The want of good domestic help in the United States is a great evil, and one which daily increases; and, were it not for the influx of foreigners, I do not know but necessity would drive all housekeepers to some great boarding-house system, thus banishing the holiest of all places– our homes and our private firesides.
No one can travel through our country towns, especially of the Free States of the West, without being struck with the careworn, faded expression of women scarcely thirty years of age; and the merest glimpse at their cares and duties, and the hard work that inevitably falls to their share, shows plainly, why they are broken down ere they are in their prime; shows why there are so many motherless children; why there are so many men mourning over the beloved of their youth, and the breaking up of their household ties; why there are so many with second and third wives.
Look at a young girl entering upon the duties of matrimony, loving and beloved, and anxious to fulfill her domestic and social duties. Watch her year by year until a little family have clustered around her; see with what energy and amiability she has striven against sickness, poor help, and all the thousand trials and perplexities that no one but American housekeepers can understand. With an infant in her arms and an inexperienced girl to help her, she superintends her housekeeping, receives company, nurses her children, acts the seamstress, and strives for her husband’s comfort; and soften her miserable help deserts her when she can least do without. What wonder health and beauty give way! And she could not retain her spirits, and hope against hope that she will be relieved in time to recruit her failing health and energies, but for that calm trust, which I glory in saying most of my countrywomen possess, in an all-wise Creator, an overruling Providence, and a kind Heavenly Father. Yet, though God overrules all things, He does not wish us to fold our hands over this evil; even with faith in Him, we must endeavor to remove it, and look to Him to bless our efforts, not our passiveness. What can be done? Will not some one take up a pen, and tell us what is practicable?– not theories; something practical?