March 1st Monday March has come in like a lamb.
It has been a very busy day with me. Mr
Scott & Holbrook came to paper the front entry
And I have been waiting on them & trimming
paper &c this afternoon have assisted Mr Scott
about papering & Holbrook has commenced
painting the sitting room chamber
Apropos of much of Northern hemisphere weather this time of year, a common saying is “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Evelina knew this old, English saw and seemed happy to have it proved wrong. She was getting the jump on spring, too, as workmen arrived to paper the entry and paint the sitting room. She was redecorating again.
Victorians had many sayings and proverbs, including quite a few that mentioned animals. The lion and lamb of March had plenty of company in the proverb department:
When an ass is among monkeys, they all make faces at him.
A wild goose never laid a tame egg.
When the cat is away, the mice will play.
Like the cat/mouse saying, other adages are still familiar to us in the 21st century, if phrased differently:
If wishes would bide, beggars would ride.
None are so deaf as they that will not hear.
When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.
Surely, the next one was dear to Evelina’s heart:
Spend not where you may save; spare not where you must spend.
This list of sayings, found in an almanack from 1851, goes on and on. Just a few more:
Woe to the preachers who listen not to themselves.
Say well is good, but do well is better.
Whether you boil snow or pound it, you will have but water from it.
A soldier, fire, and water, make room for themselves.
All truths must not be told at all times.
*Moss Valley Almanack, Courtesy of rootsweb.ancestry.com