Thursday Sept 2d I was intending to sit down early
this morning to sew but while we were at
breakfast Edwin came in & said his wife was
sick and wanted me to go in there I found
her sick with the Cholera Morbus. Came
home & made her some gruel washed her
dishes & came home and made some pies
& sent Susan in there to stay with her
Just at night called at Augustus
Fred has gone back to Cambridge Emily went to Boston
Despite its frightening name, Cholera morbus was not the cholera we might recognize as the dreaded disease of epidemic capability, the bacterial scourge that swept through whole cities, but rather a Victorian name for a gastrointestinal disorder that was “characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, [and] elevated temperature.”* It may also have been used to describe appendicitis. Poor Augusta Gilmore had been felled by this miserable sickness, which was alarming enough to send her husband Edwin to the neighbors for help. Augusta must have been a little frightened that her sickness might be related to her pregnancy; she was almost four months along at this date.
Thank goodness for Evelina, ever dependable in a crisis of this nature. Evelina visited Augusta right away, tidied up for her, made her a bowl of gruel – a thin porridge – and sent Susie Ames over to sit with her. No doubt Susie was instructed to report on any change for the worse.
Back in her own home, Evelina baked pies and kept watch on all the neighborhood goings-on. The younger generation was moving around: Emily Witherell went to Boston, and Fred Ames returned to Harvard for another year. His departure may have caused Oliver (3), who had so wanted to return to Brown, some anguish. Fred got to finish college, and Oliver didn’t.
* Sylvan Cazalet, “Old Disease Names,” http://www.homeoint.org