From Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management -
SUCH ARE THE ONEROUS DUTIES which enter into the position of the mistress of a house, and such are, happily, with a slight but continued attention, of by no means difficult performance. She ought always to remember that she is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega in the government of her establishment; and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regulated. She is, therefore, a person of far more importance in a community than she usually thinks she is. On her pattern her daughters model themselves; by her counsels they are directed; through her virtues all are honoured;—“her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband, also, and he praiseth her.” Therefore, let each mistress always remember her responsible position, never approving a mean action, nor speaking an unrefined word. Let her conduct be such that her inferiors may respect her, and such as an honourable and right-minded man may look for in his wife and the mother of his children. Let her think of the many compliments and the sincere homage that have been paid to her sex by the greatest philosophers and writers, both in ancient and modern times. Let her not forget that she has to show herself worthy of Campbell’s compliment when he said,—“The world was sad! the garden was a wild!
And man the hermit sigh’d, till woman smiled.”
Let her prove herself, then, the happy companion of man, and able to take unto herself the praises of the pious prelate, Jeremy Taylor, who says,—“A good wife is Heaven’s last best gift to man,—his angel and minister of graces innumerable,—his gem of many virtues,—his casket of jewels—her voice is sweet music—her smiles his brightest day;—her kiss, the guardian of his innocence;—her arms, the pale of his safety, the balm of his health, the balsam of his life;—her industry, his surest wealth;—her economy, his safest steward;—her lips, his faithful counsellors;—her bosom, the softest pillow of his cares; and her prayers, the ablest advocates of Heaven’s blessings on his head.”