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electric kettle and frying-pan at all events, and that most useful of implements, an electric iron. it should be very daintily fitted up, with a white tiled washing-up sink and plated or alumininm electric utensils. Near to it could be a lavatory and cloak-room for minor toilet operations, and above would be the bath-room. A woman living in a house of this description could easily do her own daily housework without undue fatigue, especially if the members of her family were trained to wait upon themselves to some extent . lf desired the office would supply skilled charwomen at so much an hour, and one might come in early in the morning, prepare breakfast, dust and sweep the sitting-rooms, clean boots, etc. But the mistress and her daughters could themselves perform these duties without much difficulty. With energy, if the members of the family used the bathroom for washing operations, each cleaned his or her own boots (as is the custom in America) and made his or her own bed, the house could be in thorough order fairly early in the morning.
A simple lunch and tea could easily be prepared in the pantry, and dinner could either be sent in or actually eaten in the restaurant. The washing would be sent out; probably the management would run a laundry in connection with the power-house. But lace, blouses, collars, d'oyleys, tray-cloths, etc., could be washed and ironed in the home pantry.
Thorough cleaning, whether fortnightly or of that severer order that occurs in springtime, would be undertaken by skilled workers provided and supervised by the central office. Three or four energetic young men or women clad in white overalls or pinafores would appear on the appointed day, the mistress having warned all the members of the family to be as little at home as possible. They would use
an electric cleaning machine.1 running easily on wheels from house to house; they would clean every window, polish every piece of furniture, and depart at evening leaving the house absolutely fresh and sweet. The mistress would visit each room as they left it, restoring ornaments to their places, and giving the personal touches that create the right atmosphere. ln country air, a very little dusting and sweeping—especially if the furniture were solid and simple—would keep the house in order between each visit of the cleaners.
in carrying out this scheme, we should avail ourselves of two tendencies in modern life which are really complementary, though often thought of as contrasted. We want in its place the use of efficient machinery under the charge of trained workers. This is a factor that must have further development in many directions. But side by side with it should go greater simplicity in personal habits; simpler food, simpler clothing, simpler furniture, would make it possible for each family to do much of its own work. For instance, instead of employing washerwomen or laundresses in the house, the large and complicated articles of clothing should be sent out to be washed in a steam laundry; but in a house provided, as suggested, with a pantry fitted with a well-designed sink and an electric iron, handkerchiefs, lace collars, and other small articles could with ease and indeed pleasure be done up at home. The same policy should be followed in relation to cooking; the important meals of the day should be prepared by skilled hands under scientific supervision and with the help of elaborate appliances; on the other hand, every individual should be able and
1 The best of these is the "aspirator," but this machine when worked by electricity costs £18. It Is impossible for the single middle-class family to afford a machine at such a price. Its cost would be a bagatelle to the management of a colony of the kind suggested.
willing to muke himself or herself a cup of tea or boil an egg or make porridge.
Now doubtless there would be difficulties of detail to be worked out here. One difficulty is a somewhat snobbish one: Will women of the class suggested consent to be without a servant, and so be obliged to open the door themselves to visitors? And what is to be done when all the members of the family are absent at once? Obviously the community should have a somewhat imposing entrance-gate, with a uniformed porter in attendance. He would receive letters and parcels, would report to visitors that Mrs. Smith went to town for the morning, but expects to come back later in the afternoon, and would beg them to wait for her return in the reading-room or park. It might be possible that, if desired, any cottage should be connected by telephone with the porter's lodge, so that he could announce the approach of a visitor, thus giving the mistress time to wash her hands and make any necessary preparations.
Again, it will be urged that some families would find it impossible to live without a servant: a children's nurse, for instance, might be in many cases necessary. But we do not suggest that servants should be forbidden; any tenant who wished would be at perfect liberty to have a private attendant. Nevertheless we should expect to find that under such a system the presence of a servant would be found more and more inconvenient, and that when the servant's help was essential, she would rather be of the type of nursery governess or helper than of the socially inferior serving-person.
Another objection that would probably be brought forward is that the plan suggested could not possibly be applied to the housing of the working classes. The rent for such accommodation as is suggested would be quite
beyond their resources. Certainly the scheme would need considerable modification if it were to be worked out to meet working-class needs. But that is no argument against doing the best that can be done at present for another class. if the simplest form of the problem is solved first, then we can attack the more difficult task.
To meet another possible objection, there would be not less but more privacy than in the ordinary English home, harassed as it is by the perpetual presence of strange serving-women. Life in such a community would be infinitely healthier, easier and more really comfortable than in the ordinary stuffy English terrace or square.
To note some of its advantages: it would set free the woman who does not care for housekeeping to devote herself to her own special work. in the case of a childless couple, each member could continue comfortably to pursue his or her own avocation. The mother would in most cases retire from her pre-matrimonial occupation for some years. But when her children grew older (and even when they were young if she had a competent helper) she could return to her profession. At present it is absurd that the trained woman-worker, whether teacher or clerk or doctor, should practically either be compelled to remain single or else to give up her vocation, if she chooses the former course, then some of the finest women in the country remain celibate and fail to hand on their qualities to the next generation, while if they marry and relinquish their work, then the time, labor and money spent on preparation for it has been almost wasted.
Again, life in such a community would solve the problem of housekeeping for the unmarried man or woman. At present, except under unusually favorable circumstances, people who do not form part of a family must find accommodation in squalid lodgings or boarding-houses, faced always by the two alternatives of unwholesome loneliness or uncongenial society. But under this scheme, a group of young men or women friends could rent a house and run it with very little trouble; possibly suites of two or three rooms plainly furnished could be provided in the central club-house for the use of this class. Again, a new profession for middle-class women would appear; for the central kitchens and laundries and the staffs of cleaners would need organization and supervision. Now at present the woman whose forte is housekeeping—and there are many such women—has no chance of exercising her talent unless she marries. But frequently these capable women are single, and therefore society loses their much-needed services. Many of them take a special and elaborate training in the schools of domestic economy, and then proceed in their turn to teach housekeeping. But they should not teach, but practise it, and our suggested village would for the first time provide for them an adequate sphere.
it should be noticed that the scheme need not necessarily be co-operative. Indeed, at first it would probably succeed better if run on the ordinary lines of a limited liability company, working for a dividend (which might possibly be limited to five per cent.). The practical plan is to form a company with sufficient capital, to secure an estate suitable for the purpose, not too far from a town or industrial area, and in constant communication with it either by train, tram, or by a service of motor-cars.
The estate should be carefully laid out to the best advantage, with its groups of cottages and its larger houses containing suites of rooms for unmar
The Albany Reylew.
ried people; its central club-house and kitchens; its power-house and laundry; its tennis- and croquet-courts and children's playground. Cottages should be carefully designed by a competent architect. To provide for individual tastes, an arrangement might be made that, if a tenant were willing to take a house on a long lease, he should be allowed to build according to his own design. Let the company engage the central staff, and then hire its houses at a definite rent to any tenants who offer, providing light, heat, meals and service at a fixed tariff. Probably an advisory committee should ultimately be appointed by the tenants to criticize and suggest, and should there be more applications than can be met, this committee might be given power to select. But at first, at all events, the scheme would have far greater chance of success if run on ordinary capitalistic lines, than if managed as a co-operative community, provided there were adequate consideration shown for the wishes of the tenants. And that it would be a success the writer has no doubt. True, some of the suggestions involve considerable initial expenditure, but so much would be saved in wages, food and houseroom for servants, the work would be so much more thoroughly and efficiently performed, so much waste involved in the existence of the separate kitchens and laundries of the ordinary house would be avoided, and the life would be so much pleasanter and more healthy, that the experiment, not of cooperative housekeeping, but of the application of modern and scientific methods to household management could not fail to work a revolution in our present expensive, inefficient and comfortless plan of providing for domestic life.
THE HOUSE IN ISLINGTON.
"Philip," said Mrs. Burchell timidly. "Yes?" muttered Mr. Burchell from behind his Telegraph.
"My little cheque came last night. It is just fifteen pounds. is there anything"
She did not complete the sentence. There were many of those unfinished sentences on Mrs. Burchell's side in her relations with her husband, and they increased in number yearly.
For a few moments there was a silence which might have been described as strained, and then Mr. Burchell smoothed his paper with an ominous rustle. He had decided to speak out. "My dear girl," he said, with a distinct rasp in his voice, and with a finality which he almost intended to be cruel— "let us settle that matter of the House in Islington once and for all. Twice a year regularly you receive your little check, and twice a year regularly you insist on asking whether you shall buy me anything out of it . I hope—i sincerely hope—that i appreciate the attention as i should; but i wish you to understand now that it is utterly unnecessary on your part, and that it need not be offered again. It is your own money, and i refuse to touch it. Use it entirely and absolutely for your own purposes. In future I shall not expect you to mention that you have received it."
There was a painful pause. Mr. Burchell did not lower his paper, but he knew that his wife had smiled—one of those small smiles with which she was accustomed to disguise her feelings. When she spoke it was as gently as ever.
"Of course, Philip, if you wish"— "I do wish," said Mr. Burchell firmly. "Let that be enough. I must not be worried with trifles—not even twice a year!"
Trifles! There was complete silence after that, except for the inevitable movements of the breakfast-table. Mr. Burchell spent another two minutes over his paper, and then looked at his watch. Five minutes later, well clad and well groomed, he passed down the path that intersected his faultless lawn and turned into the street. it was now twenty-five minutes after nine, and he invariably caught the ninethirty-six at Highgate Station. From the dining-room window Mrs. Burchell watched him go, and he acknowledged the attention by a careless nod as he disappeared.
"Women," he said to himself in injured self-excuse—"women seem to have no sense of proportion. That House in islington! year after year in just the same way, as if we were still striving to live on a hundred and eighty pounds. I am afraid Mary is a woman of one idea—or rather, a woman of a dominant idea. That's it—the Dominant Idea. She can't get away from it."
So he strode on along the shaded road, and in the house that he had left his wife returned to the breakfast-table to finish her last cup in unprofitable meditation. Naturally, it was the House in Islington that claimed her thoughts, and she retraced its story in a mood of mingled pain and self-blame. Her face was not yet an old one, and its patient gentleness was her passport to the trust of any who came near her when they were in need of a friend; but at this moment something had picked out certain lines in it with a pitiless pencil, and she looked much older than the well-groomed City man who had just left her.
Twenty years ago, when Philip Burchell had asked her to be his wife, she had come to him without any great beauty and with a somewhat keen sense of her own shortcomings. He was an extremely able young man, and she had wondered in her heart of hearts that he had chosen her. So she had kept a secret for him, and it was not whispered until the day after their marriage. "You thought I had nothing, Philip; but it is not quite so bad as that. There was a little property left by my grandmother, and after my uncle's death—he is very old, you know— it will be divided between my cousins and myself. l shall have one-fourth —and it will probably be the House in Islington."
She remembered with vivid clearness his real pleasure and his exaggerated surprise. He had rallied her upon her "fortune" all through the fortnight of that humble honeymoon, and she had enjoyed the situation even more than he. After all, she had something to offer him, something that would be a great help in the heroic struggle he had begun. No, she could not help him much herself—her scope was limited, and she could only stand and watch. But the House in Islington would help, and he would take that as a part of her contribution to the common fund.
It was curious to remember how differently things had worked out. The life that stood between had ceased in the first year of their marriage, and the House was nominally hers; but then had come a long period of delay, and even when that period was over it was found that legal expenses had swallowed up nearly the whole of the first year's proceeds. She remembered how Philip had pinched her ear consolingly when that disappointing five-pound note had come. But it was a beggarly five pounds in the second year too, for the property had long been neglected, and extensive repairs were necessary. So those first years of their married life were full of caiculating and contriving with the House in Islington like a tan
talizing shadow in the background.
The third had been the year of the greatest need—a need so urgent that they had tried to part with the House to one of the cousins at his own figure. It had produced ten pounds that year. The cousin had declined, and the House had begun to assume something of a sinister aspect with relation to their fortunes. But then things changed quite rapidly. Philip improved his position, and the upward march began. At the same time the House, as if in ironic sympathy, had shaken itself clear of misfortune, and had begun to pay thirty pounds a year. Actually, thirty pounds a year! Yes, that was the irony of it—that it had begun to do fairly well as soon as the keen necessity was passed.
The rest of the story was very similar. in the first year of success Mr. Burchell had accepted from the House a pair of boots—an excellent pair of the best American make at one guinea. He had never had such a pair before, so the House had begun to be a real practical help; and although Mr. Burchell wore those boots for two winters, it is safe to say that it was his wife who found the greatest pleasure in them. Her eyes were on them often, aud she regarded them as a first-fruit of her many expectations. But, alas! the chance never came again. Even before that pair was worn down the partnership had come, lifting their wearer high above all considerations of footgear, and setting his feet in the broad way of prosperity and self-esteem. On the arrival of the next halfyear he had playfully announced his independence, blind to the pain he was giving, stupidly unaware of the true inwardness of things. "No, my dear girl," he had said blandly, "I will not accept a penny. It is yours. Buy things for yourself."
Something—perhaps the knowledge that he would be amused—had forbid