March 27 Thursday. Spent the day with Mother at A[u]gustus,
got home just before six Oclock and went
in the evening to the dancing school with Mrs S. Ames
Cut out and commenced a bleached shirt for
Mr Ames but have not done so much as to finish
the sleeves. Mrs. S. Ames has been to Boston from
Sharon. A fine day and very good travelling
the roads are quite dry. Mother stopt at Mr Torreys.
After Evelina and her mother spent the day with, respectively, nephew and grandson Augustus, Hannah Gilmore left to spend the night at her son-in-law, John Torrey’s, house in the village, leaving Evelina briefly unencumbered from looking after the elderly woman. Evelina seized the opportunity to go out with her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames, to help chaperone a dance for the young people.
No doubt the Ames sons, Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton were at the dancing school, as they had been for most of the previous Thursday evening assemblies. So, probably, was Fred Ames, making a rare appearance while home from school. While adults from their parents’ generation were always present at these occasions, one wonders how the young men felt having their mothers among the group standing guard.
These assemblies were important social occasions that provided innocent pleasure and animation. They fostered acquaintances among the young people of the town who had few other opportunities to mingle. Dance steps were learned, exercise was taken, manners were polished, courtships were sparked, hearts were engaged or disappointed, and perpetuation of the species forwarded in this important small town gathering. Surely both Evelina and Sarah Ames watched the proceedings with interest.