March 22 Sat. Early this morning Mrs S Ames & Helen
called. Helen likes her school & room mates
This forenoon I have been busy but cannot
tell of much that I have accomplished.
In the afternoon I put a new bosom into a
shirt for Mr Ames & Orinthia finished the
fifth shirt that she has made since
she has been here. A[u]gustus dined here
Sarah Lothrop Ames brought her daughter Helen over this morning for a visit, so Evelina could see and hear for herself that Helen was happy at boarding school. Was Sarah Ames’s motive in bringing Helen by the house prompted by unalloyed familial affection, or did she also wish to show that she and her husband had been right to send Helen away? Did she want to share with Evelina some of the challenges – and gratifications – of raising a daughter?
Sarah herself had grown up as one of ten children, of whom she was the only girl. It seems probable that Sarah had been doted on as a child. Now, as a mother of her own, she may have replicated – almost automatically – the singular attention with which she had been raised, and focused it on Helen.
More. Shirts. Orinthia Foss, by boarding at the Ames house in the middle of shirt-making March madness, had no easy escape from the chore. And once she was pressed into service, the production of shirts sped up. Did Orinthia mind all the sewing? Did she wish she could get outside into the spring air to explore the town? A dutiful young woman from the upcountry of Maine, she may have marveled at finding herself in North Easton and appreciated its novelty. Orinthia seemed to look up to Evelina as her guide, a role Evelina fell into happily, enjoying, in her turn, the novelty of being looked up to.