September 28, 1851

149

*

Sunday, Sept 28  Having a bad cold and headache I did not attend church

to day have not read as much as I should had I been

well  Susan has got quite smart and has been

reading the wide wide world  It has been very 

quiet here all day  I have been looking at

my accounts book have neglected it sadly

of late but hope to do better for the future

 

The excitement and strain of the last week or so – the return from Boston, the plunge into redecorating and her daughter’s sudden and demanding illness – may have taken their toll. Evelina came down with a cold and was too ill to go to meeting.  That she was too sick to “read much” indicates just how crummy she must have felt. She generally enjoyed reading on Sundays after church. The only activity that seemed to interest her today was looking at her “accounts book,” but that didn’t cheer her up much. Perhaps she suddenly reckoned with the money she and Oakes had recently spent.

Little Susie Ames, who had been so sick with nettle rash, was definitely on the mend.  She may not have gone to church either, but she was deep into reading The Wide, Wide World, a popular, famously sentimental novel by Susan Warner (published under the pen name of Elizabeth Wetherell.) This pious classic tells the story of little Ellen Montgomery, a girl about Susan’s age who is separated from her mother and sent to live with distant relatives. She struggles among strangers – kind and mean – to accept her fate and learn to trust God. A best-seller in its day, it clearly appealed to Susan, and Evelina, too, presumably.

 

* Ellen Montgomery, the young heroine of The Wide, Wide World, is often in tears, as this period illustration from the popular novel shows.

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