Ladies Almanack - July
JULY hath 31 days
THE Time has come, when, with unwilling Hand, I must set down what a woman says to a Woman and she be up to her Ears in Love's Acre. Should we not like to think it, at least if not of poetic Value, then strophed to a Romanesque Fortitude, as clipped of Foliage as a British Hedge, or at least as fitting to the thing it covers as an Infant's Cap, which even when frilled to the very frontal Bone, and taking into account the most pulsing Suture, is somewhat of a Head's proportion, nor flows and drips away and adown, as if it were no Covering for probability?
Nay, nowhere, in all the fulsome data of most uncovered and naked backrunning of Nature, nor in the Columns of our most jaundiced Journals, can be gathered the vaguest Idea of the Means by which she puts her Heart from her Mouth to her Sleeve, and from her Sleeve into Rhetorick, and from that into the Ear of her beloved. To the Ancients, Love Letters and Love Hearsay (though how much Luck and how much Cunning this was on the part of the Outrunners in the Thickets of prehistoric proability, none can say, for doubt me not but from Fish to Man there has been much Back-mating and Front to Front, though only a Twitter of it comes out of the Past) were from like to unlike. Our own Journals teem with Maids and their Beards, whose very highest encomiums reach no more glorious Foothold than "Honey Lou", or "Snooky dear", or "my great big, beautiful bedridden Doll,'' whose Turnabout it would seem, is only one side proper to the Lord. But hear how a Maid goes at a Maid: "And are you well my own? But tell me hastily, are you well? for I am well, oh most newly well, and well again. And if all's well, then ends well all ends up! But if you be about to be nowise probable, but tell me, and I will burst my Gussets with hereditary Weeping, that we be not dated to a Moon and are apart by dint of diddling Nature, and parting is such sweet Sorrow! How all too oft are we but one in our Team! So tell me if you but be well for well I be!"
Or such Words as this: "I may have trifled in my Day, or in Days to come, or today itself; or even now be rifling Hours for the penning of this to you, but though I gather dear Daffodils abroad, plunge Head first into many a Parsley Field, tamper with high strung and low lying; though I press to my Bosom the very Flower of Women, or tire myself to a prostrate Portion, without a Breath between me and her; toss her over the off-leg to bring her to rights, say never that I do not adore you as my only and my best. To her I give but a Phoenix Hour, she is but the hone to my blunt, which shall Toledo to you. To you I give my Bays, my Laurels, my Everlastings, my Peonies, my hardy Perennials and my early percipient Posies, that bloom for such effulgence as shines alone from your Countenance! (Viz., to wit: were she haggard, gray, toothless, torn, deformed, damned, evil, putrid and no one's Pleasure; or if on the other Hand she were lovely, straight, marble browed, red in her bloom, bright in the Eye, headed with Hair, and Venused to boot--'tis all one to a Girl in Love!) For you alone I reserve that Gasp under Gasp, that Sigh behind Sigh, that Attention back of feigned; that Cloud's Silver is yours--take it! What care I on whom it rains! The real me is your real yours, I can spend myself in Hedgerow and Counter-patch, 'tis only the Dust of my reality, the Smoke that tells of the Fire, which my own Darling Lamb, my most perfect and tirelessly different, is yours, I am thine! You compel me.!"
Compels her! Yea, though the Recipient be as torpid as a Mohammedan after his hundredth Ramadan, as temperate as a Frost in Timgad, as stealthy as a Bishop without a Post, still and yet, and how again it will command her; so encore. Were it of as good a quality and as sharp as Madagascar Pepper, Still it commands her, it can command her up-stairs and down, right side and wrong, peek-a-bo, or all fronts-face, in Mid-moon and Mad-night, in Dawn, in Day, yea, still it will command her, so pricked is she with longing, and so primed to a Breath, that should her Honey-heart hang mincemeat Tartlets about her Waist for a Girdle, would she preen to the Pie, and clap with Delight; or should she be ordered to wear a Wig backward, with its curl well over her Nose, still she would do it, a Lamb both fore and aft and all at the one look, saying: "You know my quick Step, my real Run, my true Bite. My intake and withdraw are at your behest, I am but a Shade of myself an I am not by your Side, and what I am is because you are, and should you turn and not find me, it is because I have taken that not worthy of you to another, who may blow me bright again to shine toward your Lightning, a Sun to my Beam!"
Nay--I cannot write it! It is worse than this! More dripping, more lush, more lavender, more mid-mauve, more honeyed, more Flower-casting, more Cherub-bound, more downpouring, more saccharine, more lamentable, more gruesomely unmindful of Reason or Sense, to say nothing of Humor. Nowhere, and in no Pocket, do such keep a Seed of the fit on which to sneeze themselves into the fitting, they be not happy unless writhing in Treacle, and like a trapped Fly, crawl through cardinal Morasses, all Legs tethered and dragging in the Gum of Love!
And just as some others are foul of Tongue, these are sweet to sickness. One sickens the Gorge, and the other the Heart. For what can you, an a woman thus leans upon the purple, and so strews Blandishments that the clear Nature of Facts are either so candied and frosted to a Mystery, or so bemired that they are no find. Surely it is admirable to have a Fancy and a Fancy when in Love, but why so witless about a witty Insanity? It would loom the bigger if stripped of its
Jangle, but no, drugged such must go. As foggy as
a Mere, as drenched as a Pump; twittering so
loud upon the Wire that one cannot
hear the Message.
And yet!