Sunday Nov 2d This has been a stormy day, but this evening
has cleared off pleasant I have been to meeting all
day & went to Mrs John Howards at noon with
Lavinia & Mother Mr Ames came home at noon and it rained
so hard that he did not go back. Mr Whitwell
gave us two fine sermons. Mr Ames & self passed
the evening at Augustus. Have made an agreement
which I hope we shall both be careful to keep.
At the end of this rainy, chilly Sunday at the start of November, “the most disagreeable month in the whole year,” according to the fictional Margaret March, eldest of Louisa May Alcott’s four sisters in “Little Women,” our non-fictional Evelina and her husband, Oakes, reached an important decision. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that decision was.
Surely this entry is one of the most tantalizing in Evelina’s diary. She and Oakes “made an agreement” that she hoped they’d “both be careful to keep.” What did they decide? What promises did they exchange? Oakes had been away from home a great deal lately; did their discussion stem from that? Was this the moment when Oakes determined to become involved in regional politics? Would he have needed Evelina’s approval? If this was the case, what might he have asked of her, or offered her in exchange?
Or was the decision less historic and more pedestrian? Did their discussion have anything to do with domestic arrangements or the recent spending on the house? Were they going to exercise more prudent care of their “accounts,” as Evelina calls them? Did their agreement have something to do with their children? Did it stem from something Reverend Whitwell said in one of his “fine sermons”? What was this agreement?
And were they able to keep it?