Saturday, 28 May 2016

24 July 1880 - 'Tasty Dishes Quickly Prepared' by Phillis Browne

At least the recipe for "quick" beef tea at the end of this article does involve actually cooking it, unlike other recipes given elsewhere in the G.O.P. 

 One reason why the French are so superior to us as cooks is that they do not object to give both time and trouble to the preparation of their dishes. If only educated English girls would follow their example and give time, care, and forethought to cookery in their own homes, we should have many a father and brother strong and hearty who now looks white and delicate; we should have less waste in our kitchens, less bad temper in our families, and, I really believe, more thankfulness in our hearts.

Therefore when you see that I am going to speak about preparing dishes quickly, please do not imagine that I am recommending you to cook in a hurry. Things done hurriedly are generally done badly. It is my conviction that the time which a girl devotes to cookery is well and wisely spent.

Nevertheless there are occasions when it is necessary that our food should be quickly prepared, and it is for occasions of this kind that these recipes are given.

A friend of mine, a very clever housekeeper, once told me that for fifteen years she had never been without a neck of mutton in the house. Her husband was in business, and was in the habit of coming home hungry at unexpected time. She found that so many excellent and varied dishes could be made out of a neck of mutton, that she always had one hanging in her larder. She did not allow the butcher to joint it because it kept better whole, so that part of the business was done at home when required. The scrag end and the ends of the ribs were cooked separately, made into Irish stew or toad-in-the-hole, or hotch-potch or mutton broth. The best end alone was preserved for cutlets.

If mutton cutlets are bought ready trimmed at a shop the butcher will ask a very high price for them; indeed I have known people pay 1s 4d per pound for mutton cutlets. And they are very easily trimmed by those who can handle a small saw. The chine bone has to be removed, and also a piece about an inch and a half wide from the end of the rib bones. The flat bones which are on the meaty fillet of the neck are pared away, and the joint is separated into cutlets, one of which is cut with a bone and one without. The cutlets are then neatly trimmed, and a little of the fat is pared away from the end of the bone, leaving it bare a little way. When all this is done the cutlets are ready to be cooked.

Perhaps the best way of preparing cutlets is to broil them. For directions for cooking them thus I must ask you to refer to the paper on broiling which was given a little while ago. Well broiled cutlets are tender and full of flavour. If there is time to mash a few potatoes or to dress vegetables of any kind to serve with them, so much the better. The dressed vegetables may be piled in the centre of a hot dish, and the cutlets may be placed round them, one leaning on another. All vegetables after being cooked are improved by being shaken over the fire with a slice of butter before being sent to table.

If the fire is not in good condition for broiling, the cutlets may be cooked in a frying-pan as follows. Sprinkle a little pepper and salt on the cutlets. Rub a thick slice of stale crumb of bread through a sieve to make fine bread crumbs. Beat an egg in a plate, and brush the cutlets entirely over with it. Put the bread crumbs on a sheet of paper, lay the egged cutlets upon them on e at a time, and shake the corners of the paper, so as to toss the crumbs over the cutlets. Melt a slice of butter or dripping in a perfectly clean frying-pan, lay the cutlets in it, and cook them over a good fire. When the fat round them begins to get brown turn them over, and let them cook in the same way on the other side. Of course, we must remember not to stick a fork in the meat when we turn them.

Cutlets thus prepared may be made into different dishes by simply sending different sauces to table with them. Piquante sauce, for instance, is excellent. For this we make a quarter of a pint of melted butter in the usual way, and stir into it, at the last moment, four pickled gherkins that have been chopped quite small. A little of this sauce may be laid over each cutlet.

Melted butter is one of those things that every one knows how to make, and that is scarcely ever made well. Perhaps I may stop to describe how I think it should be made. It is a good plan to keep a very small stewpan specially for making sauces. An enamelled or tin stewpan will do excellently, although when it can be had, a porcelain stewpan is the best, because it can be cleaned so easily. I have a small porcelain stewpan that will hold three-quarters of a pint, and it has been in use a long time. Only I may say that I take charge of it myself, and am as careful about it as if it were a diamond ring. If it had been left to a careless servant it would have been broken long ago.

Melt an ounce and a half of butter in the stewpan, and draw the pan back and mix with it one ounce of flour. Beat flour and butter together until the mixture is quite smooth; then add, a little at a time, half-a-pint of cold water, and stir the sauce over the fire till it boils. Let it boil for three minutes, and it is ready. If liked, an ounce, instead of an ounce and a half of butter, may be used, or half good dripping and half butter may be taken.

Another very good sauce is made by chopping a moderate-sized onion till very small, and tossing it on the fire in a small stewpan with a small piece of butter for two or three minutes. When it is soft, and before it is at all coloured, pour over it a wineglassful of vinegar, and add an equal quantity of either stock or water. Simmer together for about five minutes, and add pepper and salt and a teaspoonful of mushroom ketchup, if liked. This sauce should be served in a tureen instead of being poured over the cutlets.

Perhaps it will be seen as if there were so many little details to attend to in the preparation of these dishes that they could scarcely be quickly prepared. But when the process is understood so that we can go on from one thing to another without waiting, and especially if we can arrange that bread crumbs can be passed through the sieve and gherkins or onions chopped beforehand, the work is soon done, and the result is decidedly satisfactory.

A broiled rump steak may also be quickly prepared, and if well cooked is sure to be enjoyed. It may be served without sauce, and is an excellent dish. Full directions for preparing it will be found in the paper on broiling.

Amongst homely dishes quickly prepared, what are called Scotch collops hold a foremost place. For this it is necessary only to have a little tender steak; buttock steak will answer the purpose excellently. Trim away all the fat and skin, and mince it finely. Dissolve a slice of butter or good beef dripping in a stewpan, put in the mince, and stir it well over the fire to prevent its gathering in lumps. In about eight minutes dredge a little flour over it, add gravy, or wanting this, water boiling hot, to moisten it. Season with pepper and salt, simmer a minute longer, and serve very hot. Mashed potatoes is a very good accompaniment to this dish also.

When good, fresh eggs are at hand they can quickly be transformed into an agreeable dish. There are said to be six hundred different way of serving an egg. I cannot answer  for the truth of that, but I know that omelettes can be made of eggs, and that is praise enough. Omelettes are convenient preparations, too, because they can be varied to such an extent, and they are cheap, wholesome, and delicious. It is a very great pity that they are not more common amongst us, and yet somehow everyone seems afraid of making them. Let me advise you to try them. If you can make a plain omelette you can make every other kind, and then you need never be at a loss to furnish an elegant and delicious dish in a few minutes.

You will be very much more likely to succeed in making omelettes if you do not attempt very large ones. Three eggs will make a very good sized omelette. Also keep a little pan especially  for the purpose; and never allow it to be washed; when it is done with let it be scraped and rubbed clean with a cloth, and wipe it out again with a cloth before using it. If it is washed the next omelette that is made for it will be a failure. The pan should be about six inches across, and can be bought for less than a shilling.

Break the eggs first into a cup, then into a basin, and season them with pepper and salt. Beat them lightly for three or four seconds and keep beating till the last moment. Whilst doing so, let the omelette pan be on the fire with about two ounces of fresh butter in it. AS soon as the butter froths turn the eggs into the pan, and stir them very quickly with a wooden spoon. When they begin to thicken raise the pan at one end, and keep the omelette at the lowest side till it is brown, moving the outside edges with the spoon. Turn it over quickly and put it on a hot dish. The outside should be a golden brown, and the inside should be quite soft, and the omelette should be a long oval shape. It can be made in two or three minutes. This seems simple enough, I dare say. So it is when once "the knack of it" is acquired. But there is quite an art in making an omelette, and this art can only be gained with practice.

Eggs, seasoned with pepper and salt, and cooked thus, form a plain omelette. If sweetened with sugar and flavoured with a few drops of vanilla, it would be a sweet omelette. If mixed with a teaspoonful of chopped parsley, and a piece of shallot the size of a pea, boiled, then chopped to dust, it would be savoury omelette. If gravy were poured round, we should have omelette with gravy. If the green points of boiled asparagus, or green peas were mixed with the eggs we should have omelette with asparagus, or omelette with green peas. If a dessert spoonful of grated cheese were added to the eggs, and a little more sprinkled on the top, we should have cheese omelette; or if a cooked sheep's kidney were cut into dice and mixed with the eggs, there would be omelette with kidneys; if a little jam (apricot jam is the kind usually preferred) were introduced into the centre, there would be apricot omelette; and if the flesh of tomatoes freed from skin and seeds were mixed with the eggs, there would be omelette with tomatoes.

When it is wished that food should be quickly prepared, tinned provisions are particularly valuable. I know quite well that a strong prejudice exists against these meats in many quarters, and I think the feeling is a little unreasonable. Of course I do not maintain that tinned meat, even when served in perfection, is as good as a freshly broiled rump steak; but I do say that it is an advantage, especially for those who are likely to have unexpected calls upon their resources, to have in the house one or two varieties of preserved food. This food does not spoil with keeping; and it will always be at hand when wanted. The only precaution that needs to be observed in buying it is to secure a good brand.

Tinned soups are especially excellent. The objection is frequently urged against them that they taste of the tin. This can be removed, however, by boiling fresh vegetables such as were likely to be used originally in flavouring the soup with a small quantity of fresh stock, and adding this with half a tea-spoonful of extract of meat, and a little brown thickening to the contents of the tins, and then making all hot together. By this means not only will the "tinny" taste be removed, and the flavour of the soup will be revived, but its quantity will be increased, and it will be made to "go further."

Tinned vegetables on the other hand are improved by having a little sugar put with them when they are made hot, while, in addition, peas can have a sprig of mint, or mixed vegetables a bunch of parsley, put into the saucepan with them. Tinned apricots and peaches can have a drop of almond flavouring added to the syrup. By the help of little manoeuvres of this kind food can be made to taste very much like fresh good tinned food.

Before I close I must say one word about making beef tea quickly. I am a great believer in good beef tea. Whenever any of my friends get below par, and take cold quickly and are generally out of sorts, I always feel a desire to make them take twice or three times a day, and in addition to their ordinary food, a cupful of good, strong beef tea. I mean good home-made beef tea, made from the roll of the bladebone of beef, and tasting as if it would give energy and strength.

It takes time, however, to make beef tea like this, and sometimes the tea is wanted quickly. When this is the case, take half a pound of lean juicy meat - the roll of the bladebone is the best part for this purpose - and trim away both fat and skin. Cut the meat into very small pieces, sprinkle a little salt over it, and pour upon it a small tumblerful of cold water. Bring it to the boil, stirring it all the time; ;et it simmer for five minutes, and it is ready to serve.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

17 July 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

MARION - We thank you for your long kind letter so full of appreciation of our paper. We feel much sympathy with you in the very difficult position in which you are placed, and feel anxious in giving you advice, lest you should lose your situation from acting upon it. But we can only tell you what we should do under similar circumstances. A line must be drawn somewhere in your endurance of disrespect and the defiance of your rightful authority; or you cannot do your duty by your employers nor by your young charges. Rude words may be punished in many ways without your making a formal complaint to the parents; but to rude actions - such as striking, scratching, etc. - you would do wrong to submit. Take an opportunity when both father and mother are together, and in a quiet, yet firm, manner tell them you wish to lay certain matters before them, and to ask their advice and their assistance; that you are bound in honour to give notice, as a duty owed to them as well as to yourself, if unable to sustain your authority and to make yourself respected, for that you must train the children in morals, as well as merely teach them lessons. Say you cannot tolerate the children laying hands on you and that you must ask them to interfere on any such occasion. Perhaps you had better write a letter to this effect, stating all in as few words as possible, and very kindly and respectfully. Should you do so, let us hear the results.

HENRIETTE - 1. It is not at all necessary to introduce people who meet you to the friend walking with you. 2. The younger, or unmarried person, or inferior in rank or position, should be introduced to the older or more important person. 3. We cannot tell you what openings may exist at Dundee for employments of any kind.

ZETA - 1. The best remedy for low spirits is to attend to your digestion, and take care that the liver be not at fault; to be out a good deal, and to work in a garden, if you have a nice sunny one; to associate with cheerful companions of your own age; to occupy yourself continually in various useful ways, by which you can be of use to others, and endeavour to cheer them and help them, if old or out of health, over the monotony of enforced idleness. Try, in fact, to make it one of your objects in life to make someone else more happy. Never be idle for a moment, and take regular daily exercise without over fatigue. 2. The best modern history of England is Green's. 3. Painting, in all its branches, appears to be the art most in fashion at present. 4. A coil of plaits at the back of the head - now the style most in vogue - would be suitable for wear in riding, and out of the way of a hat.

IDA - You have fed the jackdaws quite properly. They will soon eat anything that you can, and many things that you can't. We think your writing is poor, and are glad you like THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

17 July 1880 - 'Nursing as a Profession' by S.F.A. Caulfield

 I am given to understand that many of the readers of this paper are anxious to obtain all the information that can be procured on the subject of nursing, with a view to its selection as their vocation in life. The task of writing an article on this question is one of some little difficulty. Although regarding it as a grand profession, and one supplied with a staff most inadequate in numbers for a population such as ours, I decline the responsibility of recommending it, or of dissuading those disposed to join its ranks. According to the rough calculation made, and that probably under the mark, "to nurse the sick of all England properly, twenty-five thousand trained nurses, officered by one thousand fully-trained lady-superintendents, are required." In such hands with the work to be done could be fairly proportioned.

Before supplying any information as to the schools and hospitals in which the requisite training can be obtained,  the individual qualifications for a nurse should be carefully considered. These may be classed as mental, moral, and physical; each and all being indispensible in a "probationer."

Under the mental and moral she must possess good temper, self-control, patience, punctuality, cheerfulness, and a willing obedience to those in authority over her. Under the physical, good health, good sight, a delicate touch, quickness of hearing, dexterous fingers, cleanliness, and suitability of age. A chronic cough, a heavy tread, a tendency to faint, or to attacks of hysterics, any description of deformity, or repulsiveness in appearance and expression, would disqualify a candidate for permanent employment as a nurse.

Furthermore, it is only fair to those having so arduous a calling in contemplation, to prepare them for loss of rest, painful scenes, and the necessity  for the performance of every office that one human being could perform for another, both to relieve suffering, and to render the surroundings of a sick bed as comfortable and cheerful as possible.

No "fine lady" who calls any charitable service "menial work" should adopt such a vocation. And besides the trial of performing personally repugnant and painful duties, the ill-temper, ingratitude, and fretfulness of her charge must all be anticipated, and accepted patiently, as a part of the sacrifice that a nurse has to make.

Nursing should not be lightly undertaken, nor merely as a means of obtaining a livelihood. A competence, a home, an interest in life, and in some cases a small pension, are to be found by the professional nurse, but certainly not a fortune.

Judging from those whom I have seen or known, they seem to be happy and contented, and even cheerful; yet with a certain amount of gravity, which an intimacy with so much suffering must inevitably produce. But the cheerfulness can be quite as naturally accounted for in the fact that, they are able to assuage that pain, to aid so much in the cures effected, and to comfort the sad and sorrowful. You may now weigh the blessedness of the work against all its trials and self-denials, and then deliberately make your decision.

The profession is divided into three departments - viz., District Nursing, Hospital Nursing, and Private Nursing. Thus the intending nurse has some choice permitted her in the description of work to be done, and the external circumstances with which she would prefer to be surrounded. Beginning with the first-named departments - giving, as I consider, the severest description of work - I cannot do better than quote from Florence Nightingale, when she describes the extra labour incumbent on the "district nurse," over and above the personal attendance / sick. For instance, she goes into a dirty, squalid-looking room, and before she can hope for any change  for the better in her patient, she must "recreate the home," and "show it clean for once; sweep and dust away; empty and wash out the dirt; air and disinfect; rub the windows, sweep the fireplace; carry out, shake, and replace the scraps of carpet; lay them down again, fetch fresh water, fill the kettle, wash the patient and the children, and make the bed." Besides this she must "bring such sanitary defects as produce sickness and death to the notice of the public officer whom it concerns."

Having shown the dark side of the picture, I proceed to tell that the district nurse is well cared for when she returns to the home provided for her, and the pleasant companionship of those who have selected the same honourable profession. I need not enter into particulars, as the intending nurse should visit the several institutions where training is to be obtained. Let her see the home for herself, learn its rules, and take a view of the prospect which would open before her, as a probationer in one of the twenty-two institutions that train for themselves, or supply other hospitals.

The "Institution for Nursing Sisters" in Devonshire-square, is the oldest of the kind, and was established in 1840. It provides no less than 20 districts each with a nurse free of charge, but untrained; and trained ones for those who can pay for their services.

With the "Metropolitan and National Association' for providing trained nurses for the poor (free of charge) I have had some acquaintance, for through the kindness of Miss Florence Lees, late Superintendent-General of the institution, I have inspected every part of the central home in Bloomsbury-square. The four branch homes connected with it are all governed by the same regulations. In these houses candidates reside for a month on trial, and if suitable are passed on to the Hospital Training School, as "nurse probationers," to receive a year's training in hospital nursing. They are then returned to the Central Home to be trained in "district nursing," receiving technical class instruction during a period of three months, when, if found satisfactory, they are entered on a register, and placed on the staff of the association. A member so enrolled is expected to continue in the service of the association for three years, three months' notice being given on either side, should a termination of the engagement be desired. Nurse candidates have to pay £5 on admission to the home, to cover the expense of her board, lodging, and washing during the month of trial.

For the year's training in St. Thomas's Hospital Training School the probationers pay £15 on admission, and £15 after six months of residence and training. For this she will have full board, 1s 6d a week for washing, a uniform dress, a separate furnished bed-room, and the use of a common sitting-room. The instruction is paid for out of the "Nightingale Fund," but in case of dismissal, or of voluntary withdrawal the cost will be charged.

When the probationer returns to the home, after the year's training, she will have to pay in advance £14 for three months' training in "district nursing," class instruction, books, full board, and extras; 2s 6d allowance weekly for washing; a separate room (or compartment), and the general sitting-room. Once fully trained, and on the staff of the association, the nurse receives a salary, payable quarterly, of £35  for the first year, £38  for the second, and so on, increasing by £3 yearly until the sixth year, when it will amount to £50 per annum, in addition to their uniform dress, full board, separate bed-room, washing, etc.

From giving a sketch of the terms on which the candidate enters the "Metropolitan Nursing Association," I will give a general idea of those of other institutions. The age at which a candidate is taken varies between twenty-five and forty. At St. Thomas's Hospital she enters as a "Nightingale probationer," at a rising salary, beginning at £10, with partial uniform; and her services are at the disposal of the committee for a period of four years. Here ladies may be trained on a payment of a £30 premium, and after one year will receive a salary rising from £25 to £50, but they are expected to give their service for four years.

At the Royal Free Hospital (Gray's Inn-road) the nursing is done by the "Training School of Protestant Nurses," of Cambridge-place, Paddington, and probationers begin with a salary equivalent to fourteen guineas, rising to £25. Here they give a three months' training at the rate of £1 15s per week, or £30 for one year. In this latter case they are required to give their services for a period of two years extra.

At the Middlesex Hospital lady pupils are receives for not less than six months at one guinea a week. Probationers begin with a salary of £12, rising to £18 after the first year, and then by £2 yearly up to £26.

At the London Hospital "nurse probationers" receive £12 on admission, rising to £21; but they are not promoted to be "sisters." These latter are educated women entering as "sister probationers," whose salary begins at £25 six months after their admission. Both these and the nurses are required to remain three years in the hospital.

At King's College and Charing Cross Hospitals, probationers receive £15 per annum and their uniform. They are bound for three years' service, an engagement renewable for another three years, with a rising salary. Both hospitals are nursed by the community of "St. John's House," Norfolk-street, Strand. Pupil nurses for district work or other institutions are trained for six months at the rate of £24 per annum. Ladies also are trained for not less than three months at a rate of £50 per annum.

At Westminster Hospital probationers begin with £16 per annum. If willing to pay £52 for their training, they are not required to remain there beyond it.

At University College Hospital nurses receive £16 per annum, and everything found for them.

St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, trains gentlewomen and nurses desirous of qualifying for public appointments, or private nursing for one year. If required by the matrons so to do, they remain for fifteen months. They serve then as assistant-nurses, and are paid at the rate of £10 and uniform. Those who pass this year of probation satisfactorily are entered in a register, and recommended for employment.

The Deaconess Institution and Training Hospital will train women of known religious character gratuitously, if they propose to become deaconesses; and will supply them as nurses to public institutions at £12 per annum. (The Green, Tottenham, N.) These have a branch institution at Mildmay Park, and a hospital at Poplar.

The Institution of Nursing Sisters, in Devonshire-square, supply's Guy's Hospital, where the annual salary of sisters amounts to £50 and dresses, and which has a Superannuation Fund for them.

Nurses are also trained at St. Bartholomew's and other institutions in town, including the Children's Hospital (Great Ormond-street), where lady pupils are received of from 21 to 35 years of age, at one guinea a week; and nurses of from 17 to 35 years at 7s 6d a week, for not less than six months. At the London North-Eastern Hospital ladies are received for training at a guinea a week.

In Edinburgh and Dublin, at Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Leeds, Winchester, Leicester, Rhyl, Nottingham, and elsewhere, training is to be obtained.

There are other descriptions of work connected with the profession of nursing, such as, for instance, tending the insane, into which it is not necessary that I should enter in this article. Were I to give my private opinion as to the nature of the work to be performed, in the three departments to which I have referred I should say that "district nursing" was the severest of all; hospital nursing ranking next, in the trying nature of its experiences; and private nursing the least troublesome, allowing, of course, for some exceptional cases.

I have only named a few of the training schools for intending probationers, amongst the twenty-two or more valuable institutions which exist in London or its suburbs. Of the "Bible and Domestic Female Mission" at 13, Hunter-street, of which Mrs. Ranyard was founder, I should have made a particular mention, but that our magazine is especially designed for young people, whereas the nurses connected with this missionary society are required to be nearly of middle age. Still, the young nurse may have this institution in view, as providing a sphere of usefulness for her of a two-fold character in her after life.

Of such a sacred vocation as that of nursing it may indeed be truly said that

"If it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."

Saturday, 21 May 2016

17 July 1880 - 'What Our Girls May Do' by Alice King

You may do anything that is good and proper and useful - except anything that men do, that would be wrong. 

We do not want to say what our girls may not do, because "may not" has a sound of the schoolroom about it which would take away from the pleasant freedom of the little chat we mean to have with our girls today. That our talk together may be more cheery and hearty we will ask our girls to fancy themselves sitting with us around the Christmas fire, with the frosty air outside filled with the glitter of stars and the melody of bells; or wandering through the summer woods, with their hands filled with honeysuckle and yellow pimpernel and musk-scented stork's-bill, with bird and brook making fair harmony hard by.

In the first place, our girls may try to do anything which is useful. They love to play at being useful from the time when they can first toddle, and they may begin to do it in earnest as soon as ever they are able. But how can we be useful, they will ask? They can begin very early to do a deal of good in their families by influencing their younger brothers and sisters, by keeping the rough word off the little boy's lips, by showing the tiny maiden that to be a Christian girl means to be as bright as the flowers, as full of their sweetness that spreads perfume round; is to be as pure as the dewdrop, as blithe as the skylark's song. The little ones are far more free n talk and manner with you than they are with elder people, and so you have opportunities with them which do not belong even to their mothers.

Our girls may also do much in the way of influencing their schoolboy brothers, and instilling into them reverence for womanhood. Girls are too much inclined to look upon it as a merit to give themselves up patiently to be teased by their brothers. Far from this, they should show them that even the sweetest tempered girl has a touch of queenliness about her, which demands a certain degree of careful, tender respect from men, which forbids rude acts and words in her presence. Thus will our lads learn early from their sisters the meaning of chivalry, and every woman whom they shall meet in their life's journey will bless those sisters for what they did long ago.

There is good work at home for our girls in giving a high, right tone of thought and feeling to young female servants. Girls, perhaps, are not aware how much their dress and manners form the dress and manners of the servants' hall and kitchen; and there is no truer saying than that servants grow like their mistresses. They should, therefore, endeavour to show any girls of a lower social rank than their own what is the meaning of modest grace, of Christian womanliness. They should seek to make them feel that they are their friends, and to win their confidence, so that they will tell them all their little troubles and difficulties, and let themselves be helped by the young ladies' superior intelligence and education. They should provide, as far as they can, rational amusements for them; they should send or take them to places of interest, Bible classes, and sewing parties.

A wide and beautiful field of work and influence opens before our girls as we take them to the doors of our Sunday-schools and bid them enter there. Here is a task that angels smile to look upon. Here is a garden in which seeds may be planted that will bring forth flower and fruit - first for man below, then for heaven above. Here are earnest young faces, who will catch their first ray of God's light from their teacher's eyes; and our girls, with their bright looks and pretty winning ways, are so much more able and likely to attract children than graver and older folks; their young fancies will find such congenial exercise in weaving Bible stories into word-pictures  for the little ones to gaze at and learn from; their fresh, brave, living courage will break down barriers of dullness, and make its way into sluggish brains, where other and more jaded teachers would fail. Yes, our girls are the God-appointed teachers of our English Sunday-schools.

This work of Sunday-school teaching may lead on our girls as they grow older, and, if they feel that they have real talent and love  for the business, to yet a broader and higher sphere of influence in keeping adult classes for men and women. What a light and a sweetness come into the daily life of mothers and maidens who are toiling along bearing a heavy burden made up of small pressing household cares and wants, when a sister, from a different station from their own, steps down to walk for a while at their side to cheer them with glance and word of sympathy.

The men, too, when they gather round their lady teacher, what refinement do they draw from mere contact with her gentle voice and manners - refinement that gradually colours their home lives, their intercourse with sweethearts and wives and daughters. How do they gradually learn to yield to her soft but queenly influence, and to be ashamed of coarse vices when they enter her presence. How ready do they grow to listen while she shows them the upward way - to follow her kindly yet steadfast leading. If our girls want work that will call out every noblest most earnest faculty of heart and soul, let them strive to train themselves for work like this.

We have dwelt thus on what our girls may do in different ways in the matter of influence, because in these days, when there is so much said and written about what women may and may not do, we do not think that our young ladies are sufficiently shown the beauty and the importance of what is woman's highest earthly mission - the mission of influence.

Sweet English girls, as you go forward in life never forget or waste this mighty power which lies in your hands, but hold and prize it as a solemn, precious trust from God; and use it so that one day your ears may hear with joy the blessed words, "Well done, good and faithful servants."

With regard to learning language, music, and drawing, we would tell our girls that they may most decidedly do any of these things if they have a talent for them, but that if they have no talent they had just as decidedly better leave them untried. There exists a sort of traditional belief in many respectable English families that all daughters of the house must be taught to play on the piano. We would advise our girls resolutely to strive to break down this notion; for by so doing they will spare the ears of friends and guests a deal of unmerited suffering, and will save for themselves much valuable time, which they can employ in things that they can really do with will and pleasure.

And we would strongly caution our girls against learning too many things at once, as a quick, vivid young female mind is always too apt to try to do; they should recollect  that the concentration of every faculty on one point has been the chief secret of all the greatest and best work that has been done in the world; that we make much more mark in society by doing one thing well than twenty things tolerably.

In these days, when literary work is so readily given to women, our girls may try their hand at composition in prose or verse, if they have a real talent for either; but we would emphasise that *if most strongly. We would caution our girls to be very severe with themselves on this point; for in the matter of authorship, nothing is easier than to fancy, especially if our minds are young and ardent, that our bits of coloured glass are real jewels. The path of literature is often at first an uphill, weary path, even for genius; and we would most earnestly warn our dear girls, as they value their own happiness, unless they are very sure that they have a decided call in a gift given by God for treading it, to pause before they enter upon it.

To go from intellectual work to work with the hands, needlework is a thing which every girl ought to do, and which never ought to be left out of female education. As for fancy work, that may be done by a girl in her hours of amusement if she does not waste too much time over it. In fancy work we do not of course include the beautiful art needlework of the present day, which needs just as much a special talent in those who undertake it as painting or music.

Our girls may do a deal of fair and excellent work for both God and man in visiting the sick and poor and aged. It will bring their sweet young lives into contact with gloom and sadness; but they may go fearlessly into those dark places, since Christian girls will carry with them there a lamp lit at the flame of the "Light of the world." Let them take their Bibles in their hands; let them speak boldly out of the words of eternal life in the homes of want and disease; let them add a few simple drops of sympathy that fall from their warm young hearts; and for those they seek to comfort and for themselves "it shall be well." Work of this sort may also lead them on in after life, if they form no  close ties, and if they have a real gift  for the task, to become sick nurses - a branch of female duty in which women with cultivated minds and soft ladies' hands and delicate ladies' tact are so needed.

If a girl has a liking for cookery she will be putting herself in the way of doing probable good work in her future by attending classes on the subject, and trying little experiments at home. In such interests there is nothing beneath the dignity of a lady; the woman who thinks there is must have more foolish pride in her than good sense. Health, and especially the health of men of sedentary employments, depends in a great measure, on the way in which food is prepared; women should remember that the preservation of health is no mean object. If it is to be a girl's fate to be the mistress of a family, where there is only a  limited income, skill in cookery may prove a real blessing to all around her.

In conclusion, we would say to our girls one earnest warning word about what they may not do. They may not do any of those things which make them imitators of men; they may not try to break down the God-appointed fence which divides their departments in the world's great workshop from the departments of men; by so doing they only lose their own queenliness without gaining a single ray of male royalty in its place. Let our girls aim at being nothing but women - noble, brave, broad-hearted women - active alike with mind and hands; strong, earnest workers for God and man, and theirs shall be a fair and radiant story, that shall grow ever brighter and yet more bright.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

3 July 1880 - 'How Girls are Presented at Court' by Ardern Holt

For a story about presentation at court written by one such girl from her own perspective, please click here for part one and here for part two. And because Tumblr has eaten the scans of the illustrations from La Petite's first-hand account of presentation, I have re-scanned and added them here. :) Although as an edit to the edit on one of those pages - I'm now not certain whether the illustration is of La Petite, as the description of the dress doesn't match (it's lilacs instead of La Petite's lilys of the valley). But it's still a good depiction of the general costume mandated. 


Her Majesty generally holds four Drawing-rooms in the course of the year; two before Easter, two after, and seldom later than the month of May. As a rule, young ladies are presented by their mothers. Even if they are only presented themselves  for the first time the same day as their daughters, it is still en regle that they should make the presentation. But it is necessary - absolutely necessary - that the lady who undertakes the duty shall be present at the same Drawing-room, though she may not even see the young girl, and, except in the case of relatives, they rarely go together, and do not for a moment think of passing the Royal presence together. In asking any lady to make a presentation to Her Majesty it must be recognised as a great kindness and favour, for she is personally responsible. Unmarried ladies do not exercise the privilege of making presentations.

As soon as it is determined at which Drawing-room the young lady is to make her debut, the mode of proceeding is as follows. A card is sent in to the Chamberlain's office, Stable Yard, St. James's, on which is written the name of the person to be presented and the person presenting, thus: 'Miss Smith, by her mother, Mrs. Smith," accompanied by a letter from Mrs. Smith giving necessary particulars as to address, etc., and saying that it is her intention to be present at the Drawing-room of the date fixed. This must be done two clear days at least before the Drawing-room. The names having been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, on application at the same office, two pink presentation cards will be given, on which must be most legibly written, as before, "Miss Smith by her mother, Mrs. Smith," and these must be taken to the palace. One will be given to the page-in-waiting on first arriving at the top of the stairs, and the other handed to the Lord Chamberlain, who stands beside Her Majesty, when the Royal presence is reached, and from this he will read, in a loud, clear voice, the names to the Queen.

The proper Court dress is the next important consideration. A young girl, on her presentation, wears white, and every lady attending the court must have a train, lappets, Court plumes, and a really low dress. So strict are the laws with regard to this, that people are appointed to prevent ladies passing who fall short in any of these requirements. I was myself accompanied to a Drawing-room two or three years ago by a friend who had had her dress from Paris. It proved too high on her shoulders for regulation; moreover, she had only one small piece of tulle in lieu of lappets, and before entering the presence of Her Majesty she was compelled to tear some tulle trimmings from her dress and pin this on as another lappet, and to have the bodice cut down on the shoulders and turned in. These lappets may be either really lace or blonde, with the ends hanging at the back, or two pieces of tulle, which young ladies find more becoming. The width is mostly split in half, one end gathered on a thread, and so pinned on. White plumes are essential - three for married, two for unmarried women - placed in such a manner that they can be distinctly seen in front. The train must be at least three yards long, and is generally four. It is sometimes cut in one with the bodice, sometimes attached by braces to the shoulders, sometimes plaited on the shoulders, but young ladies generally have it sewn on at the waist. Just now white satin and brocade is most used, with tulle skirts and a profusion of white flowers. Pearls are considered the most appropriate ornaments for a debutante. The dress must be well made and all the details well carried out. Many-buttoned gloves are worn, but when presented, before appearing in the Queen's presence, the right hand one must be removed, and this is generally simplified by not being put on at all. Having a handkerchief, a fan, the one glove, and the card to hold, it is far better not to carry a bouquet, especially as the end of the train, neatly folded, has to be borne on the left arm.

The mode of proceeding at a Drawing-room is as follows; - The palace doors generally open at two, the Queen entering the Throne-room at three. Of late years Her Majesty's health has not permitted her to remain throughout the reception. Therefore, in order to pass before her, it is well to go early, especially when presented, as it is only in a case of presentation that the Queen's hand is kissed,  and this ceremony is not gone through if the Princess of Wales or any of the Royal Princesses have taken her place. Then you merely pass courtseying low, as you would if you were only attending a Drawing-room, though the presentation thus made is in every respect equivalent to actual presentation to the Sovereign. But being an event that will hardly happen more than twice in a woman's life, it is advisable to do it thoroughly. Once presented, you can annually attend one Drawing-room  for the future, and will only require to be re-presented when you marry, or you attain some title. People anxious to arrive early leave homes mostly at half-past twelve to one, being content to wait patiently in the line of carriages down the Mall or Buckingham Palace-road, and endure the eager inspection of a dense crowd, who, wet or fine, line the roadway, peer into the carriages,  and often laugh and make audible remarks about the inmates. There is, however, no lack of amusement. The beefeaters, in their quaint scarlet Tudor dresses, bedizened with gold, their ruffs, and low-crowned hats, encircled with red, white and blue ribbon, march, halberds in hand, to Buckingham Palace to take up their stations along the corridors and staircases. The Gentlemen-at-Arms troop in by twos and twos, in scarlet uniform, gold helmets, and white, waving plumes. They are also on duty within the palace. You see them in each room guarding the barriers, and preventing the entrance of more people than will comfortably fill them.

In the room adjoining the Throne-room, they stand in a line ready to act as a veritable body-guard to the Royal Family if required, and another line divides off the lower end of the picture gallery, forming a sort of corridor to the Throne-room. There is no better place for seeing the dresses. I always make a rule of getting close behind these Gentlemen-at-Arms, as soon as I have passed the Royal presence, and so, peering between their shoulders, see the rest of the company pass in single file, their trains flowing behind them. One or more of the Household Troops are on duty in the Court-yard, and act as escort to the Royal personages who attend the Drawing-room, and it is a very pretty sight to see the bandmen in their gold coats march through St. James's Park, to take up their position and play throughout the reception. I have never myself heard them in the palace, but in some of the rooms you can and when "God Save the Queen" is played, you know that Her Majesty has entered the Presence Chamber. The equipages of ambassadors, ministers, and other distinguished people also flit to and fro, but they do not fall into the line, having the privilege of the entree which entitles them to enter the palace by a special entrance to occupy the first Drawing-room, next to the Throne-room, and to pass before the Queen first.

At last, after a long waiting, the line of carriages begins to move slowly, and in time you pass through the fine gateway into the inner quadrangle, and alight at the steps of the grand entrance. Here you will see some few scarlet-coated servants and officials, and much crimson carpeting. You cross the really magnificent hall, paved with variegated marble, the ceiling supported by white marble columns, with Corinthian capitals of mosaic and gold, and up a few steps reach a dining-room, where cloaks and wraps are left. Leaving this, you ascend the staircase, enter the picture gallery, leave one of the two cards with which you are provided with the page-in-waiting, who stands by a raised crimson-coloured desk, and then hurry on through the concert-room into the furthest of the suite of drawing-rooms not yet filled. There is the Blue Drawing-room, hung with blue silk panelled in gold, with Winterhalter's portraits of the Queen and Prince Consort; the Dark Blue Drawing-room and the Red and Yellow Drawing-rooms; they all command a view of the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace, where the fountains are generally set playing. They are filled with rows of chairs and as soon as these are occupied the Gentlemen-at-Arms cross their halberds, an no more are admitted, and so on till all the rooms are filled. People sit chatting to their friends, and thus while the time away. There are only a few gentlemen present, and they must be in attendance on ladies, and do not generally pass the Royal presence, but are nevertheless occasionally presented with their wives.

After a time there is a rustle and a rush. The "Entree" has passed the Queen, and the rest of the world are about to do so in turn; the stream moves through the suite of rooms in single file, until they reach the end of the picture gallery, lined with the Gentlemen-at-Arms. Here the Queen's pages remove the train from the right arm, spread it on the ground, and thus you walk across the gallery to the Throne-room. The door on the left-hand side is glass, and scarcely any one passes it without looking how her trains set. When you enter the Presence Chamber you find a narrow half-circular alley left, down which you are to proceed. Quite in the background is the Throne and its canopy. IN front of it are the ladies and gentlemen in attendance on the Queen and other Royal personages, and in front of them are the Royal Family. Near the doorway next the Queen is the Lord Chamberlain, then Her Majesty, the Princess of Wales, and the other Princesses, and then the Princes. The general circle fills the rest of the room. Just in front of you will be the end of the train of the lady passing next before you. In case of mother and daughter the mother would go first. You have no longer to think about your own train; your glove, fan, and handkerchief hold in your left hand, your card in your right. As you pass through the doorway give this to the Lord Chamberlain. You will find his hand ready to receive it. As soon as he mentions the word "presentation" the Queen will put out her right hand, then courtesy very low, place your own right hand beneath it, and bend and kiss it. When you rise courtesy low to each member of the Royal Family, and walk along this semi-circular alley sideways, being careful on no account to turn your back; but by the time you have well passed the Royalties, you will find your train being placed on your arm, and, the crowd intervening, you leave the room by the centre doorway without any necessity for further backing. You make your way at once to the picture gallery, which is now thronged. You can look at the pictures which are worth seeing, including gems of Greuze, Wilkie, Maas and others. But the beautiful people and beautiful dresses will distract your attention. By-and-bye you will proceed to the great entrance hall, and, having obtain your cloaks, wait there until your carriage is called, a tedious process, for if it happens to come up before you are ready, it goes to the very end of the rank.

I should advise all young girls about to be presented to rehearse the actual ceremony well beforehand, for I notice at many drawing-rooms how badly it is done. It is necessary to remember that courtesies made to Royalty must be very low. Avoid, above all things, "fluster," and do not be alarmed at the idea of having to walk backwards with your train on the ground. You really hardly have to do this at all, it is a crab-like sideway movement you have to execute. The important points to bear in mind are - to have your hand ungloved, to place it beneath the Queen's, and to make separate and distinct courtesies to every Royal person in the circle.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

10 July 1880 - 'Bread and Bread-making' by Ruth Lamb - Chapter Two

Having glanced at the origin and early history of the loaf, and seen what it was and still is when in the shape of unleavened bread, we will trace the next step in its progress - the introduction of leaven. It does not seem difficult to imagine how it came into use. It is only needful to leave a portion of the unleavened dough in a warm place for some days, and you will see that it begins to ferment, as though it contained barm of some kind; but the taste is rather sour  and not pleasant.

"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." These few words tell the story of leavened breadmaking. A small portion of this sour dough is mixed with the large quantity of flour, salt, and water requisite for the batch of bread, and in time the whole lump is leavened. But it retained, though in a less degree, the sour taste of the little piece put into the lump, and the bread requires a longer time to work than when made with yeast.

In remote country districts on the Continent this mode of leavening bread is still in common use, and English travellers find it anything but agreeable. I well remember that, when in Switzerland a dozen years ago, our party crossed the Gemmi Pass two days sooner than we intended because my husband could not endure the taste of this leavened bread, and there was nothing else to be had at Kendersteg just then. In many other hotels in the mountainous districts we found leavened bread, but with this one exception there were always plenty of the delightful little milk rolls, twists, and "cobs," as we call them in Lancashire, in addition to the sour-tasted loaves.

Brewer's yeast is merely the froth which rises on the surface of beer during the process of fermentation. It is skimmed off when thick enough, as cream is taken from the milk.

When I was a girl, we, whether lived in country towns and villages, were wholly dependent on this kind of yeast, or on a home-made article for lightening our bread. On certain days in each week a stream of small customers might be seen, mug or pitcher in hand, wending their way towards the various breweries, at which as small as quantity as a halfpennyworth of yeast could be purchased. Many an injunction did these young messengers receive not to loiter by the way lest all the yeast should be gone - a calamity of no small consequence. The yeast money was always the special perquisite of the brewer's wife.

On the weekly market-day, one of the first errands of the country carrier was to the brewery. He conveyed a whole string of tin cans, with close-fitting lids; earthenware jugs, with bungs, and of many sizes; and in these he took home yeast  for the village shops, farmers' wives, and cottagers for many a mile round. Probably the motion of the cart would make the barm obstreperous on the homeward way. In spite of the wet rag put on to make the bung or lid fit more tightly, one would fly out with an explosion, the other be lifted off, and some passenger begin to grumble that the froth was trickling on to her bonnet from one of the shelves below the tilt which held the lesser parcels.

Country people are always neighbourly, and yeast was an article much borrowed and lent, not a thing to be rashly or wastefully treated. A little quantity left over was hoarded to make a bit of cake with, or given to a poor neighbour. Baking day only came once a week in cottage homes, new bread being deemed extravagant, and old bread reckoned to go further.

The difficulty of procuring brewer's yeast as often as was requisite, set invention to work to contrive modes of preservation of substitutes for it.

One way of preserving it was by whisking it well, and spreading a thin layer on a large wooden trencher or board. When this was dry another was added, and so on, until the paste was a couple of inches thick, when it was cut up and placed in air-tight canisters until required. Then it was dissolved in warm water and used like fresh yeast.

Potato yeast is made with mealy potatoes; boiled, pounded and passed through a sieve. To 1lb of this pulp add two tablespoonfuls of treacle and boiling water to make it the thickness of brewer's yeast. When just warm stir in two tablespoonfuls of yeast, and keep it in a warm place to ferment for twenty-four hours, when it will be fit for use. It will keep in a cold place for several weeks.

But almost all the substitutes for brewer's barm require just a little of the genuine article to set them going. I will give one recipe for yeast with which the brewer has nothing to do. It is from a very comprehensive treatise on the "Art of Breadmaking," published three quarters of a century ago. Ingredients, 1/2lb flour, 1/2lb coarse sugar, 3/4 peck of malt, bruised. Boil together in 1/2 gallon of water for fifteen minutes. When cooled to 80 degrees, add 1 pint of any water impregnated with fixed air, such as the artificial seltzer (Schweppe's). This will cause fermentation, and when it ceases the clear liquor can be poured off, and the yeast, fit for use, will be found at the bottom.

Many other recipes might be given for artificial yeasts, but fortunately we are much less likely to require them than we were when I made my first loaf. The introduction of German yeast, which is chiefly obtained from the great Continental distilleries, especially those of Holland and Hamburg, has proved a great boon. This is a cleanly article, which comes to us in the form of a light paste with a fresh and pleasant smell, and without the bitter taste of brewer's yeast. This is drained on cloths and pressed dry before being packed for exportation.

I can well remember the dubious looks we cast on the first lump of German yeast offered as a substitute  for the ordinary barm by the baker from whom our flour was purchased, and at a time when brewer's yeast could not be easily obtained. We tried it from necessity; we liked it, and ever after preferred it to anything else. Within a very few years after the introduction of the article, one year's imports up to March 31, 1866, amounted to 5,735 tons! What the quantity has now reached I am unable to tell, but it must be something enormous.

Now having told you about the origin of bread and the various kinds of yeast, we will set about making a batch of household bread such as may be seen all the year round at our table. WE must have 12lbs of fine flour, 3oz German yeast, a good handful of salt, and a jug of warm water. But we need not tuck up our sleeves yet, as we are only going to "set the sponge."

A yellow earthenware pancheon, or, as Lancashire folk call it, a "mug," is the nicest thing to make bread in, and preferable to the large wooden bowl occasionally used.

In winter time the pancheon may be placed near the fire before the flour is put in, as the warmth helps the bread to rise in very cold weather. Dust it carefully with a dry cloth, put in nearly all the flour, into which sprinkle and stir the salt. Dissolve the yeast thoroughly in a pint of warm - *not hot - water, and having made a hole in the middle of the flour, pour it in through a strainer, and stir in with it some of the flour to a paste. Leave it near the fender for half an hour to rise, but do not forget to throw a clean cloth over the top of the pancheon, so that no dust may get in.

So far there has been no need to tuck up your sleeves. But at the half-hour's end mind that hands and nails are thoroughly clean, your cooking apron on, your sleeves secured so that they will not slip down, your large jug of warm water ready, and the small quantity of flour remaining out of the dozen pounds ready to hand in a bowl at the left side of your pancheon, which should stand on a stool. A table is generally too high.

I must mention another matter. Whatever may be your fashion of wearing your hair, have it smoothly and snugly tucked up when engaged in breadmaking or cookery of any kind There is nothing more disgusting or objectionable than to find a hair amongst our eatables; yet nothing more likely to occur if we go about our cooking with our locks hanging loosely about our necks and faces. I have seen a floury hand lifted from amongst the dough to push back a straggling wisp of hair or tuck up a fallen sleeve, and have always registered a mental resolution not to eat home-made bread at that establishment.

Every article used in breadmaking should be of the most spotless cleanliness. Paste-board, rolling-pin, baking-dishes, or tins should be put away clean after use, and carefully rubbed and dusted when taken out again.
Perhaps all these minute details may sound unnecessary, but I am not giving recipes to grown-up people, or merely a history of the origin of bread and a list of its varieties. I want to teach you, dear girls, to make bread as my dear mother taught me when I was a little one many years ago.

Begin to work the dough with the right hand, adding the warm water gradually with your left from the jug which is beside you. Draw the dough from the sides to the middle, using both hands when the ingredients are fairly mixed with the right. It must neither be hard nor soft, but of a sufficient consistency for you to lift it, when very thoroughly worked, in one lump and turn it over. You sprinkle a little flour round to enable you to do this, and if your dough is just what it should be there will be none sticking to the pancheon; it will be clean from everything but a little flour when you lift the dough to turn it.

Now place the pancheon outside the fender, covered as before with a fine white cloth, having sprinkled the flour on the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. It should be ready in less than two hours if the yeast is good. Get your own well-heated, then rub the shelves with a clean, wet dish-cloth; warm and grease your baking-tins or dishes with a little suet, butter, lard, or fresh dripping, held by a little writing paper in the fingers. This is to prevent the bread from sticking to the sides. Then, with clean hands, work a piece of dough on the floured pasteboard; shape it to suit your tin, which should be filled even with the edges. Let it stand on the hearth for a few minutes to rise, and before putting your loaves in the oven, either prick them with a steel fork, or make one or two cuts across the top of each with a sharp knife.

We never use tins for baking in, except for tea cakes. Our baking dishes are of coarse brown earthenware, and stand on four little knobs. With these we rarely have a burnt loaf, however hot the oven may be. A slack oven spoils bread, and the admission of cold air by opening the door should be avoided until the dough has had time to set. To ascertain when the loaf is baked enough, turn it out of the baking-dish and press the side firmly with the point of the finger. If the crust springs back you may judge that it is right; but if the pressure leaves a hollow, the loaf must be returned to the oven. When the dough is first put in, it should be placed on the oven bottom; and when well set and about half baked removed to the top to "soak" as it is technically termed. When sufficiently baked the loaves should be taken out of the dishes or tins, and placed on their sides; when quite cold we put ours in a large pancheon, and cover them with a clean cloth. This preserves the moistness of the bread and conduces to cleanliness also.

Many persons only use 2oz of German yeast to 12lbs of flour, but we prefer the larger quantity, and every one praises our home-made bread as being simply perfect. Our cook prides herself more upon it than upon the most dainty dish she prepares for the dinner-table. One day when she was far from well I suggested that she should suspend her bakings for a little time, and let us buy our bread in order to lighten her work. But this she promptly declined, adding, "It would be of no use, ma'am, for if everybody else in the house could put up with bought bread, *I couldn't."

I should add a word or two with regard to the quality of your ingredients. Buy thoroughly good flour; keep it in a dry place, as damp flour is bad. Never use doubtful yeast. It is poor economy to spoil a batch of bread in order to *use up yeast, or milk which is not perfectly sweet.

The Austrian flour, made from wheat frown on the banks of the Danube, is particularly fine. It goes into a very small compass, and absorbs an immense quantity of water. Some while ago when staying at a delightful farmhouse in summer we had a little difficulty about bread. At length a small shopkeeper, who sold everything, undertook to bake for us; and exquisite bread she made. But she bargained that she should be allowed to use what she called "ostrich flour," though it would be a trifle dearer. She meant Austrian.

Aerated bread is made by a patented process. It is mixed in a sort of iron box, with water charged with fixed air, or carbonic acid gas, which lightens the dough without the aid of yeast. The whole operation is performed by machinery, and the hand does not touch the dough. The bread is very light and digestible, and is said to effect a saving of ten per cent in flour, besides economising time and labour. But I do not find it so satisfying as ordinary bread, and have heard children complain that they soon feel hungry again after eating it.

There is also a self-raising flour, which is a good deal used for making cakes and pastry. It is prepared by Messrs McDougall, of Manchester, and the scones, tea-cakes, etc., made from it are very light and agreeable to eat, but none of these articles, to my mind, make ordinary home bread less enjoyable in comparison.

Delicious brown bread may be made in the same way as the white by using "ground down," or the whole of the powdered grain of wheat without removing any portion.

A mixture of rye with fine wheaten flour makes exquisitely sweet bread, and may be made with equal parts, or with only a third or a fourth portion rye. Rye flour is sticky to the touch, and the dough must be made very stiff. It is much nicer when baked in *thick cakes on the oven shelf than in loaves.

French bread has a pint of new milk, two eggs, and a 1/4lb of butter well mixed in with three quarts of water, or as much as will make 18lbs of flour of the proper consistency. Yeast and salt added in the same proportions as for home-made bread. This liquor is stirred into the flour until all is well mixed. When ready for baking it is made into loaves or bricks, which are turned over when half done, and the crust well browned. When quite cold, the loaves are rasped, or else chipped with a knife. Bran bread is made by adding a basinful of bran to 6lbs of flour, and working in the ordinary way Barley-bread, from the flour of barley carefully freed from the husks and made like rye-bread.

Potato bread is made by mixing mealy potatoes boiled and pounded in the proportion of 3lbs to 9lbs of flour. Make in the ordinary way and bake in a very hot oven. The bread is very light, but less nutritious than the pure wheaten. Were I to enumerate all the kinds of bread I should occupy far too much space. Maize, rice, beans, peas, acorns, chestnuts, turnips, and a variety of roots and barks of trees, have been used in seasons of scarcity and by various nations; so that read, or a substitute for it, however coarse, might not be wholly wanting to the very poorest.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

26 June 1880 - 'The Dress of the Month' by Dora de Blaquiere

The change in the dress of the month are exhibited mainly in small things, not large ones. For instance, we are leaving off the many-buttoned gloves and taking to some without any buttons at all, which are called the "sack" gloves. They are made with a gore, and may be obtained both in kid and in silk, and are unquestionably a great improvement on the many buttons, which were most tiresome to wear. Black gloves are no longer the rule for day and evening dress, although they are still worn by the careful and economical, and will not go out of date yet it is to be hoped for their sakes. All kinds of coloured ones are seen - drab, lemon, pink, brown, coffee, and the new shades of heliotrope and petunia are both introduced, as no other shade can be selected to look well with either of them. Yellow gloves are worn if the bonnet be trimmed with yellow roses or ecru feathers. Gloves are more used than mittens in the evening for all occasions, except for children, who invariably wear the latter. Stockings for both children and grown people are worn self-coloured, with embroidered clocks, and sometimes with small embroidered sprays in front.

Although there is much more drapery and the plain effect, so long aimed at, at the back of the bodice is no longer in vogue, there is no appearance of crinoline; the skirts, being made as narrow as ever, and in no case, when short, do they measure more than two yards round. The polonaise seems to have given way to the bodice and trimmed skirt, and now that three materials are often seen in the same costume, there is no excuse for not utilising old dresses. Velvet, cashmere, and foulard, or silk, are amongst the most favourite mixtures, and the skirt may be made of a plain and uncoloured material, while the bodice and sleeves are of a figured stuff. Velvet and velveteen have by no means taken their departure with the cold weather, both being used as skirt trimmings, laid on in flat bands, wide or narrow as preferred. Deep kiltings  for the skirt are as fashionable as ever, and the only change in the scarf is to drape the square ends at the side instead of the back.

Serge dresses are always pretty and useful, and were never so stylish as now, when one of the best London tailors has introduced the fashion of trimming serge with the spotted foulards. A short blue serge dress which was much admired the other day was made with a  deeply kilted skirt and a jersey, and had a scarf of blue foulard spotted with white dots draped round the hips. The hood to wear with it was lined with the same, and the small toque hat was edged with a brim of gathered velvet, and had a top of spotted foulard. Our two sketches of the month's fashions give an idea of the style of costumes now used by young girls, and both may be copied without difficulty, and at a small cost.

Entire costumes of these spotted materials are to be seen, and never was there so great a choice of pretty and cheap costumes for girls as now, when the prints, cretonnes, and sateens are manufactured in such good taste, and charming Eastern-looking hues, not too dark to be dingy, and yet dark enough to wear for a long time without getting soiled. These summer dresses are all trimmed with cheap lace, which has a light and graceful effect. Perhaps none of the readers of this paper have any idea of the virtues of a hot iron in freshening up a summer costume; but so excellent is its effect that every girl who wishes to look fresh in her toilette and have a dainty appearance should learn to use an iron, and make herself independent of anyone's help. The wrong side of the dress should be ironed, not the right; and when much tumbled, the natural freshness may be restored by placing a damp cloth underneath the iron, and pressing out the creases in that way.

Some very simple but pretty little summer bonnets and hats have just come out, and may be made by girls for themselves on any shape the most individually becoming to each. They are made by completely covering the shape with narrow black lace, slightly gathered, and sewn on in rows round and round, one above the other. The edge is bound with velvet, and a wreath of flowers may be worn round the crown.

Sateen, in pretty delicate colours, is now much used  for the evening costumes of young girls, and is also employed for crewel-embroidered dresses for evening wear more than cashmere. The "lights" on these are put in with silks; some favourite designs are wallflowers on ducks'-egg-blue, sateen, pansies on old gold, or dog roses on cream-colour The embroidery for these dresses is lightly done, the stems being traced, and also the leaves, while the flowers are executed with as little work as possible. The crewels and silks used should be "set" before working with them to avoid disappointment.

The dressing jacket, fig.1 in the illustration, is a useful and necessary addition which every girl ought to make to her wardrobe, and is much less cumbersome than the old-fashioned dressing gown, while it performs the same office of keeping the hair from soiling the dress and underclothes It may be made of print without any trimming, of nainsook, cambric pique, or in fine calico The half dozen tucks on either side may be run by the machine, and the gathered puffings are crossed at intervals by bands of embroidery, to match that with which it is edged. The materials may be as cheap as can be provided, as the prettiness of the garment consists in the manufacture and its exquisite neatness. These little jackets are found most useful in sickness, as they can be put on in a moment and completely hide the tumbled night-dress, and make the patient neat and tidy with very little trouble to herself or to her nurse.

The petticoat at fig.2 shows the present method of making all under-skirts with a deep yoke and little fullness. The drawing strings may be used or not as required. Black petticoats will be very fashionable this summer, and hardly any white will be seen - in fact, with short dresses great economy may be practised, and no white skirts whatever worn. Now that they have been obliged to dismiss the muff, the Parisian ladies have restored the aumoniere or alms-bag pouch to favour, for the purpose of holding the handkerchief. It is made of black velvet and hangs at the side, but it may also be made of the same material as the dress. It is reported, too, that little bags, hung upon the arm, such as were worn by our grandmothers, are coming in again. They are made of satin, to match the colour of the toilette. The corners have small tassels, and there are also tassels to finish the cord with which the bag hangs to the arm, and on one side the initials or monogram of the owner are embroidered.

For out-of-door wear the neck is still swathed in a black lace scarf, worn as high as possible; while a nosegay is placed at the right side to match that on the hat or bonnet.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

26 June 1880 - 'How to Make the Most of Cold Meat' by Phillis Browne

I am not one of those people who have a strong dislike to cold meat served cold. I think there are times and seasons when cold meat is very much to be preferred to hot meat. In the middle of summer, for instance, what can be more appetising than a well-cooked joint of cold lamb, served with a good salad, or a little mint sauce or sliced cucumber. Any girl who busied herself in "warming up" cold meat in sultry weather would make a great mistake. She would do far better if she devoted her energies to making the salad thoroughly dry, so that the dressing would mix with it properly, and also to making the cold joint look as tempting as possible by garnishing it prettily.

In England, however, the weather is rarely sultry, and the occasions are many when cold meat would be most unwelcome. What shall we do then? I will tell you what I should advise.

The first thing to be done is to cut all the meat off the bone It should be taken as far as possible in neat slices of fat and lean together, afterwards in broken fragments. If we spend a little time over the business and cut close to the bone, we shall be astonished to find how much meat there is, ever so much more than we imagined at the beginning. Indeed it is quite likely that, with the majority of joints, there will be more fat than we require. If this is so, we must cut it off and render it down in the way I described in the article on frying.

When all is done we may divide our cold meat into three portions - the neat, handsome pieces, the broken remnants, and the bone. Now, I propose that we make either curry or meat fritters of the pieces, and shepherd's pie of the scraps.

I do not mention the time-honoured or scorned hash, that we all know so well, simply because the method of making it has been so often and so clearly described, that I do not think it will be particularly useful. I may say, however, that the reason why hash is held in such general disfavour is, that people forget that if the meat boil in the gravy it will be hard - it should only simmer; and also that it is better to have a little good gravy than an abundance of poor gravy.

Whatever we determine to do with the meat, we must first stew the bone and the scraps we cannot use otherwise for gravy. We chop the bone into small pieces, and put these into a saucepan with a carrot - washed, scraped and cut up small; an onion, peeled, and divided into quarters; a small piece of turnip, a bunch of well-washed parsley, a sprig of marjoram, another of thyme, and a bay leaf. The four last-named ingredients may be neatly tied together with twine, thus making what cooks call a faggot or bouquet garni. The advantage of tying them together is that they can be lifted out together when the gravy is made.

We now pour into the saucepan as much cold water as will cover all the ingredients; bring the water to a boil, throw in salt and pepper to season it pleasantly, skim it well, then put the lid on the pan, draw it back, and let the gravy simmer very gently for from an hour and a half to two hours. We might,  for the sake of varying the flavour, rub the inside of the saucepan quickly with garlic before putting in the bones; or we might add a spoonful of sherry or Worcester sauce to the gravy just before using it.

Gravy is a most sure to be wanted in whatever way we dress the meat, and the liquor thus produced by stewing the bone will give excellent gravy. For hash or minced meat, or croquettes or rissoles, it would be better that the gravy should be thickened and browned by boiling a little brown thickening with it. If this were not in the house, the gravy might be thickened by mixing a little cornflour or arrowroot to a smooth paste with cold water, and stirring this gradually into the liquor; and it might be browned by adding liquid browning, or by frying a sliced onion in fat till it was brightly coloured, and stewing this in the stock. It must be remembered, however, that gravy should be boiled and stirred for a few minutes after it is thickened, or it may taste pappy, and that it should be freed from fat; also that a very small quantity only should be put into the dish with the meat. The remainder should be served in a hot tureen.

The first dish we proposed to make of the cold meat was curry. There is no dish that is so frequently spoilt in the cooking as this, and the reason is that most people have an idea that curry is nothing but an ordinary stew thickened with curry powder. This is a mistake. I think, however, if you will follow exactly the following recipe, you will have an excellent curry -

Cut a pound of meat, fat and lean together, into neat pieces, free from skin and gristle, and about an inch square. Peel and chop four good-sized onions, fry them in a little dripping, and shake the pan to keep them from burning. When brown take them up with a slice, and fry the meat in the same dripping. When this also is brown take it up and sprinkle a large teaspoonful of curry powder over it. Have ready a sour apple, peeled and chopped small. Fry it in the fat, and when it is cooked put it with the onions and rub both through a fine sieve. Mix with the pulp a tablespoonful of curry paste and a dessertspoonful of ground rice, and add gradually the stock made from the bone. Return the thickened gravy to the saucepan, and stir it over the fire till it boils. It should be thick. Taste it, and, if required, add a pinch of salt to it; also, if it is not sufficiently acid, put in two or three drops of lemon juice.

Now, when the sauce is all ready, put in the meat; draw it to the side of the fire and let it simmer for half an hour or more. On no account let it boil and stir it frequently to keep it from burning. When it is quite tender it is ready to serve.

Curry should have a wall of rice, about an inch and a half deep, put round it, which rice can be eaten with it instead of vegetable. Now it is evident that if the gravy is thin it will run into the rice and make the dish look messy and disagreeable. Therefore the curry should be thick. The gravy should coat the meat, as it were, instead of running into the rice and the meat should be so tender that it could be eaten with a fork and spoon, instead of being cut with a knife.

One word must be said about the method of boiling rice for curry. The great object is to keep every grain separate, not to have it in a pulpy mass as it is usually seen. The small Patna rice is generally preferred for this purpose. Wash it well in two or three waters, to take away its raw taste, pick out any dark grains there may be; throw it into plenty of fast boiling water and boil it quickly for about a quarter of an hour, or until a grain taken between the finger and thumb feels quite soft. Skim the water every now and then, and in order to make the scum rise throw a little slat into it. We want the rice to look pure white, and therefore we must not let the impurities, which  will rise from it in the shape of scum, sink and fall upon it again. Drain the boiled rice in a colander, pour cold water upon it to separate the grains; then put it into a dry saucepan, putting the lid half on, and set it on the side of the fire, to make it dry and hot, stirring it occasionally with a fork to keep it from burning. Thus boiled, the rice will be tender and white, and every grain will be separate.

Cold meat fried in batter, or meat fritters, is an excellent dish; indeed, according to my idea, it is one of the best methods of preparing cold meat. The meat should be cut into thin slices, and all gristle and skin should be trimmed from it. The batter should be made an hour or two before it is wanted. To make the frying batter put a quarter of a pound of flour and a pinch of salt in a basin and mix with it two tablespoonfuls of salad oil, and, gradually, a gill of lukewarm water. Beat the batter till it is quite smooth, and let it remain in a cool place till ten minutes before it is wanted. Then take the whites only of two eggs that have been whisked to a firm froth, and dash these lightly into the batter; its excellence depends to a great extent upon this being done properly.

Perhaps I may be allowed to say a word here about whisking eggs. White of egg is sufficiently whisked when it can be cut clean through with a knife. Some people say it should be whisked until it will bear the weight of an egg, but I feel quite satisfied if it can be cut clean with a knife, and I think you may be. Very good patent whisks may be now bought at a cheap rate, which save a great deal of time and trouble. If you can obtain one of these you can have the egg white firm very quickly. If you have not one, put the white of egg, quite free from the least particle of yellow, upon a plate, beat it from the wrist, not from the elbow, with a knife held as flat as possible, and try not to touch the bottom of the plate in doing so. Also stand in a cold place while you are whisking, and sprinkle a very small pinch of salt over the egg, as that will help to make it firm.

Perhaps you think "there is no need to tell us how an egg should be beaten; any one can do that," I once heard a young girl remark. "Some people say, do it this way; and other people say, do it that way; but I always do it as it feels most convenient to myself at the time, and I think that is best." Now I hope the girls of our cookery class will never be content to do their work in that way. Do everything right, and in the course of your life you will save many a precious minute.

We shall need a stewpan, half full of boiling fat,  for the meat fritters, and the fat must be hot, that is, is that must be still, and a blue steam must rise from it. Unless the fat were hot the batter would come off in frying. When all is ready we take the slices of meat, dip them one at a time into the hot fat, and let them remain till they are brightly browned on both sides; and, of course, it would be necessary to turn them over when they were half done to cook them equally. They will be done in less than a minute, but it would not do to put more than one or two in at once, because the fritters should not touch each other in the pan. As the fritters are taken out of the fat they should, in order to free them from grease, be laid on a dish covered with kitchen paper. After this they can be dished, and, if properly made, will be sure to be liked.

If the meat, instead of being cut into slices, were finely minced, seasoned, pleasantly, moistened either with strong gravy that would jelly when cold, or with a sort of thick white sauce called panada, then rolled in very thin slices of fat bacon before being covered with the frying batter, we should have kromeskies. Or, if the minced meat, prepared in the same way, were folded in pastry, then fried in fat, we should have rissoles. If it were made into balls, dipped in beaten egg and covered with bread crumbs, and fried in hot fat, we should have croquettes. If the mince were pressed into a shape and steamed, we should have meat gateau. If the meat were mixed with potatoes or with turnips, then folded in pastry and baked, we should have Cornish pasties. If it were chopped small, seasoned well, then pounded to pulp, with butter, pressed into small jars and covered with clarified butter, we should have potted meat. I cannot, for want of space, give the details of these various dishes; but I should imagine that any one who gets to understand the method of one or two can form an idea of the rest, and prepare them without much difficulty.

Cold potatoes, as well as cold meat, may be used in making shepherd's pie; though, of course, if there were no cold potatoes, fresh ones would have to be taken  for the purpose. Beat the cooked potatoes in a saucepan over the fire with a little boiling milk and a slice of butter. Cut the meat, fat and lean together, into neat pieces, and season them with pepper and salt. If liked, a very little finely chopped onion can be added also.

Fill a pie dish with the seasoned meat, and arrange it so that the meat shall be highest in the middle, for that will make it a good shape. Half fill the dish with gravy, and spread the mashed potatoes over the top, first making it smooth, and afterwards roughing it over with a fork. Put it in the oven or before the fire, and let it remain until it is hot through and the top is brightly browned. Send a little good gravy to the table with it, and I believe everyone who tastes it will say that it is good, and they should like to have it again.

If pork be the meat that we wish to serve a second time, we might,  for the sake of variety, make a pork and apple dumpling of it. This is a very old-fashioned and rather peculiar dish, and perhaps would not suit every one; it is well known and appreciated in the county of Norfolk. Cut the meat from the pork into thin slices, and then into dice, and season with salt and pepper. Pare and cut up in the same way good baking apples, and have equal quantities of apples and pork. Line a pudding basin with good suet crust, fill it with the apples and meat, add a little good gravy; if a little were left from the meat, it will be the best  for the purpose. Cover the pudding with pastry, tie it in a cloth wrung out of hot water and floured, plunge it into boiling water and let it boil from an hour and a half to two hours, according to its size.

Monday, 9 May 2016

26 June 1880 - 'Etiquette for Ladies and Girls' by Ardern Holt - Part Two

Many young girls conceive a dislike for society simply because they experience a mauvais honte, brought about by an ignorance of how to act under the various circumstances which arise in their intercourse with other people. They are too shy, too ashamed of their own ignorance to ask for information, and indeed often do not realise exactly what it is they want to know. Now I would counsel them to have no false shame in the matter; knowledge does not come by intuition and we are all learning up to the last day of our lives.

Knowledge brings confidence and helps to banish shyness and self-consciousness. They would do well to think as little of themselves as they can, of how they look, and what others think of them. It should be the object of their elders by their own perfect self-possession to set them as much as possible at their ease. The higher the social scale the more courtesy and the more ease of manner prevail.

One of the difficulties which young people experience is in knowing when to bow. In England, a lady by right takes the initiative, and bows first; abroad this is reversed, and English women should then follow the custom which prevails.

A young lady would do right to bow to a gentleman by whom she had been taken into dinner, or had been introduced to in any other way, but she would not bow if she had merely talked to him when casually meeting him with friends, or at a friend's house. She would naturally not go out of her way to bow even when by etiquette she was entitled so to do, but it would be gauche to avoid doing so when the opportunity naturally accorded.

A true lady should, more than all other things, take the greatest care not to wound the feelings of anybody. We meet in society for our mutual pleasure, but want of thought and good feeling often cause mortification and pain to others. Men are even more sensitive about trifles than women imagine, though a certain free-and-easyness of manner has crept in of late between the sexes, which occasionally leads to a lack of deference that it would perhaps be stilted to call a want of respect. A woman has in her own hands the power of making men treat her with friendly kindness and simple courtesy, which honours them in giving and she in receiving. If a young lady walking with her father or brother meets a gentleman known to them whom they recognise, in returning their salutation, he would raise his hat to her without knowing her, which she would  acknowledge by the slightest possible motion of her head, but this would not constitute an acquaintance. Supposing she bowed to a  gentleman of her acquaintance who was accompanied by a friend, he would raise his hat as well as her acquaintance. AS a rule men do not take off their hats to each other, but to ladies only. Women bowing to each other mostly do so simultaneously, but according to the strict etiquette a married lady or the one of the higher rank bows first. It is not necessary to rise when an introduction is made, unless it be to a lady of much higher social rank, and it is more courteous when introduced to an older lady  for the younger one to half-rise.

A gentleman is introduced to a lady, a young lady to an old one, one of inferior rank to one of higher, and not vice versa, and it is not usual to shake hands on an introduction, but in saying good-bye, after an introduction, it would be correct.

The question of whether to introduce or not is a fruitful source of difficulty in social life. Among quite the upper ten thousand it is rarely necessary to do so, as they are mostly acquainted. In general society is requires tact and knowledge of the world to know when it is advisable to make people acquainted. In the small circles in the country it can be rarely done to advantage; but in London, if it is calculated to lead to the personal enjoyment of friends and guests at any social gathering, it is well-bred to do so, and it is a matter of choice whether such introductions lead to any real acquaintance. It is best where practicable to consult the wishes of those concerned before introducing them.

Luncheon parties are perhaps the most informal mode of entertainment. The time is from 1 to 2. The guests generally keep on their bonnets and lay their cloaks aside in the drawing-room. They proceed to the dining-room without any ceremony, and not in twos and twos as for dinner. In large establishments the servants wait throughout; but it is quite usual for them to leave after the vegetables are handed round,  for the chief viands, sweets, cake, and fruit, if any, are all on the table. Should the people present not know each other they can enter into general conversation without introduction.

Five o'clock tea parties are of many kinds. If only a few friends are expected, it is served on a small tea-table placed in front of the hostess, the young ladies or the gentlemen present dispensing the cups, bread and butter, and cake. Everybody joins in the general conversation, and the entertainment is thoroughly without gene. A friendly note would be the most ordinary style of invitation, and its purport would be the best guide as to answering it. But, as a rule, it would require an answer only in the case of not being able to accept it. If the party be more numerous tea would be dispensed on a larger table in the corner of the room, the urn being set with plenty of cups and saucers, cakes, and bread and butter on a cloth embroidered round, or trimmed with lace.  Many fantastic styles of adorning such cloths prevail, and change from time to time. Plates and d'oyleys are out of date.

For an afternoon party the invitations are sent out on the ordinary visiting card or on cards specially printed thus -

Mr and Mrs Brown
Mrs Smith
At Home
Tuesday afternoon, 4 to 7.
Laurel Hall, Music.

The "music" can, of course, be dispensed with. "R.S.V.P." must be added if an answer is requested, otherwise the guests do not reply, unless they are unable to come. Tea, coffee, and light refreshments are served in the dining-room.

The hostess receives her guests at the door of the drawing-room, into which they pass at once, taking vacant seats if there are any, and talking to their friends, the hostess occasionally introducing a gentleman to take a lady down for refreshments, or two people seated together, in order to secure a little pleasant conversation. But all appearance of fussiness must be avoided by the hostess, and her daughters can materially assist her. Musical parties given in the afternoon may be only amateur, or with first-rate professional artists, in which case programmes are circulated among the guests, who are expected not to indulge in conversation while singing is going on.

Garden parties held in the country and in the suburbs of London are of many kinds. At present they take most generally the form of lawn tennis parties, and the guests are often ushered at once into the gardens. The refreshments, which consist of tea, coffee, ices, fruit, cakes, biscuits, and occasionally game sandwiches, are laid either in a tent or in the dining-room. The invitations are the same as for ordinary afternoon parties, though they often have "weather permitting' in addition. More ambitious garden parties are extended to 10, 11, or 12 o'clock, a substantial cold repast being served about 7 o'clock, and a variety of entertainments arranged to amuse the guests, such as Tyrolese minstrels, performing dogs, or anything that happens to be the fashion of the moment. There should be plenty of seats and garden chairs dispersed about, and several different places indoors and out where refreshments are served. Ladies generally leave some light wraps in a room set apart for them. at the least ceremonious of afternoon parties gentlemen when they make a call take their hats into the drawing-room, but leave them in the hall in the case of a garden party or if invited to an afternoon party.

Whether to an afternoon or to any other kind of party, it is rude and bad-mannered to take friends uninvited, unless, as in the case of some country invitations, the wording of the invitation is "Mrs ____ and party." Much judgment should be exercised at all times in asking for invitations for friends. AS a rule, people have a large circle of their own, which they do not desire to extend, and in asking for such invitations it should be always made clear that the hostess will not be affronting the asker by refusing. Mothers with large families should not take more than two daughters if the invitation is for "The Misses ____", and some hostesses ask but one.

Evening parties are also of various kinds, but the invitations take the same form as for the afternoon, except where the hostess prefer to send friendly notes. They need not be answered unless "R.S.V.P." is upon them, and then as quickly as possible.

An "at-home" may mean merely conversation, when the hours are from 8 or 9. Light refreshments are served down-stairs, and sometimes a supper, sometimes a concert, is given. Then it behoves a guest to be punctual.

It is not necessary to say good-night to the hostess before leaving, as it tends sometimes to break up the party.

For dinner parties it behoves the guests to be punctual, that is to come to the hour or half-hour, whether the invitation be  for the quarter to or  for the time exactly. The gentlemen are introduced to the ladies they take down, and they proceed to the dining-room, the host with the lady of the highest rank going first, the hostess last with the gentleman of highest rank. The guests are seated according to a pre-arranged plan, the ladies removing their gloves as soon as they are seated; gentlemen do not wear them at dinner parties. It is usual, whether introduced or not, to talk to people seated on either side. Dinner parties are now universally served a la Russe, so that, being well taken care of in the matter of food, which is in the hand of the servants, the host does not press his guests to partake of anything.