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passage for the air, and so make sure of a bad fire. Small dusty coal is particularly to be avoided in the first lighting of a fire. The grand secret is air, “ let there be a free passage for the air completely through the fire." I know I shall have some of my friends, the housemaids, telling me to mind my own business, and saying that they know how to light a fire without my advice.-Certainly they do,-some of them ; but some of them do it very ill, and they get themselves into a great deal of trouble, when they might just as well have avoided it. And I think that those who keep nearest to these rules will make the best fires, and consequently give most satisfaction to their masters and mistresses; for few things, in a common way, are more cheering to the spirits than finding a good fire when you come down stairs on a cold morning, and few things more melancholy than a cold, black, half-lighted fire.
I have lately read, in the newspaper, a rule for lighting a fire, which, though different from my own, I was willing to try, as I am not so bigotted to old ways as to refuse any thing better that modern times may offer. The method was—" to fill the grate three-fourths full of fresh coal, large or small, (taking care to have some large ones against the bars to prevent the small ones from coming out); then to put on the wood, and then the cinders of yesterday, The ciuders will light soon, and the heat will communicate presently to the fresh coals below, and these will then send out their smoky gas, which will be lighted in passing through the fire above, and sapply a regular and increasing stream of fame.”
Now the objection wbich we made at once to this, was, that the quantity of coal below would choke up the passage of the air, and that the fire would not easily light. We however tried, and found certainly a good deal of difficulty in first lighting the fire. However, after we had got it to burn, it succeeded beautifully, and for many hours there was a full, bright, and improving fire, not disposed to become hollow, but increasing in warmth, and regularly growing brighter till the coals at the bottom were exhausted. We should, however, recommend that the foundation of coal below should be smaller than the receipt prescribes, that there may be a free current of air, and that the fire may thus be more easily lighted. Then let there be a very good supply of cinders for the top. There is another comfort arising from this, namely, that the fire in the preceding evening will be so kept up as to afford a supply of good cinders for the next morning. People are apt to let the fire go very low at night, and so go to bed cold and shivering, a very miserable and comfortless plan by which they are often kept áwake half the night-nobody can go to sleep with cold feet.
A fire made according to this method will last a long time, and will want but little poking. Poking is a bad plan, and a very extravagant one.
ADVANTAGE OF A GOOD FIRE. There is not much saved by keeping a bad fire. A good fre will warm a room all over, and the whole family may feel the comfort of it. But how wretched it is to see, in a cottage, a poor bit of a fire kept together by two sticks, and two or three of the family trying to dry their wet feet; and the rest of them shivering behind without feeling the least benefit from it. It is a great belp to poor people to live in a country where coals are cheap, and I am always very sorry for those who are situated where fuel is scarce and dear. But I should certainly recommend all “ Cottagers" to try by all means so to manage their
expences as, at any rate, to keep a good fire · in winter. A cold perishing sort of room makes
every body feel so miserable that neither meat nor drink seem to do them good : whereas, in a good fire there is something so comforting and cheering, that a sober cottager, by his fire-side, after bis day's work is done, seems to be as happy as any prince. I certainly then would advise every "cottager's wife” to get a good grate and to keep a good fire in it; and I think, instead of losing by it, she will find herself a gainer at the year's end. Master Gripe, at the Nag's-head, always has a good fire, and this brings half the boobies in the parisb to his house. Gripe knows what he is about; and if every good wife in the parish knew what she was about, she would never let her husband go to the ale-house for want of a good fire at home. It is true that if a man has a right notion of what is Christian-like and good he will soon find that the ale-house is no place for him ; but, unfortunately, there are too many people who have not this right principle, yet even these might grow fond of their homes, and so become much happier, and perhaps much better if their wives would take pains to make their home pleasant and agreeable. An idle, gossiping, slatternly wife always has the house and every thing about it in such a state that it is a misery to go
into it. “But a good wife will try to have a good fire to receive her husband when he comes home from work, as if she was glad to see him : then she will always have his stockings in good repair, and always have a dry pair ready in case be should come home wet. Sitting in wet shoes and stockings is very dangerous, there should always then be a pair of stockings and an old dry pair of shoes ready to slip on in case they are wanted, and this is a great comfort and relief too, and makes a man sit down quietly for the evening, and feel the comfort of being at home.--Every girl ought to be trained up to the proper management of a house." All girls learn to read now; and a very good thing it is, but they should learn good management besides. Many a man is made to dislike his home, because his wife does not try to make it agreeable to him.—But some wives will say that they are not able to procure any comforts; that the husband spends his money at the ale-house; and that they have no money for fuel, and hardly any for food; that the children are in rags, the windows all shattered, the furniture all broken, or worn out, or pawned; and that she cannot herself make any thing right whilst her husband takes such pains to make every thing wrong. It is indeed very true that there are such husbands, and a very dreadful thing it is that there should be such: we hardly know of any characters worse than these robbers of their own families. But, if I were a wife, I would try at least what home comforts, and pleasant looks, and good temper, and a good fire-side would do towards keeping off all this misery froin herself, her family, and her husband.
REMARKS ON OUR CHEAP FUEL.
A POOR woman, not long since, was found stirring up a mixture in a sort of vessel which she had contrived for herself, and being asked what she was doing, replied that she was making her cheap fuel according to the receipt which she found in a little book which had been lent to her. She said that she had tried it for a long time, and that it answered wonderfully. The receipt which she used was either that in page 35, Vol. I. of our “ Visitor," or that in page 269, Vol. II. our correspondent does not tell us which-either of them will do-but there most first be a good fire, and some coals must be used; then when there is a good fire made of good coals either of these receipts will answer exceedingly well. There need be no waste at all of ashes and
cinders, all may be burned up; and a good fire may be constantly kept at a moderate expense. The most extravagant of all fires is a wood and coal fire mixed; it makes a bright and hot fire to be sure, and is very well for those who can afford it, but the wood instead of saving coal is all the time very busily employed in burning it away.
Before we have done with the subject of fires, we must just give a bint to those who wish to give a little present to the poor, that nothing is more acceptable to them than a sapply of fuel. But this is a word to the rich,-my poor cottage friends need not pay any attention to it; they must never trust to gifts or think about them. If any thing comes, it is well, and I can assure them I shall be very glad if this bint should bring any of them a bushel of coals. But I have seen so many poor people beggared by trusting to gifis, that I most caution them against this, over and over again. Their dependance must be on God's blessing apon their own industry and good management. Gifts may cheer a poor man for a day, or may help a distressed man out of great difficulties, but they never can maintain a man, or supply a family with its necessary maintenance and support. Consider the weekly wages of an industrious good workman, and see how much this comes to in the year, and you will find that, if this is properly managed, there is a better supply for the comfortable support of a family than any gifts can ever be expected to equal: this is the proper and natural supply of our own wants; and this is the way in wbich Providence has appointed us to be supported; and, instead of murmuring at our lot, if we think as we ought to do, we shall see great reason not only to be contented, but to be thankful.