This should be short... This morning, I channeled Abby, my astral partner, regarding the possibility that a chair-back piano stool I purchased at a local antique shop, could actually have been used by her. Turns out the shop owner might have been incorrect (we shall say) regarding its age, based on similar ones I see for sale online. I just don't have enough expertise in antiques to be sure. If so, as Ram Dass said in his book, "Grist for the Mill," "That's egg on my face."
In our communication across the Great Divide, we win some, and we lose some. As I have indicated in recent entries, sometimes, where past-life memory is concerned, it looks like you are losing, but in the end you find you have won, after all. But sometimes you just plain lose.
A few entries back, I indicated that as a young lady, Abby was a bit self-conscious she wasn't very buxom. I put it in the terms that I have felt they would have used "in the day"--"ample." But I don't recall ever having seen the term used that way. Similarly, I felt from Abby that a man who was accommodating with his wife's sexual needs (as opposed to the boorish majority who just got what they needed and were done), was said, in private conversation among the ladies, to be an "attentive" husband. I had never seen that word used in that context, either.
Generally, I don't try to channel Abby with period speech; but on occasion, I feel that she is prompting me for these colloquialisms. They are very hard to trace, historically. Another example is that when I was looking at images of hoop skirts, Abby "flashed" to me the impression that women wore them to discourage sexual harassment (like a "lady tank" was the phrase I got from her). Of course, they never told men that's why they wore them. They let the men think it was a frivolous, awkward fashion. So it is very difficult to find any reference to it, in the male-dominated historical record. I did find one possible reference, as I recall.
Similarly, I did find references to men being "attentive" to women--but not in this more intimate context.
Now, as I am proofreading, I run across a wry pun made by Mathew, which suggests (proves, to me) that he was quite aware of the colloquial meaning of "ample." He is writing a faux letter to the editor as one "Annabella Ballywhack." This is published in the June 12, 1830 edition of the New York "Constellation," when Mathew was the acting editor (junior editor). I have already gone into the way that Mathew began writing in this style, for the 1829 Boston "New-England Galaxy," in exaggeration of the work of British writer Theodore Hook, and his character, "Mrs. Ramsbottom."
Here, Mathew, writing as Mrs. Ballywhack, says:
I spose they'd like to know what's going on in this grate Babble-on of the western wurld--and especially what I'm doing myself. Well then to begin with myself--I sumtimes tend the theater and sumtimes I walk on the battry and sumtimes strole up and down Broadway, always remembering to keep on the tother side, for they say tant a bit gentele to be seen on the east side, and that nothing but niggers and mantlemakers and sich trash walk there. 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.
It is, of course, called the "ampletheater" because you can go there and see actresses (or perhaps singers, if the amphitheater was for music), with large breasts. It might also simply mean large women, but knowing Mathew's naughty style of humor, I am pretty sure this is his meaning. Remember, this is the writer who spoke derisively of the practice of "office seeking" as "orfis seekin," in the voice of his known character, "Ethan Spike." Incidentally, as I indicated recently, Mathew did not use the "N-word" personally, but he allowed his characters to do so, if they would in real life, as part of his satire of their overall ignorance.
My point is, that before I ran across this reference by "Mrs. Ballywhack," I had not been able to find any historical indication that "ample" was a colloquialism for "buxom." It could have been a lucky guess; but at any rate, with the discovery of this letter, it is verified as historically correct.
This happens occasionally in my attempts to communicate with Abby. There are lots of mistakes, where my imagination intervenes; but there are enough "hits" to know it's real.
If only those who run across my presentation, and dismiss it out-of-hand, were as fair and objective about it as I am.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Audio opening this page: "Hot Water," by Sugarloaf
from the album, "Spaceship Earth"