Mint and sage from the garden
Oct 3d Friday Quilted most of the forenoon with Ellen
this afternoon have sewed some on my dresses
and paired some peaches that I had of Mr
Clarke and laid them down in sugar. Cut
my sage and mint Ellen has finished the
quilt and has it bound and the sitting
room in order She will leave in the
morning has been here nearly eight weeks
Putting the garden to bed continued to be one of Evelina’s chief occupations; today she cut her “sage and mint” and hung them somewhere to dry. The aroma of the newly cut herbs would have sweetened the air in the house. She also sewed, of course, and was pleased that the new quilt was finished. Ellen the servant bound the piece today, tidied up the sitting room and put away the quilt frame. Whose bed was that quilt to go on? Evelina never indicated for whom she was making it.
After midday dinner, Evelina moved to the kitchen for an afternoon of preserving fruit. She “paired” some peaches and then “laid them down in sugar.” She wasn’t kidding about the sugar if she used the proportions suggested in the various cooking books of the day. According to Lydia Maria Child, author of The American Frugal Housewife, “A pound of sugar to a pound of fruit is the rule for all preserves. The sugar should be melted over a fire moderate enough not to scorch it. When melted, it should be skimmed clean, and the fruit dropped in to simmer till it is soft.” The peaches would have been stored in stoneware or glass jars.
Ellen, a servant whose last name we never learned, was planning to leave in the morning. She had joined the Ames household back the middle of August “to assist some about the house and help me sew.” Given the absence of any complaints from Evelina, Ellen apparently had done her job well. Why she was leaving we don’t know, but servants often came and went as their personal circumstances – and the circumstances of their employers – changed. Evelina would hire someone new.