April 25, 1852.

Lilac_bush-2edq3ho

Sunday April 25th  A very pleasant day and have

all been to meeting.  Came home at noon

with Hannah & sister and Susan, all returned

in the afternoon.  After meeting called at

Olivers to see Mr & Mrs A Lothrop and rode to

Mr Manley to speak for some plants

Augustus & Hannah rode with us as far as

Mr Swains  Emily & Susan went also to Mr Manlys

Lilacs, a fragrant favorite for gardeners and civilians alike, were among the plants that Evelina selected at Edwin Manley’s today. In the 19th century, many a New England farmhouse featured lilacs close to the door, as American poet Walt Whitman famously describes in When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard bloom’d, his elegy for Abraham Lincoln:

…In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,

Stands the lilac bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,

With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,

With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,

With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,

A sprig with its flower I break…

Today after church, the sermons and small social obligations dispensed with, Evelina thought about her flower beds. The day was “fair” and “some warmer,”* so with niece Sarah Emily Witherell and daughter Susan Eveline Ames, she rode up to visit her go-to gardener “to speak for some plants.”  Mr. Manley indicated he would bring the plants by the next day.  Evelina wouldn’t have been able to plant anything today, it being the Sabbath, but she could imagine where she would put the plants, and how they would look, the anticipation of which added to her delight.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

 

 

 

 

 

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