Aug 16th Monday Mrs Stevens is making Oakes A
a vest I have been puttering about the
house part of the time and the rest fixing
my things to go to Burlington Catharine
sews nicely and has been making shirts
&c &c We have had a large washing to day
Catharine helped until after dinner
Oakes Angier Ames, seriously ill with bleeding at the lungs, was going to Burlington, Vermont, for a rest. His mother, Evelina, was going to accompany him to his destination. On this start to the week, she was all about “fixing my things to go.”
Everyone seemed to be bustling about with purpose. Evelina had at least one servant, Catharine, who was helpful across the board with sewing, laundry and meal preparation. Too, her houseguest, Mrs. Stevens, was sewing a vest for Oakes Angier, perhaps with the idea of keeping his chest warm against any chill. The weather, although “fair,” had turned “cool for the season.”* Northern Vermont was likely to be even cooler, and a vest would be good protection.
Busy, Evelina probably had little thought for anything beyond her own immediate purview, yet she did share the same weather and sky as a journalist not too many miles to her north. On this same day, Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “At sunset, the glow being confined to the north, it tinges the rails on the causeway lake-color, but behind they are a dead dark blue. I must look for the rudbeckia which Bradford says he found yesterday behind Joe Clark’s.”**
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
** Henry David Thoreau, Journal
One thought on “August 16, 1852”
As you may know, Thoreau had had consumption issues as a student at Harvard and it was a cloud that some biographers have speculated was always in the back of his mind. He tended to overdress for the weather and knew that he would not be off on a life of adventures far from home. He made do with New England and was reasonably healthy and active, until taking a chill counting tree rings about a decade in the future from this entry, brought the onset of the condition, which eventually killed him.