Sun Feb 16 Did not go to church to day on account of a bad
cough Boiled Molasses, honey, & sugar and a little
hoarhound for it. Jane has been to meeting at the
boarding house. Michael & sister called to see her.
Have been reading some in Margaret by Mr Judd
do not like it at all I believe I shall not finish it
but can spend my time for a better purpose
Mr Whitwell exchanged with Mr Lovell Very pleasant
Evelina’s cold was long gone, but her cough lingered. To make it better, she cooked up a nostrum that included hoarhound (or horehound), a medicinal herb cultivated for its efficacy as an expectorant. She likely grew it in her kitchen garden, or knew where to find it wild. Brewed with honey, sugar and molasses – the latter being recommended by many household guides as good for the throat – Evelina’s dose of medicine was warm and comforting.
Her cough may have been real, but it probably wasn’t the only reason Evelina avoided going to meeting this morning. At church, she would have had to face some of the women who had not attended her Sewing Circle meeting. Her feelings may still have been too hurt to do so and her cough made an excellent excuse for her absence.
Everyone else seemed to be practicing their faith today. The Ames family presumably all went to church and heard Reverend Stephen Lovell stand in for Reverend Whitwell; the two men had finally swapped meetings as originally planned a few weeks ago. Jane McHanna, the Ames servant originally from Ireland, attended a Catholic service held in the dining room of the Ames boarding house, and apparently came home with fellow-countrymen Michael Burns, the Ames coachman, and his sister.
Today’s new book, Margaret by Reverend Sylvester Judd, did not pass muster. Evelina started the novel, a story about a young woman raised in the wilds of Maine, and emphatically did “not like it at all.” Reverend Judd, a Unitarian minister, was a peripheral member of the Transcendental circle; his book is considered one of a very few works of Transcendental fiction. Margaret Fuller, author of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, described it as a “work of great power and richness” but critics and other readers such as Evelina found the book incomprehensible.