June 9, 1851

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June 9th Mon,  Another cold stormy day  have a fire in the

furnace  Ann had gone & I made the fire

Jane has washed her clothes & put them out

in the suds to let the rain rinse them  I have 

worked about home all the forenoon.  Swept &

 dusted the parlour partially, and the front entry

Sitting room &c.  Was invited into Olivers this afternoon

Did not go untill after tea

Servant Jane McHanna borrowed the rain again this Monday and let it rinse the soapy clothes that she placed outdoors.  Evelina did housework most of the day and even had to start up the coal fire in the furnace, a task she neither enjoyed nor did well.  Ann Orel, the young Irish woman who worked for Sarah Witherell, usually did that job.

Being a “cold stormy day,” Evelina did no gardening.  She probably looked out the window at her flower beds and saw the rain pelt her tender young plantings.  She couldn’t have known that even as she gazed out at the bad weather, her favorite author, Charles Dickens, was giving a speech in front of the Gardeners Benevolent Institution in London on the topic of gardening.

“I feel an unbounded and delightful interest in all the purposes and associations of gardening,” he began. “Probably there is no feeling in the human mind stronger than the love of gardening.[…]at all times and in all ages gardens have been amongst the objects of the greatest interest to mankind.” The Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society, which began in 1839,  still exists in the UK today. It’s a charity dedicated to helping horticulturalists in need.

Evelina had no such resource to turn to, had she needed the help.

 

* Logo of the Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society