January 27, 1851

Read

Jan 27th Monday.  As usual this morning have been washing dishes

and working about house all the forenoon.  could not sit

with mother at all.  It was cloudy and looked like rain

but Jane ventured to put her clothes out to night  They

are nearly dry.  This afternoon & evening have finished

Susans gingham apron.  Sarah W came in awhile this

evening and the boys have been reading.  After school

Susan went to see Mary Ann Randall.  Cloudy

Another Monday, meaning that Evelina did the housework while Jane McHanna tackled the laundry.  Evelina was too busy “choring,” as she often called it, to sit down in the morning and sew or read with her mother, Hannah Gilmore, who was visiting for the week.  The women sewed together in the afternoon, however, after the midday meal, and in the evening, they enjoyed a visit from Sarah Witherell.  Oakes was most likely over in the office; he and his brother Oliver Jr. often worked there in the evenings after tea.

The boys were around, of course.  The shovel factory closed at 6 P. M. whereupon Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton walked home. There were no dances on a Monday night, so after tea, they amused themselves by reading.  All three boys read, yet Oliver (3) was reckoned to be the most scholarly.  Even as a child he enjoyed reading and, with Oakes Angier, began to collect books. Years later, a colleague would say of Oliver that “in the company of books he found an absorbing pleasure.”*

On this winter night, everyone indulged in the papers or books, reading by the light of various oil lamps.  Evelina was no doubt eagerly turning the pages of David Copperfield, perhaps reading aloud to her mother whose aging eyesight may have precluded the pastime.  Hannah Gilmore loved to read.   In fact, she had named Evelina after the heroine of a book popular in her youth: Evelina; Or the History of a Young Lady’s  Entrance into the World.  This comic novel by British author Fanny Burney came out in 1778, and continued to find an appreciative audience in both Britain and America.   Evelina had probably read it at some point, if only to see how Evelina Anville captivated Lord Orville.

*Memorial Volume for Governor Oliver Ames, ca. 1896

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