‘Wishing myths be gone’ becomes my next... need for adjustment. I would have preferred to step up ONE rung on my laddered hunt for my crazy man but... I may not. New England right side up and their ‘myth be gone’ dynamic snarls my ‘step up one rung’ by simply being their clear vision of how it is in New England. I do not object to their vision. It features clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions and ...a full sense of purpose to... successfully get their ...lawn tractor in... to mow back the wilderness of four hundred years (not including the first one hundred years - the 1500’s - of pre-literate New England settlement) of ...old New England.
It may seem a small point; a simple point, but... to my fellow travelers and I... a point it is that must be treated with... over and over. It is a first clear ‘fighting back’. What that means is that for I to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man... whom I intend to use to ‘help me’ fortify... against that THEIR vision... I must prepare MY ladder-rung-step-up to first step upon a rung BELOW to... assure that not only may I capture the particle of their vision but that this particle be, once captured, part of MY vision. A nasty twisting of their crafting? I have to do it all the time.
The problem is the ‘clinical’ of the ‘their vision’. Always the very clinical on all fronts. Footnoted and published as scholarly off-prints and... ‘refreshments after the talk’ sensibilities rein. Rain. Things are just not that way and I must bring in old friends from this tale to ...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on to ... step to that next rung. Remember Herman Melville and his garret visit? (Part Six [C]). Back we go.
Herman... is splendid specimen of ‘myth be gone’. He wrote a New England masterpiece of a... coy façade of fabricated myth. It was about a whale and a crazy NEW ENGLAND man. And other crazy men trapped in ... up side down or right side up.... New England. Too. He... did not enjoy success for doing this. After he did this; wrote the book... he... was... ‘be gone’. Ended up... we all know how: Writing the “Apple Tree Table”, et al, and having the those... spit back in his face AND... no money. Although there was a cult and a 1920’s re-look, it was not until ‘after the war’ that Herman ‘is ok... today’.
That would be enough to make Herman an acceptable crazy man ‘be gone’ but I need a word and two more to ...help me... on THIS ladder’s rung. In the FIRST paragraph of “The Apple Wood Table”; the same paragraph that gave me the word “necromantic”... I abscond with two more words: “Conjurations and charms”. In the garret, to Herman’s first view, the table, with the “ghostly dismantled old quarto” and its further of being “set out with broken, be-crusted old purple vials and flasks” is... “significant of conjurations and charms”. A ...site of witchcraft. It is in old New England: (quoting again) “a very old garret of a very old house in an old-fashioned quarter of one of the oldest towns in America”. I here take these words and their setting purveyed... to help me. Otherwise, for all that I have ever seen... these words and “The Apple Wood Table” are long... ‘be gone’.
“NOW, now, now”; I cannot just scamper away. More of the same (witch crafting) comes from the SAME (Part Six [C]). I included Huckleberry Finn’s comments on HIS ‘snaked her out, private’ garret visit. What did Mr. Finn ‘snake her out, private’? An old New England brass bed warmer. And... WHY did he WANT this bed warmer? To make... “witch pie”.
Finn responds to “Dad fetch it, I jis’ wisht I could git my han’s on one er dem witches jis’ wunst – on’y jis’ wunst – it’s all I’d ast.” He responds with: “Well, I tell you what I think. What makes them come here just at .... breakfast-time? It’s because they are hungry; that’s the reason. You make them a witch pie; that’s the thing for you to do.”
“How’s I gwyne to make ‘m a witch pie? I don’t know how to make it. I hain’t ever hearn er sich a thing b’fo.”
Mr. Finn replies: “Well, then, I’ll have to make it myself.” (Mark Twain, HUCKLEBERRY FINN, NY, 1884, pg 314), Then he goes to the garret and ‘snakes off, private’... the bed warmer and DOES MAKE WITCH PIE... in it.
There are two ‘captures’ from Finn ‘to help’. First; witch pie; the ‘conjure’ and ‘charm’ of that; witch pie. Second....: I’ll have to make it (the conjure and charm; my witch pie) myself.”
I’m used to having to do this all the time anyway. I just do it. I believe this is the first time I’ve supported my... conjure and charm...; my witchcraft... with ...historical... reference. Oh... those are not ...historical... supports? Best check back at the beginning of this chapter to the ‘clinical’ ‘be gone’ of ... the whispered history of New England. Whispered. Not the ‘clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions’ history.
Now that I’ve explained the need for a-rung-below on the ladder... and that this rung is ‘conjure and charm’: that it is ‘witch pie’ and I... I... must make it myself. And that this is all to be done to ‘...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on... to ... step to that next rung’ so that I may go ‘to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’... I set off to MY garret to ...do this.
What charm... could I... be I... the one to know... of THERE (in garret)... that ONE... as I... could use as PIE... to conjure witches... to CAPTURE ... a... theirs own... thy?
I had to go back to very old and primitive coastal New England... but I knew of ‘just the thing’. And it (this ‘just the thing’) CANNOT be in perfect condition. And... well... I know this is irritatingly silly... but... I had to walk by ...my grandmother’s... grandmother’s bed warmer... that is hung by our fireplace... as it should be... to get to our garret... and... I did more than glance ‘at it’. “Witch pie, Mr. Finn?”....said I.
What I sought... I had not bought... but had found that lot... a long, long time ago (thirty-five years?). Being alone in the cleanout of an old estate; a low cape of a colonial site with an 1820’s farm built upon that site, I was well two weeks into ‘carrying off’ all and so... all... of my team were ‘need not’ so I... was alone. AND I moved from the 1820’s home through the kitchen to the ...summer kitchen that was in fact the original homestead cape structure long converted to shed and... summer kitchen. Against the wall... beside the door that led... back to the kitchen... from the summer kitchen... was a small step back cupboard... farm made and butted onto the wall by the door. This had been used to hold the ‘extra’ and ‘outside’ (summer) china ‘long ago’. Small, dirty, empty but still a notable ‘built in’ treasure of primitive Maine in ‘old paint’ (Indian red) and ‘old surface’ I, alone, could ...and would that day by plan... ‘take that’ (carry it off). And did. It was easy for I to do.
WHEN I ‘pried loose’ ‘it’ from the wall I ... “Well I!” found below the bottom section’s TOP shelf ...it had dropped... down and behind the BOTTOM shelf’s back board ... so ‘lost behind’ against the wall... an old dark blue Staffordshire transferware plate... ‘broken’; a plate and its piece. And I knew too right then with my right then glance that IT was the RIGHT plate to be in the RIGHT place to be ‘lost’ and ‘broken’ for MY quick EYE SPY... it to be ...The Fisherman’s Hut... pattern... fair-square... a circle-round of ‘dark blue’ WELL KNOWN to symbolize THE PLACE and TIME that I found it ‘broken’ to be LOST in: 1820’s coastal Maine - right time – right place – right plate. And so... not being worth any money though... yet ‘splendid’ to MY eye to find I ‘in the truck’ and away... from that special ‘lost’ and ‘broken’ place ‘so always’ ‘I remember’ it and ...all of it; the ‘carrying off’ ‘of it. IF it had been perfect it would have fallen a ‘sold long ago’. But broken... only I... had an eye...
So this old broken plate... of “Fisherman’s Hut” clattered around my garret for I and my eye... ‘forever’ until the “I’ll have to make it (the conjure and charm; my witch pie) myself.” sent I and eye ...to spy and ...exhume.
Giddy... for when one makes witch pie ‘myself’ one DOES enjoy the privilege of ‘giddy’... and the privilege of cackle too... ...I thought well past the ‘what is this’ of the old plate for that be common knowledge for a standard antique... and that it be too; to the standard antiquarian. ENGLISH by maker, Staffordshire by title, earthenware by pottery, transferware by decoration and blue... by... to the eye ‘dark blue’... the Fisherman’s Hut plate is well known by subject and title to be... ‘for the American (New England) market’*. SOME wandering Fisherman’s Hut MAY have seen ‘at table’ usage in, say... Pennsylvania... but more obvious it is a ‘coastal New England subject’. Fishermen and their huts were the first settlers... going way back in their shoreline huts to before the ‘can read and write’ men ‘explored’. From that then on they (fishermen and their huts) have NEVER LEFT and are still found today... to be on the coast of New England... where fishermen ...stay. Salt watered gear, rusted trucks, rubber boots, scrappy boats and eyes-to-horizon looking-past-you... they; ancient mariners, STILL be ‘there’ and ‘same’ TODAY... even with their proud record of them being ‘turned up side down’. “They still have the honor of drowning at sea”.
Anyway... this English transferware plate is about this; the hut, the man, the gear, the wife, the children. Only it is circa 1825. So... like the old print (Part Nine [A]), it is a ‘memorial’ ‘placed’ of ‘this’ (fishermen on the coast of New England) NOW long ago but at its memorial date an ‘of a long ago’ THEN TOO; New England... from England... about... New England long ago... that was still then AND be still NOW too. The conjure and charm... is clear? It is... an old New England witch pie... this plate I found... and... is too... ‘broken’.
It is Finn by Twain’s hand that is fixtured (my verb) on proper procedure, poise, purpose and ...detail must be followed. If Finn says ‘broken-must be’ it... must be. I... my maker of my witch pie says... therefore... ‘broken-must be’. THIS IS BECAUSE... the right side up New England... has Fisherman’s Hut plates that are... ‘in perfect condition’ ...depicting a subject that ...history shows... was and IS never in... ‘perfect condition’. Fisherman’s Hut, et al... is not perfect... in New England... at all. Hence their ‘eyes-to-horizon looking-past-you... they’ I noted above. IF one is a ‘from that’ (the right side up) then THAT ‘perfect eye’ one gets is THAT. Got it... and perhaps... get it (THAT EYE). So I say broken... for witch pie... and powerful ‘conjure and charm I HAVE don’t I (eye).
I take my broken plate from my own garret and, as it is my witch pie, ‘go after’ the... to ‘be done to ‘...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on... to ... step to that next rung’ so that I may go ‘to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’. Powerful ‘powerful stuff’ the old New England fisherman and his hut. I have made a solid rung to step on.
* : For quick and classic reference see “Coysh”: Coysh/Henrywood, THE DICTIONARY OF BLUE & WHITE PRINTED POTTERY 1780-1880 VOLUME ONE, Antique Collectors Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1995, pg. 138.