Monthly Archives: June 2013

WRITING STYLES: ‘Hope Trueblood’

Hope-TruebloodThose who were present during the initial transmission of Hope Trueblood were surprised as the letters and words poured forth from the Ouija board.  There had been nothing in the conversation of the evening to suggest this theme, nothing in the event of the day.  Casper Yost said that “Before she had written fifty words there were exclamations of astonishment.  Mrs. Curran looked up, round-eyed and wordless.  For the first time in the more than four years’ association with her, Patience was writing in plain English of the present day.”

Hope Trueblood is a novel, published in 1918, that is easily understandable by English-speaking people of today.  It is written in modern English and would probably make a good British ‘Masterpiece Theater’ television show. In this story, according to Yost, Patience steps “…into an English village of apparently the mid-Victorian period. . . . turning out as much as five thousand words in a single evening.

The following sample was selected at random starting on page 58.

It was bright and quiet, except for a little cricket that chirped and chirped and chirped.  Somehow it seemed to cheer me.  I sat down by the dead hearth and picked up one of the broken branches that she had laid there.  I remember her own fingers had curled about this very one and I kissed it.  I wondered had she put a little loaf upon the shelf with perhaps some honey.  I got from off the bench and tiptoed over to the shelf.  It was bare.  I began to cry and I said aloud:

“Sally Trueblood, they don’t want me.  The Vicar knows it.  Their eyes hurt.”

And I sobbed aloud.  Then, drying my eyes, I went to the little box and thought I should take it to God’s house were I was to live.  I slipped my hand over the patches in my cape that she had sewn there and began weeping once more.  Then my hand fell upon a hood.  It was a blue one and had been beautiful.  It was hers when eyes didn’t hurt her, and pinned to this was another note.  I unpinned it and crushing it in my hand, took my box and fled.  I would go to Miss Patricia’s

There was a goodly gathering about the door and when I made my appearance there was a commotion.  They did not speak to me, but they spoke to each other.  The door was open and I stepped timidly through it, still holding to my box.  Miss Patricia was weeping and Miss Snifly and Mrs. Kirby were lending their kerchiefs.  I do not know but this is fancy, but it seemed to me that Miss Patricia looked happier weeping than I had ever seen her.  She did not notice me.  I sat down my box and went up to her just as I would have gone up to Sally Trueblood when she wept and I said:

‘Miss Patricia, I hope I did not make you unhappy.  You know they do move.  Mr. Reuben said so.”

She sat up very straight and spoke Sally Trueblood’s name and a word that I did not know, but those that heard looked shocked and I felt ashamed.  It was not one of the words Rudy Strong knew.  He knew three and he always went behind something to say them.  Miss Patricia said this out right straight and told them to put me out.  I turned and took up my box and I said slowly:

“Never mind.  I don’t care, and Sally Trueblood shall not know.  You see, I am to live with God.”

I trudged out with my box and I do not recall all that I did that last part of the afternoon, but I do remember that I went to Gifford’s and found the doors shut and that the inn had been locked when I returned.  Then I had gone to Ole Dodson’s, but the shutters were up and by this time it was most dark, and so quiet.  I heard the cows lowing and the fowls making ready to sleep.  There were no village children upon the streetway.  I passed Rudy Strong’s but it was dark.

I wondered where I should go.  I put down the box and sat upon it and wept.  Then suddenly the little note in my hand came to my mind.  I opened it.  It was very dim light but I read three words.  “Are you playing?”  My heart leapt.  I was playing!  I forgot!  Then something happened.  Something warm and soft rubbed against me.  It was Gifford’s pink-nosed cat.  I just took it up and loved it.  It was warm and felt like Sally Trueblood’s hair, and I said’

“Have you supped?  I smell mutton.”

He made a long mew, and I stroked him and I said:

“Was it nice and brown?  It smells like that.”

He made another long mew.

“I guess you have sup at morning and mid sup and perhaps eve sup?”

It mewed.  I sighed, for I never remember but one sup and what Sally Trueblood had called “the evening jest.”

An on-line copy of ‘Hope Trueblood’ is available at


WRITING STYLES: ‘The Sorry Tale’

The Sorry Tale is the acclaimed masterpiece of Patience Worth.  While at this point I do not wish to discuss the book but only to provide an example of the writing style, it is exceeding difficult to select a representative sample since almost every chapter is noteworthy.   But perhaps, to provide something meaningful to most people I have selected Chapter XXIII of the book ‘Jesus’ the last book of the trilogy, the other two books being ‘Panda” and ‘Hatte’.  I hesitate to do this as The Sorry Tale is more than just a story about Jesus.  More appropriately it is a story of Theia, the mother of Hatte, illegitimate son of Tiberius Caesar and thief and murderer who was crucified next to Jesus.  However this example will be understandable by many people, especially Christians and may be understood without great effort. To do justice to the story I will quote the piece in great length.

NOTE:  Patience Worth dictated this spontaneously, one letter at a time via the Ouija board. One might also note Patience Worth’s treatment of some details of the crucifixion that differ from traditional depictions.  She describes Jesus Christus and Hatte as being stripped naked.  There is no mention of a modesty panel as depicted in virtually all paintings of the crucifixion.  She also does not describe a cross made of large timbers (probably rare in that area) but describes a cross made of “young trees binded with thongs.” Crowns of thorns were applied rather late in the crucifixion to cause more pain when Jesus and Hatte were drifting in and out of semi- consciousness.  A woman rather than a man helps to bear the cross of Jesus.  Mary and the mother of jesus were “cast as wastes, beaten, trodden and bruised” and trod down by the crowd and stained with the filth that had been thrown at Jesus and Hatte; and the horrendous image of Hatte  with his legs split up unto the knees and his hands pulling loose from the cross, his body lurching forward  breaking his knees, only to be lashed again to the cross and raised up once more. I have not seen any Christian depictions of this scene that portray the absolute agony and gore as described by Patience Worth.

Page 631  of The Sorry TaleCrucifixion

And the priests feared, for the words of the Romans made the Jews rise up and come unto them, bearing word of what they suffered.  And they spake unto the Romans:  “Make ye Him deliver Himself up, or take Him unto ye.”

And it was true that they made ready that they should crucify the transgressor, and the spirit of evil mounted the rabble.  And it was true that Rome unloosed skins of wines among them.  And at the high hour, behold, the streets cried out like wild things.  Men ran thither and yon, laughing or shrieking, bearing stones and sticks of broken woods.  And Rome sat, fatted, comfort-full, and smiling.

And behold, the pits were oped, and they delivered unto the hands of the war’s men, and they whom Rome had set mad, Jesus Christus and the son of Tiberius!  And it was true that Rome had shut up her doors and left be that that would.  And the sun was o’erclouded and shone but to hide.  And the blade’s men bore forth Jesus Christus, whom they had stripped naked, and He shrunk beneath their eyes and cast His eyes down.  And lo, they laid hands upon Hatte and stripped him and the women that looked upon this withdrew and hid.

And they cried out:  “Who art thou, thou thief of the temples?  Who art thou?”
And Hatte stood like unto one who wandered upon some far height.  And they cried aloud:  “Behold the son of Tiberius!  Behold him!”

And they laughed and cast stones and bits of stone wares and rotted fruits and filths of the street’s-ways.  And Hatte stood, empty.  And Jesus Christus spake not.  And they decried Him, crying out:  “Behold the King of the Jews!  He is the son of who!  He is a false prophet!  Stone Him!  Stone Him!”  And they lay hands upon them and beat them on the path’s-way, even as wastes upon waters.  And their flesh was torn and the hairs of their heads torn out, and lo, blood shewed upon their faces and their naked flesh.  And the chill of the after-storm was upon Jerusalem, and they shook in cold quaking.  And they that taunted them brought forth waters and cast o’er them; even did they bring forth heated brands and put unto their flesh.

And lo, among them stepped the Son of God, silent.  They knew Him not.   And Hatte held his head high and stepped regal, even though his withered leg gave way and was dragged at his stepping, for the weighting down of them that beset him was o’ermuch.

And they wearied of their taunts, for no manner of outcry came there for to feed their madness.  And they cried out:  “Crucify them!  Spread them ope!  Shew unto all men that enter the city, the Son of God and the son of Tiberiuis!  Ha, ha, ha!  Down the flesh of Rome beneath all men!  Crush the blood of Tiberius beneath the heels of men where he hath crushed the flesh of our tribes!”

And it was true that the Jews were mad, and mingled with the Romans within one cup, had they fallen.  And when the cry had gone up “Crucify them!”  behold, Hatte looked unto Jesus Christus, whose body was sagged of weakness, and with his own arms did he cast off them that clung, and tear him through flesh unto His side and lift Him up.  And his lips spake:

“Seest thou?  It is the end of the paths.  Thine of love and mine of hate lead thee unto a common thing.”

And Jesus Christus lifted up His head, and behold, through the blood, through the sears of torment, through the agony of flesh, broke forth the smile of God.  And Hatte looked upon His face, and his thin lips spread in smiling.

And they that looked upon this waxed wrathed o’er their filling and beset one the other.  Men fell upon their brothers, even did they deal flesh wounds one unto the other, so that blood was upon them as a hideous cloak.

And it grew dark, and lo, clouds rolled up like smokes of wrath, and the heavens flamed licking fires, and the thunders pealed upon them.  And this but set the wraths frenzied more and they went forth and brought unto the spot young trees and binded them up with thongs into rude crosses.  And these were the work of wrath, and the woods were rough and the barks sharp.  And lo, these they laid upon the backs of Jesus Christus and the son of Tiberius.

And Hatte took it upon him and he murmured”  “Is the God sleeping?”  And he looked unto Jesus Christus, who sagged beneath the new weight, and he spake:  “Thou, too even as Tiberius, hath betrayed thy Son.”

And behold, the flesh of Jesus gave way and He sunk.  And they lay scourges upon Him, and He might not arise for the wine of the flesh was gone; His spirit chafed that it flee.
And Hatte called out loud:  “Brother!  Brother!  I am calling!”

And Jesus arose, and lo, upon His face was the smile

And the heavens roared like monstrous caves filled of wraths of ages.  And the lightnings licked the earth, and the winds arose and blew like wild voices o’er the hill’s-ways and valleys.

And they drove them upon the way unto a high spot, barren of shade, where the sun might bite.  And it was true that there sounded out a wail of anguish, and it was the voice of Hatte, for he was broken.  And from out the throngs sped a woman, crying: “Hatte!  Hatte!  Hatte!”  And this was Mary, who followed with the mother of Him.  And lo, they wept, and were cast among the men as wastes, and beaten and trodden, yea, and bruised.  And The cheek of Mary was white and stained; yea, even the things they had cast at the flesh of Jesus Christus and Hatte had smitten her and the holy bearer of Him.  And lo, at the calling:  “Hatte!  Hatte!”  Hatte arose and cried aloud;

“Theia, behold thy son!  This is the long dark path, but the fleeing is no more!  It is come!  The hand of Tiberius hath fallen!”

And Mary came her up and with her frail hands made that she bear the cross, and wept and spake soft words saying;  “Wait!  Wait!  Rememberest thou?  He shall come!”

And Hatte spake:  “It must be true, for true as hate hath followed me hath this.”

And lo, they swept them apart and trod down the women, leaving them, and bore them upon the way.
And when they had come unto the high spot, lo, already stood one cross made living!  and they cast down Hatte and lay the cross upon the earth and brought forth irons.  And they made him ready, and through the living flesh they set man’s wrath to prison man’s flesh unto God-wrought wood.

And they took up the smitten hand and made ready.  And Hatte laughed and spake; “It is dead!”  And they brought forth the whole hand, and Hatte whispered hoarse:  “It is whole!  Behold, earth, I offer it unto thee!!”  And they made it fast and he cried: “Ye—oh!—will not!”  And they fastened his feet.  And his lips stopped, locked of agony and his eyes spake empty.

And they cast down Jesus Christus.  And behold, they had brought forth the tatters within which He had been clothed and they spread them forth and cried:  “Behold, the raiment of a King!”  And they took bits among them and cried aloud in mockery.  And it was true that one who stood holding of the cloth saw it not.  And this was Flavius.

And they lay upon Jesus Christus, and behold, Hatte’s lips twisted that he speak, and the word was the watchword, “Mercy!”  And he whispered:  “God, if thou art God, mercy!”

And behold, the form of Jesus fell empty, knowing not, and they pierced the chalice that let flow the living wine.  And they raised up the crosses and made them fast.  And lo, the clouds sunk even upon the earth, sweeping the hills and breaking down the trees in wrath of the winds..  And the tempests rang the wraths that should fall upon ages of them that did this thing.

And it was true that they stood beneath the crosses and beat upon the pierced feet, and the flesh quivered like unto a host of maggots beneath the skin.  And behold, the ribs stood out even so that it seemed they would burst the flesh, and their bellies panted, and the eyes rolled from side unto side in anguish.

And when they had stood looking upon this long they lay hands upon the two women who sought.  And it was true that women of the town had come that they lend their succor unto them that sorrowed.  And they that had borne them up upon the crosses laid hands upon them and brought them up unto the foot of the crosses and cried:

“Look upon the King of the Jews, women!  Look upon Him!  Look upon the flesh of Tiberius!”

And Mary sunk and tore unto shreds her mantle, crying out the while, and made that she bind up the wounded feet.  And behold, their lips were stained of blood where they had kissed their loved flesh!

And the legs had split up unto the knees and the weighting down and the flesh-quaking which tore at the throbbing.  And behold, there was a sound of anguish, and the body of Hatte fell forward, crushing, the hands torn loose and the knees broken.  And they that looked sent up a shout of victory.  Yea, their voices shrieked and mingled with the on-sweeping torrents. And they laid hold of him and made the cross low and binded him up once more.

And it was the late sun, and it glowed anger-red below the bellied clouds.
And lo there sounded out a voice calling:  “OH-e-e-e!”  For it had been true that the camel had come unto Jerusalem, and they had taken in word that they had borne the son of Tiberius forth for to crown.  And Theia had been full of what her heart held and had followed their pointing, and behold, when she had come unto the spot her eyes took in the multitudes and the cries and the storm and fear was upon her.  And lo, she came upon His loved, who stood afar, praying, after the manner He had spoken.  And she had leaned far and said:  “Where is the crowing of the son of Tiberius?”

And they answered:  “Yon.”

And she had looked upon what shewed on high o’er the heads of the multitudes, and behold, her throat swelled, and she tore at her locks and her hands she beat one upon the other, speaking:  “It shall be!”  And lo, she sprang off the camel and ran swift.  Like unto a bounding deer her feet sped in the beauteous steps of the dance.  And she loosed her locks and brought forth the cloths and spread them, tearing off the mantle of coarse stuffs, and her lips speaking:  “It shall be!  It shall be!”

And lo, she came up unto the things that stood, dead things, empty chalices that dropped drops and that still made flesh sounds.  And behold, the hands were swelled unto the blackening, and the lips were black of blood, and the heads sunk.  And they that looked upon them called out:

“Behold, the Son of God and the King of the Jews!”

And they brought forth a white script and with the wet blood wrote:  “The King of the Jews.”  And this hath ne’er been wiped whither.  And they cried out:

See the son of Tiberius!  He is broken!  He is no more!  Crown him!  Crown him!  Yea, and the King, for their heads are still free and may suffer!”

And they brought thorned branches and wove crowns and with their hands pressed them down into the deep of the flesh.  And lo, they cried not out.

And the flesh of Hatte shook, and he made that he wet his lips with his tongue, and his throat made a hollow sound.  And he turned his head unto Jesus Christus and called:  “”Brother, the sign!”
And no sound came.  And the voice of Jesus, at a later time, cried out:  “My God!  My God!  Hast thou forsaken me?”

And lo, Hatte bended his body like unto a bow and cried; “Behold the palms wave!  The sands gleam!  The caravan cometh, and it is led by a camel white as goat’s milk, whose eyes are like unto rubies, and upon it—Jesus Christus!  And before it danceth Theia!  And one limpet—Simeon!  Simeon!  Caanthus, I am strong!”

And he gave up the ghost.

And upon the cross still suffered He, for the transgressor of the Jews beside Him lived.  And they that watched laughed, and behold, they saw that they stirred and they brought forth vinegar, the wine of the people, and offered it that He might live long to suffer.

And it was true that the Jews had fallen fearful, and one and another departed unto the temples to pray and hide.  And Rome remained to glut upon the feast.  And they had called out against the Son of God, and fallen weary of His words, for He forgave them, and spake in tones to the heavens, crying out that the Father forgive, for the Jews knew that Rome had lain their backs ope.

And the transgressor cried out long in his agony and he turned unto Jesus Christus, speaking out:  “Mercy!”  And the Rome’s men spake unto Him:  “If thou art the Son of God, save thyself and him.”
And the transgressor spake:  Why do this unto HIm?  He hath done naught unto thee, and I have perverted the laws and undone them.”

And Jesus Christus turned His head slow unto the transgressor and spake:  “Behold thou shalt enter the new land this day and be with the Father even as I.”

And lo, they looked upon Him at this, for He was uttering prophecy, even in death.

And He hung His beauteous head wet of blood and crowed of thorns, even as man had made His days thorned, and His precious flesh was illumined with the flames of the lightning.

And behold, the earth quaked.  And it was true that the tombs gave up dead.  Their bodies were shaken free.  And when the mighty peal had fallen like a trumpet, like a bird that flees singing sounded out:  “It is finished!”

And His head sunk, and He turned unto the withered form of Hatte, hanging limp and broken, and the smile of God broke upon His countenance, and it was o’er.

And lo, a shrieking sounded, and the voice of Theia called:  “Jehovah!  Jehovah!  Unto thy fires I commend him!”  And she fell upon her face.

And the multitude had departed save for a few of the Romans who were deep in cup.  And they, too, seeing all was o’er, departed.

And at the foot of the crosses, upon their knees, were Mary and the precious mother, weeping.  And lo, His loved sought, for it had been that He had commended her unto His most loved, and he came that he lend succor, and bore them away.

And Theia arose, and no thing looked upon her, nor they that had gone from out the empty flesh that hung.  And she crept her slow, fearful-slow, gasping, fearful and touched the flesh.  And behold, she stood her up and spake;

“It is written in blood upon the ages.  Tiberius, I wait; for it hath been—the thing within me!  And it shall be—the thing yet to come!  See!”  and she dipped within the blood her finger and wrote upon a bit of her mantle:  “The Son of Tiberius.”

And lo, she looked upon it and cried:  “Ah, ye coming ages!  Ye shall read this!”
And she watched the wind’s havoc and turned all ways, and it was empty.  And she spake:  “Theia, where to?”  And lo, she spread her locks and danced before the dead things, telling upon the winds her anguish, weeping not, but uttering sounds that chilled the echoes into phantoms.  And she danced long, and long, and long, and long.  And when it was dark, behold, she fell, to arise and step once more.  And lo, at the deep of dark she crept, like unto a wounded thing, unto the cross upon which Hatte hung, and lay her down.

And lo, the night was long, and when the morn had come, behold the first rays broke rosed, and bathed the wrath of man in God’s mercy.  And o’er the naked bodies had swept the torrent blood, and within the light it shewed royal, the purple of the son of a noble!  And upon the form of Theia the purple shewed.  And she was no more.

An on-line copy of ‘The Sorry Tale’ is available at

WRITING STYLES: ‘An Elisebethan Mask’

An Elisebethan Mask (Yes, that is how Pearl Curran spelled it!) is a play of 9 scenes comprising 186 typewritten pages.  It takes place in England, perhaps around the 1580s  and is about a very young William Shakespeare when he had not yet met his fame and fortune.  The draft copy I have is dated December 1, 1932.  It was edited by Max Behr, son of Herman Behr and California golf course architect and editor of Golf Illustrated and Outdoor America.  Gordon Ray Young,  a writer of fiction and book reviewer also intervened as editor and hounded Patience to rewrite parts of the work over a period of several years.   The play was never published.

Dr. Irene Hickman in her book I Knew Patience Worth quotes a part of the dialogue, which she titles ‘The Mire Song’  from An Elisebethan Mask  (When at her reading was titled “The Masque O’ Will”) which contains minor edits and additional lines compared to the draft copy I have. Hickman doesn’t say that she was present during the dictation but she states that “…someone suggested that Patience be asked to redo ‘The Mire Song’ to see whether it could be improved upon.  She repeated it with improvement.  Again the request- – – again improvement.  Eighteen times she acceded to the same request.  Then it was thought best not to ask again as there was no further room for improvement.”

The_Cardsharps 2

It is not suggested that this play was “channeled” from Shakespeare but seems to be an effort by Patience Worth to convey something about the early life of Shakespeare and to do it in a writing style reminiscent of perhaps early writing of Shakespeare or what one might think Shakespeare plays were like. The play was still being edited in the home of Pearl Curran Wyman on June 27, 1933 when Max Behr asked Patience “Do you mean that Shakespeare is speaking through you?  Patience replied “Who stirreth this puddin’?  And did ever a boiler o’ the pot betell the how the puddin’ came for to be?  The time it taketh?  The stuff it be created o’?  Yea, – but the puddin’, nay!   Pearl Curran did not acknowledge that she had ever read the Shakespeare plays although her mother had taken her to see one or two (which she found boring).

I don’t know what to say about this work and I believe that the draft copy I have is not the final version;  but the more I read it the more impressed I am.  I don’t think it compares with the real plays by Shakespeare by any means but then again, it is impressive to think that someone with no interest in writing or poetry, no advanced formal education and no experience reading or seeing Shakespeare plays and with little or no knowledge of Elizabethan peasant life or language would be able to write this.

I must say that I cannot discount the role of Max Behr and Gordon Young in massaging the dictation, with many re-writes over several years in a way that would have made the play more reminescent of Shakespeare’s writing. ( Both men were educated writers and editors and Max Behr, a graduate of Yale, likely was exposed to the writing of Shakespeare as part of his advanced education and social position.)   Rhyming, which is abundant throughout the play, was not Patience’s style and was very rare in her previous poems, plays and novels.  Although very minor corrections to other dictations were previously done by Patience and/or Pearl Curran, major re-writes as were reportedly done in ‘The Elizebethan Mask’ were not part of the modus operandi of Patience Worth.

See what you think!

Starting on Page 55

DAN:  Tonight, when taper wick be lit there be a throat that must be slit.  A gentle task!  All unsuspecting shall the knave, athout e’en a blade that might to save, walk to the trap and ne’er detecting, nor seeing the hand so sure directing, the ready blade that itcheth for its plunge, take its bare kiss and feel his body lunge back to the clay from whence it came.

Can he then tell the man, or name his name that he who doth the deed may take the blame? Nay, but another dungheap richer be.  And he who bid the deed. . . then where be he?  Minstrelling some lady and she applauds his gallantry!  Esh!  I’m sick to puke upon the rotten fare!  Rather would I to snap my sword and dare the wrath of court, or yet the Queen. . . bawdy old slut who taketh not a KIng!

WILL:  Ha! Ha! so sayeth youth who hath not learned him yet that truth be not a glove to fit unholy hand, rather it be an iron band that chokes the liar, cracks the necks of thief, yet, choked or dying they’ll ne’er declare disbelief, for lieing be the cloak of every thief.  Ye lie, ye steal, ye lie again, then kill and killing lie ye on and on until death in its justice doth thy tung to still.  Thus lieing be the everturning mill whose hopper gristeth from its spill, and ever will, the evils of the day.

DAN: (Wrathfuly) The evils of the day!  God, man, I say no day wert e’er so crawling, so bemeaning. for right be wrong, and wrong be right begleaning no fair harvest from the living, giving no zest e’en to giving of all a man may have for honour’s reason.  Why, honour at the court?  Jesu, ’tis treason!  The smell of blood besicks me, and the parry with the sword be vain, for, with the all o’ it, what then the gain?  Thou art as eld as I.  Then think ye that the why of all of this be youth?  Or what the answer then, forsooth?

WILL:  (Looking afar and musingly speaking to himself)
No creed, or colour, kith or kin, may give the reason up to him.

(Suddenly turning and facing Dan, at the same time holding forth his hand.)
My hand, my lad, for ’tis a sad sad plight that England ‘s in.  Alike to thee I ask ye be it sin?  I have no itch to enter in to such a gaming.  Mayhap this lack should be my soul ashaming.  The sword!  The last word in an argument when mercy’s reasoning might prevent.  To kill to spill thy brother’s blood, to let his stream of life to flood by thy intrusion!  Such men, like yokels in a fog begrope them out confusion, toppling them headlong ‘pon the first barrier to confront, they rush them headlong at conclusion.

(His tone changes, becoming tenderer.  He removes his hand from Dan and makes a vague gesture.)
What fools!  When there be pools where lilies lie.  What fools when there’s the ever-changeful sky.  What fools!  Such battlement hath ne’er bebested day.  What fools, thus to let their self give way losing the line bescribed ‘pon the brook, losing the tomes bewrit upon the sky, that open book where man may read his creed and, if he find him need for ritual and rite, behold the tapers of the night!  The chanting of the stars and moon, the sun which cometh soon, and radiant bedazzling keeps its tryst, the vessel of the Holy Eucharist held high in heaven, I vow, that sinners then might bow before divinest light!

(Dan, his mouth agape, crosses himself)
(Will laughing)
‘Tis fancy, coy, coy elf.  And what a game to lose thyself, beplaying with the stars and moon, fetching out of life that boon of dear forgetfulness.

DAN:  (Soberly)
‘Tis as though I kissed the Cardinal’s hem, as though I saw beyond and then . . .
(Jumping to his feet and slapping the table with his open palm)
Gad, man!  A suckling thou wouldst make a man!  I look upon this hand that’s run my fellows through, and then . . . I hate the thing and would be rid of it.  I pray thee, leave me that I be a man!  For, gad, no bladesman could or ever can bewed his God unto his most unholy day, else his staunchest tenants would give way and he would find him shaking like a wench before the filthy seething stench of such an day.

WILL:  (Will reaches over and pulls him down, speaking soothingly)
Naught be the matter of today.  Today be the wage, the fulsome pay of man’s own folly.  And man bedeems it melancholy fare.  This be not rare, for sore oppression be but the echo of man’s own confession to his lack.  Why shunt it then upon another’s back?  If man should play him with the moon, ‘twould be a boon.  Instead, he stops that he shall tie his shoon and dallys with the hap-beflunged instant in the stead.  He should to tiptoe, yea, and lift his head from out the squalid day.

Look ‘pon these lordlings at the court!  The mincing apes, the baudy sport for lolling courtezans that leach the land, playthings of such a band of pirates!  Gnawing rats that bleed fair England that she lay awaste her men while she doth flay the rotten grain for one small measuring of meal.

DAN:  I may not feel the zeal behind my sword.  I tell’e Will, there be no word that may describe the venom in this heart.  How then may I beplay a part with such a motly lot?

WILL:  The weevil be athin the pot of grain.  No sacrifice, nor loss, nor gain may right the wrong.  Man keepeth then the strong sweet silence of his faith, and leaves the day to quake.  For stripling e’er doth solve the riddled universe and writhe and curse the hapless instant in his puny wrath.  Dan, our words be chaff that’s blown a thousand, thousand years, the old, old fears of youth afore he knows, and aging, gad he throws his knowing to the skies.  His senile tear bedries it then o’er youth’s bedaring blade and he hath a newer shade of wisdom that shall rust e’er it uttereth the trust he placed.  The aged turn them ‘gainst the youth they faced and totter to the grave with no thing saved for all their gain.

DAN:  That be the thing that doth to bite.  I’m sick of all the logics trite that so beblears the day and predispose the youth to flaunt the truth as shoddy reason.  This Will doth prove the treason age bedeals.

WILL:  Thus youth doth feel


Certificate047Telka:  An Idyl of Medieval England was published by the Patience Worth Publishing Company, Inc. in 1928, somewhat  late in the career of Patience Worth although it was written during sessions in 1915 and 1916.  It was edited for publishing by Herman Behr, friend and financial supporter of Pearl Curran who also translated it into the German language.  In his forward to the book he stated that The realization of its profundity is limited only by the reader’s  capacity to assimilate and understand.”  Casper Yost, Editor for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat called it a “literary miracle.”  Telka is the last of the published major works of Pearl Curran (Two other major works An Elizebethan Mask and Samuel Wheaton remain unpublished)  and is perhaps the most evidential work that supports the view that the writing of Pearl Curran was not coming from her subconscious mind.   The book was dedicated to her first husband, John H. Curran with whom the Patience Worth phenomena developed early on.

Dr.Walter Franklin Prince, Ph.D., Research Officer for the Boston Society for Psychic Research wrote an article in the July 1926 issue of Scientific American about the Patience Worth case in which he stated that Telka in the judgment of some literary experts who have read it,  is a masterpiece.  He goes on to state that, “When I had gone about two-thirds of the way through it I felt sure that it had reached a climax from which it must fall off disappointingly; but the last fifteen pages or so proved to be of such poignant beauty that I walked the floor repeatedly before I could command myself sufficiently to go on —a rare experience.”

The following samples are from the first 4 of 19 chapters of Telka.


Dew-damp soggeth grasses laid low aneath the blade at yester’s harvest, and thistle-bloom weaveth at its crown a jeweled spray.  Brown thrush, nested  ‘neath the thick o’ yonder shrub, hath preened her wings full long aneath the tender warmth o’ morning sun.  Afield, the grasses glint, and breeze doth seeming set aflow the current o’  a green-waved stream.
Soft-footed strideth Telka; bare toes a-sink in soft earth, and bits o’ green a-cling, bedamped, unto her snowy limbs.
Smocked brown and aproned blue, she seemeth but a bit o’ earth and sky alight amid the field.  A-split at throat, the smock doth show a busum like to a sheen o’ fleecy cloud a-veiling o’er the sun’s first flush.
Betanned the cheek, and tresses bleached by sun at every twist o’ curl.  Strong hands do clasp a branch long dead and dried, at end bepronged, and casteth fresh-cut blades to heap.


A-slip, a-stumble and a-sprawl.   A-shake the wet o’ smock and loosed the torrent tears.  A briskish shuffle o’er the brow o’ sun-kissed hill.  A pause, bepuffed with anger afore Franco a-casting there.

TELKA:  “So! Ye spent o’ pretty words and deem it not meet to purchase them!  Ye hadst then to rather cast thy price a-wither!  Welladay, ‘tis time then the purchase be made!  I bid ye list, Franco!  ‘Tis days thou hast prated drivel, and I be no pot to catch the drip; thou then shalt dance to tune! —The kerchief hid?  Come, fetch it hence!  I fain would tear it to a shred!  Paugh!  Thou art a fortune’s fool to build upon a height!  I fain would save thee then!  I’d set thee at a ridge-dig and root thee in the earth.  I bid ye list!  ‘Tis thou that set a-wag the tung o’ countryside, and I be jest among the fools!  Then thou shalt buy thy spoil!  Aye, I know thee for a saint a-clothed in piety, but a maggot rot aneath.  Thou dost wed to me Franco!”

FRANCO:  “But Telka, I be not a-wish to wed!”

TELKA: “Aye, but I be!  And thou, like to the black sheep, jumpeth at my start!  Aye, and more!  I be a good lamb who followeth at the leader’s bid.  Do then to purge thy smock-skirt o’ its color daub; ye be a-stain with naught but earth a-wet hereon, and I do play at lady-wench!  We home with Baba, since he e’en now doth make thy keep.  “So thou dost gape?  ‘Twill set thee gaping o’ a truth do ye to put thy answer ‘nay.’  Come, drop thy casting!  I be of a liking for to fetch ye to the Baba that he clip thy wing.”

FRANCO:  “”Tut Telka, thee shouldst blush!  Know ye not ‘tis nay a-fitting that a maid do quest a lad?”

TELKA: “I do dang thee!  I then should blush to make thee pay, and brazen through the day a-standing to the taunts o’ fools!  Fetch thee hence with me!  See! Here be the lands o’ Baba, and here be Telka, who aneath doth sorry that ye be an ass!  Thou shouldst bury ‘neath the soil thy pots o’ daub, and perchance they then shall spring a grain more worth to thee.  I be no weaver o’ rainbows, but I stew full well.  Thy sup hath sorried sore!  Thee then must perforce to eat o’ pot cake cold o’drip.  I wage ye ‘tis Baba at the inn who tickleth his throat with pricking ayle.”


Cre-e-ek, a-cre-e-e-k!  And shutter showeth oped where Telka putteth forth a sleep-shocked head o’ curl.  A mouthing yawns she calleth:

TELKA:  “Baba! ‘tis swine-up Baba!  And dost not hear!  ‘Tis ne’er a music o’ the lord’s own court that soundeth half the noise.  Here! Dump the swill, and fast the door a bit, for morn-wind beareth it a-back, and I but sniff for porridge.  I’d put a broth aneath my kirtle.  So thou then bringest sorry  face to tempt a belly besoured.  O’ goose-gabble!  Paugh!  Thou art a wisdom-speller Baba, and a fool-trickster!  And Franco,—Ugh!  I hate the thought o’ him.  “See! Adown the hill’s path cometh Marion and fetcheth pack — a wedding’s gift.  The hussy!  I put a hope ‘tis not a loaf.  She has a purpled ribband I should love to tie about me.”


Adrip, and drops a-slide ‘pon stone walls to pool aneath.  A-chill the morn air, and mist doth hang ‘bout hill like white smock ‘bout the shoulders o’ a wench.  Smudge-scent upon the air, and brown fat reeking from crack o’ door.  A grunt, a shuffle, and door doth ope, and Telka wriggleth bare toes in pool-drip.

TELKA:  “Baba, ‘wake!  ‘Tis now the sun’s half o’ climb, e’en tho’ he playeth at blind-buff.  Do turn the spit; I hung a strip thereon,  and gad! ‘tis browned to mouth’s watering.”

“E-e-e-k!   E-e-e-e-k!”

“Drat thee Baba!  Thy feet be sleep-numbed I do swear! Doth thee not know—‘Tis the wee-squeels sleep o’beauty make?”

BABA:  “Telka wench, I put the swine to sty, and by the gray goose’s tail do leave them bide therein!  Hath thee scorched the day for Franco, and hath he hid till flames a-cool!  Or doth he fetch him hither at a-later?”

TELKA:  “Thou art a fool’s bells and jabber Baba, for thy word doth ring a-taint o’fool.  He hath a sorry for himself, and I be no coaxer o’ sorry aches away!  I bid him stay apart from me this day, and Marion fetcheth here a-later for to bake and brew.  Do crack the necks o’ goose brothers.  I fain would see their drip to ooze.  I’d put a savory within the stew, wert not that Franco sniffeth.”


This rare book is available online as a digital copy at