I know, I know, I'm writing too often. As mentioned previously, I did poke fun at this trait, in the 19th century, when I briefly adopted the pseudonym, "Grapho Mania." My series, then, was to be titled "Facts and Imaginings." However, even though I was submitting--anonymously, from New Orleans--to the most liberal paper in Boston (and hence one of the most liberal in the country), the series only went to three numbers. That's because I reported on a slave market in the first two installments, pulling no punches about it; and by the time I got to the third installment, when I switched gears to the opening of a new cemetery in Boston, waxing poetic (if not truly imaginative), I think I was told I'd better stop because my first two had ruffled some feathers, and some people probably had in mind to affix some feathers onto me.
Very little has changed in this regard. I don't know whether this is coincidence or not, but I keep on seeing the pattern...in the previous entry of this blog a couple of days ago, I announced some very strong evidence. Suddenly, looking at my stats, I'm down into the 200's/day for the first time in months. But a few people have timidly watched my self-shot video interview (before dismissing me as a nutcase, I suppose). And the article on my method has already been seen by well over 400 this month, with, I think it was, 414 last month. So people like my ideas, but as for my actually using myself as a test subject for my own under-funded pilot study, and getting positive results, that's too weird.
Isn't there something like that in one of these Sci-Fi films? Is it the Invisible Man, or The Hulk? I haven't been really into Sci-Fi since I was a kid...
Today is the anniversary of my wife, Abby's death in 1841. She died of "consumption," aka tuberculosis. There is so much by way of both fact and feeling around this, and it is so personal for me, that I think I just want to acknowledge it, here, but not go into it. Much of what I seem to have remembered about this, and the events immediately following, appear to be substantiated in bits and pieces of the historical record, including themes which reappear in Mathew's fiction. I have lost a young child in this life, so I know what grief is. Abby was Mathew's world. They were a team. They had lost their second child just two weeks previously. Mathew was never the same; and he kept that relationship alive, secretly, in "coded" references in the plots of his fictional works. In this way, I was able to extrapolate a great deal about it, especially once I had unmasked several of Mathew's pseudonyms.
As "Grapho Mania," Mathew introduced his experience of having witnessed a slave auction, as follows:
A few weeks since, while lounging away a summerís morning in the rotunda of the St. Charles, at New Orleans, the advertisement of a sale of slaves caught our eye. ďOne hundred plantation slaves, the property of a gentleman forced to sell them to raise money to meet the payment of his notes, then coming due in the city. The whole to be sold to the highest bidder, without reserve. We had already in our southward course looked upon the slave toiling doggedly at his unrequited labor; we had seen him scarred and maimed by the lash; we have beheld the stern glance of hate and heard the muttered threat, as he bowed grudgingly to his servitude. We had even walked several times through Gravier street and wonderingly peered into all the warehouses where the human animal is fattened, gaudily decked out, and exposed for private sale. We had oftentimes even made pretence of purchase for the opportunity to asking questions and getting at the thought that we knew to be teeming madly under the immovable muscle of the ebon visage.
In the final sentence (i.e., the one I cut off the paragraph at, above), there is, in so many words, a very interesting admission. Mathew--an Abolitionist under cover, using an assumed name (because his own last name, "Whittier," would have immediately given him away, in connection with his brother, John Greenleaf Whittier)--used a very clever ploy to interview slaves. Keep in mind that Mathew was a reporter and was skilled in phonetic shorthand. So the clear inference is that he would pretend to be interested in buying a slave as a way of gaining private access to him, and thus interviewing him. I didn't remember this. I just had the persistent feeling, when reading about other people who published interviews with slaves, "I did that." This method would not only protect him from the slave sellers, but from any slave who, out of fear of reprisals lest he be found complicit, thought to report him to his "owner." (Being "told on" this way is featured in the plot of one of Mathew's humorous sketches--something which just occurred to me.)
This is an astounding discovery in itself--especially since I had earlier recorded the vague past-life impression that Mathew did, in fact, interview slaves--but now I am mostly taken with my recent find, as described in the previous entry. What it means is that I can positively ID two sets of work--one, a series of Abolitionist letters to the editor the year after they had married, in 1837; and the second a series of Abby's own stories, edited and published by Mathew nine years after her death. Up until this cross-correspondence, I was pretty sure, but I couldn't clinch it. Now, I am at least personally convinced that this is her writing.
That means the poetry I have tentatively identified as being her work is probably hers, as well (there is a clear cross-over in style between one of the stories, and one of the poems).
That means I have moved an entire block of attributed work from the category of "Imaginings" to that of "Facts."
And there are myraid clues embedded in these works, because like Mathew's fiction, Abby's seem to draw very heavily from real life. In fact, it appears she never intended to publish, so that the names she uses are drawn from her family and friends, and the plots symbolically represent their issues. We get a very clear picture, for example, of Mathew in his youth, as she saw him.
This is like discovering a hidden treasure, except nobody believes you, and nobody cares. They don't mind fantasizing along with you, apparently, and they like the article about how you propose to do it, but they certainly don't want to see the actual treasure. In short, they like the "Imaginings," but not the "Facts."
I am pausing, because, with Abby's authorship of this series of short stories confirmed, there is a domino effect. I can see it, but would be hard-pressed to explain it. If this is proven as factual, now, then that must also be factual; and if that is factual, then this, and this, and this must be factual, as well. And that means...
I can see the entire domino chain. It means, this is a real case. If you read my entire presentation, you would have to twist yourself into a pretzel, logically, to deny it.
The personal side is another matter. That's my girl. I knew she was that bright, and that deep, and that talented, but now I have found a body of her work which Mathew published for her. The packet has been successfully delivered. Just wait and see. This body of work adds a great deal of weight to my theory that she was the original author of "A Christmas Carol," with Mathew co-authoring either in collaboration or after the fact. And why not? Her first cousin introduced hypnosis to America, and her mother is said to have been "brilliant." Mathew's brother was a celebrated American poet. So they both come from intelligent families. But now you can see Abby's own work, and know that it was, in fact, hers. It is much more like "A Christmas Carol," fundamentally, than anything which Dickens was able to produce on his own, for subsequent Christmas seasons, when he was attempting to cash in on the trend.
This was a remarkable young woman. Someday, the world will know. I have channeled her, recently, comparing us, back in the day, to Lee Camp and his crew of social commentators. Well, Mathew was the irreverent one, and I have literally hundreds of his sketches. Abby's humor, I think, was privately reserved for him, and it was subtle--but her insight was razor-sharp and very deep. In tribute, I'll share a couple of things. The first is from her and Mathew's collaboration as "Kappa, Lambda & Mu" (Mu being their first child, near term when the series started and born during the course of it). The second is the opening to her poem, "Ode to the Mocking Bird," which was claimed by another author who had the same initials, "A.P." That's a long research story--but this one I'll be quoting from, was hers. The man who claimed the title re-worked it a couple of years later, and told a biographer it was his as of that date. So you can look it up, but the version you are seeing in the historical record, authored by "Albert Pike," is not this version.
In this first offering, we (Mathew and Abby) are rebutting a 10-part series by someone signing "Alpha & Beta" in 1837, who thinks that Abolitionists are dangerous radicals. You know, like Lee Camp. Obviously, in hindsight, we see that they weren't radicals at all. They were simply sane, in an insane society. The reason I'm sharing this particular excerpt from the "K,L&M" letters, is that I feel strongly that the insight, if not the specific wording, was Abby's contribution, at age 21. Then, I'll share the opening stanza of the poem, which speaks for itself. If my attribution is correct, it was probably written when she was 14, and first published two years later, in 1832.
Thank you, Abby.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
If a man takes clandestinely my jack knife, or my pocket handkerchief, he is to be excommunicated; but if he takes my whole self, my body and soul, forcibly and feloniously, and converts me to the purposes of his own luxury, indolence and vice; Oh, he must be tolerated, because the "scribes and pharisees" of the age do so, and they do it by law and it is according to the institutions of the country! What preposterous logic! But such is the logic; such the consistency of pro slavery men.
Ode to the Mocking Bird
O bird, who dwellest in the lonely woods,
Far from all cities--where men dream of life,
Walking with blinded eyes, and dull care broods
Upon their withered hearts, and angry strife
Flaps her broad wings before the eyes of men,
And gnaws upon their souls, and avarice halts
Out from his gold and misery-piled den,
And grasps menís souls, with yellow, shriveled hands,
And shrinks them up, and filthy gods exalt
To proud dominion, worse than pagan lands
Have ever bowed before--
(And, clutching handfuls up of glittering ore,
He makes of it--oh wonder! Strong, firm bands,
To bind them to his sordid service and cursed lore.)
Music opening this page: "Sick, Tired and Wasted" by Rooftop Revolutionaries
(Redacted Tonight theme song)