Some "very eminent authorities" assure us that many of the objects of our admiration in museums and in private collections are remnants of the furnishings of the common households of the olden times. If the breadth of knowledge of the "eminent authorities" is indicated by this assertion, they must have touched only the high places in history, so far as it records social conditions. The truth is that the household appurtenances which have survived to our time are mostly those of the few and not of the many, of the palace and mansion and not of the cot. These articles were costly then and they would be costly now, and very often quite as useless as costly. They were not found in the cottage of the older days, and they do not belong in the cottages of the present.
Nevertheless, many of these old designs exemplify the elementary essentials of furniture - good materials, gracefulness, and thorough workmanship. These are qualities that are to be sought for the cottage as well as for the mansion; and while they may add to the purchase cost of the separate articles, it is possible to secure them at no great increase for the whole over the cheaper goods, provided we guard against the common error in housefurnishing - overpurchasing.