There was once a time when women did not go out alone to eat in a restaurant, but to-day one sees about as many women as men eating their midday meal in public. If women engaged in general business prove themselves thus capable of self care, there seems to be no reason why household employees, who often receive higher wages than shop girls and stenographers, should not be able to do the same. They would enjoy their meals more outside, albeit the food given them in their employer’s house is undoubtedly of a better quality; the change of surroundings and the opportunity of meeting friends, of leaving their work behind them, would compensate them. In any event, it is clearly proved by the scarcity of women applying for positions in private houses that these two advantages only to be obtained in domestic labor—board and lodging—do not attract the working woman of the present day.
The joy of eating the bread of independence is an old and deeply rooted feeling. There is an ancient fable of AEsop about the Dog and the Wolf which portrays this sentiment in a very quaint and delightful manner. (Sir Roger l’Estrange’s translation.)
The dog and the Wolf
There was a Hagged Carrion of a Wolf, and a Jolly Sort of a Gentile Dog, with Good Flesh upon’s Back, that fell into Company together upon the King’s High-Way. The Wolf was wonderfully pleas’d with his Companion, and as Inquisitive to Learn how be brought himself to That Blessed State of Body. Why, says the Dog, I keep my Master’s House from Thieves, and I have very Good Meat, Drink, and Lodging for my pains. Now if you’ll go along with Me, and do as I do, you may fare as I fare. The Wolf Struck up the Bargain, and so away they Trotted together: But as they were Jogging on, the Wolf spy’d a Bare Place about the Dog’s Neck where the Hair was worn off. Brother (says he) how comes this I prethee? Oh, That’s Nothing, says the Dog, but the Fretting of my Collar a little. Nay, says T’other, if there be a Collar in the Case, I know Better Things than to sell my Liberty for a Crust.
...’Tis a Comfort
to have Good Meat and Drink at Command, and Warm
Lodging: But He that sells his Freedom for the Cramming of his
Belly, has but a Hard Bargain of it.
In modern business enterprises, there is hardly a single instance of an employer who is willing to board his employees, nor would he consider for a moment the proposition of allowing them to remain at their place of employment all night and of providing sleeping accommodations for them. Neither in consideration of benefiting them, nor with the view of benefiting himself by thus making sure of having them on hand for work early the next morning, would he ever consent to such an arrangement. When he needs some one to watch over his interests in the night time, he engages a night watchman, a very much more economical plan than to provide lodging for all his employees.