April 14, 1852

Washing

1852

April 14th Wednesday  Jane washed yesterday and put

her clothes out to day […] and it is very pleasant and

most like spring of any day we have had.  Made two

toilet cushions and covers for them of plaid muslin

Mrs Sarah Ames brought in her work this afternoon

awhile and I put a bosom into a shirt for

Mr Ames.  Read this evening in Night & Morning

The rain and snow of the preceding two days had disrupted domestic routine, meaning that servant Jane McHanna washed the weekly laundry on Tuesday instead of Monday and hung clothes out today. Evelina didn’t seem to mind, given how “most like spring” the day turned out to be. She seemed to have recovered from having gone without much sleep the day before.

Sarah Lothrop Ames came over from next door and the two sisters-in-law sat and sewed. Evelina sewed a shirt front for her husband and made two toilet cushions. The word “toilet” in the nineteenth century referred to personal grooming, as in getting dressed or cleaning one’s teeth or sitting at a dressing table.  A toilet cushion, then, was most likely a seat for a stool or small chair for a bedroom or dressing area. Evelina made both the pillow itself and its cover of “plain muslin.”

Night and Morning was, presumably, a work of fiction. Evelina must have found it in one of the periodicals she liked to read, such as Gleason’s Pictorial, or in a book she or Oakes had purchased in Boston.  Any readers out there familiar with this work?