The order of work after breakfast varies in every household, so no hard and fast rules can be set. If the maid finishes the meal before the family she will probably 6tart to wash her own things and the early morning crockery. She must not make herself dirty, as she may be needed in the dining-room. It is a good plan to provide a maid with a pair of gloves for the dirty work so that she docs not have to wash her hands every time a bell rings. A dark apron to slip over her white one will also help to keep her clean.
Directly breakfast is finished the table must be cleared, then the washing-up follows. Nothing can be done properly while there is dirty crockery about, so this is put away as soon as possible.
After the washing-up the maid should go to her mistress for orders. Meals should be settled and a shopping list prepared.
Turning out Rooms
In the house where only one maid is kept it is usual for the mistress to help with the bed-making and dusting. Having finished the bjds, the maid should then do the bedrooms and bathroom, etc., and begin the turning out. This is generally worked by time-table, each room having a special day. If thcre is no outside help given it is usual for each room to be done once a fortnight, taking the bedrooms one week, and the reception rooms the next. The hall and staircase, however, should find a day every week, and of course the kitchen. Lunch
Anything worth doing is worth doing well; but one cannot do anything well if one has insufficient time, nor can a maid be expected to do anything in less time than the mistress herself would require for such work. To turn a room out thoroughly and polish every piece of furniture takes time, especially when other work has to be done, and the morning only has a given number of hours.
The mistress can help by getting the room ready. The ornaments can be dusted and covered up, flowers taken out of the room, and the vases washed ready to go back. The mistress can also assist by putting these things back.
Lunch must be punctual, whether the mornings work is finished or not. It is usual, excepting where there are children, to have a light and usually cold lunch, so as not to interfere with the work. If this has to be cooked, the mistress will have to give more help, either with the actual turning out or the cooking.
It is quite usual for the mistress to set the table and clear away after, especially where there is a large family and only one maid, but the girl must not rely on this being done for her always, should her mistress be out or have visitors.
If a maid does not change before lunch she should at least put on a clean apron and make herself tidy. After lunch, there is the washing-up to be done, then the kitchen floor to be washed or polished. Any other work, such as silver cleaning, must now be done.
Ready for Callers
It is a good plan, whatever task has to be done, providing it is not dirty work, to insist on the maid being dressed by about three oclock. It is not a compliment to a caller to have the door answered by a maid still in her print frock.
The maid should be allowed to go for a walk during the afternoon or after tea in the latter case returning in time to cook the dinner, the vegetables for this meal having boon prepared in the morning or directly after luncheon.
When it is beginning to get dusk and artificial light is needed indoors, the well-trained maid will draw the blinds in every room. If there are children in the house their beds must be turned down soon after tea, the other beds being left till after dinner, when the girl will also tidy the bedrooms and take down any dirty shoes, though their actual cleaning will be left till the morning. In winter hot-water bottles have to be put in the beds, and gas fires lighted or electric stoves turned on.
The friendly Mistress
After washing up the dinner things and turning down the beds, a maid should be free to do any sowing or reading and go to bed when she feels inclined, first having asked if there is anything more she can do. Of course, when there are visitors and refreshments are needed, the maid will be expected to stay up.
A maid should be allowed to get up later on Sundajs. Even half an hour extra in bed is appreciated. The life of the only maid is apt to be rather quiet and lonely unless the mistress occasionally talks to her while she is working and takes an interest in the girl. If the girl is away from home she may not have anyone to help her, and she will appreciate and take advice from her mistress. If a mistress takes an interest in her maid the girl will usually do all she can to please and help her, and thus the home will be much happier for this mutual relationship.
Work in the Kitchen
In a house where more than one maid is kept each will have her special duties to perform, but all should try to help the others as much as possible.
Whatever position a maid may hold, she must be clean in her habits. Food and crockery should never be touched by hands that are not scrupulously clean.
Saucepans, frying-pans, etc., should always be washed thoroughly and put away dry. Food of any description should never be left in a saucepan but always put away on a clean dish or basin. A joint should not be put away on the dish on which it has been cut.
Comfort aids Efficiency
Every maid should be provided with a comfortable bedroom, and if possible a sitting-room. Should the latter not be available the girl must have a comfortable chair and adequate heat and light in the kitchen. She should be encouraged to do everything nicely and the table in the kitchen must always be laid properly.
No mistress should always be watching a maid to see that she does her work properly, but it is her duty to see that the work is done in the correct way. This, of course, cannot be expected if the mistress does not set a good example.