February 27, 1851

Coal scuttle


Feb 27 Thursday  Cannot say much for my work to day

Orinthia cleaned the sitting room for me while I

was making the fire in the furnace.  had a good 

deal of trouble with it  Augustus made quite a

long call this morning talking over matters & things

Have finished putting in the bosom & wris[t]bands to 

the old shirt that I commenced Tuesday & mended one

for Mr Ames

It sounds as if Evelina’s normal routine was challenged today.  First, she had to struggle with the coal furnace, or stove, probably stoking it and trying to make it catch and hold.   She was certainly familiar with “making” fires, but coal was not her strong suit.  She had spent most of her life burning wood, and she didn’t manage the new furnace well.

Second, her nephew Augustus came to call in the morning at a time of day when she was likely to still be working about the house.  He was full of conversation about “matters & things,” probably filling her in on his move to Easton,  his decision to leave teaching, and his hopes for the new boot and shoe factory he was setting up in the Lothrop Building. Evelina, fond aunt that she was, was no doubt interested in what Augustus had to relate, but the housewife in her was perhaps worried about not getting through her choring or not finishing the last of the ironing or not getting to the necessary mending while Augustus made his long visit.  Happily, Orinthia Foss was around to help with some of the basic sweeping and dusting.

In the afternoon, her housewifely pace seemed to settle down and she was able to pick up her sewing.  She reworked an old shirt belonging to her husband, replacing the most worn areas with new pieces.  A shirt that today we might throw out or put into the rag bag, she saved.  No wonder Reverend Chaffin accused her of being “very economical.”  She was, with no apologies.  No apologies from her husband, either.

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