June 19, 1852

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A “Visite”

Sat June 19th  Have been weeding in the garden and

transplanting   Spent the afternoon in 

Olivers with Mother  Mrs Witherell & Augusta

were there awhile  Finished Susans visite

quite late in the evening  It has not been

much of a job to make if I could have sat

down steady

Evelina worked in her garden today, weeding and moving some of her plants around. After midday dinner, she and her mother, who was visiting, “spent the afternoon” next door “in Olivers,” meaning at Sarah Lothrop Ames’s. In citing Oliver rather than Sarah as the owner of the house, Evelina was only following the norm of the time, whose patriarchal laws prevented women from owning property. Sarah and Evelina lived in homes that belonged solely to the males in the family.

Old Oliver, Ames patriarch above all the rest, reported that “this was a fair day wind southerly + quite warm we have bought two yoke of cattle this weeke one yoke of N Warrin of Stoughton, 6 years old for $110 and one yoke of Thomas Ames 9 or 10 years old for $100.” He was probably buying cattle to help with the approaching hay harvest.

Once indoors, perhaps even after others had gone to bed, Evelina finished a mantle for her daughter Susie. Also known as a visite or paletot or pardessus, a mantel (or mantilla, as Evelina labeled it the previous day) was a three-quarter length cloak with pagoda or cape-like sleeves. It was often adorned with lace, ruching, and especially fringe, which was very big about this time. Many visites were unlined, which no doubt simplified the process of making them. That may be why Evelina thought the garment had “not been much of a job.”

 

 

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