March 2nd Sunday. Have been to meeting all day. Mr Whitwell read
notes for Mr Guilds family His text in the morning was
I would not live alway It was an excellent sermon.
In the afternoon his sermon was for the male part
of the congregation. The good man of the house.
An excellent sermon for my dirty boys if they
would only profit by it. This evening commenced
reading Woman’s Friendship. Rather pleasant but cold
Evelina went back to church today for the first time in three weeks. She had been absent since February 10, the week that she hosted a Unitarian Sewing Circle meeting to which no one came. To her diary she cited a bad cough as reason for her absence. On this Sunday, she had finally recovered from that cold. She had also, evidently, regained her dignity. Back to church she went and sat right down in the family pew.
Her attention was focused on Reverend Whitwell and his thoughtful words. She wouldn’t live “alway,” and in the meanwhile she had to work on her sons to become better people. What did she think of her sons to describe them as “dirty boys?” What did Mr. Whitwell mean, “the good man of the house?” Did her own good man of the house, Oakes, pay attention to this sermon?
Oakes Ames was actually known for sleeping in church, according to town historian, Reverend William Chaffin. Chaffin charitably suggested that “Mr. Ames was so hardened with business affairs that he invariably went to sleep in church during the sermon.” Chaffin also remembered that Oakes Ames stayed awake during his own maiden sermon in North Easton. Used to seeing Oakes with his eyes closed, someone in the congregation that day chided him about it, to which Oakes replied with typical bonhomie, “Well, I knew Mr. Chaffin was here as a candidate for settlement, and I had to keep awake the first Sunday to see if his preaching was safe enough to sleep under.”