This post will be a rather long post and in several parts because I want to provide some examples of the versatility of Patience Worth to write in different styles and forms of the English language.  I think that the key to the message provided by Patience Worth is in her use of language.  To those who think that the subconscious mind of Pearl Curran did all of this I ask, in all good sense how could anyone with only a grade school education, no interest in writing or poetry, not well read, no interest in history, having not traveled beyond the central part of the United States and had never seen the ocean know all of this?  How did she have the ability to manipulate language this way? Let’s start with the ‘default’ language of Patience Worth as used in her ‘table talk’, that is, in her conversations with sitters during the Ouija board sessions. Remember, this early communication was dictated one letter at a time, without punctuation.   [Taken from The Case of Patience Worth  by Walter Franklin Prince]OuijaBoard


March 24, 1914

Emily Hutchings:  When Patience is known to the public she’ll revive Puritan styles.
Patience:  ‘Twere a virtue, egad!
Emily Hutchings:   Clothes were very different in your day—far more sensible?
Patience:   Many’s the wench who pulled her points to pop.  But ah!  The locks were combed to  satin.  He who bent above could see himself reflected.
Emily Hutchings:  How were the young girls like in your day, Patience?
Patience:  A silly lot—like they of thine.
Pearl Curran:  How do our styles strike you?
Patience:  Not as quills to adorn the redman doth the gobbler sacrifice his tail, but for the chaste bonnet of thy women.

June 13, 1914 [After supper]

Patience:  A goodly feast ye bellied.
Emily Hutchings:  They were coarse in her day.
Patience: Yea, coarse cloth weareth well.  Ye would sack the pumpkin in silk.  A lady o’ the knight may broider a banner with her tresses, but a wench o’ the land may but card and weave.  Ye thirst for the broidered cloth.  Lackaday!  ‘tis ever so.  Swine among a melon patch.

August 28, 1914  [Meaning of a beautiful verse discussed.]

Patience:  Tish, tish, thou drivellest.
Emily Hutchings:  Let’s get the rest of it.
Patience:  Hath thee measured the tabby’s tail?
Pearl:  Patience I don’t think you ought to treat us this way.
Patience:  Ought is naught.  Thine own barley corn may weevil, but thee’lt crib thy neighbors and sack his shelling.

And a good example transcribed in 1917 in its last part showing the relationship between Casper Yost and Patience Worth


Mr. Yost leaned over the board and set it fast in a circle.

Patience:  Awk, but thy grindin’ lacketh bowels!
Mr. Yost:  I only wanted to pat you on the back.
Patience:   Lor’, thee’d deem I had an itch!
Mr. Yost:  You never can tell what she will do.
Patience:  You never can tell, sayth the fool, as he plucketh from ‘neath the goose, a hen’s egg.
Mr. Yost:  Patience, what do you want me to give you for Christmas?
Patience:  Lor’, I be a tremour!  Wait ye a whit, I’ll set thee a task.  Ah, lawk a me!  Should it be a new buckle or a kirtle?  Alawk!  Alawk!  I tell ‘ee sirrah, it shall be a word frae out thy heart.  I see the script wi’ e’es a ye and drink me in the potion like a simperin’ wench.
Mr. Yost:  Will you meet the postman at the door?
Patience:  I be at the tendin’ o’ hearts, not a gabster on the doorstep.
Mr. Yost:  I know what I’d like to give you.
Patience:  Lor’, this be like unto the swain who would but canna, and canna but would!
Mr. Yost:  I’d like to put my arms around you and kiss you!
Patience:  I said it were so!
Mr. Yost:  I’m going to do it sometime if I have to chase you all over heaven.
Patience:  Tarry, brother mine, tarry!  I tell ‘ee I shall for to down o’ my bonnet’s curtain!  I wot a spinster be plegged e’en though she be thrice thy grandsire’s grandsire’s age!
Mr Yost:  This is only brotherly love, Patience.
Patience:  Lor’, I ha’e heard that too!

2 thoughts on “WRITING STYLES: ‘Table Talk’

    1. Amos

      I think Patience means that the people around her are speaking drivel, that is, they are talking stupidly or childishly; senseless talk.


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