July 14 Monday Mr Norris left in the stage this
morning Mr & Mrs Harris & Mrs Norris for
Bridgewater. Jane has not done her washing as she
usually does but we have put the house in order
Scoured all the knives &c &c. Have passed most
of the afternoon in the other part of the house
the whole family took tea there
The Harrises and Norrises left this morning, releasing Evelina from her hostessing obligations. The house was in disarray; probably, one of the couples slept in a bed in the parlour, the other stayed who-knows-where. Furniture had to be put back, linens stripped and so on. Jane McHanna had so much to do in the aftermath of the houseguests that she couldn’t do the Monday washing. That was unheard of.
Jane and Evelina picked up in the kitchen, too. One of them scoured the knives. In 1851, knives were made of mild steel, typically high in iron. Stainless steel, which has an alloy of low iron and high chromium, had not yet been developed, and wouldn’t appear until the turn of the 20th century. Knives in the 19th century corroded easily and needed to be cleaned periodically, often by being rubbed with fine sand. Evelina or Jane might have sharpened them, too.
In the afternoon, Evelina and her whole family had tea at her father-in-law’s, served by her sister-in-law Sarah Witherell. After a weekend of catering to houseguests, being served tea must have been a pleasure.