Wednesday Oct 20th Have been expecting Miss Alger
all day but she has not come Have been
trying to assist Susan some about her
music lessons and it hinders me about
my work very much I wish it was not
such an effort for her to practice.
A gentleman here to dine from New York.
It’s easy to imagine the affable Oakes Ames inviting visitors to dine. He was a sociable man, for all his competitive spirit, and had a fine sense of humor. He knew that his wife took pride in her home, that she could act the hostess and that she – or her servants – prepared a midday meal hearty enough to feed him and his grown sons. How much warning he might have given her that he was bringing someone over from the shovel office for dinner, we can’t know. But Evelina seemed prepared to feed guests as well as her own family, and she no doubt welcomed the gentleman from New York.
The meal preparations were usually left to the servants, of course, although Evelina supervised. Today, however, her focus was on her daughter and the new piano. She was unhappy with Susan’s evident disinterest in the instrument. The girl wasn’t practicing her scales and lessons as she should have been.
When Evelina and her sister-in-law, Sarah Witherell, purchased the pianos and arranged for Susan and Emily to take lessons, Evelina likely had imagined that she was doing her daughter a favor, giving her a gift that she herself had never gotten. But Evelina was disappointed, as things didn’t turn out the way she expected. Susan wouldn’t practice so, for now, Evelina had to intervene and “assist.”