May 15, 1852

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May 1852

Saturday 15th  Have been mending a lot of stockings

that have bee[n] put by for a week or two  Spend

too much time in the garden  Gave Mrs Gilmore

Augusta & Abby some plants & flower seeds

Abby stoped a couple of hours  Gave Susan a bath

and took one myself and the afternoon thus passed

Spent the evening   Helen is much better she has

had a sorry time of it  Quite pleasant

 

Today was “cloudy all day but a little warmer,”* according to Old Oliver. The bath water that Evelina and her daughter Susie used was in no danger of freezing, as it had earlier in the year when Oakes had planned to bathe but forgot and left the the water to freeze in the pail.  The water in the pail should have been poured into a tub not unlike the one in the illustration above, copper-lined, claw-footed, and rimmed in oak.  That Evelina mentioned taking a bath suggests that bathing was not a regular event; personal hygiene operated under a different set of standards in the 19th century.

The baths, taken in the Ames’s indoor bathing room, probably felt quite relaxing, even therapeutic after the stress and grief of the week gone by. For Evelina, even just mending the hose that had sat untended would have been a welcome return to normalcy after the death of young George Witherell.  Working in the garden, too, would have been a pleasure.  Her plants were doing so well, in fact, that she had plenty to spare and give away to some of her female relatives.

Next door,  fifteen year old Helen Angier Ames was finally recovering from an infection on her face, an abscess or boil, that had  been lanced the day before.  The procedure had been successful, and the family’s health concerns seemed to be put away, at least for now.

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