December 3, 1764.–I am determined to keep a diary, if possible, the rest of my life. I fully realize how difficult it will be to do so. Many others of my acquaintance have endeavored to maintain a diary, but have only advanced so far as the second week in January. It is my purpose to write down each evening the events of the day as they occur to my mind, in order that in a few years they may be read and enjoyed by my family. I shall try to deal truthfully with all matters that I may refer to in these pages, whether they be of national or personal interest, and I shall seek to avoid anything bitter or vituperative, trying rather to cool my temper before I shall submit my thoughts to paper.
December 4.–This morning we have had trouble with the hired girl. It occurred in this wise: We had fully two-thirds of a pumpkin pie that had been baked in a square tin. This major portion of the pie was left over from our dinner yesterday, and last night, before retiring to rest, I desired my wife to suggest something in the cold pie line, which she did. I lit a candle and explored the pantry in vain. The pie was no longer visible. I told Mrs. Adams that I had not been successful, whereupon we sought out the hired girl, whose name is Tootie Tooterson, a foreign damsel, who landed in this country Nov. 7, this present year. She does not understand our language, apparently, especially when we refer to pie. The only thing she does without a strong foreign accent is to eat pumpkin pie and draw her salary. She landed on our coast six weeks ago, after a tedious voyage across the heaving billows. It was a close fight between Tootie and the ocean, but when they quit, the heaving billows were one heave ahead by the log.
Miss Tooterson landed in Massachusetts in a woolen dress and hollow clear down into the ground. A strong desire to acquire knowledge and cold, hand-made American pie seems to pervade her entire being.
She has only allowed Mrs. Adams and myself to eat what she did not want herself.
Miss Tooterson has also introduced into my household various European eccentricities and strokes of economy which deserve a brief notice here. Among other things she has made pie crust with castor oil in it, and lubricated the pancake griddle with a pork rind that I had used on my lame neck. She is thrifty and saving in this way, but rashly extravagant in the use of doughnuts, pie and Medford rum, which we keep in the house for visitors who are so unfortunate as to be addicted to the doughnut, pie or rum habit.
It is discouraging, indeed, for two young people like Mrs. Adams and myself, who have just begun to keep house, to inherit a famine, and such a robust famine, too. It is true that I should not have set my heart upon such a transitory and evanescent terrestrial object like a pumpkin pie so near to T. Tooterson, imported pie soloist, doughnut mastro and feminine virtuoso, but I did, and so I returned from the pantry desolate.
I told Abigail that unless we poisoned a few pies for Tootie the Adams family would be a short-lived race. I could see with my prophetic eye that unless the Tootersons yielded the Adamses would be wiped out. Abigail would not consent to this, but decided to relieve Miss Tooterson from duty in this department, so this morning she went away. Not being at all familiar with the English language, she took four of Abigail’s sheets and quite a number of towels, handkerchiefs and collars. She also erroneously took a pair of my night-shirts in her poor, broken way. Being entirely ignorant of American customs, I presume that she will put a belt around them and wear them externally to church. I trust that she will not do this, however, without mature deliberation.