Let, then, stove, fuel, water, work-table, and pantries be at the same end of the kitchen, and within a few steps of one another, and it will be found that while the general labor of each day must always be the same, the time required for its accomplishment will be far less, under these favorable conditions. The successful workman,—the type-setter, the cabinet-maker, or carpenter,—whose art lies in the rapid combination of materials, arranges his materials and tools so as to be used with the fewest possible movements; and the difference between a skilled and unskilled workman is not so much the rate of speed in movement, as in the ability to make each motion tell. The kitchen is the housekeeper’s workshop; and, in the chapter on House-work, some further details as to methods and arrangements will be given.
The house: Ventilation.
Having settled the four requisites in any home, and suggested the points to be made in regard to the first one,—that of wholesome situation,—Ventilation is next in order. Theoretically, each one of us who has studied either natural philosophy or physiology will state at once, with more or less glibness, the facts as to the atmosphere, its qualities, and the amount of air needed by each individual; practically nullifying such statement by going to bed in a room with closed windows and doors, or sitting calmly in church or public hall, breathing over and over again the air ejected from the lungs all about,—practice as cleanly and wholesome as partaking of food chewed over and over by an indiscriminate crowd.
Now, as to find the Reason Why of all statements and operations is our first consideration, the familiar ground must be traversed again, and the properties and constituents of air find place here. It is an old story, and, like other old stories accepted by the multitude, has become almost of no effect; passive acceptance mentally, absolute rejection physically, seeming to be the portion of much of the gospel of health. “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is almost an axiom. I am disposed to amend it, and assert that cleanliness is godliness, or a form of godliness. At any rate, the man or woman who demands cleanliness without and within, this cleanliness meaning pure air, pure water, pure food, must of necessity have a stronger body and therefore a clearer mind (both being nearer what God meant for body and mind) than the one who has cared little for law, and so lived oblivious to the consequences of breaking it.
Ventilation, seemingly the simplest and easiest of things to be accomplished, has thus far apparently defied architects and engineers. Congress has spent a million in trying to give fresh air to the Senate and Representative Chambers, and will probably spend another before that is accomplished. In capitols, churches, and public halls of every sort, the same story holds. Women faint, men in courts of justice fall in apoplectic fits, or become victims of new and mysterious diseases, simply from the want of pure air. A constant slow murder goes on in nurseries and schoolrooms; and white-faced, nerveless children grow into white-faced and nerveless men and women, as the price of this violated law.