August 3, 2017

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Do you like proof? I don't much bother with it, but an instance has just shown up in Steve's proofreading, which I thought I'd share with you. Perhaps one or two amongst you are grappling with whether or not to take this journal seriously--perhaps we can help you.

Steve has channeled me on several occasions, talking about how I was skinny, and how I envied (or more precisely, was concerned about) the girls who paid so much attention to Mathew, who were more "ample." Steve wondered about that term--he kept getting it from me, so he would dutifully write it out (usually he doesn't get words, but, on occasion he does). He tried in vain to look it up online, in old slang dictionaries, and so-on. Did we, in the 1830's, really call a well-endowed girl, "ample"? Steve had the impression that it meant buxom (to say which would have been indelicate), but also just that she was generally, well, "ample" all over--which was the old idea of beauty, as you may know. This came from necessity and survival, because one had to survive lean times, and one had to work hard in the house and even in the field, and one had to bear one child after another, and there were diseases. So a big, ample girl was prized as a practical matter, which then became a standard of beauty. For a rich man, an ample girl meant that he was providing well for her; in contradistinction to a poor man's wife, who might be on the thin side. So all of these things went into it; and physically, I was neither large nor ample! So I worried that when these girls gathered 'round to hear Matt's yarns, one of them might take it into her head to flirt with him--and it had been impressed upon me from very young, that a man was helpless against his urges--as we saw that male animals seemed to be--and that it was the woman's job to drive other designing women away from him. But I could not do that--because he liked having an audience. It was innocent enough, on his part, but the danger of it drove me to distraction!

So that was the background--but where did this word, which he felt I was channeling to him, "ample," come from?

Steve was just proofreading a letter to the editor that Matt wrote in June of 1830, published when was still 17 years old, not long before his 18th birthday. He is in New York City, and as his character--one "Annabella Ballywhack"--he (she) mentions having gone to the theatre. She is telling the editor what she likes to do in New York, being newly-arrived:

Perhaps you'll wunder how I can afford munny to go to the theater and the ampletheater and sich costly places--why I'll tell ye how I mannidge that--my cuzzen Sinchaw is an intimate friend to the secund cuzen of the man that makes thunder and lightning at the theater--they call him the Juppiter Townants--and so I get into the theater grattis--and for the ampletheater I make my cuzzen Sinchaw treet me to a ticket now and then which you know he can do as well as not, as he sells a nation site of goods and makes a grate deel of munny.

Now, Matt loved to sneak in so many mischievous mispellings into his country characters' letter-writing. Do you see what he has called the amphitheatre? All the places that "Annabella" goes--Broadway, the Battery--are nearby his boarding house, and are the places he goes. And at the theatre, there are "ample" actresses, you see. So he can't help slipping in a reference to it (being 17).

At this time, Mathew had sworn off women and was a confirmed bachelor, or so he thought. I was too young for him to be thinking that way about me--but I most certainly had my eye on him, and my heart set on him. I was quite nervous about him being in New York (Annabella calls it the "grate Babble-on of the western wurld"); and I was quite happy that he embraced bachelorhood, for the time being! But of course he would notice the "ample" actresses.

So there you have a tiny bit of proof--because Steve kept on feeling me using this old term, and kept on using it in our channeled writings, for years, now, despite not being able to find any evidence for it being a real slang term of the 1800's.

Ironically, I could now be more "ample" for Steve if he wanted me to be--i.e., when he comes over here--but he wants me just as I was. He says I had the most beautiful legs of any girl in the world--he says he seems to remember telling me that, and I sort of looked at them as though I had never noticed, and said something like, "Well, I suppose they are well-proportioned," and he said, "Like a Greek statue," and I realized he was probably right, by that standard. Did that exchange ever really take place between us? Of course, you realize that men hardly ever got to see women's legs; so this was a rare treat for him, and quite noteworthy, as he remembers it being.

Steve has been watching medium Tyler Henry working on TV. Tyler mentioned, to one sitter, that of all the people he had read who claimed or felt that they, too, were psychic, this one fellow actually was. So it is quite rare, and Steve is one of those who is not, in fact, particularly gifted. Our telepathy is what soul-mates experience; finishing each others' sentences, knowing what each other is thinking and feeling, that sort of thing. It can be used to communicate intuitively across the Great Divide, as you can easily imagine it would, when you just think about it.

Steve wants me to address the question of whether he could have seen the word "ample" used in a novel or a film, and forgotten it. He didn't read period novels (except "Little House on the Prairie" when he was a boy, and likely it wasn't in there); whether he could have caught a passing reference in a film, and forgotten it, he can't say. It does not appear to be listed in the "1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue." But Steve just now found what had eluded him the first time he had searched: Collins' English Dictionary lists "ample" as a synonym for "buxom." And perhaps more interestingly, their definition for "buxom" includes more than just large breasts: "If you describe a woman as buxom, you mean that she looks healthy and attractive and has a rounded body and big breasts." So the old meaning of "ample" meant she was well fleshed-out, and had the connotation of being healthy, having one or more children at the breast, etc. Well, I was healthy, being, in fact, quite athletic, a good swimmer and horseback rider (though I thought riding side-saddle was unhealthy for the spine, as did my mother). Steve wants to know whether I limited my riding, or rode secretly as women do, today? This is kind of private, you see--but my mother (Steve is getting the impression quickly, now) sewed me some thick-padded pants for riding, and told me to keep out of sight!

But I was hardly "ample," being, rather, trim and small for my age. Mathew didn't mind once we became an "item." In one of his stories, where he mixed-and-matched details so no-one would ever know he was speaking of me, he gave the girl blonde hair, a pug nose, and breasts like "Bond's biscuits." Steve cannot find a picture of "Bond's biscuits" anywhere online...but he gets the idea.

Steve has had many memories of our intimacies, since these, naturally, tend to come through the past-life memory barrier most readily. One of them he proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, to have been a real memory of a real event. So maybe the others were real, too, or at least some of them were. Shall we relate one--with the details taken out for decorum's sake? This one, Steve says, is so generic that he could have taken it from any book or film--which is precisely why I want to relate it. Just because a memory could have come from a film, doesn't mean it actually did. Remember that. Because you have a possible explanation, doesn't mean it was the real one.

So, Matt and I have kissed, and I can tell that he is getting quite frustrated, and I have researched the matter carefully. I was quite the young scientist, you see. Sex was another subject to be studied, and one could find literature, and do interviews (with older married sisters, primarily), and plan it out. So poor Matt was being very gallant, and always taking "no" for an answer, but as I am today, I always wished to please him when he had a wish. I understood that my not being "ample" was no problem, for him, so I decided to take a big risk. Matt worked with my father's horses, and we were in the stable, together. Had we gone riding? Or was it that I just happened to be there when he was working, "accidentally-on-purpose"? Or was I bringing him milk-punch, as is suggested in one of Matt's stories? Steve would have to make up that part. Anyway, he was downstairs with the horses, and I was up in the loft--perhaps, ostensibly, to throw down some hay. I called out to him, "Matt, come here!" He replied, "Abby, I'm busy, I can't come now." "I want to show you something." (slightly irritated) "There isn't a single thing in a hayloft that I haven't seen." "There's one thing you haven't seen."

Steve seems to remember hurting himself a little scrambling up a home-made ladder of some kind, being nervous and in such a hurry; and as his head cleared the floor of the loft, there is my light-complected head, with the few freckles I abhorred and which he loved, peering out from a dark tartan blanket, with my clothes neatly folded on the side. I told him, "Just, no penetration, I can't risk getting pregnant, but you can do anything else you wish."

Real? Imagination? Steve doesn't know (I know, and I would never have let Steve tell it if there wasn't a basis for it). You don't know--Steve doesn't know. He only knows that one of these memories was proved.

One thing which has occurred to Steve, is that the image of a Tartan blanket just came to him, spontaneously (i.e., on an earlier occasion when he was thinking about this memory)--but my mother was Scottish, so it becomes somewhat more plausible on that account.

It is so difficult to remain in this attitude, of caring desperately whether something is real or not; and yet, having to accept the tension of knowing some is real and some may not be. But this is how you home in on the truth. You accept that tension, you see, of not knowing and yet believing; and gradually, gradually, the evidence comes.

So this is the thing about this channeling we are attempting, here--some of it is real, and some of it is Steve attempting to fill in the gaps, and he is not always sure which is which. He knows some of it is really me coming through. This kind of thing is not "all-or-nothing." Let go of all-or-nothing thinking, and ferret it out with your intuition and an open mind--and gradually you get better and better. Like that.

Love to each and all,
Abby