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The Employment of Women.

months of every year out of service, it is ly well, and do other things much better ;*
wholly impossible that she should ever save but even a preposterous page, clumsy and
any money. She spends all she has earned ungainly, is considered a surer distinguishing
in one place, before she obtains another, mark of gentility than the “neat-handed
and, not improbably, has been obliged to Phillis," with her pretty face, her tidy per-
get rid of all she possesses, beyond the son, and her quiet movements, who presides
clothes on her back, or perhaps to do worse over the ménage next door. “ Stripes,"
things, to provide herself with food and writes Mr. Thackeray, in one of his sound-
shelter. By a continued connexion with one hearted Snob Papers," was in the livery of
family, on the other hand, not only may the the Ponto family-a thought shabby, but
means of laying by a little money be sup- gorgeous in the extreme,---lots of magnifi-
plied, but a claim to the good offices of the cent worsted lace, and livery buttons of a
family, in sickness or old age, be founded. very notable size. The honest fellow's hands,
It is sometimes said, that the rich are more I remarked, were very large and black; and
ungrateful to their old servants than to their a fine odour of the stable was wafted about
old horses or dogs, for that they support the the room, as he moved to and fro in his
latter after they have ceased to be useful, ministration. I should have preferred a
whilst they turn their human attendants clean maid-servant, but the sensations of
adrift. But long service is necessary in all Londoners are, perhaps, too acute on these
vocations, to the establishment of a claim subjects; and a faithful John, after all, is
to be pensioned in old age; and we are in- more genteel.”
clined to think, that where this claim has It seems to be Mr. Thackeray's especial
been established, it is more frequently vocation to write down flunkeyism; but
admitted than ignored. The reason why flunkeyism is not easily written down either
there are so many old servants in our work- in one shape or another. People will go on
houses is, that the claim on private benevo- having and being flunkeys. But we should
lence is rarely established.

ill acquit ourselves of the task we have un-
Another point worthy of consideration, in dertaken, if we did not enter our protest
connexion with this branch of our subject, against the intrusion of flunkeys in situations
is, whether, by extending the market for where women-servants may be employed
female service in more profitable quarters, with equal utility. Any improvement in
something may not be done to diminish the this respect we know must be very gradual.
supply of poorly-requited labour of this “Example moves where precept fails ;” but
kind. Every man-servant costs his em- it moves slowly when conventional ideas of
ployer twice-or, probably, thrice—as much gentility are assailed. Your Apollos of
as a female servant. With due advertence May Fair, or your Joves Tonantes of the
even to the subject of “keep,” it may be Stock Exchange, will not readily consent
said, without fear of contradiction, that two to turn their Ganymedes into liebes, and
good parlour-maids will cost less than one have their nectar poured out by feminine
footman. Now, we know that men-servants hands. But they may discover, in process
bear a very small numerical proportion to of time, if they are gently led to it by un-
female servants. There are many streets deniable example, that it is quite as pleasant
which contain a hundred of the latter to one to have their glass filled, or their plate
of the former. Still, a large number of changed, by a pretty hand-maiden, as by an
men are employed in domestic service; obese butler; and that it is more convenient
whilst many householders resort to the ridi-
culous compromise of a boy in buttons, * Besides exempting you from the chance of in-
under the absurd designation of "page.” sult and injury. A distinguished weekly journal
Setting aside the insane notion of “gentili- (the Examiner), in a recent article, headed " Yel-
ty," what is gained by this addiction to men, venient results of keeping men-servants, who get
servants,—what gain is there of substantial drunk and insult you, and, when you resent their
comfort ? If a servant be required, as in impertinence, bring you into Court, and cause you
some instances, to attend a carriage, it is to be fined. "What is the remedy ?" asks the jour-
necessary to entertain a footman; but there nalist

. “There is but one -- discharge your he-serare a vast number of cases in which no such tions in every respect. They are the trouble of reason exists, and the only motive to the every family, all who have to do with them, comemployment of the man, in preference to the plain without end of them. When will some man woman, is vanity. It is, conventionally, of mark set the example of turning off his spoiled, more aristocratic to keep a footman than a pert flunkeys, with their airs and insolencies, and parlour-maid. The latter may wait at table, trained, wait and perform every other office quite as

substituting female attendants, who, when well clean plate, answer the door, &c., &c., equal well

, and at smaller cost of money and temper."


one say,

to be in proximity to a clean print frock this kind. The best actions of a man's life than to a pipe-clayed white coat, which per- often subject him to suspicion. Such suspihaps, leaves its mark on your shoulder.* cion as we have indicated would soon be

But even if this—of which we confess we lived down, with the error in which it originhave no great hope at present-were accom- ated, and the immense advantages of such plished, and Yellow-plush went to the Blues, education-advantages beneficially influencand Buttons were sent back to the country, ing, perhaps, a whole life-be generally apto weed gravel-walks, or dig potatoes at six- preciated. pence a-day, there would be no very great This is a good work, in which every one gain to the female community, who now so who has an establishment, great or small, vastly outnumber the male in the ranks of may assist, without any associated efforts or domestic service. That to which our re- organized machinery. Let no marks practically tend, is not so much the “What can I do alone ?" Let every one extension as the improvement of a descrip- try what he can do alone, and leave the tion of employment which occupies the lives joint result to God. The homely adage, of so large a portion of the women of Eng-"Take care of your pence and your pounds land. The great mistake, as we have said, will take care of themselves,” is true of is, that it is generally conceived by the more things than coin. These little pence classes who supply the raw material of do. of benevolence make a vast capital of wellmestic service, that every girl is by nature a doing, and, properly cared for, may fill the domestic servant, and that she has only to world with wealth. Besides, such indepenstep from the cottage to the servants' hall or dent, spontaneous effort does not exclude asto the kitchen, there to take her place at once, sociation and organization. We only say full-fledged, as an important member of a that it may precede them. Whilst we are household.' This is hardly, perhaps, so much contriving machinery to operate on a large their fault, as the fault of those who are scale, let every one try what can be done above them, and who, having the power to with one's own hands on a small scale. The correct, endorse the error of their less in- association and organization, which are so structed neighbors. There are few poor fami- much needed, will not go on the worse for this. lies, we suspect, who would not gladly avail And what should the machinery be? themselves of any permitted means of ob. We have already, in some measure, indicattaining a good practical household education ed its nature; and with any such indication, for their daughters, as soon as they were there will be suggested to every reader's once made clearly to understand its advan- mind an idea of industrial training in schools tage. There may be some ignorance, pre- or other institutions. It has been stated judice, and suspicion to be combated at the that a large number of the female servants outset, but these would soon give way be of England begin life in the work house, and fore reason and self-interest. We know end it there. We are afraid that in such that the mistress of a household, either in cases the middle is worthy of the two extown or country, could hardly render more tremes of their social existence. But the real practical service to her poorer neigh- workhouse, as we have already observed, bours, than by permitting the daughters of contains all the machinery for industrial such people, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, training, -a machinery which is often set to come from time to time into their houses, most beneficially at work in favour of the to see how the work is done, and to learn boy inmates, but is generally inoperative in how to do it, by assisting the regular mem- behalf of the girls. Every Union workbers of the establishment. And yet we are house ought to be an industrial school on afraid that many poor people, with habitual a large scale, and, in a great measure, a selfsuspicion, would look upon any such propo- supporting institution. Every girl ought to sal as an insidious attempt to obtain so much learn, before she is cast adrift on the world, service “ for nothing," and, after a little how to wash, how to iron, how to make a time, would suggest an idea of payment. bed, how to clean a grate, how to boil vegeBut no one who desires to do good must tables, how to cook a joint, how to make a suffer himself to be deterred by obstacles of pudding, how to wait at table, and how to

do all kinds of plain needlework. Doubt, * Flunkeyism in white livery is comely and im- less, some of these things are learned and posing; but we have sometimes carried with us into practised for the benefit of the master and the drawing-room, after a grand dinner, a mark of mistress of the Union; but there is no systhe genteel society in which we have been in the tematic instruction in which it is to be shape of a patch of pipe-clay on our shoulder, left there by a footman, after leaning over us to remove gravely and earnestly regarded as the busia dish.

ness of a life.

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The rate-payers are not invited to receive eded—who have learnt from you how to manthese girls in furtherance of the same impor-age a household—who have caught up from you, tant object, from time to time, into their insensibly, lessons of vast utility, lessons of order, houses. Indeed, it seems to be the rule to of the management of children, of household

lessons of economy, lessons of cleanliness, lessons coop them up as much and ventilate them comfort and tidiness, these women eventually as little as possible—to hinder their contact become the wives of small tradesınen and respectwith the outer world and its duties, as able operatives. They carry into a lower and a though there were a fear of their revealing very extended circle the influence of your teachthe secrets of the prison-house, in a manner ing and your training. Visit a hamlet or a vilthat might, perhaps, be inconvenient to lage where the cottager's wife has been a sertheir gaolers. We do not say that there vant in the squire's mansion, and you shall see the are no exceptions to this rule; but we are and neatness which reigns around—in the gentle

results immediately in the air of comfort, order, certain that our workhouses generally, what- and respectful mander of the woman —in the ever they may do for boys, fall very short tidiness and respectability of her children. Even of the due discharge of their proper func- her husband, though rude and habituated to tions as training institutions for girls.

rough toil, bas caught something of the gentle The same may be said of nearly all our manners of his wife. Go into the small butcher's, schools. The children of labouring men

baker's, green-grocer's shops in town, and the and of petty tradesmen, are not brought up only the air of business, bat a tone and manner

same result is observable. The woman has not to consider that they must earn their liveli- about her which has been picked up in another hood by their own work, soon after their sphere. She shows the result in her house, in the days of pupillage are over. They learn a management, the dress, the cleanliness, the neatlittle reading-a little writing and a little ness of her children. She is not so good a speci“ summing;" and before they have proper- men as the former, because she is not so unsoly learnt to sew, they are often promoted to phisticated; the town mansion and the managecrochet-work, or suffered to waste their ment of servants in them have been some

what different. Still from you sbe bas carried time on elaborate “ samplers.”. But every lessons of inestimable value to her husband and school for the poor ought to be, more or her family.”—[Rev. F. S. Brewer on Workhouse less, an industrial school ; and the rich Visiting--Lectures to Ladies on Practical Subwho subscribe their money to them, oughtjects.] to make it a condition of their support, that the children are instructed in the practical

Now hear what follows a further and utilities of life. . If this were done, there very noticeable result : would be fewer failures at starting-fewer

“ Now, this class of women is never found in girls would fall by the wayside at the very the London workhouses-never except from outset of their career. The many failures some very great misconduct, or rarely overwhelmand the many falls, the deplorable results of ing misfortune. Coachmen, grooms, stable-boys, which we see on the pavements of our large every class of out-door labourers, though in retowns, are to be attributed not merely to ceipt of higher wages than domestic servants the fact that the poor girls are not taught to all, in short, who do not come into close contact

I have seen and seen often in workwork, but that they are not taught to look houses; but with the rarest exceptions, in proporseriously and solemnly at work, as at that, tion perhaps of one in a hundred—no woman which if it has its pains and penalties, has who, having been a domestic servant, has preserved also its pleasures and its privileges, and her character." which, if worthily performed, "ranks the same with God,” whether it be in the high

The reverend lecturer limits his statement or the low places of the earth, amidst glory to the case of the London workhouses ; and and honour or dust and ashes.

it may be said, perhaps, that as a large proIn more senses than one, this is worth portion of our female servants—even those considering. If the results of failure in this employed in London-are drawn originally walk of life be grievous to contemplato, the from the country, and therefore, in distress or results of success are cheering in the ex. in old age, return to the country, it is to the

We must look indeed beyond the rural rather than to the metropolitan workboundaries—wide as they are-of domestic houses that we must look for general results. service, for the good influences which issue But, with this caution to the reader, we may from its more perfect organization. Hear still venture to affirm, that really good ser. what is said upon the subject by a man of vants seldom or never come to penury in large experience and of earnest thought :-old age. It may be said that marriage is a

contingency not always associated with good “ The female servants in your household, service. A pretty parlour-maid may somewhom you have taken and instructed in their re- times obtain a husband before a homelyspective daties—whose manners you have soft- looking cook, though the cook be the steadier

and the thriftier of the two. Yet, as'a gen-nysonian laudations of an opposite state ; eral rule, small tradesmen and tradesmen's but we confess that there was one aspiration assistants, think more of useful qualities in a embodied in a stanza of Maud, which awakwife, and marry more systematically and ened all our sympathy on perusal : more providently, than their superiors in the social scale. It is not the prettiest or

“For I trust if an enemy's fleet came yonder round the smartest girl in an establishment who

by the hill, makes the earliest or the best match. It is

And the rushing battle-bolt rang from the

three-decker out of the foam, the steady, industrious girl, always to be found That the smooth-faced, snub-nosed rogue would busy at her proper work, no gadder, no gossip

leap from his counter and till, er, on whom the baker or the grocer casts his And strike, if he could, were it but with his admiring eyes. And, apart altogether from cheating yard-wand, home." the consideration of matrimony, (which, if many female servants bitterly deplore, so Looking at this as rather a desire than an also do many in other walks of life,) there expectation, we repeat that it has all our is this to be said with respect to good ser- sympathies. If the tall fellows who wait vice, that employers know how to appre- behind the chairs, or stand behind the carciate it, and are grateful for it when it comes. riages of the great, and the men-milliners Few who have given their livelong faithful who smirk behind the counters of our shops, services to one family, are ever suffered to were, by reason of a want of manhood for want in their old age. As a race, perhaps, war purposes, absorbed into our regiments, they are not provident. Good and faithful and handed over to the drill-sergeant and servants derive little profit from their situa- the rough-rider, so as to leave more room tions beyond the actual wages attached to for women in places where men intrude, to their respective places; and, if they have no the manifest discredit of themselves and our relatives poorer than themselves to be as- social and commercial system, a state of war sisted by them, they spend the greater part would, at all events, have one beneficial reof their earnings on dress. But we believe sult. It is sickening to see the “smooththat the number of pensioned servants in faced rogues” behind our counters, dandling this country is by no means small. Thou- tapes and ribbands in hands which God sands of old servants are now spending the made for ruder tasks, and lisping about the winter of their days in comfort, aided, if not“ sweet things” with which they desire to, wholly supported, by the employers to tempt their lady customers, and even pre. whom they have devoted the energies of suming to pay insolent compliments, for yonth and of middle age. There are few which they ought to be kicked. The only positions, indeed, where there is a higher shadow of an argument in defence of this premium on industry and fidelity than in system which we have ever seen, is, that domestic service. And seeing, therefore, women cannot take down heavy bales of that the difference is so wide between the goods from the shelves. But even admitting results of success and the results of failure, the truth of this, the argument would only strenuous should be our efforts, in every be valid so far as to indicate the necessity of way, to diminish the chances of the latter. keeping in every large establishment, where The few first steps generally determine all heavy bales of goods require to be taken the rest. Give a girl a fair start, trained down from the shelves, one or two porters and disciplined for service, and the chances for this express purpose. It does not follow are, that she will not fall by the way. that, because man's strength is needed to lift

We have devoted more space than we had heavy bales of goods, it is needed to meaoriginally designed to this subject of do- sure out yards of ribband and lace, or to dismestic service, but not more than, when the course upon the quality of silks and satins. number of women who are thus employed We have heard it said that the majority is considered, it will be thought to demand. of ladies who frequent our shops prefer Of a nature kindred to this is the employ- shop-men to shop-women. But we are hapment which is found for women in our py in our unbelief of this assertion. We shops. This is a favourite description of know that many ladies are very much afraid employment with young females of good ad- of London shop-men, and that many more dress, who have received a rather better thoroughly dislike their forwardness and kind of education than the class from which foppery. Some we hope take a more seriour domestic servants are commonly drawn. ous view of the matter, and are disposed on The first observation on this subject which principle to support those establishments suggests itself is, that the demand ought to which afford most occupation to their less be greater than it is. We are devout lovers fortunate sisters. At all events, it were time of peace, and could never concur in the Ten-| that they should do so—full time that they


should consider that the greatest service sex all the sewing work of the country. which they can render to society is to pro- How.men-tailors first arose it is difficult to mote by all possible means the extension of say. Perhaps it was esteemed only in acthe circle wherein the women of Great Bri- cordance with the fitness of things that tain may earn for themselves an honest men's garments should be made by men, livelihood. If the ladies of England took Stout broadcloth or stern fustian were heed of this, and acted in accordance with thought perhaps to defie delicate female their convictions, tradesmen would soon find hands. But the notion is becoming, practiout that their shops can be attended quite as cally, weaker and weaker; and no inconeffectually by women as by men. The shop- siderable portion of man's apparel is really woman may not have the same presumption made by female hands. We believe that or the same perseverance in pressing ar- the greater number of the garments emanatticles on unwilling purchasers; but this ing from the “bespoke” trade are the work practice is so generally disliked by custom- of men; but that the slop” work more ers of all kinds, and is altogether so disagree commonly belongs to women. In other able, that it deters more than it tempts. It words, that if you order a coat or a pair of is a libel on the women of England to affirm trowsers, it will be made for you by a man, that the assiduities of "oiled and curled” but that if you walk into a shop and buy shop-men are otherwise than irksome to one ready-made, it is the work of a woman.

A very large number of women are emThere is another department of shop bu- ployed in the getting up of the outer garsiness in which women may be very advan- ments, which, at seemingly very low prices, tageously employed—we mean as account- are ticketed in the large outfitting shops, and keepers and cashiers. On the Continent, which supply really the great mass of the women are much more extensively employ- coat-wearing population of the country. ed as book-keepers and financiers than they Waistcoat-making is in itself a profession, are in England. They are not worse arith- which numbers members by thousands. meticians than men; and inasmuch as their Now it is not to be denied that the garments temptations are fewer, they are more likely made by men are more enduring than those to be honest. We see no reason why, in made by women, if the former issue from this respect, we should not imitate our Con- the bespoke, and the latter from the readytinental, and we believe, our Transatlantic made business. But the difference does not friends. In the labour-market there should reside in the hands of the employed, but in be no monopoly of sex. Of every descrip- the wages paid by the employer. We have tion of work which can be done equally well no reason to doubt that for the same money by women, without any abatement of their a woman, properly trained to the business, claims to our respect as women, they ought will do all the sewing work in a coat as well to have their fair share.

as a man. But ready-made garments are It may be a question, whether, in the cheap, because the makers of them are unproper distribution of labour between the derpaid; and for the same reason they are two sexes, all the needle-work should not bad. The slop-sellers pay neither for skillpass into the hands of the woman. Certain- ed labour, nor for enduring work. It is not ly, it would seem at the first blush, that the the woman's work, but the underpaid work, lords of the creation, without any loss of male or female, which is necessarily bad. manly dignity, might leave to the weaker It may be good for the price, but it could

not possibly be good at the price that is * In connexion with this subject of the employ- paid for it. ment of women in shops, it may be observed that, The miseries of the slop-workers of all reversing the proper order of things, there is an in- kinds, whether they be makers of outer or creasing tendency to employ them, just where they under garments, has awakened much popuought not to be employed, in shops frequented only lar sympathy and excited much popular inby men, especially

tobacconist shops where young dignation. T'he horrors of this white slavery We do not speak of those low tobacconist shops have not been exaggerated. How could which are really brothels in disguise—but of respect such colossal fortunes be made by Hebrew able establishments. That the system is bad is prov. and other outfitters, if the soil from which od by the significant fact, that girls seldom remain long in these shops. They disappear

with unpleas- the harvest issued were not plentifully wa. ant rapidity from their place behind the counter. tered and manured with blood and tears ? We may admit that men are better judges of snuffs Everybody knows that London is full of and cigars than young girls, and therefore do not " distressed needle-women." grudge them the exclusive possession of the tobacco

But how, it nists' counters.

There But women certainly ought to may be asked, is this to be helped ? know, and we believe do know, more about ribbands is a demand for cheap garments. And there and lace.

is a demand for employment in the making

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