In a small establishment the only servant who is likely to be hard-worked, and therefore deserving of special consideration, is the single-handed cook. I am all in favour of beginning life with a young cook who has been kitchen-maid in a good kitchen, and who is willing to let even her inexperienced mistress be housekeeper, regulating expenditure and diminishing dining-room luxuries, as what can perfectly be done without is what swells the weekly books. There is no economy in stinting the daily food, either for the dining-room or the servants. Servants who come to a certain class of master and mistress look upon good feeding as their due just as much as sheets to sleep in or the wages which are handed to them quarterly. A lower class of modern servant clings to having her wages paid monthly. This request should be yielded to as little as possible, as it tends to make saving more difficult, and saving is specially desirable for domestic servants, who, with unaccustomed luxury, have much in their daily life which undermines their moral sense. One of the best ways of easing the cook in her work is the foreign method of servants having their meals after they come out of the dining-room. Servants' breakfast must either be before or at the same time as the dining-room. Luncheon at 1.30, and sent out as quickly as possible, gives the servants their dinner. If the master's dinner is after 8 o'clock it comes very hard on the servants, as it makes their supper so late. Reducing the number of courses (by which I mean having the food brought up at the same time, more in the style, though mercifully reduced in quantity, of the suppers of our great-grandfathers) is conducive to health, an actual economy, and gives the cook less to dish up and wash up. A foreign fashion introduced of late, and becoming almost universal in England, is the serving coffee after luncheon, which servants now copy by having tea after their dinner. Both really injure digestion, but tea is far the most unwholesome, and chemically turns meat into lumps of iron, the justification, though they don't realise why, of the male hatred of' high tea'; consequently, this habit of tea after dinner will only increase the almost universal dyspepsia. The teetotalling propaganda has much to answer for, so difficult is it in life not to fall from Scylla into Charybdis, and now tea is adding its poison to the alcohol which has so fatally undermined the health of our towns and villages. A friend of mine told me the other day that the doctor said that half his patients on her large estate in the North of England were due to excessive tea drinking. This is owing, as in Ireland where the madhouses are half filled by tea-drinkers, to the stewing of the tea leaves. Low diet makes the poison much more active : this obliges non-meat eaters, to the great surprise even of themselves, to renounce tea-drinking altogether, even when the leaves are quickly infused. Keeping servants up at night makes early rising an impossibility. The young couple must decide which they prefer. The lady must study books, go to stores to learn quality of goods and their prices, and not be ashamed to ask the advice of her contemporaries, which is generally more valuable from those that are poorer, than from those that are richer, than herself.

A short experience will teach us that, broadly speaking, our friends are divided into two classes - those who complain much of their poverty and the expense of everything, and those who apparently live in the lap of luxury, stinting neither themselves nor their servants, and who yet maintain that their books are lower than seems possible from any reasonable calculation. This may be the result of some different method of keeping accounts, or that the house is run by some very experienced housekeeper, cook or man-servant, or governess, who gets the uttermost farthing out of every bargain. And the economy is further magnified by the lady herself, who, in giving a sketch of her ordinary expenditure, frequently omits some important item. Such friends are apt to send us home in a very depressed state of mind, which is not without use, for it rouses us out of our own carelessness. In the case of a cook without a kitchen-maid an ordinary dinner cannot be well served, even for a small party, without some outside assistance, and I think it would be better in London to try to find a girl who lives at home, and who would be glad to make money and be willing to come in on certain occasions, than the usual old and experienced charwoman, who takes her own line, instead of submitting to the training of the young cook. Many young girls on leaving the Board schools might be quite willing to do some work which does not oblige them to leave their homes. All assistance of this kind is a growing difficulty; the bridging of a gap between what are called the respectable poor, and the class just below them, still remains a curiously unsolved problem. We are always hearing of people so poor that they must be supported by charity, whose children are now educated in the national schools in a way that should fit them to become under-servants and supply an ever-increasing demand throughout the country, and yet it is more difficult to get under-servants than ever. The expense of occasional outside assistance in the kitchen will be very inconsiderable, and if the young couple frequently dine out the cook will have many evenings to herself. The cook and the man-servant should not both be out at the same time. In the kind of household I am attempting to describe it is certainly in the food department that with care the greatest saving can be made without discomfort or parsimony. The young housekeeper must feel that this depends on herself, and need not feel ashamed to take to heart the words of Socrates : 'I am distinguished from others and superior to others by this character only, that I am conscious of my own ignorance,' and so naturally to be aware of our own lack of knowledge is the first step towards a better state of things. A constant acquiring of knowledge is the one thing that redeems housekeeping from being intolerably uninteresting; without this its daily monotony is very trying to many characters. I heard the other day of a lady who said she was getting rid of her cook for no fault, but merely because she was so tired of seeing the same face every day. I do not believe that sort of feeling would come over anyone who tried daily to teach her cook something.