Monday, September 17, 2012

The Loggers, Or Six Months In The Forest Of Maine A Rare Maine Book

The Loggers, Or Six Months In The Forest Of Maine
A Rare Maine Book

(Fuller, Horace B., presumed author), THE DIRIGO SERIES.  THE LOGGERS; OR, SIX MONTHS IN THE FORESTS OF MAINE.  Horace B. Fuller, 14 Bromfield Street, Boston, (1870).  (1-2, frontis plate), (1-7), 8-75, (76, blank).  First edition.  Ill..  Rust-orange deckled publisher’s cloth with Eastlake Victorian style ornamental title printed in gold on the front.  Interior text is lightly shaken, fly leaves cracked at gutters, text has light age toning, has minor child read - thumbed through feel to whole, penciled 1888 owner’s name on front fly leaf with matching name ink stamped on blank rear of frontis plate, both attractive.  Covers age toned, dust soiled, spot soil stained and worn on all edges with spine sun faded, worn and moisture damage being in total a truly appropriately read-by children “rare juvenile”. Williamson 5538 (by title), Smith/LUMBERING pg. 12 at page bottom.  $1,250.00.

            After finding the book and… recognizing it when I found it to be the rare Maine book it is, I spent a whole week trying to recall how and where I had found out about the book.  Williamson I ignored after checking for “Fuller”.  Smith (David C., LUMBERING AND THE MAINE WOODS: A BIBLIOGRAPHIC GUIDE, Maine Historical Society, Portland, Me, 1971) I… pulled off of the shelf in my office after at least a 25 year undisturbed rest and flipped through it cavalierly with a “MUST BE IN THIS” attitude.  I did not see it mentioned and became absorbed in reviewing my own penciled marginalia denoting “rare Maine books” done by my hand decades ago.  “Huh.” concluded this effort.  A week later I revisited the bibliography after making no progress elsewhere and coming around again to the “MUST BE IN THIS”.  It is.  I found it.  Way at the bottom of page 12 carrying to the top of page 13.  It had no marginal pencil note in my hand scoring it as “rare”.  But.  I GUESS this is where I originally “heard of” this truly rare Maine book?

            Finding the book was fun.  The coastal Maine house was old but they’d “moved into it” after their parents finished “using it” and “moved to Florida”.  This… bought from the original Victorian Maine family… home’s second family occupation neared eighty years.  “ALL” of the “OLD STUFF” from THAT first family had been “CLEANED OUT” by the parents “YEARS AGO”.  Therefore “THERE IS NOTHING UP THERE” I was told regarding the second floor of the two story shed that I was standing in and… having the opportunity to “buy all of” “this is our parent’s stuff we don’t want”.  I went up anyway.  MORE “our parent’s stuff” …in “gone through” disarray covered the second floor.  Jumbled old books were mounded amongst the disarray.  Poking and peeking at these and selecting only the thin books to review… there THIS book was before my eyes before I even got started.  I HAD noted that the books were from western Pennsylvania and THIS book TOO, was from there but … was about logging in Maine… at the start of the Civil War.  Knowing the value of the book to be high, I put it back into its disarray, clambered back to the first floor and “negotiated”
            “All, including ALL of the second floor” for a “THIS MUCH” offer in “CASH”.  There was not… actually… that much “stuff”; nothing big (in size) and most of it being “gone through” boxes packed out of the house “years ago”.  Their murmur amongst selves was to suggest that they would like “more” cash but I sensed this was a faint.  It was.  They caucused while I waited outside.  “Accepted” they said as a group after stepping out of the building.  I cell phoned for a second truck “on the way”, paid in cash, stated the building would be “empty in two hours” and then… skipped up the stairs, purloined THIS BOOK from its pile and put it in my truck right up front on the seat “next to me”.

            The …I read the book carefully and critically… contents meets the Smith’s superlative comment “A rare juvenile which is very valuable”.  Although not published until “1870” the text, noted through careful reading, was actually written about 1859-1861.  This dating is found in its early in or pre Civil War side comments.  The narrative is purveyed as a series of letters written by a young …going to college next fall… boy to his going to college next fall too chum.  The boy in the Maine woods has been sent there for his health by his uncle who is a lumber man who feels his city boyhood needs to be toughened up.  A winter at a remote logging camp is just the thing for him.  Although a constant sub theme of the book… it is NOT INTRUSIVE to the narrative.  In fact the narrative is carried right around ANY intrusion of Victorian melodrama, rich boy saga, boss’ kid saga and even the Native American Maine guide babysitter stereotype… that is NOT a stereotype because THIS IS what Native American Maine guides DID DO in those day; get hired to “teach the boy woodcraft”.  IT IS carried right around ALL of that by… being a true remote Maine logging camp “obviously real” narrative record.  Aside from not actually stating where the boy peed in the woods, the ALL of first era “long log” logging of both primary actions; the all winter long forest logging camp life and the spring river drive the logs to the sea epic, are precisely revealed in very satisfying narrative prose that WILL send the reader hunting up a map to “find this place” and that reader WILL be able to do that to have full satisfaction that “YEP: THIS IS REAL”.  That includes moose hunts, bear hunts, deer hunts and all woodcraft notice as “the boss’ son” AND all truly Maine Woods logging including windlassing the log boom across the lake and …returning the crushed logger’s body to his family… all carefully portrayed with no stark truth glossed over AND a heavy handed salt and peppering of aside facts too.  Therefore again; very real reading AND meeting Smith’s “very valuable”.  The actual location?  Monument Brook, the lakes below and then down the St. Croix to the sea with a sporting vignette west to West Grand Lake.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Maggie's Store - Part Eight

Maggie's Store
Part Eight

            Except for once and that was on the way TO Maggie’s because sometimes we’d actually GO there instead of this round & round “be going by” thing they did most of the time to ALL of the houses we went to.  We’d ah “be go’en by” more OLD houses that we’d spend THREE HOURS in TWO minutes after my grandmother SAID that same “be go’en by” line over and over.  It always worked, especially along with the “The DOCTOR” stuff.  Anyway:  WE were going THERE so I mentioned how I’d seen this little box that had, well, a bunch of little “pearl handle” jack knives in it, with some little (ink) bottles and some papers & letters and how the lid “was off” but had an old belt hitching it down but that was loose and I’d “moved it” that last time and could see in it and, well, THEY were interested in THAT after I told them about it so I explained how it was EXACTLY in the upstairs’ front hall space at the head of the stairs but I’d moved it because of “that table thing” They “taken out” of the room next to it but it was probably RIGHT where I pushed it in-under that “desk-bookcase thing” she “won’t sell”.
            Nobody SAID anything but when we did get “up there” which was well late in the visit because I had already been “called in to help” my mother started bobbing up & down in front of the ...18th Century SECRETARY... until I pushed her far enough over by these other cardboard boxes that she DID see the little wooden box with the loose belt.  Then THEY did this little damn thing that I knew They were doing and am proud to say I know how to do with MY DAUGHTER so as to do the round & round and sure enough... MAGGIE “give it” to ME.  Then my mother gave me a little kick in the ass which meant to “get that out of here” so I did that but when I got to car I didn’t put it where They put their stuff but put it in back with me because, well, I was MINE.  THEY never fought that but did say how that “is a good little box” and my mother would always look at the stuff in it a real lot.  There was, inside of the box, another little paper box and that had little paper cushion in it but I didn’t; no one did, pay any attention to that for along time, probably four years, but one night I just happened to hear something sound like it slid UNDER that paper cushion so I took it out and THERE were TWO five dollar gold pieces.  But that was YEARS after we “found it”.  The rest of the stuff in the box was one of the “girls” from “the family” “school box” of her letters and little keepsake things that were mostly from when she was in Portland in the 1820’s but I guess she had a boyfriend later too from there and they did get married and live in Portland but he died and she ended up living in the second house until she died.  The box was outside of “her room” when I found it.
            They wanted that secretary in the worst way but Maggie being sort of in the know knew not to sell them that.  I couldn’t see it being “worth it” much because one side of “the lid” was broken (had been for a long time) because they all said someone “Forgot to pull out the slides”.  My grandmother did actually get that but I wasn’t there for that because that was years later when Maggie was “finally sick” which was when she “did die this time”.  But we got all of the books out of the top one time and I had to pack those up and carry them.  That’s when I found and KEPT the little pirate book that had this picture (woodcut) of Blackbeard’s head cut off and stuck on the front of a sailing ship that I had forever and showed everyone and ...everyone “always liked it”.
            We got a lot of old books out of there that now, being as I AM a “rare book dealer” and have had ten zillion “lots” from “old houses” “just like it” know that I... I ... didn’t have to “piss bananas” over ‘em BUT YOU MIGHT HAVE and so will also mention that a lot of the old papers in that desk went WAY back from their family in Massachusetts and WAY up through right before I was there (1958) and eventually we had ALL of that out in my grandmother’s barn in boxes that we’d go through over and over to “find stuff” “to sell”.  I had pretty good free range on the papers because they “weren’t worth much” then and I kept things like the scrap book albums in my room because they were neat to “look at”.  No one ever wanted to by them back then but this one woman from “the Coast” did always want this pretty old valentine in it own special box that was hand painted too but... she’d never pay anything GOOD for it so I kept it.  Still have that somewhere, I believe, even though... I haven’t look at a lot of that... “old stuff”... “from that place” (“Maggie’s store”)...

in years.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Maggie's Store - Part Seven

Maggie's Store
Part Seven

            So I’d sit on the slope porch of the store and wait with my “pop” and I admit that I really didn’t mind the old farts because they actually killed off the time pretty much with their stories about like how they put a car up on the roof of the hardware store with my uncle and no one in town could figure out how that happened or about when my uncle got married was because they were gonna “expel him” from Bowdoin College but he “found out” if he got married he’d be expelled for “just that” “she was a Catholic girl you know”.  Well, he DID get married and DID get expelled and DID have a son that no one ever mentioned and I have STILL never ever seen but also Bowdoin DID put his name on monument in the middle of the campus of him “died in the service of” as well as having been “there” (at Bowdoin) under the World War II column.  HE SHOWED THEM, HUH!  NO wonder he wouldn’t bail out:  What for?  To end up sit’en out there drink’en ah “pop” with me at Maggie’s store?
            MEANWHILE back inside the second house They was wing-wang’en Maggie like ah paddle ball around the five or six generations (of which she was “the last”) of “her” “stuff” and this had a curious choreography of duplicity by both parties that even I could sort of figure.  SEE Maggie would “get stuff” and it’d go in the store OR into the two front rooms of the second house if it would fit better.  Now she lived in the back of the second house in these two room; “the kitchen”[1] and a “room off the kitchen” with a door “out the back” in between.  OTHERWISE the rest of the house was “closed off” and that included the wicked heavy dark drapes hanging over EVERY doorway so I was always trying NOT to get those in my face but always DID so I’d sneeze and was sure to be lucky that was ALL that happen.  Anyway:  OUT in those front rooms, after going in the FRONT DOOR because Maggie was like my grandmother when it came to “letting people in” “where we live” and I add that it DID always seem that THEY DID get into her kitchen anyway but rural formalities ALWAYS were “followed” EACH TIME... .  ANYWAY, out there began the “in the house” part of each visit and, presuming everything went along well with Mr. Wallet doing his part to “show”, it DID all end up way out by the small barn and the “get’en to get the things loaded”.  That “show” of Mr. Wallet was pretty well done by my grandmother for she had this little “trick” she called of having this wad of money that she “always want ‘em to SEE” and that means even if she had to drop the damn wad all over the FLOOR of where ever she was.  I’ve even seen her do it (“the drop”) out in front of ah barn in a wind storm.  Anyway, that was part of it; stuffing Maggie full dollar bills like she was a Thanksgiving turkey.  MEANWHILE Maggie had her game plan that pretty much she’d find a “reason” to have Them “HAVE TO” go into the house; usually because she’d “got” something and that, after going around and around in an antiquarian quadrille, would “lead” to the “rest of the house”.  Now what it was ACTUALLY was that Maggie didn’t know ANYTHING about what she had AND the stuff she “picked up” so, in fact, most of the latter weren’t “as good” as the former “IF we can JUST get to IT”.  AND she KNEW THAT too but, of course followed rural etiquette as well as ANYONE does, so, what with wanting the dollars as bad as my grandmother knew she did, everybody was always going to the same place but just had to ride on the train to get there.  See:  That’s why I’d “seen” the framed medals before They “found it” but still They “found it” because it took like sixty years to “get around” to “springing that”.  THEY, on the way home, would always talk about the stuff they “could see” or “saw” and would “try” or “go after” “next time”.  But, you know, I had the chairs in my face and was gonna barf then so I never really ever mentioned anything I SAW.

[1]:  THEY called it “the kitchen” but most people would look at it as a kitchen been once but was now buried under all this "stuff" AND had all “her cats” “in there” so one’s not gonna sit down and “EAT” “anything”.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Maggie's Store - Part Six

Maggie's Store
Part Six

            Now what happened was that in the house that Maggie lived in They “found” this framed box that had all of these medals in it framed all up so it could be hung on the wall where they “found it”.  I could never understand this “found it” because it was in PLAIN SIGHT on the wall of little room at the back of the house where “The Brother” had lived and I’D seen it so when they “FOUND IT” I was all over my grandmother for that and SHE GAVE IT TO ME.  And I kept that.  For a while.  I had that right up in my bedroom which was up above the kitchen and all of those medals were red, white and blue ribbons all holding up brass guns and cannons and “G.A.R.” everywhere except for few things in the center that my grandmother pointed out to me... especially these little blue cloth rectangles with this gold lace wire in the shape of what she called an “oak leaf”.  I remember how some fat cat from “PHILADELPHIA” bought that off of me thirty-five plus years ago and even he liked the “oak leaf”.
            I’d only get called into Maggie’s house when THEY had been in there a while.  Or the small barn.  That one was what we call “bailed right full” and I guess most of it “on top” was from the big second house because I guess they’d kept changing the insides of that and take out what was old and put in new so the little barn was actually a big attic.  There was an attic in the second house because I was in that too but all that had was about hundred pitcher and bowls and piss pots and an old clock that Maggie wouldn’t sell for along time and then finally did because, it turned out, some other guy hadn’t even offered “half” of what my grandmother had.  My grandmother had the clock man fix it so it worked and then the Judge wanted to buy it but he said it was too much money “for that” so another man from down by Boston bought it and I guess that Judge was pissy then because he knew THAT man and had SEEN the clock at his house in Boston.  Or something like that.