19th century tailor’s shears*
July 23d Friday Have cut the skirt & sleeves
& cape to my traveling dress and
have set Mary to work on the skirt
and I have taken the sleeves
Mrs Stevens has sent me the lining
but not the trimming Julia Mahoney
is at work at Olivers Mr Torrey
and Abby called this morning
Evelina was back in good humor today. The thermometer was going down and she had a new project to work on. Shears in hand, she cut out the pieces for her new traveling dress, and probably the lining, too. Designed with a cape to fit over the shoulders, it would be a very fashionable outfit. She didn’t yet have the trimming she needed, and the dress would take longer to sew than she wished, but it would be finished in time for a trip she didn’t even know she would have to make.
Col. John Torrey, the widower of Evelina’s late sister Hannah, came to call. As we have noted in earlier posts, Mr. Torrey lived in the village of North Easton in a building – a boarding house of sorts – whose spare rooms he rented out. Through Rev. William Chaffin’s history of the town, we learn that Mr. Torrey was a controversial character. Listed as a trader in the town census, and a one-time colonel of the local militia, he was considered laughable by some. Another local character, an erudite shovel-worker named James Adams, wrote a mock-heroic poem about him, the “derisive and scathing”* verses of which are lost. Yet Evelina appeared to enjoy her brother-in-law’s company and brand of humor, and she was devoted to his daughters Abby and Melvina.
*William Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1886, pp. 764-765
*Image courtesy of etsy.com