This is a new and freshly published edition of this culturally important work by M. E. W. (Mary Elizabeth Wilson) Sherwood, which is now, at last, again available to you.
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That she must be first servant-trainer, then housekeeper, wife, mother, and conversationist, that she must keep up with the always advancing spirit of the times, read, write, and cipher, be beautifully dressed, play the piano, make the wilderness to blossom as the rose, be charitable, thoughtful, and good, put the mind at its ease, strive to learn how to do all things in the best way, be a student of good taste and good manners, make a house luxurious, ornamental, cheerful, and restful, have an inspired sense of the fitness of things, dress and entertain in perfect accord with her station, her means, and her husband's ambition, 24 master, unassisted, all the ins and outs of the noble art of entertaining,—has not this been something of the nature of a large contract?
...Who does not remember the failure of that first dinner-party?—when the baby began to cry so loud; when the hostess was not dressed when the bell rang; when the cook spilled the soup all over the range and filled the house with a bad odour; when the waitress, usually so cool, lost all her presence of mind and fell on the basement stairs, breaking all the plates; when one failure succeeded another until the husband looked reproachfully at his wife, who, poor creature, had been working day and night to get up this dinner, who was responsible for none of the failures, and who had an attack of neuralgia afterward which lasted all winter.