Resources for Life

It is said that soon after the publication of Nicholas Nickleby, not fewer than six Yourkshire schoolmasters (or rather six principals of Yorkshire institutes) took journeys to London, with the express purpose of presecuting Dickens for libels – “each one and severally” considering himself shown up to the world as Mr. Squeers of Dotheboys Hall.

Now, if Dickens had drawn as graphic a picture of Dothegirls Hall, we firmly believe that none of the lady pricipals of similar institutes would have committed themselves by evincing so little tact, and adopting such impoltic proceedings. They would wisely have held back from all appropriation of the obnoxious character, a passed it over unnoticed; as if it could not possibly have the slightest reference to them.

Therefore we wish that those of our fair readers whom certain hints in the following pages may awaken to the consciousness of a few habitual misbehavements, (of which they were not previously aware,) should pause, and reflect, before they allow themselves to “take umbrage too much.” Let them keep in mind that the purpose of the writier is to amend, and not offend; to improve her young country-women, and to to annyoy them. It is whith this view only that she has been induced to “set down in a note-book” wuch lapses from les bienseances as she has remarked during a long course of observation, and on a very diversified field.

She trusts that her readers will peruse this book in as friend a spirit as it was written. ~Eliza Leslie.

 This is the preface from Eliza Leslie’s The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners; or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book (Philadelphia, 1864)  Her guidance not only covers individual behaviour, but also how to prepare the room or home for different occasions. This includes a suggestion of opening the window sashes in the summer for tea.

Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Resources for Life

The second new series for the year will appear on Thursdays where we will look at Resources for Life. Each post will include a short passage that I think will be helpful for life in the 19th century as well as information on the resource it came from. This will be a text only series because I want to encourage people to read and go read some more. My hope is this will spur some new research directions or give those of you who are heavy researchers a moment to take a mental breath. (I will do my best to keep this series going as millinery season then summer arrive.)

To start off….

Anyone who has read my blog or articles for a time knows I am a big fan of Eliza Leslie’s writings. She covers numerous topics including cooking, domestic care and personal/societal behavior. As she is a favorite who is very easy to follow, we shall start with her.

To Iron Silk – Silk cannot be ironed smoothly so as to press out all creases, without first sprinkling it with water and rolling it up tightly in a towel – letting it rest for an hour or two. If the iron is the least too hot it will injure the colour, and it should first be tried on an old piece of the same silk.

Bright coloured silks or ribbons, such as pinks, blues, yellows, greens, &c., always change colour on the application of an iron. Blacks, browns, olives, gray, &c., generally look very well after ironing.

Silks should always be ironed on the wrong side.

To Shrink New Flannel – New Flannel should always be shrunk or washed before it is made up, that may be cut out more accurately, and that the grease which is used in manufacturing it may be extracted. First, cut off the list along the selvage edges of the whole piece. Then put it into warm (but not boiling) water, without soap. Begin at one end of the piece, and rub it with both hands till you come to the other end. This is to get out the grease, and the blue with which new white flannel is always tinged. Then do the same through another water. Rinse it rinse it through a clean lukewarm water; wring it lengthways, and stretch it well. In hanging it out on a line do not suspend it in festoons, but spread it along the line straight and lengthways. If dried in festoons, the edges will be in great scollops, making it very difficult to cut out. IT must be dried in the sun. When dry, let it be stretched even, clapped with the hands, and rolled up tight and smoothly, till wanted.

Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A  Manual of Domestic Economy, Philadelphia, 1850.

This book is packed full of information on how to care for and clean around the house as well as how to care for the ill and carve at the table. You will see slight variations of this book.

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 1:03 am  Leave a Comment