Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thro' a Spoon, Darkly

It has been a frequent Custom of mine, to sit at my Porch, and ruminate on a spoon-ful of Batter. But no ordinary batter this; nay, this noble Tongue-ointment cou'd only bear its proper, hon'ble mantle - PEANUT BUTTER.

Cruel Experience has taught me the Folly of buying Foodstuffs for myself. Tho' my holdings produce some Necessities (hams & Swine-stuffs, Corn, potatoes, Tobacko (tabag), snap-peas, green beanes, tortoise, wheat, bread etc., barleywines & Beers, & of course apple-orchards w. brandy, etc. etc.), the woeful-barren State of Domestick Affairs some-times demands that I buy from other Planters.

& yet so gruesome, so pungently unwholesome - what Words cou'd else be used to describe the ingracious Rabble of Curs, Blackguards, & Degenerates that lurk & leer 'round the Corner of every Aisle? In Years past I enjoy'd the use of these Aisles for my Promenade - the Floor-surface being even, and resounding with a sharp crack from my Cane, whene'er I shou'd wish to emphasize a Sentiment. In the downy Breezes of frigid-Air I stroll'd the Ordinary, secure in my Vestiments & pleased with the shining Abundance of Virginia's Produce.

But recently, yr Correspondent has boiled in Doubt, as to whether he shou'd ever see the inside of an Ordinary again. Some two Years past I swagger'd thro' the Store, intending to purchase preserv'd Pickles. These delicious Treats are best served in the following way:

1 saltine Cracker

1 jar pickle slices

1 jar of peanut-butter

In a light Layer, spread p.b. across the Cracker-surface, tho' weakly, so as not to crack the Cracker. Then, dollop a Pickle-slice on the p.b., so that it sticks most securely. As you proceed to eat this Canape, revolve it in yr Mouth, so that the Pickle & p.b. Side lands on the Tongue. Thus is the sweet Pickle balanced with the roast'd Effusion of Peanut, and the acrid Taste of Preserve smooth'd by buttery Opulence.

Already my Tongue danced in my Cheeks, anticipating the tasty Treats that awaited me. Of a winter's Night, I have eaten four Sleeves of Crackers in such a way. Wearing a stocking Cap, wiggling my Toes at the rowdy Flames of a Blaze, and listening to the stinging repartee of Ned Bearskin & his sometime Conversant, Goodman Stubb - I should want only my Crackers, p.b. & Pickles.

Thus Fancy flitted, as did my Eyes , across the furlongs of Mixes, Bakes & Browney-concoctions! Ne'er had I seen so much Bakery! Ne'er, in the long History of Man's Attempt to slay that monstrous Beast, FLOUR, had so great a Victory-flag waved as this - Row upon Row of rampant Confectionary! But my bliss was short-liv'd.

Three Rioters approached, tupp'd with Wine & suffering a surfeit of Confidence. Each presented a weird & degenerate Aspect. One, the Oldest, smacked his toothless Lips & had no Hair, excepting a single Lock, the Texture of greazed Silk, that he stroked with the two Fingers of his right Hand. Another, fast & bulbous, seem'd little more than a Collection of Pustules, Boils, & hanging Lumps. He suck'd teeth as he nodded, plucking at his Belly with a stolen Spoon. The last, a sneering Ichabod, strutted & stuck his Stilt-Limbs e'ery which Way, climbing up the Shelves with a Cackle, flailing his frail Arms like an untied Scarecrow. Peering down at me, tapping his skeletal Digits 'gainst his Chin, he muttered,

"Sirrah, has ye seen the Bridge?"

Believing this to be a Metaphysickal Conceit, the Sort that so thrilled Col. Bainton's generation, I responded with a Titter, & gave out

"Nay, but I have a pretty Cupola!"

At once the Rioters choked out hollering Barks of Laughter, an awful Semblance of that joyous Melodie. Lumpman snuffled, and held one of his knobb'd Fingers 'neath his Nose like a Moustache; the Scarecrow stretch'd his Frame with Mirth, and the hairless Vulture stroked greedily at his single Spray of Hair. When he had stuff'd enough Breath in his reedy Lungs, the Scarecrow heaved out these Words:

"Oh, Bainton - have ye lost yr Wits? Or has yr Domestick run off with 'em?"
"Aye, - that brown'd Wench ye call yr Madame."

Rage, in his russet Mantle clad, dawned in my Heart. I remember but little from the slaughterhouse-Thrash that ensued - an occasional Detail will spring into my distract'd mind, like a Blood-soaked Tooth spat from pumell'd gums. Or perhaps the Chomp of Stubb's sturdy Jaws, hammering away at some Celery (his favorite Treat) will recall the snap of a ruffian Hip, as I twist'd his already-warp'd leg around his Back.

A joyous Romp in Summary, tho' Goodman Stubb was altogether perturb'd by my Performance. Sir, quoth he, might y'not track blood 'cross yr cane, for 'tis an awful chore to remove! But Stubb's Indolence is exceeded only by his Kindness, & later Accts. reminded me that Stubb made the aged Vulture eat his own Hair, & how the Lumpman whimper'd & moan'd as Stubb pluck'd at each Pustule, rubbing Salt & Flour into each brazen Sore.

All of which Memorys circled about my Skull as I chawed on the gracious Dollop of p.b. that coat'd my Spoon. I carry a complete Utensilry, as any gent. shou'd; but far apart from that I carry my Tub of Peanut Butter. My Travells have taken me far above the Inhabitants, amongst the Naturalls of the Shenandoah. At Dusk, their martial Cries fill the lower Clouds, scatter'd & numerous as Rain-drops. Mid-winter has already creep'd in to the middle of the Night, & sprawls his bandy Legs on that worn Chair that once support'd the blazes of Summer. Inside, the young Councillors' Works pile higher, ragged & stained as Laundry, undone & untouch'd. And I sat outside in my Knickers, and saw my Visage upsidedown, in the rheumy Eye of a Spoon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Compleat Anglist

[A guest-post yet again. A nervous affliction of the Limbs has paralyzed poor Epaph., leaving yr humble Correspondent bereft of his typickal vigor. In my distress, a Friend from the crowded Cittie of Williamsbourg has volunteer'd to write. Soon enough ye shall be acquaint'd; Learning crowds his Stile, sometime to Disadvantage. His Brains are dusty & coiled as an old Scroll - and as easily, come apart.]

Insofar as I am able, please allow me, under yr kind & expansive Graciousness, to offer sincerest & most eloquent Greetings to you, my Reader. Under yr Eyes, shou'd you agree to such an insolent & impetuously daring Imposition, shall pass a Rivulet, a coursing Flood of images. Myself, a mere Waif with roll'd Pantaloons on the Shore, shall assay a Poke, with my fishing-stick, whereby I might angle-out some delicious Catch - both to sate the Soul, & repast the Mind.

Ovidius gives out the Tale thus, in barbarous & low Manner, as usual:

That nigh on Halicarnassus, in the cool, dark Shadows of a Forest-glade, Hermaphroditus bathed, washing his youthful Limbs in the purest water of auld Anatolia. Born of Hermes, by the noble & pure Aphrodite's loins, Hermaphroditus had grown to be the comeliest of Youths. The Souls of his parents, Heaven-born, had drawn the Lines of his Face - so that none cou'd deny the beauty of Hermaphroditus, nor anyone begin to approach him.

But for one - Salmacis. This most uncouth Chapter, where we do see the moist Depths of Woman's cavernous Vanity, warns & cautions all those young Boys who might be tempted to stray from Study, and to ennervate their poor, pure Limbs, in the Bed of some lusty Temptress. These lusty Maids most afflict our Quarter of the Globe, most specially Williamsbourg; for we are just as Hermaphroditus was - mere Youths, a gentle Foundling with no more uncouth & bloody Desires than cou'd a Dandelion have! Yet all besides, the Rude Manners of the frontier surround us - the toga'd yester-strumpets, replaced now with buckskinn'd & cotton'd Hussies, always hawking their wares.

And none do they please, so much as themselves!:

"...oft would bathe her in the chrystal tide,
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;
Now in the limpid streams she views her face,
And drest her image in the floating glass:
On beds of leaves she now repos'd her limbs,
Now gather'd flow'rs that grew about her streams..."

So do we see the auto-Erotic, the self-caressing Tendency of these Women. Not to be trusted, not a single one, for they spiral & snare with their soft, their sweet & perfum'd, their tumescent bosoms - But! I anticipate myself.

Whilst caressing herself in loathsome Desire, Salmacis did regard her prey:

Here the innocent Laddie is nearly obscur'd by those monstrous, unearthly Buttocks, and that Arm that hangs jellied, like a Sausage fill'd with Pudding. She is most unnaturally contort'd, twist'd & turn'd into the 1,000 Arabesques of feminine Witchery. See how even her very Garments, even her Scarlett rag of whore-dom, weaves & twines about her sinful Legs, the very Causeway to Hermaphroditus' Ruin!

& yet her naif Modesty makes her shield her eyes. Oh Woman! That ye cou'd acknowledge the hollow'd Hunger of yr Desires!

And yet another, more robust View:

"...behold a willing bride in me!"

And now we come to the Conclusion of this wretch'd Tale. Overcome with Lust, Salmacis jump'd to Hermaphroditus. But, like a good little Stripling, Herm. had no understanding:

"The boy knew nought of love, and toucht with shame,
He strove, and blusht, but still the blush became..."

Alas! That even in his Struggle to escape the uicious Tart, he comes to yet greater Beauty! And in the above Depicktion, the Artist has again shown us her sturdy Buttocks, well-fortified by much bed-exercise. She has, true, comely-arrang'd her Hair, but left so much of the Graces behind, in her Pursuit, that she seems most lumbering.

The poor Gamin cries, No, no, take me not!

This most pleasing Aspeckt shows the full Beauty of young Hermaphroditus. But yet worse things wait, for the poor Youth! See how he turns, and tries to repel, with commendable Delicacy, Lust, as she tries to drag him into the Ripples of dissolving Water! That water, which:

"...with weak enfeebling streams
Softens the body, and unnerves the limbs."

And, once dragg'd into the Water, then does Salmacis cry her treacherous Prayer, that they might never part.

"So pray'd the nymph, nor did she pray in vain:
For now she finds him, as his limbs she prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast;
Till, piercing each the other's flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in one:
Last in one face are both their faces join'd,
As when the stock and grafted twig combin'd
Shoot up the same, and wear a common rind:
Both bodies in a single body mix,
A single body with a double sex..."

So poor Hermaproditus did become Hermaphrodite; so does the Original come to be mutilated, in the manifold Hybrids of mutant Fancy. How cou'd such Monstrosity stalk the Earth? for keep well in Hand the fact - that Hermaphrodite is nowhere near so warp'd, as is Salmacis' simple-minded Longing, to never be sunder'd from her Folly.

[And Folly, just the other-day, did put me in mind of these speculations.

The Rambles of my Friend Anglus, tho' instructive in some musty way, give way at this Point. Having rubb'd himself raw in the Course of his Speculation, he retreated to his Quarters at college, and no more heard of him this Week past. He is fond of these Letters to me, these Examinations of recondite Subjects, that tend him towards the full unveiling of his obfuscatory Powers.

And yet his twist'd speech recalls me to a Conversation I had. To be resumed...presently:]

I, un-italicised Bainton, was in the midst of heady Negotiations. A squad of rumptious & rambuncting Ministers of state jostled at my Door, whilst many other robed Notables tapp'd their Counters, waiting for my Lecteur of the day. My very Bones buzz'd with the incessant Syllables, the continual hum of their suffocating Chatter.

Then, as I was to take the Lectern, a most astonishing Wonder of the Lecture-hall occur'd. A light Ringing, something like the clinking of a Champagne glass off the Pearls of a Provencal hussy, sound'd from the back of the Room. One of the Councillors, a Magistrate in knickers, suggest'd I answer this Ring. I pick'd up the bone-shaped Conveyance, and was astonished when a tinny & worn Voice bark'd thro' my ear!

"Epaph! Epaph Bainton!"

"Aye, Madam."

"Have ye written a walking-pass for young Sire Quincy?"


"Why?" At this I quite lost my Tongue. Insult to Honor & Name was plain enough; but the Idiocy of the Query hung in the Air, heavy as the scent of a rott'd Mind.

"He had been detain'd by other Worthies. I thought it suitable that he ought not suffer Punishment for leaving his Bookes in my Quarters."

"Mmm. Yes. They need their books at all Times. You cannot write such a Pass. Don't write that again. We'll dialogue about this."

Sputtering, I resumed my quaestio on the Import of Naturall Law. But I cannot lie - I was discomfort'd. For what kind of World, wou'd hermaphrodite a Noun, into a Verb?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes

The Cafeteria must rank high 'mongst the modern Conveniences. Where in Rome wou'd they have design'd such a Contrivance? What Tyrant of Auld Anatolia wou'd have the subtile Reasoning, that allow'd him to design such a simple Improvement, for the Welfare of his People?

A Tale is told in Siam, of a gold-paint'd king named Boromorachas. So lazy & lax was he in the enforcement of his Laws, that Penury oppress'd his Subjects. Gnawing Depredation wore thin the Skin of their Skulls, till at a ten-foot distance, one cou'd read the Heartbeat pounding in their bared Veins.

Boromorachas betook himself to a lowly Shanty, the sole refuge for a sayer of SOOTH. This wizen'd Figure impart'd the cryptic Message, handed to him by the Sauvage Idolls - "Build ye a Mess Hall, that yr People might rejoice, at the Tubbs & Buckets & Tins of food!"

But Boromorachas sneer'd, & instead invest'd the Money in divers Entertainments - follies, and such Capers as wou'd shame the highest Cizar of Degenerate Rome. Principle among these, the hire of one Garrey Glitter. Glitter, a sage & wize Privy Counsellor, skill'd in politicking & the stewardship of State, came at a Flash.

Borne to Earth in a Shower of sparkling green & lavender Drops, Glitter descended on the Wings of Nymphs. Being a savage State, they recogniz'd him at once for a God. But noble Glitter refus'd the heathen honours, knowing them to be false & unbecoming to the proper Stature of a Philosophe. Instead, with his paw resting on the shoulder of a wimpering Cherub, he offer'd the following:

"I refuse to play for ye, Boro.! For your tyrranous Rule has unstitch'd the noble Rainment of Mankind, leaving them hobbled, parch'd & sully'd."

Boromorachas chuttled at this, and lick'd the rim of his gold Goblet in glee. "Speak thusly, Glitter, and ye soon shall find yrself in the Stockade! For full five days have my Slaves labored, sewing new vests festoon'd with diamonds, pearls, & glass-baubles, laying abroad the Contents of my luxuriant Harem and its indolent lusty crew, & Finally baking such treats, candies & delights as ladies adore."

Glitter sniff'd at the unwholesome Treats, specially the table of Cookies, richly laid out in the best fashion. At once the spongy Fingers of an avaricious Wench groped across the sweet-breads, like the sopping Tentacle of an Octo-pod. At once, Glitter spat at the whole assembly, and flew 'cross the Country.

Landing in the North of Siam, a remote Corner where the strain'd clerickal Eyes of the King's Court cou'd not penetrate, Glitter establish'd a most Remarkable Experiment: a Line of Foods, tasty & sumptuous; a Shanty-town of Tents & Hovells for the poor. And always, for the Poorest, a spare Place in the plain yet noble Tent of Glitter, Himself.

Such Speculations as these crowded up the Channals & Eddies of my busy'd Brain, yester-noon, as I sat chewing away at a Pizza-Boat. This peculiar Contrivance resembles a Bier, such as Cleopatra herself might've couch'd upon, and yet instead, has been heap'd with divers cheeses, tomato paste, and a certain crusting of burnt Ingredients. In my Approach to the Food-counters I most frequently bear the Aspect of a half-madden'd Prophet, fix'd to the inevitable satiation of my hollow'd-out Gut. My Belly so yowls & grumbles during the day, that I have wonder'd, might this not signify yet another be-witchment by the nefarious King Bettie?

There is no Question that fills a Bowl, however, and soon enough I have shov'd from the Shore the stinking Pizza-boat. As it floated past my Teeth, a noxious humor float'd off it, more befitting one of the fabled Vikings Death-ships, stuff'd with Death & Gold. Cheese bubbled off, white as bone, lump'd & clump'd as Mucous, and the bread crackled in my poor buttery hands, as I realized the Tomato-paste had quite greazed my Fingers. Quickly I did upend my Jaw, and allow the Pizza-boat to sink into my Gullet, quite like the Titanic, crack'd in half on the moonless Ocean. Thus did the Pizza-boat serve as Funeral-pyre for my appettite.

And yet worse wonders await'd poor Epaph! In towne, I wended way to that Mexican Tavern, hoping to secure Victuall in anticipation of the mighty Tasks ahead of me. Upon opening the door, a sweeping Bluster of Wind, hot as Zephirus' spring-Gusts, bust'd my Face. The Room had been festoon'd in such Ponchoes, of garish colors, as usual accompany such Eateries. White as the angelic robes, the walls reflect'd every Shadow; Silence paw'd at every corner with his lugubrious digits. I felt sweat curdle at the Skin of my Back.

"You - sit, you can sit anywhere," said she, and I travell'd to my chosen Table. A flagon of Iced sweet tea, I demanded, & a Bucket thereof for my Horses as well! Goodman Stubb had been kind enough to sit outside, but I knew that Rapscallion wou'd ignore the proper equine Diet & refuse my noble beasts their Treat. So she waddled out, and to grumblings, G. Stubb did my Bidding.

In sprawling Delight I array'd my papers & Issues across the Counter. Of late I have been much occupy'd with legal & fractious Troubles, such as wou'd concern none but the Iniquitous. I had planned a noon of sumptuous teas & salsas, a Burrittoe-loaded day of Work.

And then I touch'd Tongue to the Tea, and knew someone had blunder'd. The tea cloy'd at my Taste, duplicitous-sweet & tart as a 2-Doubbloon harlot, as are easily found along the Docks at Richmond. A merest Fascimile of the noble Southern maid, Sweet-tea, had been slipp'd to me by these treacherous Nacho-Merchants. I knew, above all, Caution must preside over my next action.

I dipped a dainty Chip into the Salsa, and found it little more than piping-hot Tomatoe Sauce! Spaghetti'd thro' the Sauce were chunks & flecks of the Nastiest sort. A singular Disgust curled at the corner of my Mouth; and yet I said nothing. Epaph. is nothing, if not the model of Circumspection.

"Madam," quoth Epaph., "have ye any better wares than these?"
She giggled.

"Madam, I must ask again. Have you any of the Genuine sweet-Tea?" She point'd, gnomically to the Kitchen-house. I point'd as well, and nodded, as if to ask, you mean for me to proceed? And she did.

So I Stroll'd. There I found a most debas'd Scene, of the sort that has set Men into Madness. A Cook, crouch'd above a Pot. Usual enough, you may say; Encumbrances such as Toilets have no place in a crowded Kitchen. And yet he had been defecating in my very Victualls - a Pot on the Stove. He held his Apron before him like a Skirt, and mutter'd wild Phrases in a kind of scatter'd Greek at the edge of his Tongue. He seem'd busy at some Figuring, which he carry'd out with an ink'd Feather on his skirt.

The Door only part-open'd, I peek'd in, viz., Sir are you indeed the cook in charge of my Pulled Pork Sandwhich -

And the Door slid, and open'd the room, and unveil'd a-top the Ice-Chest - the Brazen-oak Visage of my most dire Enemy, my Nemesis, Antithesis, warped Father of all that has come to Plague -

KING BETTIE, dictating the Chaunts & Tags of Devillish Iniquity!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Purloined Letter

Often has it been in History, that newes is only deliver'd surreptitiously. On the sly, the News-sneak slips in thro' the window, careful to shut silently the pane, creepingly coming down the hallway & up the Stairs, till finally it has come to its summa, its master goal, its telos - that Master-Room where we keep Pride, our Secrets, our Confidence. Those snug Bedmates are alarum'd by the Intrusion of uncouth Rumour, who wears a paint'd Mask & motley Garb to disguise his hateful visage - lest Someone recognize him in his plain, beggarly form.

So does Poe deliver the story. A poor Princess has been depriv'd of her precious Letter, by an unscrupulous Minister D_____. His villainous Machinations turn upon themselves, Wheels wheels, a behemoth of Scheme - quite as monstrous as that Mechanized Daimon, so treacherously provided to the Devillish Indian.

But a certain M. Dupin unlocks the Tongue of this riddling quandry - Where did the lady's letter go? Dupin uncovers a most mysterious & Cryptic Limit of Man's Ratiocination - That one can only find what one expects to see.


" this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of of the great Art of Telling the Truth, - even though it be covertly and by snatches."
-H. Melville, Hawthorne & His Mosses

So modest & skittish is Truth, quite like a jeune fille, that she flits & capes thro' the verdant boughs, hops the Streams & fluid Channels, with only a whisper of Leaves. A Struggle, then, one quite opposite to the might of Hercules, subduing Anteus. Anteus must be lift'd from the Ground, that sustaining Stability that fuels his riotous muscles, and held up to the Mischievous Air. Yet only Hercules had might enough to heave Anteus up to the Sky, & crush him, mere Feet off his nourishing Soil.

Contrariwise, we seekers after Truth chase fleet Harpies with Needle-pins, hoping to stick them in our quaint Butter-Fly-Cases. Plucking & dabbling at the ether with our greazy Fingers, most oft, we succeed only in sullying the Purity of that Fair Medium - leaving a Trail of our Missteps, a genealogy of our Immorals.

And yet, in rare Seasons, those quickly chas'd from our Eyes, a Boon descends into our Path, quite unbidden, quite unforeseen. One that slits a cold Knife thro' our Veils of illusion, that so frequent dance before our eyes in profusion. Thus is the mellifluous Moon plung'd from the Sky; thus doth high-puff'd Fame whistle, deflate, & die.

A Dialogue, betwixt Rosalind & Hypatia, in Scribbles

Hypatia - This is gonna be a long year!
Rosalind - yeah, tell me about it. He's so weird. I'm afraid he's going to be a hard grader.
H. - He probably will be but hows the next class with him?
R. - It's whatever. I'm the only one in the class now. so it's a lot of down time.
H. - What? Only you! Wa happen to the PG's
R. - They are going to a study hall with their coach now. yeah, it's a little weird.
H. - I'm sorry! I bet that sucks!

[transcrib'd with faith & accuracy. apologies.]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Dealings with the Salvages

[Note: my father has request'd special dispensation to author the following Post-mail. Wending his way thro' the Woods, he spent many Years residing above the Inhabitants of this Colony, trading, bartering, & allying with those call'd Indians. In Waters that drown'd many an Englishman before him, he did swim, & sip. His Usages are Antient, & require some decipherment; know that to him, Indians are still "Naturalls," "Salvages," or the various Tribes. Tho' his Nomenclatures recall a distant & perhaps-surpassed Epoch, they yet make nicer Distinctions than we, in our Ink-Potted & be-Candled luxury.]

Greetings, & warmestt salutations forthe;

I bring the most Grievous Newes. My sonne hath retriev'd the following, a moving Lithograph, & a disturbing Figment it is:

In travells with Cols. Harrison & Byrd, a Winde once blew vs quite offe-corse. Heav'd off the Cheasapioc Bay, an Unmercifull Prouvidence lodg'd us against one of the Paeninsulae. There, in a Piccoson, or a Swampe as we calld it, the Salvages did surround us, yipping & Shrieking their Terrible Cryes thro'out the night. Alive with Snaykes & Inseckts, all astir & disarray'd by our circumstances, wee cou'd but pray God Release us!

And yet doe I find mysellf againe beseaching the Lorde God, begging that he wou'd save us from this new Menayce. See here, in the Lithograph, how the Naturall hath learn'd the art of Mechanistick Creation! This monstrous Clanking beast, that he cacklingly controls, cou'd abolish the Colony wholle-sale! What Deuillish sprite cou'd have given him such tools of Wickednesse? Cou'd there be more horrid thought, than that Opekan-canoe wou'd grab a hold of that tinye remote, and Raize the Citties of our Lovelye Colony? I ask ye this -

[He is rather long-winded, my father.]

Solicit'd by my sonne, Epaph. Bainton, I have bin ask'd to recount the long-deade years of Gov. Berkeley, Nat. Bacon, and the usages of ├żat tyme, so long Since gone, I prouide the following.

Such a Tyme as it was, and shall Nott be repeat'd. Then did Giantes stride, and makke the Historie for themselves, not Leaving the makking to Otheres!

I remember Once, Gov Berkeley did say to me, Gugliemus, fetch me an Salvage ladey with whom I mite makke loue, and -

[he prattles on so.]

Indians such as These did I traffick & Deal with:

Such a man as thys cou'd be trust'd with my young sonne Epaphrodit., as when he was a Babe & I wou'd leav him in the care of Waherrosqok, a Sauvage Maiden much addict'd to the care of children. And Young Ephaph. wou'd giggle & gurgle in her paint'd arms, and her husband, Opatcheran, wd take the Same to sport with the Sauvage boys in fields. In such ease did my Familly cauort, whilst the Naturalls werre at Peace with England. The Chikahominys cou'd be trust'd with near-any thinge, as cou'd the Nansemond & Nottoway. Those Nott. gave mee & mine familly svp so freqwent as to spoil our Stomachs w. their riche Fatts & Greazes. I say this, well-admitting that the Manahoacs did burn my Wife's father's house Straightt to the Grounde, & I cannot begin to Tally the crimes of the Richeharians or Doeg, both Villainous tribes of Burnished Rascalry.

Those self-same peacefull Naturalls did give freqwent Cause for Beating, nonetheless. Once a Sauvage did arrest me in my Pathe, & ask of me, why do I see ye soo freqwent Comeing & goeing from the woods w. Waherrosqok? At which juncture I cuff'd him, for insolence, as -

[Here I abbrev. Father's most excellent Reasonings, & skip to a Grave Warning:]

But Shee is dead, & thatt was in Another Countrie. The Feare that most possesses old Col. Bainton, w. his rotten Bones & scarr'd-up Teeth, my Boddie broken by the Sundry blowes of Native Treachery - That Hulking Beast.

I explain this Hellish Development one Way: the Alliance betwixt the Savauge, & the Creeping Dutchman. Meet it is to invite these younge men to work our Furnaces, our Glass-Factors, our Kilns & Bakers &C. but I wou'd have none o' their Sooty Visages, trooping thro' my house, in their Boottes, & Tracking ashen Wastes 'cross the careful-laid Domestick work of my Wife. They are uicious, troublous deceit-men, all, and have bin known to make Pact with the Naturalls, quite against our Explicit Commands.

Thus I say that the Dutchen Smelters crafted their Ingenious Creature, a Mannikin perhaps of thee Powhatan's God Okee, and haue unleash'd him upon the swete-natur'd, tender-tongued Cavallier! The fondest flower of British Mannhood, match'd to fight Duplicitous Wickednesse. Shall we ever finde again, those stronge Menn such as Bacon, who wd happly have lead vs into the Ockaneech Territory, to take many a Captive & slay many -

[Col. Bainton rides eagerly on his Thoughts & allows their Sport to Trans-port him wherever it may. He sits now in his Farm in Newe Kent Co., more comfortable in the Cittie Counties of James or Charles, his Stomping-Grounds from childhood. Having retired from the bustling Life of a Counsellor, the Work that demanded he stay in Williamsburg or the now-abandoned JAMESTOWN, he occupies himself solely with Dangers, Warnings, & Pestilences. This most recent Scare has sent him quite into a Phrenzy, and left his brains quite disorder'd, leaping at one Memory, then another. From a soot'd Window he watches the Road & the sundry Trafficks as they pass by, having Little to do with the World at large. Once or twice, I thought I had seen him poke, with his finger, at the Glass, as tho' to wave at someone - tho' I cou'd not say who.]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Just Want to Break Even

-Richard Manuel.

I bid in these last posts Adieu to Charlottesville, a Burg that has play'd Host long enough to me. Henceforth I hie to the Mountains, & will continue my sundry Reflections on that part of VIRGINIA closest to me

As yet in the Offing remain a Chaucerian Paean to Womankind, an Inquiry into the Finer Causes of Indigestion, a comparison of the meritorious Poetts, A. Pope & J. Donne, & the further Adventures of Goodman Stubb, Manservant & Valet to the humbl'st Lord about - Epaph. Bainton.

Write yr Suggestions, & yr humble Scribbler shall assay yr various topoi; for the greek is to me as French is to others - a second Home, a Turret of Wisdom.

& for now - Hie & away, to Drink!

Friday, September 11, 2009

On Conjuration

"A twenty-four-year-old man came to Duke Hospital a few years ago complaining of stomach pains and nervous spells during which he nearly choked. He had lost a great deal of weight, having been 'bewitched' through a rival suitor..." - Nat'l Association for Mental Health, 1953

Charlotte, Queen Consort & La Renard

Charlottesville can in no wise be count'd a lovely Cittie - being too much removed from the Chesepeke Bay, and nonetheless suff'ring from the malodorous Humors of the Rivers that spring in the Indian Mountains. Now clogg'd by Traffic, none of it contributing to the larger Weal of Humanity, but only painting the Bro-Han in ever more garish Colors. Thus is the glorious Fame of Consort Charlotte defamed, by the peacock'd mockery of corpulent Beer-men.

Whilst on my Promenade I spy these husky Lard-Mannikins, the merest Semblances of Men trucking, bartering & spicing the Air with cries of "Hell yea!" & "Dude, shee is the hottestt of thee Bittches!" 'Tis a wonder of Coagulation, that such freakish Apparitions gain all the Rights & Privileges of a Land-holder.

Sundry Reflections, such as these, spring to my be-wigged mind as I stroll on Promenade. The native Cryes of the Bro-Han sting my blue-Velvet-jacket, and cloud the sweet Light of Contemplation with their Greasy Streaks.

As I click-clocked the Hours down Main St., I was accost'd by a wondrous Shade. In the softest tones ever struck by Woman-Tongue, the Twin of Mahmoud Ahmadin., Pres. Pers., ask'd, Did I know of a Butcher that might cut his Meat in a manner agreeable to the Customs of his Tribe? Tho' his ghostly semblance stole the Tongue from my Mouth, I did squeak some mild Directions, and pray'd for deliverance from Phantoms.

Long have I been plagued by this ethereal Daimon - the Twin. Thro' the long Chain of Semblances strung 'round my neck I discern, in ev'ry Link, Scratch & Chink that old Weroance, King Scratch himself. His Devillish Waltzes having been restrict'd to Surry Co., 'neath the sturdy James R., he gushes forth his Minions. Another good Virginian, Poe, was similarly afflict'd by a similarly trenchant Foe:

"...his singular whisper, it grew the very echo of my own. How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it could not justly be termed a caricature), I will not now venture to describe. I had but one consolation - in the fact that the imitation, apparently, was noticed by myself alone..." - Wm. Wilson, Edgar A. Poe

But to me it is this Quality that is most fiendish! To wander lone as a Light-house Keeper, haunted by the Figments of Ghost-Ships crawling thro' the rainy Night, each one tempting you with the Reflection of yr Noblest Friend's long-lost clipper - this wd be the most exquisite Tortute I cd imagine. And yet it is mine, already.

Given the murtherous Multiplication of sundry Friends, Acquaintances, Paramours, &c., & their dispersal thro'out the maddening Crowd of this Cittie, a single Explanation wou'd undo all the Devill's Fruit (as I call these Twins): I have been conjur'd.


The Conjur Dr. has about him a queer Mystique, such that no Gent. from England, nor Divine fromm caped New England, cou'd effect the merest Puncture of his Power. Muttering his Chaunts & spells in remote Pine-Groves, he grinds Roots & dead-flesh & other queer artifacts into a magickal Mash, one with wondrous Powers of affect.

One Fiend in particular, King Bettie, I hold responsible for the singular Horror that overwhelm'd me yester-eve. Having visited the Tailor & equipp'd myself in the Florid Colors of a Gent., I did return home in the Divine's carriage, a useful contrivance encumbered with running-boards. At many Points I speculated about their uses: That perhaps, whilst on trading, some of Ned Bearskin's friends might hang from the Car, and swoop direct into a Trade, or that, given the noisome & wretched habits of Serving-Women, I might perswade them to cling to the Outside, rather than join my august Personage inside. Their Womanish perversions wou'd no doubt sully the Divine's commodious ride.

I arriv'd home, relieved of my Apprehension, & quite convinc'd that I had reach'd a safe Harbor. My fears doubled, however, upon Parking. No sooner had I taken my new buckled Shoe off the Pedals than I found my Nemeses, the very epitome of all that feeds on the dark Blackness of Forest-Magic: cats.

Beneath another Car, a tabby-Cat & a Cat oreo'd in black&white sat. They seem'd anxious, nervous even. Which was to be expect'd, as they were my Host's Cats.

I shd explain - Col. Fedore & his gracious Spouse Tess have made a Hostel of their Home, and allow'd yr Narrator to sleep, eat, & gambol about the Floors & walls. I have hung my Hats & trailed my scarves 'cross the floor, with no more Concern than if I were in my own Home. I am Vagrant, now, and carry mine inside me; thus is their Kindness amplified. Readers may remember my previous encounter with these Scalawag-beasts, these unbidden Freaks of Buttock-misery.

I have learn'd to trust nothing these Cats may say to me; for frequently do they speak in their Eldritch Tongues, dancing & Chaunting much like their Conjure-Masters. Their Syllables come closest perhaps to a Semitic-accent'd Polish; they draw cryptic Figures on the Ground, & when I visit them in the Kitchen-house, drop their Pens in all Innocence. But they lie.

Sighting these Mongrel-beasts, so devillishly afflict'd with the Intestinal-Complaint, I ran, in a horror, inside, to uncover whatever Thief or Wraith might have ransack'd my Host's Possessions. Nay, I found only the self-same Cats, mewling peacefully, swallowing & licking their noisy Tongues in Glee at my obvious Discomforture.

Some Readers, no doubt the learn'd J. Mortimer, will contest that this is a Random - like Black-34 running for Three full Days on a Roullette-Wheel, as it once did in London, before my Eyes. Some will argue for a mysterious Conjunctium, some Peculiar crossing of various Purposes, that happen'd to align with my Doings.

But I cry Fie on Them! and direct them to the Bone-rattling Creature, more spirit than Man, howling his Imprecations at the Moon, whilst I shiver in the blackness of Darkness!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Ned Bearskin & myself, breaking-fast

Three days of Feverish Competition had unseated yr poor Correspondent's brains, and hence the dearth of Post-Mails. On yester-eve, my noble Host Col. Fedore had me to feast, & gracious Mistress Tess did make such a meal as I had never seen. This repast nourished my famished stomach, & wett'd my parched throat. As when in youth, I was known to break an Easter Fast with my noble friend Ned Bearskin, my Relief was great.

But, Indolence oft augurs Industry. In the mean-time, as I make return to longer, profounder speculations - a recent occasion of mirth & celebration.

That the antient College of Wm. & Mary has dim'd its athletic light, so as not to obscure the Candle of Academics, is no secret. And that the Univ. of VA, a storied & well-heel'd Institution, has been prideful of its athletic prowess, shou'd surprise no one. Like the Famed 3 Graces of Greece, the 3 Colleges of Virginia each have their pleasing Vantages, and their commodious Beauties.

Weekend last, however, saw two of these cultivated & charming Ladies Mud-Wrestling to the Finish. Let us call them Virginia & Guillaumette. These charming wenches beat their Breasts and charged, full-tilt, at each other. Virginia's manicured & pink-plaster'd nails ran across Guillaumette's goatish face; Virginia asked G. if she wd like to go to a Banging Festivity at a Frat Bro-han's house, where they wd have flute-playing, spirits, cookies, and many other such Treats as delight the Female senses. And yet Guillaumette did decline, saying that she had a most aweful Examination approaching, and her study group waited, even as she spoke. Yet further, Virginia, taking cue from her Bro-hans, refused 'No' for an Answer, and slip'd poor Guillaumette a mickey, trying her best to conquer (for reasons obscure) the elusive, well-meaning, perhaps frigid, maid.

And yet did Wm&M. return in Fury and Triumph! A 26-14 win for the College of our Beloved Monarchs! I assay no Commentary on yr obscure and occasionally farcical colonial Sports, preferring the gentleman's pass-times - fox-hunting, refusing to pay night-wenches for their Services, and besting Rapscallions in duels & Fisticuffs. Nonetheless, I fly the flag of Victory high today, and shot my Muskett in Salute & Tribute to The Happy Occasion.

Included here is an acc't of the Event. Though barbarously written, it does suggest that Wm.&M. will keep the Action going in the next week. Which action, I refuse to speculate.