Friday Jan 3
Got breakfast this morning about 1/2 past 6 Oclock
Worked about house most all day. Did not sew but
a very little Finished a letter to Pauline Dean for
Mr. Ames to mail at Boston O A wrote a few lines and
sent her a pr of Cuff pins Mr Ames has the ague in his
face. Read untill half past nine in the papers.
Pauline writes that Mrs Brooks & little boy are there
Came with Mr Reed. Mr Brooks is to come for them
“Mr. Ames” is Oakes Ames, of course: Evelina’s husband. “O A” is their eldest son, Oakes Angier Ames. With one notable exception that occurs much later in her diary, Evelina always referred to her husband using his surname. That a woman of her age and upbringing would be so formal in talking about her husband shouldn’t surprise us; in 1851, anyone with a similar education and background would have done the same. The 19th century was a formal century. Titles and surnames were used in conversation, in correspondence and even in a diary that, presumably, would be read only by its author.
“Ague” is an old term for fever, usually defined as “chills and fever.” So how Oakes Ames had a fever in his face is hard to imagine. Perhaps this was a country expression for having a cold or sinus pain in one’s head. Certainly, it was the time of year for colds and illness. The ague affliction stayed with Oakes for several days during a spell of weather that his father, Old Oliver, described as “verry cold.” Something like January 3, 2014!