March 1, 1852




March 1st Monday March has come in like a lamb.

It has been a very busy day with me.  Mr

Scott & Holbrook came to paper the front entry

And I have been waiting on them & trimming

paper &c this afternoon have assisted Mr Scott

about papering & Holbrook has commenced

painting the sitting room chamber

Apropos of much of Northern hemisphere weather this time of year, a common saying is “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Evelina knew this old, English saw and seemed happy to have it proved wrong. She was getting the jump on spring, too, as workmen arrived to paper the entry and paint the sitting room. She was redecorating again.

Victorians had many sayings and proverbs, including quite a few that mentioned animals. The lion and lamb of March had plenty of company in the proverb department:

When an ass is among monkeys, they all make faces at him.

A wild goose never laid a tame egg.

When the cat is away, the mice will play.

Like the cat/mouse saying, other adages are still familiar to us in the 21st century, if phrased differently:

If wishes would bide, beggars would ride.

None are so deaf as they that will not hear.

When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.

Surely, the next one was dear to Evelina’s heart:

Spend not where you may save; spare not where you must spend.

This list of sayings, found in an almanack from 1851, goes on and on. Just a few more:

Woe to the preachers who listen not to themselves.

Say well is good, but do well is better.

Whether you boil snow or pound it, you will have but water from it.

A soldier, fire, and water, make room for themselves.

All truths must not be told at all times.


*Moss Valley Almanack, Courtesy of




October 5, 1851


Oct 5th Sunday  Mr Whitwell has gone to Philadelphia and

we have no meeting and Mr Ames self & Susan

staid at home  Oakes A & Charles Mitchell went

to N Bridgewater to meeting  Wm & Mr B Scott

came to the other part of the house this morning.

Mrs Latham & Aaron Hobart this afternoon.  I have

been writing most all day  Am not at all well

It has been a beautiful day.

Feeling as poorly as she did, Evelina was probably grateful not to attend church. Her rash was so irritating that she had trouble sitting still, yet lacked the vigor to move around much. Too, she had worked hard the day before putting up fruit preserves and may have felt tired from the effort. She wasn’t “at all well.”

Letter writing occupied her, and probably helped take her mind off her discomfort, just as playing with dolls had distracted little Susie when she was ill. Evelina often corresponded with several female friends and relatives, like Louisa Mower and Orinthia Foss in Maine, cousin Harriet Ames in Vermont and Pauline Dean, whose home address we don’t know. Which friends did she write to today?

Other family members were more active, despite the cancellation of the usual church service. Son Oakes Angier Ames rode over to North Bridgewater with Charles Mitchell (a younger brother-in-law of Harriett Ames Mitchell) to attend meeting there. Old Oliver and Sarah Ames Witherell, in the other part of the house, received several visitors, including Aaron Hobart.  Susan Orr was still visiting there, and may have been the draw for some of the new visitors.