June 12, 1852

 3124164293_b3d771db50Lace bonnet

June 12th Sat  Jane has left and gone to Mr Savages

Mrs Patterson is here yet  Cousin Susan Orr

and Harriet Mitchell came to the other part

of the house this morning  I have spent the

afternoon there and Augusta stoped there awhile

Have finished my bonnet & lined & trimmed

Susans last summer bonnet

Jane McHanna, the Irish servant whom Evelina had fired the previous day, found immediate employment in the village at the home of William and Hannah Savage. Mr. Savage worked at the shovel factory; Mrs. Savage was a homemaker with a teenage daughter, Abby.  Mrs. Savage, unfortunately, was ailing, and needed help around the house.

That Jane found another position so quickly speaks not just to the circumstances of the Savage family, but also to her own capabilities.  She may have been more adept than Evelina had lately given her credit for, and others knew it. By 1855, Jane would be working for Oliver Ames Jr. and his wife Sarah Lothrop Ames, a couple with high standards. How would that play out for the two sisters-in-law?

But meanwhile, Evelina had Mrs. Patterson to depend on, and a whole afternoon in which to finish her – and Susan’s – latest bonnets.  She also got to sit and visit in the other part of the house with Sarah Witherell, where both were visited by Susan Orr, Harriett Mitchell and the young bride, Augusta Pool Gilmore.  Did Augusta share the information that she was now in her first trimester of pregnancy? Probably not, and impossible to know, but fun to imagine the conversation if she did.

December 22, 1851

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Monday Dec 22d  Washed the dishes with Susan, made

the beds &c and then went to work on the hour glass

table got it made about the middle of the afternoon

Mr Ames went to Canton this afternoon  Mrs Mc

Hanna to Mr Savages  Spent the evening at 

Augustus  Went with Oakes Angier in the sleigh

as he was going to Mr Whitwells  They went this

afternoon to the funeral of Lewis Keith

Domestic chores and neighborhood errands reigned on this winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Jane McHanna did laundry, little Susie helped wash dishes, and Evelina made the beds. Evelina had a special project, too, that she worked on: an hourglass table she was making to give to her nephew, Edwin Gilmore, and his bride-to-be, Augusta Pool.  She made major progress on it, but what was it?  Does any reader know about the design and/or purpose of an hourglass table?

In the afternoon, after the midday dinner, family members rode out in various directions. Under a cold, cloudy sky, Oakes Ames went north to Canton, to the family works there or perhaps to the Kinsley’s. Oakes Angier drove a sleigh south to the minister’s house in order to attend the funeral of a local farmer, Lewis Keith.  Evelina rode along with her son but stopped to visit her nephew, Augustus Gilmore.  Jane McHanna, meanwhile, went out on foot to see William and Hannah Savage, who lived in the village.  Mrs. Savage was poorly.

Did anyone tell a ghost story tonight after dark fell? Such tales were customary for some families at winter solstice.  On her way home from her nephew’s, was Evelina able to see Orion in the night sky through the clouds?

*Image courtesy of http://www.dreamviews.com