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The Work and Duties of a Housemaid - Wages - Dress - Daily Time-table - Special Work Mending, Renovating, etc.
The work of the housemaid seems to be popular in spite of the wages being lower than those of a cook or parlourmaid. Usually a head housemaid receives about £23 to £30; under-housemaid, £16 to £10; single housemaid, £18 to £22 per annum.
The correct dress for housemaids is, in the morning, a neat, light-coloured print dress, simple cap, and large white apron, with a coarser one to tie over the latter while grates, etc., are being cleaned. In the afternoon she should change into a black dress, turned-down collar and cuffs of irreproachable whiteness, and muslin cap and apron of rather more elaborate pattern. In some cases the maids wear a uniform, the morning dresses being all of one colour; also the afternoon ones and the caps and aprons all of one pattern. These would be provided by the mistress, but the usual print and black dresses, etc., the maid herself provides.
The duties of a house-parlourmaid have already been discussed, but in small establishments, where no boy is kept and there are young children, the housemaid cleans the children's boots and carries coal to the nursery.
If there is a schoolroom and no special schoolroom-maid kept, the housemaid takes the entire charge of the department, cleaning the room, laying any meal served upstairs, waiting on the schoolroom party, etc.; and frequently the housemaid is engaged to take and fetch any of the children attending school or special classes.
It is most important that a housemaid should be methodical and punctual, be an carly riser, clean and neat in work and person. The" health and comfort of the family depend greatly on how conscientiously the housemaid airs rooms and beds, and how much consideration she pays to the individual whims of the occupants. To be really valuable, a housemaid should be skilful with her needle, because if she plans out her day's work cleverly she should have leisure to take her share in mending, renovating, and patching the household linen. This will save the mistress of the house much time and trouble.
A cook and parlourmaid kept also - A town house of medium size - A family of four persons,
6.30 a.m. - Go downstairs, open shutters, etc. Sweep and dust drawing-room, sweep stairs, call family, take up hot water, tea, boots, and letters.
8 a.m. - Have kitchen breakfast.
8.30 a.m. - Open bedroom windows, strip beds, do bedroom china; dust stairs, make beds, do grates, sweep and dust bedrooms.
10 a.m. - Do special work for the day.
1 p.m. - Put hot water in bedrooms. Have kitchen dinner; tidy bedrooms. Change dress. Help to clear dining-room lunch if required. Be ready to answer front door while parlourmaid dresses. Do needlework and light duties.
4 p.m. - Help prepare kitchen tea; have tea, and clear it away.
6 p.m. - Tidy bedrooms. Close house, and light bedroom fires, according to the season of the year.
7.30 p.m. - Put hot water in bedroom; help ladies to dress if required. Assist parlourmaid to wait at table.
8 p.m. - Prepare bedrooms for the night. Have supper.
9.30 or 10 p.m. - Put hot water in bedrooms. See to fires. Bed.
Collect, sort, and count linen for laundry. Clean dining-room and housemaid's closet.
Clean two bedrooms. Mend house linen.
Clean bedroom and brasses.
Clean library and morning-room; clean gas globes, lamps, etc.
Clean bathroom, lavatory; and pay special attention to stairs.
Count, air, and put away clean linen. Turn out own room. Clean silver.