Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-One - "Understand"

Worn Collars

Part Twenty-One


            It is a quaint New England village tradition... old (rare) book rooms.  When you are driving through a quaint New England village, you are also driving by an old (rare) book room.  Or two. 
I know...
You ‘didn’t know’.
            That’s fine.  We do not want you
            To know.
            It is a great ...quaint... New England village tradition.  A
Wasp ...New England

            I like old book rooms... that were ‘started’ ...during the Civil War.  Or before.  “He was a (professional man) and GRADUATED **** and ALWAYS read vociferously to his whole family.  HE DIED IN BED doing THAT.  A sick man in a sick man’s bed SHOUTING what he was READING from HIS BOOKS.  At them.  His whole family still SPEAKS TO THIS.  He removed his COLLAR before he began reading.”

            Those books; these early book room books, have his collection book plate in them.  I know... you don’t care for book plates.  Well neither do I.  That gets rid of that doesn’t it.  But the reason I don’t like them is anyone may identify them (those books) as having “originally” come from “THAT LIBRARY”.  And, commercially, that can be a pain in the ass.  Why?  People talk.  They do not like it when ‘someone’ taps into a fine... quaint old New England village prominent Wasp family’s ‘before the Civil War’ generations old... old book room... books and
            Purloins them ... in cardboard boxes... and drives them away... right out of town.  Leaving empty shelves.  In ‘that house’.  This is a Wasp tradition too:  “Getting rid of the books”.  Where was Arlington St. John in this?

            He was right there.  He was ‘totally into this’.  Remember his silver spoon.  Remember mine? (Part Five).  Arlington ‘followed’ this aspect of ...quaint old New England village old book room... saga... VERY attentively.  He only spoke of it... with those he felt... “Understand”.  He knew I did...  he knows I do...
            Don’t let this scare you.  Until I broached this subject (this whole essay titled ‘Worn Collars’) you didn’t even know it was there to... ah... ‘furtive glance’...at.  Soooo... get it... and... keep it... together.  We (bibliognostes) do... with no help from

            This ‘understand’ could make for strange bedfellows of Arlington and I but ...he ‘let it go’ in my favor always.  This is because he ‘was that’... as best he could... and that’s all he wanted out of this anyway.  He had the locked cabinets of ‘old rare books’... that he inherited and... that was that.  And he had his meandering travels (poke around) “I FIND” old ‘rare’ books... in the boxes down by the furnace (Part Fifteen [D]).  And that was that.  He even had the old New England local village girl life long housekeeper who ‘hated’ ‘his books’.  Too.  That was that.  “Hating” “his books” is a quaint old New England saga too.  You didn’t know that did you.  It goes way... way back deep into the Colonial (17th) century New England and involves consideration of who could read.  Did read.  Did read what.  What read was what books.  Whose books.  Where were the books?  In the book room.  Hidden animosities may be centuries old AND be found in their ‘same spot’.  To this day.
            It is not very hard to understand... is it.
            “Witchcraft” in New England is harder to understand.  When one adds reading books to old New England witchcraft... ‘why’ and ‘who’ and ‘are they’ and ‘them’ do have rooms with shelves with ‘spine ends’.  And a door kept closed.  To those who
            Hate books.
            I... in my book room... hate those who hate books.  They are the enemy. 
I understand.

            That is why I have my books.  This “they” (my books) go back a very long way in old New England.  MY old New England. “OF COURSE YOU HAVE” “old books”.  On shelves.  In a book room.  I have ‘enough’ that I, TOO, may have my own book plate to define my ‘library’.  But, to that, I said a long time ago “OH GO TO HELL”.  And that has worked just fine.  Thank you.  And I am not going to read out loud to my family either.  If they want to read something they certainly may and there seems, from my furtive glance, to be plenty of filth for them to READ.  And there will never be an inkling of sense of... spine end... ever... either.
            Breaking News.
            Smart phone update.
            Download app:

“Whisper, whisper
Cat’s feet whisper
That will cure your
Footsore blister.”
            “That makes no sense at all.”
            Neither did witchcraft
            In 17th Century New England.

            When the garret was cleaned out they cleaned out the ‘his old books’ ‘in boxes’ ‘up there’ ‘a very long time’.  Once... on the first floor a longer time ago... in that little room.  “It has its own door to the outside.  You know.   Right up a walk; comes in from the street.  He kept office there.  Those shelves.  Were once filled with his books.  We don’t know what happened to all of them.
            Over the years
            They got rid of the books
            You know.
            HOW those got up here I have no idea.  Mostly Common Law you say?”

            “He taught them to READ.  His servants.  Actually.  They were slaves.  Anyway:  He taught them to read.  Theology.  Mostly.  MOST of his BOOKS were that.  One was the explorations of Mexico.  He had three booklets (pamphlets) on the Seminole War.  Down in Florida.  I haven’t seen those in years.  Probably someone in the family knows.  Or someone took them off.  We took those to school when I was young; show and tell.  It was because of the pictures but no one ever said so.  Today, you know, you couldn’t do that.”
            “I wouldn’t do that.”
            “Well, I know; of course not.”

            The... natural... old New England library (‘book room’) does not ‘remain in tact’ in our today.  MOST ALL personal ‘old’ libraries are ‘fragmented’ at best.  They are a ‘fragment’ if found  ‘in tact’ in a ‘room’ and ‘remains’ when ‘found’ in boxes in ‘the attic’ and ‘barn’.  I have explored many old homes for their libraries.  The older the library, the smaller the number of books... with, I am always at ‘hope’ for... later generations ‘building’ a... whole closed door room of shelved old books upon these ‘early library’.  For example, a domestic ‘book room’... in a home... in a village ...in New England... in 1700 could be considered ‘big’ if it “has” six ‘books’.  One man... who could read... having one book on one shelf in one room of one house in one village was, a long time ago in old New England... considered to be a... “book room”.  Men... visited this... man... and his... ‘book’.  Additions to the shelf of books... ‘go from there’.

            We are back again:  Books are burned, readers are beheaded (Parts Five, Fourteen, Eighteen, etc.).  Consider Deerfield... in 1704; its “Indian Raid”.   Who had books?  What happened to these who?  What happened to the books?  The Rev. John Williams had ‘books’ in his house.  Was that the ‘only books in town’?  The house was burned.  The Williams family were captured.  Williams, as a prisoner, was ‘understand’... as I stated that above.  He... and his wife?  No... she probably could not read.  He was ‘saved’.  She was killed... by tomahawk to the head.  He... eventually WROTE a book about ‘it’.  If his wife had lived she could not have ‘read’ ‘his book’?  The books... in the ‘his house’ were... burned?  HOW DO YOU KNOW?  It is most probable that they were ‘taken’... that the Williams’ library was... one book by one book... during the raid... carried off.  The ‘book room’ was purloined.  These purloined books, most probably, were ‘sold’ to ‘collectors’ who put them... spine ends out... on the shelf (shelves?) of the collections of their own... old books.  But maybe the books were burned?
            No.  Not that far into the wilderness (Deerfield’s location).  A book stood out in the fray.  So did one who ‘understood’.  And so did the ones who ... ‘can not read’.  A book room... and its book man... is a very old and quaint New England... Wasp... saga.

            By the near middle nineteenth century the New England ...perchance... of having a man with a book room had... exploded to become ‘probable’.  Book publishing was a large and growing New England industry.  READING was a New England industry.  Even women ...and slaves (“domestic servants”) could ‘read’ ‘books’.   And did.  “WHY HE HAS A WHOLE ROOM FULL OF HIS BOOKS IN THERE!” (the home).  The (old) book room... of the mind’s eye... came to be.  Spine ends would be seen... facing out.  Doors to these rooms... were closed.  Sitting with a book open on one’s lap was a ... physical position.  A statement... of poise.  “I...
            Am reading.”
            Other men reacted to this exploding perchance... by ‘trading’ in ‘old books’.  These men were always looking at the... title pages... of ‘old books’.  And mumbling.  Arlington St. John, when he did this; look at a title page and mumble (Part Two)... was part of a very long and grand old New England saga.  He knew this.  “I understand” he mumbled.  I heard him mumble this... many times.  He did... ‘understand’.
            I understand too.  I understand that my books will be taken from me (“burned”) and I will not be able to read as I have throughout my life.  That is... I understand, too, as a reader, that I will be beheaded.  I have discovered... I must flee.

1 comment:

  1. Looking ahead, we tell ourselves that there will always be a rare old book to discover in an old book room. The old book room may not be so easily recognized, due to on-going cultural metamorphosis. The book will be the same, if we are able to know it when we see it.