Mary learns to sew
Mary learns to sew

I have to do my lessons then practice my fancy stitches.  The older girls are making some clothes for some of the poor people nearby.  “They each made up different things according to their choice. Sometimes they made a complete dress for an infant, one selecting the cap for her share, another a little shirt, a third a printed cotton gown, and a fourth a flannel waistcoat; when the whole suit was finished it was granted as a peculiar reward to any of them . . . to find some poor helpless babe, who stood in need of such a gift.”*  I am allowed to do the hemming now.  I like to listen to everyone talk.  Josh and Brent don’t stay with me long.  Josh wants to do something else and I cannot.

The boys had such fun ice skating on New Years Day that Father said he would help clear our pond of snow.  The boys had to promise to chop more firewood and help the women in the kitchen with the ashes from the hearth and oven.  They were eager to agree and are busy outside at the woodpile.

The boys will play hurley on the frozen pond.  They use crooked sticks to try and hit the ball.  Sometimes they hit each other’s shins.  Girls don’t play that game.  Sometimes we hang on to a rope and let the older boys pull us all along behind.  That is fun.  The last one on the rope falls down a lot.  But we have so many clothes on that it does not hurt.

When the sun starts to go down it gets much colder and I am glad when someone comes to call us. It gets dark early now, almost before we eat.  I hope we can have chocolate when we get to the house. I want to pull my little chair as close to the fire as mother will allow.  I have lots of books now I can read in the firelight. My shelf has a row of books on it now.  I got four books for Christmas.

* Juvenile Anecdotes founded on facts, Collected for the Amusement of Children by Pricilla Wakefield

by Mary Beekman

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