March 22 Monday Have been sweeping dusting &
cleaning all day Have put in order parlour
entries, parlour & sitting room chambers and back
& shed chamber, nearly dusk before I got through
Orinthia & Susan washed the dishes in the
morning Orinthia has written another two or three
letters has not done much beside Ain’t she lazy?
It was Monday. Evelina spent her day “sweeping dusting & cleaning,” and Jane McHanna washed tubs of clothes and hung them out to dry, but “lazy” Orinthia only helped wash the breakfast dishes and wrote a couple of letters. In comparison to quiet, helpful Amelia Gilmore, whose visit Evelina had enjoyed, Orinthia Foss and her spirited but indolent company was a come-down. We should remember that Orinthia was single and only in her early twenties (although in that era, some would have said she was already a spinster) while Amelia, a widow, was in her early thirties and Evelina, a matron, in her early forties. The age gap between Evelina and Orinthia was beginning to wear thin on Evelina’s part, and perhaps on Orinthia’s as well.
Spring had officially arrived two days earlier on March 20. No buds or blossoms were yet in evidence, however, and more snow had yet to fall. The industry that Evelina demonstrated today with her broom and dust rag suggests that she was rehearsing for spring cleaning, perhaps wanting to get it out of the way so that the moment anything came up in her flower beds, she’d be free to go outside and garden. Perhaps she looked at the still-frozen ground and imagined her flowers in full bloom. It was getting to be that time.