July 3d Thursday About 5 Oclock this morning Oakes A
& Frank started for their ride to Middleboro
& I fixed their boquets with Oilcloth & Ribbon
They might have had the politeness to give
their ladies some boquet holders.
I worked in the garden sometime this forenoon
my finger being to sore to work About four
went to carry Oliver to North B to take the
cars for Boston Mrs Peckham & Mrs Swain called.
As the crow flies, Middleboro, Massachusetts is about 14.5 miles from Easton. By the navigable roads that crossed the countryside, however, the traveling distance was actually about 18 miles, maybe more. Oakes Angier Ames and Frank Morton Ames borrowed a chaise to make the trip; how long might it have taken the boys to get where they were going? A horse at a walk goes about three to four miles per hour; the same horse at a trot can manage eight to ten; and a canter or gallop – unlikely in someone else’s chaise – can cover ten to seventeen miles per hour. We might imagine that a sensible trot was the gait they urged their horse to, but then, they were eager young men.
What was the occasion? Was it related to a Fourth of July celebration? Who were the “ladies” whose company promised such pleasure that the brothers were on the road at dawn? How did those bouquets hold up during the trip? No doubt the oilcloth and ribbon was carefully and skillfully applied to the flowers, but the lack of bouquet holders was, evidently, a serious faux pas. Evelina bemoaned her sons’ lapse of manners.
Evelina took a carriage ride of her own today, escorting Oliver (her other son, most likely, as opposed to her brother-in-law) to North Bridgewater to catch the train to Boston. Where was he going? Why wasn’t he traveling with Oakes Angier and Frank? For the three boys, the social scene was beginning to spread further afield than familiar old Easton.