05 April 2009

The trivial round, the common task...

In a break in the hen stuff (i e domestic tasks), I wondered what Mrs Beeton recommended for the day…

Monday – The home washing
Tuesday – Sweeping and cleaning of servants’ bedrooms or one or two other rooms, and stairs cleaned down to lower floor
Wednesday – The sweeping and cleaning of best bedrooms, and windows
Thursday – Cleaning and turning out of cupboards, and cleaning of passages and remaining stairs
Friday - Sweeping and cleaning of drawing room, and cleaning of silver
Saturday – Sweeping and cleaning of dining room and kitchen, tins, coppers, &c.
Besides these daily tasks mentioned, must be reckoned the bed-making, the dusting, the cooking and washing-up, and all the hundred and one things that have to be accomplished in the smallest of households…

I like that last comment – it has a slightly exasperated tone about it, and I'm sure young Isabella would rather have been playing the piano. If I have difficulty getting to sleep, I count the number of these sort of things I’ve had to do for the day!


Jilly said...

I can remember as a child it always used to be washing on Monday - that was why you had a meal made up from the left overs of the Sunday roast - no elaborate cooking required.
In our house polishing the silver was replaced by polishing all the brass ornaments and at least we didn't have to clean the servants rooms!
I always thought IB wrote her book on the principle of 'If you can't beat 'em join 'em, and do it better than they did' the 19thC equivalent of Martha Stewart I suppose.

NAM said...

Highly likely, I'd say. I remember reading that her widowed mother married the Clerk of Epsom (I think) Race Course and that that made a large combined family, so maybe she'd had to get involved in running the domestic side of things quite early.