Abby's journal

 

 

July 21, 2018

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Steve's solution to hiding an embarrassing entry--one we made a mistake in--would be to erase it. My solution is different--set the matter straight, and then immediately write another entry, so only my regulars will see it! ;-)

You may remember that I am teaching Steve to play piano, by "nudging" him with instructions. It's a cumbersome method, but it works. Just now, he played straight through the first two pages of one of our favorites, "Sound Aloud Jehovah's Name," from the book I used to play from. I was teaching Mathew piano, but he was a poor student. He would get started on a piece, and give up. So this is a matter of him doing something he wishes he had done, before. After I died, he would try to make it up to me by trying to practice--or, he started to, when he could find access to a piano. But he couldn't bear to hear these songs we had played, together.

Now that bitter poignancy is set aside. Still, he remembers things while he is playing. He remembers my facial expressions, as I hit certain favorite passages; he remembers which ones we loved. He remembers where I would play softly, or pause for emphasis. When the conditions are right--as they are, this morning--our communication, on this intuitive level, is actually quite good. It is when conditions are poor for contact, that he begins to feel "at sea."

He starts to remember the darndest things--my quirky likes and dislikes. Just now, while he was playing the piano, he was thinking of using the phrase, "Better late then never." But he can't bring himself to use it, and he realized, today, that I never liked that expression. I would say, "That's beside the point. It should still have been done sooner, than later. It's no excuse."

As I said yesterday, I was rather proper, especially when I was quite young! I was a child prodigy--but you may have seen some child prodigies who take themselves just a bit seriously...

So, I was Mathew's tutor, even from my early teens, and I took the responsibility very seriously. I was re-molding him, cleaning off the rough edges, turning a very bright farm boy, who evinced a hidden nobility, into a real prince. I fell in love with my own creation--what is the male version of Pygmalion? Steve doesn't know, but Mathew would have, as a result of my tutoring. He can look it up, now...

Okay, Steve is mistaken--Pygmalion was the sculptor, who fell in love with his own sculpture of a woman. You might think that Steve is a Pygmalion, himself! But in any case, I was busy "cleaning Mathew up" as they say, today, and I fell in love with him. But I would have to correct him, because he had some terrible habits! And Steve, occasionally, remembers my admonishments. Let's see how many of them he can remember, now... (Obviously, he has to remember them, or I have to prompt him to remember them, before he can channel them, here.)

I taught him how to scramble an egg, not to the point where it was mush, but just a little, so it retained some character. I told him not to scrape up the last little stray pieces--that he wasn't a starving beggar! He would eat with a plate on his lap; and if a bit of something fell off onto his shirt, he would pick it up and eat it! This bothered me terribly, partly because I was trying to prepare him for polite society. If he was ever to realize his dreams of being an author, he would have to move in those circles; he would be invited to tea, or to dinner; and he must break this habit! I was quite severe with him on this count, and he was very patient with me. I didn't realize he was beginning to fall in love with me. I was too young, when we started; he didn't dare express it to me, nor to anyone else. But sometimes I wondered how he could be so patient with me ;-).

He would slurp his soup; he would lather sour cream over everything (as it was plentiful on his family farm). He could eat an entire pumpkin pie, at one sitting. He would belch loudly, and devishly say, "Excuse me!" He was so handsome, and so cute--and so awful!

Something had to be done.

Because he was also witty, irreverent, and brilliant. He absorbed what I taught him like a sponge. He was a very eager student, as he desperately wanted a higher education, and had been denied same. He "thirsted for knowledge," as they say. Steve has surmised that I was hoping for a career in teaching, and thus, Matt was permitted to be my first student, by way of practice. And also to see whether I had a taste for it. Mathew's sister, Elisabeth, tried teaching, and hated it. I was a little thing--would I be able to maintain discipline in a classroom? My parents decided, "Let her start out with Mathew Whittier. If she can stand him (as he was known to be somewhat wild), she can survive any classroom of ordinary boys." They allowed me to consider a career as a teacher, because they despaired of my ever getting married. I rejected all the worldly "dandies" that my father brought to the house, to pique my interest. I was a tomboy, of sorts. A tomboy who was also a proper lady. But I had no interest in those profferred suitors! I would rather die. So teaching was the compromise, you see.

Little did they know, they had unwittingly introduced me to my future husband! Mathew had a heart of gold. He wasn't mean, and he wasn't dense, or ignorant, or worldly. He pretended to be worldly; but that was a show. Underneath, I quickly learned, he was deeply sensitive, being responsive to poetry, music and Nature. I saw his true character in how he treated my horse, Chester. (Did I really have a horse named "Chester"? Steve seems to remember it, and so we will have me say it, here. This is how we try our best to channel, together, and we try to be transparent about our process.)

At any rate, Matt would treat my horse as the conscious being that he was. He approached him as a person, with feelings--he established a rapport. Horses are telepathic, with feelings. You can't establish a rapport with a car (though people try to)--but with a horse, it is the two of you in a relationship. This was depicted in the movie, "Avatar," you may remember. If you know horses, you know what I'm saying is true. Matt knew this. Seeing him talking with the horses on this intuitive level, I knew he had a refined soul, under all his rustic ways. I would bring out the prince in him. He would be mine. I knew it. The tea leaves said so; the stars said so.

But, I digress. What else did I admonish him about? Oh, Steve remembers making me laugh. Here's one incident he has remembered, partly from seeing clues about it. I would teach him history, from ancient Greece, as well as more modern European history. But Matt was constantly cracking jokes! We looked at drawings of the statues in St. Paul's Cathedral, in London, and Matt observed that they were all in ancient garb. He wise-cracked that their ghosts would be horrified to see themselves dressed like that, with bare legs, and such. He wrote a poem about it, which, many years later, was published in Punch magazine! Or, at least, Steve is pretty darned sure it's Mathew's poem (as it is unsigned). But he recognized one line that made me giggle! And he has such fond memories of making me giggle, like that, you see. Because I would burst out tittering, despite myself. I was just a girl--I had to keep a certain decorum, to maintain my authority as this tall, older boy's teacher! Or so I thought. Actually, he was putty in my hands. But I didn't know that--not at that time. Here's the line:

Chiefs, who wore cocked hats and feathers,
 On their tombs themselves behold
Stripped e'en to their boots and leathers,
 In their buff, like knights of old!

Oh, I was embarrassed! My cheeks turned red--but Matt was so funny!

So you can see what our relationship was like. The little serious scholar, and the big, tall, rustic farmboy. Opposite as we could be--and birds of a feather. Entirely of like mind. Only Matt understood me, deeply; I was the only one who understood him.

What else...Steve is drawing a blank at the moment, at least, from this early stage. Have I told you that almost from the time we first got back together, he remembered that we had our own silent hand language? That I taught him how we could spell words into each other's hands? Steve finally found the method, in a book. Each part of the hand stands for a different letter of the alphabet. We could talk at the dinner table, or sitting at church, and none would be the wiser. And he would try to crack me up, then! I had to pinch myself to keep from laughing--it was awful! (And I loved him, so.)

Of course, this was the only way I could figure out to touch his hand. Being so much younger, I could hardly ask to hold hands--and he was very respectful with me. But I could teach him this language for the deaf, you see, which I had learned for my own volunteer work. It was electric, when we touched. But I couldn't tell whether it was so, for him--he kept such a poker face! Did he feel it, too? I didn't know for a long, long time.

Have I shared this with you, before? This is a poem Mathew wrote about our relationship, when he was permitted to take me on walks, alone, under the strict promise that he would be honorable with me. This was published in August of 1832. I have recently turned 16, and Mathew, 20. Not long afterwards (as you can readily predict), we started being intimate. But at this time, although we were an "item," Mathew was constrained as a point of honor to keep matters strictly chaste. You see that we used to tell each other stories, and take long walks in the evening, and confide in each other. The story Matt told, conveyed to me that he loved me, and he would wait for me to grow up, however long it took for my parents to agree--and, of course, that he dared to hope I would also wait for him. That he was mine, and mine only (something that had tortured me, when I didn't dare ask him). And more which Steve doesn't quite remember...

MY LOVE AND I.

My love and I, one Summer's night,
 Sat underneath a chestnut tree;
Against its massive trunk we leaned,
 And none were there but God and we.
We sang and talked of other days—
 We sang the chivalrous songs of old;
Alternatively we told the loves
 Of maidens, and of warriors bold.

Persuasively I told another
 Tale of love, and hope, and fear;
And first her eye with sorrow drooped,
 But soon it glistened with a tear,
That pearly tear caused mine to flow;—
And gently clasped her hand in mine,
 For none were there but God and we.

Another still I had to tell,
 Of early, fond, devoted love;
I told it in an earnest manner,
 And yet my lips did scarcely move,
I told it—yet I know not how;
 I told it—and she knew my meaning,
For, 'ere I closed, I felt her cheek
 Against my anxious bosom leaning.

I watched her every look and motion,
 Her downcast eye, and blushing face,
And saw her brush a tear away,
 But soon another took its place.
I gently held her to my side,
 And surely felt her beating heart,
As she looked up to me, and showed
 A joy of no akin to art.

No voice was heard—no sound was there,
 But such as came from her and me;
Around, above, 'twas calm and still,
 For none were there but God and we.
Nor can I tell the half I felt;
 Such bliss, before, I never knew;
And yet, I think I'd rather die,
 Than live that hour of bliss anew.

Love to each and all,
Abby