April 4, 1851



April 4th

Friday  Have been working about house this forenoon

Gave my parlour a thorough sweeping & bedroom

& stairs &c  Have not been at all well and had

hard work to sweep.  Jane finished the ironing

We have had a hard weeks work  This afternoon

I mended the stockings  Called at Olivers awhile

Mrs Peckham called here.  Very Pleasant

Evelina was feeling the effects of a laborious week of domestic duties. Over the past several days, she and Jane McHanna had really turned to in the kitchen, preserving a pig, trying lard, making sausage and doing the bi-weekly baking. On top of that the women had seen to their regular chores, which included ironing and sweeping the rooms free of the spring dust. Evelina managed all this while recovering from the cold of the weekend before. Sitting down to do some mending must have felt good.

She found some compensation by briefly visiting her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames, next door. And at home, Susan Peckham came to call. Mrs. Peckham was the wife of John Peckham, the Ames’s head clerk and bookkeeper. What was the purpose of her call? Susan may simply have desired to be sociable, or she may have had something she needed to communicate. At a time when today’s instantaneous ability to telephone or text someone was unimagined, even the simplest request or slightest inclination to talk to a friend, a relative, or, in this case, the boss’s wife took time and effort. Susan Peckham, whatever her purpose was, had only two options open to her: writing Evelina a note, or calling on her.  She chose the latter.

What might the women have discussed?  Evelina didn’t say.


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