For a lady's maid, good character was just as important as skills in sewing or hairdressing. We took a look at The Duties of a Lady's Maid, published in 1825, which, as well as a handy guide for teaching you how to clean stains out of clothes with potato and match colour to skin tone, also advises lady's maids on how to speak, act and even think.
Being a lady's maid is no laughing matter
"To bring your mind into a serious and pious frame you should often meditate on death, the uncertainty of time, and the endless futurity which awaits you beyond the grave."
You should often meditate on death, the uncertainty of time, and the endless futurity which awaits you beyond the grave
"Another method of avoiding temptation in the case of money, with which you may be entrusted to discharge small bills, or buy such little things as your mistress may want, is to keep an accurate account, in a little book, of every farthing paid away. This will be a check on your conscience, which will stare you in the face every time you open it".
Early to bed, early to rise
"The sooner that you leave your bed, the seldomer you will be confined to it, for early rising is one of the first maxims of health… Whoever then is found in bed after six o'clock, from May-day till Michaelmas, cannot expect to be free from some ailment or other, dependent on relaxed nerves, stuffed lungs, disordered bile, or impaired digestion."
Bite your tongue
"Never, on any account, give a pert or a back answer- remembering the proverb, that honey catches more flies than vinegar; and though you are scolded, or treated ever so unreasonably, silence, or a mild answer, will always be the most prudent thing you can do."
"I have never known an instance of a girl fond of showy dresses, getting well married".
I have never known an instance of a girl fond of showy dresses, getting well married
Moderate your expectations
"[N]ovels, tales, and romances, which have led many a girl to ruin, by drawing fanciful picture of love and adventures, such as never could have happened".
Make sure to speak proper, like
"One of the most common vulgarities, is the use of the words not and none, or no at the same time; as when you say "I have not got none."
Never underestimate your forehead
"The admirers of beauty all concur in opinion, that without a fine forehead, no face can be completely beautiful".
Without a fine forehead, no face can be completely beautiful
"[F]un is a thing that does not always lead to the best consequences; and it is possible to be very happy and cheerful without it."