I remember something my dear old mother told me of certain upheavals in her own kitchen long ago, somewhere in the forties. Hers was almost the first house in Washington into the kitchen of which running water was introduced. And what was the consequence? All her colored maid-servants threatened to leave; they wanted the fun of gossiping daily at the town pump. She lived to see servants wanting to depart when water had to be carried from the faucets of the kitchen only as far as the wooden wash-tubs set up on benches four feet away. So it is that the pendulum of progress swings.

Gloomy kitchens below stairs can always be treated with fresh white paint, and white linoleum floors. Yellow could be introduced into the wood-work. There is nothing like paint for transforming kitchens and pantries. Of course dust will come, and another year the kitchen will be as shabby as before, but there is always more paint to be had. Of course, too, many women will feel the annual renovations of their kitchens a burden, - women to whom new papers upstairs would seem objects worthy of sacrifice.

Kitchens 30Kitchens 31Kitchens 32Kitchens 33Kitchens 34

But one-sided views as to the obligations of human relations are apt to prevail, especially in domestic affairs; and there are no views, it seems to me, so absolutely and hopelessly one-sided as those which refuse to recognize the servants' quarters as part of a mistress's domain; as standing for her as much as her drawing-rooms do, whether her servants appreciate her efforts or abuse her privileges. Neither the appreciation nor the abuse has anything to do with the question of her obligation. If a house is to stand for the man or woman at the head of it, every part of that house is to be made representative. This rule holds good in all art. To have the facade of a house beautiful and the rear tawdry and cheap, or, if I may be pardoned the repetition of a time-worn joke, to have "a cottage with a Queen Anne front and a Mary Ann back," is the most reprehensible form of architectural expression; to have a pretty and cheerful drawing-room, and an ill-appointed, dreary kitchen, is to disobey a similar code. Another way in which the codes are violated is the use made at times of the front basement room as a dining-room. Now and then this use is obligatory, as when a back parlor, for instance, has to be used as a doctor's office. When this is the case, nothing can be said; I refer rather to instances where people do not stop to think, and who fancy that they are saving themselves and the servants trouble by dining in the front basement. In reality they are depriving their maids of a place for recreation; and, curiously enough, the pleasure-lovers of life are not those who err oftenest in this direction, but the people with no well-defined social relations of their own, or who consider questions of economy only. People of fashion never descend to the basement for a meal, and in New York it has become part of a recognized code to make the front basement into a sitting-room for the servants, arranging it with as much taste as possible. In smaller towns away from the fashionable centres, one finds, unhappily, another rule prevailing.

If, as I said before, the lower one descends in the scale of social importance or of wealth the more the kitchen is in evidence, so the higher one ascends in the scale of magnificence the less it is apparent, and the more perfectly it is appointed. The kitchens of the newer modern houses are filled with conveniences of which our grandmothers never dreamed. The walls are covered with white glazed tiles, finished at the ceiling with a conventional border, sometimes green, sometimes blue, also of the tiling. The floor is of cement or unglazed tiles. Hygienic principles are nowhere neglected. No corners are left for dust, no cracks are there where insects or microbes can lodge. About the edge of the room, where the floor joins the wall, and where ordinarily a sharp angle is made, the tiling is curved so that a wet cloth wipes everything away. The refrigerators are tiled; so are the cold-rooms, meat-closets, and pantries; shelves are of thick bevelled glass; in the wine-cellars, when wire is not used, terracotta receptacles are made for the bottles. The hose may be used in all parts of these kitchens without injury. No wash-tub, of course, appears - the laundry is often at the top of the house, or the clothes are taken away to be laundered. Thus everything is arranged for cleanliness, but no result is obtained in the way of good taste which is not possible to the owners of the simplest and most unpretentious of kitchens.

Kitchens 35