Charles Lane 1800-1870"The eye, the nose, the palate, the touch, and every sense is an inlet of the book of nature."
Little Jessie's finished. She was requested for a birthday gift. As I knitted her tail with soft brown wool and stuffed her stubby legs, I grew attached to her droopy jowls. She's soft and cuddly and seems to have a personality all her own. It's silly, but when I had to pack her up, I felt sad to see her go...
I've finished reading Fruitlands too. Academic and a little dry in places but worth reading if only for small insights into The Alcott's life, like these...
"A picture of ornate and ceremonious kind was certainly painted at Fruitlands on June 24th, little Elizabeth's eighth birthday. Before five o'clock that morning, her mother sneaked out of the house and stole off into the woods, taking Anna, Louisa, and William with her. They hung Elizabeth's presents on a little pine tree, and Anna made an oak wreath as a decoration. Then they crept back. After breakfast, the Fruitlanders marched as a body to the glade (-) Lane had his fiddle with him and everyone sang to the birthday girl. Then Alcott recited a long ode he had written for her in which he evokes a pastoral scene that could belong to Merry England (or classical Greece)as much as central Massachusetts:
Here in the Grove
With those we love
In the cool shade
Near mead & glade
With clover tints overlaid...
Alcott goes on to celebrate:
And mother dear,
And sisters all
The short & tall;
And father's friends
Whom Britain lends
To noblest human ends...
Alcott concludes his affectionate poem with the assertion that at Fruitlands, Elizabeth will be "secluded from all sin" and therefore continue to bloom like a never-fading flower:
A plant matured in Gods device
An Amaranth in Paradise.
Each member of the party then had to say which flower would appropriate for Lizzie, with roses, the lilly of the valley, a forget-me-not, the trailing arbutus, the wake-robin ( a pure white trillium native to North America- Anna complained in her diary that she didn't know what the word meant) all being chosen. Lane characteristically, nominated a piece of moss (for humility). Then Lizzie took her presents from the tree. They were modest enough, in keeping with the values of the community. Abigail gave her a silk thread balloon, Anna a fan, Louisa a pin-cushion, William a book,and baby Abby a little pitcher. "lizzie looked at her presents and seemed pleased," Anna recorded. Even Lane rose to the occassion, reciting a graceful little poem he had written for Elizabeth:
May your whole life
Exempt from strife
Shine forth as calm and bright. "
Pages 175-6, Fruitlands:The Alcott family and their search for Utopia
I didn't put it down until I'd finished it...(except to knit!)
All the while listening to The Acorn play Steep
Oh and I mustn't forget to tell you there's just time to find out about the giveaway over here on one of my sisters' blogs that runs out on the 31st...a bit of nepotism...talking of which you might like to check out some other family blogs...
Pen's etsy shop - Oh, I can't find her link and she does amazing illustrations an makes beautiful clothes and handmade leather bags..I'll share it again
Beth's etsy shop
Matt and Josh of More Like Trees
I've linked over to our creative space and small things again. It's been a while and I've missed joining in. Why not pop over and have a look what everyone else is making and reading...I am...Better still, why not join in too...