Monthly Archives: July 2013

THE LATER YEARS

 

PearlCurranRogersOccasionally I see articles about Pearl Curran and Patience Worth that state that communication between the two stopped after 1927 or ’28.  But that is not true!  After Pearl Curran moved to California in 1930, communication between Patience Worth and Pearl Curran ( now Mrs. Robert Wyman) continued as before, albeit without the strong support previously provided by Casper Yost and others of her St. Louis circle of friends. Pearl now had “Dotsie” Smith (Mrs. Alexander Smith) to encourage her and friend of the family, Max Behr to help edit her writing and her third husband, Robert Wyman.  it was during this time that An Elizebethan Mask was written.  As time went on another circle of friends developed and Patience continued to speak in her usual way, although somewhat subdued at times, until Pearl died in 1937.  (Perhaps even later according to Irene Hickman in her book ‘I Knew Patience Worth’.)

Pearl Curran Rogers

Pearl Curran Rogers

Irving Litvag in his book “Singer in the Shadows” relates that   according to Mrs. Alexander ‘Dotsie’ Smith, with whom Pearl had lived for a while in California, around the middle of November 1937 Mrs. Curran had said to her: “Oh, Dotsie, Patience has just shown me the end of the road and you will have to carry on as best you can.”  Although Mrs. Curran had not been in ill health, however on Thanksgiving Day, she caught a cold, pneumonia developed and she was taken to Willshire hospital in Los Angeles where she died on December 3, 1937.

 

Pearl-Curran-GraveAt the funeral service the small group of relatives, friends, and followers gathered to pay their final respects to the woman who for almost a quarter of a century had been the faithful voice, the “harp” of Patience Worth.  The final words, reportedly spoken at Mrs. Curran’s grave were “And thus it is that we take leave of her, knowing well that her head is resting upon the bosom of Patience, whose words are as arms that would cradle the world.”

Pearl Lenore Curran is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale California; Sunrise Slope, Lot 5778, Space 3.

The following  is an example of dictation given at the beach home of Pearl Curran Wyman in California on June 27, 1933.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience shall I meet and recognize you when I go where you are?

Patience:  What be I save my word unto thee; and do I present unto thee through word my flesh?  Nay, but the salt o’ what I be.  That thou hast come upon me ahere be not by chance, but that I hae sought thee.  Thereby ye shall for to know that lo’e I ye, so thereby hae I sought and followed thee.  Ahere I shall do likewise when thou comest as a traveler unto my way.  Aye, sire, wi’ a glad voice I shall call me “aday” and thou shalt for to know, for word be but the out-symbol o’ an in-urge.  Here the urge taketh the place o’ the tongue.

Max Behr:  Do you mean by this that you knew Dr. Belmont before he met us?

Patience:  I be a thief, egad, a graceless thief; and yet that which I pilfer from him or any man he hath, wi’out the spendin’ o’ a pence, and that which I take he shall ne’er miss, for in the takin’ lo they that lose shall grow greater, for I be a pilferer o’ spirit aye, and I hae ta’en o’ him afore ye lay ‘e ‘pon him.  I be a tickle o’ it.

(At this, we all expressed wonder, and Patience enlightened us with the following remark.)

Patience:  Aye he set afore his ain image and kenned it.

(Note:  Before talking with Patience, the scene between Will Shakespeare and Johann had been read.  To themselves, both Pearl and Mr. Wyman had thought what a wonderful Johann Dr. Belmont would make.)

Question:  Do you mean Johann?

Patience:  I shall for to sweet his tongue and preen him a whit, then strut him forth that he may see himsel’.

Max:  Well Patience, if Johann is taken from a personality is Will, Will?

Patience:  Weel, since he wert, need I for to create a-new?  I hae loosed his tongue and wi’ cunning pettiskirted the word in mine ain fancy.

Max:  Do you mean by that that Shakespeare is speaking through you?

Patience:  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!

Dr. Belmont:  Patience, several times I came near being wealthy.  Shall I achieve financial independence and thus be free to devote myself to the work closest to my heart?

Patience:  Thou, thou, thou!  And havin’ the truth athin, sic an quiz!  Look’ee, ye be richer afar athin ye than ever afore and the day shall yet lay bounty athin thy hand.  Nuff for to labor and be at the task, be all man need.  Thou hast ta’en o’ the day, and the day hath in turn, ta’en frae thee.  Whathap?  Yet thou has the greatest task, which buyeth amore than goods, for to do.  This be thy beginnin’.  Fret ye nay, for through thy faith thou hast purchased.

Max:  What is his work to be?

Patience:  Aye, a sly lance he hath and a bold ‘un – a sly one to prick youth and a bold ‘un to fell man in his folly.

Max:  Should he now write, exposing the hypocrisys he has met with in life, and set forth the understanding he has come to of the relation between the material man and his spirit?

Patience:  Aye, but he yet hath for to do wi’ youth.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience when you are not speaking to man through Pearl, what are your labors?

Patience:  There be nay joy like givin’ draft to the thirsted.  I be a deliverer o’ draft.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience, can you contact other inhabited worlds?

Patience:  Think ye thy ball be the only ball a-spin that speweth forth unto the here?  This be the trick o’ loosin’ (loose from flesh).  When flesh be cast, what then may tether thee?

Dr. Belmont:  Is this immediate?

Patience:  Accordin’ to his freedom from flesh.

Question:  Please be a little more explicit.

Patience:  Lovee o’ flesh for flesh, be a fetter.  What mither leaveth her babe and strayeth ever frae its side?  Look’ee beloveds, tendin’ be part o’ the sacrament o’ spirit and what the instant spent at sic an task?

Dr. Belmont:  Patience are you engaged in other work beside this?

Patience:  Since there be nay time and since love o’ all graces proveth this, what then might ye deem?  Look’ee man, the finite may not conceive tendin’ many tasks in the same span, for he conceiveth through time, but loosed from his finite being, his tasks become then infinite.  He may stand wi’ a foot  ‘pon the ocean and hand ‘pon the mountain-top.  Gad!  That be a mouth’s full for a sma’ wench!

Dr. Belmont:  Patience, what is your conception of the infinite potentialities of man’s soul?

Patience:  It be a part, aye, part o’ the great and perfect cycle.  Remember thee, there be nay end unto perfection, for it too, be infinite.  The greatest perfection man may conceive be as a sand’s grain ‘gainst the reality o’ perfection.  The word ‘perfection’ be an absolute unto man, for it containeth the acme o’ his ideal.  Unto him it be a thing to be attained with surety and finality.  But look you unto the infinite, the infinite be infinite perfection and may not simply be, but continueth forever, becoming greater and greater until all things be harmoniously swung together.  When the inharmonious shall become attuned, the joy o’ the harmony consumeth it till it spurteth and giveth forth new dissonances to become new harmony.  Thereby the infinite be the amalgamation of all imperfection and inharmony unto an ever-spurtin’ perfection.  God may not be perfection, for perfection, like unto Him, be ever creation.  Ye may not conceive the thing, though ye may mouthe it.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience are you conscious of space and time?

Patience:  Aye, but this be not for the say.  Each man receiveth his new sense, understandin’ o’ the plan.  He kenneth naught o’ time but moveth with the mighty awesome sweep, e’en as the heavy waters o’ the monster sea swelleth shoreward majestically.  Yet, he, having received understandin’ at the freeing (from flesh) feeleth the exultant awe, the elation o’ joy in freedom which kenneth no bounds and no ends.  I say me, he moveth, yet since there be nay space nor time, he in reality hath but come to BE and to know his Being.  For here it be but the state o’ BEING; and look ye, what a QUICK word that be!

Dr. Belmont:  What becomes of the objective mind which we leave behind at death?

Patience:  Thy objectivity be the garment o’ flesh reality but thy in-man (spiritual consciousness) kenneth little or careth little at the freeing.  To be freed be for to be waked.  Ye tarry not at the wakin’ sire.  Nay, ye waken and become eloquent o’ the here.  Thy doubts become clear, for doubt be a trick o’ flesh and falleth with it.

Dr. Belmont:  But what is the immediate experience at death?

Patience:  A bit weary wi’ the fetters, a yawn, a blink and the wakin’.

Dr. Belmont:  Do we remember our earthly experience?

Patience:  The functions o’ the mind (in flesh) be but the concrete measure ‘pon the infinite inflow, the retention o’ memories a part o’ the individual personality, the garment of the day as the personality receiveth it.  Thereby through selective fellowin’ we create the day we know and that day tethereth through love till the span when them we lo’e have met and there be nay longer use for the tarry or the fetter o’ memory.  Memory hath swift feet and speedeth toward eternity where it joineth its fellow.  Thereby ’tis finite to be-speak thee o’ memory for that which hath been, be!   Look thee, to think as thou puttest it, be to strive for conception.  Ahere, ’tis but receptive conception.  To see is to perceive and doubt – to be, be to know.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience can you travel through space with the rapidity of thought?

Patience:  Ah me, what a pack be time and space!  To wait, to ponder, to labor and to track be the offices o’ time and space.  To arrive through the prompting o’ the desire to be.  To accomplish in the now is to be.  There be nay then nor when, ahere.  There be but the everlasting now.  To be fully conscious o’ the now is to become exalted with the awe o’ being.

Dr. Belmont:  You just said that ‘God may not be perfection’.  This contradicts my thought of Him.

Patience:  Nay sire, He is the Being o’ the state o’ being, ever at becoming through his ever-creation.  The pith o’ His being be perfection, and we, the effulgence o’ that perfection but teem His magnitude and reflect the pith o’ His being.  His pith be an everlasting teeming flow o’ perfection at becoming and being.  He be, and we have been in Him, and having been, we be, thereby we but announce Him unto Himself.  We be the articulation of His being.

Dr. Belmont:  Patience could you show yourself to us if you wanted to?

Patience:  I hae nay itch for to show me unto thee.  Why sire, e’en though you hast thy flesh it tricketh, and nay man kenneth the real ye.  They but know thee through thy labor and thy utterance.  E’en now thou hast more o’ my reality than ye hae o’ many thy brother.  What be I save a song leaned ‘pon my love, and a fellow to thy heartie.

Question:  Is Dr. Belmont to be a part of the task?

Patience:  At labor e’en now, and ye ask sic an quiz?

 

 

WRITING STYLES: Patience and Irene

Irene Hickman, D.O.

Dr. Irene Hickman, D.O.

Patience Worth predicted that there would be  writing by others who would propose that it came from Patience Worth.  But Patience cautioned that such writing would not be the “put’ of her, meaning that it would not have come from her. One notable example is a book of poems self-published by Irene Hickman a doctor of osteopathy who discovered the benefits of hypnotherapy and who later in her life, founded the National Society of Hypnotherapists.  She was a past president of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association and author of “Mind Probe-Hypnosis” and “Remote Depossession“.

She was a believer in spirits and used past-life regression and spirit release in her therapies.  According to Anne Spencer’s tribute to Dr. Hickman after her death on November 5, 2002,  “hundreds of thousands of persons have been helped to heal because of this great woman and her abilities as a physician and a hypnotherapist. . . .and a role model for all.  She was a pioneer when women were thought to be nothing more than a homemaker.” 

She was reported to be known for her “ground-breaking efforts at land value assessment after she was elected as Sacramento, California county property tax assessor in 1966.  So you see, Irene Hickman was no piker; she apparently was a well-educated, professional woman who helped a lot of people and made a significant contribution to society.

In the preface of her book  “I Knew Patience Worth” self-published in 1971 Hickman states she became acquainted with a woman who served as amanuensis (those who write about Patience Worth like to use that word) for Patience Worth and became known to her in the fall of 1947.  Hickman states that  “I came to know her well, and to realize that her shy sensitive nature impelled her to avoid the kind of publicity that had constantly surrounded Mrs. [Pearl] Curran.  I have therefore given her a fictitious name (Anne), and have also disguised those other persons who are mentioned in order to protect her from the distress that I know would be hers should she become the subject of publicity and attention.”

Well, that’s all well and good but I wish she hadn’t done that. It would be nice to know who “Anne” really was.  “For Anne, the writer, the experience was many faceted as she would find that the words were frequently accompanied by imagery, sounds, and even odors appropriate to the writing of the moment.  The words came to her unbidden and would ring through her head in the manner of a well-known popular song.  When the first phrase would be written down, then would come the second, and then the third until the completion of one message.” 

Dr. Hickman provides a disclaimer in the preface to “I Knew Patience Worth” in which she says “I am specifically avoiding any attempt to provide proof, either that Patience Worth is what she claims to be – – – a discarnate spirit – – – or that the material here presented is actually hers,  “

Well, I surely don’t know if the material in the book was really channeled from the Patience Worth of Pearl Curran.  I think that Irene Hickman was sincere in her belief that it may have been.  It is for the reader to decide if the material channeled by “Anne” from “Patience Worth” from 1947 through 1950 was coming from the same entity that wrote through Pearl Curran from 1913 until December 1937 when Pearl Curran died.  I have to be honest and say that I don’t think it was.  It seems to me that some of it, especially in the first part of the book, appears to be a very bad parody of the writing of Pearl Curran’s Patience Worth.  The later poems loose the contrived archaisms and seem to be from a different writer. Perhaps those poems, some of which are half-way tolerable, more likely represent the real writing of “Anne” when she was emotionally distracted and forgot to mimic Patience Worth.

Here are a few examples.  This first example was given to provide encouragement for Hickman .

Look ‘e, beloved, fear not thy stand.
O’er lo’ for a pence is wronged yea,
But knowin’ a pence be a pence is nay more
Than usin’ the mindie the Lord ha’e gi’en thee.
Thy handies are to heal; if then a word be gi’en
To add to the healin’ that be goodsome.
But she doth prod a whit and tread
‘Pon ground too newed.
It taketh great ponderin’ to be a mindie prodder,
E’en as it doth to be a healer wi’ the hands.
Thou shalt find thy way through thy strength.
There ha’e been times when thou didst to wonder,
 “Be the wrong athin me.” Think not ‘pon it.
The lass be fined and sweet added,
But she shall to throw much food
For crows and knoweth not they will eat
As long as the food be there.
If she could be made to see
That she cannot make herself
A crutch for everyman,
For some men lo’ the feel o’ leanin’.

LOOK, I HAVE SILLIED THE DAY

Look, I have sillied the day.
I have sought songs when songs are not to be sought.
Songs are birthed within the heart
And bide there till the heart opes and frees them.
I have prodded fancy, and fancy is not a mule
But a deer that is seen an instant
‘Mid the halo of the sun within a glade.
Then at this instant must we drink the full of her.
Tether her not, but cherish the image we saw
Till we can bring it forth.
I have clawed at the realm of creation’s door
And known not the opening.
For it takes but a breath, a word, to ope.
Let fancy weave round thee like fairy smoke,
But put it not within a box
Or when thou seeketh next
‘Twill be as nought.

HELEN
(According to Hickman “Helen once commented that so many men she had known had wanted to marry her and she could not understand why this was so.  She asked Patience to explain.”)

Wench, wench, wench!  How many ither wenches looked at anither and said, “What is it?”  If then there were someone who could tell them the secret, the universe would be bedlam.  I of all ato tell, egad!
Hath watched the tabby walkin’ soft footed wi’ grace?  She be wi’ out awareness that she be so.  I think me thy most perilous weapon be thy damned stupidity.  For thou speaketh soft-voiced unto a lad, thou holdeth out the cup o’ understanding, and the hand holdin’ the cup lacketh not grace.  Then thou wondereth why he thinketh thou art lone the one.  Look thee back ‘pon each lad that hath trod thy path.  Hath any one o’ them a whit o’ likeness?  Nay, yet each foundeth something in thee.  Tend to soft speakin’ unto thy laddie and let ither lassies understand the universe.

FALSIES

I say me I feel a whit fearsome for the lassies
Who would fill nature’s attributes with ither substance.
Ye know there be an adage that the proof o’ the cloth
Is in the feel.

 

ON THE DEATH OF A BROTHER

Like a well-loved familiar dwelling is this house of life.  We know each corner of it, and the way the sun touches it and the way the hearth feels to the cold fingers on a winter’s eve.  A well-loved dwelling dear to us it becomes.  Even the ugly places become beautiful because they are part of it.

If then one of us is called to leave this home we have found so protective, we know fear within our hearts and sorrow at the leaving of our brother.  Let us then know this.  Our fear is that we must leave too one day and our sorrow that we shall not see the beloved.  If then it were known, when these called ones leave through the door the opening of the door is difficult and filled with pain for it is still fleshly, but when the door closes, then we lose sight of them and know not that their feet take wing and their arms are outstretched, for they have found their home again in greater understanding.

Rejoice then.  Sorrow not, for they are upon a new wondrous path that is not written of in earthly words.  Remember when the door closed upon thee, ’tis just opened for thy fellow who passed through it.  Let then not thy house of life cling to thee – – -for nay man comes unto his God with his house upon his back.

WRITING STYLES: ‘Poetry’

In the poems of Patience Worth one can find her most creative and imaginative work.  She called her poems “songs” and writing them her “singing”.  Of course, Pearl Curran knew all about songs and singing as she had spent many years of her young life studying piano and singing.  Patience Worth uses the language of her poems as an artist uses paint on canvas. She smoothes and blends words of archaic and modern origin to produce images and feelings that pull the reader into a dimension outside of time and space.  The following  poems are, in my opinion, some of her best.

 

THE SOUNDS UNHEARD BY MAN
(July 1919)Woods_Moon

I have heard the moon’s beams
Sweeping the waters, making a sound
Like threads of silver, wept upon.
I have heard the scratch of the
Pulsing stars, and the purring sound
Of the slow moon as she rolled across
The night.  I have heard the shadows
Slapping the waters, and the licking
Sound of the wave’s edge as it sinks
Into the sand  upon the shore.

I have heard the sunlight as it pierced
The gloom with a golden bar, which
Whirred in a voice of myriad colors.
I have heard the sound which lay
Between the atoms which danced in the
Golden bar.  I have heard the sound
Of the leaves reclining upon their cushions
Of air, and the swish of the willow
Tassels as the wind whistled upon them,
And the sharp sound which the crawling
Mites proclaim upon the grasses blades,
And the multitude of sounds which lie
At the root of things.  Oh, I have heard
The song of resurrection which each seed
Makes as it spurts.  I have heard the sound
Of the night’s first shadow, when it 
Intermingles with the day, and the
Rushing sound of Morning’s wings as she
Flies o’er the Eastern gateway.

All of these have I heard, yet man
Hath not an ear for them.  Behold,
The miracle He hath writ within me;
Letting the chord of imagination strum!

 

THE SOUNDS OF MEN
         (July 1919)Rivera_Cour2

I have heard the music men make
Which is discord, proclaimed through
Egotry.   I have heard the churning
Of water by man’s cunning, and the
Shrieking of throttles which man addeth
Unto the day’s symphony.  I have heard
The pound of implements, and the clatter
Of blades.  I have heard the crushing blasts
Of Destruction.  I have heard men laugh
And their laughs were rusted as old vessels
In which brine wert kept.  I have heard
Women chatter like crows o’er carrion
And laugh as a magpie o’er a worm.
I have beheld all of these
And heard them.  Men have ears
For such; and the mystery of man is
That he should present them, and cry:
“Sing! Sing, Poet! Sing!”

 

 

THE BATTLE FIELD
(November 1916)

Constant_Mayer_

‘Twas morning, when my footsteps led me down the winding way.
The heavy smoke still hung the damp grey airs.
Mine eyes looked for the coming sun, but it did fail,
And weak stars fearful, trembled ‘mid the heaven’s deep.
The Earth beneath my very footfall shook.
The sod’s breast opened in gashes wide.
The field’s bloom drooped, or flamed red,
E’en as some dull fire.

And ah, mine eyes sought, sought, sought!
I looked on every way and ever saw some livid lip,
Some grinning death-oped mouth, some glaze-dimmed eye that saw
No morning’s coming, some man-stopped hand
That reached in suppliance for a brother’s grasp,
Some beast felled ‘mid his master’s blood,
Some cheek still stained of youth-fear tears,
Some empty bowl, that belched
To wipe Him from out His own, some blade,
Deep-dyed, the drops still thick’ning on its edge.

Ah, ’twas dark!  But sudden from the East,
E’en through the thick of smokes and mists,
Slipped a golden shaft that fell
E’en at my feet, to light—ah! another of the host!
A youthed son of some waiting one, his faith cut down
E’en ‘mid his faith-flashed smile; his locks crisp-young;
His cheek still stained of youth’s kiss on its curve;
His weak-sunk head at rest upon his bended arm,
And stiffened lips had failed to reach
The ebon cross that shewed within his fingers grasp.

And lo, the sun did kiss his bended head and gleam an halo ’bout.
And I did stoop to touch, and at the touching, lo,
I sunk there ‘pon the sod and wept;
And looked on high unto the weak sun climbing slow,
And oped my prayer in anguished word; for on the host that lay
God’s sun-smile shewed, and on the cross
There gleamed one word that spake me shame.

And I did raise mine eyes
And look afar unto the fields that lay,
And lo, there, cross on cross did stand,
Rude-wrought of such an stuff as His
Was builded up.  No word that, read
Might tell who lay within Earth’s breast.

And I did shut away the sight;
For His bright sun did light the hosts,
And on them showed the mocking, searing scripts,
And each one bore his shaming word:
“Brother!”  “Brother!”  “Brother!”

 

GLORIASaints

Oh ye mighty walls and towering spires astride the cowled gabled ways!
Thy emblazoned scripts depicting fanciful reaction of ancient times;
Smoking altars upon which yellow candles flare, burning the sacred air,
To send aloft a pungent scent of mouldering decay,
Blackening with slow sure touch the placid faces of the saints,
Who with stony visages gaze adown the aisles, unseeing man’s exultant
     joy or his despair.
Vault-like, in cold aloofness, proudly do ye stand, reechoing the chants
That flow from out cold tombs, the unlit hearts of priesthood and of
     saintly nuns.
For this did saints ope up their veins?  Did martyrs writhe?  And did
     holy writs
By their tedious array enslave the humble sanctity of men?
Or did men, to do their will, write with unalterable tracery
Law, that ran new within the fluid pressed in fervid troth to God?
While blood in lapping waves washed thy very doors, did Mary stand
Dumb, hearkening to some litany mumbled in a limped tongue,
And priest send incense up, or light a taper in thy pit-like dark?
Oh, everlasting God!  I am dismayed, that thy very stones did not gape
And fall apart; that every scarlet line within thy illumined records
Did not spurt in anguish and, bleeding, wipe the “law” from off the page.

Oh, holy structure, revered by man, upheld through ages through thy
     claim of part with Him!
Already is that morning come, and quaking earth upheaving!
Already doth thy mellow chime whisper its eerie knell.  Already doth
That King whom thou acclaimest sit in regal glory upon the mighty seat!
Oh, crumbling vestment of the ego,  Man—make way!  His host proceeds!
No altar yet upraised but shall give way to that his Sire hath flung
     from His prolific hand.
He, the High-priest, lights the taper Day, each morning with the sun,
And incense flings across the valley way in silver mists;
Filling the night with litanies, lighting each star in memory of some
     holy soul,
Defying mould and ravages of time, the festival of worm upon the
     festering flesh.
Exultant doth this God erect anew each coming day and night
An altar upon which to burn our hearts, while thou dost re-echo dead prayers;
Burning incense yet before the embered fire of Hope.

While thy dimming tapers die, and the carved saints stand mute before
     thy suppliants
What, should His holy step be heard naked upon the stones, with the
     pattering of sheep beside?

 

THE DAY’S WORK
(February 1926)young_man_drinking_a_glass_of_wine_400

Behold, behold, the roadways lying stretched in grey dust-patterns
     about the field, curving the hillocks like necklets of ash;
And the creeping pageantry of man, sweeping out in gentle lines upon
     the pathways of the earth;
Yea, men who sweat, men who ache, men who anguish;
Men who torture from crude stuffs, stones and clay, wondrous imagery
     which speaks their souls;
Men who dip within their hearts and write scripts which the ages yet shall read;
And men who dip within a fluid, writing that which is not thick enough to
     cast a shadow;
Men who press their breasts upon implements of labor, striking the
     pregnant soil that it belch forth its teeming utterance;
Men who idly dream dreams that shall stir the hearts of empires;
Men who labor with blind eyes, never seeing, ever striving, with
     confusion as companion;
Men who live!  live to the last bitter dreg within the cup, quaffing with
     delight the potion of death—in defiance lifting the goblet;
Men who sit within the shadow of their doubt, beholding the cup of
     death in fearing,
Waiting for Tomorrow who already hath laid her hand upon the cup’s brim—
     Tomorrow whose finger pointeth to Eternity!

So this is the pageantry of labor; these are the vitals of Day.
     Behold, when they stop the Day is finished.
This is Day’s labor, this intricate pattern of laboring;
     What pattern doth it weave?
Oh, some morrow shall I stand beside the Loom
      with the shuttles empty—
All these little crawling puppets of the day, each unwound
     of its strand of existence;
Beholding the Plan, the Pattern God wove!

 

 

 

 

 

WRITING STYLES: ‘Rosa Alvaro, Entrante’

After having been writing under the tutelage of Patience Worth for more than 6 years, Pearl Curran wanted to spread her own wings as a writer and submitted a  short story to the Saturday Evening Post entitled Rosa Alvaro, Entrante.  It was accepted by the magazine and published in the November 22, 1919 issue.  Briefly it is a story of a young women, Mayme Ladd,  bored with her life as a sales clerk in a department store in the early 1900s who assumes a more exciting personality of Rosa Alvaro, the spirit of a Spanish lady whom she contacted through a medium.  Pearl was able to draw details of the story from her own experiences as a young woman working as a sales clerk in Chicago and from the milieu of mediumship surrounding the previous 6 years of her involvement with Patience Worth and all of the trappings associated, in the public mind, with spirit communication.  Pearl had an abundance of material to write an entertaining story—which she did!Rosa-Burgess

Much has been made of this story in a PhD dissertation by Mia Grandolfi Wall and by others who use it to “disprove previous spiritualistic theories regarding the nature of Pearl Curran’s automatic writing.”  That is, Wall’s thesis is that Pearl Curran is revealing in this story that, just as Mayme Ladd faked the personality of Rosa Alvaro, she also faked the personality of Patience Worth. And as other critics have tediously conjectured, Wall states that Pearl Curran struggled “to develop a feminine sexual identity and to suppress her professional ambition.”  I may have more to say about  this thesis later but for now, take a look at the writing style of Pearl Curran in her short story Rosa Alvaro, Entrante.

Madam Martin mopped herself with a heavily scented handkerchief and swayed form side to side.  Finally with a guttural sigh she said pantingly:  “The conditions is strong.  Miss, will you have a life reading?  You oughta.  What I sees for you is worth it.”

She held her hand forth and the shaking hand of Mayme laid two dollars therein.  “Thanks,” said the madam, beaming.  “I said right off when I seen you—-”  She stopped and hiccupped, then spilled:  “Herself, she lost herself.”  She smiled and went on easily:  “Poor Laughing Water!  She thinks you are lost.  She’s such a child.  Why, last week she took me and slid down the banister for a young reporter from the Post.  Be still, Laffie.  After while you can talk to the paleface.

“Shall I trance?  All right now, just you be in rappert.  Now hold my hands and think a question.  Don’t be scared.  Laughing Water won’t hurt you.  She loves paleface.”  Here the voice again assumed the cracked childish tone:  “Me like lady paleface.  She be controllum by big long-time-dead Spanish lady, name Rosa, Rosa AL-Al-Alvaro, Rosa Alvaro.

“Rosa say why you wurra?  She say she help paleface lady.  She say what you ask dis medium, nothin’ to what she do for you.  You get Rosa controllum you.  You homely.  She lovely.  She make you Spanish bootifiul.  You come Madam Martin; she develop you strong.  You lost, you lost out yourself.  You b’lieve Laughing Water?  Ha, ha, ha!  Good-by.”

Madam Martin struggled and became her beaming self.  After more mopping she continued:  “You know, I don’t know what goes on in a trance.  Did she tell you something?”  Mayme nodded.  “You ought to develop, deary, I sees groups and groups of ’em round you.  You could raise out of your vibrations and be happy.  Do you know, deary, that us psychical people are that sensitive that we have to bathe ourselves to get rid of the vibrations  They settles on us like dust, you know.  I feel your soul sphere is so high that you suffer.  You was born in aqua, That’s water, and that’s what ails you.  I sees the spirit of a beautiful Spanish lady.  She says her name is Rosa Alvaro and she was a child of Napolyun Bonypart.  She says she has watched over you since you was a child.  Rosa says you must follow her to avenge her mother.  She make the world acknowledge you.  You will be big lady, Laughing Water say.”

Mayme sat with her dull eyes staring straight into the shifty ones of Madam Martin.  Something in their directness seemed to stop the prophecy and the madam led off in another direction:  “Do you want to ask any questions?”  she asked.

“Yes,”  Mayme answered.  “Will I succeed?”

‘Yes, yes, yes!” said the madam.  “You will, deary.  I see you successful, and they tell me you will meet a blond man, changin’ your fortune.  I sees lace and silk and gold, and sees you laughing.  Any other question?”

“No.”  Mayme had risen, the dullness settling once more upon her.

“You should develop, deary.  I ain’t nothin’ to what you’d be.”

Madam Martin was opening the door and the hot street gleamed grayly under the street lights as Mayme descended the stone stairway and walked toward Wabash.  She moved listlessly along until she reached Mrs. Winthrop’s, climbed the hot stairs, opened the dusty screen, entered the dimly lit, musty, hot hall and climbed the stuffy padded stairs to the second floor.  Walking the length of the long hall she opened her own door with its ridiculously large key, lighted the gas and sank into a chair and passed a shaking hand over her dripping brow.

Through the window at the end of the room came the tinny sound of a piano cart playing what sounded a little like Sicilian Rose.  Mayme got up wearily and began to undress.

The card bearing Madam Martin’s name fluttered to the floor, She stooped and took it up.  “Know the future” she read and smiled wanly, placing the card upon the dresser and slipping into a dull kimono and sitting before the window to listen.  Presently she rose, procured a tablet and pencil, reseated herself and wrote with a swift hand upon the white surface.  “The world owes you a living.  All you got to do is collect.”

After sitting for sometime considering the line she got up and pinned it to the frame of the looking-glass, stood for a moment silent, then flung herself across the bed and sobbed brokenly.

I can just see Pearl Curran, giggling and laughing to herself as she was writing this.  I think she was writing  ‘tongue-in-cheek”, giving her readers what she thought they would relate to in a stereotypical story about séances, mediums, spirits and multiple personalities, something she knew a lot about.

What do you think?