What is Ague?

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, October 17, 1912:  Wish my cold would bid me farewell, but instead it seems to like me pretty well and is in not hurry about leaving.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma first mentioned having a cold six days prior to this diary entry.

I came across the Ayer’s Ague Cure advertisement, and wondered if ague was the same thing as a cold. According to the dictionary, ague refers to fever, chills, and sweating—so Grandma probably won’t have used this patent medicine to treat her cold.

10 Responses

  1. No wonder Grandma didn’t feel like writing much in recent days – colds do seem to last 7-10 days – ugh!

  2. I always thought fever and ague was malaria. Guess the symptoms were similiar. Glad she only had a cold.

  3. My Aunty and I had lunch the other day, she grew up with my dad and was married to his brother. She told me they never had winter boots, only wore rubber boots even when it was very cold. I imagine people were sick pretty often, since they never ate any leavey green veggy’s for months.

  4. I like her turn of phrase here: she is the hostess who can’t get rid of an unwelcome guest.

  5. Hi. Older books often speak of ague. Thanks for the definition! Jane

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