Sarah Edwards portrait: Google Images

Sarah Edwards portrait: Google Images

Sarah’s Flair for House-keeping

She was the kind of woman who took the trouble to tie her hair with a ribbon for breakfast when many wives came down tousled; who spent an extra minute to stamp a design on a block of home-churned butter; who knew how to give a flourish to simple dishes with parsley, spearmint or sage, all grown in a square of herbs by the kitchen door; who, when she had a bowl of peas to shell, would take it out into the sunshine in the garden. She put in day lilies, hollyhocks, pansies, pinks–the flowers women loved to plant on the frontier, for it gave them a sense of putting down roots.  (31)

Reviewer Jennifer Lee muses further on Sarah’s homey housekeeping, efficiency tempered by composure:

She knew how to keep a house clean at its vitals, without stuffy cupboards left unaired or parlors sealed off. The house was open, used, full of clues that the family living in it had vivid interests. Books were left on tables, actually being read, not used as parlor props. There would be needlepoint on a rack by a sunny window and a lute in a corner. Esther, singing, might be putting up a hem for Sukey [Susannah] while a boy did his Latin lesson. It was the opposite of the kind of house where things were preserved in mothballs in locked boxed. Its ambience was of windows flung open, of easy access.


Key to Harmony in Their Uncommon Union

Contrary to popular belief, the author of the fiery sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” observed quiet passion in the pulpit but also preached on grace and redemption. And he treated Sarah “as a fully mature being, as a person whose conversation entertained him, whose spirit nourished his own religious life, whose presence gave him repose.” (35) Likewise, Sarah “let him be sure of her steady love, and then freed him to think.” (66)

A woman of charm, practicality and tact, Sarah like her mate was strong as iron, realizing that “she had chosen to marry the sort of man who did not give in when he believed a matter of deep principle was at stake.” (112)

Cover: Google Images

Cover: Google Images

Edwards’ Parting Words to Sarah

Remembering the love of his life, the charming but stalwart Sarah, who wore a “pea-green satin brocade with a bold pattern” to their wedding (24), Jonathan Edwards spoke these words “not about heaven or hell, or about books or theories.” He spoke of Sarah:

Give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever.  (201)

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Coming next: Laundry at the Longeneckers