Wednesday, May 11, 2011

1676 Instructions for Chambermaids

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Hannah Woolley. The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex. London, A Maxwell for Edward Thomas, Bookseller. 1675.

Instructions for Chambermaids

It will be required of you, that you Dress well that you may be able to supply the place of the waiting-woman, should the chance to fall sick, or be absent from your Lady; you must wash fine Linnen well and starch Tiffanies, Lawns Points, and Laces, mend them neatly; and wash white Sarcenets, with such like things.

You must make your Ladies bed; lay up, and lay out her Night-clothes; see that her Chamber be kept clean, and nothing wanting which she desires or requires to be done. Be modest in your deportment, ready at her call, always diligent, answering not again when reprov'd, but with pacifying words; loving & courteous to your fellow-servants not gigling or idling out your time, nor wantoning in the society of men; you will find the benefit thereof; for an honest and sober man will sooner make that woman his Wife whom he seeth continually imployed about her business, than one who makes it her business to trifle away her own and others time; neither will a virtuous and understanding Mistress long entertain such a servant whom she finds of such a temper.

Be not subject to change, For a rouling stone gathers no moss; and as you will gain but little money, so if you ramble up and down you will lose your credit.

It may be a fellow-servant may court you; but before you entertain the motion, consider how you must live; by inconsiderately marrying you may have one joyful meeting, and ever after a sorrowful living, and have time to repent of your rash matching.
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