February 8, 1851


Feb 8th Saturday  Worked about house all the forenoon

sweeping & dusting.  Swept & dusted the parlor

ready for the Sewing Circle.  Put the closets in order &c.

Have a very bad cold and this afternoon took a warm

bath in hopes that it would benefit me but it is much

worse for it.  Mr Ames has been to Boston to day

and brought me a case of Scissors a present from Mr

Benson & 19 spools of Coats cotton  Very cold

Oakes Ames made his usual business trip into Boston today and brought home scissors and thread for his sewing wife.  Nineteen spools of Coats cotton thread, in fact, all of which Evelina could probably use, being an excellent and dedicated needlewoman. It’s just possible, though, that those nineteen spools of thread were intended for the Sewing Circle, whose next meeting was being held at the Ames house.

J & P Coats cotton thread was originally manufactured in Scotland, but the company began selling their merchandise in the United States around 1830, meaning that Evelina had spent most of her married life with Coats thread in her needle.  In the middle of the 20th century, the company merged with Clarks Thread to become Coats & Clarks and today, under the name of Coats PLC, is still a viable manufacturer.

Despite feeling under the weather, Evelina cleaned house this morning.  Their home being right on a busy road near the center of the village, dust and dirt from the street was apt to float into the house, or be brought in on the soles of family feet, even in the winter.  Sweeping and dusting were repeated tasks and even as Evelina wielded her broom across the floor, she probably knew she’d have to do it again before the Sewing Circle ladies gathered in her parlor.  She was determined to have the house look presentable.

After her morning of chores and an un-therapeutic bath, Evelina may have sat down to read the last bit of David Copperfield.  Given its length – and her various obligations – she had moved quickly through the book.  Like countless other Americans, she was a devoted reader of the novels of Charles Dickens, whose own personal favorite was reputed to be David Copperfield.  Ten years or so from this day, in a diary that has since been lost, Evelina confessed to shirking her housework in order to read Dicken’s “newest book” (probably Great Expectations. ) She loved his work.

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