January 3, 1851

Oakes Ames

Oakes Ames

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!

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