Monday, August 8, 2011

Revisiting Long Melford


As expected, I had NO time last year to dress Mistress Melford.

Buuuut, since I have nothing to do NOW and a lot of money... XD

I'm going to see a friend who is playing Mistress Anne Hathaway in Madman William some time soon, so it'll serve for that, as well as serving as a gown to wear to the premier of Anonymous in October and being something to wear to Faire when that rolls around. Because we all know that when it does, I won't have anything for it if I don't start now. XP

So it just begs the question- do I make the Melford Hunter Gown from my last plans, or the fun embroidery shift gown from the 1569 portrait (below)?

Monday, April 25, 2011


A fascinating article about the history of the wool industry, especially in England.

So, we have worsted wool from 1331. While I would give that a while to catch on, I think it would be safe to say that especially in a wool-producing town like Long Melford, it would be quite all right by 200 years later! Especially since I can has moneh. (I wish 21st c. me had money... booo...!)
So I think that I'll just get the wool from Denver- after all, if I don't like it, I can always return it.

I can has one of deez? Lil lammby. Baaaa. XP SO MUCH LUFF. SO MUCH FLUFF. <3 <3 <3

Using Up The Treasury


The Cost of a 1560s Ensemble:

(Renaissance Fabrics)
Evergreen Cotton Velvet (6 yards)- $72
Scandinavia Brown/Green Trim (10 yards)- $16
Burgundy Flower Trim (10 yards)- $20
Shipping- $20
Total- $108

(Denver Fabrics)
Blue Gray Worsted Wool (2 yards)- $21.50
Shipping- $6.95

Brown Brocade (1)- $?

Beading Supplies, etc.- $?

Total: $136.45+

Ow. That is a painful number. :'(

I'll see what I can do, anyway. Maybe I can sell something. Like eh, my soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mistress Melford Muses

Hehe. Alliteration. <3

OK. So. I've been fabric whoring and thinking about Anne's gown. I've finally come up with a design I like for both the gown and the doublet.

My biggest problem was the sleeves. Most gowns of the time have giant rolls on the shoulders, and that would end up being lumpy and strange under a doublet. I WAS considering going the German route, since their basic style was completely sleeve-volume-less:

1561, Neufchatel, "A Young Lady"

1560s, Wiegel, "A Lady of Nürnberg"

There are two problems with this- first, I don't fee like I could pull that style off, especially without stays and that trim, it just looks awkward. Of course, watch me next year- "So! German!" HAHA.
The second problem is that I'm not even going to be unrealistic enough to try and fit a German style dress into Anne Melford's wardrobe. Just... no. "Well see a German sailor washed up on shore while she was walking, and she fell in love with him so they carried on an illicit affair while she nursed him back to health and then when he left, he came back and BROUGHT HER A DRESS FROM NÜRNBURG. O_o" Yeah, no. Not going that route. XP

While the skirt especially is definitely more of a flared medieval look, which I love, just... no. Ren Faire is for Farthingales and stays. I can have gored skirts as Sorcha pretty much whenever I want. XP

So anyways! I went a-hunting for some more alternatives. Eventually I settled on leg-o-mutton sleeves like the ones in the Georgette de Montenay (1567) and Pink Lyon (1565) paintings-

I'm going to trim the bodice like the 1569 "flower shift" gown. Tempted as I am to MAKE a flowery shift and partlet, I have neither the time nor patience for it at the moment. That's definitely a project for when I have nothing else to do but embroider the hell out of a shift and partlet. XP
But I feel like one day, I definitely will have to. Maybe next year for Faire... I don't think I'd do it in red, but maybe. Anne's gown this year is green and brown with a steel blue doublet and burgundy trim, so there really isn't any other colour left, and I do look rather well in red. I don't know, we shall see. I just think it's so fun! Kind of like when vintage things have cherries on them. This is the Elizabethan version of 'the cherry'. XP More besides, fun embroidered sleeves means no oversleeves which means "Yay! I can be cooler in the 1000ºF furnace that is Faire!" XP

Young Lady (Maybe Helena Snakenborg), 1569

So. On to Mistress Melford's Gown!

(Note: Sketches of all this are to come in Part the Next!)

The Gown:
This entire dress at the end is turning out to be a reflection of what is decidedly a lady of the country, or at least the outdoors. (You know, the kind of 'hard core quaint' 18th century French noblewomen thought they were being when they went to visit their giant-ass manor-cottages in the country? Marie Antoinette has a great depiction of this. ^_^)
I think I see a name forming for Mistress Melford's new gown- The Hunter Gown. You shall see why!

I wanted a green gown, but not the blue-green of Lady Manners' (or whomever she is now, haha!), but more of a yellowy grey-green, though not quite a sage. I found this lovely cotton velvet at Renaissance Fabrics for $12/yd. -

There is still some debate about trim. While the best trim on Elizabethan things seems to be very textured and three dimensional, the trim on Mistress Maybe's gown seems to be just a flat, inkle-woven trim. Of course, it could be trim with gold embroidery, which wouldn't surprise me in the least, but it would still be flat, or at least not as textured as some others. At the very least, if it IS flat, it doesn't look ill being so. Since I'm using cotton velvet, the pile wouldn't be as much of an issue as it would were I using silk or rayon velvet. I did find this darling, and I LOVE it- at 7/8" wide, it should be a fairly good size for bodice trimming. I feel like I'd want to do some gold beading on it, which is fine- it has perfectly marked places to do so in the centre of each 'flower' and at each side of them.
The forepart of the skirt I'm still split on. I want it to be the 'noblest' part of the gown, with beading etc. on it. While beading the flowers on brocade is always a good option (and I did find some I liked), I'm also kind of thinking of decorated brown silk- I'm a fan of the trim going in one vertical line down the centre with a bunch of diagonal stripes converging into it and meeting in the middle "pointing" downwards. Like, uh.... \I/, but continually down. XP
But anyways- brocade!

Fie, I really aught to just post this on LJ. It's so much easier to get pictures to go where you want them to... XP

The Doublet:
For the doublet, I really want horizontal trim coming into the center of the bodice like so (photo courtesy of Melanie Schuessler)-

I don't know if I'd like to do picadils or simply a peplum. Maybe I could do a peplum on the gown and picadils on the doublet... we shall see.

I should like it in steel grey/blue, like this. I'm worried about the wool, though. I'm not an expert in Elizabethan, so I'll have to see what their wool quality was like, but I'm pretty sure it isn't as fine as say, Victorian wool. Being used to the Middle Ages, I'm used to wool that LOOKS like wool. So when I see suitings and the like, I freak out and have to really touch them before I can be convinced that they aren't polyester heh! I have yet to find a wool that colour in a nice coating that I like, but ah well. This says it's worsted, and I just hope it's the nice lightweight but still textured worsted wool as opposed to the wierd suiting worsted wool. I would also like it because I only need a yard or so, and it's $10.75/yd. XP I think I'll order a swatch. Can anyone tell what the fabric quality might be like?

Aaaand trim du doublet (burgundy on top). Since it's narrower, I'd have a few more stripes than converge on Ms. Schuessler's.-

So that's that... I shall do a sketch and see what becomes of it. The sketch will be posted some time in the near future...

I wouldn't bother with this until after July only I feel that somehow it's my *duty* to make a new gown.
First of all, I should have a gown for Faire. I should have an Elizabethan gown of some sort. One never knows when one might need an Elizabethan gown. XD
I should make one before Faire is over. I'm broke and I haven't any stays of my own, and I've only five weeks left. Deep down I know I could get it done if I really wanted to, but then I remember my giant AGS list. I suppose I could work on them in tandem... it's just that I am so very broke-! I do need a new dress if I am to go with William. It's not that Lady Manners' gown isn't lovely, it's just that... well... if such company is going to grace me, then there is absolutely no chance in hell that I am going to pass up an opportunity to ah... wear an open partlet and still be considered a lady. XP
See, being me, I don't get to use Hallowe'en as 'Dress-like-a-woman-of-ill-repute" Day. That's what Faire is for, only it's better, because I get to be super classy and noble all whilst proving that at least in stays, I do indeed have a bosom. XP
I have come to a conclusion. If I can find the money to make this, I shall. Keeping in mind that I have also to buy fabric for ALL of my AGS things.... fie. I really do want this gown. I also really want more money, but what can ya do.

Second, I feel all... involved since I joined Friends of Faire. It's really not a big deal, and you get so much more than you pay for, and even though there are only 1000 people allowed in a year and what have you, I just feel... like I'm actually a part of something? I don't know. I'm not, not really- I'm not on court and I don't actually work there. But somehow I feel like I aught to contribute something. Some sense of communal duty, if you will.

...It's probably the pin. XD

On Th' Wardobe of Anne Melford

I really, really shouldn't be getting into 1560s. And in the end, I probably won't until I have my own stays done.

But I suppose it cannot be helped...! I just want an o
pen doublet (with fun gown underneath) more than life itself right now, and it seems that the only way that's going to happen is if I give into all these fantastic examples of them from that very decade (and thereabouts)...

Sorry about the formatting. Myself and Blogspot aren't real great friends when it comes to pictures. XP Basically, the title is above the painting.

Two different portraits, both painted in 1565, of Francesco Terzio in the same gown. I love this. XD

Elizabeth I, 1563 (for under)

A Young Lady Aged 21, 1569
YOU'VE EVER SEEN?!?!!??!?!)

Lucrezia de Medici, 1560

An Englishwoman, 1560

Maria d'Cosimo, 1555

Unknown Lady, 1570

On Anne Melford

So, I'm clearly high off Renaissance Faire fumes, or I wouldn't have just spend four hours researching the persona of someone I get to be for about 24 full hours out of the year.

CADD, being the utterlie kynde affliction that it is, is being a rotten old thing. When I want to be working on 1860s (which I have to get done), I have other things to do. When I finally have the free time to work on 1860s, I want to be working on 1560s. What is life. Not fair, that's what. Well, life is faire... hehe get it? Fair, faire.... ok, stopping. XP

I don't have anything in great detail at present, but I have a general idea. Her story isn't a fraction of what Kate Devoy's is, but we're getting there. XD

It's a little hard to keep up since nobody seemed to want to name their children anything but John, William, and Mary, and since everyone's last name starts with a 'C', but we try!

Again, almost all of the genealogy is correct with the exception of Anne's immediate family ties- for example, William Cordell really did have a sister named Mary to whom he passed Melford, and he also really did have "another younger sister" who married into "a rich wool merchant family by the name of Melford". I have taken liberties with her parents' Christian names and the fact that they had a daughter by the name of Anne, but beyond that everything is pretty much correct.)

Anne Melford

Date of Birth:
6 June, 15-?

Place of Birth:
Long Melford, Suffolk, England. (The town is right on the border of Suffolk and Essex).

John Melford

Elizabeth Cordell


Relations of Note:
William Cordell & Mary Clopton (aunt and uncle, William her mother's brother).
William Cordell leased the manor of Melford Hall beginning in 1547 for £100 a year, but was granted it in 1554 by Quene Mary and knighted by Quene Elizabeth in 1558. Cordell served King Henry VIII as well as all of his children (and Quene Jane, for what it's worth) in various public offices throughout the years, so one can believe the writings that he was an exceedingly likable and diplomatic sort of man.
Mary Clopton was of the Clopton family who had owned the neighboring (literally, they're in the same town haha) Kentwell Hall since it passed to William Clopton in 1403 when he was twenty from his mother, who had owned it before her marriage.
William and Mary's marriage joined the two manors in Long Melford.

Thomas & Mary Savage (aunt and uncle, Mary her mother's elder sister).
Inherited/will inherit Melford Hall upon William's death in 1581.

Anne's father John Melford is of an old line of a very rich family who eared their fortune on the booming wool trade in Long Melford, which was established in the 13th century and still flourishes. Though not official nobility, the Melfords are exceedingly rich and move in the circles of court (which probably explains why their last name is also the town's heh) due not only to their wealth but also because of their connections through their uncle and his wife (Seriously the guy did everything- privy council, Speaker, you name it...
and ). Because William and Mary have no children, Anne is often at Melford Hall, and has an excellent relationship with her uncle and his wife, who are more often than not the ones who take her to court, seeing as her mother is very frail and her father prefers to tend to business at home.

So yes. That's Anne thus far. :]

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Vivandiere Songs For Adah!

I found this one in a book at school. It seems to be more about women actually stowing away as men, but I thought you might enjoy it anyhow. The first line of the second verse reminds me of that song "Friday", though, haha!

The Cruel War
The cruel war is raging, Johnny has to fight.
I long to be with him from mornin' 'til night.
I want to be with him, it grieves my heart so-
Won't you let me come with you? No, my love, no.

Tomorrow is Sunday, Monday is the day

That your captain will call you and you must obey.
Your captain will call you, it grieves my heart so-
Won’t you let me come with you? No, my love, no.

I’ll tie back my hair, men’s clothing I’ll put on.
I’ll pass for your comrade as we march along.
I’ll pass for your comrade no one will ever know-
Won’t you let me come with you? No my love, no.

Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, I feel you are unkind.
I love you far better than all of mankind.
I love you far better than words can e’er express.
Won’t you let me come with you? Yes, my love, yes!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Viviandiere's Song (For Adah)


This is the vivandiere song I was telling you about- I was going to make a video for you, and maybe I will later, so you can get the tune.

I first heard this song last Saturday at the senior center. We were talking about the anniversary of the war, and one of the guys there, Peter, who is originally from Georgia, started singing old songs about it. Then of course we started up on the topic of old songs, etc.

I don't actually know the origins of this one- one of the guys sang it, and told me his father used to, too- I loved it, so I asked him to write it down for me. It is certainly referring to the Civil War, whether or not it was written during it. Whitey claims that someone in his family wrote it during the war but that it became popular "in town" (which, in this case, was apparently in Culpeper, Virginia, not too far from the area where you live). This is one of those stories that you don't know whether or not you should believe, but you really want to because the song is awesome and the guy is 102 years old and really, at that point, isn't it just more fun to believe them? XP

One can deduce that 'the great blue sea' refers to the Union army, and the narrator seems to be a woman talking about being able to join the army in some form, so... it isn't *for sure* a vivandiere song, but I'd say it's safe to conjecture. I'm not gonna lie, I loved the whole thing. It made me feel like one of those ethnomusicologists collecting songs with a grammophone in the Appalachians like John Cohen or Frances Densmore something. XP

These are the words as he wrote them out for me-

The Great Blue Sea

My love is gone!
With the beat of the drum
To join up in the cavalry.
How I wish to ride!
With a horse's stride
To be meetin' with the Great Blue Sea!

While the drum still beats
We can use more feet
Besides such great beauty-
"If the wool is grey,
Even skirts", they say,
Help with drainin' out the Great Blue Sea!

Well I'm glad to say
That we donned our grey,
My one true love, my horse, and me.
When we all ride out
Give a Rebel shout
To that bully of a Great Blue Sea!

My fate I'll meet
On my own four feet
Go a-marchin' to the "one-two-three!"
To help my love
May he rise above
Swimmin' safely through the Great Blue Sea!

After all they've done
With their Yankee guns
I guess that we'll just have to see...
Since they're both from hell
It may be hard to tell
'Tween the Devil and the Great Blue Sea!

So yeah. I dunno. I'd use it, it's awesome. And trust me, it's catchy as all tarnation. I was gardening afterwards and it was stuck in my head, great work beat. XP

Friday, April 8, 2011

Baking Fort Sumter: Part II

I'm thinking it might be cool to do a period recipe for the Sumter!Cake base. Opinions? Any options besides these?

Orange Cake:,196,156185-254203,00.html

Pound Cake:,1832,155162-246199,00.html

"Idiot's Delight":,196,156184-255203,00.html

Spice Cake:


Baking Fort Sumter: An Adventure

The Occasion:

The Sesquicentennial of the commencement of the American Civil War at 4:30 AM on 12 April, 1861.

The Challenge:
Turn this into a cake- I'm calling it the Sumter!Cake.

The Plan:
I am debating whether I should do just the fort with someone changing the flag (er, maybe the CS on the pole and the US one on the ground with little orange frosting flames coming out of it? XP), or if I should do the fort itself a little smaller so I can fit in some artillery on the mainland too, like this-

The only issue with that is that then I have to go and buy extra figures to put on the thing (cannons, etc.). I think I have some Civil-War-esque figurines somewhere...

I'm thinking I might make it out of some kind of pumpkin cake/bread/stuff. That would probably make it closer to the right colour, anyways. I can draw on the white in frosting... maybe do the roof with some kind of cracker or something... I'll do the square (pentagon?) with some kind of crumb... the water around it will just be blue frosting. I wasn't going to do the chimneys, but maybe if I did chocolate creme wafers? The cake itself should be pretty easy to cut into shapes.

Any other ideas? I might go to a candy store to get some of those tiny white jawbreakers for the breakwater rocks. Nerds would work perfectly, but they don't do them in white I don't think. :(

But yeah... exciting! :D

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Kathleen Devoy (A VERY Long Post)

Everyone seems to be having such fun explaining who they are (in the 1860s that is haha) that I thought I'd share, too. I've had "me" developed for a while now, but better late than never! One's self is, of course, a never-ending development of finding new evidence for things and changing things to one's age (eventually I'll probably be able to say I left Ireland as an adult during the famine as opposed to having been born just before it- one cannot be 17 forever! XP).

Most of the genealogy is accurate up to the point of Kate herself- after that she is a work of historical fiction. Henry and Sarah Devoy are only listed as being related to their nephew. I do not know the names of their actual children, or John's siblings or mother. My actual family can trace itself back to his father William, but I don't presume to say that Kate herself was a real person. That would be very limiting! XP
Note- the quotation of Thomas Whaley's about "two kinds of ladies" is from a journal I recently read of a girl whose uncle in Richmond said the same to her. I loved it, so I stole it. XP

Name: Kathleen Elizabeth Ann Devoy
Born: 6 June, 1844, in Philadelphia, PA.
Nicknames: I go by Kate to most people I know. My family calls me "Katie" and my tutor on occasion calls me "Kay" to irk me, as I think it sounds crass by itself.
Father: Henry Devoy
Mother: Sarah Devoy (neé Ferrell)
Siblings: I am the eldest of five:
-Daniel (1 years my junior)
-Patrick (2 years my junior)
-Sarah (2 years my junior)
-Elisabeth (3 years my junior)

My parents were some of the very first whose crops were effected by the Great Famine- there had been isolated incidents of crop failure prior to 1845, but nothing was thought of it until the mass outbreak in that year. My parents, who were at that time residing in Co. Laois, decided to sail to the States. My da was a man of pride, and could not bring himself to accept his brother William's offer of a home across the county border in Kildare- probably a good thing, as when the Famine hit William just a year later, he had quite enough mouths to feed.

My parents arrived in Philadelphia and settled into some of the factory lodgings therein. My ma managed to have me smack in the middle of the Philadelphia Nativist Riots, during which Da was injured in the leg, though not in any way which prevented him from working in a factory job.

In the next two years, my mam had my brother Danny and the twins, Paddy and Sarah. She was never healthy while she was pregnant with the others- she'd work herself all the time at the factory, usually not missing nearly enough time from work to nurse infants. I don't remember much about the tenements except for the fact that they smelled like grease and smoke. I remember Da coming home every night smelling of oil and Mam of raw meat. You can imagine the combination that created in the tiny room we called ours. Eventually that life killed my mother- she died giving birth to my sister Lizzie. Da didn't work for a month after that before he decided he couldn't support us all making what he did. He was right, too- but what was he supposed to do with four children, the oldest of them not yet four and the youngest just born?

He heard of the money you got to join the US Army- at that time, the States were one year into a war with Mexico. If there was one thing my father could do well, it was ride a horse, lame leg or no. He decided the most prudent thing to do would be to use some of the money to take a train down to my mother's relatives in Virginia and leave us there. He wrote us letters to remember our heritage by until he died in a hospital in California in 1849.

My mam's cousin, Mary Whaley, is the stock of a fiercely nationalist breed. Her da had come to the States after taking part the Rising of 1798 when he was just fifteen. Michael Roran had raised all twelve of his children, including Mary, never to forget that unless they were very good children, the British soldiers hiding in their closet would come out and take them away to a life of servitude and starvation whereafter they would never again lay eyes on another grain of sugar.

When Mary married Thomas Whaley, a rich farmer (a term my father apparently found to be a complete and utter paradox), she married well above her station. Though she is in her late forties (or perhaps early fifties- she never lets on), one can see that she would have been a great beauty in her former years. My "Aunt" Mary, as she is known to me, is not a particularly warm-hearted woman, though one more loyal to her family you could never meet with. Lucky for us, too, or my siblings and I should have no home. I don't believe my mother and Mary ever met, but my father was raised in an environment similar to hers and begged on behalf of "somesuch liberty and freedom for Ireland's children" , so perhaps it was that thought that finally induced her into taking in five strange ones into her own home.

Mary and Thomas have three children of their own- Thomas Jr., who is five years my senior, and the girls, three and two years older than I respectively, Adelaide and Louisa. The Whaley family has taken very strangely to us Devoys- individually, I suppose one could discern.

Addie and Lou quite adopted Sarah into their cult of ignorance and frivolity (and a little malevolence, if I am truthful), and love her dearly to this day. I have never been able to abide by my younger sister for long, if the truth be told. I liken my opinion of her to that of Eliza Bennet to her younger sisters and mother- I would be a liar if I said the girls did not take after Mary, who, despite her good looks, probably never boasted very much intelligence. Perhaps I am wrong, for I cannot see Uncle Thomas loving a stupid woman, but if she was anything but that then she is no longer. Mary is not mean like her daughters are wont to be on those occasions they deem suitable, but she has certainly turned her life into a thing which boasts fewer cares than parties and dresses.

Danny died of consumption little more than a year after Da brought us to the Whaleys' farm in Warrenton, and Patrick (whom I got on well with as far as I can recall) died when he was thrown from his horse when I was ten. He had been playing with Thomas Jr. when it happened- we three had always gotten on well with both of the men in the family. I vaguely remember promising never to ride a horse again- the weather the day after was fine, and the promise broken quickly.

Upon my own arrival at Wildwood Manor (for a manor with farmland it is, though not quite large enough to be called a plantation) I was fortunate enough to immediately gain the favor of Mr. Whaley. Uncle Thomas is the best of men, with joviality beneath a stern façade. He is studious, and spends a great deal of time in his office, though he is the first in the field whenever there is something to be done. In congruence, he is very much a gentleman of society who has worked hard to get that way- I often thought that he allowed my brother and I to run so wild simply because we were, if displaying such behaviour, a product of his wife's cousin and not of him, for he would never let his own children act that way. He often scolded Thomas Jr. for playing in the mud with Paddy and I, and never discouraged his wife or daughters from becoming what they did.
I once went to Uncle Thomas in tears when I was twelve- Addie was starting Finishing School that year, and had told me that I was too bookish to ever be fit for real society. It was true, certainly, that I spent a great deal of time in the library- or as "great" a deal of time as free time allowed me working on a farm. The labor was never required of any of us except Thomas Jr., (Uncle Thomas did own servants, and always made it very clear that none of us had any debt to pay) but I always loved working with the soil, whether because I'd heard of the importance of the land through my father's letters or simply because it made me feel as if I had a purpose. Lizzie often helps me with small chores, but is too dreamy a child for any real labour. But I digress. To call me bookish would have probably been very accurate- and still would be- but at the time I despaired. I do not think I will ever forget what my uncle told me then- "Katharine," he said (being an "honest-to-goodness" Virginian whose family could've settled Jamestown the way he spoke of it, he always Anglicized my name), "there are two kinds of ladies. My daughters and your sister Sarah are one kind. They are what my father used to call "store-bought belles". They have all their things made up for them and spend all day talking about the dresses they'll have, the fine things they'll have, the beaus they'll have. They'll be just fine at flattery and looking pretty, and what's more they'll probably have no trouble at all getting a husband- nobody ever faulted a man for wanting a pretty wife. But then, my Katie, there's ladies like you whom all men admire- you'll not only be very pretty, but everything you have you won't just have, you'll have earned. You'll have put the time into every pretty thing you make because you'll make it yourself with a needle and thread. You'll win every beau you ever have because you'll have put the time into reading and becoming an interesting person to talk to. You'll make a good wife to a good man, because you'll have worked in a household and know how one's run. My daughters I allow the distinction of society because it is what I have worked to get them- but never forget, Katie, that what you have you shall have earned quite for yourself. And that is why I like talking to you, pet- we'll share fireside conversations about that feeling someday, you and I. "
I always took that to heart afterwards, and I think that I may call myself a credit to him today.

My final sister, Lizzie, has the good fortune of being positively angelic and loved by all, Devoy and Whaley alike. Indeed, all who meet her love her- she has all the sweetness of disposition of an angel and all the looks of a china doll. She can think ill of none, and is not easily moved to passion. She has all of Adelaide and Louisa's looks without any of their spite, all of my work ethic without any of my tendency for corybantics, and all of Thomas Jr.'s tendency towards studiousness without any of his shirking of it. If Lizzie has any faults, it is her fondness of solitude, though when she does appear in society she gives everyone so much delight that it hardly matters. She is too young to really go out as of yet, and Aunt Mary hopes that she will grow into the role before she is required to do so. I think in her heart she hopes to make an ally of Elisabeth, but The Quartet seems to me to have enough frivolity between it. Lizzie will have no trouble at all finding a husband- she is too sweet-tempered to avoid men falling in love with her, and now that the war has started, she would be a soldier's dream.

I mentioned before that my aunt and uncle hold 'servants', as they are called. If I am honest, I never really thought about their place in life before a few years ago when Ms. Beecher Stowe published her book. There was a great uproar, you understand. I have never felt the need to become secretive about how the farm is run- my tutor, (excuse me, my former tutor, for he returned to the Federal army) Col. William McLain, has often felt this openness keenly when arguing the point with me. He is a very staunch Unionist from up North (his family was of Scottish descent, both from Michigan, though he was educated in my own place of birth and then at West Point), and never were a pair of people in less agreement with one another. William and I had some truly magnificent fights, many of which were about slavery and states' rights (and, before last April, which one of them was the cause of secession) . William seemed to have some kind of notion that the United States had become "the United State" in 1783, and that each man owed his loyalty to the federal government some hundreds of miles away as opposed to his own state government. My father had often told us of what this was- tyranny. I always had a very strong belief about it-
"An Englishman of leisure has no right to rule Ireland of farmers. A North of factories has no right to rule a South of agriculture! It isn't logical. You wouldn't let your heart rule your choice of investments, would you? You wouldn't let your mind tell you to handle your sabre with your foot! So why should Boston shipmakers have any say in Georgians grow cotton? Why should the South let Northern lawmakers tax them?! You speak of liberty during the Revolution when it was against English law, and yet your law allows for secession and it is now treason?"
"Englishmen cannot rule Irishmen, and yet you can rule over negroes?"
"You're changing the subject!"
"I'm not. You're championing freedom in moderation."
"One cannot be moderately free."
"I agree."
"You know that I do not think bondage of any kind a good thing. But there simply isn't a feasible way to replace that kind of workforce, William, not at the moment."
"Don't make it right."
"No, but does it make it right that had things ended up differently, I would be in an equal servitude to some Philadelphian factory? A slave in all but name to the whims of a factory owner who could have thrown me out on the streets because I couldn't come to work on a day i was having a child? A slave to a tenement room a third of the size of any slave cabin at Wildwood? A slave to wages not even enough to feed myself, let alone my family? At least we feed our servants, William."
"So it's their life for yours."
"You're a part of this family?"
"So you are the mistress of all the so-called 'servants' in this house."
"Legally, yes. I also work just as hard as they do most days to keep this farm running, but yes, I am."
"I don't see them studying. Some families like to educate their negroes."
"There isn't any time to study. Hellfire, William, if I worked as much in the field as I needed to, neither would I. My mother couldn't read. More besides, what you speak of is against the law. Why be a scofflaw just for the sake of it?"
"Your mother was free."
"Was she? From the day she was born she was an English subject."
"Then she came here."
"And became a slave to a factory."
"But you loved your mother. She had your respect, didn't she? You didn't just see her as something to work in a factory. She was another human being."
"She wasn't a human being to the Nativist who smashed my father's leg in front of her."
"But he was a Nativist."
"So there's a difference? Next you're going to say 'But she was Irish'. What differences are you willing to recognize?"
"None that condemn a man to an existence of servitude!"
"Ha! What do you think you do to every man woman and child who walks off those planks on Governor's Island? At least here, the servants are respected for the work they do, since we do it right along with them. They are part of the family, if not legally. We treat them well. Ms. Stowe would disagree, but why would you mistreat your workforce, why would you beat an investment?"
"So admit they are 'an investment'. A human being!"
"Oh, come now, what do you think Bill Tweed sees the immigrants as? Friends of his family?! No! An investment, if that!"
And so we would go on in circles until one of us looked at the clock and realized we hadn't actually been studying anything at all.

When Manassas broke out in July, I was visiting relatives there. We turned her porch into a hospital... There was a woman there from Richmond, who mentioned something about a Ladies' Aid Society founded by the famed Mrs. Randolph. I was intrigued. She told me the best thing about the LAS was that any lady could join, just so long as she professed that her goal was to help the soldiers of the CSA. It was fantastic, she said. Ladies of society usually preferred to hold parties and bazaars to raise funds for the Confederacy, while ladies who lived in more rural settings often did mending and washing, etc. for the soldiers.

Well, the next time I got the chance, I went and signed up. A better group of ladies I have never been prouder to know- we serve as nurses, seamstresses, laundresses, all while serving as ladies...

The first time the Yankees came around Warrenton, they burned a house "as warning". I'm beginning to feel as if I know a great deal better what my father went through...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heh, Whoops

I haven't posted here in forever. But seeing as there seems to be good content on here as of late, I'm going to at least attempt to keep in touch with it. Probably going to be doing some revisions of topic, we'll see.

As for now? Trying to write an essay about Intelligent Design being taught in public schools and listening to my Bluegrass station on Pandora. <3