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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

Table of Contents

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Of Womens behaviour to their Servants, and what is to be required of them in the house, or what thereunto appertains.

| | 109 If by a thorough inspection and experience you find you have a faithful Servant give her to understand you are not insensible thereof by your loving carriage, and kind acknowledgment of her fidelity, and frequently find out some occasions to give her some little encouragements to engage her continuance therein; do not dishearten her in her duty, by often finding fault where there is little or none committed, yet be not remiss in reproving where she doth amiss.

If you find you have a bad or unfaithful Servant (as now adays there are too many, more than ever) whom you cannot either by fair means or foul reclaim: Vex not nor fret at what you see is remediless, but first making her thoroughly sensible of her errors, give her fair warning to provide for her self, and convenient for your own affairs; and do not (as a great many much to blame) give too ill a character of her, which will raise you little benefit, although it may lay the basis of her utter ruin; but rather be silent if you cannot speak good, which course I should think was sufficient to work on the greatest stupidity for a future amendment. Though a bad Servant detain not the wages, nor any part that is justly due, for the Labourer is worthy of his hire.

Be not too passionate with your Servants; | | 110 and look narrowly to them, that they waste or lavish nothing, lest thereby you impair your estate and so purchase the repute of a careless and indiscreet Woman.

If you find that they affect bravery too much, and presume to wear what misbecomes their present condition, rebuke them mildly into a moderation for their future advantage, and the credit of the Family wherein they are.

Let not the business of the House take them clearly off the service of God, but let them so refuse one the other in their duties, that they may be sometimes hearers of a good Sermon; and do not forget to make enquiry how they improve by what they hear at Church; and in your own house.

Let every Servant, Men and Women have their daily work appointed them, which must be duly executed, and taken account of, either by your self or some Superior servant constituted by you for this purpose and let not your constant and painful care of your worldly affairs exclude your greatful concern, the things of Heaven, and therefore appoint certain hours, Morning and Evening for publick prayers for the Family, and let not any Servant be absent, unless some extraordinary occasion hinder.

As near as you can, keep one set and certain tithe with good orders observed for the Table, in which be free, yet frugal. Let there be a competent allowance for the Servants, that they may have no just cause to complain; nor so much supershuity as that they may entertain a sort of loose Gossips in corners, the very bane and spoil of Servants.

| | 111 Invert not the course of Nature (as too many do of late) by converting day into night, and night into day; but keep good hours for your repose, that your Servants may be the better disposed for the next day's labour. Observe due times for washing and smoothing up the Linnen quickly, that it may not be thrown up and down and be mildewed and spoil'd, and so be fit for nothing but the wash again; and forget not to dearn or mend it every week that it may not run to tatters before it be half-worn; and do not suffer any Servant to be idle.

If you have a Dairy, see it be kept clean and neat. Let not the Corn in the Granary muste and spoil for want of skreening and turning.

Let your Servant see that your Beasts and Poultry be fatted in their due season; and that your Stable keep no more Horses than your own.

In the Brew-house, that the first Wort be not drunk up by idle people, and so the smallness of your Beer become a disparagement to your Family.

In the Bake-house, that your Dough which should be for the finest Bread at your Table, be not half consumed in making Cakes. That there be always Bread enough for the Servants before hand, for it is a point of ill Huswifry to eat hot or very new Bread.

In the Kitchin, that there be no Necessaries wanting, nor no waste or spoil made, but that the Meat be salted, and spent in due time.

In the Parlour, let the Fire be made, and the Cloth laid in due time, that the Cook may have | | 112 no excuse for the spoiling of his Meat.

In the Chambers, that every thing be kep cleanly; the Beds often turned, the Furniture often beaten in the Sun, and well brushed.

Every Saturday take an account of every Servants layings out; and once a Month an account of all the expences of the whole House.

In the Buttery and Cellars, that the Butler be careful of not making every idle fellow drunk that comes to the House, and so squander away without credit the Wine, Ale, and Beer.

Now because you will have frequent occasions for Banquets, in the entertaining of persons of Quality, I think it not unfit for a Gentlewoman to learn the art of Preferving and Candying, of which I shall, according to the Profession I make thereof, give you an ample account or instruction in some Chapters following: Frugality will perswade you to learn these excellent Arts, for in the constant use of the product thereof, you will have much for Sweetmeats, you will make much cheaper than you can buy them, and more commendable.

Other things you will meet withal worthy of your observation, of which this is no mean one, most requisite and in no wise dishonourable; that is, your understanding how to dress Meat as well as eat it that your Servants may be guided by you, and not you by them.

Gentlewomen, I will appeal to you as persons competent to judg whether the right understanding of these things be not altogether requisite | | 113 and necessary; and as to your divettisements, none carries in it more profit than Cookery. Now to the intent I may be instrumental to the making up a compleat and accomplished Gentlewoman, give me leave here to set you down such At la Mode instructions, as may perfectly inform you in every thing that belongs to the commendable art of cookery.

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