Excerpts taken from the journals of early American settlers on how they dealt with day-to-day matters in a world without technology.
I am intensely upset by news from the Capitol. A vulgarian has been placed in a position of power, and I long to express my disgust, preferably to a lot of people at once, accompanied by witty visuals. The use of barn animals in unusual poses could be so amusing if transmitted broadly and with a sharp message! But that is not to be, and I must express my feelings, as usual, in cross-stitch.
I am so bored. I can see by the sun that the hour absolutely crawleth, as usual, while I look for firewood in the copse. My thoughts drift to Ephraim, a man who used to court me—I wonder if he is courting anyone now and how comely she is. If only I could know! If they travel together, might I not see an artist’s rendition of their enjoyment of a bouillabaisse in Lille, for instance? Or learn of their possible avowal to be man and wife, though such news would roil my innards. Still, any information would be welcome—any tidbit on Ephraim’s current life or perhaps a treatise he hath recently penned—instead of searching for damn little pieces of dry wood.
The news is increasingly disturbing, and I have this moment learned of an outrage by the King so outrageous it could sway all people of this county into doing what is right. What is the fastest way of reaching them? I could leap on my quickest dray horse and ride from house to house, but canst thou think of anything more time-consuming and ineffective? I cannot either.
I enjoy my member so much. I know adultery is a sin, but I long to share my member or at least its representation with more and more women every day. This is not a holy thought, yet I think it daily. Goodman Daniels could paint me in the nude, and then I could find means to share the painting with all the women I find comely in the village. No doubt some would make their way to me to savor its prowess in person. A perfect plan but frustratingly beyond reach.
Without Google Images:
Is Goody Hawthorne a witch? Rides she with the devil at night? Or would we find her blamelessly sleeping in her four-poster bed, no more bewitching children than she is cows? But how often doth she consort with cows? Some device or manner of documentation that might leave record of her friends—are they four-legged or but two? Doth she smile often? We have observed her only at church. Other records, perhaps visual in nature, would be useful—but these are only idle thoughts.
The new foal is, I guess you would say dappled, with beige alternating with darker brown. Then there are white spots—or perhaps flecks is more accurate. I will describe it to Abigail, unhappily confined with illness as she is. I am only indifferently talented at this and wish there were a device by which I could convey the colors and shapes in one stroke. Add to that the happiness if I could share the information with neighbors as well as distant relatives and acquaintances—indeed, why can I not show the evidence of this unusual foal to everyone I have ever met and even people I haven’t? But I dream, I dream.
No one, no one ever, but particularly not my husband, should know of what passed between me and Goodman Woolson. Yet how I long to contact this wayward young man with a reminder of our ecstatic hours! Given it will never happen again (this I swear before God), it would be sweet indeed to manage to convey a few brief words to Young Woolson that would possibly induce in him an irresistible need to join with me again. No! No, I mean not that, but to relive in our minds—how heavenly. Indeed, if only we could somehow convey the brief phrase we uttered repeatedly while we were engaged together—that would do admirably—or if I could be even more sinful and have some draughtsman of ill repute do a quick rendering of my subornal region and send this by pony express… but such is madness, I must give up all thoughts of same.
I have always had a quick wit—some go so far as to call me the Town Wag. Yet I have so few opportunities to exhibit my humor—I must store up my sallies for a week or longer, if the weather be inclement. I do not always remember to commit my humorous remarks to parchment. Yes, I can use twigs, but that is not a felicitous method for documenting humor as anyone who thinketh about it knoweth. I weary of what feeleth like a vacuum in our society and will drink spirits tonight, remembering these thoughts ere I do.
Without Comment Sections:
The latest outrage from England is infuriating me, and I would like to share my feelings but easily, not after traveling on horseback some six miles as I must do to visit with my closest neighbor. Who, by the way, is almost certain to disagree with me as he has a sentimental attachment to the Monarchy that makes a fire boil behind my eyes, and I long to bring forth accounts written by learned men that contradict his views, which are truly those of a simpleton, though I must not say so, but might if I were composing my thoughts in haste. At any rate, I sit here full of opinions I wish to express but have no way to. My wife tells me to paint watercolors, but this also causes fire to boil behind my eyes—how I would love to ridicule the idea of watercolors as a panacea for unjust rulings from abroad! So many people are idiots! But they must go unnamed, at present anyway.
I feel in low spirits today—an ill humor accompanies all my tasks. It occurs to me that crudely drawn upside-down mouth would symbolize my inner state in a most satisfactory way, could I broadcast this symbol to my friends and relatives. But I have no way to do that, no way to create word paintings describing elements of the day and my mood, which greatly adds to my feelings of deprivation.
Tonight we are favored with a glorious sunset—for hours it lingers, changing shade and shape, inspiring thoughts of Eternity and God’s grace. I drink in the beauty while communing directly with my Maker. I do not even wish my Husband to be at my side. Go away, everyone. Many matters in life are worthy of sharing but not this one.
Rumpus original art by Claire Stringer.
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