Monday April 26
1852 Was about house and to work about the
garden all the forenoon Mr Manly brought
me a Japan Quince Syringa P Lilac Compfre
Ragged robbin Cowslip Fleur de Luce &c charged
90 cts. Went this afternoon to Alsons with
Augustus & wife & her sister. Came home
quite early and set out some plants that
I got there
Edwin Manley, Easton’s resident green thumb, brought Evelina her lilac bush this morning, along with a quince tree, some comfrey, ragged robin, cowslip and “fleur de luce,” which probably was Evelina’s spelling for fleur-de-lis, also known as iris. For less than a dollar, she acquired flora that promised to add fragrance and color to her garden. Later in the day she got more plants – for free, most likely – from her brother Alson Gilmore.
The countryside itself was still wanting in color at this mid-spring juncture, something Evelina and her fellow passengers might have noticed on their way to and from the Gilmore farm. Henry David Thoreau wrote about the pale fields and expectant woods in his journal on this date: “The landscape wears a subdued tone, quite soothing to the feelings; no glaring colors.”* Perhaps Evelina’s rush to add more vibrant colors to her yard would have jarred his sensibility.
Even with all the gardening, the day’s housework went on as usual with dusting, sweeping, dishes and laundry. Evelina and Jane McHanna both worked at various tasks, while Thoreau – not that many miles away – responded otherwise: “It is a dull, rain dropping and threatening afternoon, inclining to drowsiness. I feel as if I could go to sleep under a hedge.”*
The two diarists reacted differently to the awakening pulse of spring.
**Henry David Thoreau, Journal