July 30th Friday Came home from Dr Wales at half
past four and slept untill half past
eight left her quite comfortable
Have cut out another sack night dress
and Susan a waist Alson & Lavinia Edwin
and wife were here to tea Mr & Mrs Kinsley
called just at night for a few moments. We
all went into the other part of the house for
ice cream this evening Horatio here to dine
When Evelina came home at 4:30 in the morning, was the moon still up? Did she realize that this night would offer the second full moon of the month, familiarly known as a blue moon? She would be able to see it, too, as the skies were clear.
We use the term blue moon to identify a second full moon within a calendar month. An earlier definition – one that may have been in effect when Evelina could gaze at the night sky – was that of being the third full moon within a season that has four full moons. So say various almanacs. Tracking the lunar cycle to define the passage of time has gone on as far back as human history can record. The Christian ecclesiastical calendar, for one, is built around moon phases. According to one modern source,
“Some years have an extra full moon—13 instead of 12. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a 13th moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the extra, 13th moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.”*
The terrestrial events of Evelina’s day included sewing (of course), her nephew Horatio Jr as a guest at lunch, company for tea and, as a special treat at the end of the day, ice cream. Despite her lack of sleep, a pleasant day overall.
*Courtesy of http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bluemoon (accessed July 26, 2015)