August 8, 2017

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For this to make sense, either you will have to have kept up, or you will have to go back and read the previous entry.

Today, Steve received the new evidence he was waiting for--the newspaper that Mathew was working for, as a young man, in 1830. These were editions from August through the end of the year. Stev had believed that this was the first year that I tutored him, when I was 14 and he was 18; and that as I always tutored him in the winter months, when there were not so many farm chores for him to do (as he reasoned), then he must have been in our hometown the remainder of that year, 1830--so that I could be tutoring him in the winter this year, as well.

But he began to feel nervous about this interpretation--what it if turned out Mathew never left the paper, and hence never left New York? What if his work showed up there, on the editorial page as it had been doing, right on through the rest of that year? Then what???

Here is what the evidence showed, on a cursory examination. Mathew left New York in early August, to help back home with the harvest, but was back in New York at least by October 2nd. This gives him a full two months at home. But I told him earlier, or gave him the impression, when he was thinking about this, "Harvest time wasn't one continuous stint of work, for two months." It was, rather, bursts of work, with ample "down time" as they say now. Are any of you farmers? Steve isn't, and he doesn't know if this is true. But I am giving him the impression of working some very long days, sun-up to sun-down, to bring in a particular crop or a particular field. But then there would be rest days, or perhaps waiting for another crop, or another field, to be ready. It was intense work interspersed with waiting. And during those periods of waiting, Mathew would visit with me.

He has gathered, from some of these written pieces (pretend letters), as well as his own intuition previously, that he might have been friends with one of my older brothers, the artist. So he might have been visiting my brother, and then, spending time with me, also. Perhaps I coyly invited him to sit up with me, overlooking the great Merrimack River, on the ridge above my house, in the gazebo there which had a swing for two. Perhaps I played piano for him. Perhaps we took walks by the river. Perhaps he came to visit my brother, Francis, who happened to be away, but I quickly invited him to eat, or to visit; or asked him to tell me a story. Perhaps, I even broached the subject of tutoring him, and gave him a few lessons. Steve doesn't know. He is distracted right now, and in a hurry, and he is not getting any definite impressions of it. Only, that we did spend innocent time together. But my thoughts were in the clouds, and my heart was at his feet, and I was in love.

And, perhaps, I almost started to imagine he felt the same way--I almost started to imagine that he would stay in Haverhill, for me. That he would give up his dream of writing for a big city newspaper, and selling shoes wholesale there, for love of me. I had myself talked into it--I was just waiting for him to tell me--and then, as a matter of course, when the harvest was finished, he went back to his work in New York.

That is the best that Steve understands what transpired between us, in these early periods. But in Mathew's writing, one gets a sense of it. He loves me as a friend--he thinks of me as a young friend--how can I put this. He has been hurt by an older girl there in town. He has angrily embraced the principles of bachelorhood (practically a religion, in that day)--at 18! But I am safe. He can kind of think of me as a girlfriend, or a mascot, or a friend, or even a teacher--but mainly as a young friend. He knows, from my brother, that I have a crush on him, and he humors me so as not to hurt me. But he gently explains he has to leave, to further his career.

Well, you can get a sense, from my poetry, of how deep my heart was at age 14, and how nimble my mind. I won't boast about it, but there it is--I was precocious. Instead of what you now call "puppy love"--which is what Mathew thought it was--I bore toward him the deep love of a mature woman. Well, maybe not quite mature, you see. But sincere, and real. We were soul-mates, and I knew it. Only the evidence seemed to be going against me--everything seemed to be going against me. And did I suffer! I was in the depths of despair--and that is because my love for Matt went back thousands of lifetimes. We had a saying, that one might love one's true love "desperately and deeply." But, I really did. Matt returned this love fully, once he awakened to it*--and after I passed, it remained as unfathomable, untouchable grief. Until now, that is. Since we have been together again, it has vanished. It was his unseen, unexplained companion all of this lifetime, you know. But now it is gone, and will never return. We may not be able to touch, physically, but that grief is GONE.

So may it be for you, dears.

Love to each and all,
Abby

*After I had my "coming out" party at age 16.