eyes, enlarged abdomen, and picking the nose; for which the remedies must be prescribed by the doctor.
2410. Measles and Scarlatina much resemble each other in their early stages: headache, restlessness, and fretfulness are the symptoms of both. 1016 Shivering fits, succeeded by a hot skin; pains in the back and limbs, accompanied by sickness, and, in severe cases, sore throat; pain about the jaws, difficulty in swallowing, running at the eyes, which become red and inflamed, while the face is hot and flushed, often distinguish scarlatina and scarlet fever, of which it is only a mild form.
2411. While the case is doubtful, a dessert-spoonful of spirit of nitre diluted in water, given at bedtime, will throw the child into a gentle perspiration, and will bring out the rash in either case. In measles, this appears first on the face; in scarlatina, on the chest; and in both cases a doctor should be called in. In scarlatina, tartar-emetic powder or ipecacuhana may be administered in the mean time.
2412. In all cases, cleanliness, fresh air, clean utensils, and frequent washing of the person, both of nurse and children, are even more necessary in the nursery than in either drawing-room or sick-room, inasmuch as the delicate organs of childhood are more susceptible of injury from smells and vapours than adults.
2413. It may not be out of place if we conclude this brief notice of the duties of a nursemaid, by an extract from Florence Nightingale’s admirable “Notes on Nursing.” Referring to children, she says:—
2414. “They are much more susceptible than grown people to all noxious influences. They are affected by the same things, but much more quickly and seriously; by want of fresh air, of proper warmth; want of cleanliness in house, clothes, bedding, or body; by improper food, want of punctuality, by dulness, by want of light, by too much or too little covering in bed or when up.” And all this in health; and then she quotes a passage from a lecture on sudden deaths in infancy, to show the importance of careful nursing of children:—“In the great majority of instances, when death suddenly befalls the infant or young child, it is an accident; it is not a necessary, inevitable result of any disease. That which is known to injure children most seriously is foul air; keeping the rooms where they sleep closely shut up is destruction to them; and, if the child’s breathing be disordered by disease, a few hours only of such foul air may endanger its life, even where no inconvenience is felt by grown-up persons in the room.”
2415. Persons moving in the best society will see, after perusing Miss Nightingale’s book, that this “foul air,” “want of light,” “too much or too little clothing,” and improper food, is not confined to Crown Street or St. Giles’s; that Belgravia and the squares have their north room, where the rays of the sun never reach. “A wooden bedstead, two or three mattresses piled up to above the height of the table, a vallance attached to the frame,—nothing but a miracle could ever thoroughly dry or air such a bed and bedding,”—is the ordinary bed of a private house, than which nothing can be more unwholesome. “Don’t treat your children like sick,” she sums up; “don’t dose them with tea. Let them eat meat and drink milk, or half a glass of light beer. Give them fresh, light, sunny, and open rooms, cool bedrooms, plenty of outdoor exercise, facing even the cold, and wind, and weather, in sufficiently warm clothes, and with sufficient exercise, plenty of amusements and play; more liberty, and less schooling, and cramming, and training; more attention to food and less to physic.”
2416. All women are likely, at some period of their lives, to be called on to perform the duties of a sick-nurse, and should prepare themselves as much as possible, by observation and reading, for the occasion when they may be required to perform the office. The main requirements are good temper, compassion for suffering, sympathy with sufferers, which most women worthy of the name possess, neat-handedness, quiet manners, love of order, and cleanliness. With these qualifications there will be very little to be wished for; the desire to relieve suffering will inspire a thousand little attentions, and surmount the disgusts which some of the offices attending the sick-room are apt to create. Where serious illness visits a household, and protracted nursing is likely to become necessary, a professional nurse will probably be engaged, who has been trained to its duties; but in some families, and those not a few let us hope, the ladies of the family would oppose such an arrangement as a failure of duty on their part. There is, besides, even when a professional nurse is ultimately called in, a period of doubt and hesitation, while disease has not yet developed itself, when the patient must be attended to; and, in these cases, some of the female servants of the establishment must give their attendance in the sick-room. There are, also, slight attacks of cold, influenza, and accidents in a thousand forms, to which all are subject, where domestic nursing becomes a necessity; where disease, though unattended with danger, is nevertheless accompanied by the nervous irritation incident to illness, and when all the attention of the domestic nurse becomes necessary.
2417. In the first stage of sickness, while doubt and a little perplexity hang over the household as to the nature of the sickness, there are some things about which no doubt can exist: the patient’s room must be kept in a perfectly pure state, and arrangements made for proper attendance; for the first canon of nursing, according to Florence Nightingale, its apostle, is to “keep the air the patient breathes as pure as the external air, without chilling him.” This can be done without any preparation which might alarm the patient; with proper windows, open fireplaces, and a supply of fuel, the room may be as fresh as it is outside, and kept at a temperature suitable for the patient’s state.
2418. Windows, however, must be opened from above, and not from below, and draughts avoided; cool air admitted beneath the patient’s head chills the lower strata and the floor. The careful nurse will keep the door shut when the window is open; she will also take care that the patient is not placed between the door and the open window, nor between the open fireplace and the window. If confined to bed, she will see that the bed is placed in a thoroughly ventilated part of the room, but out of the current of air which is produced by the momentary opening of doors, as well as out of the line of 1018 draught between the window and the open chimney, and that the temperature of the room is kept about 64°. Where it is necessary to admit air by the door, the windows should be closed; but there are few circumstances in which good air can be obtained through the chamber-door; through it, on the contrary, the gases generated in the lower parts of the house are likely to be drawn into the invalid chamber.
2419. These precautions taken, and plain nourishing diet, such as the patient desires, furnished, probably little more can be done, unless more serious symptoms present themselves; in which case medical advice will be sought.
2420. Under no circumstances is ventilation of the sick-room so essential as in cases of febrile diseases, usually considered infectious; such as typhus and puerperal fevers, influenza, hooping-cough, small- and chicken-pox, scarlet fever, measles, and erysipelas: all these are considered communicable through the air; but there is little danger of infection being thus communicated, provided the room is kept thoroughly ventilated. On the contrary, if this essential be neglected, the power of infection is greatly increased and concentrated in the confined and impure air; it settles upon the clothes of the attendants and visitors, especially where they are of wool, and is frequently communicated to other families in this manner.
2421. Under all circumstances, therefore, the sick-room should be kept as fresh and sweet as the open air, while the temperature is kept up by artificial heat, taking care that the fire burns clear, and gives out no smoke into the room; that the room is perfectly clean, wiped over with a damp cloth every day, if boarded; and swept, after sprinkling with damp tea-leaves, or other aromatic leaves, if carpeted; that all utensils are emptied and cleaned as soon as used, and not once in four-and-twenty hours, as is sometimes done. “A slop-pail,” Miss Nightingale says, “should never enter a sick-room; everything should be carried direct to the water-closet, emptied there, and brought up clean; in the best hospitals the slop-pail is unknown.” “I do not approve,” says Miss Nightingale, “of making housemaids of nurses,—that would be waste of means; but I have seen surgical sisters, women whose hands were worth to them two or three guineas a week, down on their knees, scouring a room or hut, because they thought it was not fit for their patients: these women had the true nurse spirit.”
2422. Bad smells are sometimes met by sprinkling a little liquid chloride of lime on the floor; fumigation by burning pastiles is also a common expedient for the purification of the sick-room. They are useful, but only in the sense hinted at by the medical lecturer, who commenced his lecture thus:—“Fumigations, gentlemen, are of essential importance; they make so abominable a smell, that they compel you to open the windows and admit fresh air.” In this sense they are useful, but ineffectual unless the cause be removed, and fresh air admitted.1019
2423. The sick-room should be quiet; no talking, no gossiping, and, above all, no whispering,—this is absolute cruelty to the patient; he thinks his complaint the subject, and strains his ear painfully to catch the sound. No rustling of dresses, nor creaking shoes either; where the carpets are taken up, the nurse should wear list shoes, or some other noiseless material, and her dress should be of soft material that does not rustle. Miss Nightingale denounces crinoline, and quotes Lord Melbourne on the subject of women in the sick-room, who said, “I would rather have men about me, when ill, than women; it requires very strong health to put up with women.” Ungrateful man! but absolute quiet is necessary in the sick-room.
2424. Never let the patient be waked out of his first sleep by noise, never roused by anything like a surprise. Always sit in the apartment, so that the patient has you in view, and that it is not necessary for him to turn in speaking to you. Never keep a patient standing; never speak to one while moving. Never lean on the sick-bed. Above all, be calm and decisive with the patient, and prevent all noises over-head.
2425. A careful nurse, when a patient leaves his bed, will open the sheets wide, and throw the clothes back so as thoroughly to air the bed. She will avoid drying or airing anything damp in the sick-room.
2426. “It is another fallacy,” says Florence Nightingale, “to suppose that night air is injurious; a great authority told me that, in London, the air is never so good as after ten o’clock, when smoke has diminished; but then it must be air from without, not within, and not air vitiated by gaseous airs.” “A great fallacy prevails also,” she says, in another section, “about flowers poisoning the air of the sick-room: no one ever saw them over-crowding the sick-room; but, if they did, they actually absorb carbonic acid and give off oxygen.” Cut flowers also decompose water, and produce oxygen gas. Lilies, and some other very odorous plants, may perhaps give out smells unsuited to a close room, while the atmosphere of the sick-room should always be fresh and natural.
2427. “Patients,” says Miss Nightingale, “are sometimes starved in the midst of plenty, from want of attention to the ways which alone make it possible for them to take food. A spoonful of beef-tea, or arrowroot and wine, or some other light nourishing diet, should be given every hour, for the patient’s stomach will reject large supplies. In very weak patients there is often a nervous difficulty in swallowing, which is much increased if food is not ready and presented at the moment when it is wanted: the nurse should be able to discriminate, and know when this moment is approaching.”
2428. Diet suitable for patients will depend, in some degree, on their natural likes and dislikes, which the nurse will do well to acquaint herself with. Beef-tea is useful and relishing, but possesses little nourishment; when evaporated, it presents a teaspoonful of solid meat to a pint of water. Eggs 1020 are not equivalent to the same weight of meat. Arrowroot is less nourishing than flour. Butter is the lightest and most digestible kind of fat. Cream, in some diseases, cannot be replaced. But, to sum up with some of Miss Nightingale’s useful maxims:—Observation is the nurse’s best guide, and the patient’s appetite the rule. Half a pint of milk is equal to a quarter of a pound of meat. Beef-tea is the least nourishing food administered to the sick; and tea and coffee, she thinks, are both too much excluded from the sick-room.
2429. The choice of a monthly nurse is of the utmost importance; and in the case of a young mother with her first child, it would be well for her to seek advice and counsel from her more experienced relatives in this matter. In the first place, the engaging a monthly nurse in good time is of the utmost importance, as, if she be competent and clever, her services will be sought months beforehand; a good nurse having seldom much of her time disengaged. There are some qualifications which it is evident the nurse should possess: she should be scrupulously clean and tidy in her person; honest, sober, and noiseless in her movements; should possess a natural love for children, and have a strong nerve in case of emergencies. Snuff-taking and spirit-drinking must not be included in her habits; but those are happily much less frequent than they were in former days.
2430. Receiving, as she often will, instructions from the doctor, she should bear those in mind, and carefully carry them out. In those instances where she does not feel herself sufficiently informed, she should ask advice from the medical man, and not take upon herself to administer medicines, &c., without his knowledge.
2431. A monthly nurse should be between 30 and 50 years of age, sufficiently old to have had a little experience, and yet not too old or infirm to be able to perform various duties requiring strength and bodily vigour. She should be able to wake the moment she is called,—at any hour of the night, that the mother or child may have their wants immediately attended to. Good temper, united to a kind and gentle disposition, is indispensable; and, although the nurse will frequently have much to endure from the whims and caprices of the invalid, she should make allowances for those, and command her temper, at the same time exerting her authority when it is necessary.
2432. What the nurse has to do in the way of cleaning and dusting her lady’s room, depends entirely on the establishment that is kept. Where there are plenty of servants, the nurse, of course, has nothing whatever to do but attend on her patient, and ring the bell for anything she may require. Where the number of domestics is limited, she should not mind keeping her room in order; that is to say, sweeping and dusting it every morning. If 1021 fires be necessary, the housemaid should always clean the grate, and do all that is wanted in that way, as this, being rather dirty work, would soil the nurse’s dress, and unfit her to approach the bed, or take the infant without soiling its clothes. In small establishments, too, the nurse should herself fetch things she may require, and not ring every time she wants anything; and she must, of course, not leave her invalid unless she sees everything is comfortable; and then only for a few minutes. When down stairs, and in company with the other servants, the nurse should not repeat what she may have heard in her lady’s room, as much mischief may be done by a gossiping nurse. As in most houses the monthly nurse is usually sent for a few days before her services may be required, she should see that all is in readiness; that there be no bustle and hurry at the time the confinement takes place. She should keep two pairs of sheets thoroughly aired, as well as night-dresses, flannels, &c. &c. All the things which will be required to dress the baby the first time should be laid in the basket in readiness, in the order in which they are to be put on; as well as scissors, thread, a few pieces of soft linen rag, and two or three flannel squares. If a berceaunette is to be used immediately, the nurse should ascertain that the mattresses, pillow, &c. are all well aired; and if not already done before she arrives, she should assist in covering and trimming it, ready for the little occupant. A monthly nurse should be handy at her needle, as, if she is in the house some time before the baby is born, she will require some work of this sort to occupy her time. She should also understand the making-up of little caps, although we can scarcely say this is one of the nurse’s duties. As most children wear no caps, except out of doors, her powers in this way will not be much taxed.
2433. A nurse should endeavour to make her room as cheerful as possible, and always keep it clean and tidy. She should empty the chamber utensils as soon as used, and on no account put things under the bed. Soiled baby’s napkins should be rolled up and put into a pan, when they should be washed out every morning, and hung out to dry: they are then in a fit state to send to the laundress; and should, on no account, be left dirty, but done every morning in this way. The bedroom should be kept rather dark, particularly for the first week or ten days; of a regular temperature, and as free as possible from draughts, at the same time well ventilated and free from unpleasant smells.
2434. The infant during the month must not be exposed to strong light, or much air; and in carrying it about the passages, stairs, &c., the nurse should always have its head-flannel on, to protect the eyes and ears from the currents of air. For the management of children, we must refer our readers to the following chapters; and we need only say, in conclusion, that a good nurse should understand the symptoms of various ills incident to this period, as, in all cases, prevention is better than cure. As young mothers with their first baby are very often much troubled at first with their breasts, the nurse should understand the art of emptying them by suction, or some other contrivance. If the breasts are kept well drawn, there will be but little danger of inflammation; 1022 and as the infant at first cannot take all that is necessary, something must be done to keep the inflammation down. This is one of the greatest difficulties a nurse has to contend with, and we can only advise her to be very persevering, to rub the breasts well, and to let the infant suck as soon and as often as possible, until they get in proper order.
2435. We are aware that, according to the opinion of some ladies, there is no domestic theme, during a certain period of their married lives, more fraught with vexation and disquietude than that ever-fruitful source of annoyance, “the Nurse;” but, as we believe, there are thousands of excellent wives and mothers who pass through life without even a temporary embroglio in the kitchen, or suffering a state of moral hectic the whole time of a nurse’s empire in the nursery or bedroom. Our own experience goes to prove, that although many unqualified persons palm themselves off on ladies as fully competent for the duties they so rashly and dishonestly undertake to perform, and thus expose themselves to ill-will and merited censure, there are still very many fully equal to the legitimate exercise of what they undertake; and if they do not in every case give entire satisfaction, some of the fault,—and sometimes a great deal of it,—may be honestly placed to the account of the ladies themselves, who, in many instances, are so impressed with the propriety of their own method of performing everything, as to insist upon the adoption of their system in preference to that of the nurse, whose plan is probably based on a comprehensive forethought, and rendered perfect in all its details by an ample experience.
2436. In all our remarks on this subject, we should remember with gentleness the order of society from which our nurses are drawn; and that those who make their duty a study, and are termed professional nurses, have much to endure from the caprice and egotism of their employers; while others are driven to the occupation from the laudable motive of feeding their own children, and who, in fulfilling that object, are too often both selfish and sensual, performing, without further interest than is consistent with their own advantage, the routine of customary duties.
2437. Properly speaking, there are two nurses,—the nurse for the mother and the nurse for the child, or, the monthly and the wet nurse. Of the former we have already spoken, and will now proceed to describe the duties of the latter, and add some suggestions as to her age, physical health, and moral conduct, subjects of the utmost importance as far as the charge intrusted to her is concerned, and therefore demanding some special remarks.
2438. When from illness, suppression of the milk, accident, or some natural process, the mother is deprived of the pleasure of rearing her infant, it 1023 becomes necessary at once to look around for a fitting substitute, so that the child may not suffer, by any needless delay, a physical loss by the deprivation of its natural food. The first consideration should be as regards age, state of health, and temper.
2439. The age, if possible, should not be less than twenty nor exceed thirty years, with the health sound in every respect, and the body free from all eruptive disease or local blemish. The best evidence of a sound state of health will be found in the woman’s clear open countenance, the ruddy tone of the skin, the full, round, and elastic state of the breasts, and especially in the erectile, firm condition of the nipple, which, in all unhealthy states of the body, is pendulous, flabby, and relaxed; in which case, the milk is sure to be imperfect in its organization, and, consequently, deficient in its nutrient qualities. Appetite is another indication of health in the suckling nurse or mother; for it is impossible a woman can feed her child without having a corresponding appetite; and though inordinate craving for food is neither desirable nor necessary, a natural vigour should be experienced at meal-times, and the food taken should be anticipated and enjoyed.
2440. Besides her health, the moral state of the nurse is to be taken into account, or that mental discipline or principle of conduct which would deter the nurse from at any time gratifying her own pleasures and appetites at the cost or suffering of her infant charge.
2441. The conscientiousness and good faith that would prevent a nurse so acting are, unfortunately, very rare; and many nurses, rather than forego the enjoyment of a favourite dish, though morally certain of the effect it will have on the child, will, on the first opportunity, feed with avidity on fried meats, cabbage, cucumbers, pickles, or other crude and injurious aliments, in defiance of all orders given, or confidence reposed in their word, good sense, and humanity. And when the infant is afterwards racked with pain, and a night of disquiet alarms the mother, the doctor is sent for, and the nurse, covering her dereliction by a falsehood, the consequence of her gluttony is treated as a disease, and the poor infant is dosed for some days with medicines, that can do it but little if any good, and, in all probability, materially retard its physical development. The selfish nurse, in her ignorance, believes, too, that as long as she experiences no admonitory symptoms herself, the child cannot suffer; and satisfied that, whatever is the cause of its screams and plunges, neither she, nor what she had eaten, had anything to do with it, with this flattering assurance at her heart, she watches her opportunity, and has another luxurious feast off the proscribed dainties, till the increasing disturbance in the child’s health, or treachery from the kitchen, opens the eyes of mother and doctor to the nurse’s unprincipled conduct. In all such cases the infant should be spared the infliction of medicine, and, as a wholesome corrective to herself, and relief to her charge, a good sound dose administered to the nurse.1024
2442. Respecting the diet of the wet-nurse, the first point of importance is to fix early and definite hours for every meal; and the mother should see that no cause is ever allowed to interfere with their punctuality. The food itself should be light, easy of digestion, and simple. Boiled or roast meat, with bread and potatoes, with occasionally a piece of sago, rice, or tapioca pudding, should constitute the dinner, the only meal that requires special comment; broths, green vegetables, and all acid or salt foods, must be avoided. Fresh fish, once or twice a week, may be taken; but it is hardly sufficiently nutritious to be often used as a meal. If the dinner is taken early,—at one o’clock,—there will be no occasion for luncheon, which too often, to the injury of the child, is made the cover for a first dinner. Half a pint of stout, with a Reading biscuit, at eleven o’clock, will be abundantly sufficient between breakfast at eight and a good dinner, with a pint of porter at one o’clock. About eight o’clock in the evening, half a pint of stout, with another biscuit, may be taken; and for supper, at ten or half-past, a pint of porter, with a slice of toast or a small amount of bread and cheese, may conclude the feeding for the day.
2443. Animal food once in twenty-four hours is quite sufficient. All spirits, unless in extreme cases, should be avoided; and wine is still more seldom needed. With a due quantity of plain digestible food, and the proportion of stout and porter ordered, with early hours and regularity, the nurse will not only be strong and healthy herself, but fully capable of rearing a child in health and strength. There are two points all mothers, who are obliged to employ wet-nurses, should remember, and be on their guard against. The first is, never to allow a nurse to give medicine to the infant on her own authority: many have such an infatuated idea of the healing excellence of castor-oil, that they would administer a dose of this disgusting grease twice a week, and think they had done a meritorious service to the child. The next point is, to watch carefully, lest, to insure a night’s sleep for herself, she does not dose the infant with Godfrey’s cordial, syrup of poppies, or some narcotic potion, to insure tranquillity to the one and give the opportunity of sleep to the other. The fact that scores of nurses keep secret bottles of these deadly syrups, for the purpose of stilling their charges, is notorious; and that many use them to a fearful extent, is sufficiently patent to all.
2444. It therefore behoves the mother, while obliged to trust to a nurse, to use her best discretion to guard her child from the unprincipled treatment of the person she must, to a certain extent, depend upon and trust; and to remember, in all cases, rather than resort to castor-oil or sedatives, to consult a medical man for her infant in preference to following the counsel of her nurse.
2445. The infantine management of children, like the mother’s love for her offspring, seems to be born with the child, and to be a direct intelligence of Nature. It may thus, at first sight, appear as inconsistent and presumptuous to tell a woman how to rear her infant as to instruct her in the manner of loving it. Yet, though Nature is unquestionably the best nurse, Art makes so admirable a foster-mother, that no sensible woman, in her novitiate of parent, would refuse the admonitions of art, or the teachings of experience, to consummate her duties of nurse. It is true that, in a civilized state of society, few young wives reach the epoch that makes them mothers without some insight, traditional or practical, into the management of infants: consequently, the cases wherein a woman is left to her own unaided intelligence, or what, in such a case, may be called instinct, and obliged to trust to the promptings of nature alone for the well-being of her child, are very rare indeed. Again, every woman is not gifted with the same physical ability for the harassing duties of a mother; and though Nature, as a general rule, has endowed all female creation with the attributes necessary to that most beautiful and, at the same time, holiest function,—the healthy rearing of their offspring,—the cases are sufficiently numerous to establish the exception, where the mother is either physically or socially incapacitated from undertaking these most pleasing duties herself, and where, consequently, she is compelled to trust to adventitious aid for those natural benefits which are at once the mother’s pride and delight to render to her child.
2446. In these cases, when obliged to call in the services of hired assistance, she must trust the dearest obligation of her life to one who, from her social sphere, has probably notions of rearing children diametrically opposed to the preconceived ideas of the mother, and at enmity with all her sentiments of right and prejudices of position.
2447. It has justly been said—we think by Hood—that the children of the poor are not brought up, but dragged up. However facetious this remark may seem, there is much truth in it; and that children, reared in the reeking 1026 dens of squalor and poverty, live at all, is an apparent anomaly in the course of things, that, at first sight, would seem to set the laws of sanitary provision at defiance, and make it appear a perfect waste of time to insist on pure air and exercise as indispensable necessaries of life, and especially so as regards infantine existence.
2448. We see elaborate care bestowed on a family of children, everything studied that can tend to their personal comfort,—pure air, pure water, regular ablution, a dietary prescribed by art, and every precaution adopted that medical judgment and maternal love can dictate, for the well-being of the parents’ hope; and find, in despite of all this care and vigilance, disease and death invading the guarded treasure. We turn to the fœtor and darkness that, in some obscure court, attend the robust brood who, coated in dirt, and with mud and refuse for playthings, live and thrive, and grow into manhood, and, in contrast to the pale face and flabby flesh of the aristocratic child, exhibit strength, vigour, and well-developed frames, and our belief in the potency of the life-giving elements of air, light, and cleanliness receives a shock that, at first sight, would appear fatal to the implied benefits of these, in reality, all-sufficient attributes of health and life.
2449. But as we must enter more largely on this subject hereafter, we shall leave its consideration for the present, and return to what we were about to say respecting trusting to others’ aid in the rearing of children. Here it is that the young and probably inexperienced mother may find our remarks not only an assistance but a comfort to her, in as far as, knowing the simplest and best system to adopt, she may be able to instruct another, and see that her directions are fully carried out.
2450. The human body, materially considered, is a beautiful piece of mechanism, consisting of many parts, each one being the centre of a system, and performing its own vital function irrespectively of the others, and yet dependent for its vitality upon the harmony and health of the whole. It is, in fact, to a certain extent, like a watch, which, when once wound up and set in motion, will continue its function of recording true time only so long as every wheel, spring, and lever performs its allotted duty, and at its allotted time; or till the limit that man’s ingenuity has placed to its existence as a moving automaton has been reached, or, in other words, till it has run down.
2451. What the key is to the mechanical watch, air is to the physical man. Once admit air into the mouth and nostrils, and the lungs expand, the heart beats, the blood rushes to the remotest part of the body, the mouth secretes saliva, to soften and macerate the food; the liver forms its bile, to separate the nutriment from the digested aliment; the kidneys perform their office; the eye elaborates its tears, to facilitate motion and impart that glistening to the orb on which depends so much of its beauty; and a dewy moisture exudes from the skin, protecting the body from the extremes of heat and cold, and 1027 sharpening the perception of touch and feeling. At the same instant, and in every part, the arteries, like innumerable bees, are everywhere laying down layers of muscle, bones, teeth, and, in fact, like the coral zoophyte, building up a continent of life and matter; while the veins, equally busy, are carrying away the débris and refuse collected from where the zoophyte arteries are building,—this refuse, in its turn, being conveyed to the liver, there to be converted into bile.
2452. All these—and they are but a few of the vital actions constantly taking place—are the instant result of one gasp of life-giving air. No subject can be fraught with greater interest than watching the first spark of life, as it courses with electric speed “through all the gates and alleys” of the soft, insensate body of the infant. The effect of air on the new-born child is as remarkable in its results as it is wonderful in its consequence; but to understand this more intelligibly, it must first be remembered that life consists of the performance of three vital functions—Respiration, Circulation, and Digestion. The lungs digest the air, taking from it its most nutritious element, the oxygen, to give to the impoverished blood that circulates through them. The stomach digests the food, and separates the nutriment—chyle—from the aliment, which it gives to the blood for the development of the frame; and the blood, which is understood by the term circulation, digests in its passage through the lungs the nutriment—chyle—to give it quantity and quality, and the oxygen from the air to give it vitality. Hence it will be seen, that, speaking generally, the three vital functions resolve themselves into one,—Digestion; and that the lungs are the primary and the most important of the vital organs; and respiration, the first in fact, as we all know it is the last in deed, of all the functions performed by the living body.
2453. The first effect of air on the infant is a slight tremor about the lips and angles of the mouth, increasing to twitchings, and finally to a convulsive contraction of the lips and cheeks, the consequence of sudden cold to the nerves of the face. This spasmodic action produces a gasp, causing the air to rush through the mouth and nostrils, and enter the windpipe and upper portion of the flat and contracted lungs, which, like a sponge partly immersed in water, immediately expand. This is succeeded by a few faint sobs or pants, by which larger volumes of air are drawn into the chest, till, after a few seconds, and when a greater bulk of the lungs has become inflated, the breast-bone and ribs rise, the chest expands, and, with a sudden start, the infant gives utterance to a succession of loud, sharp cries, which have the effect of filling every cell of the entire organ with air and life. To the anxious mother, the first voice of her child is, doubtless, the sweetest music she ever heard; and the more loudly it peals, the greater should be her joy, as it is an indication of health and strength, and not only shows the perfect expansion of the lungs, but that the process of life has set in with vigour. Having 1028 welcomed in its own existence, like the morning bird, with a shrill note of gladness, the infant ceases its cry, and, after a few short sobs, usually subsides into sleep or quietude.
2454. At the same instant that the air rushes into the lungs, the valve, or door between the two sides of the heart—and through which the blood had previously passed—is closed and hermetically sealed, and the blood taking a new course, bounds into the lungs, now expanded with air, and which we have likened to a wetted sponge, to which they bear a not unapt affinity, air being substituted for water. It here receives the oxygen from the atmosphere, and the chyle, or white blood, from the digested food, and becomes, in an instant, arterial blood, a vital principle, from which every solid and fluid of the body is constructed. Besides the lungs, Nature has provided another respiratory organ, a sort of supplemental lung, that, as well as being a covering to the body, inspires air and expires moisture;—this is the cuticle, or skin; and so intimate is the connection between the skin and lungs, that whatever injures the first, is certain to affect the latter.
2455. Hence the difficulty of breathing experienced after scalds or burns on the cuticle, the cough that follows the absorption of cold or damp by the skin, the oppressed and laborious breathing experienced by children in all eruptive diseases, while the rash is coming to the surface, and the hot, dry skin that always attends congestion of the lungs, and fever.
2456. The great practical advantage derivable from this fact is, the knowledge that whatever relieves the one benefits the other. Hence, too, the great utility of hot baths in all affections of the lungs or diseases of the skin; and the reason why exposure to cold or wet is, in nearly all cases, followed by tightness of the chest, sore throat, difficulty of breathing, and cough. These symptoms are the consequence of a larger quantity of blood than is natural remaining in the lungs, and the cough is a mere effort of Nature to throw off the obstruction caused by the presence of too much blood in the organ of respiration. The hot bath, by causing a larger amount of blood to rush suddenly to the skin, has the effect of relieving the lungs of their excess of blood, and by equalizing the circulation, and promoting perspiration from the cuticle, affords immediate and direct benefit, both to the lungs and the system at large.
2457. The organs that either directly or indirectly contribute to the process of digestion are, the mouth, teeth, tongue, and gullet, the stomach, small intestines, the pancreas, the salivary glands, and the liver. Next to respiration, digestion is the chief function in the economy of life, as, without the nutritious fluid digested from the aliment, there would be nothing to supply the immense and constantly recurring waste of the system, caused by the activity with which the arteries at all periods, but especially during infancy and youth, are building up the frame and developing the body. In infancy (the period of 1029 which our present subject treats), the series of parts engaged in the process of digestion may be reduced simply to the stomach and liver, or rather its secretion,—the bile. The stomach is a thick muscular bag, connected above with the gullet, and, at its lower extremity, with the commencement of the small intestines. The duty or function of the stomach is to secrete from the arteries spread over its inner surface, a sharp acid liquid called the gastric juice; this, with a due mixture of saliva, softens, dissolves, and gradually digests the food or contents of the stomach, reducing the whole into a soft pulpy mass, which then passes into the first part of the small intestines, where it comes in contact with the bile from the gall-bladder, which immediately separates the digested food into two parts; one is a white creamy fluid called chyle, and the absolute concentration of all nourishment, which is taken up by proper vessels, and, as we have before said, carried directly to the heart, to be made blood of, and vitalized in the lungs, and thus provide for the wear and tear of the system. It must be here observed that the stomach can only digest solids, for fluids, being incapable of that process, can only be absorbed; and without the result of digestion, animal, at least human life, could not exist. Now, as Nature has ordained that infantine life shall be supported on liquid aliment, and as, without a digestion the body would perish, some provision was necessary to meet this difficulty, and that provision was found in the nature of the liquid itself, or in other words, THE MILK . The process of making cheese, or fresh curds and whey, is familiar to most persons; but as it is necessary to the elucidation of our subject, we will briefly repeat it. The internal membrane, or the lining coat of a calf’s stomach, having been removed from the organ, is hung up, like a bladder, to dry; when required, a piece is cut off, put in a jug, a little warm water poured upon it, and after a few hours it is fit for use; the liquid so made being called rennet. A little of this rennet, poured into a basin of warm milk, at once coagulates the greater part, and separates from it a quantity of thin liquor, called whey. This is precisely the action that takes place in the infant’s stomach after every supply from the breast. The cause is the same in both cases, the acid of the gastric juice in the infant’s stomach immediately converting the milk into a soft cheese. It is gastric juice, adhering to the calf’s stomach, and drawn out by the water, forming rennet, that makes the curds in the basin. The cheesy substance being a solid, at once undergoes the process of digestion, is separated into chyle by the bile, and, in a few hours, finds its way to the infant’s heart, to become blood, and commence the architecture of its little frame. This is the simple process of a baby’s digestion:—milk converted into cheese, cheese into chyle, chyle into blood, and blood into flesh, bone, and tegument—how simple is the cause, but how sublime and wonderful are the effects!
2458. We have described the most important of the three functions that take place in the infant’s body—respiration and digestion; the third, namely, circulation, we hardly think it necessary to enter on, not being called for by the requirements of the nurse and mother; so we shall omit its notice, and proceed from theoretical to more practical considerations. Children of weakly 1030 constitutions are just as likely to be born of robust parents, and those who earn their bread by toil, as the offspring of luxury and affluence; and, indeed, it is against the ordinary providence of Nature to suppose the children of the hardworking and necessitous to be hardier and more vigorous than those of parents blessed with ease and competence.
2459. All children come into the world in the same imploring helplessness, with the same general organization and wants, and demanding either from the newly-awakened mother’s love, or from the memory of motherly feeling in the nurse, or the common appeals of humanity in those who undertake the earliest duties of an infant, the same assistance and protection, and the same fostering care.
2460. We have already described the phenomena produced on the new-born child by the contact of air, which, after a succession of muscular twitchings, becomes endowed with voice, and heralds its advent by a loud but brief succession of cries. But though this is the general rule, it sometimes happens (from causes it is unnecessary here to explain) that the infant does not cry, or give utterance to any audible sounds, or if it does, they are so faint as scarcely to be distinguished as human accents, plainly indicating that life, as yet, to the new visitor, is neither a boon nor a blessing; the infant being, in fact, in a state of suspended or imperfect vitality,—a state of quasi existence, closely approximating the condition of a still-birth.
2461. As soon as this state of things is discovered, the child should be turned on its right side, and the whole length of the spine, from the head downwards, rubbed with all the fingers of the right hand, sharply and quickly, without intermission, till the quick action has not only evoked heat, but electricity in the part, and till the loud and sharp cries of the child have thoroughly expanded the lungs, and satisfactorily established its life. The operation will seldom require above a minute to effect, and less frequently demands a repetition. If there is brandy at hand, the fingers before rubbing may be dipped into that, or any other spirit.
2462. There is another condition of what we may call “mute births,” where the child only makes short ineffectual gasps, and those at intervals of a minute or two apart, when the lips, eyelids, and fingers become of a deep purple or slate colour, sometimes half the body remaining white, while the other half, which was at first swarthy, deepens to a livid hue. This condition of the infant is owing to the valve between the two sides of the heart remaining open, and allowing the unvitalized venous blood to enter the arteries and get into the circulation.1031
2463. The object in this case, as in the previous one, is to dilate the lungs as quickly as possible, so that, by the sudden effect of a vigorous inspiration, the valve may be firmly closed, and the impure blood, losing this means of egress, be sent directly to the lungs. The same treatment is therefore necessary as in the previous case, with the addition, if the friction along the spine has failed, of a warm bath at a temperature of about 80°, in which the child is to be plunged up to the neck, first cleansing the mouth and nostrils of the mucus that might interfere with the free passage of air.
2464. While in the bath, the friction along the spine is to be continued, and if the lungs still remain unexpanded, while one person retains the child in an inclined position in the water, another should insert the pipe of a small pair of bellows into one nostril, and while the mouth is closed and the other nostril compressed on the pipe with the hand of the assistant, the lungs are to be slowly inflated by steady puffs of air from the bellows, the hand being removed from the mouth and nose after each inflation, and placed on the pit of the stomach, and by a steady pressure expelling it out again by the mouth. This process is to be continued, steadily inflating and expelling the air from the lungs, till, with a sort of tremulous leap, Nature takes up the process, and the infant begins to gasp, and finally to cry, at first low and faint, but with every engulp of air increasing in length and strength of volume, when it is to be removed from the water, and instantly wrapped (all but the face and mouth) in a flannel. Sometimes, however, all these means will fail in effecting an utterance from the child, which will lie, with livid lips and a flaccid body, every few minutes opening its mouth with a short gasping pant, and then subsiding into a state of pulseless inaction, lingering probably some hours, till the spasmodic pantings growing further apart, it ceases to exist.
2465. The time that this state of negative vitality will linger in the frame of an infant is remarkable; and even when all the previous operations, though long-continued, have proved ineffectual, the child will often rally from the simplest of means—the application of dry heat. When removed from the bath, place three or four hot bricks or tiles on the hearth, and lay the child, loosely folded in a flannel, on its back along them, taking care that there is but one fold of flannel between the spine and heated bricks or tiles. When neither of these articles can be procured, put a few clear pieces of red cinder in a warming-pan, and extend the child in the same manner along the closed lid. As the heat gradually diffuses itself over the spinal marrow, the child that was dying, or seemingly dead, will frequently give a sudden and energetic cry, succeeded in another minute by a long and vigorous peal, making up, in volume and force, for the previous delay, and instantly confirming its existence by every effort in its nature.
2466. With these two exceptions,—restored by the means we have pointed out to the functions of life,—we will proceed to the consideration of the child HEALTHILY BORN. Here the first thing that meets us on the threshold of 1032 inquiry, and what is often between mother and nurse not only a vexed question, but one of vexatious import, is the crying of the child; the mother, in her natural anxiety, maintaining that her infant must be ill to cause it to cry so much or so often, and the nurse insisting that all children cry, and that nothing is the matter with it, and that crying does good, and is, indeed, an especial benefit to infancy. The anxious and unfamiliar mother, though not convinced by these abstract sayings of the truth or wisdom of the explanation, takes both for granted; and, giving the nurse credit for more knowledge and experience on this head than she can have, contentedly resigns herself to the infliction, as a thing necessary to be endured for the good of the baby, but thinking it, at the same time, an extraordinary instance of the imperfectibility of Nature as regards the human infant; for her mind wanders to what she has observed in her childhood with puppies and kittens, who, except when rudely torn from their nurse, seldom give utterance to any complaining.
2467. We, undoubtedly, believe that crying, to a certain extent, is not only conducive to health, but positively necessary to the full development and physical economy of the infant’s being. But though holding this opinion, we are far from believing that a child does not very often cry from pain, thirst, want of food, and attention to its personal comfort; but there is as much difference in the tone and expression of a child’s cry as in the notes of an adult’s voice; and the mother’s ear will not be long in discriminating between the sharp peevish whine of irritation and fever, and the louder intermitting cry that characterizes the want of warmth and sleep. All these shades of expression in the child’s inarticulate voice every nurse should understand, and every mother will soon teach herself to interpret them with an accuracy equal to language.
2468. There is no part of a woman’s duty to her child that a young mother should so soon make it her business to study, as the voice of her infant, and the language conveyed in its cry. The study is neither hard nor difficult; a close attention to its tone, and the expression of the baby’s features, are the two most important points demanding attention. The key to both the mother will find in her own heart, and the knowledge of her success in the comfort and smile of her infant. We have two reasons—both strong ones—for urging on mothers the imperative necessity of early making themselves acquainted with the nature and wants of their child: the first, that when left to the entire responsibility of the baby, after the departure of the nurse, she may be able to undertake her new duties with more confidence than if left to her own resources and mother’s instinct, without a clue to guide her through the mysteries of those calls that vibrate through every nerve of her nature; and, secondly, that she may be able to guard her child from the nefarious practices of unprincipled nurses, who, while calming the mother’s mind with false statements as to the character of the baby’s cries, rather than lose their rest, or devote that time which would remove the cause of suffering, administer, behind the curtains, those deadly narcotics which, while stupefying Nature into 1033 sleep, insure for herself a night of many unbroken hours. Such nurses as have not the hardihood to dose their infant charges, are often full of other schemes to still that constant and reproachful cry. The most frequent means employed for this purpose is giving it something to suck,—something easily hid from the mother,—or, when that is impossible, under the plea of keeping it warm, the nurse covers it in her lap with a shawl, and, under this blind, surreptitiously inserts a finger between the parched lips, which possibly moan for drink; and, under this inhuman cheat and delusion, the infant is pacified, till Nature, balked of its desires, drops into a troubled sleep. These are two of our reasons for impressing upon mothers the early, the immediate necessity of putting themselves sympathetically in communication with their child, by at once learning its hidden language as a delightful task.
2469. We must strenuously warn all mothers on no account to allow the nurse to sleep with the baby, never herself to lay down with it by her side for a night’s rest, never to let it sleep in the parents’ bed, and on no account keep it, longer than absolutely necessary, confined in an atmosphere loaded with the breath of many adults.
2470. The amount of oxygen required by an infant is so large, and the quantity consumed by mid-life and age, and the proportion of carbonic acid thrown off from both, so considerable, that an infant breathing the same air cannot possibly carry on its healthy existence while deriving its vitality from so corrupted a medium. This objection, always in force, is still more objectionable at night-time, when doors and windows are closed, and amounts to a condition of poison, when placed between two adults in sleep, and shut in by bed-curtains; and when, in addition to the impurities expired from the lungs, we remember, in quiescence and sleep, how large a portion of mephitic gas is given off from the skin.
2471. Mothers, in the fulness of their affection, believe there is no harbour, sleeping or awake, where their infants can be so secure from all possible or probable danger as in their own arms; yet we should astound our readers it we told them the statistical number of infants who, in despite of their motherly solicitude and love, are annually killed, unwittingly, by such parents themselves, and this from the persistency in the practice we are so strenuously condemning. The mother frequently, on awaking, discovers the baby’s face closely impacted between her bosom and her arm, and its body rigid and lifeless; or else so enveloped in the “head-blanket” and superincumbent bedclothes, as to render breathing a matter of physical impossibility. In such cases the jury in general returns a verdict of “Accidentally overlaid;” but one of “Careless suffocation” would be more in accordance with truth and justice. The only possible excuse that can be urged, either by nurse or mother, for this culpable practice, is the plea of imparting warmth to the infant. But this can always be effected by an extra blanket in the child’s crib, or, if the weather is particularly cold, by a bottle of hot water enveloped 1034 in flannel and placed at the child’s feet; while all the objections already urged—as derivable from animal heat imparted by actual contact—are entirely obviated. There is another evil attending the sleeping together of the mother and infant, which, as far as regards the latter, we consider quite as formidable, though not so immediate as the others, and is always followed by more or less of mischief to the mother. The evil we now allude to is that most injurious practice of letting the child suck after the mother has fallen asleep, a custom that naturally results from the former, and which, as we have already said, is injurious to both mother and child. It is injurious to the infant by allowing it, without control, to imbibe to distension a fluid sluggishly secreted and deficient in those vital principles which the want of mental energy, and of the sympathetic appeals of the child on the mother, so powerfully produce on the secreted nutriment, while the mother wakes in a state of clammy exhaustion, with giddiness, dimness of sight, nausea, loss of appetite, and a dull aching pain through the back and between the shoulders. In fact, she wakes languid and unrefreshed from her sleep, with febrile symptoms and hectic flushes, caused by her baby vampire, who, while dragging from her her health and strength, has excited in itself a set of symptoms directly opposite, but fraught with the same injurious consequences—“functional derangement.”
2472. As Nature has placed in the bosom of the mother the natural food of her offspring, it must be self-evident to every reflecting woman, that it becomes her duty to study, as far as lies in her power, to keep that reservoir of nourishment in as pure and invigorating a condition as possible; for she must remember that the quantity is no proof of the quality of this aliment.
2473. The mother, while suckling, as a general rule, should avoid all sedentary occupations, take regular exercise, keep her mind as lively and pleasingly occupied as possible, especially by music and singing. Her diet should be light and nutritious, with a proper sufficiency of animal food, and of that kind which yields the largest amount of nourishment; and, unless the digestion is naturally strong, vegetables and fruit should form a very small proportion of the general dietary, and such preparations as broths, gruels, arrowroot, & c., still less. Tapioca, or ground-rice pudding, made with several eggs, may be taken freely; but all slops and thin potations, such as that delusion called chicken-broth, should be avoided, as yielding a very small amount of nutriment, and a large proportion of flatulence. All purely stimulants should be avoided as much as possible, especially spirits, unless taken for some special object, and that medicinally; but as a part of the dietary they should be carefully shunned. Lactation is always an exhausting process, and as the child increases in size and strength, the drain upon the mother becomes great and depressing. Then something more even than an abundant diet is 1035 required to keep the mind and body up to a standard sufficiently healthy to admit of a constant and nutritious secretion being performed without detriment to the physical integrity of the mother, or injury to the child who imbibes it; and as stimulants are inadmissible, if not positively injurious, the substitute required is to be found in malt liquor. To the lady accustomed to her Madeira and sherry, this may appear a very vulgar potation for a delicate young mother to take instead of the more subtle and condensed elegance of wine; but as we are writing from experience, and with the avowed object of imparting useful facts and beneficial remedies to your readers, we allow no social distinctions to interfere with our legitimate object.
2474. We have already said that the suckling mother should avoid stimulants, especially spirituous ones; and though something of this sort is absolutely necessary to support her strength during the exhausting process, it should be rather of a tonic than of a stimulating character; and as all wines contain a large percentage of brandy, they are on that account less beneficial than the pure juice of the fermented grape might be. But there is another consideration to be taken into account on this subject; the mother has not only to think of herself, but also of her infant. Now wines, especially port wine, very often—indeed, most frequently—affect the baby’s bowels, and what might have been grateful to the mother becomes thus a source of pain and irritation to the child afterwards. Sherry is less open to this objection than other wines, yet still it very frequently does influence the second participator, or the child whose mother has taken it.
2475. The nine or twelve months a woman usually suckles must be, to some extent, to most mothers, a period of privation and penance, and unless she is deaf to the cries of her baby, and insensible to its kicks and plunges, and will not see in such muscular evidences the griping pains that rack her child, she will avoid every article that can remotely affect the little being who draws its sustenance from her. She will see that the babe is acutely affected by all that in any way influences her, and willingly curtail her own enjoyments, rather than see her infant rendered feverish, irritable, and uncomfortable. As the best tonic, then, and the most efficacious indirect stimulant that a mother can take at such times, there is no potation equal to porter and stout, or, what is better still, an equal part of porter and stout. Ale, except for a few constitutions, is too subtle and too sweet, generally causing acidity or heartburn, and stout alone is too potent to admit of a full draught, from its proneness to affect the head; and quantity, as well as moderate strength, is required to make the draught effectual; the equal mixture, therefore, of stout and porter yields all the properties desired or desirable as a medicinal agent for this purpose.
2476. Independently of its invigorating influence on the constitution, porter exerts a marked and specific effect on the secretion of milk, more powerful in exciting an abundant supply of that fluid than any other article within the 1036 range of the physician’s art; and, in cases of deficient quantity, is the most certain, speedy, and the healthiest means that can be employed to insure a quick and abundant flow. In cases where malt liquor produces flatulency, a few grains of the “carbonate of soda” may advantageously be added to each glass immediately before drinking, which will have the effect of neutralizing any acidity that may be in the porter at the time, and will also prevent its after-disagreement with the stomach. The quantity to be taken must depend upon the natural strength of the mother, the age and demand made by the infant on the parent, and other causes; but the amount should vary from one to two pints a day, never taking less than half a pint at a time, which should be repeated three or four times a day.
2477. We have said that the period of suckling is a season of penance to the mother, but this is not invariably the case; and, as so much must depend upon the natural strength of the stomach, and its power of assimilating all kinds of food into healthy chyle, it is impossible to define exceptions. Where a woman feels she can eat any kind of food, without inconvenience or detriment, she should live during her suckling as she did before; but, as a general rule, we are bound to advise all mothers to abstain from such articles as pickles, fruits, cucumbers, and all acid and slowly digestible foods, unless they wish for restless nights and crying infants.
2478. As regards exercise and amusement, we would certainly neither prohibit a mother’s dancing, going to a theatre, nor even from attending an assembly. The first, however, is the best indoor recreation she can take, and a young mother will do well to often amuse herself in the nursery with this most excellent means of healthful circulation. The only precaution necessary is to avoid letting the child suck the milk that has lain long in the breast, or is heated by excessive action.
2479. Every mother who can, should be provided with a breast-pump, or glass tube, to draw off the superabundance that has been accumulating in her absence from the child, or the first gush excited by undue exertion: the subsequent supply of milk will be secreted under the invigorating influence of a previous healthy stimulus.
2480. As the first milk that is secreted contains a large amount of the saline elements, and is thin and innutritious, it is most admirably adapted for the purpose Nature designed it to fulfil,—that of an aperient; but which, unfortunately, it is seldom permitted, in our artificial mode of living, to perform.
2481. So opposed are we to the objectionable plan of physicking new-born children, that, unless for positive illness, we would much rather advise that medicine should be administered through the mother for the first eight or ten weeks of its existence. This practice, which few mothers will object to, is 1037 easily effected by the parent, when such a course is necessary for the child, taking either a dose of castor-oil, half an ounce of tasteless salts (the phosphate of soda), one or two teaspoonfuls of magnesia, a dose of lenitive electuary, manna, or any mild and simple aperient, which, almost before it can have taken effect on herself, will exhibit its action on her child.
2482. One of the most common errors that mothers fall into while suckling their children, is that of fancying they are always hungry, and consequently overfeeding them; and with this, the great mistake of applying the child to the breast on every occasion of its crying, without investigating the cause of its complaint, and, under the belief that it wants food, putting the nipple into its crying mouth, until the infant turns in revulsion and petulance from what it should accept with eagerness and joy. At such times, a few teaspoonfuls of water, slightly chilled, will often instantly pacify a crying and restless child, who has turned in loathing from the offered breast; or, after imbibing a few drops, and finding it not what nature craved, throws back its head in disgust, and cries more petulantly than before. In such a case as this, the young mother, grieved at her baby’s rejection of the tempting present, and distressed at its cries, and in terror of some injury, over and over ransacks its clothes, believing some insecure pin can alone be the cause of such sharp complaining, an accident that, from her own care in dressing, however, is seldom or ever the case.
2483. These abrupt cries of the child, if they do not proceed from thirst, which a little water will relieve, not unfrequently occur from some unequal pressure, a fold or twist in the “roller,” or some constriction round the tender body. If this is suspected, the mother must not be content with merely slackening the strings; the child should be undressed, and the creases and folds of the hot skin, especially those about the thighs and groins, examined, to see that no powder has caked, and, becoming hard, irritated the parts. The violet powder should be dusted freely over all, to cool the skin, and everything put on fresh and smooth. If such precautions have not afforded relief, and, in addition to the crying, the child plunges or draws up its legs, the mother may be assured some cause of irritation exists in the stomach or bowels,—either acidity in the latter or distension from overfeeding in the former; but, from whichever cause, the child should be “opened” before the fire, and a heated napkin applied all over the abdomen, the infant being occasionally elevated to a sitting position, and while gently jolted on the knee, the back should be lightly patted with the hand.
2484. Should the mother have any reason to apprehend that the cause of inconvenience proceeds from the bladder—a not unfrequent source of pain,—the napkin is to be dipped in hot water, squeezed out, and immediately applied over the part, and repeated every eight or ten minutes, for several times in succession, either till the natural relief is afforded, or a cessation of pain allows of its discontinuance. The pain that young infants often suffer, and the 1038 crying that results from it, is, as we have already said, frequently caused by the mother inconsiderately overfeeding her child, and is produced by the pain of distension, and the mechanical pressure of a larger quantity of fluid in the stomach than the gastric juice can convert into cheese and digest.
2485. Some children are stronger in the enduring power of the stomach than others, and get rid of the excess by vomiting, concluding every process of suckling by an emission of milk and curd. Such children are called by nurses “thriving children;” and generally they are so, simply because their digestion is good, and they have the power of expelling with impunity that superabundance of aliment which in others is a source of distension, flatulence, and pain.
2486. The length of time an infant should be suckled must depend much on the health and strength of the child, and the health of the mother, and the quantity and quality of her milk; though, when all circumstances are favourable, it should never be less than nine, nor exceed fifteen months; but perhaps the true time will be found in the medium between both. But of this we may be sure, that Nature never ordained a child to live on suction after having endowed it with teeth to bite and to grind; and nothing is more out of place and unseemly than to hear a child, with a set of twenty teeth, ask for “the breast.”
2487. The practice of protracted wet-nursing is hurtful to the mother, by keeping up an uncalled-for, and, after the proper time, an unhealthy drain on her system, while the child either derives no benefit from what it no longer requires, or it produces a positive injury on its constitution. After the period when Nature has ordained the child shall live by other means, the secretion of milk becomes thin and deteriorated, showing in the flabby flesh and puny features of the child both its loss of nutritious properties and the want of more stimulating aliment.
2488. Though we have said that twelve months is about the medium time a baby should be suckled, we by no means wish to imply that a child should be fed exclusively on milk for its first year; quite the reverse; the infant can hardly be too soon made independent of the mother. Thus, should illness assail her, her milk fail, or any domestic cause abruptly cut off the natural supply, the child having been annealed to an artificial diet, its life might be safely carried on without seeking for a wet-nurse, and without the slightest danger to its system.
2489. The advantage to the mother of early accustoming the child to artificial food is as considerable to herself as beneficial to her infant; the demand on her physical strength in the first instance will be less severe and exhausting, the child will sleep longer on a less rapidly digestible aliment, and yield to both more quiet nights, and the mother will be more at liberty to go out for 1039 business or pleasure, another means of sustenance being at hand till her return. Besides these advantages, by a judicious blending of the two systems of feeding, the infant will acquire greater constitutional strength, so that, if attacked by sickness or disease, it will have a much greater chance of resisting its virulence than if dependent alone on the mother, whose milk, affected by fatigue and the natural anxiety of the parent for her offspring, is at such a time neither good in its properties nor likely to be beneficial to the patient.
2490. All that we have further to say on suckling is an advice to mothers, that if they wish to keep a sound and unchapped nipple, and possibly avoid what is called a “broken breast,” never to put it up with a wet nipple, but always to have a soft handkerchief in readiness, and the moment that delicate part is drawn from the child’s mouth, to dry it carefully of the milk and saliva that moisten it; and, further, to make a practice of suckling from each breast alternately.
2491. As respects the dress and dressing of a new-born infant, or of a child in arms, during any stage of its nursing, there are few women who will require us to give them guidance or directions for their instruction; and though a few hints on the subject may not be out of place here, yet most women intuitively “take to a baby,” and, with a small amount of experience, are able to perform all the little offices necessary to its comfort and cleanliness with ease and completeness. We shall, therefore, on this delicate subject hold our peace; and only, from afar, hint “at what we would,” leaving our suggestions to be approved or rejected, according as they chime with the judgment and the apprehension of our motherly readers.
2492. In these days of intelligence, there are few ladies who have not, in all probability, seen the manner in which the Indian squaw, the aborigines of Polynesia, and even the Lapp and Esquimaux, strap down their baby on a board, and by means of a loop suspend it to the bough of a tree, hang it up to the rafters of the hut, or on travel, dangle it on their backs, outside the domestic implements, which, as the slave of her master, man, the wronged but uncomplaining woman carries, in order that her lord may march in unhampered freedom. Cruel and confining as this system of “backboard” dressing may seem to our modern notions of freedom and exercise, it is positively less irksome, less confining, and infinitely less prejudicial to health, than the mummying of children by our grandmothers a hundred, ay, fifty years ago: for what with chin-stays, back-stays, body-stays, forehead-cloths, rollers, bandages, &c., an infant had as many girths and strings, to keep head, limbs, and body in one exact position, as a ship has halyards.
2493. Much of this—indeed we may say all—has been abolished; but still the 1040 child is far from being dressed loosely enough; and we shall never be satisfied till the abominable use of the pin is avoided in toto in an infant’s dressing, and a texture made for all the under garments of a child of a cool and elastic material.
2494. The manner in which an infant is encircled in a bandage called the “roller,” as if it had fractured ribs, compressing those organs—that, living on suction, must be, for the health of the child, to a certain degree distended, to obtain sufficient aliment from the fluid imbibed—is perfectly preposterous. Our humanity, as well as our duty, calls upon us at once to abrogate and discountenance by every means in our power. Instead of the process of washing and dressing being made, as with the adult, a refreshment and comfort, it is, by the dawdling manner in which it is performed, the multiplicity of things used, and the perpetual change of position of the infant to adjust its complicated clothing, rendered an operation of positive irritation and annoyance. We, therefore, entreat all mothers to regard this subject in its true light, and study to the utmost, simplicity in dress, and dispatch in the process.
2495. Children do not so much cry from the washing as from the irritation caused by the frequent change of position in which they are placed, the number of times they are turned on their face, on their back, and on their side, by the manipulations demanded by the multiplicity of articles to be fitted, tacked, and carefully adjusted on their bodies. What mother ever found her girl of six or seven stand quiet while she was curling her hair? How many times nightly has she not to reprove her for not standing still during the process! It is the same with the unconscious infant, who cannot bear to be moved about, and who has no sooner grown reconciled to one position than it is forced reluctantly into another. It is true, in one instance the child has intelligence to guide it, and in the other not; but the motitory nerves, in both instances, resent coercion, and a child cannot be too little handled.
2496. On this account alone, and, for the moment, setting health and comfort out of the question, we beg mothers to simplify their baby’s dress as much as possible; and not only to put on as little as is absolutely necessary, but to make that as simple in its contrivance and adjustment as it will admit of; to avoid belly-bands, rollers, girths, and everything that can impede or confine the natural expansion of the digestive organs, on the due performance of whose functions the child lives, thrives, and develops its physical being.
2497. As we do not for a moment wish to be thought an advocate for an artificial, in preference to the natural course of rearing children, we beg our 1041 3X readers to understand us perfectly on this head; all we desire to prove is the fact that a child can be brought up as well on a spoon dietary as the best example to be found of those reared on the breast; having more strength, indeed, from the more nutritious food on which it lives. It will be thus less liable to infectious diseases, and more capable of resisting the virulence of any danger that may attack it; and without in any way depreciating the nutriment of its natural food, we wish to impress on the mother’s mind that there are many cases of infantine debility which might eventuate in rickets, curvature of the spine, or mesenteric disease, where the addition to, or total substitution of, an artificial and more stimulating aliment, would not only give tone and strength to the constitution, but at the same time render the employment of mechanical means totally unnecessary. And, finally, though we would never—where the mother had the strength to suckle her child—supersede the breast, we would insist on making it a rule to accustom the child as early as possible to the use of an artificial diet, not only that it may acquire more vigour to help it over the ills of childhood, but that, in the absence of the mother, it might not miss the maternal sustenance; and also for the parent’s sake, that, should the milk, from any cause, become vitiated, or suddenly cease, the child can be made over to the bottle and the spoon without the slightest apprehension of hurtful consequences.
2498. To those persons unacquainted with the system, or who may have been erroneously informed on the matter, the rearing of a child by hand may seem surrounded by innumerable difficulties, and a large amount of personal trouble and anxiety to the nurse or mother who undertakes the duty. This, however, is a fallacy in every respect, except as regards the fact of preparing the food; but even this extra amount of work, by adopting the course we shall lay down, may be reduced to a very small sum of inconvenience; and as respects anxiety, the only thing calling for care is the display of judgment in the preparation of the food. The articles required for the purpose of feeding an infant are a night-lamp, with its pan and lid, to keep the food warm; a nursing-bottle, with a prepared teat; and a small pap saucepan, for use by day. Of the lamp we need hardly speak, most mothers being acquainted with its operation: but to those to whom it is unknown we may observe, that the flame from the floating rushlight heats the water in the reservoir above, in which the covered pan that contains the food floats, keeping it at such a heat that, when thinned by milk, it will be of a temperature suitable for immediate use. Though many kinds of nursing-bottles have been lately invented, and some mounted with India-rubber nipples, the common glass bottle, with the calf’s teat, is equal in cleanliness and utility to any; besides, the nipple put into the child’s mouth is so white and natural in appearance, that no child taken from the breast will refuse it. The black artificial ones of caoutchouc or gutta-percha are unnatural. The prepared teats can be obtained at any chemist’s, and as they are kept in spirits, they will require a little soaking in warm water, and gentle washing, before being tied securely, by means of fine twine, round the neck of the bottle, just sufficient being left projecting for 1042 the child to grasp freely in its lips; for if left the full length, or over long, it will be drawn too far into the mouth, and possibly make the infant heave. When once properly adjusted, the nipple need never be removed till replaced by a new one, which will hardly be necessary oftener than once a fortnight, though with care one will last for several weeks. The nursing-bottle should be thoroughly washed and cleaned every day, and always rinsed out before and after using it, the warm water being squeezed through the nipple, to wash out any particles of food that might lodge in the aperture, and become sour. The teat can always be kept white and soft by turning the end of the bottle, when not in use, into a narrow jug containing water, taking care to dry it first, and then to warm it by drawing the food through before putting it into the child’s mouth.
2499. The articles generally employed as food for infants consist of arrowroot, bread, flour, baked flour, prepared groats, farinaceous food, biscuit-powder, biscuits, tops-and-bottoms, and semolina, or manna croup, as it is otherwise called, which, like tapioca, is the prepared pith of certain vegetable substances. Of this list the least efficacious, though, perhaps, the most believed in, is arrowroot, which only as a mere agent, for change, and then only for a very short time, should ever be employed as a means of diet to infancy or childhood. It is a thin, flatulent, and innutritious food, and incapable of supporting infantine life with energy. Bread, though the universal régime with the labouring poor, where the infant’s stomach and digestive powers are a reflex, in miniature, of the father’s, should never be given to an infant under three months, and, even then, however finely beaten up and smoothly made, is a very questionable diet. Flour, when well boiled, though infinitely better than arrowroot, is still only a kind of fermentative paste, that counteracts its own good by after-acidity and flatulence.
2500. Baked flour, when cooked into a pale brown mass, and finely powdered, makes a far superior food to the others, and may be considered as a very useful diet, especially for a change. Prepared groats may be classed with arrowroot and raw flour, as being innutritious. The articles that now follow in our list are all good, and such as we could, with conscience and safety, trust to for the health and development of any child whatever.
2501. We may observe in this place, that an occasional change in the character of the food is highly desirable, both as regards the health and benefit of the child; and though the interruption should only last for a day, the change will be advantageous.
2502. The packets sold as farinaceous food are unquestionably the best aliment that can be given from the first to a baby, and may be continued, with the exception of an occasional change, without alteration of the material, till the child is able to take its regular meals of animal and vegetable 1043 food. Some infants are so constituted as to require a frequent and total change in their system of living, seeming to thrive for a certain time on any food given to them, but if persevered in too long, declining in bulk and appearance as rapidly as they had previously progressed. In such cases the food should be immediately changed, and when that which appeared to agree best with the child is resumed, it should be altered in its quality, and perhaps in its consistency.
2503. For the farinaceous food there are directions with each packet, containing instructions for the making; but, whatever the food employed is, enough should be made at once to last the day and night; at first, about a pint basinful, but, as the child advances, a quart will hardly be too much. In all cases, let the food boil a sufficient time, constantly stirring, and taking every precaution that it does not get burnt, in which case it is on no account to be used.
2504. The food should always be made with water, the whole sweetened at once, and of such a consistency that, when poured out, and it has had time to cool, it will cut with the firmness of a pudding or custard. One or two spoonfuls are to be put into the pap saucepan and stood on the hob till the heat has softened it, when enough milk is to be added, and carefully mixed with the food, till the whole has the consistency of ordinary cream; it is then to be poured into the nursing-bottle, and the food having been drawn through to warm the nipple, it is to be placed in the child’s mouth. For the first month or more, half a bottleful will be quite enough to give the infant at one time; but, as the child grows, it will be necessary not only to increase the quantity given at each time, but also gradually to make its food more consistent, and, after the third month, to add an egg to every pint basin of food made. At night the mother puts the food into the covered pan of her lamp, instead of the saucepan—that is, enough for one supply, and, having lighted the rush, she will find, on the waking of her child, the food sufficiently hot to bear the cooling addition of the milk. But, whether night or day, the same food should never be heated twice, and what the child leaves should be thrown away.
2505. The biscuit powder is used in the same manner as the farinaceous food, and both prepared much after the fashion of making starch. But when tops-and-bottoms, or the whole biscuit, are employed, they require soaking in cold water for some time previous to boiling. The biscuit or biscuits are then to be slowly boiled in as much water as will, when thoroughly soft, allow of their being beaten by a three-pronged fork into a fine, smooth, and even pulp, and which, when poured into a basin and become cold, will cut out like a custard. If two large biscuits have been so treated, and the child is six or seven months old, beat up two eggs, sufficient sugar to properly sweeten it, and about a pint of skim milk. Pour this on the beaten biscuit in the saucepan, stirring constantly; boil for about five minutes, pour into a basin, and use, when cold, in the same manner as the other.1044
2506. This makes an admirable food, at once nutritious and strengthening. When tops-and-bottoms or rusks are used, the quantity of the egg may be reduced, or altogether omitted.
2507. Semolina, or manna croup, being in little hard grains, like a fine millet-seed, must be boiled for some time, and the milk, sugar, and egg added to it on the fire, and boiled for a few minutes longer, and, when cold, used as the other preparations.
2508. Many persons entertain a belief that cow’s milk is hurtful to infants, and, consequently, refrain from giving it; but this is a very great mistake, for both sugar and milk should form a large portion of every meal an infant takes.
2509. About three months after birth, the infant’s troubles may be said to begin; teeth commence forming in the gums, causing pain and irritation in the mouth, and which, but for the saliva it causes to flow so abundantly, would be attended with very serious consequences. At the same time the mother frequently relaxes in the punctuality of the regimen imposed on her, and, taking some unusual or different food, excites diarrhœa or irritation in her child’s stomach, which not unfrequently results in a rash on the skin, or slight febrile symptoms, which, if not subdued in their outset, superinduce some more serious form of infantine disease. But, as a general rule, the teeth are the primary cause of much of the child’s sufferings, in consequence of the state of nervous and functional irritation into which the system is thrown by their formation and progress out of the jaw and through the gums. We propose beginning this branch of our subject with that most fertile source of an infant’s suffering—
2510. That this subject may be better understood by the nurse and mother, and the reason of the constitutional disturbance that, to a greater or less degree, is experienced by all infants, may be made intelligible to those who have the care of children, we shall commence by giving a brief account of the formation of the teeth, the age at which they appear in the mouth, and the order in which they pierce the gums. The organs of mastication in the adult consist of 32 distinct teeth, 16 in either jaw; being, in fact, a double set. The teeth are divided into 4 incisors, 2 canine, 4 first and second grinders, and 6 molars; but in childhood the complement or first set consists of only twenty, and these only make their appearance as the development of the frame indicates the 1045 requirement of a different kind of food for the support of the system. At birth some of the first-cut teeth are found in the cavities of the jaw, in a very small and rudimentary form; but this is by no means universal. About the third month, the jaws, which are hollow and divided into separate cells, begin to expand, making room for the slowly developing teeth, which, arranged for beauty and economy of space lengthwise, gradually turn their tops upwards, piercing the gum by their edges, which, being sharp, assist in cutting a passage through the soft parts. There is no particular period at which children cut their teeth, some being remarkably early, and others equally late. The earliest age that we have ever ourselves known as a reliable fact was, six weeks. Such peculiarities are generally hereditary, and, as in this case, common to a whole family. The two extremes are probably represented by six and sixteen months. Pain and drivelling are the usual, but by no means the general, indications of teething.
2511. About the sixth month the gums become tense and swollen, presenting a red, shiny appearance, while the salivary glands pour out an unusual quantity of saliva. After a time, a white line or round spot is observed on the top of one part of the gums, and the sharp edge of the tooth may be felt beneath if the finger is gently pressed on the part. Through these white spots the teeth burst their way in the following order:—
2512. Two incisors in the lower jaw are first cut, though, in general, some weeks elapse between the appearance of the first and the advent of the second. The next teeth cut are the four incisors of the upper jaw. The next in order are the remaining two incisors of the bottom, one on each side, then two top and two bottom on each side, but not joining the incisors; and lastly, about the eighteenth or twentieth month, the four eye teeth, filling up the space left between the side teeth and the incisors; thus completing the infant’s set of sixteen. Sometimes at the same period, but more frequently some months later, four more double teeth slowly make their appearance, one on each side of each jaw, completing the entire series of the child’s first set of twenty teeth. It is asserted that a child, while cutting its teeth, should either dribble excessively, vomit after every meal, or be greatly relaxed. Though one or other, or all of these at once, may attend a case of teething, it by no means follows that any one of them should accompany this process of nature, though there can be no doubt that where the pain consequent on the unyielding state of the gums, and the firmness of the skin that covers the tooth, is severe, a copious discharge of saliva acts beneficially in saving the head, and also in guarding the child from those dangerous attacks of fits to which many children in their teething are liable.
2513. The Symptoms that generally indicate the cutting of teeth, in addition to the inflamed and swollen state of the gums, and increased flow of saliva, are the restless and peevish state of the child, the hands being thrust into the mouth, and the evident pleasure imparted by rubbing the finger or nail gently 1046 along the gum; the lips are often excoriated, and the functions of the stomach or bowels are out of order. In severe cases, occurring in unhealthy or scrofulous children, there are, from the first, considerable fever, disturbed sleep, fretfulness, diarrhœa, rolling of the eyes, convulsive startings, laborious breathing, coma, or unnatural sleep, ending, unless the head is quickly relieved, in death.
2514. The Treatment in all cases of painful teething is remarkably simple, and consists in keeping the body cool by mild aperient medicines, allaying the irritation in the gums by friction with a rough ivory ring or a stale crust of bread, and when the head, lungs, or any organ is overloaded or unduly excited, to use the hot bath, and by throwing the body into a perspiration, equalize the circulation, and relieve the system from the danger of a fatal termination.
2515. Besides these, there is another means, but that must be employed by a medical man; namely, scarifying the gums—an operation always safe, and which, when judiciously performed, and at a critical opportunity, will often snatch the child from the grasp of death.
2516. There are few subjects on which mothers have often formed such strong and mistaken opinions as on that of lancing an infant’s gums, some rather seeing their child go into fits—and by the unrelieved irritation endangering inflammation of the brain, water on the head, rickets, and other lingering affections—than permit the surgeon to afford instant relief by cutting through the hard skin, which, like a bladder over the stopper of a bottle, effectually confines the tooth to the socket, and prevents it piercing the soft, spongy substance of the gum. This prejudice is a great error, as we shall presently show; for, so far from hurting the child, there is nothing that will so soon convert an infant’s tears into smiles as scarifying the gums in painful teething; that is, if effectually done, and the skin of the tooth be divided.
2517. Though teething is a natural function, and to an infant in perfect health should be unproductive of pain, yet in general it is not only a fertile cause of suffering, but often a source of alarm and danger; the former, from irritation in the stomach and bowels, deranging the whole economy of the system, and the latter, from coma and fits, that may excite alarm in severe cases; and the danger, that eventuates in some instances, from organic disease of the head or spinal marrow.
2518. We shall say nothing in this place of “rickets,” or “water on the head,” which are frequent results of dental irritation, but proceed to finish our remarks on the treatment of teething. Though strongly advocating the lancing of the gums in teething, and when there are any severe head-symptoms, yet it should never be needlessly done, or before being satisfied that the tooth is fully formed, and is out of the socket, and under the gum. When assured on these 1047 points, the gum should be cut lengthwise, and from the top of the gum downwards to the tooth, in an horizontal direction, thus ——, and for about half an inch in length. The operation is then to be repeated in a transverse direction, cutting across the gum, in the centre of the first incision, and forming a cross, thus +. The object of this double incision is to insure a retraction of the cut parts, and leave an open way for the tooth to start from—an advantage not to be obtained when only one incision is made; for unless the tooth immediately follows the lancing, the opening reunites, and the operation has to be repeated. That this operation is very little or not at all painful, is evidenced by the suddenness with which the infant falls asleep after the lancing, and awakes in apparently perfect health, though immediately before the use of the gum-lancet, the child may have been shrieking or in convulsions.
2519. From their birth till after teething, infants are more or less subject or liable to sudden fits, which often, without any assignable cause, will attack the child in a moment, and while in the mother’s arms; and which, according to their frequency, and the age and strength of the infant, are either slight or dangerous.
2520. Whatever may have been the remote cause, the immediate one is some irritation of the nervous system, causing convulsions, or an effusion to the head, inducing coma. In the first instance, the infant cries out with a quick, short scream, rolls up its eyes, arches its body backwards, its arms become bent and fixed, and the fingers parted; the lips and eyelids assume a dusky leaden colour, while the face remains pale, and the eyes open, glassy, or staring. This condition may or may not be attended with muscular twitchings of the mouth, and convulsive plunges of the arms. The fit generally lasts from one to three minutes, when the child recovers with a sigh, and the relaxation of the body. In the other case, the infant is attacked at once with total insensibility and relaxation of the limbs, coldness of the body and suppressed breathing; the eyes, when open, being dilated, and presenting a dim glistening appearance; the infant appearing, for the moment, to be dead.
2521. Treatment.—The first step in either case is, to immerse the child in a hot bath up to the chin; or if sufficient hot water cannot be procured to cover the body, make a hip-bath of what can be obtained; and, while the left hand supports the child in a sitting or recumbent position, with the right scoop up the water, and run it over the chest of the patient. When sufficient water can be obtained, the spine should be briskly rubbed while in the bath; when this cannot be done, lay the child on the knees, and with the fingers dipped in brandy, rub the whole length of the spine vigorously for two or three minutes, and when restored to consciousness, give occasionally a teaspoonful of weak brandy and water or wine and water.
2522. An hour after the bath, it may be necessary to give an aperient 1048 powder, possibly also to repeat the dose for once or twice every three hours; in which case the following proscription is to be employed. Take of
|Powdered scammony||6 grains.|
|Grey powder||6 grains.|
|Antimonial powder||4 grains.|
|Lump sugar||20 grains.|
Mix thoroughly, and divide into three powders, which are to be taken as advised for an infant one year old; for younger or weakly infants, divide into four powders, and give as the other. For thirst and febrile symptoms, give drinks of barley-water, or cold water, and every three hours put ten to fifteen drops of spirits of sweet nitre in a dessert-spoonful of either beverage.
2523. This is a disease to which infants are peculiarly subject, and in whom alone it may be said to be a disease; for when thrush shows itself in adult or advanced life, it is not as a disease proper, but only as a symptom, or accessory, of some other ailment, generally of a chronic character, and should no more be classed as a separate affection than the petechæ, or dark-coloured spots that appear in malignant measles, may be considered a distinct affection.
2524. Thrush is a disease of the follicles of the mucous membrane of the alimentary canal, whereby there are formed small vesicles, or bladders, filled with a thick mucous secretion, which, bursting, discharge their contents, and form minute ulcers in the centre of each vessel. To make this formal but unavoidable description intelligible, we must beg the reader’s patience while we briefly explain terms that may appear to many so unmeaning, and make the pathology of thrush fully familiar.
2525. The whole digestive canal, of which the stomach and bowels are only a part, is covered, from the lips, eyes, and ears downwards, with a thin glairy tissue, like the skin that lines the inside of an egg, called the mucous membrane; this membrane is dotted all over, in a state of health, by imperceptible points, called follicles, through which the saliva, or mucus secreted by the membrane, is poured out.
2526. These follicles, or little glands, then, becoming enlarged, and filled with a congealed fluid, constitute thrush in its first stage; and when the child’s lips and mouth appear a mass of small pearls, then, as these break and discharge, the second stage, or that of ulceration, sets in.
2527. Symptoms.—Thrush is generally preceded by considerable irritation, by the child crying and fretting, showing more than ordinary redness of the 1049 lips and nostrils, hot fetid breath, with relaxed bowels, and dark feculent evacuations; the water is scanty and high-coloured; whilst considerable difficulty in swallowing, and much thirst, are the other symptoms, which a careful observation of the little patient makes manifest.
2528. The situation and character of thrush show at once that the cause is some irritation of the mucous membrane, and can proceed only from the nature and quality of the food. Before weaning, this must be looked for in the mother, and the condition of the milk; after that time, in the crude and indigestible nature of the food given. In either case, this exciting cause of the disease must be at once stopped. When it proceeds from the mother, it is always best to begin by physicking the infant through the parent; that is to say, let the parent first take the medicine, which will sufficiently affect the child through the milk: this plan has the double object of benefiting the patient and, at the same time, correcting the state of the mother, and improving the condition of her milk. In the other case, when the child is being fed by hand, then proceed by totally altering the style of aliment given, and substituting farinaceous food, custards, blanc-mange, and ground-rice puddings.
2529. As an aperient medicine for the mother, the best thing she can take is a dessert-spoonful of carbonate of magnesia once or twice a day, in a cup of cold water; and every second day, for two or three times, an aperient pill.
2530. As the thrush extends all over the mouth, throat, stomach, and bowels, the irritation to the child from such an extent of diseased surface is proportionately great, and before attempting to act on such a tender surface by opening medicine, the better plan is to soothe by an emollient mixture; and, for that purpose, let the following be prepared. Take of
|Castor oil||2 drachms.|
|Mucilage, or powdered gum Arabic||half a drachm.|
Triturate till the oil is incorporated, then add slowly—
|Mint-water||One ounce and a half.|
Half a teaspoonful three times a day, to an infant from one to two years old; a teaspoonful from two to three years old; and a dessert-spoonful at any age over that time. After two days’ use of the mixture, one of the following powders should be given twice a day, accompanied with one dose daily of the mixture:—
|Grey powder||20 grains.|
|Powdered rhubarb||15 grains.|
|Scammony||10 grains. Mix.|
Divide into twelve powders, for one year; eight powders, from one to two; 1050 and six powders, from two to six years old. After that age, double the strength, by giving the quantity of two powders at once.
2531. It is sometimes customary to apply borax and honey to the mouth for thrush; but it is always better to treat the disease constitutionally rather than locally. The first steps, therefore, to be adopted are, to remove or correct the exciting cause—the mother’s milk or food; allay irritation by a warm bath and the castor-oil mixture, followed by and conjoined with the powders.
2532. To those, however, who wish to try the honey process, the best preparation to use is the following:—Rub down one ounce of honey with two drachms of tincture of myrrh, and apply it to the lips and mouth every four or six hours.
2533. It is a popular belief, and one most devoutly cherished by many nurses and elderly persons, that everybody must, at some time of their life, between birth and death, have an attack of thrush, and if not in infancy, or prime of life, it will surely attack them on their death-bed, in a form more malignant than if the patient had been affected with the malady earlier; the black thrush with which they are then reported to be affected being, in all probability, the petechæ, or purple spots that characterize the worst form, and often the last stage, of typhoid fever.
2534. In general, very little medicine is needed in this disease of the thrush—an alterative powder, or a little magnesia, given once or twice, being all, with the warm bath, that, in the great majority of cases, is needed to restore the mucous membrane to health. As thrush is caused by an excess of heat, or over-action in the lining membrane of the stomach and bowels, whatever will counteract this state, by throwing the heat on the surface, must materially benefit, if not cure, the disease: and that means every mother has at hand, in the form of a warm bath. After the application of this, a little magnesia to correct the acidity existing along the surface of the mucous membrane, is often all that is needed to throw the system into such a state as will effect its own cure. This favourable state is indicated by an excessive flow of saliva, or what is called “dribbling,” and by a considerable amount of relaxation of the bowels—a condition that must not be mistaken for diarrhœa, and checked as if a disease, but rather, for the day or two it continues, encouraged as a critical evacuant.
2535. Should there be much debility in the convalescence, half a teaspoonful of wine, given twice a day in a little barley-water, will be found sufficient for all the purposes of a tonic. This, with the precaution of changing the child’s food, or, when it lives on the mother, of correcting the quality of the milk by changing her own diet, and, by means of an antacid or aperient, improving the state of the secretion. Such is all the treatment that this disease in general requires.1051
2536. The class of diseases we are now approaching are the most important, both in their pathological features and in their consequences on the constitution, of any group or individual disease that assails the human body; and though more frequently attacking the undeveloped frame of childhood, are yet by no means confined to that period. These are called Eruptive Fevers, and embrace chicken-pox, cow-pox, small-pox, scarlet fever, measles, milary fever, and erysipelas, or St. Anthony’s fire.
2537. The general character of all these is, that they are contagious, and, as a general rule, attack a person only once in his lifetime; that their chain of diseased actions always begins with fever, and that, after an interval of from one to four days, the fever is followed by an eruption of the skin.
2538. Chicken-pox, or Glass-pox, may, in strict propriety, be classed as a mild variety of small-pox, presenting all the mitigated symptoms of that formidable disease. Among many physicians it is, indeed, classed as small-pox, and not a separate disease; but as this is not the place to discuss such questions, and as we profess to give only facts, the result of our own practical experience, we shall treat this affection of glass-pox or chicken-pox, as we ourselves have found it, as a distinct and separate disease.
2539. Chicken-pox is marked by all the febrile symptoms presented by small-pox, with this difference, that, in the case of chicken-pox, each symptom is particularly slight. The heat of body is much less acute, and the principal symptoms are difficulty of breathing, headache, coated tongue, and nausea, which sometimes amounts to vomiting. After a term of general irritability, heat, and restlessness, about the fourth day, or between the third and fourth, an eruption makes its appearance over the face, neck, and body, in its first two stages closely resembling small-pox, with this especial difference, that whereas the pustules in small-pox have flat and depressed centres—an infallible characteristic of small-pox—the pustules in chicken-pox remain globular, while the fluid in them changes from a transparent white to a straw-coloured liquid, which begins to exude and disappear about the eighth or ninth day, and, in mild cases, by the twelfth desquamates, or peels off entirely.
2540. There can be no doubt that chicken-pox, like small-pox, is contagious, and under certain states of the atmosphere becomes endemic. Parents should, therefore, avoid exposing young children to the danger of infection by taking them where it is known to exist, as chicken-pox, in weakly constitutions, or in very young children, may superinduce small-pox, the one disease either running concurrently with the other, or discovering itself as the other declines. This, 1052 of course, is a condition that renders the case very hazardous, as the child has to struggle against two diseases at once, or before it has recruited strength from the attack of the first.
2541. Treatment.—In all ordinary cases of chicken-pox—and it is very seldom it assumes any complexity—the whole treatment resolves itself into the use of the warm bath, and a course of gentle aperients. The bath should be used when the oppression of the lungs renders the breathing difficult, or the heat and dryness of the skin, with the undeveloped rash beneath the surface, shows the necessity for its use.
2542. As the pustules in chicken-pox very rarely run to the state of suppuration, as in the other disease, there is no fear of pitting or disfigurement, except in very severe forms, which, however, happen so seldom as not to merit apprehension. When the eruption subsides, however, the face may be washed with elder-flower water, and the routine followed which is prescribed in the convalescent state of small-pox.
2543. Cow-pox, properly speaking, is an artificial disease, established in a healthy body as a prophylactic, or preventive agent, against the more serious attack of small-pox, and is merely that chain of slight febrile symptoms and local irritation, consequent on the specific action of the lymph of the vaccination, in its action on the circulating system of the body. This is not the place to speak of the benefits conferred on mankind by the discovery of vaccination, not only as the preserver of the human features from a most loathsome disfigurement, but as a sanitary agent in the prolongation of life.
2544. Fortunately the State has now made it imperative on all parents to have their children vaccinated before, or by the end of, the twelfth week; thus doing away, as far as possible, with the danger to public health proceeding from the ignorance or prejudice of those parents whose want of information on the subject makes them object to the employment of this specific preventive; for though vaccination has been proved not to be always an infallible guard against small-pox, the attack is always much lighter, should it occur, and is seldom, if indeed ever, fatal after the precaution of vaccination. The best time to vaccinate a child is after the sixth and before the twelfth week, if it is in perfect health, but still earlier if small-pox is prevalent, and any danger exists of the infant taking the disease. It is customary, and always advisable, to give the child a mild aperient powder one or two days before inserting the lymph in the arm; and should measles, scarlet fever, or any other disease arise during the progress of the pustule, the child, when recovered, should be re-vaccinated, and the lymph taken from its arm on no account used for vaccinating purposes.
2545. The disease of cow-pox generally takes twenty days to complete its course; in other words, the maturity and declension of the pustule takes that 1053 time to fulfil its several changes. The mode of vaccination is either to insert the matter, or lymph, taken from a healthy child, under the cuticle in several places on both arms, or, which is still better, to make three slight scratches, or abrasions, with a lancet on one arm in this manner, „”„ and work into the irritated parts the lymph, allowing the arm to dry thoroughly before putting down the infant’s sleeve; by this means absorption is insured, and the unnecessary pain of several pustules on both arms avoided. No apparent change is observable by the eye for several days; indeed, not till the fourth, in many cases, is there any evidence of a vesicle; about the fifth day, however, a pink areola, or circle, is observed round one or all of the places, surrounding a small pearly vesicle or bladder. This goes on deepening in hue till the seventh or eighth day, when the vesicle is about an inch in diameter, with a depressed centre; on the ninth the edges are elevated, and the surrounding part hard and inflamed. The disease is now at its height, and the pustule should be opened, if not for the purpose of vaccinating other children, to allow the escape of the lymph, and subdue the inflammatory action. After the twelfth day the centre is covered by a brown scab, and the colour of the swelling becomes darker, gradually declining in hardness and colour till the twentieth, when the scab falls off, leaving a small pit, or cicatrix, to mark the seat of the disease, and for life prove a certificate of successful vaccination.
2546. In some children the inflammation and swelling of the arm is excessive, and extremely painful, and the fever, about the ninth or tenth day, very high; the pustule, therefore, at that time, should sometimes be opened, the arm fomented every two hours with a warm bread poultice, and an aperient powder given to the infant.
2547. This much-dreaded disease, which forms the next subject in our series of infantine diseases, and which entails more evils on the health of childhood than any other description of physical suffering to which that age of life is subject, may be considered more an affection of the venous circulation, lending to general and local congestion, attended with a diseased condition of the blood, than either as a fever or an inflammation; and though generally classed before or after scarlet fever, is, in its pathology and treatment, irrespective of its after-consequences, as distinct and opposite as one disease can well be from another.
2548. As we have already observed, measles are always characterized by the running at the nose and eyes, and great oppression of breathing; so, in the mode of treatment, two objects are to be held especially in view; first, to 1054 unload the congested state of the lungs,—the cause of the oppressed breathing; and, secondly, to act vigorously, both during the disease and afterwards, on the bowels. At the same time it cannot be too strongly borne in mind, that though the patient in measles should on no account be kept unduly hot, more care than in most infantine complaints should be taken to guard the body from cold, or any abrupt changes of temperature. With these special observations, we shall proceed to give a description of the disease, as recognized by its usual—
2549. Symptoms, which commence with cold chills and flushes, lassitude, heaviness, pain in the head, and drowsiness, cough, hoarseness, and extreme difficulty of breathing, frequent sneezing, defluction or running at the eyes and nose, nausea, sometimes vomiting, thirst, a furred tongue; the pulse throughout is quick, and sometimes full and soft, at others hard and small, with other indications of an inflammatory nature.
2550. On the third day, small red points make their appearance, first on the face and neck, gradually extending over the upper and lower part of the body. On the fifth day, the vivid red of the eruption changes into a brownish hue; and, in two or three days more, the rash entirely disappears, leaving a loose powdery desquamation on the skin, which rubs off like . At this stage of the disease a diarrhœa frequently comes on, which, being what is called “critical,” should never be checked, unless seriously severe. Measles sometimes assume a typhoid or malignant character, in which form the symptoms are all greatly exaggerated, and the case from the first becomes both doubtful and dangerous. In this condition the eruption comes out sooner, and only in patches; and often, after showing for a few hours, suddenly recedes, presenting, instead of the usual florid red, a dark purple or blackish hue; a dark brown fur forms on the gums and mouth, the breathing becomes laborious, delirium supervenes, and, if unrelieved, is followed by coma; a fetid diarrhœa takes place, and the patient sinks under the congested state of the lungs and the oppressed functions of the brain.
2551. The unfavourable symptoms in measles are a high degree of fever, the excessive heat and dryness of the skin, hurried and short breathing, and a particularly hard pulse. The sequels, or after-consequences, of measles are, croup, bronchitis, mesenteric disease, abscesses behind the ear, ophthalmia, and glandular swellings in other parts of the body.
2552. Treatment.—In the first place, the patient should be kept in a cool room, the temperature of which must be regulated to suit the child’s feelings of comfort, and the diet adapted to the strictest principles of abstinence. When the inflammatory symptoms are severe, bleeding, in some form, is often necessary, though, when adopted, it must be in the first stage of the disease; and, if the lungs are the apprehended seat of the inflammation, two or more leeches, according to the age and strength of the patient, must be applied to 1055 the upper part of the chest, followed by a small blister; or the blister may be substituted for the leeches, the attendant bearing in mind, that the benefit effected by the blister can always be considerably augmented by plunging the feet into very hot water about a couple of hours after applying the blister, and kept in the water for about two minutes. And let it further be remembered, that this immersion of the feet in hot water may be adopted at any time or stage of the disease; and that, whenever the head or lungs are oppressed, relief will always accrue from its sudden and brief employment. When the symptoms commence with much shivering, and the skin early assumes a hot, dry character, the appearance of the rash will be facilitated, and all the other symptoms rendered milder, if the patient is put into a warm bath, and kept in the water for about three minutes. Or, where that is not convenient, the following process, which will answer quite as well, can be substituted:—Stand the child, naked, in a tub, and, having first prepared several jugs of sufficiently warm water, empty them, in quick succession, over the patient’s shoulders and body; immediately wrap in a hot blanket, and put the child to bed till it rouses from the sleep that always follows the effusion or bath. This agent, by lowering the temperature of the skin, and opening the pores, producing a natural perspiration, and unloading the congested state of the lungs, in most cases does away entirely with the necessity both for leeches and a blister. Whether any of these external means have been employed or not, the first internal remedies should commence with a series of aperient powders and a saline mixture, as prescribed in the following formularies; at the same time, as a beverage to quench the thirst, let a quantity of barley-water be made, slightly acidulated by the juice of an orange, and partially sweetened by some sugar-candy; and of which, when properly made and cold, let the patient drink as often as thirst, or the dryness of the mouth, renders necessary.
2553. Aperient Powders.—Take of scammony and jalap, each 24 grains; grey powder and powdered antimony, each 18 grains. Mix and divide into 12 powders, if for a child between two and four years of age; into 8 powders, if for a child between four and eight years of age; and into 6 powders for between eight and twelve years. One powder to be given, in a little jelly or sugar-and-water, every three or four hours, according to the severity of the symptoms.
2554. Saline Mixture.—Take of mint-water, 6 ounces; powdered nitre, 20 grains; antimonial wine, 3 drachms; spirits of nitre, 2 drachms; syrup of saffron, 2 drachms. Mix. To children under three years, give a teaspoonful every two hours; from that age to six, a dessertspoonful at the same times; and a tablespoonful every three or four hours to children between six and twelve.
2555. The object of those aperient powders is to keep up a steady but gentle action on the bowels; but, whenever it seems necessary to administer a stronger dose, and effect a brisk action on the digestive organs,—a course 1056 particularly imperative towards the close of the disease,—two of these powders given at once, according to the age, will be found to produce that effect; that is, two of the twelve for a child under four years, and two of the eight, and two of the six, according to the age of the patient.
2556. When the difficulty of breathing becomes oppressive, as it generally does towards night, a hot bran poultice, laid on the chest, will be always found highly beneficial. The diet throughout must be light, and consist of farinaceous food, such as rice and sago puddings, beef-tea and toast; and not till convalescence sets in should hard or animal food be given.
2557. When measles assume the malignant form, the advice just given must be broken through; food of a nutritious and stimulating character should be at once substituted, and administered in conjunction with wine, and even spirits, and the disease regarded and treated as a case of typhus. But, as this form of measles is not frequent, and, if occurring, hardly likely to be treated without assistance, it is unnecessary to enter on the minutiæ of its practice here. What we have prescribed, in almost all cases, will be found sufficient to meet every emergency, without resorting to a multiplicity of agents.
2558. The great point to remember in measles is, not to give up the treatment with the apparent subsidence of the disease, as the after-consequences of measles are too often more serious, and to be more dreaded, than the measles themselves. To guard against this danger, and thoroughly purify the system, after the subsidence of all the symptoms of the disease, a corrective course of medicine, and a regimen of exercise, should be adopted for some weeks after the cure of the disease. To effect this, an active aperient powder should be given every three or four days, with a daily dose of the subjoined tonic mixture, with as much exercise, by walking, running after a hoop, or other bodily exertion, as the strength of the child and the state of the atmosphere will admit, the patient being, wherever possible, removed to a purer air as soon as convalescence warrants the change.
2559. Tonic Mixture.—Take of infusion of rose-leaves, 6 ounces; quinine, 8 grains; diluted sulphuric acid, 15 drops. Mix. Dose, from half a teaspoonful up to a dessertspoonful, once a day, according to the age of the patient.
2560. Though professional accuracy has divided this disease into several forms, we shall keep to the one disease most generally met with, the common or simple scarlet fever, which, in all cases, is characterized by an excessive heat on the skin, sore throat, and a peculiar speckled appearance of the tongue.
2561. Symptoms.—Cold chills, shivering, nausea, thirst, hot skin, quick pulse, with difficulty of swallowing; the tongue is coated, presenting through 1057 3Y its fur innumerable specks, the elevated papillæ of the tongue, which gives it the speckled character, that, if not the invariable sign of scarlet fever, is only met with in cases closely analogous to that disease. Between the second and third day, but most frequently on the third, a bright red efflorescence breaks out in patches on the face, neck, and back, from which it extends over the trunk and extremities, always showing thicker and deeper in colour wherever there is any pressure, such as the elbows, back, and hips; when the eruption is well out, the skin presents the appearance of a boiled lobster-shell. At first, the skin is smooth, but, as the disease advances, perceptible roughness is apparent, from the elevation of the rash, or, more properly, the pores of the skin. On the fifth and sixth days the eruption begins to decline, and by the eighth has generally entirely disappeared. During the whole of this period, there is, more or less, constant sore throat.
2562. The Treatment of scarlet fever is, in general, very simple. Where the heat is great, and the eruption comes out with difficulty, or recedes as soon as it appears, the body should be sponged with cold vinegar-and-water, or tepid water, as in measles, poured over the chest and body, the patient being, as in that disease, wrapped in a blanket and put to bed, and the same powders and mixture ordered in measles administered, with the addition of a constant hot bran poultice round the throat, which should be continued from the first symptom till a day or two after the declension of the rash. The same low diet and cooling drink, with the same general instructions, are to be obeyed in this as in the former disease.
2563. When the fever runs high in the first stage, and there is much nausea, before employing the effusions of water, give the patient an emetic, of equal parts of ipecacuanha and antimonial wine, in doses of from a teaspoonful to a tablespoonful, according to age. By these means, nine out of every ten cases of scarlatina may be safely and expeditiously cured, especially if the temperature of the patient’s room is kept at an even standard of about sixty degrees.
2564. This is purely a spasmodic disease, and is only infectious through the faculty of imitation, a habit that all children are remarkably apt to fall into; and even where adults have contracted hooping-cough, it has been from the same cause, and is as readily accounted for, on the principle of imitation, as that the gaping of one person will excite or predispose a whole party to follow the same spasmodic example. If any one associates for a few days with a person who stammers badly, he will find, when released from his 1058 company, that the sequence of his articulation and the fluency of his speech are, for a time, gone; and it will be a matter of constant vigilance, and some difficulty, to overcome the evil of so short an association. The manner in which a number of school-girls will, one after another, fall into a fit on beholding one of their number attacked with epilepsy, must be familiar to many. These several facts lead us to a juster notion of how to treat this spasmodic disease. Every effort should, therefore, be directed, mentally and physically, to break the chain of nervous action, on which the continuance of the cough depends.
2565. Symptoms.—Hooping-cough comes on with a slight oppression of breathing, thirst, quick pulse, hoarseness, and a hard, dry cough. This state may exist without any change from one to two or three weeks before the peculiar feature of the disease—the hoop—sets in. As the characteristics of this cough are known to all, it is unnecessary to enter here, physiologically, on the subject. We shall, therefore, merely remark that the frequent vomiting and bleeding at the mouth or nose are favourable signs, and proceed to the
2566. Treatment, which should consist in keeping up a state of nausea and vomiting. For this purpose, give the child doses of ipecacuanha and antimonial wines, in equal parts, and quantities varying from half to one and a half teaspoonful once a day, or, when the expectoration is hard and difficult of expulsion, giving the following cough mixture every four hours. Take of
|Syrup of squills||½ ounce.|
|Antimonial wine||1 ounce.|
|Syrup of Toulou||2 drachms.|
Mix. The dose is from half a spoonful to a dessertspoonful. When the cough is urgent, the warm bath is to be used, and either one or two leeches applied over the breastbone, or else a small blister laid on the lower part of the throat.
2567. Such is the medical treatment of hooping-cough; but there is a moral regimen, based on the nature of the disease, which should never be omitted. And, on the principle that a sudden start or diversion of the mind will arrest a person in the act of sneezing or gaping, so the like means should be adopted with the hooping-cough patient; and, in the first stage, before the hooping has been added, the parent should endeavour to break the paroxysm of the cough by abruptly attracting the patient’s attention, and thus, if possible, preventing the cough from reaching that height when the ingulp of air gives the hoop or crow that marks the disease; but when once that symptom has set in, it becomes still more necessary to endeavour, by even measures of intimidation, to break the spasmodic chain of the cough. Exercise in the open air, when dry, is also requisite, and change of scene and air in all cases is of absolute necessity, and may be adopted at any stage of the disease.1059
2568. This is by far the most formidable and fatal of all the diseases to which infancy and childhood are liable, and is purely an inflammatory affection, attacking that portion of the mucous membrane lining the windpipe and bronchial tubes, and from the effect of which a false or loose membrane is formed along the windpipe, resembling in appearance the finger of a glove suspended in the passage, and, consequently, terminating the life of the patient by suffocation; for, as the lower end grows together and becomes closed, no air can enter the lungs, and the child dies choked. All dull, fat, and heavy children are peculiarly predisposed to this disease, and those with short necks and who make a wheezing noise in their natural breathing. Croup is always sudden in its attack, and rapid in its career, usually proving fatal within three days; most frequently commences in the night, and generally attacking children between the ages of three and ten years. Mothers should, therefore, be on their guard who have children predisposed to this disease, and immediately resort to the means hereafter advised.
2569. Symptoms.—Languor and restlessness, hoarseness, wheezing, and short, dry cough, with occasional rattling in the throat during sleep, the child often plucking at its throat with its fingers; difficulty of breathing, which quickly becomes hard and laboured, causing great anxiety of the countenance, and the veins of the neck to swell and become knotted; the voice in speaking acquires a sharp, crowing, or croupy sound, while the inspirations have a harsh, metallic intonation. After a few hours, a quantity of thick, ropy mucus is thrown out, hanging about the mouth, and causing suffocating fits of coughing to expel.
2570. Treatment.—Place the child immediately in a hot bath up to the throat; and, on removal from the water, give an emetic of the antimonial or ipecacuanha wine, and, when the vomiting has subsided, lay a long blister down the front of the throat, and administer one of the following powders every twenty minutes to a child from three to six years of age.
2571. Take of calomel, 12 grains; tartar emetic, 2 grains; lump sugar, 30 grains. Mix accurately, and divide into 12 powders. For a child from six to twelve years, divide into 6 powders, and give one every half-hour.
2572. Should the symptoms remain unabated after a few hours, apply one or two leeches to the throat, and put mustard poultices to the foot and thighs, retaining them about eight minutes; and, in extreme cases, a mustard poultice to the spine between the shoulders, and at the same time rub mercurial ointment into the armpits and the angles of the jaws.
2573. Such is a vigorous and reliable system of treatment in severe cases of croup; but, in the milder and more general form, the following abridgment 1060 will, in all probability, be all that will be required:—First, the hot bath; second, the emetic; third, a mustard plaster round the throat for five minutes; fourth, the powders; fifth, another emetic in six hours, if needed, and the powders continued without intermission while the urgency of the symptoms continues. When relief has been obtained, these are to be discontinued, and a dose of senna tea given to act on the bowels.
2574. The diarrhœa with which children are so frequently affected, especially in infancy, should demand the nurse’s immediate attention, and when the secretion, from its clayey colour, indicates an absence of bile, a powder composed of 3 grains of grey powder and 1 grain of rhubarb, should be given twice, with an interval of four hours between each dose, to a child from one to two years, and, a day or two afterwards, an aperient powder containing the same ingredients and quantities, with the addition of 2 or 3 grains of scammony. For the relaxation consequent on an overloaded stomach, or acidity in the bowels, a little magnesia dissolved in milk should be employed two or three times a day.
2575. When much griping and pain attend the diarrhœa, half a teaspoonful of Dalby’s Carminative (the best of all patent medicines) should be given, either with or without a small quantity of castor oil to carry off the exciting cause.
2576. For any form of diarrhœa that, by excessive action, demands a speedy correction, the most efficacious remedy that can be employed in all ages and conditions of childhood is the tincture of Kino, of which from 10 to 30 drops, mixed with a little sugar and water in a spoon, are to be given every two or three hours till the undue action has been checked. Often the change of diet to rice, milk, eggs, or the substitution of animal for vegetable food, or vice versâ, will correct an unpleasant and almost chronic state of diarrhœa.
2577. A very excellent carminative powder for flatulent infants may be kept in the house, and employed with advantage, whenever the child is in pain or griped, by dropping 5 grains of oil of aniseed and 2 of peppermint on half an ounce of lump sugar, and rubbing it in a mortar, with a drachm of magnesia, into a fine powder. A small quantity of this may be given in a little water at any time, and always with benefit.
2578. “Time,” according to the old proverb, “is money;” and it may also, in many cases, and with equal truthfulness, be said to be life; for a few moments, in great emergencies, often turn the balance between recovery and death. This applies more especially to all kinds of poisoning, fits, submersion in water, or exposure to noxious gases; and many accidents. If people knew how to act during the interval that must necessarily elapse from the moment that a medical man is sent for until he arrives, many lives might be saved, which now, unhappily, are lost. Generally speaking, however, nothing is done—all is confusion and fright; and the surgeon, on his arrival, finds that death has already seized its victim, who, had his friends but known a few rough rules for their guidance, might have been rescued. We shall, therefore, in a series of papers, give such information as to the means to be employed in event of accidents, injuries, &c., as, by the aid of a gentleman of large professional experience, we are warranted in recommending.
2579. We append at once a List of Drugs, &c., and a few Prescriptions necessary to carry out all the instructions given in this series of articles. It will be seen that they are few—they are not expensive; and by laying in a little stock of them, our instructions will be of instant value in all cases of accident, &c.—The drugs are—Antimonial Wine. Antimonial Powder. Blister Compound. Blue Pill. Calomel. Carbonate of Potash. Compound Iron Pills. Compound Extract of Colocynth. Compound Tincture of Camphor. Epsom Salts. Goulard’s Extract. Jalap in Powder. Linseed Oil. Myrrh and Aloes Pills. Nitre. Oil of Turpentine. Opium, powdered, and Laudanum. Sal Ammoniac. Senna Leaves. Soap Opodeldoc. Sweet Spirits of Nitre. Turner’s Cerate.—To which should be added: Common Adhesive Plaster. Isinglass Plaster. Lint. A pair of small Scales with Weights. An ounce and a drachm Measure-glass. A Lancet. A Probe. A pair of Forceps, and some curved Needles.
2580. The following Prescriptions may be made up for a few shillings; and, by keeping them properly labelled, and by referring to the remarks on 1062 the treatment of any particular case, much suffering, and, perhaps, some lives, may be saved.
2581. Draught.—Twenty grains of sulphate of zinc in an ounce and a half of water. This draught is to be repeated in a quarter of an hour if vomiting does not take place.
2582. Clyster.—Two tablespoonfuls of oil of turpentine in a pint of warm gruel.
2583. Liniments.—1. Equal parts of lime-water and linseed-oil well mixed together. [Lime-water is made thus: Pour 6 pints of boiling water upon ¼ lb. of lime; mix well together, and when cool, strain the liquid from off the lime which has fallen to the bottom, taking care to get it as clear as possible.] 2. Compound camphor liniment.
2584. Lotions.—1. Mix a dessert-spoonful of Goulard’s extract and 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar in a pint of water.—2. Mix ½ oz. of sal-ammoniac, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, and the same quantity of gin or whisky, in half a pint of water.
2585. Goulard Lotion.—1 drachm of sugar of lead, 2 pints of rain-water, 2 teaspoonfuls of spirits of wine. For inflammation of the eyes or elsewhere:—The better way of making Goulard Lotion, if for the eyes, is to add to 6 oz. of distilled water, or water that has been well boiled, 1 drachm of the extract of lead.
2586. Opodeldoc.—This lotion being a valuable application for sprains, lumbago, weakness of joints, &c., and it being difficult to procure either pure or freshly made, we give a recipe for its preparation. Dissolve 1 oz. of camphor in a pint of rectified spirits of wine; then dissolve 4 oz. of hard white Spanish soap, scraped thin, in 4 oz. of oil of rosemary, and mix them together.
2587. The Common Black Draught.—Infusion of senna 10 drachms; Epsom salts 10 drachms; tincture of senna, compound tincture of cardamums, compound spirit of lavender, of each 1 drachm. Families who make black draught in quantity, and wish to preserve it for some time without spoiling, should add about 2 drachms of spirits of hartshorn to each pint of the strained mixture, the use of this drug being to prevent its becoming mouldy or decomposed. A simpler and equally efficacious form of black draught is made by infusing ½ oz. of Alexandrian senna, 3 oz. of Epsom salts, and 2 drachms of bruised ginger and coriander-seeds, for several hours in a pint of boiling water, straining the liquor, and adding either 2 drachms of sal-volatile or spirits of hartshorn to the whole, and giving 3 tablespoonfuls for a dose to an adult.
2588. Mixtures.—1. Aperient.—Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salts in half a pint of senna tea: take a quarter of the mixture as a dose, and repeat it in three or four hours if necessary.1063
2589. 2. Fever Mixture.—Mix a drachm of powdered nitre, 2 drachms of carbonate of potash, 2 teaspoonfuls of antimonial wine, and a tablespoonful of sweet spirits of nitre, in half a pint of water.
2590. 3. Myrrh and Aloes Pills.—Ten grains made into two pills are the dose for a full-grown person.
2591. 4. Compound Iron Pills.—Dose for a full-grown person: 10 grains made into two pills.
2592. Pills.—1. Mix 5 grains of calomel and the same quantity of antimonial powder with a little bread-crumb, and make into two pills. Dose for a full-grown person: two pills.—2. Mix 5 grains of blue pill and the same quantity of compound extract of colocynth together, and make into two pills, the dose for a full-grown person.
2593. Powders.—Mix a grain of calomel and 4 grains of powdered jalap together.
2594. In all cases, the dose of medicines given is to be regulated by the age of the patient.
2595. Abernethy’s Plan for making a Bread-and-Water Poultice.—First scald out a basin; then having put in some boiling water, throw in coarsely-crumbled bread, and cover it with a plate. When the bread has soaked up as much water as it will imbibe, drain off the remaining water, and there will be left a light pulp. Spread it a third of an inch thick on folded linen, and apply it when of the temperature of a warm bath. To preserve it moist, occasionally drop warm water on it.
2596. Linseed-Meal Poultice.—“Scald your basin, by pouring a little hot water into it; then put a small quantity of finely-ground linseed-meal into the basin, pour a little hot water on it, and stir it round briskly until you have well incorporated them; add a little more meal and a little more water; then stir it again. Do not let any lumps remain in the basin, but stir the poultice well, and do not be sparing of your trouble. What you do next, is to take as much of it out of the basin as you may require, lay it on a piece of soft linen, and let it be about a quarter of an inch thick.”—Abernethy.
2597. Mustard Poultice.—Mix equal parts of dry mustard and linseed-meal in warm vinegar. When the poultice is wanted weak, warm water may be used for the vinegar; and when it is required very strong, mustard alone, without any linseed-meal, is to be mixed with warm vinegar.
2598. An ordinary Blister.—Spread a little blister compound on a piece of common adhesive plaster with the right thumb. It should be put on just thickly enough to conceal the appearance of the plaster beneath. The part from which a blister has been taken should be covered till it heals over with soft linen rags smeared with lard.1064
2599. All fluid applications to the body are exhibited either in a hot or cold form; and the object for which they are administered is to produce a stimulating effect over the entire, or a part, of the system; for the effect, though differently obtained, and varying in degree, is the same in principle, whether procured by hot or cold water.
2600. Heat.—There are three forms in which heat is universally applied to the body,—that of the tepid, warm, and vapour bath; but as the first is too inert to be worth notice, and the last dangerous and inapplicable, except in public institutions, we shall confine our remarks to the really efficacious and always attainable one—the
2601. Warm and Hot Bath.—These baths are used whenever there is congestion, or accumulation of blood in the internal organs, causing pain, difficulty of breathing, or stupor, and are employed, by their stimulating property, to cause a rush of blood to the surface, and, by unloading the great organs, produce a temporary inflammation in the skin, and so equalize the circulation. The effect of the hot bath is to increase the fulness of the pulse, accelerate respiration, and excite perspiration. In all inflammations of the stomach and bowels, the hot bath is of the utmost consequence; the temperature of the warm bath varies from 92° to 100°, and may be obtained by those who have no thermometer to test the exact heat, by mixing one measure of boiling with two of cold water.
2602. Fomentations are generally used to effect, in a part, the benefit produced on the whole body by the bath; to which a sedative action is occasionally given by the use of roots, herbs, or other ingredients; the object being to relieve the internal organ, as the throat, or muscles round a joint, by exciting a greater flow of blood to the skin over the affected part. As the real agent of relief is heat, the fomentation should always be as hot as it can comfortably be borne, and, to insure effect, should be repeated every half-hour. Warm fluids are applied in order to render the swelling which accompanies inflammation less painful, by the greater readiness with which the skin yields, than when it is harsh and dry. They are of various kinds; but the most simple, and oftentimes the most useful, that can be employed, is “Warm Water.” Another kind of fomentation is composed of dried poppyheads, 4 oz. Break them to pieces, empty out the seeds, put them into 4 pints of water, boil for a quarter of an hour, then strain through a cloth or sieve, and keep the water for use. Or, chamomile flowers, hemlock, and many other plants, may be boiled, and the part fomented with the hot liquor, by means of flannels wetted with the decoction.
2603. Cold, when applied in excess to the body, drives the blood from the surface to the centre, reduces the pulse, makes the breathing hard and difficult, produces coma, and, if long continued, death. But when medicinally used, it excites a reaction on the surface equivalent to a stimulating effect; as in some 1065 cases of fever, when the body has been sponged with cold water, it excites, by reaction, increased circulation on the skin. Cold is sometimes used to keep up a repellent action, as, when local inflammation takes place, a remedy is applied, which, by its benumbing and astringent effect, causes the blood, or the excess of it in the part, to recede, and, by contracting the vessels, prevents the return of any undue quantity, till the affected part recovers its tone. Such remedies are called Lotions, and should, when used, be applied with the same persistency as the fomentation; for, as the latter should be renewed as often as the heat passes off, so the former should be applied as often as the heat from the skin deprives the application of its cold.
2604. Poultices are only another form of fomentation, though chiefly used for abscesses. The ingredient best suited for a poultice is that which retains heat the longest; of these ingredients, the best are linseed-meal, bran, and bread. Bran sewed into a bag, as it can be reheated, will be found the cleanest and most useful; especially for sore throats.
2605. In cases of great emergency, such as the strong kind of apoplexy, and when a surgeon cannot possibly be obtained for some considerable time, the life of the patient depends almost entirely upon the fact of his being bled or not. We therefore give instructions how the operation of bleeding is to be performed, but caution the reader only to attempt it in cases of the greatest emergency. Place a handkerchief or piece of tape rather but not too tightly round the arm, about three or four inches above the elbow. This will cause the veins below to swell and become very evident. If this is not sufficient, the hand should be constantly and quickly opened and shut for the same purpose. There will now be seen, passing up the middle of the fore-arm, a vein which, just below the bend of the elbow, sends a branch inwards and outwards, each branch shortly joining another large vein. It is from the outer branch that the person is to be bled. The right arm is the one mostly operated on. The operator should take the lancet in his right hand, between the thumb and first finger, place the thumb of his left hand on the vein below the part where he is going to bleed from, and then gently thrust the tip of the lancet into the vein, and, taking care not to push it too deeply, cut in a gently curved direction, and bring it out, point upwards, at about half an inch from the part of the vein into which he had thrust it. The vein must be cut lengthways, and not across. When sufficient blood has been taken away, remove the bandage from above the elbow, and place the thumb of the left hand firmly over the cut, until all the bleeding ceases. A small pad of lint is then to be put over the cut, with a larger pad over it, and the two kept in their places by means of a handkerchief or linen roller bound pretty tightly over them and round the arm.
2606. When a person is bled, he should always be in the standing, or at any rate in the sitting, position; for if, as is often the case, he should happen to 1066 faint, he can, in most cases at least, easily be brought to again by the operator placing him flat on his back, and stopping the bleeding. This is of the greatest importance. It has been recommended, for what supposed advantages we don’t know, to bleed people when they are lying down. Should a person, under these circumstances, faint, what could be done to bring him to again? The great treatment of lowering the body of the patient to the flat position cannot be followed here. It is in that position already, and cannot be placed lower than it at present is—except, as is most likely to be the case, under the ground.
2607. Bleeding from the Nose.—Many children, especially those of a sanguineous temperament, are subject to sudden discharges of blood from some part of the body; and as all such fluxes are in general the result of an effort of nature to relieve the system from some overload or pressure, such discharges, unless in excess, and when likely to produce debility, should not be rashly or too abruptly checked. In general, these discharges are confined to the summer or spring months of the year, and follow pains in the head, a sense of drowsiness, languor, or oppression; and, as such symptoms are relieved by the loss of blood, the hemorrhage should, to a certain extent, be encouraged. When, however, the bleeding is excessive, or returns too frequently, it becomes necessary to apply means to subdue or mitigate the amount. For this purpose the sudden and unexpected application of cold is itself sufficient, in most cases, to arrest the most active hemorrhage. A wet towel laid suddenly on the back, between the shoulders, and placing the child in a recumbent posture, is often sufficient to effect the object; where, however, the effusion resists such simple means, napkins wrung out of cold water must be laid across the forehead and nose, the hands dipped in cold water, and a bottle of hot water applied to the feet. If, in spite of those means, the bleeding continues, a little fine wool or a few folds of lint, tied together by a piece of thread, must be pushed up the nostril from which the blood flows, to act as a plug and pressure on the bleeding vessel. When the discharge has entirely ceased, the plug is to be pulled out by means of the thread. To prevent a repetition of the hemorrhage, the body should be sponged every morning with cold water, and the child put under a course of steel wine, have open-air exercise, and, if possible, salt-water bathing. For children, a key suddenly dropped down the back between the skin and clothes, will often immediately arrest a copious bleeding.
2608. Spitting of Blood, or hemorrhage from the lungs, is generally known from blood from the stomach by its being of a brighter colour, and in less quantities than that, which is always grumous and mixed with the half-digested food. In either case, rest should be immediately enjoined, total abstinence from stimulants, and a low, poor diet, accompanied with the horizontal position, and bottles of boiling water to the feet. At the same time the patient should suck through a quill, every hour, half a wine-glass of water in which 10 or 15 drops of the elixir of 1067 vitriol has been mixed, and, till further advice has boon procured, keep a towel wrung out of cold water on the chest or stomach, according to the seat of the hemorrhage.
2609. Bites and Stings may be divided into three kinds:—1. Those of Insects. 2. Those of Snakes. 3. Those of Dogs and other Animals.
2610. 1. The Bites or Stings of Insects, such as gnats, bees, wasps, &c., need cause very little alarm, and are, generally speaking, easily cured. They are very serious, however, when they take place on some delicate part of the body, such as near the eye, or in the throat. The treatment is very simple in most cases; and consists in taking out the sting, if it is left behind, with a needle, and applying to the part a liniment made of finely-scraped chalk and olive-oil, mixed together to about the thickness of cream.
2611. Bathing the part bitten with warm turpentine or warm vinegar is also of great use. If the person feels faint, he should lie quietly on his back, and take a little brandy-and-water, or sal-volatile and water. When the inside of the throat is the part stung, there is great danger of violent inflammation taking place. In this case, from eight to twelve leeches should be immediately put to the outside of the throat, and when they drop off, the part to which they had been applied should be well fomented with warm water. The inside of the throat is to be constantly gargled with salt and water. Bits of ice are to be sucked. Rubbing the face and hands well over with plain olive-oil, before going to bed, will often keep gnats and musquitoes from biting during the night. Strong scent, such as eau-de-Cologne, will have the same effect.
2612. 2. Bites of Snakes.—These are much more dangerous than the preceding, and require more powerful remedies. The bites of the different kinds of snakes do not all act alike, but affect people in different ways.—Treatment of the part bitten. The great thing is to prevent the poison getting into the blood; and, if possible, to remove the whole of it at once from the body. A pocket-handkerchief, a piece of tape or cord, or, in fact, of anything that is at hand, should be tied tightly round the part of the body bitten; if it be the leg or arm, immediately above the bite, and between it and the heart. The bite should then be sucked several times by any one who is near. There is no danger in this, provided the person who does it has not got the skin taken off any part of his mouth. What has been sucked into the mouth should be immediately spit out again. But if those who are near have sufficient nerve for the operation, and a suitable instrument, they should cut out the central part bitten, and then bathe the wound for some time with warm water, to make it bleed freely. The wound should afterwards be rubbed with a stick of lunar caustic, or, what is better, a solution of this—60 grains of lunar caustic dissolved in an ounce of water—should be dropped into it. The band should be kept on the part during the whole of the time that these 1068 means are being adopted. The wound should afterwards be covered with lint dipped in cold water. The best plan, however, to be adopted, if it can be managed, is the following:—take a common wine-glass, and, holding it upside down, put a lighted candle or a spirit-lamp into it for a minute or two. This will take out the air. Then clap the glass suddenly over the bitten part, and it will become attached, and hold on to the flesh. The glass being nearly empty, the blood containing the poison will, in consequence, flow into it from the wound of its own accord. This process should be repeated three or four times, and the wound sucked, or washed with warm water, before each application of the glass. As a matter of course, when the glass is removed, all the blood should be washed out of it before it is applied again.—Constitutional Treatment. There is mostly at first great depression of strength in these cases, and it is therefore requisite to give some stimulant; a glass of hot brandy-and-water, or twenty drops of sal-volatile, is the best that can be given. When the strength has returned, and if the patient has not already keen sick, a little mustard in hot water should be given, to make him so. If, on the other hand, as is often the case, the vomiting is excessive, a large mustard poultice should be placed over the stomach, and a grain of solid opium swallowed in the form of a pill, for the purpose of stopping it. Only one of these pills should be given by a non-professional person. In all cases of bites from snakes, send for a surgeon as quickly as possible, and act according to the above directions until he arrives. If he is within any reasonable distance, content yourself by putting on the band, sucking the wound, applying the glass, and, if necessary, giving a little brandy-and-water.
2613. 3. Bites of Dogs.—For obvious reasons, these kinds of bites are more frequently met with than those of snakes. The treatment is the same as that for snake-bites, more especially that of the bitten part. The majority of writers on the subject are in favour of keeping the wound open as long as possible. This may be done by putting a few beans on it, and then by applying a large linseed-meal poultice over them.
2614. Dislocation of Bones.—When the end of a bone is pushed out of its natural position, it is said to be dislocated. This may be caused by violence, disease, or natural weakness of the parts about a joint.—Symptoms. Deformity about the joint, with unnatural prominence at one part, and depression at another. The limb may be shorter or longer than usual, and is stiff and unable to be moved, differing in these last two respects from a broken limb, which is mostly shorter, never longer, than usual, and which is always more movable.—Treatment. So much practical science and tact are requisite in order to bring a dislocated bone into its proper position again, that we strongly advise the reader never to interfere in these cases; unless, indeed, it is altogether impossible to obtain the services of a surgeon. But because any one of us may very possibly be placed in that emergency, we give a few rough 1069 rules for the reader’s guidance. In the first place make the joint, from which the bone has been displaced, perfectly steady, either by fixing it to some firm object or else by holding it with the hands; then pull the dislocated bone in a direction towards the place from which it has been thrust, so that, if it moves at all from its unnatural position, it may have the best chance of returning to its proper place. Do not, however, pull or press against the parts too violently, as you may, perhaps, by doing so, rupture blood-vessels, and produce most serious consequences. When you do attempt to reduce a dislocated bone, do it as quickly as possible after the accident has taken place, every hour making the operation more difficult. When the patient is very strong, he may be put into a warm bath until he feels faint, or have sixty drops of antimonial wine given him every ten minutes until he feels sickish. These two means are of great use in relaxing the muscles. If the bone has been brought back again to its proper place, keep it there by means of bandages; and if there is much pain about the joint, apply a cold lotion to it, and keep it perfectly at rest. The lotion should be, a dessert-spoonful of Goulard’s extract, and two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, mixed in a pint of water. Leeches are sometimes necessary. Unless the local pain, or general feverish symptoms, are great, the patient’s diet should be the same as usual. Dislocations may be reduced a week, or even a fortnight, after they have taken place. As, therefore, although the sooner a bone is reduced the better, there is no very great emergency, and as the most serious consequences may follow improper or too violent treatment, it is always better for people in these cases to do too little than too much; inasmuch as the good which has not yet may still be done, whereas the evil that has been done cannot so easily be undone.
2615. Fractures of Bones.—Symptoms. 1. Deformity of the part. 2. Unnatural looseness. 3. A grating sound when the two ends of the broken bone are rubbed together. 4. Loss of natural motion and power. In some cases there is also shortening of the limb.—Fracture takes place from several causes, as a fall, a blow, a squeeze, and sometimes from the violent action of muscles.—Treatment. In cases where a surgeon cannot be procured immediately after the accident, the following general rules are offered for the reader’s guidance:—The broken limb should be placed and kept as nearly as possible in its natural position. This is to be done by first puffing the two portions of the bone in opposite directions, until the limb becomes as long as the opposite one, and then by applying a splint, and binding it to the part by means of a roller. When there is no deformity, the pulling is of course unnecessary. If there is much swelling about the broken part, a cold lotion is to be applied. This lotion (which we will call Lotion No. 1) may be thus made:—Mix a dessert-spoonful of Goulard’s extract and two tablespoonfuls of vinegar in a pint of water. When the leg or arm is broken, always, if possible, get it to the same length and form as the opposite limb. The broken part should be kept perfectly quiet. When a broken limb is deformed, and a particular muscle is on the stretch, place the limb in such a position as will relax it. This will in most cases cure the deformity. Brandy-and-water, or 1070 sal-volatile and water, are to be given when the patient is faint. Surgical aid should, of course, be procured as soon as possible.
2616. Joints, Injuries to.—All kinds of injuries to joints, of whatever description, require particular attention, in consequence of the violent inflammations which are so liable to take place in these parts of the body, and which do so much mischief in a little time. The joint injured should always be kept perfectly at rest; and when it is very painful, and the skin about it red, swollen, hot, and shining, at the same time that the patient has general feverish symptoms, such as great thirst and headache—leeches, and when they drop off, warm poppy fomentations, are to be applied; the No. 1 pills above-mentioned are to be given (two are a dose for a grown person) with a black draught three hours afterwards. Give also two tablespoonfuls of the fever-mixture every four hours, and keep the patient on low diet. When the injury and swelling are not very great, warm applications, with rest, low diet, and a dose of aperient medicine, will be sufficient. When a joint has received a penetrating wound, it will require the most powerful treatment, and can only be properly attended to by a surgeon. The patient’s friends will have to use their own judgment to a great extent in these and in many other cases, as to when leeches, fever-mixture, &c., are necessary. A universal rule, however, without a single exception, is always to rest a joint well after it has been injured in any way whatever, to purge the patient, and to keep him on low diet, without beer, unless he has been a very great drinker indeed, in which case he may still be allowed to take a little; for if the stimulant that a person has been accustomed to in excess be all taken away at once, he is very likely to have an attack of delirium tremens. The quantity given should not, however, be much—say a pint, or, at the most, a pint and a half a day. Rubbing the joint with opodeldoc, or the application of a blister to it, is of great service in taking away the thickenings, which often remain after all heat, pain, and redness have left an injured joint. Great care should be observed in not using a joint too quickly after it has been injured. When the shoulder-joint is the one injured, the arm should be bound tightly to the body by means of a linen or flannel roller, and the elbow raised; when the elbow, it should be kept raised in the straight position, on a pillow; when the wrist, it should be raised on the chest, and suspended in a sling; when the knee, it should be kept in the straight position; and, lastly, when the ankle, it should be a little raised on a pillow.
2617. Bruises, Lacerations, and Cuts.—Wherever the bruise may be, or however swollen or discoloured the skin may become, two or three applications of the extract of lead, kept to the part by means of lint, will, in an hour or little more, remove all pain, swelling, and tenderness. Simple or clean cuts only require the edges of the wound to be placed in their exact situation, drawn close together, and secured there by one or two slips of adhesive plaster. When the wound, however, is jagged, or the flesh or cuticle lacerated, the parts are to be laid as smooth and regular as possible, and a piece of lint, wetted 1071 in the extract of lead, laid upon the wound, and a piece of greased lint placed above it to prevent the dressing sticking; the whole covered over to protect from injury, and the part dressed in the same manner once a day till the cure is effected.
2618. Bruises and their Treatment.—The best application for a bruise, be it large or small, is moist warmth; therefore, a warm bread-and-water poultice in hot moist flannels should be put on, as they supple the skin. If the bruise be very severe, and in the neighbourhood of a joint, it will be well to apply ten or a dozen leeches over the whole bruised part, and afterwards a poultice. But leeches should not be put on young children. If the bruised part be the knee or the ankle, walking should not be attempted till it can be performed without pain. Inattention to this point often lays the foundation for serious mischief in these joints, especially in the case of scrofulous persons. In all conditions of bruises occurring in children, whether swellings or abrasions, no remedy is so quick or certain of effecting a cure as the pure extract of lead applied to the part.
2619. Burns and Scalds being essentially the same in all particulars, and differing only in the manner of their production, may be spoken of together. As a general rule, scalds are less severe than burns, because the heat of water, by which scalds are mostly produced, is not, even when it is boiling, so intense as that of flame; oil, however, and other liquids, whose boiling-point is high, produce scalds of a very severe nature. Burns and scalds have been divided into three classes. The first class comprises those where the burn is altogether superficial, and merely reddens the skin; the second, where the injury is greater, and we get little bladders containing a fluid (called serum) dotted over the affected part; in the third class we get, in the case of bums, a charring, and in that of scalds, a softening or pulpiness, perhaps a complete and immediate separation of the part. This may occur at once, or in the course of a little time. The pain from the second kind of burns is much more severe than that in the other two, although the danger, as a general rule, is less than it is in the third class. These injuries are much more dangerous when they take place on the trunk than when they happen on the arms or legs. The danger arises more from the extent of surface that is burnt than from the depth to which the burn goes. This rule, of course, has certain exceptions; because a small burn on the chest or belly penetrating deeply is more dangerous than a more extensive but superficial one on the arm or leg. When a person’s clothes are in flames, the best way of extinguishing them is to wind a rug, or some thick material, tightly round the whole of the body.
2620. Treatment of the First Class of Burns and Scalds.—Of the part affected.—Cover it immediately with a good coating of common flour, or cotton-wool with flour dredged well into it. The great thing is to keep the affected surface of the skin from the contact of the air. The part will shortly 1072 got well, and the skin may or may not peel off.—Constitutional Treatment. If the burn or scald is not extensive, and there is no prostration of strength, this is very simple, and consists in simply giving a little aperient medicine—pills (No. 2), as follows:—Mix 5 grains of blue pill and the same quantity of compound extract of colocynth, and make into two pills—the dose for a full-grown person. Three hours after the pills give a black draught. If there are general symptoms of fever, such as hot skin, thirst, headache, &c. &c., two tablespoonfuls of fever-mixture are to be given every four hours. The fever-mixture, we remind our readers, is made thus.—Mix a drachm of powdered nitre, 2 drachms of carbonate of potash, 2 teaspoonfuls of antimonial wine, and a tablespoonful of sweet spirits of nitre, in half a pint of water.
2621. Second Class. Local Treatment.—As the symptoms of these kinds of burns are more severe than those of the first class, so the remedies appropriate to them are more powerful. Having, as carefully as possible, removed the clothes from the burnt surface, and taking care not to break the bladders, spread the following liniment (No. 1) on a piece of linen or lint—not the fluffy side—and apply it to the part: the liniment should be equal parts of lime-water and linseed-oil, well mixed. If the burn is on the trunk of the body, it is better to use a warm linseed-meal poultice. After a few days dress the wound with Turner’s cerate. If the burn is at the bend of the elbow, place the arm in the straight position; for if it is bent, the skin, when healed, will be contracted, and the arm, in all probability, always remain in the same unnatural position. This, indeed, applies to all parts of the body; therefore, always place the part affected in the most stretched position possible.—Constitutional Treatment. The same kind of treatment is to be used as for the first class, only it must be more powerful. Stimulants are more often necessary, but must be given with great caution. If, as is often the case, there is great irritability and restlessness, a dose of opium (paregoric, in doses of from sixty to a hundred drops, according to age, is best) is of great service. The feverish symptoms will require aperient medicines and the fever-mixture. A drink made of about a tablespoonful of cream of tartar and a little lemon-juice, in a quart of warm water, allowed to cool, is a very nice one in these cases. The diet throughout should not be too low, especially if there is much discharge from the wound. After a few days it is often necessary to give wine, ammonia, and strong beef-tea. These should be had recourse to when the tongue gets dry and dark, and the pulse weak and frequent. If there should be, after the lapse of a week or two, pain over one particular part of the belly, a blister should be put on it, and a powder of mercury and chalk—grey powder, and Dover’s powder (two grains of the former and five of the latter) given three times a day. Affections of the head and chest also frequently occur as a consequence of these kinds of burns, but no one who is not a medical man can treat them.
2622. Third Class.—These are so severe as to make it impossible for a non-professional person to be of much service in attending to them. When they 1073 3Z occur, a surgeon should always be sent for. Until he arrives, however, the following treatment should be adopted:—Place the patient full-length on his back, and keep him warm. Apply fomentations of flannels wrung out of boiling water and sprinkled with spirits of turpentine to the part, and give wine and sal-volatile in such quantities as the prostration of strength requires; always bearing in mind the great fact that you have to steer between two quicksands—death from present prostration and death from future excitement, which will always be increased in proportion to the amount of stimulants given. Give, therefore, only just as much as is absolutely necessary to keep life in the body.
2623. Concussion on Brain—Stunning.—This may be caused by a blow or a fall.—Symptoms. Cold skin; weak pulse; almost total insensibility; slow, weak breathing; pupil of eye sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, than natural; inability to move; unwillingness to answer when spoken to. These symptoms come on directly after the accident.—Treatment. Place the patient quietly on a warm bed, send for a surgeon, and do nothing else for the first four or six hours. After this time the skin will become hot, the pulse full, and the patient feverish altogether. If the surgeon has not arrived by the time these symptoms have set in, shave the patient’s head, and apply the following lotion (No. 2): Mix half an ounce of sal-ammoniac, two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, and the same quantity of gin or whisky, in half a pint of water. Then give this pill (No. 1): Mix five grains of calomel and the same quantity of antimonial powder with a little bread-crumb, and make into two pills. Give a black draught three hours after the pill, and two tablespoonfuls of the above-mentioned fever-mixture every four hours. Keep on low diet. Leeches are sometimes to be applied to the head. These cases are often followed by violent inflammation of the brain. They can, therefore, only be attended to properly throughout by a surgeon. The great thing for people to do in these cases is—nothing; contenting themselves with putting the patient to bed, and waiting the arrival of a surgeon.
2624. The Cholera and Autumnal Complaints.—To oppose cholera, there seems no surer or better means than cleanliness, sobriety, and judicious ventilation. Where there is dirt, that is the place for cholera; where windows and doors are kept most jealously shut, there cholera will find easiest entrance; and people who indulge in intemperate diet during the hot days of autumn are actually courting death. To repeat it, cleanliness, sobriety, and free ventilation almost always defy the pestilence; but, in case of attack, immediate recourse should be had to a physician. The faculty say that a large number of lives have been lost, in many seasons, solely from delay in seeking medical assistance. They even assert that, taken early, the cholera is by no means a fatal disorder. The copious use of salt is recommended on very excellent authority. Other autumnal complaints there are, of which diarrhœa is the worst example. They come on with pain, flatulence, sickness, with or without vomiting, followed by loss of appetite, general lassitude, and weakness. If 1074 attended to at the first appearance, they may soon be conquered; for which purpose it is necessary to assist nature in throwing off the contents of the bowels, which may be done by means of the following prescription:—Take of calomel 3 grains, rhubarb 8 grains; mix and take it in a little honey or jelly, and repeat the dose three times, at the intervals of four or five hours. The next purpose to be answered is the defence of the lining membrane of the intestines from their acrid contents, which will be best effected by drinking copiously of linseed tea, or of a drink made by pouring boiling water on quince-seeds, which are of a very mucilaginous nature; or, what is still better, full draughts of whey. If the complaint continue after these means have been employed, some astringent or binding medicine will be required, as the subjoined:—Take of prepared chalk 2 drachms, cinnamon-water 7 oz., syrup of poppies 1 oz.; mix, and take 3 tablespoonfuls every four hours. Should this fail to complete the cure, ½ oz. of tincture of catechu, or of kino, may be added to it, and then it will seldom fail; or a teaspoonful of the tincture of kino alone, with a little water, every three hours, till the diarrhœa is checked. While any symptoms of derangement are present, particular attention must be paid to the diet, which should be of a soothing, lubricating, and light nature, as instanced in veal or chicken broth, which should contain but little salt. Rice, batter, and bread puddings will be generally relished, and be eaten with advantage; but the stomach is too much impaired to digest food of a more solid nature. Indeed, we should give that organ, together with the bowels, as little trouble as possible, while they are so incapable of acting in their accustomed manner. Much mischief is frequently produced by the absurd practice of taking tincture of rhubarb, which is almost certain of aggravating that species of disorder of which we have now treated; for it is a spirit as strong as brandy, and cannot fail of producing harm upon a surface which is rendered tender by the formation and contact of vitiated bile. But our last advice is, upon the first appearance of such symptoms as are above detailed, have immediate recourse to a doctor, where possible.
2625. To Cure a Cold.—Put a large teacupful of linseed, with ¼ lb. of sun raisins and 2 oz. of stick liquorice, into 2 quarts of soft water, and let it simmer over a slow fire till reduced to one quart; add to it ¼ lb. of pounded sugar-candy, a tablespoonful of old rum, and a tablespoonful of the best white-wine vinegar, or lemon-juice. The rum and vinegar should be added as the decoction is taken; for, if they are put in at first, the whole soon becomes flat and less efficacious. The dose is half a pint, made warm, on going to bed; and a little may be taken whenever the cough is troublesome. The worst cold is generally cured by this remedy in two or three days; and, if taken in time, is considered infallible.
2626. Cold on the Chest.—A flannel dipped in boiling water, and sprinkled with turpentine, laid on the chest as quickly as possible, will relieve the most severe cold or hoarseness.
2627. Substances in the Eye.—To remove fine particles of gravel, lime, 1075 &c., the eye should be syringed with lukewarm water till free from them. Be particular not to worry the eye, under the impression that the substance is still there, which the enlargement of some of the minute vessels makes the patient believe is actually the case.
2628. Sore Eyes.—Incorporate thoroughly, in a glass mortar or vessel, one part of strong citron ointment with three parts of spermaceti ointment. Use the mixture night and morning, by placing a piece of the size of a pea in the corner of the eye affected, only to be used in cases of chronic or long-standing inflammation of the organ, or its lids.
2629. Lime in the Eye.—Bathe the eye with a little weak vinegar-and-water, and carefully remove any little piece of lime which may be seen, with a feather. If any lime has got entangled in the eyelashes, carefully clear it away with a bit of soft linen soaked in vinegar-and-water. Violent inflammation is sure to follow; a smart purge must be therefore administered, and in all probability a blister must be applied on the temple, behind the ear, or nape of the neck.
2630. Stye in the Eye.—Styes are little abscesses which form between the roots of the eyelashes, and are rarely larger than a small pea. The best way to manage them is to bathe them frequently with warm water, or in warm poppy-water, if very painful. When they have burst, use an ointment composed of one part of citron ointment and four of spermaceti, well rubbed together, and smear along the edge of the eyelid. Give a grain or two of calomel with 5 or 8 grains of rhubarb, according to the age of the child, twice a week. The old-fashioned and apparently absurd practice of rubbing the stye with a ring, is as good and speedy a cure as that by any process of medicinal application; though the number of times it is rubbed, or the quality of the ring and direction of the strokes, has nothing to do with its success. The pressure and the friction excite the vessels of the part, and cause an absorption of the effused matter under the eyelash. The edge of the nail will answer as well as a ring.
2631. Inflammation of the Eyelids.—The following ointment has been found very beneficial in inflammations of the eyeball and edges of the eyelids:—Take of prepared calomel, 1 scruple; spermaceti ointment, ½ oz. Mix them well together in a glass mortar; apply a small quantity to each corner of the eye every night and morning, and also to the edges of the lids, if they are affected. If this should not eventually remove the inflammation, elder-flower water may be applied three or four times a day, by means of an eye-cup. The bowels should be kept in a laxative state, by taking occasionally a quarter of an ounce of the Cheltenham or Epsom salts.
2632. Fasting.—It is said by many able physicians that fasting is a means of removing incipient disease, and of restoring the body to its customary healthy 1076 sensations. Howard, the celebrated philanthropist (says a writer), used to fast one day in every week. Napoleon, when he felt his system unstrung, suspended his wonted repast, and took his exercise on horseback.
2633. Fits come on so suddenly, often without even the slightest warning, and may prove fatal so quickly, that all people should be acquainted at least with their leading symptoms and treatment, as a few moments, more or less, will often decide the question between life and death. The treatment, in very many cases at least, to be of the slightest use, should be immediate, as a person in a fit (of apoplexy for instance) may die while a surgeon is being fetched from only the next street. We shall give, as far as the fact of our editing a work for non-professional readers will permit, the peculiar and distinctive symptoms of all land of fits, and the immediate treatment to be adopted in each case.
2634. Apoplexy.—These fits may be divided into two kinds—the strong and the weak.
2635. 1. The strong kind.—These cases mostly occur in stout, strong, short-necked, bloated-faced people, who are in the habit of living well.—Symptoms. The patient may or may not have had headache, sparks before his eyes, with confusion of ideas and giddiness, for a day or two before the attack. When it takes place, he falls down insensible; the body becomes paralyzed, generally more so on one side than the other; the face and head are hot, and the blood-vessels about them swollen; the pupils of the eyes are larger than natural, and the eyes themselves are fixed; the mouth is mostly drawn down at one corner; the breathing is like loud snoring; the pulse full and hard.—Treatment. Place the patient immediately in bed, with his head well raised; take off everything that he has round his neck, and bleed freely and at once from the arm. If you have not got a lancet, use a pen-knife or anything suitable that may be at hand. Apply warm mustard poultices to the soles of the feet and the insides of the thighs and legs; put two drops of castor oil, mixed up with eight grains of calomel, on the top of the tongue, as far back as possible; a most important part of the treatment being to open the bowels as quickly and freely as possible. The patient cannot swallow; but these medicines, especially the oil, will be absorbed into the stomach altogether independent of any voluntary action. If possible, throw up a warm turpentine clyster (two tablespoonfuls of oil of turpentine in a pint of warm gruel), or, if this cannot be obtained, one composed of about a quart of warm salt-and-water and soap. Cut off the hair, and apply rags dipped in weak vinegar-and-water, or weak gin-and-water, or even simple cold water, to the head. If the blood-vessels about the head and neck are much swollen, put from eight to ten leeches on the temple opposite to the paralyzed side of the body. Always send for a surgeon immediately, and act according to the above rules, doing more or less, 1077 according to the means at hand, and the length of time that must necessarily elapse until he arrives. A pint, or even a quart of blood in a very strong person, may be taken away. When the patient is able to swallow, give him the No. 1 pills, and the No. 1 mixture directly. [The No. 1 pills are made as follows:—Mix 5 grains of calomel and the same quantity of antimonial powder with a little bread-crumb: make into two pills, the dose for a full-grown person. For the No. 1 mixture, dissolve an ounce of Epsom salts in half a pint of senna tea: take a quarter of the mixture as a dose.] Repeat these remedies if the bowels are not well opened. Keep the patient’s head well raised, and cool as above. Give very low diet indeed: gruel, arrowroot, and the like. When a person is recovering, he should have blisters applied to the nape of the neck, his bowels should be kept well open, light diet given, and fatigue, worry, and excess of all kinds avoided.
2636. 2. The weak kind.—Symptoms. These attacks are more frequently preceded by warning symptoms than the first kind. The face is pale, the pulse weak, and the body, especially the hands and legs, cold. After a little while, these symptoms sometimes alter to those of the first class in a mild degree.—Treatment. At first, if the pulse is very feeble indeed, a little brandy-and-water or sal-volatile must be given. Mustard poultices are to be put, as before, to the soles of the feet and the insides of the thighs and legs. Warm bricks, or bottles filled with warm water, are also to be placed under the armpits. When the strength has returned, the body become warmer, and the pulse fuller and harder, the head should be shaved, and wet rags applied to it, as before described. Leeches should be put, as before, to the temple opposite the side paralyzed; and the bowels should be opened as freely and as quickly as possible. Bleeding from the arm is often necessary in these cases, but a non-professional person should never have recourse to it. Blisters may be applied to the nape of the neck at once. The diet in these cases should not be so low as in the former—indeed, it is often necessary, in a day or so after one of those attacks, to give wine, strong beef-tea, &c., according to the condition of the patient’s strength.
2637. Distinctions between Apoplexy and Epilepsy.—1. Apoplexy mostly happens in people over thirty, whereas epilepsy generally occurs under that age; at any rate for the first time. A person who has epileptic fits over thirty, has generally suffered from them for some years. 2. Again, in apoplexy, the body is paralyzed; and, therefore, has not the convulsions which take place in epilepsy. 3. The peculiar snoring will also distinguish apoplexy from epilepsy.
2638. Distinctions between Apoplexy and Drunkenness.—1. The known habits of the person. 2. The fact of a person who was perfectly sober and sensible a little time before, being found in a state of insensibility. 3. The absence, in apoplexy, of the smell of drink on applying the nose to the mouth. 4. A person in a fit of apoplexy cannot be roused at all; in drunkenness he mostly can, to a certain extent.1078
2639. Distinction between Apoplexy and Hysterics.—Hysterics mostly happen in young, nervous, unmarried women; and are attended with convulsions, sobbing, laughter, throwing about of the body, &c. &c.
2640. Distinction between Apoplexy and Poisoning by Opium.—It is exceedingly difficult to distinguish between these two cases. In poisoning by opium, however, we find the particular smell of the drug in the patient’s breath. We should also, in forming our opinion, take into consideration the person’s previous conduct—whether he has been low and desponding for some time before, or has ever talked about committing suicide.
2641. Epilepsy.—Falling Sickness.—These fits mostly happen, at any rate for the first time, to young people, and are more common in boys than girls. They are produced by numerous causes.—Symptoms. The fit may be preceded by pains in the head, palpitations, &c. &c.; but it mostly happens that the person falls down insensible suddenly, and without any warning whatever. The eyes are distorted, so that only their whites can be seen; there is mostly foaming from the mouth; the fingers are clinched; and the body, especially on one side, is much agitated; the tongue is often thrust out of the mouth. When the fit goes off, the patient feels drowsy and faint, and often sleeps soundly for some time.—Treatment. During the fit, keep the patient flat on his back, with his head slightly raised, and prevent him from doing any harm to himself; dash cold water into his face, and apply smelling-salts to his nose; loosen his shirt collar, &c.; hold a piece of wood about as thick as a finger—the handle of a tooth-brush or knife will do as well—between the two rows of teeth, at the back part of the mouth. This will prevent the tongue from being injured. A teaspoonful of common salt thrust into the patient’s mouth, during the fit, is of much service. The after-treatment of these fits is various, and depends entirely upon their causes. A good general rule, however, is always to keep the bowels well open, and the patient quiet, and free from fatigue, worry, and excess of all kinds.
2642. Fainting Fits are sometimes very dangerous, and at others perfectly harmless; the question of danger depending altogether upon the causes which have produced them, and which are exceedingly various. For instance, fainting produced by disease of the heart is a very serious symptom indeed; whereas, that arising from some slight cause, such as the sight of blood, &c., need cause no alarm whatever. The symptoms of simple fainting are so well known that it would be quite superfluous to enumerate them here. The treatment consists in laying the patient at full length upon his back, with his head upon a level with the rest of his body, loosening everything about the neck, dashing cold water into the face, and sprinkling vinegar and water about the mouth; applying smelling-salts to the nose; and, when the patient is able to swallow, in giving a little warm brandy-and-water, or about 20 drops of sal-volatile in water.
2643. Hysterics.—Those fits take place, for the most part, in young, nervous, 1079 unmarried women. They happen much less often in married women; and even (in some rare cases indeed) in men. Young women, who are subject to these fits, are apt to think that they are suffering from “all the ills that flesh is heir to;” and the false symptoms of disease which they show are so like the true ones, that it is often exceedingly difficult to detect the difference. The fits themselves are mostly preceded by great depression of spirits, shedding of tears, sickness, palpitation of the heart, &c. A pain, as if a nail were being driven in, is also often felt at one particular part of the head. In almost all cases, when a fit is coming on, pain is felt on the left side. This pain rises gradually until it reaches the throat, and then gives the patient a sensation as if she had a pellet there, which prevents her from breathing properly, and, in fact, seems to threaten actual suffocation. The patient now generally becomes insensible, and faints; the body is thrown about in all directions, froth issues from the mouth, incoherent expressions are uttered, and fits of laughter, crying, or screaming, take place. When the fit is going off, the patient mostly cries bitterly, sometimes knowing all, and at others nothing, of what has taken place, and feeling general soreness all over the body. Treatment during the fit. Place the body in the same position as for simple fainting, and treat, in other respects, as directed in the article on Epilepsy. Always well loosen the patient’s stays; and, when she is recovering, and able to swallow, give 20 drops of sal volatile in a little water. The after-treatment of these cases is very various. If the patient is of a strong constitution, she should live on plain diet, take plenty of exercise, and take occasional doses of castor oil, or an aperient mixture, such as that described as “No. 1,” in previous numbers. If, as is mostly the case, the patient is weak and delicate, she will require a different mode of treatment altogether. Good nourishing diet, gentle exercise, cold baths, occasionally a dose of No. 3 myrrh and aloes pills at night, and a dose of compound iron pills twice a day. [As to the myrrh and aloes pills (No. 3), 10 grains made into two pills are a dose for a full-grown person. Of the compound iron pills (No. 4), the dose for a full grown person is also 10 grains, made into two pills.] In every case, amusing the mind, and avoiding all causes of over-excitement, are of great service in bringing about a permanent cure.
2644. Liver Complaint and Spasms.—A very obliging correspondent recommends the following, from personal experience:—Take 4 oz. of dried dandelion root, 1 oz. of the best ginger, ¼ oz. of Columba root; bruise and boil all together in 3 pints of water till it is reduced to a quart: strain, and take a wine-glassful every four hours. Our correspondent says it is a “safe and simple medicine for both liver complaint and spasms.”
2645. Lumbago.—A “new and successful mode” of treating lumbago, advocated by Dr. Day, is a form of counter-irritation, said to have been introduced into this country by the late Sir Anthony Carlisle, and which consists in the instantaneous application of a flat iron button, gently heated in a spirit-lamp, to the skin. Dr. Corrigan published, about three years ago, an account 1080 of some cases very successfully treated by nearly similar means. Dr. Corrigan’s plan was, however, to touch the surface of the part affected, at intervals of half an inch, as lightly and rapidly as possible. Dr. Day has found greater advantages to result from drawing the flat surface of the heated button lightly over the affected part, so as to act on a greater extent of surface. The doctor speaks so enthusiastically of the benefit to be derived from this practice, that it is evidently highly deserving attention.
2646. Palpitation of the Heart.—Where palpitation occurs as symptomatic of indigestion, the treatment must be directed to remedy that disorder; when it is consequent on a plethoric state, purgatives will be effectual. In this case the patient should abstain from every kind of diet likely to produce a plethoric condition of body. Animal food and fermented liquor must be particularly avoided. Too much indulgence in sleep will also prove injurious. When the attacks arise from nervous irritability, the excitement must be allayed by change of air and a tonic diet. Should the palpitation originate from organic derangement, it must be, of course, beyond domestic management. Luxurious living, indolence, and tight-lacing often produce this affection: such cases are to be conquered with a little resolution.
shall be the next subject for remark; and we anticipate more detailed instructions for the treatment of persons poisoned, by giving a simple List of the principal Poisons, with their Antidotes or Remedies.
|Oil of Vitriol||Magnesia, Chalk, Soap-and-Water.|
|Spirit of Salt|
|Emetic Tartar||...||Oily Drinks, Solution of Oak-bark.|
|Salt of Lemons, or
Acid of Sugar
|...||Chalk, Whiting, Lime, or Magnesia and Water. Sometimes an Emetic Draught.|
|Prussic Acid||...||Pump on back, Smelling-Salts to nose, Artificial Breathing, Chloride of Lime to nose.|
|Pearlash||Lemon-Juice and Vinegar-and-Water.|
|Arsenic||Emetics, Lime-Water, Soap-and-Water, Sugar-and-Water, Oily Drinks.|
|King’s Yellow, or
|Mercury||Whites of Eggs, Soap-and-Water.|
|Opium||Emetic Draught, Vinegar-and-Water, dashing Cold Water on chest and face, walking up and down for two or three hours.|
|1081 Lead||Epsom Salts, Castor Oil, Emetics.|
|Sugar of Lead|
|Copper||Whites of Eggs, Sugar-and-Water, Castor Oil, Gruel.|
|Zinc||...||Lime-Water, Chalk-and-Water, Soap-and-Water.|
|Iron||...||Magnesia, Warm Water.|
|Henbane||Emetics and Castor Oil; Brandy-and-Water, if necessary.|
|Poisonous Food||...||Emetics and Castor Oil.|
2648. The symptoms of poisoning may be known for the most part from those of some diseases, which they are very like, from the fact of their coming on immediately after eating or drinking something; whereas those of disease come on, in most cases at least, by degrees, and with warnings. In most cases where poison is known, or suspected, to have been taken, the first thing to be done is to empty the stomach, well and immediately, by means of mustard mixed in warm water, or plain warm salt-and-water, or, better, this draught, which we call No. 1:—Twenty grains of sulphate of zinc in an ounce and a half of water. This draught to be repeated in a quarter of an hour if vomiting does not ensue. The back part of the throat should be well tickled with a feather, or two of the fingers thrust down it, to induce vomiting. The cases where vomiting must not be used are those where the skin has been taken off, and the parts touched irritated and inflamed by the poison taken, and where the action of vomiting would increase the evil. Full instructions are given in the article on each particular poison as to where emetics are or are not to be given. The best and safest way of emptying the stomach is by means of the stomach-pump, as in certain cases the action of vomiting is likely to increase the danger arising from the swollen and congested condition of the blood-vessels of the head, which often takes place. In the hands, however, of any one else than a surgeon, it would be not only useless, but harmful, as a great deal of dexterity, caution, and experience are required to use it properly. After having made these brief introductory remarks, we shall now proceed to particulars.
2649. Sulphuric Acid, or Oil of Vitriol (a clear, colourless liquid, of an oily appearance).—Symptoms in those who have swallowed it. When much is taken, these come on immediately. There is great burning pain, extending from the mouth to the stomach; vomiting of a liquid of a dark coffee-colour, often mixed with shreds of flesh and streaks of blood; the skin inside the mouth is taken off, and the exposed surface is at first white, and after a time becomes brownish. There are sometimes spots of a brown colour round the lips and on the neck, caused by drops of the acid falling on these parts. There is great difficulty of breathing, owing to the swelling at the back part of the mouth. After a time there is much depression of strength, with a quick, weak pulse, 1082 and cold, clammy skin. The face is pale, and has a very anxious look. When the acid swallowed has been greatly diluted in water, the same kind of symptoms occur, only in a milder degree.—Treatment. Give a mixture of magnesia in milk-and-wator, or, if this cannot be obtained, of finely powdered chalk, or whiting, or even of the plaster torn down from the walls or ceiling, in milk-and-water. The mixture should be nearly as thick as cream, and plenty of it given. As well as this, simple gruel, milk, or thick flour-and-water, are very useful, and should be given in large quantities. Violent inflammation of the parts touched by the acid is most likely to take place in the course of a little time, and can only be properly attended to by a surgeon; but if one cannot be obtained, leeches, the fever-mixtures (the recipe for which appears repeatedly in previous paragraphs), thick drinks, such as barley-water, gruel, arrowroot, &c., must be had recourse to, according to the symptoms of each particular case and the means at hand. The inflamed condition of the back part of the mouth requires particular attention. When the breathing is very laboured and difficult in consequence, from fifteen to twenty leeches are to be immediately applied to the outside of the throat, and when they drop off, warm poppy fomentations constantly kept to the part. When the pain over the stomach is very great, the same local treatment is necessary; but if it is only slight, a good mustard poultice will be sufficient without the leeches. In all these cases, two tablespoonfuls of the fever-mixture should be given every four hours, and only gruel or arrowroot allowed to be eaten for some days.
2650. Nitric Acid, commonly known as Aqua Fortis, or Red Spirit of Nitre (a straw-coloured fluid, of the consistence of water, and which gives off dense white fumes on exposure to the air).—Symptoms produced in those who have swallowed it. Much the same as in the case of sulphuric acid. In this case, however, the surface touched by the acid becomes yellowish. The tongue is mostly much swollen.—Treatment. The same as for sulphuric acid.
2651. Muriatic Acid, Spirit of Salt (a thin yellow fluid, emitting dense white fumes on exposure to the air).—This is not often taken as a poison. The symptoms and treatment are much the same as those of nitric acid.
N.B.—In no case of poisoning by these three acids should emetics ever be given.
2652. Oxalic Acid, commonly called Salt of Lemons.—This poison may be taken by mistake for Epsom salts, which it is a good deal like. It may be distinguished from them by its very acid taste and its shape, which is that of needle-formed crystals, each of which, if put into a drop of ink, will turn it to a reddish brown, whereas Epsom salts will not change its colour at all. When a large dose of this poison has been taken, death takes place very quickly indeed.—Symptoms produced in those who have swallowed it. A hot, burning, acid taste is felt in the act of swallowing, and vomiting of a greenish-brown fluid is produced, sooner or later, according to the quantity and strength of the poison taken. There is great tenderness felt over the stomach, followed by clammy perspirations and convulsions; the legs are often drawn up, and 1083 there is generally stupor, from which the patient, however, can easily be roused, and always great prostration of strength. The pulse is small and weak, and the breathing faint.—Treatment. Chalk or magnesia, made into a cream with water, should be given in large quantities, and afterwards the emetic draught above prescribed, or some mustard-and-water, if the draught cannot be got. The back part of the throat to be tickled with a feather, to induce vomiting. Arrowroot, gruel, and the like drinks, are to be taken. When the prostration of strength is very great and the body cold, warmth is to be applied to it, and a little brandy-and-water, or sal-volatile and water, given.
2653. Prussic Acid (a thin, transparent, and colourless liquid, with a peculiar smell, which greatly resembles that of bitter almonds).—Symptoms produced in those who have swallowed it. These come on immediately after the poison has been taken, and may be produced by merely smelling it. The patient becomes perfectly insensible, and falls down in convulsions—his eyes are fixed and staring, the pupils being bigger than natural, the skin is cold and clammy, the pulse scarcely perceptible, and the breathing slow and gasping.—Treatment. Very little can be done in these cases, as death takes place so quickly after the poison has been swallowed, when it takes place at all. The best treatment—which should always be adopted in all eases, even though the patient appears quite dead—is to dash quantities of cold water on the back, from the top of the neck downwards. Placing the patient under a pump, and pumping on him, is the best way of doing this. Smelling-salts are also to be applied to the nose, and the chest well rubbed with a camphor liniment.
2654. Alkalis: Potash, Soda, and Ammonia, or common Smelling-Salts, with their principal preparations—Pearlash, Soap Lees, Liquor Potasses, Nitre, Sal Prunella, Hartshorn, and Sal-Volatile.—Alkalis are seldom taken or given with the view of destroying life. They may, however, be swallowed by mistake.—Symptoms produced in those who have swallowed them. There is at first a burning, acrid taste in, and a sensation of tightness round, the throat, like that of strangling; the skin touched is destroyed; retching mostly followed by actual vomiting, then sets in; the vomited matters often containing blood of a dark brown colour, with little shreds of flesh here and there, and always changing vegetable blue colours green. There is now great tenderness over the whole of the belly. After a little while, great weakness, with cold, clammy sweats, a quick weak pulse, and purging of bloody matters, takes place. The brain, too, mostly becomes affected.—Treatment. Give two tablespoonfuls of vinegar or lemon-juice in a glassful of water every few minutes until the burning sensation is relieved. Any kind of oil or milk may also be given, and will form soap when mixed with the poison in the stomach. Barley-water, gruel, arrowroot, linseed-tea, &c., are also very useful, and should be taken constantly, and in large quantities. If inflammation should take place, it is to be treated by applying leeches and warm poppy fomentations to the part where the pain is most felt, and giving two tablespoonfuls of the fever-mixture every four hours. The diet in all these cases should only 1084 consist of arrowroot or gruel for the first few days, and then of weak broth or beef-tea for some time after.
2655. When very strong fumes of smelling-salts have in any way been inhaled, there is great difficulty of breathing, and alarming pain in the mouth and nostrils. In this case let the patient inhale the steam of warm vinegar, and treat the feverish symptoms as before.
2656. Arsenic.—Mostly seen under the form of white arsenic, or fly-powder, and yellow arsenic, or king’s yellow.—Symptoms produced in those who have swallowed it. These vary very much, according to the form and dose in which the poison has been taken. There is faintness, depression, and sickness, with an intense burning pain in the region of the stomach, which gets worse and worse, and is increased by pressure. There is also vomiting of dark brown matter, sometimes mixed with blood; and mostly great thirst, with a feeling of tightness round, and of burning in, the throat. Purging also takes place, the matters brought away being mixed with blood. The pulse is small and irregular, and the skin sometimes cold and clammy, and at others hot. The breathing is painful. Convulsions and spasms often occur.—Treatment. Give a couple of teaspoonfuls of mustard in a glass of water, to bring on or assist vomiting, and also use the other means elsewhere recommended for the purpose. A solution, half of lime-water and half of linseed-oil, well mixed, may be given, as well as plenty of arrowroot, gruel, or linseed-tea. Simple milk is also useful. A little castor-oil should be given, to cleanse the intestines of all the poison, and the after-symptoms treated on general principles.
2657. Corrosive Sublimate.—Mostly seen in the form of little heavy crystalline masses, which melt in water, and have a metallic taste. It is sometimes seen in powder. This is a most powerful poison.—Symptoms. These mostly come on immediately after the poison has been taken. There is a coppery taste experienced in the act of swallowing, with a burning heat, extending from the top of the throat down to the stomach; and also a feeling of great tightness round the throat. In a few minutes great pain is felt over the region of the stomach, and frequent vomiting of long, stringy white masses, mixed with blood, takes place. There is also mostly great purging. The countenance is generally pale and anxious; the pulse always small and frequent; the skin cold and clammy, and the breathing difficult. Convulsions and insensibility often occur, and are very bad symptoms indeed. The inside of the mouth is more or less swollen.—Treatment. Mix the whites of a dozen eggs in two pints of cold water, and give a glassful of the mixture every three or four minutes, until the stomach can contain no more. If vomiting does not now come on naturally, and supposing the mouth is not very sore or much swollen, an emetic draught, No. 1, may be given, and vomiting induced. (The No. 1 draught, we remind our readers, is thus made:—Twenty grains of sulphate of zinc in an ounce and a half of water; the draught to be repeated if vomiting does not take place in a quarter of an hour.) After the stomach has been well cleaned out, milk, flour-and-water, linseed-tea, or barley-water, 1085 should be taken in large quantities. If eggs cannot be obtained, milk, or flour-and-water, should be given as a substitute for them at once. When the depression of strength is very great indeed, a little warm brandy-and-water must be given. In the course of an hour or two the patient should take two tablespoonfuls of castor-oil, and if inflammation comes on, it is to be treated as directed in the article on acids and alkalis. The diet should also be the same. If the patient recovers, great soreness of the gums is almost certain to take place. The simplest, and at the same time one of the best modes of treatment, is to wash them well three or four times a day with brandy-and-water.
2658. Calomel.—A heavy white powder, without taste, and insoluble in water. It has been occasionally known to destroy life.—Symptoms. Much the same as in the case of corrosive sublimate.—Treatment. The same as for corrosive sublimate. If the gums are sore, wash them, as recommended in the case of corrosive sublimate, with brandy-and-water three or four times a day, and keep the patient on fluids, such as arrowroot, gruel, broth, or beef-tea, according to the other symptoms. Eating hard substances would make the gums more sore and tender.
2659. Copper.—The preparations of this metal which are most likely to be the ones producing poisonous symptoms, are blue-stone and verdigris. People are often taken ill after eating food that has been cooked in copper saucepans. When anything has been cooked in one of those vessels, it should never be allowed to cool in it.—Symptoms. Headache, pain in the stomach, and purging; vomiting of green or blue matters, convulsions, and spasms.—Treatment. Give whites of eggs, sugar-and-water, castor-oil, and drinks, such as arrowroot and gruel.
2660. Emetic Tartar.—Seen in the form of a white powder, or crystals, with a slightly metallic taste. It has not often been known to destroy life.—Symptoms. A strong metallic taste in the act of swallowing, followed by a burning pain in the region of the stomach, vomiting, and great purging. The pulse is small and rapid, the skin cold and clammy, the breathing difficult and painful, and the limbs often much cramped. There is also great prostration of strength.—Treatment. Promote the vomiting by giving plenty of warm water, or warm arrowroot and water. Strong tea, in large quantities, should be drunk; or, if it can be obtained, a decoction of oak bark. The after-treatment is the same as that for acids and alkalis; the principal object in all these cases being to keep down the inflammation of the parts touched by the poison by means of leeches, warm poppy fomentations, fever-mixtures, and very low diet.
2661. Lead, and its preparations, Sugar of Lead, Goulard’s Extract, White Lead.—Lead is by no means an active poison, although it is popularly considered to be so. It mostly affects people by being taken into the system slowly, as in the case of painters and glaziers. A newly-painted house, too, 1086 often affects those living in it.—Symptoms produced when taken in a large dose. There is at first a burning, pricking sensation in the throat, to which thirst, giddiness, and vomiting follow. The belly is tight, swollen, and painful; the pain being relieved by pressure. The bowels are mostly bound. There is great depression of strength, and a cold skin.—Treatment. Give an emetic draught (No. 1, see above) at once, and shortly afterwards a solution of Epsom salts in large quantities. A little brandy-and-water must be taken if the depression of strength is very great indeed. Milk, whites of eggs, and arrowroot are also useful. After two or three hours, cleanse the stomach and intestines well out with two tablespoonfuls of castor-oil, and treat the symptoms which follow according to the rules laid down in other parts of these articles.—Symptoms when it is taken into the body slowly. Headache, pain about the navel, loss of appetite and flesh, offensive breath, a blueness of the edges of the gums; the belly is tight, hard, and knotty, and the pulse slow and languid. There is also sometimes a difficulty in swallowing.—Treatment. Give five grains of calomel and half a grain of opium directly, in the form of a pill, and half an ounce of Epsom salts in two hours, and repeat this treatment until the bowels are well opened. Put the patient into a warm bath, and throw up a clyster of warmish water when he is in it. Fomentations of warm oil of turpentine, if they can be obtained, should be put over the whole of the belly. The great object is to open the bowels as freely and as quickly as possible. When this has been done, a grain of pure opium may be given. Arrowroot or gruel should be taken in good large quantities. The after-treatment must depend altogether upon the symptoms of each particular case.
2662. Opium, and its preparations, Laudanum, &c.—Solid opium is mostly seen in the form of rich brown flattish cakes, with little pieces of leaves sticking on them here and there, and a bitter and slightly warm taste. The most common form in which it is taken as a poison, is that of laudanum.—Symptoms. These consist at first in giddiness and stupor, followed by insensibility, the patient, however, being roused to consciousness by a great noise, so as to be able to answer a question, but becoming insensible again almost immediately. The pulse is now quick and small, the breathing hurried, and the skin warm and covered with perspiration. After a little time, these symptoms change; the person becomes perfectly insensible, the breathing slow and snoring, as in apoplexy, the skin cold, and the pulse slow and full. The pupil of the eye is mostly smaller than natural. On applying his nose to the patient’s mouth, a person may smell the poison very distinctly.—Treatment. Give an emetic draught (No. 1, see above) directly, with large quantities of warm mustard-and-water, warm salt-and-water, or simple warm water. Tickle the top of the throat with a feather, or put two fingers down it to bring on vomiting, which rarely takes place of itself. Dash cold water on the head, chest, and spine, and flap these parts well with the ends of wet towels. Give strong coffee or tea. Walk the patient up and down in the open air for two or three hours; the great thing being to keep him from sleeping. Electricity is of much service. When the patient is recovering, mustard poultices should 1087 be applied to the soles of the feet and the insides of the thighs and legs. The head should be kept cool and raised.
2663. The following preparations, which are constantly given to children by their nurses and mothers, for the purpose of making them sleep, often prove fatal:—Syrup of Poppies, and Godfrey’s Cordial. The author would most earnestly urge all people caring for their children’s lives, never to allow any of these preparations to be given, unless ordered by a surgeon.
2664. The treatment in the case of poisoning by Henbane, Hemlock, Nightshade, and Foxglove, is much the same as that for opium. Vomiting should be brought on in all of them.
2665. Poisonous Food.—It sometimes happens that things which are in daily use, and mostly perfectly harmless, give rise, under certain unknown circumstances, and in certain individuals, to the symptoms of poisoning. The most common articles of food of this description are Mussels, Salmon, and certain kinds of Cheese and Bacon. The general symptoms are thirst, weight about the stomach, difficulty of breathing, vomiting, purging, spasms, prostration of strength, and, in the case of mussels more particularly, an eruption on the body, like that of nettle-rash.—Treatment. Empty the stomach well with No. 1 draught and warm water, and give two tablespoonfuls of castor-oil immediately after. Let the patient take plenty of arrowroot, gruel, and the like drinks, and if there is much depression of strength, give a little warm brandy-and-water. Should symptoms of fever or inflammation follow, they must be treated as directed in the articles on other kinds of poisoning.
2666. Mushrooms, and similar kinds of vegetables, often produce poisonous effects. The symptoms are various, sometimes giddiness and stupor, and at others pain in and swelling of the belly, with vomiting and purging, being the leading ones. When the symptoms come on quickly after taking the poison, it is generally the head that is affected.—The treatment consists in bringing on vomiting in the usual manner, as quickly and as freely as possible. The other symptoms are to be treated on general principles; if they are those of depression, by brandy-and-water or sal-volatile; if those of inflammation, by leeches, fomentations, fever-mixtures, &c. &c.
2667. For Cure of Ringworm.—Take of subcarbonate of soda 1 drachm, which dissolve in ½ pint of vinegar. Wash the head every morning with soft soap, and apply the lotion night and morning. One teaspoonful of sulphur and treacle should also be given occasionally night and morning. The hair should be cut close, and round the spot it should be shaved off, and the part, night and morning, bathed with a lotion made by dissolving a drachm of white vitriol in 6 oz. of water. A small piece of either of the two subjoined ointments rubbed into the part when the lotion has dried in. No. 1.—Take of 1088 citron ointment 1 drachm; sulphur and tar ointment, of each ½ oz.: mix thoroughly, and apply twice a day. No. 2.—Take of simple cerate 1 oz.; creosote 1 drachm; calomel 30 grains: mix and use in the same manner as the first. Concurrent with those external remedies, the child should take an alterative powder every morning, or, if they act too much on the bowels, only every second day. The following will be found to answer all the intentions desired.
2668. Alterative Powders for Ringworm.—Take of
|Sulphuret of antimony, precipitated||24 grains.|
|Grey powder||12 grains.|
|Jalap powder||36 grains.|
Mix carefully, and divide into 12 powders for a child from 1 to 2 years old; into 9 powders for a child from 2 to 4 years; and into 6 powders for a child from 4 to 6 years. Where the patient is older, the strength may be increased by enlarging the quantities of the drugs ordered, or by giving one and a half or two powders for one dose. The ointment is to be well washed off every morning with soap-and-water, and the part bathed with the lotion before re-applying the ointment. An imperative fact must be remembered by mother or nurse,—never to use the same comb employed for the child with ringworm, for the healthy children, or let the affected little one sleep with those free from the disease; and, for fear of any contact by hands or otherwise, to keep the child’s head enveloped in a nightcap, till the eruption is completely cured.
2669. Scratches.—Trifling as scratches often seem, they ought never to be neglected, but should be covered and protected, and kept clean and dry until they have completely healed. If there is the least appearance of inflammation, no time should be lost in applying a large bread-and-water poultice, or hot flannels repeatedly applied, or even leeches in good numbers may be put on at some distance from each other.
2670. For Shortness of Breath, or Difficult Breathing.—Vitriolated spirits of ether 1 oz., camphor 12 grains: make a solution, of which take a teaspoonful during the paroxysm. This is found to afford instantaneous relief in difficulty of breathing, depending on internal diseases and other causes, where the patient, from a very quick and laborious breathing, is obliged to be in an erect posture.
2671. Sprains.—A sprain is a stretching of the leaders or ligaments of a part through some violence, such as slipping, falling on the hands, pulling a limb, &c. &c. The most common are those of the ankle and wrist. These accidents are more serious than people generally suppose, and often more difficult to cure than a broken leg or arm. The first thing to be done is to 1089 4A place the sprained part in the straight position, and to raise it a little as well. Some recommend the application of cold lotions at first. The editress, however, is quite convinced that warm applications are, in most cases, the best the first three or four days. These fomentations are to be applied in the following manner:—Dip a good-sized piece of flannel into a pail or basin full of hot water or hot poppy fomentation,—six poppy heads boiled in one quart of water for about a quarter of an hour; wring it almost dry, and apply it, as hot as the patient can bear, right round the sprained part. Then place another piece of flannel, quite dry, over it, in order that the steam and warmth may not escape. This process should be repeated as often as the patient feels that the flannel next to his skin is getting cold—the oftener the better. The bowels should be opened with a black draught, and the patient kept on low diet. If he has been a great drinker, he may be allowed to take a little beer; but it is better not to do so. A little of the cream of tartar drink, ordered in the case of burns, may be taken occasionally if there is much thirst. When the swelling and tenderness about the joint are very great, from eight to twelve leeches may be applied. When the knee is the joint affected, the greatest pain is felt at the inside, and therefore the greater quantity of the leeches should be applied to that part. When the shoulder is sprained, the arm should be kept close to the body by means of a linen roller, which is to be taken four or five times round the whole of the chest. It should also be brought two or three times underneath the elbow, in order to raise the shoulder. This is the best treatment for these accidents during the first three or four days. After that time, supposing that no unfavourable symptoms have taken place, a cold lotion, composed of a tablespoonful of sal-ammoniac to a quart of water, or vinegar-and-water, should be constantly applied. This lotion will strengthen the part, and also help in taking away any thickening that may have formed about the joint. In the course of two or three weeks, according to circumstances, the joint is to be rubbed twice a day with flannel dipped in opodeldoc, a flannel bandage rolled tightly round the joint, the pressure being greatest at the lowest part, and the patient allowed to walk about with the assistance of a crutch or stick. He should also occasionally, when sitting or lying down, quietly bend the joint backwards and forwards, to cause its natural motion to return, and to prevent stiffness from taking place. When the swelling is very great immediately after the accident has occurred, from the breaking of the blood-vessels, it is best to apply cold applications at first. If it can be procured, oil-silk may be put over the warm-fomentation flannel, instead of the dry piece of flannel. Old flannel is better than new.
2672. Cure for Stammering.—Where there is no malformation of the organs of articulation, stammering may be remedied by reading aloud with the teeth closed. This should be practised for two hours a day, for three or four months. The advocate of this simple remedy says, “I can speak with certainty of its utility.”1090
2673. Stammering.—At a recent meeting of the Boston Society of Natural History, Dr. Warren stated, “A simple, easy, and effectual cure of stammering.” It is, simply, at every syllable pronounced, to tap at the same time with the finger; by so doing, “the most inveterate stammerer will be surprised to find that he can pronounce quite fluently, and, by long and constant practice, he will pronounce perfectly well.”
2674. Suffocation, Apparent.—Suffocation may arise from many different causes. Anything which prevents the air getting into the lungs will produce it. We shall give the principal causes, and the treatment to be followed in each case.
2675. 1. Carbonic Acid Gas. Choke-Damp of Mines.—This poisonous gas is met with in rooms where charcoal is burnt, and where there is not sufficient draught to allow it to escape; in coalpits, near limekilns, in breweries, and in rooms and houses where a great many people live huddled together in wretchedness and filth, and where the air in consequence becomes poisoned. This gas gives out no smell, so that we cannot know of its presence. A candle will not burn in a room which contains much of it.—Effects. At first there is giddiness, and a great wish to sleep; after a little time, or where there is much of it present, a person feels great weight in the head, and stupid; gets by degrees quite unable to move, and snores as if in a deep sleep. The limbs may or may not be stiff. The heat of the body remains much the same at first.—Treatment. Remove the person affected into the open air, and, even though it is cold weather, take off his clothes. Then lay him on his back, with his head slightly raised. Having done this, dash vinegar-and-water over the whole of the body, and rub it hard, especially the face and chest, with towels dipped in the same mixture. The hands and feet also should be rubbed with a hard brush. Apply smelling-salts to the nose, which may be tickled with a feather. Dashing cold water down the middle of the back is of great service. If the person can swallow, give him a little lemon-water, or vinegar-and-water to drink. The principal means, however, to be employed in this, as, in fact, in most cases of apparent suffocation, is what is called artificial breathing. This operation should be performed by three persons, and in the following manner:—The first person should put the nozzle of a common pair of bellows into one of the patient’s nostrils; the second should push down, and then thrust back, that part of the throat called “Adam’s apple;” and the third should first raise and then depress the chest, one hand being placed over each side of the ribs. These three actions should be performed in the following order:—First of all, the throat should be drawn down and thrust back; then the chest should be raised, and the bellows gently blown into the nostril. Directly this is done, the chest should be depressed, so as to imitate common breathing. This process should be repeated about eighteen times a minute. The mouth and the other nostril should be closed while the bellows are being blown. Persevere, if necessary, with this treatment for seven or eight hours—in fact, till absolute signs of death are visible. Many lives are 1091 lost by giving it up too quickly. When the patient becomes roused, he is to be put into a warm bed, and a little brandy-and-water, or twenty drops of sal-volatile, given cautiously now and then. This treatment is to be adopted in all cases where people are affected from breathing bad air, smells, &c. &c.
2676. 2. Drowning.—This is one of the most frequent causes of death by suffocation.—Treatment. Many methods have been adopted, and as some of them are not only useless, but hurtful, we will mention them here, merely in order that they may be avoided. In the first place, then, never hang a person up by his heels, as it is an error to suppose that water gets into the lungs. Hanging a person up by his heels would be quite as bad as hanging him up by his neck. It is also a mistake to suppose that rubbing the body with salt and water is of service.—Proper Treatment. Directly a person has been taken out of the water, he should be wiped dry and wrapped in blankets; but if these cannot be obtained, the clothes of the bystanders must be used for the purpose. His head being slightly raised, and any water, weeds, or froth that may happen to be in his mouth, having been removed, he should be carried as quickly as possible to the nearest house. He should now be put into a warm bath, about as hot as the hand can pleasantly bear, and kept there for about ten minutes, artificial breathing being had recourse to while he is in it. Having been taken out of the bath, he should be placed flat on his back, with his head slightly raised, upon a warm bed in a warm room, wiped perfectly dry, and then rubbed constantly all over the body with warm flannels. At the same time, mustard poultices should be put to the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and the inner surface of the thighs and legs. Warm bricks, or bottles filled with warm water, should be placed under the armpits. The nose should be tickled with a feather, and smelling-salts applied to it. This treatment should be adopted while the bath is being got ready, as well as when the body has been taken out of it. The bath is not absolutely necessary; constantly rubbing the body with flannels in a warm room having been found sufficient for resuscitation. Sir B. Brodie says that warm air is quite as good as warm water. When symptoms of returning consciousness begin to show themselves, give a little wine, brandy, or twenty drops of sal-volatile and water. In some cases it is necessary, in about twelve or twenty-four hours after the patient has revived, to bleed him, for peculiar head-symptoms which now and then occur. Bleeding, however, even in the hands of professional men themselves, should be very cautiously used—non-professional ones should never think of it. The best thing to do in these cases is to keep the head well raised, and cool with a lotion such as that recommended above for sprains; to administer an aperient draught, and to abstain from giving anything that stimulates, such as wine, brandy, sal-volatile, &c. &c. As a general rule, a person dies in three minutes and a half after he has been underwater. It is difficult, however, to tell how long he has actually been under it, although we may know well exactly how long he has been in it. This being the case, always persevere in your attempts at resuscitation until actual signs of death have shown themselves, even for six, eight, or ten hours. 1092 Dr. Douglas, of Glasgow, resuscitated a person who had been under water for fourteen minutes, by simply rubbing the whole of his body with warm flannels in a warm room, for eight hours and a half, at the end of which time the person began to show the first symptoms of returning animation. Should the accident occur at a great distance from any house, this treatment should be adopted as closely as the circumstances will permit of. Breathing through any tube, such as a piece of card or paper rolled into the form of a pipe, will do as a substitute for the bellows. To recapitulate: Rub the body dry; take matters out of mouth; cover with blankets or clothes; slightly raise the head, and place the body in a warm bath, or on a bed in a warm room; apply smelling-salts to nose; employ artificial breathing; rub well with warm flannels; put mustard poultices to feet, hands, and insides of thighs and legs, with warm bricks or bottles to armpits. Don’t bleed. Give wine, brandy, or sal-volatile when recovering, and persevere till actual signs of death are seen.
2677. Briefly to conclude what we have to say of suffocation, let us treat of Lightning. When a person has been struck by lightning, there is a general paleness of the whole body, with the exception of the part struck, which is often blackened, or even scorched.—Treatment. Same as for drowning. It is not, however, of much use; for when death takes place at all, it is generally instantaneous.
2678. Cure for the Toothache.—Take a piece of sheet zinc, about the size of a sixpence, and a piece of silver, say a shilling; place them together, and hold the defective tooth between them or contiguous to them; in a few minutes the pain will be gone, as if by magic. The zinc and silver, acting as a galvanic battery, will produce on the nerves of the tooth sufficient electricity to establish a current, and consequently to relieve the pain. Or smoke a pipe of tobacco and caraway-seeds. Again—
2679. A small piece of the pellitory root will, by the flow of saliva it causes, afford relief. Creosote, or a few drops of tincture of myrrh, or friar’s balsam, on cotton, put on the tooth, will often subdue the pain. A small piece of camphor, however, retained in the mouth, is the most reliable and likely means of conquering the paroxysms of this dreaded enemy.
2680. Warts.—Eisenberg says, in his “Advice on the Hand,” that the hydrochlorate of lime is the most certain means of destroying warts; the process, however, is very slow, and demands perseverance, for, if discontinued before the proper time, no advantage is gained. The following is a simple cure:—On breaking the stalk of the crowfoot plant in two, a drop of milky juice will be observed to hang on the upper part of the stem; if this be allowed to drop on a wart, so that it be well saturated with the juice, in about three or four dressings the warts will die, and may be taken off with the fingers. They may be removed by the above means from the teats of 1093 cows, where they are sometimes very troublesome, and prevent them standing quiet to be milked. The wart touched lightly every second day with lunar caustic, or rubbed every night with blue-stone, for a few weeks, will destroy the largest wart, wherever situated.
2681. To Cure a Whitlow.—As soon as the whitlow has risen distinctly, a pretty large piece should be snipped out, so that the watery matter may readily escape, and continue to flow out as fast as produced. A bread-and-water poultice should be put on for a few days, when the wound should be bound up lightly with some mild ointment, when a cure will be speedily completed. Constant poulticing both before and after the opening of the whitlow, is the only practice needed; but as the matter lies deep, when it is necessary to open the abscess, the incision must be made deep to reach the suppuration.
2682. Wounds.—There are several kinds of wounds, which are called by different names, according to their appearance, or the manner in which they are produced. As, however, it would be useless, and even hurtful, to bother the reader’s head with too many nice professional distinctions, we shall content ourselves with dividing wounds into three classes.
2683. 1. Incised wounds or cuts—those produced by a knife, or some sharp instrument.
2684. 2. Lacerated, or torn wounds—those produced by the claws of an animal, the bite of a dog, running quickly against some projecting blunt object, such as a nail, &c.
2685. 3. Punctured or penetrating wounds—those produced by anything running deeply into the flesh; such as a sword, a sharp nail, a spike, the point of a bayonet, &c.
2686. Class 1. Incised wounds or cuts.—The danger arising from these accidents is owing more to their position than to their extent. Thus, a cut of half an inch long, which goes through an artery, is more serious than a cut of two inches long, which is not near one. Again, a small cut on the head is more often followed by dangerous symptoms than a much larger one on the legs.—Treatment. If the cut is not a very large one, and no artery or vein is wounded, this is very simple. If there are any foreign substances left in the wound, they must be taken out, and the bleeding must be quite stopped before the wound is strapped up. If the bleeding is not very great, it may easily be stopped by raising the cut part, and applying rags dipped in cold water to it. All clots of blood must be carefully removed; for, if they are left behind, they prevent the wound from healing. When the bleeding has been stopped, and the wound perfectly cleaned, its two edges are to be brought closely together by thin straps of common adhesive plaster, which should remain on, if there is not great pain or heat about the part, for two or three days, without being 1094 removed. The cut part should be kept raised and cool. When the strips of plaster are to be taken off, they should first be well bathed with lukewarm water. This will cause them to come away easily, and without opening the lips of the wound; which accident is very likely to take place, if they are pulled off without having been first moistened with the warm water. If the wound is not healed when the strips of plaster are taken off, fresh ones must be applied. Great care is required in treating cuts of the head, as they are often followed by erysipelas taking place round them. They should be strapped with isinglass-plaster, which is much less irritating than the ordinary adhesive plaster. Only use as many strips as are actually requisite to keep the two edges of the wound together; keep the patient quite quiet, on low diet, for a week or so, according to his symptoms. Purge him well with the No. 2 pills (five grains of blue pill mixed with the same quantity of compound extract of colocynth; make into two pills, the dose for an adult). If the patient is feverish, give him two tablespoonfuls of the fever-mixture three times a day. (The fever-mixture, we remind our readers, is thus made: Mix a drachm of powdered nitre, 2 drachms of carbonate of potash, 2 teaspoonfuls of antimonial wine, and a tablespoonful of sweet spirits of nitre in half a pint of water.) A person should be very careful of himself for a month or two after having had a bad cut on the head. His bowels should be kept constantly open, and all excitement and excess avoided. When a vein or artery is wounded, the danger is, of course, much greater. These accidents, therefore, should always be attended to by a surgeon, if he can possibly be procured. Before he arrives, however, or in case his assistance cannot be obtained at all, the following treatment should be adopted:—Raise the cut part, and press rags dipped in cold water firmly against it. This will often be sufficient to stop the bleeding, if the divided artery or vein is not dangerous. When an artery is divided, the blood is of a bright red colour, and comes away in jets. In this case, and supposing the leg or arm to be the cut part, a handkerchief is to be tied tightly round the limb above the cut; and, if possible, the two bleeding ends of the artery should each be tied with a piece of silk. If the bleeding is from a vein, the blood is much darker, and does not come away in jets. In this case, the handkerchief is to be tied below the cut, and a pad of lint or linen pressed firmly against the divided ends of the vein. Let every bad cut, especially where there is much bleeding, and even although it may to all appearance have been stopped, be attended to by a surgeon, if one can by any means be obtained.
2687. Class 2. Lacerated or torn wounds.—There is not so much bleeding in those cases as in clean cuts, because the blood-vessels are torn across in a zigzag manner, and not divided straight across. In other respects, however, they are more serious than ordinary cuts, being often followed by inflammation, mortification, fever, and in some cases by locked-jaw. Foreign substances are also more likely to remain in them.—Treatment. Stop the bleeding, if there is any, in the manner directed for cuts; remove all substances that may be in the wound: keep the patient quite quiet, and on low diet—gruel, arrowroot, 1095 and the like; purge with the No. 1 pills and the No. 1 mixture. (The No. 1 pill: Mix 5 grains of calomel and the same quantity of antimonial powder, with a little bread-crumb, and make into two pills, which is the dose for an adult. The No. 1 mixture: Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salts in half a pint of senna tea. A quarter of the mixture is a dose.) If there are feverish symptoms, give two tablespoonfuls of fever-mixture (see above) every four hours. If possible, bring the two edges of the wound together, but do not strain the parts to do this. If they cannot be brought together, on account of a piece of flesh being taken clean out, or the raggedness of their edges, put lint dipped in cold water over the wound, and cover it with oiled silk. It will then fill up from the bottom. If the wound, after being well washed, should still contain any sand, or grit of any kind, or if it should get red and hot from inflammation, a large warm bread poultice will be the best thing to apply until it becomes quite clean, or the inflammation goes down. When the wound is a very large one, the application of warm poppy fomentations is better than that of the lint dipped in cold water. If the redness and pain about the part, and the general feverish symptoms, are great, from eight to twelve leeches are to be applied round the wound, and a warm poppy fomentation or warm bread poultice applied after they drop off.
2688. Class 3. Punctured or penetrating wounds.—These, for many reasons, are the most serious of all kinds of wounds.—Treatment. The same as that for lacerated wounds. Pus (matter) often forms at the bottom of these pounds, which should, therefore, be kept open at the top, by separating their edges every morning with a bodkin, and applying a warm bread poultice immediately afterwards. They will then, in all probability, heal up from the bottom, and any matter which may form will find its own way out into the poultice. Sometimes, however, in spite of all precautions, collections of matter (abscesses) will form at the bottom or sides of the wound. These are to be opened with a and the matter thus let out. When matter is forming, the patient has cold shiverings, throbbing pain in the part, and flushes on the face, which come and go. A swelling of the part is also often seen. The matter in the abscesses may be felt to move backwards and forwards, when pressure is made from one side of the swelling to the other with the first and second fingers (the middle and that next the thumb) of each hand.
2689. Advantages of Cleanliness.—Health and strength cannot be long continued unless the skin—all the skin—is washed frequently with a sponge or other means. Every morning is best; after which the skin should be rubbed very well with a rough cloth. This is the most certain way of preventing cold, and a little substitute for exercise, as it brings blood to the surface, and causes it to circulate well through the fine capillary vessels. Labour produces this 1096 circulation naturally. The insensible perspiration cannot escape well if the skin is not clean, as the pores get choked up. It is said that in health about half the aliment we take passes out through the skin.
2690. The Tomato Medicinal.—To many persons there is something unpleasant, not to say offensive, in the flavour of this excellent fruit. It has, however, long been used for culinary purposes in various countries of Europe. Dr. Bennett, a professor of some celebrity, considers it an invaluable article of diet, and ascribes to it very important medicinal properties. He declares:—1. That the tomato is one of the most powerful deobstruents of the materia medica; and that, in all those affections of the liver and other organs where calomel is indicated, it is probably the most effective and least harmful remedial agent known in the profession. 2. That a chemical extract can be obtained from it, which will altogether supersede the use of calomel in the cure of diseases. 3. That he has successfully treated diarrhœa with this article alone. 4. That when used as an article of diet, it is almost a sovereign remedy for dyspepsia and indigestion.
2691. Warm Water.—Warm water is preferable to cold water, as a drink, to persons who are subject to dyspeptic and bilious complaints, and it may be taken more freely than cold water, and consequently answers better as a diluent for carrying off bile, and removing obstructions in the urinary secretion, in cases of stone and gravel. When water of a temperature equal to that of the human body is used for drink, it proves considerably stimulant, and is particularly suited to dyspeptic, bilious, gouty, and chlorotic subjects.
2692. Cautions in visiting Sick-Rooms.—Never venture into a sick-room if you are in a violent perspiration (if circumstances require your continuance there), for the moment your body becomes cold, it is in a state likely to absorb the infection, and give you the disease. Nor visit a sick person (especially if the complaint be of a contagious nature) with an empty stomach; as this disposes the system more readily to receive the contagion. In attending a sick person, place yourself where the air passes from the door or window to the bed of the diseased, not betwixt the diseased person and any fire that is in the room, as the heat of the fire will draw the infectious vapour in that direction, and you would run much danger from breathing it.
2693. Necessity of good Ventilation in Rooms lighted with Gas.—In dwelling-houses lighted by gas, the frequent renewal of the air is of great importance. A single gas-burner will consume more oxygen, and produce more carbonic acid to deteriorate the atmosphere of a room, than six or eight candles. If, therefore, when several burners are used, no provision is made for the escape of the corrupted air and for the introduction of pure air from without, the health will necessarily suffer.
2694. Humorists tell us there is no act of our lives which can be performed without breaking through some one of the many meshes of the law by which our rights are so carefully guarded; and those learned in the law, when they do give advice without the usual fee, and in the confidence of friendship, generally say, “Pay, pay anything rather than go to law;” while those having experience in the courts of Themis have a wholesome dread of its pitfalls. There are a few exceptions, however, to this fear of the law’s ; and we hear of those to whom a lawsuit is an agreeable relaxation, a gentle excitement. One of this class, when remonstrated with, retorted, that while one friend kept dogs, and another horses, he, as he had a right to do, kept a lawyer; and no one had a right to dispute his taste. We cannot pretend, in these few pages, to lay down even the principles of law, not to speak of its contrary exposition in different courts; but there are a few acts of legal import which all men—and women too—must perform; and to these acts we may be useful in giving a right direction. There is a house to be leased or purchased, servants to be engaged, a will to be made, or property settled, in all families; and much of the welfare of its members depends on these things being done in proper legal form.
2695. Purchasing a House.—Few men will venture to purchase a freehold, or even a leasehold property, by private contract, without making themselves acquainted with the locality, and employing a solicitor to examine the but many do walk into an auction-room, and bid for a property upon the representations of the auctioneer. The conditions, whatever they are, will bind him; for by one of the legal fictions of which we have still so many, the auctioneer, who is in reality the agent for the vendor, becomes also the agent for the buyer, and by putting down the names of bidders and the biddings, he binds him to whom the lot is knocked down to the sale and the conditions,—the falling of the auctioneer’s hammer is the acceptance of the offer, which completes the agreement to purchase. In any such transaction you can only look at the written or printed particulars; any verbal statement of the auctioneer, made at the time of the sale, cannot contradict them, and they are implemented by the agreement, which the auctioneer calls 1098 on the purchaser to sign after the sale. You should sign no such contract without having a duplicate of it signed by the auctioneer, and delivered to you. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add, that no trustee or assignee can purchase property for himself included in the trust, even at auction; nor is it safe to pay the purchase-money to an agent of the vendor, unless he give a written authority to the agent to receive it, besides handing over the requisite deeds and receipts.
2696. The laws of purchase and sale of property are so complicated that Lord St. Leonards devotes five chapters of his book on Property Law to the subject. The only circumstances strong enough to vitiate a purchase, which has been reduced to a written contract, is proof of fraudulent representation as to an encumbrance of which the buyer was ignorant, or a defect in title; but every circumstance which the purchaser might have learned by careful investigation, the law presumes that he did know. Thus, in buying a leasehold estate or house, all the covenants of the original lease are presumed to be known. “It is not unusual,” says Lord St. Leonards, “to stipulate, in conditions of sale of leasehold property, that the production of a receipt for the last year’s rent shall be accepted as proof that all the lessor’s covenants were performed up to that period. Never bid for one clogged with such a condition. There are some acts against which no relief can be obtained; for example, the tenant’s right to insure, or his insuring in an office or in names not authorized in the lease. And you should not rely upon the mere fact of the insurance being correct at the time of sale: there may have been a prior breach of covenant, and the landlord may not have waived his right of entry for the forfeiture.” And where any doubt of this kind exists, the landlord should be appealed to.
2697. Interest on a purchase is due from the day fixed upon for completing: where it cannot be completed, the loss rests with the party with whom the delay rests; but it appears, when the delay rests with the seller, and the money is lying idle, notice of that is to be given to the seller to make him liable to the loss of interest. In law, the property belongs to the purchaser from the date of the contract; he is entitled to any benefit, and must bear any loss; the seller may suffer the insurance to drop without giving notice; and should a fire take place, the loss falls on the buyer. In agreeing to buy a house, therefore, provide at the same time for its insurance. Common fixtures pass with the house, where nothing is said about them.
2698. There are some well-recognized laws, of what may be called good-neighbourhood, which affect all properties. If you purchase a field or house, the seller retaining another field between yours and the highway, he must of necessity grant you a right of way. Where the owner of more than one house sells one of them, the purchaser is entitled to benefit by all drains leading from his house into other drains, and will be subject to all necessary drains for the adjoining houses, although there is no express reservation as to drains. 1099 Thus, if his happens to be a leading drain, other necessary drains may be opened into it. In purchasing land for building on, you should expressly reserve a right to make an opening into any sewer or watercourse on the vendor’s land for drainage purposes.
2699. Constructions.—Among the cautions which purchasers of houses, land, or leaseholds, should keep in view, is a not inconsiderable array of constructive notices, which are equally binding with actual ones. Notice to your attorney or agent is notice to you; and when the same attorney is employed by both parties, and he is aware of an encumbrance of which you are ignorant, you are bound by it; even where the vendor is guilty of a fraud to which your agent is privy, you are responsible, and cannot be released from the consequences.
2700. The Relations of Landlord and Tenant are most important to both parties, and each should clearly understand his position. The proprietor of a house, or house and land, agrees to let it either to a tenant-at-will, a yearly tenancy, or under lease. A tenancy-at-will may be created by parol or by agreement; and as the tenant may be turned out when his landlord pleases, so he may leave when he himself thinks proper; but this kind of tenancy is extremely inconvenient to both parties. Where an annual rent is attached to the tenancy, in construction of law, a lease or agreement without limitation to any certain period is a lease from year to year, and both landlord and tenant are entitled to notice before the tenancy can be determined by the other. This notice must be given at least six months before the expiration of the current year of the tenancy, and it can only terminate at the end of any whole year from the time at which it began; so that the tenant entering into possession at Midsummer, the notice must be given to or by him, so as to terminate at the same term. When once he is in possession, he has a right to remain for a whole year; and if no notice be given at the end of the first half-year of his tenancy, he will have to remain two years, and so on for any number of years.
2701. Tenancy by Sufferance.—This is a tenancy, not very uncommon, arising out of the unwillingness of either party to take the initiative in a more decided course at the expiry of a lease or agreement. The tenant remains in possession, and continues to pay rent as before, and becomes, from sufferance, a tenant from year to year, which can only be terminated by one party or the other giving the necessary six months’ notice to quit at the term corresponding with the commencement of the original tenancy. This tenancy at sufferance applies also to an under-tenant, who remains in possession and pays rent to the reversioner or head landlord. A six months’ notice will be insufficient for this tenancy. A notice was given (in Right v. Darby, I.T.R. 159) to quit a house held by plaintiff as tenant from year to year, on the 17th June, 1840, requiring him “to quit the promises on the 11th October following, or such other day as his said tenancy might expire.” The tenancy had commenced on the 11th October in a former year, but it was held that this was 1100 not a good notice for the year ending October 11, 1841. A tenant from year to year gave his landlord notice to quit, ending the tenancy at a time within the half-year; the landlord acquiesced at first, but afterwards refused to accept the notice. The tenant quitted the premises; the landlord entered, and even made some repairs, but it was afterwards held that the tenancy was not determined. A notice to quit must be such as the tenant may safely act on at the time of receiving it; therefore it can only be given by an agent properly authorized at the time, and cannot be made good by the landlord adopting it afterwards. An unqualified notice, given at the proper time, should conclude with “On failure whereof, I shall require you to pay me double the former rent for so long as you retain possession.”
2702. Leases.—A lease is an instrument in writing, by which one person grants to another the occupation and use of lands or tenements for a term of years for a consideration, the lessor granting the lease, and the lessee accepting it with all its conditions. A lessor may grant the lease for any term less than his own interest. A tenant for life in an estate can only grant a lease for his own life. A tenant for life, having power to grant a lease, should grant it only in the terms of the power, otherwise the lease is void, and his estate may be made to pay heavy penalties under the covenant, usually the only one onerous on the lessor, for quiet enjoyment. The proprietor of a freehold—that is, of the possession in perpetuity of lands or tenements—may grant a lease for 999 years, for 99 years, or for 3 years. In the latter case, the lease may be either verbal or in writing, no particular form and no stamps being necessary, except the usual stamp on agreements; so long as the intention of the parties is clearly expressed, and the covenants definite, and well understood by each party, the agreement is complete, and the law satisfied. In the case of settled estates, the court of Chancery is empowered to authorize leases under the 19 & 20 Vict. c. 120, and 21 & 22 Vict. c. 77, as follows:—
21 years for agriculture or occupation.
40 years for water-power.
99 years for building-leases.
60 years for repairing-leases.
2703. A lessor may also grant an under-lease for a term less than his own: to grant the whole of his term would be an assignment. Leases are frequently burdened with a covenant not to underlet without the consent of the landlord: this is a covenant sometimes very onerous, and to be avoided, where it is possible, by a prudent lessee.
2704. A lease for any term beyond three years, whether an actual lease or an agreement for one, must be in the form of a deed; that is, it must be “under seal;” and all assignments and surrenders of leases must be in the same form, or they are void at law. Thus, an agreement made by letter, or by a memorandum of agreement, which would be binding in most cases, 1101 would be valueless when it was for a lease, unless witnessed, and given under hand and seal. The last statute, 8 & 9 Vict. c. 106, under which these precautions became necessary, has led to serious difficulties. “The judges,” says Lord St. Leonards, “feel the difficulty of holding a lease in writing, but not by deed, to be altogether void, and consequently decided, that although such a lease is void under the statute, yet it so far regulates the holding, that it creates a tenancy from year to year, terminable by half a year’s notice; and if the tenure endure for the term attempted to be created by the void lease, the tenant may be evicted at the end of the term without any notice to quit.” An agreement for a lease not by deed has been construed to be a lease for a term of years, and consequently void under the statute; “and yet,” says Lord St. Leonards, “a court of equity has held that it may be specifically enforced as an agreement upon the terms stated.” The law on this point is one of glorious uncertainty; in making any such agreement, therefore, we should be careful to express that it is an agreement, and not a lease; and that it is witnessed and under seal.
2705. Agreements.—It is usual, where the lease is a repairing one, to agree for a lease to be granted on completion of repairs according to specification. This agreement should contain the names and designation of the parties, a description of the property, and the term of the intended lease, and all the covenants which are to be inserted, as no verbal agreement can be made to a written agreement. It should also declare that the instrument is an agreement for a lease, and not the lease itself. The points to be settled in such an agreement are, the rent, term, and especially covenants for insuring and rebuilding in the event of a fire; and if it is intended that the lessor’s consent is to be obtained before assigning or underleasing, a covenant to that effect is required in the agreement. In building-leases, usually granted for 99 years, the tenant is to insure the property; and even where the agreement is silent on that point, the law decides it so. It is otherwise with ordinary tenements, when the tenant pays a full, or what the law terms rack-rent; the landlord is then to insure, unless it is otherwise arranged by the agreement.
2706. It is important for lessee, and lessor also, that the latter does not exceed his powers. A lease granted by a tenant for life before he is properly in possession, is void in law; for, although a court of equity, according to Lord St. Leonards, will, “by force of its own jurisdiction, support a bonâ fide lease, granted under a power which is merely erroneous inform or ceremonies,” and the 12 & 13 Vict. c. 26, and 13 & 14 Vict. c. 19, compel a new lease to be granted with the necessary variations, while the lessor has no power to compel him to accept such a lease, except when the person in remainder is competent and willing to confirm the original lease without variations, yet all these difficulties involve both delay, costs, and anxieties.
2707. In husbandry leases, a covenant to cultivate the land in a husbandlike manner, and according to the custom of the district, is always implied; but 1102 it is more usual to prescribe the course of tillage which is to be pursued. In the case of houses for occupation, the tenant would have to keep the house in a tenantable state of repair during the term, and deliver it up in like condition. This is not the case with the tenant at will, or from year to year, where the landlord has to keep the house in tenantable repair, and the tenant is only liable for waste beyond reasonable wear and tear.
2708. Insurance.—Every lease, or agreement for a lease, should covenant not only who is to pay insurance, but how the tenement is to be rebuilt in the event of a fire; for if the house were burnt down, and no provision made for insurance, the tenant, supposing there was the ordinary covenant to repair in the lease, would not only have to rebuild, but to pay rent while it was being rebuilt. More than this, supposing, under the same lease, the landlord had taken the precaution of insuring, he is not compelled to lay out the money recovered in rebuilding the premises. Sir John Leach lays it down, that “the tenant’s situation could not be changed by a precaution, on the part of the landlord, with which he had nothing to do.” This decision Lord Campbell confirmed in a more recent case, in which an action was brought against a lessee who was not bound to repair, and neither he nor the landlord bound to insure; admitting an equitable defence, the court affirmed Sir John Leach’s decision, holding that the tenant was bound to pay the rent, and could not require the landlord to lay out the insurance money in rebuilding. This is opposed to the opinion of Lord St. Leonards, who admits, however, that the decision of the court must overrule his dictum. Such being the state of the law, it is very important that insurance should be provided for, and that the payment of rent should be made to depend upon rebuilding the house in the event of a fire. Care must be taken, however, that this is made a covenant of the lease, as well as in the agreement, otherwise the tenant must rebuild the house.
2709. The law declares that a tenant is not bound to repair damages by tempest, lightning, or other natural casualty, unless there is a special covenant to that effect in the lease; but if there is a general covenant to repair, the repair will fall upon the tenant. Lord Kenyon lays it down, in the case of a bridge destroyed by a flood, the tenant being under a general covenant to repair, that, “where a party, by his own contract, creates a duty or charge upon himself, he is bound to make it good, because he might have guarded against it in the contract.” The same principle of law has been applied to a house destroyed by lightning. It is, therefore, important to have this settled in the insurance clause.
2710. Lord St. Leonards asserts that “his policies against fire are not so framed as to render the company legally liable.” Generally the property is inaccurately described with reference to the conditions under which you insure. They are framed by companies who, probably, are not unwilling to have a legal defence against any claim, as they intend to pay what they deem a just claim without taking advantage of any technical objection, and intending 1103 to make use of their defence only against what they believe to be a fraud, although they may not be able to prove it. “But,” says his lordship, “do not rely upon the moral feelings of the directors. Ascertain that your house falls strictly within the conditions. Even having the surveyor of the company to look over your house before the insurance will not save you, unless your policy is correct.” This is true; but probably his lordship’s legal jealousy overshoots the mark here. Assurance companies only require an honest statement of the facts, and that no concealment is practised with their surveyor; and the case of his own, which he quotes, in which a glass door led into a conservatory, rendering it, according to the view of the company, “hazardous,” and consequently voiding the policy, when a fire did occur, the company paid, rather than try the question; but even after the fire they demurred, when called upon, to make the description correct and indorse on the policy the fact that the drawing-room opened through a glass door into conservatories. One of two inferences is obvious here; either his lordship has overcoloured the statement, or the company could not be the respectable one represented. The practice with all reputable offices is to survey the premises before insurance, and to describe them as they appear; but no concealment of stoves, or other dangerous accessories or inflammable goods, should be practised. This certainly binds the office so long as no change takes place; but the addition of any stove, opening, or door through a party wall, the introduction of gunpowder, saltpetre, or other inflammable articles into the premises without notice, very properly “voids the policy.” The usual course is to give notice of all alterations, and have them indorsed on the policy, as additions to the description of the property: there is little fear, where this is honestly done, that any company would adopt the sharp practice hinted at in Lord St. Leonards’ excellent handy book.
2711. Breaks in the Lease.—Where a lease is for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years, the option to determine it at the end of the first term is in the tenant, unless it is distinctly agreed that the option shall be mutual, according to Lord St. Leonards.
2712. Noxious Trades.—A clause is usually introduced prohibiting the carrying on of any trade in some houses, and of noxious or particular trades in others. This clause should be jealously inspected, otherwise great annoyance may be produced. It has been held that a general clause of this description prohibited a tenant from keeping a school, for which he had taken it, although a lunatic asylum and public-house have been found admissible; the keeping an asylum not being deemed a trade, which is defined as “conducted by buying and selling.” It is better to have the trades, or class of trades objected to, defined in the lease.
2713. Fixtures.—In houses held under lease, it has been the practice with landlords to lease the bare walls of the tenement only, leaving the lessee to put in the stoves, cupboards, and such other conveniences as he requires, at his 1104 own option. Those, except under particular circumstances, are the property of the lessee, and may either be sold to an incoming tenant, or removed at the end of his term. The articles which may not be removed are subject to considerable doubt, and are a fruitful source of dispute. Mr. Commissioner Fonblanque has defined as tenants’ property all goods and chattels; 2ndly, all articles “slightly connected one with another, and with the freehold, but capable of being separated without materially injuring the freehold;” 3rdly, articles fixed to the freehold by nails and screws, bolts or pegs, are also tenants’ goods and chattels; but when sunk in the soil, or built on it, they are integral parts of the freehold, and cannot be removed. Thus, a greenhouse or conservatory attached to the house by the tenant is not removable; but the furnace and hot-water pipes by which it is heated, may be removed or sold to the in-coming tenant. A brick flue does not come under the same category, but remains. Window-blinds, grates, stoves, coffee-mills, and, in a general sense, everything he has placed which can be removed without injury to the freehold, he may remove, if they are separated from the tenement during his term, and the place made good. It is not unusual to leave the fixtures in their place, with an undertaking from the landlord that, when again let, the in-coming tenant shall pay for them, or permit their removal. In a recent case, however, a tenant having held over beyond his term and not removed his fixtures, the landlord let the premises to a new tenant, who entered into possession, and would not allow the fixtures to be removed—it was held by the courts, on trial, that he was justified. A similar case occurred to the writer: he left his fixtures in the house, taking a letter from the landlord, undertaking that the in-coming tenant should pay for them by valuation, or permit their removal. The house was let; the landlord died. His executors, on being applied to, pleaded ignorance, as did the tenant, and on being furnished with a copy of the letter, the executors told applicant that if he was aggrieved, he know his remedy; namely, an action at law. He thought the first loss the least, and has not altered his opinion.
2714. Taxes.—Land-tax, sewers-rate, and property-tax, are landlord’s taxes; but by 30 Geo. II. c. 2, the occupier is required to pay all rates levied, and deduct from the rent such taxes as belong to the landlord. Many landlords now insert a covenant, stipulating that land-tax and sewers-rate are to be paid by the tenants, and not deducted: this does not apply to the property-tax. All other taxes and rates are payable by the occupier.
2715. Water-Rate, of course, is paid by the tenant. The water-companies, as well as gas-companies, have the power of cutting off the supply; and most of them have also the right of distraining, in the same manner as landlords have for rent.
2716. Notice to Quit.—In the case of leasing for a term, no notice is necessary; the tenant quits, as a matter of course, at its termination; or 1105 4B if, by tacit consent, he remains paying rent as heretofore, he becomes a tenant at sufferance, or from year to year. Half a year’s notice now becomes necessary, as we have already seen, to terminate the tenancy; except in London, and the rent is under forty shillings, when a quarter’s notice is sufficient. Either of these notices may be given verbally, if it can be proved that the notice was definite, and given at the right time. Form of notice is quite immaterial, provided it is definite and clear in its purport.
2717. Tenancy for less than a year may be terminated according to the taking. Thus, when taken for three months, a three months notice is required; when monthly, a month’s notice; and when weekly, a week’s notice; but weekly tenancy is changed to a quarterly tenure if the rent is allowed to stand over for three months. When taken for a definite time, as a month, a week, or a quarter, no notice is necessary on either side.
2718. Dilapidations.—At the termination of a lease, supposing he has not done so before, a landlord can, and usually does, send a surveyor to report upon the condition of the tenement, and it becomes his duty to ferret out every defect. A litigious landlord may drag the outgoing tenant into an expensive lawsuit, which he has no power to prevent. He may even compel him to pay for repairing improvements which he has effected in the tenement itself, if dilapidations exist. When the lessor covenants to do all repairs, and fails to do so, the lessee may repair, and deduct the cost from the rent.
2719. Recovery of Rent.—The remedies placed in the hands of landlords are very stringent. The day after rent falls due, he may proceed to recover it, by action at law, by distress on the premises, or by action of ejectment, if the rent is half a year in arrear. Distress is the remedy usually applied, the landlord being authorized to enter the premises, seize the goods and chattels of his tenant, and sell them, on the fifth day, to reimburse himself for all arrears of rent and the charges of the distress. There are a few exceptions; but, generally, all goods found on the premises may be seized. The exceptions are—dogs, rabbits, poultry, fish, tools and implements of a man’s trade actually in use, the books of a scholar, the axe of a carpenter, wearing apparel on the person, a horse at the plough, or a horse he may be riding, a watch in the pocket, loose money, deeds, writings, the cattle at a smithy forge, corn sent to a mill for grinding, cattle and goods of a guest at an inn; but, curiously enough, carriages and horses standing at livery at the same inn may be taken. Distress can only be levied in the daytime, and if made after the tender of arrears, it is illegal. If tender is made after the distress, but before it is impounded, the landlord must abandon the distress and bear the cost himself. Nothing of a perishable nature, which cannot be restored in the same condition—as milk, fruit, and the like, must be taken.1106
2720. The law does not regard a day as consisting of portions. The popular notion that a notice to quit should be served before noon is an error. Although distraint is one of the remedies, it is seldom advisable in a landlord to resort to distraining for the recovery of rent. If a tenant cannot pay his rent, the sooner he leaves the premises the better. If he be a rogue and won’t pay, he will probably know that nine out of ten distresses are illegal, through the carelessness, ignorance, or extortion of the brokers who execute them. Many, if not most, of the respectable brokers will not execute distresses, and the business falls into the hands of persons whom it is by no means desirable to employ.
2721. Powers to relieve landlords of premises, by giving them legal possession, are given by 19 & 20 Vict., cap. 108, to the county courts, in cases where the rent does not exceed £50 per annum, and under the circumstances hereinafter mentioned; i.e.:—
1. Where the term has expired, or been determined by notice to quit.
2. Where there is one half-year’s rent in arrear, and the landlord shall have right by law to enter for the nonpayment thereof. As proof of this power is required, the importance of including such a power in the agreement for tenancy will be obvious.
In the county courts the amount of rent due may be claimed, as well as the possession of the premises, in one summons.
2722. When a tenant deserts premises, leaving one half-year’s rent in arrear, possession may be recovered by means of the police-court. The rent must not exceed £20 per annum, and must be at least three-fourths of the value of the premises. In cases in which the tenant has not deserted the premises, and where notice to quit has been given and has expired, the landlord must give notice to the tenant of his intended application. The annual rent in this case, also, must not exceed £20.
2723. The I. O. U.—The law is not particular as to orthography; in fact, it distinctly refuses to recognize the existence of that delightful science. You may bring your action against Mr. Jacob Phillips, under the fanciful denomination of Jaycobb Fillipse, if you like, and the law won’t care, because the law goes by ear; and, although it insists upon having everything written, things written are only supposed in law to have any meaning when read, which is, after all, a common-sense rule enough. So, instead of “I owe you,” persons of a cheerful disposition, so frequently found connected with debt, used to write facetiously I. O. U., and the law approved of their so doing. An I. O. U. is nothing more than a written admission of a debt, and may run thus:—
15th October, 1860.
To Mr. W. Brown.
I. O. U. ten pounds for coals.
If to this you add the time of payment, as “payable in one month from this 1107 date,” your I. O. U. is worthless and illegal; for it thus ceases to be a mere acknowledgment, and becomes a promissory note. Now a promissory note requires a stamp, which an I. O. U. does not. Many persons, nevertheless, stick penny stamps upon them, probably for ornamental effect, or to make them look serious and authoritative. If for the former purpose, the postage-stamp looks better than the receipt stamp upon blue paper. If you are W. Brown, and you didn’t see the I. O. U. signed, and can’t find anybody who knows Jones’s autograph, and Jones won’t pay, the I. O. U. will be of no use to you in the county court, except to make the judge laugh. He will, however, allow you to prove the consideration, and as, of course, you won’t be prepared to do anything of the sort, he will, if you ask him politely, adjourn the hearing for a week, when you can produce the coalheavers who delivered the article, and thus gain a glorious victory.
2724. Apprentices.—By the statute 5 Eliz. cap. 4, it is enacted that, in cases of ill-usage by masters towards apprentices, or of neglect of duty by apprentices, the complaining party may apply to a justice of the peace, who may make such order as equity may require. If, for want of conformity on the part of the master, this cannot be done, then the master may be bound to appear at the next sessions. Authority is given by the act to the justices in sessions to discharge the apprentice from his indentures. They are also empowered, on proof of misbehaviour of the apprentice, to order him to be corrected or imprisoned with hard labour.
2725. Husband and Wife.—Contrary to the vulgar opinion, second cousins, as well as first, may legally marry. When married, a husband is liable for his wife’s debts contracted before marriage. A creditor desirous of suing for such a claim should proceed against both. It will, however, be sufficient if the husband be served with process, the names of both appearing therein, thus:—John Jones and Ann his wife. A married woman, if sued alone, may plead her marriage, or, as it is called in law, coverture. The husband is liable for debts of his wife contracted for necessaries while living with him. If she voluntarily leaves his protection, this liability ceases. He is also liable for any debts contracted by her with his authority. If the husband have abjured the realm, or been transported by a sentence of law, the wife is liable during his absence, as if she were a single woman, for debts contracted by her.
2726. In civil cases, a wife may now give evidence on behalf of her husband; in criminal eases she can neither be a witness for or against her husband. The case of assault by him upon her forms an exception to this rule.
2727. The law does not at this day admit the ancient principle of allowing moderate correction by a husband upon the person of his wife. Although this is said to have been anciently limited to the use of “a stick not bigger than 1108 the thumb,” this barbarity is now altogether exploded. He may, notwithstanding, as has been recently shown in the famous Agapemone case, keep her under restraint, to prevent her leaving him, provided this be effected without cruelty.
2728. By the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857, a wife deserted by her husband may apply to a magistrate, or to the petty sessions, for an order to protect her lawful earnings or property acquired by her after such desertion, from her husband and his creditors. In this case it is indispensable that such order shall, within ten days, be entered at the county court of the district within which she resides. It will be seen that the basis of an application for such an order is desertion. Consequently, where the parties have separated by common consent, such an order cannot be obtained, any previous cruelty or misconduct on the husband’s part notwithstanding.
2729. When a husband allows his wife to invest money in her own name in a savings-bank, and he survives her, it is sometimes the rule of such establishments to compel him to take out administration in order to receive such money, although it is questionable whether such rule is legally justifiable. Widows and widowers pay no legacy-duty for property coming to them through their deceased partners.
2730. Receipts for sums above £2 should now be given upon penny stamps. A bill of exchange may nevertheless be discharged by an indorsement stating that it has been paid, and this will not be liable to the stamp. A receipt is not, as commonly supposed, conclusive evidence as to a payment. It is only what the law terms primâ facie evidence; that is, good until contradicted or explained. Thus, if A sends wares or merchandise to B, with a receipt, as a hint that the transaction is intended to be for ready money, and B detain the receipt without paying the cash, A will be at liberty to prove the circumstances and to recover his claim. The evidence to rebut the receipt must, however, be clear and indubitable, as, after all, written evidence is of a stronger nature than oral testimony.
2731. Books of Account.—A tradesman’s books of account cannot be received as evidence in his own behalf, unless the entries therein be proved to have been brought under the notice of, and admitted to be correct by the other party, as is commonly the case with the “pass-books” employed backwards and forwards between bakers, butchers, and the like domestic traders, and their customers. The defendant may, however, compel the tradesman to produce his books to show entries adverse to his own claim.
2732. Wills.—The last proof of affection which we can give to those left behind, is to leave their worldly affairs in such a state as to excite neither jealousy, nor anger, nor heartrendings of any kind, at least for the immediate future. This can only be done by a just, clear, and intelligible disposal of whatever there is to leave. Without being advocates for every man being his 1109 own lawyer, it is not to be denied that the most elaborately prepared wills have been the most fruitful sources of litigation, and it has even happened that learned judges left wills behind them which could not be carried out. Except in cases where the property is in land or in leases of complicated tenure, very elaborate details are unnecessary; and we counsel no man to use words in making his will of which he does not perfectly understand the meaning and import.
2733. All men over twenty-one years of age, and of sound mind, and all unmarried women of like age and sanity, may by will bequeath their property to whom they please. Infants, that is, all persons under twenty-one years of age, and married women, except where they have an estate to their “own separate use,” are incapacitated, without the concurrence of the husband; the law taking the disposal of any property they die possessed of. A person born deaf and dumb cannot make a will, unless there is evidence that he could read and comprehend its contents. A person convicted of felony cannot make a will, unless subsequently pardoned; neither can persons outlawed; but the wife of a felon transported for life may make a will, and act in all respects as if she were unmarried. A suicide may bequeath real estate, but personal property is forfeited to the crown.
2734. Except in the case of soldiers on actual service, and sailors at sea, every will must be made in writing. It must be signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence, and at his request, and the signature must be made or acknowledged in the presence of two or more witnesses, who are required to be present at the same time, who declare by signing that the will was signed by the testator, or acknowledged in their presence, and that they signed as witnesses in testator’s presence.
2735. By the act of 1852 it was enacted that no will shall be valid unless signed at the foot or end thereof by the testator, or by some person in his presence, and by his direction; but a subsequent act proceeds to say that every will shall, as far only as regards the position of the signature of the testator, or of the person signing for him, be deemed valid if the signature shall be so placed at, or after, or following, or under, or beside, or opposite to the end of the will, that it shall be apparent on the face of it that the testator intended to give it effect by such signature. Under this clause, a will of several sheets, all of which were duly signed, except the last one, has been refused probate; while, on the other hand, a similar document has been admitted to probate where the last sheet only, and none of the other sheets, was signed. In order to be perfectly formal, however, each separate sheet should be numbered, signed, and witnessed, and attested on the last sheet. This witnessing is an important act: the witnesses must subscribe it in the presence of the testator and of each other; and by their signature they testify to having witnessed the signature of the testator, he being in sound mind at the time. Wills made under any kind of coercion, or even importunity, 1110 may become void, being contrary to the wishes of the testator. Fraud or imposition also renders a will void, and where two wills made by the same person happen to exist, neither of them dated, the maker of the wills is declared to have died intestate.
2736. A will may always be revoked and annulled, but only by burning or entirely destroying the writing, or by adding a codicil, or making a subsequent will duly attested; but as the alteration of a will is only a revocation to the extent of the alteration, if it is intended to revoke the original will entirely, such intention should be declared,—no merely verbal directions can revoke a written will; and the act of running the pen through the signatures, or down the page, is not sufficient to cancel it, without a written declaration to that effect signed and witnessed.
2737. A will made before marriage is revoked thereby.
2738. A codicil is a supplement or addition to a will, either explaining or altering former dispositions; it may be written on the same or separate paper, and is to be witnessed and attested in the same manner as the original document.
2739. Witnesses.—Any persons are qualified to witness a will who can write their names; but such witness cannot be benefitted by the will. If a legacy is granted to the persons witnessing, it is void. The same rule applies to the husband or wife of a witness; a bequest made to either of these is void.
2740. Form of Wills.—Form is unimportant, provided the testator’s intention is clear. It should commence with his designation; that is, his name and surname, place of abode, profession, or occupation. The legatees should also be clearly described. In leaving a legacy to a married woman, if no trustees are appointed over it, and no specific directions given, “that it is for her sole and separate use, free from the control, debts, and incumbrances of her husband,” the husband will be entitled to the legacy. In the same manner a legacy to an unmarried woman will vest in her husband after marriage, unless a settlement of it is made on her before marriage.
2741. In sudden emergencies a form may be useful, and the following has been considered a good one for a death-bed will, where the assistance of a solicitor could not be obtained; indeed, few solicitors can prepare a will on the spur of the moment: they require time and legal forms, which are by no means necessary, before they can act.
I, A. B., of No. 10, Street, in the city of —— [gentleman, builder, or grocer, as the case may be,] being of sound mind, thus publish and declare my last will and testament. Revoking and annulling all former dispositions of my property, I give and bequeath as follows:—to my son J. B. of ——, I give and bequeath the sum 1111 of ——; to my daughter M., the wife of J., of ——, I give and bequeath the sum of —— [if intended for her own use, add, “to her sole and separate use, free from the control, debts, and incumbrances of her husband”], both in addition to any sum or sums of money or other property they have before had from me. All the remaining property I die possessed of I leave to my dear wife M. B., for her sole and separate use during her natural life, together with my house and furniture, situate at No. 10, —— Street, aforesaid. At her death, I desire that the said house shall be sold, with all the goods and chattels therein [or, I give and bequeath the said house, with all the goods and chattels therein, to ——], and the money realized from the sale, together with that in which my said wife had a life-interest, I give and bequeath in equal moieties to my son and daughter before named. I appoint my dear friend T. S., of ——, and T. B., of ——, together with my wife M. B., as executors to this my last will and testament.
Signed by A. B., this 10th day of October, 1861, in our presence, both being present together, and both having signed as witnesses, in the presence of the testator:—
T. S., Witness.
F. M., Witness.
It is to be observed that the signature of the testator after this attestation has been signed by the witnesses, is not a compliance with the act; he must sign first.
2742. Stamp-Duties.—In the case of persons dying intestate, when their effects are administered to by their family, the stamp-duty is half as much more as it would have been under a will. Freehold and copyhold estates are now subject to a special impost on passing, by the Stamp Act of 1857.
2743. The legacy-duty only commences when it amounts to £20 and upwards; and where it is not directed otherwise, the duty is deducted from the legacy.
2744. You cannot compound for past absence of charity by bequeathing land or tenements, or money to purchase such, to any charitable use, by your last will and testament; but you may devise them to the British Museum, to either of the two universities of Oxford and Cambridge, to Eton, Winchester, and Westminster; and you may, if so inclined, leave it for the augmentation of Queen Anne’s bounty. You may, however, order your executors to sell land and hand over the money received to any charitable institution.
2745. In making provision for a wife, state whether it is in lieu of, or in addition to, dower.
2746. If you have advanced money to any child, and taken an acknowledgment for it, or entered it in any book of account, you should declare whether any legacy left by will is in addition to such advance, or whether it is to be deducted from the legacy.
2747. A legacy left by will to any one would be cancelled by your leaving another legacy by a codicil to the same person, unless it is stated to be in addition to the former bequest.
2748. Your entire estate is chargeable with your debts, except where the 1112 real estate is settled. Let it be distinctly stated out of which property, the real or personal, they are paid, where it consists of both.
2749. Whatever is devised, let the intention be clearly expressed, and without any condition, if you intend it to take effect.
2750. Attestation is not necessary to a will, as the act of witnessing is all the law requires, and the will itself declares the testator to be of sound mind in his own estimation; but, wherever there are erasures or interlineations, one becomes necessary. No particular form is prescribed; but it should state that the testator either signed it himself, or that another signed it by his request, or that he acknowledged the signature to be his in their presence, both being present together, and signed as witnesses in his presence. When there are erasures, the attestation must declare that—The words interlined in the third line of page 4, and the erasure in the fifth line of page 6, having been first made. These are the acts necessary to make a properly-executed will; and, being simple in themselves and easily performed, they should be strictly complied with, and always attested.
2751. A witness may, on being requested, sign for testator; and he may also sign for his fellow-witness, supposing he can only make his mark, declaring that he does so; but a husband cannot sign for his wife, either as testator or witness, nor can a wife for her husband.
2282. A lady’s-maid will have a great deal of “ironing-out” to do;
text has „ironing-out” with inverted open quote
2284. They should be looked to
text has “looked too”
2340. and in some places,
text has superfluous comma after “in”
2392. let it remain for three or four hours, when
text has “three or fours, when”
2523. petechæ, or dark-coloured spots
spelling unchanged, here and in sec. 2533; it’s properly petechiæ.
2535. half a teaspoonful of steel wine
“l” in “steel wine” invisible; supplied from 1906 edition
2536. milary fever
spelling unchanged; it is properly miliary
2550. which rubs off like dandriff
2579. Soap Liniment. Opodeldoc.
text has “Liniment, Opodeldoc” with comma for full stop; corrected from 1906 edition.
the best for the first three or four days
text has “for / for” at line break
2688. These are to be opened with a lancet
text has “lanect”
2694. this fear of the law’s uncertainties;
text has “uncertanties”
2695. and employing a solicitor to examine the titles; but
text has “titles,;” with double punctuation
[Which of the two to omit is obviously a judgement call.]
2741. I, A. B., of No. 10, —— Street
text has superfluous comma after ——
For a useful comparison, see Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants, written in the mid-18th century and available on this very site.
2153. the introduction of cheap silks and cottons, and, still more recently, those ambiguous “materials” and tweeds, have removed the landmarks between the mistress and her maid
[Social historians say that this, in turn, led to the introduction of servants’ uniforms—as distinct from livery—since female servants could no longer be distinguished by their visibly cheaper clothes. Those same factory-made textiles made it financially realistic to expect your housemaids to keep different sets of clothes for different purposes.]
2154. But these are the exceptional cases, which prove the existence of a better state of things.
[Oh, nice one, Isabella. This is the original and correct meaning of “the exception proves the rule”. In full: the existence of a stated or documented exception implicitly proves the existence of an unstated rule.]
2177. before, however, putting the knives into the machine, it is highly necessary that they be first washed in a little warm (not hot) water, and then thoroughly wiped
[This would seem to defeat the whole purpose of having a machine in the first place, but it probably made sense to Mrs. Beeton’s readers.]
[Rottenstone, a mild abrasive, can still be bought. No, I’d never heard of it either.]
2190. “What ails you at her in the green gown?”
[Punchline to a story in Ramsay’s Reminiscences. Whether the Editress got it directly or indirectly is another question.]
2191. the footman . . . if possible, should bear in mind, if there is a wit or humorist of the party, whose good things keep the table in a roar, that they are not expected to reach his ears
[I love “if possible”.]
2200. Dean Swift, among his other quaint directions, all of which are to be read by contraries
[Even Isabella Beeton couldn’t resist Swift’s Directions. She may have been tipped off by Kitchiner, who cites Swift a few times.]
one of those odd old Caleb Balderston sort of servants
[In 1861, you could safely assume that all your readers had read Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, including The Bride of Lammermoor.]
An old lady of Forfarshire
[Predictably, this shows up in Ramsay’s Reminiscences. But the wording suggests that Isabella Beeton lifted it from someone else.]
2201. The writer . . . a legal affair in which he took an interest
[Was Isabella getting tired? This kind of blunder is disorienting, to say the least.]
2207. The pavement of the stall should be nearly level, with a slight incline towards the gutter
[“The stalls were laid on a slope instead of being level, and as my head was kept tied to the manger I was obliged always to stand on the slope, which was very fatiguing.” —Black Beauty]
2211. the excellent description of the process given by old Barrett
[Michael Baret’s An Hipponomie, or the Vineyard of Horsemanship was published in 1618. (If you want a copy of your very own, Christie’s sold one for £6,600 back in 2006.) But there’s no reason to think Isabella Beeton was quoting him directly. This exact passage—from “Having tied up the head” through “bending of the joints”—also shows up in An Encyclopædia of Rural Sports from 1840, along with some adjoining text that is likewise suspiciously similiar. It is also possible that Rural Sports and the BOHM both cribbed from the same source.]
2215. You cannot take up a paper without having the question put, “Do you bruise your oats?”
[Cursory research suggests that the question was generally “Do you bruise your oats yet?” which sounds like the horseman’s equivalent of “When did you stop beating your wife?”]
2285. Preservatives against the Ravages of Moths.
[Naphthalene—one in the long list of useful coal-tar derivatives—was discovered several decades before the BOHM, but mothballs had to wait until 1885.]
2288. leaving it to them to notice it further
[Reminder: The word “notice” meant to acknowledge or act on some fact, not just to become aware of it.]
2327. except where the mistress of the house has been worried into an experiment by the often-reiterated question, “Why beat your carpets?”
[Reading between the lines: Slack & Co. did sell carpet beaters, and did not offer a carpet-cleaning service.]
2348. she . . . pours out the beer
[This, in the Maid-of-all-Work section, is the only mention of beer in the Domestic Servants chapter. The implication is that when a household has sufficient stature to employ more than one servant, beer is not drunk at dinner.]
2355. Home Truths for Home Peace
[Home Truths for Home Peace, or, “Muddle” Defeated, by M. B. H. (1851, 2nd edition 1852). It would be interesting to know how Isabella Beeton can be so sure the author(ess) is female, since the full name remains unknown.
Pro tip: If you find a copy of this book listed with the subtitle “‘Nuddle’ Defeated”, you are looking at a printout of the raw OCR. Do not spend money on it.]
2362. a square box, 18 inches by 12 or 13, and 17 deep
[For a given definition of “square”.]
2398. There is a considerable art in carrying an infant comfortably
[The earliest perambulator was invented in 1733, with further refinements in 1848, but it was not in general use before the early 20th century. In all the preceding centuries, nobody in Europe—unlike the rest of the planet—ever thought of designing a sling or carrier that would leave the mother’s hands free.]
2403. where there is only one nursemaid kept, she is assisted by the housemaid, or servant-of-all-work
[Near the beginning of the book, Mrs. Beeton listed the servants appropriate to households of various income levels. If a family can afford two servants, the second one is the nursemaid. People from other parts of the world could be forgiven for concluding that English people of the 19th century really did not like children very much.]
2405. Mrs. Johnson’s soothing syrup, a valuable and perfectly safe medicine
[Aside from salt, the product’s primary ingredient is chloroform. But no opiates, so that’s all right.]
2417. the first canon of nursing . . . is to “keep the air the patient breathes as pure as the external air, without chilling him.”
[In Notes on Nursing, the quoted part is printed in ALL CAPITALS to emphasize the point.]
2418. Windows, however, must be opened from above
[Fun fact: What is now called a “double-hung” window is, in fact, single-hung. In a true double-hung window, both the top and the bottom halves are movable.]
2420. febrile diseases . . . such as . . . puerperal fevers
[Cue ominous background music.]
2422. the medical lecturer
[Like everything else in this section, the passage is from Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing.]
2432. If a berceaunette is to be used
[The OED refers to berceaunette as “a tradesman’s perversion” of the original word, “bassinet”. Their oldest citation is from 1885, which is surprising when you consider that the dictionary’s primary editor, James Murray, had eleven children—most of them born well before 1885.]
2435. Our own experience
[By 1861, Isabella Beeton had buried two children.]
Party game: When you come to the section on childhood diseases, take a drink every time you read something that is factually correct. At the end of the chapter you will be sober.
2447. It has justly been said—we think by Hood—that the children of the poor are not brought up, but dragged up. However facetious this remark may seem . . .
[Where did she get “Hood”? Everyone else in the early-to-mid-19th century correctly attributed the line to Charles Lamb—the same Lamb who gave us “A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig”. The line appears in the very last “Elia” essay, “Popular Fallacies” (originally published in the New Monthly Magazine, 1826), under no. XII: “That Home is Home though it is never so Homely”. Lamb’s wording is “Poor people, said a sensible old nurse to us once, do not bring up their children; they drag them up.”
Between Lamb and the BOHM came a cheesy short story, “The Royal Marriage”, published in The Keepsake for 1838: “Her childhood had been what Charles Lamb calls ‘not brought up, but dragged up,’ the hungry, toilsome, and harsh childhood of the poor.” But, since The Keepsake intentionally suppressed authors’ names, none of the story’s predictable flurry of reprints was able to give credit.
Finally, in 1852, Dickens reused the line in Bleak House: “It is said that the children of the very poor are not brought up, but dragged up.”
In none of these places is the remark intended to be “facetious”.]
2448. find, in despite of all this care and vigilance, disease and death invading the guarded treasure
[Pro tip: Next time, Isabella, don’t marry a man with syphilis.]
2449. the young and probably inexperienced mother may find our remarks not only an assistance but a comfort to her
[As long as she doesn’t find out that the writer is herself not yet 25 years old.]
[Just to confuse everyone, this term from 18th-century “coction” theories of physiology has been repurposed to denote a specific product of digestion.]
2454. another respiratory organ, a sort of supplemental lung . . . the cuticle, or skin
[Don’t laugh too hard. When I was growing up, “breathing through your skin” was still taught as fact.]
2457. there would be nothing to supply the immense and constantly recurring waste
[Mrs. Beeton toggles between two meanings of “supply”, depending on her current source. This is the second one: not “give or provide” X, but “fill the gap created by” X.]
2497. REARING BY HAND.
[In spite of the long discussion of wet-nurses in the Servants chapter, Isabella Beeton knew perfectly well that a wet-nurse was beyond most middle-class women’s means. (It was more affordable if the baby was farmed out to live with the nurse for a year or two—an option the BOHM never even mentions, possibly because of its staggeringly high death rate.) Babies that couldn’t be breast-fed were raised “by hand”, which meant spoon-feeding or one of the recently developed bottles. Ready-made baby formulas were still a few years away; celebrity chemist Justus von Liebig produced the first one in 1867. Isabella Beeton’s last child was presumably “hand-reared”.]
2513. ending, unless the head is quickly relieved, in death
[The idea that teething in and of itself could cause death remains a minor head-scratcher among modern-day medical writers.]
2518. We shall say nothing in this place of “rickets,”
[That’s just as well. In 1861, anything said about rickets—or any other deficiency disease—could only have been factually incorrect.]
the gum should be cut . . . thus
[Since she has just got through saying that this procedure “must” be performed by a medical man, these procedural details are a bit worrying. One looks in vain for a “Do Not Try This At Home” label.]
2525. a thin glairy tissue
[“Glair” or “glaire” (noun) is technically the white of an egg. When Mrs. Beeton’s sources use the adjective “glairy”, they are generally describing liquids—including albumen itself.]
2535. half a teaspoonful of steel wine
[“Steel wine” is wine infused with steel or iron filings; see Sources for one recipe. You will be relieved to learn that the stuff is to be filtered before use.]
2545. under the cuticle
[Reminder: The word “cuticle” means skin.]
2563. When . . . there is much nausea . . . give the patient an emetic
[Fun fact: The expression “coals to Newcastle” was first documented in 1661—exactly 200 years before this part of the BOHM was first published.]
2568. Croup . . . most frequently commences in the night
[Take a drink: this detail is really true.]
2575. Dalby’s Carminative (the best of all patent medicines)
[Like all good patent medicines, its active ingredients included opium: a comparatively modest ¼ grain in two ounces (a proportion of about 1:4000). The equally popular Godfrey’s Cordial—mentioned disapprovingly in the next chapter—contained four times as much.]
Reminder: Do Not Try This At Home. If you enjoyed the previous chapter’s drinking game, feel free to repeat it.
As explained in the Preface, this chapter was written by “an experienced surgeon”. When the BOHM first came out (1859–1861), England had only just joined the rest of the planet by consolidating medicine and surgery. So an experienced surgeon could only be one who had come up by the non-professional, apprenticeship route. The distinction is important, because the “Doctor” chapter is primarily about dealing with emergencies. The most appropriate source of information would then be a surgeon—the one who traditionally got his hands dirty, while the physician sat back and wrote out prescriptions.
This and the preceding chapter—and probably much of the rest of the BOHM—was swiped for an 1873 American book, The Household Cyclopædia of Practical Receipts and Daily Wants by one Alexander V. Hamilton. In his version, “The medical advice and prescriptions . . . are from the careful pen of an experienced physician.” Who, presumably, didn’t see a penny from publishers on either side of the Atlantic.
Extras in this chapter:
A final reminder for Americans: “be sick” means to throw up.
2578. a series of papers; 2579. this series of articles
[That sounds as if the chapter was not, in fact, written for the present book, but was lifted by the Editress from some popular magazine. By this point in the book, this idea should surprise nobody.]
2595. Abernethy’s Plan for making a Bread-and-Water Poultice.
[With this, we meet yet another source. Jabez Hogg—the same who gave us The Microscope—also wrote the Domestic Medical and Surgical Guide. Or, to give the book its full and glorious title: The Domestic Medical and Surgical Guide, for the Nursery, the Cottage, and the Bush: Giving the Best Advice, in the Absence of a Physician or Surgeon in Cases of Accident or Sudden Illness Useful to Families, Emigrants, Travellers, Missionaries, Village Clergymen, and Sea Captains.]
2596. Linseed-Meal Poultice.
[Hogg’s Medical Guide again.]
2605. cut in a gently curved direction, thus
[Oops. In the source, the word “thus” is followed by a drawing of a curved line.]
2606. It has been recommended, for what supposed advantages we don’t know, to bleed people when they are lying down. Should a person, under these circumstances, faint, what could be done to bring him to again?
[TV Tropes would classify this as Insane Troll Logic.]
2607. especially those of a sanguineous temperament
[Consider this a dead giveaway that Isabella Beeton’s original source was very, very old. The term “sanguineous” (more often “sanguine” or “sanguinary”) puts us in the realm of the four humors, the others being “choleric”, “phlegmatic” and “melancholy”. Admittedly, you do not often meet a phlegmatic child.]
2610. The Bites or Stings of Insects
[And now the good news. The mythical “spider bite”—the modern-day physician’s explanation for any bump or spot of unknown origin, much to the aggravation of arachnologists everywhere—had not yet been invented. Take a drink.]
2612. 60 grains of lunar caustic
[Why doesn’t she just say a dram, then?]
2625. To Cure a Cold.
[Did Englishwomen read Godey’s Lady’s Book? The very idea seems heretical—especially if you were married to the publisher of the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine—but this is only the first in a cluster of BOHM passages that all come back to a single 1854 article. See Sources for how it all fit together.]
2632. Howard, the celebrated philanthropist
[In the 19th century, some people seemed to get descriptive phrases glued to them, to the point where it became impossible to utter their names unmodified (like “damn Yankee” for a pre-2004 Bostonian). “Howard” is John Howard, prison reformer, 1726–1790. As with “To Cure a Cold”, my quest for sources led me to Godey’s Lady’s Book. In fact I couldn’t find any non-American sources at all. Perhaps the Godey’s subscription was in Samuel Beeton’s name, in an early version of I Just Read It For The Articles. See Sources for the evolution of this seemingly innocuous little paragraph.]
[Fair’s fair: by 1877, this passage from the BOHM had found its way into . . . drumroll . . . Godey’s Lady’s Book.]
2643. take plenty of exercise
[If you read enough descriptions of clinical hysteria, you will come away with an impression of upper-middle-class women who were literally going mad with boredom. Getting out of the house could only help.]
such as that described as “No. 1,” in previous numbers
[But numbers of what? The source remains unidentified.]
2645. advocated by Dr. Day . . . the late Sir Anthony Carlisle
[G. E. Day refers to “the late Sir Anthony Carlisle” in a medical article published in 1849. Since Carlisle died in 1840, this doesn’t say much for the average doctor’s awareness of recent events.]
2658. Calomel . . . has been occasionally known to destroy life.
[Reminder: Calomel was a popular ingredient in medicines of all kinds, including patent medicines and home remedies.]
2669. If there is the least appearance of inflammation, no time should be lost in applying a large bread-and-water poultice
[Moldy bread, by preference]
[This item, too, found its way into Godey’s in 1876. There are probably plenty of others.]
2673. At a recent meeting of the Boston Society of Natural History
[Can there be any doubt that this paragraph was also swiped from Godey’s? I find variants in American publications going back to 1850.]
2675. Persevere . . . with this treatment for seven or eight hours—in fact, till absolute signs of death are visible.
[Persevere with this chapter; there are only a few pages to go. In England, “absolute signs of death” is most likely to mean the onset of rigor mortis. In hotter climates, perceptible decomposition may come first. The presence or absence of a pulse does not seem to be a factor, either here or in the following paragraphs.]
2676. To recapitulate: Rub the body dry; take matters out of mouth; cover with blankets or clothes; slightly raise the head, and place the body in a warm bath, or on a bed in a warm room; apply smelling-salts to nose; employ artificial breathing
[By my count, artificial respiration is the seventh step in this list, counting the warm-bath and warm-room options as a single item. Only one of the preceding six (“take matters out of mouth”, or “Airway” in the ABC mnemonic) has anything to do with breathing.]
2678. the size of a sixpence
[In Isabella Beeton’s time, a sixpence was 19mm, about the size of a U.S. penny, or just a hair bigger than a modern (post-1990) 5p coin.]
2693. Necessity of good Ventilation in Rooms lighted with Gas.
[This is another of those articles that was reprinted here, there and everywhere. The BOHM version is a near-verbatim match for the one in, for example, The Principles of Physiology applied to the Preservation of Health by Andrew Combe.]
2695. any verbal statement
[The confusion of “verbal” with “oral” evidently goes back a long way.]
2705. The law on this point is one of glorious uncertainty
[According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable—which cannot be considered a 100% reliable source—this glorious phrase goes back to a toast uttered by one Mr. Wilbraham in 1756, to “the glorious uncertainty of the law”. In 1802 it was expanded by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (wearing his parliamentarian hat, not the dramatist one) to “The glorious uncertainty of the law was a thing well known and complained of, by all ignorant people, but all learned gentleman considered it as its greatest excellency.” Thanks to 19th-century rules about what is allowed to happen inside quotation marks, he may really have said it in the present tense.]
The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.